Karl the local hero, having a hard time with doing everything right while really he’s done everything wrong. He has been hailed as a hero since he attempted to pull Stella out of the burning Rovers. Of course, it was actually Paul who hauled her out, then Toni went in for Karl and died before she could get out herself. But especially for Gloria and Stella, Karl’s the hero. So that’s all right because he did it all for Stella anyway.
He’s praised now, after the fire, for other reasons too. He has been wonderful with Sunita’s twins. They may not have liked him much when he lived with their mother and them, but he’s done wonders for Asha this week. Reassuring her that her mother was a good person and that she had nothing to do with setting the fire at the Rovers.
Dev may not have liked Karl much either. It was Karl for whom Sunita left him. But seeing how he has helped Asha come to terms with her mother’s death and seeing as how he was willing to put aside his traumatic experience in the fire (being a hero) and come to Sunita’s funeral for Dev’s sake, even Dev has to admit that Karl’s a stand-up guy.
Right now Karl could get away with anything in Weatherfield, his standing is so high. He could get away with murder. Wait – that’s exactly what he’s done. Police accept that Sunita likely started the Rovers’ fire and she likely died by accident or suicide. The case is closed. Karl got away with arson and murder.
But those kids! Having to look at them trying to make sense of their mother’s death and life. Seeing Dev’s desperation in trying to understand why his knowledge of Sunita and the facts as the police give them don’t add up. Dev trying to explain to his children that Mummy had nothing to do with the fire, no matter where she was found, no matter what Simon or anyone else says. Seeing the gratitude in all Alahan eyes, so relieved at his words of understanding, of solidarity.
In the back garden, he tells Asha unconditionally that her mother had nothing to do with the fire. She believes him, probably wants to anyway but Karl is so convincing about it that she has no room left for doubt. The irony is that he is telling her the absolute truth and he is the only living being that knows it.
I think he would have cracked with Asha. I think he would have told her if she had asked why he was sure, how he knew Mummy didn’t do it. I don’t know what Asha would have done with that information if he had, but I’m sure she would have listened and let him tell her. Not like Stella when he nearly told her at Sunita’s funeral. As an adult and a mother, feeling her job is always to comfort and console, she wouldn’t let him talk. She got too busy saying you’re not to blame, no need to feel guilt, there there, it will all be ok. Sometimes the ability to just shut up and let someone talk can pay big dividends. This would have been one of them.