A couple storylines got advanced during the opening, Ches and Ryan getting in a fight and Izzy finding out what Gary has been so desperate to keep from her. But Ryan and Katy bore me stiff and, like Tina, I am tired of the Windass clan hovering around her. The stress seems to be causing Tina’s baby to be born early. Perhaps the birth of Rover, as I now call the baby, will well and truly christen the renovated pub.
But it was the subtexts that were most interesting. Stella has refused to use the words “Grand Opening” or “celebration” in light of the tragedy that caused the rebuilding. Two people died, one a hero and one believed to be a villain.
Paul and a fellow firefighter came in honour of Toni who died saving Karl. Dev, husband of alleged arsonist Sunita, attended reluctantly. He hadn’t wanted to revisit the place of his loss but Mary convinced him that he needed to face those demons. Stella acknowledged him and his loss with grace and subtlety.
The camera reminded us of another story, the end of Jason and Stella’s romance. As Stella thanks Karl, the camera focuses on Jason, not wanting to watch his former lover kiss the man Jason believes to be responsible for everything that has gone wrong. Leanne also uses just her eyes to tell her story. As Stella pulls Gloria and Karl to her, saying she couldn’t have done this without them, Leanne stands behind her. First she throws a glare Karl’s way, a man she cannot trust no matter how often her mother says he’s changed. Then she looks down and walks off-camera, dejected. Despite her animosity toward Karl, she gave Stella money for the pub fittings. She and Nick also carried up bottled beer from the Bistro when Stella’s suppliers did not get her order delivered in time. Surely, I think she was thinking, she deserves some public acknowledgement as well.
A developing story was touched on, that of Gloria as financial “angel” with her £80,000. Before the opening, Stella continually had to rein Gloria in from buying balloons and banners and bunting. Not a celebration but a ‘marking’, she repeatedly told her, to little avail. After Stella thanks everyone for helping and for being there, Gloria says “what am I, chopped liver?” just loud enough for Stella to hear. It’s wishful thinking if Stella isn’t aware her mother will be adding “Gloria” to the landlady sign.
Lastly, Rita bringing a new photo of Betty to hang in the bar makes it truly the Rovers Return. As Stella said, “Buildings store memories in bricks and mortar, and I reckon this pub’s got lots of those already. But now it’s got a few more that we’ll never forget. So will you raise your glasses to present and absent friends.” I think Jack and Vera and many others would have loved it. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed the Rovers. I wish only that they’d had a panoramic sweep of it with everyone quiet, so I could get a good look. If you do want to see it and read about its real-life construction, check out this at Bluenose Corrie Blogger.