Thursday’s episode was a shocker. Michelle was without her trademark eyeliner. Less surprising was her attack on Steve for keeping Peter’s secret, although the savagery of her words was more than I had expected.
“Blood on your hands,” she said. He should have told her about Peter’s affair with Tina because a) nothing should be kept from her and b) she could have stopped Peter and all now would be well. Yes, Michelle, Peter would have listened to you, sure he would. Because you are the avenging angel, and all listen to your pearls of wisdom.
Steve explained his decisions. He hoped Peter would get back on the wagon with no one knowing. He hoped Peter would end it with Tina and no one need know. He has had to live with his choices, knowing that he was keeping secrets from Michelle and watching the Tina/Peter/Carla situation explode before his eyes. “Anything for a quiet life,” Michelle sneered. How, I wondered, has Steve’s life been “quiet” with what he has been doing? The way for him to stay out of it all would have been to tell Michelle the whole story right off the bat. Let her make the difficult decision of what and when to tell whom, to choose whose lives to destroy. Steve could sit back and leave Michelle in the thick of it – for better or worse.
“But keeping his grubby little secret was more important than us, eh?” Us, not Carla, not Tina, not the equilibrium of the neighbourhood, but us. In Michelle-speak, us means me. Steve dared keep something from her. Never mind that she had known about Carla’s pregnancy and did not share that with Steve – because Carla asked her to keep it to herself. But Steve keeping something to himself because Peter asked him to just doesn’t count for Michelle. By doing that, Steve was “a coward, and a traitor.” Michelle dresses it up in the vocabulary of trust and honesty in a relationship. But there is only one side of their relationship she is concerned with – hers.
Tina was murdered and Carla miscarried her baby, but it’s all about Michelle. Liz and Steve understandably have been devastated by what has happened to their friends, but their greatest apprehension has been about Michelle’s reaction when she finds out Steve knew. They are right to be afraid. Michelle’s fury is really for herself, but she wraps her words of betrayal in the cloak of real tragedies that have befallen other people. By that, she takes the moral high ground and she further sears the guilt Steve feels into his heart.
Kym Marsh was excellent, as was Simon Gregson as the object of her harangue.