The only time I remember something like this was when Jack Duckworth died, and Vera came back to accompany him to that stone-cladded castle in the sky. And that was fine because it sent Jack and Bill Tarmey off in very special style. (See my Goodnight, Jack Duckworth 4 Sept. 2011.)
Departing so far from the show’s style by showing viewers Andy’s dream? I don’t think so. Doing something like that, if deemed advisable at all, should be reserved for landmark events in the history of the show or long-established characters. Andy and Phelan’s story of villainy and bullying, in my mind, does not qualify. While I like the actors and their characters, I don’t have enough invested in them or their story to suspend disbelief that much.
Instead of feeling emotionally caught up in the dream sequence, my mind immediately connected it to the use of incidental music that we have seen lately. Music playing throughout multiple scenes like a movie score, and therefore not conveying realism of a scene. The music in Coronation Street, with rare and again momentous exceptions, always fits with, and derives from, a particular setting.
Another “innovation” for Coronation Street, we’ve seen musical overlay too much already in my opinion. Music and dream as conveyors of interior emotion are not innovations in the world of soaps. American daytime serials have long and extensively used both. One of the very good things about Coronation Street has always been that they didn’t use them. We the viewers were eavesdropping on the lives of the characters, we weren’t entering into their minds.
The saving grace with seeing Andy’s dream was that it wasn’t shot in soft focus. But it wouldn’t be, would it? This was a nightmare, so it should be in stark relief. It was, and as the opening scene of the episode, it was effective. Visually, I loved it!
On Phelan’s storyline with Andy and Steph and Anna and Kevin, even his nice-guy persona with Eileen? In the words ascribed to P. T. Barnum, the greatest showman ever, or President Abraham Lincoln:
“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
It’s a small street, Phelan and his actions are larger than life. His time for getting away with villainy must be running out.