Tag Archives: Hayley Cropper

Corrie Street Nov. 24/13

A Time for Us

Johann_Heinrich_Füssli-1809-detailA time for us:  that’s what Roy and Hayley want, what they need. Instead, like Romeo and Juliet, they have intrusions. Impending death the biggest of all. Distractions of a business, of learning to drive. Well-wishers and helpers, welcome or not.

Anna, handling the café and wanting to understand what’s bothering Roy. Pushed to his limit, he tells her: Hayley wishes to end her own life. He needs to tell someone but Anna is not the best choice. For sure, she will tell someone else. Maybe normally, Hayley wouldn’t be overly furious about her confidence being broken. But these days, Hayley is quickly infuriated.roy hayley in woody a time for us

Roy decides to spruce up their bedroom for Hayley’s homecoming from hospital. A nice idea but not a good one. It wouldn’t have occurred to him to do it, except for Jenna bringing him tea and looking askance at the room. Roy saw the peeling and faded wallpaper through her eyes. Then followed a hideous time of Roy the handyman. Thank goodness, Anna intruded again and got Owen and Gary to do the decorating.

suit-to-the-drycleanersProblem was Hayley came home early. She found her room full of people, people never normally in it. Their bedroom, her chosen final space, is completely changed. She wants her familiar refuge.

She wants to see the factory girls and her friend Jane from the cancer support group. Roy frets about her overtiring herself. She agrees to postpone her visit to the ailing Jane. Jane is a new friend, one Roy does not like. But Hayley has the bond of terminal cancer with her. Next day, they finally get there after I-missed-seeingRoy drags his heels as long as possible. Jane had died the night before. Hayley would have seen her if she’d gone when she wanted to. Jane’s death was peaceful but “she wasn’t herself”, her husband said. That reinforces Hayley’s belief that she wants to die while she is still herself, Hayley.

Roy cannot understand. He wants to hold her life-filled hand for as long as possible. I think he roy-stares-aheadpictures the deaths we see in movies. He can’t really imagine the agony he is asking her to endure. And that isn’t even taking into the account the real fear that Hayley has, that in her mind she will return to being Harold. So even when together in a small insular space like their car, they fight. Or more accurately, both try to avoid the other’s truth and angrily lash out with their own.

They are so close to each other and to their own feelings and beliefs that they cannot see you-had-only-justthe other’s point of view. They really do need a third party to see the forest in the trees. But neither are comfortable with the thought of counseling.

Meanwhile, life and business go on and friends continue to butt in, meaning well. Telling Roy he should spend all the time with Hayley that he can, not realizing that is exactly you-all-rightwhat they are fighting about.  Mercifully, we were spared Fiz’s solicitude. In every Roy and Hayley scene, my husband kept expecting Fiz to pop up like a jack-in-the-box with an oh-dear or can-I-help. Ha! Instead we got a Beth pop-up. Wonderful and very scary.

Corrie Street Nov. 3/13

Houses of Cards

One house of cards balanced well; one collapsing.  If we extend the construction tarot-cardsmetaphor, Emily might say that’s because one was built on a foundation of rock and the other on sand (Matt. 7:24-27).  We saw them both on Wednesday in one of the best episodes ever in Coronation Street’s long history.  Different stories, evoking different emotions, but linked with an underpinning of principle.

the-cardsHayley checked off a big item on her bucket list, thanks to a turn of the cards.  The first cards the Blackpool fortuneteller turned up were the Hermit and the Empress.  The former signifies solitude, the latter female fertility. She next drew the Fool, for beginnings, then the Death card, meaning change.  But from her observations, she knew it best to turn that one down without showing it to them. Instead she drew the Star card, hope and inspiration, and told Hayley to follow her dream and not let, say, a “closed for maintenance” sign stand in her way.

dancing-at-Tower-BallroomSo Hayley and Roy went back to the closed Tower Ballroom – and it opened for them.  Fate or serendipity, helped by the practical action of the card reader in contacting her son, the ballroom manager.

Fortunes of the house of Platts

Meanwhile, in the house of Platts, Kylie finds out right before the baby’s christening that reject-evila) David knew she had slept with Nick, b) David was responsible for the prolonged vendetta against Nick, and c) David caused the accident that nearly killed Nick.  She is horrified.  Nick tells her to forget it and have the happy life that she, and David and Nick and everyone else want.  But she cannot.

you-had-to-have-it-confirmedAt the christening, she snatches Lily from David’s arms, tells him he is a dangerous freak, and to stay away from her.  Some of the story comes out in the church aisle, the rest in the vestry amongst only the family.  Leanne storms out, before the part about the van accident.  Gail turns on David, reminding him of Richard Hillman and the “love” he professed just before he tried to murder her and her children.

been-second-bestDavid had one chance to say he had not deliberately caused the van crash.  But instead he dug into his bag of standard excuses and accusations; you never loved me, I’ve always been second best, you tried to abort me, yada yada yada.  David needs the same advice as Nick:  use words wisely!

and-nothing-butIt is Kylie who will suffer the greatest loss, and it is she who will not practice the hypocrisy necessary to keep the life she has made for herself.  Nick and Gail have known enough of the facts to be aware of the slippery moral basis of their “happy families” charade.  But as long as everyone gets what he or she wants, just sweep the nasty part under the carpet, that’s their working philosophy.

Making Becky proud

I-know-what-you-didIt’s Kylie, the trailer trash part of their respectable lace-curtain home, who says what David did is not right. That it must be hauled out of the cesspool that is Platt morality and be examined.  She is willing to do that even if the cost is the happy ending that she had finally found.

ballroom-dancingAfter watching Kylie bring everyone’s lives down around their ears, including her own, I thought Becky would be proud of her.  Then I realized that, if they weren’t occupied with their own problems, so would Roy and Hayley.  The moral compass for Becky, perhaps indirectly they have also become that for Kylie.

Corrie Street Oct. 13/13

Christian Circus

Thursday, Hayley and Roy go to the Rovers with Christian, her long lost son. Hayley is christian long lost sonChristian’s father, from when she was Harold. It has been very difficult for Christian to wrap his head around that – finding out his absentee father had become a she. The previous time they had met, six years ago, turned out badly when Christian struck her. So Hayley is uncertain about contacting him but she wants to try to make peace with him in the time she has left.

However, she doesn’t want to tell him of her illness. Doesn’t want “to play the sympathy card,” as she puts it. Roy has been opposed to her contacting him, not wanting her to endure whatever he might throw at her (figuratively and literally).

hayley-looks-at-photosThings go not too badly between them until Christian shows Hayley photos of his two children. She wishes desperately to meet them, her grandchildren. Christian doesn’t say no but he says he needs time.

How much time, Hayley and Roy ask, knowing that time is the resource they have in shortest supply. Maybe when they are older, like say when need-time-to-adjustthey’re in their teens, when they are better equipped to understand –: his words trail off, he doesn’t know how to finish his sentence. The circus that is our lives, Roy throws back a word that Christian had used inadvertently earlier in explaining why he and his wife had no family present at their wedding.

hayley-happy-roy-notHayley’s mother hen side, wanting to see the grandbabies, is fighting with her wish to protect herself and Christian from the news of her death occurring way before those children reach their teens. While she tries to figure out a way out, Roy loses what little patience he has for Christian and for Hayley’s need to reconcile with her son.  He no-concern-to-uslashes out at Christian and his bigotry and stomps off.  Surprisingly, Hayley is prepared to leave with him.  All of them angry by this point, Christian gets one final jab at her.  When she says just be a good dad, he says he couldn’t be any worse than she was.  That makes leaving him easy, she tells Christian as she takes Roy’s arm and walks out.

be-any-worse-than-youA frustrating scene, not because it was not believable.  It was very credible for the characters, but not what I want to see from Roy especially.  Hayley’s illness is bringing out the worst of his obsessiveness.  He is monitoring and micromanaging her illness, her actions, even her wishes, all in the name of protecting her.  She must deal with his behaviour and his sorrow as well as deal with her own imminent mortality.  Unduly stressful for her.

goodbye-christianRoy should never have gone to the Rovers with Hayley and Christian.  His presence was unnecessary and he was too angry.  If Christian had taken another jab at Hayley, a bar full of people would have immediately jumped to her defence.

Maybe we got the real reason for his presence later when they were back at home having cocoa.  He doesn’t want to share the little time he has left with her, not with anyone, he told Hayley.  Perhaps especially with a son who came from a previous life as a different person, literally.  Whatever the reason, it is Hayley who suffers my-hayleybecause she has been denied the opportunity to reconcile her past and her present.  And Christian too, who seemed to truly want to put things right and try to understand his own past and parentage.

Corrie Street Oct. 6/13

An Ant Farm

So many scenes this week, most of them involving Hayley and Roy. But the one that got roy-and shoes ant farmme was Roy preparing for the birthday party organized for him by Hayley. Sat at the kitchen table, tie untied, furiously polishing Hayley’s black pumps, he had little time for Anna’s solicitude.

But he told her a lot in his impatience over her concern that he should enjoy the party for Hayley’s sake. He gave a capsule of history – his childhood, his mother and his relationship with Hayley – while giving those shoes a shine that a drill sergeant could not fault.

factually-inaccurateHis turning twelve had been the occasion of his last birthday party. Desperately hoping for an ant farm, he received an action figure instead. A British military figure dressed in WWII US Forces uniform, something that distressed young Roy to no end.

Just as well he didn’t like it, his auntie opined to his mother, playing with dolls might make until-I-met-Hayleyhim peculiar. He ended up peculiar anyway, he told Anna. He sent his action figure “to a watery grave” and he never got the ant farm.

Roy did get Hayley though, the only time he ever got his heart’s desire. So the desperation he feels at losing her is palpable. So too is his desperation at the thought of spending an entire evening being sociable and the centre of attention at a dreams-and-hopesparty. But he will do it – for Hayley’s sake.

Later that evening, outside at the back of the Rovers, Roy tells Hayley what she means to him. Another calmer beautiful moment when he opens the big heart that he usually keeps so buttoned up. Another roy-back-of-roversmoment of tears welling in my eyes and my husband’s. This one was his pick of the week. I liked it a lot too. But somehow the rawness of emotion and breadth of content in Roy’s near-soliloquy when preparing for the party hit me somewhere deeper in my psyche.

eva-at-barMy husband had another pick this week: any and all the scenes of Eva and her girls in the little red polka-dot dress. The choked back sobs and “aww” sounds I heard from the chair beside mine during touching Hayley and Roy moments turned more to ‘hubba-hubba’ type noises whenever she, and they, appeared on the screen. “Those things ought to have a warning flag on them,” he said.

Corrie Street Aug. 11/13

C is for Coping

Hayley-outside-hospital copingIf I ran Corrie, I’d have it in the contracts for some actors that they could never ever leave Corrie no matter what. Julie Hesmondhaigh would be one of those actors. Her character Hayley is needed by all of us. But I do not run Coronation Street.

This week Hayley has been coping with her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and has had to tell Roy. Two scenes on Monday were heartbreakingly brilliant.

The first was when Hayley was being hectored by Beth for Hayley-in-factory-officemiscounting Beth’s knicker output. Carla, knowing something may be wrong, got Hayley out of the situation and into her office. There, Hayley broke down. She couldn’t keep up the brave façade any longer and told Carla she had a tumour. Carla hauled her bottle out of her cupboard and waved it toward Hayley who said no. Carla said she could certainly use a drink herself, speaking perhaps for us all.

Hayley-at-cafe-doorHeading home, Hayley steeled herself to tell Roy and Sylvia. Their faces made words unnecessary. Sylvia’s face said ‘dear God in Heaven, how will we get through this?’ and Roy’s face said ‘What?’ Sylvia’s expression conveyed love, sorrow and worry in equal parts; Roy’s, total incomprehension. He roy says going to be with hersoon rallied, however, and ran for his Mr Fix-it hat. Off to the library, the internet, the doctor; looking for alternatives, for better answers.

Wednesday’s episode ended on a shocker. Roy angrily blurting out at Audrey’s party that Hayley was fatally ill. Despite his Royston-like behaviour of obsessing in the “interweb” as Sylvia put it, his betrayal of Hayley’s confidence seemed uncharacteristic. Watching, Hayley-angry-at-Roywe discussed whether this was believable in light of Roy’s distress or if it was plot-driven writing in order to have everyone on the street find out. Our conclusion was that if the question even comes to mind, the writing needed reworking.

But the follow-up scene on Hayley-finishes-her-champagneThursday helped soften the shock of such un-Roy-like behaviour. Hayley told him in no uncertain terms what she thought of what he’d done, even defiantly finishing her glass of champagne. He realized the enormity of his error. I think the whole scene should have been part of the same episode without splitting it for cliffhanger effect.

Sylvia-talks-sense-to-RoyBack home that evening, Sylvia told Roy that Hayley didn’t need him looking for cures, that she had doctors for that and they knew more about it than he did. What Hayley needed was just him and his love and support. Roy listened to his mother.

When Hayley came from her bath, he’d made her something to eat. Expecting cheese-on-toastsome revolting healthful concoction, she told him thanks but no thanks. But he unveiled the plate to show her cheese on toast and brickmaker’s tea, strong enough to stand a spoon in. And then, with a bit of prompting by Hayley, he hugged her and held her close. She told him her fear of dying. He said he wished only that it could be him instead of her.  She said that would be worse for her.

if-that-makes-me-selfishThis storyline is being done absolutely beautifully. Still, I wish it wasn’t being done at all. Coping will be difficult.

Corrie Street Aug. 4/13

Mother Sylvia

Despite her pointed observations (usually accurate if not tactfully phrased), Sylvia is a truly warm-hearted person. A woman who acknowledges shortcomings, including her Sylviaown, and recognizes a person’s strengths. She knows when to confront issues and when it’s best to back off. As they say, a pillar of strength. I wish she’d adopt me.

On Thursday Hayley came home, rattled by being called back to the doctor’s office almost immediately after an inconclusive and unsettling ultrasound. Roy wanted to be supportive and interested in her world after putting her through the stress of his problems. Had she been shopping, had she bought anything nice? Hayley didn’t know how to answer him. Sylvia covered for her beautifully by telling him he couldn’t understand a woman’s approach to shopping, you don’t necessarily come home with anything.

As soon as she had shooed him out of the room, she turned to Hayley. Concerned but Sylvia-and-Hayleybusiness-like, she asked what did they say. Hayley explained that she hadn’t been given any answers, just more reason for concern. Sylvia didn’t press for more information, didn’t ask more questions when she saw Hayley was frightened and couldn’t answer. She just gave her a huge lovely hug. Hayley and Roy are going to need Sylvia to get through the adversities both are dealing with, separately and together. Especially now, after Friday’s news.

I am away right now and wrote this before Sunday’s episodes were posted on CBC’s site, so I cannot get photos from the episode. My apologies.

Corrie Street Jun. 2/13

The Legacy

A two-year-old letter from Roy’s father has produced amazing scenes. It began with the legacy Mr-Cropper's-letterSylvia going to the hated Home to pick it up, then to her telling Hayley not to pressure Roy into reading it. Then Roy dithering about what to do once he knew about it and more dithering when he learned his father was no longer at the address given in the letter.

Thursday he unwillingly went to a newer Cropper-houseaddress he had found for his father, where he met his father’s widow. Three months earlier Mr. Cropper Sr. had died, believing that Roy wanted nothing to do with him. That was indeed the case, although Roy had not known that his father was trying to reach him. Four remarkable scenes followed Roy and Hayley’s entry into his father’s house.

Roy-and-mantle-photosRoy in the sitting room, surrounded by photos of his father’s other family. The three children, one in New Zealand, one in Cornwall and one near the parental home. No photos of the child Roy, his father’s firstborn.

Hayley, herself flummoxed, trying to talk normally and drink tea, trying to find out as much as possible about Roy’s Croppersfather and his life and hoping against hope that Roy can somehow find the answers he needs in light of his father’s death. Mrs. Cropper explaining that Roy’s father truly regretted leaving his eldest son and never contacting him, trying to explain that his family – all members – were truly important to him.  Roy listening but keeping very still as if he were just trying to hold himself together.

train-set-in-caseAs they prepare to leave, Mrs. Cropper gives him a suitcase saying his father had wanted Roy to have it. That St. John had spent hours playing with it and that none of his other children were interested but he knew Roy would want it. A train set like the one Roy had when a child. Roy refused it saying maybe a grandchild would take it. Mrs. Cropper pressed it on him, saying it was his.  Roy took it reverentially.

how-was-heBack home, Sylvia wants to know everything. What happened? Had he lost his hair? Because balding ran in his family, that Roy took after her side in that so he needn’t worry because he was nothing like that man. Roy would never run out on those who relied on him. When she ran out of steam, Roy said  “He’s dead”.

Last scene, Roy closing himself off again in when-one-is-abandonedorder to cope. Sylvia quiet, trying to keep herself together and, I think, giving Roy room to be quiet too. Hayley seeing the anguish in them both, but wanting to talk about it, to not keep it bottled up, sorry if what she’d done in showing him the letter caused him grief.

“If I’m in any way to blame,” Hayley said. Roy couldn’t take any you-are-Hayley-you-aremore. “You are, Hayley, you are to blame,” he said, after giving her a summing up of the unnecessary need felt by modern society to explore feelings, come to terms with things, find closure. He left the room, presumably to find silence. Sylvia, looking a bit shocked by Roy’s explosion, said to Hayley “I did try to warn you.” And she had.

I-did-warn-youThese three actors, and characters, are wonderful. These scenes were among the best ever from them. This is what Coronation Street does so well. In the storylines, there’s often something that may especially resonant for individuals. This one is a story about abandonment of a child and a spouse. That is a fear, and maybe reality, for many or all of us.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Jan. 27/13)

True Romance

Love, sex, relationships and marriage all featured this week in almost every storyline.  Hayley-returnsTumultuous, even histrionic, tales of intrigue, deception and secrets and, amid all of it, one fleeting glimpse of true romance.

Hayley arrives home from Palm Springs.  When asked if she’d like something to eat, she says no, she’s been nibbling all through the long day.  Anna flashes her a warning true romance roy-holds-up-plate for hayleysignal, yes you want to eat.  And Roy holds up a plate of beef stroganoff, wrapped in saran, awaiting her.  My favourite, thank you, oh yes please, Hayley says to him.

He is so excited about her being there that he didn’t really pay attention to her previous statement about not being hungry so he’s just happy that he can provide sustenance for her.  We didn’t see her eating her dinner, but I bet she cleaned up every bit of it.

No stroganoff for you

An absolutely lovely moment, set up for us by Roy’s dithering in the café kitchen earlier.  Worrying about setting aside the stroganoff, obviously a bit hit with customers since it allocated-stroganoffwas nearly all gone.  Lloyd ordered it and was told there was no more.  Seeing the wrapped plate, he protested.  But Roy told him firmly that the plate was already allocated.  Even with Roy’s impeccable standards of customer service, the customer in his café does not always come first, not when Hayley’s needs are involved.

roy-with-flowersAlas, by the end of the week, even Roy and Hayley were at odds with each other.  Hayley decided to patch things up between Roy and Mary.  It didn’t go well.  But I have more confidence in their ability to sort out their disagreement than I do about any of the other relationships unraveling on the street.  oh-yes-pleaseLeanne, Nick, Peter, Gail, Audrey, Kylie and David – they and pretty much everybody else on the street could learn a lot from Roy and Hayley about caring about and respecting your partner.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Sept. 2/12)

Eve at an eat as much as you like buffet

Soap operas are about emotions, relationships and the vicissitudes of human interaction. Roy and Hayley as motorhome returnsSo there are many powerful scenes that involve love and loss. As a viewer, you expect to be moved.

Tuesday and Wednesday had some of the most moving and thought-provoking scenes that have been on recently. And I think, on balance, the past months have been excellent with many good and emotionally gripping stories. But the tales told by four characters this week was extraordinary.

Mary and Roy and Hayley and Norris

emotions - Mary and Roy outside church for concertTuesday I thought I had my scene when Mary realized that no subterfuge was going to keep Roy in her motorhome overnight. When she realized that all he wanted was to be with Hayley after her dance competition. And was even willing to walk out of the encores for the Elgar performance. Like Anna, we knew what she was trying to do with her chess games and invitations to concerts and maybe booking hotel rooms, maybe not.

Mary and Roy going to motorhomeBut Roy talked so clearly and feelingly about why it was important he be there for Hayley that she folded her tent, so to speak, and gave up her assault on him. Nothing can top that, I thought.

Then Hayley, realizing that her suspicions about Mary’s intentions are justified, goes to confront her. Another absolutely Mary telling Hayley her feelings for Roybeautiful piece of theatre – the two of them in the motorhome, Mary talking about her feelings of invisibility, her longing for someone to think about her as Roy does about Hayley. Hayley’s delight in hearing what she means to Roy from someone else. Nothing could top it. And I don’t know if anything did, but two more scenes on Wednesday matched it.

Mary telling Norris she is leaving WeatherfieldMary, tired of losing at love in Weatherfield, decides to leave and tells Norris. Norris, who likes her despite himself and despite her actions, clearly not wanting her to leave but not able to tell her. Mary clearly waiting only for a word, a syllable, a pause at the right moment – anything to show her that he wants her to stay. But he doesn’t give it.

Hayley hears that Mary is leaving and knows it’s because of their talk. Again she goes to the motorhome. The two of them in the front seats, drinking coffee or something. Talking about emotions, life and love and relationships. They forge a friendship and quietly do wonders for each other’s self-esteem.

Emotions and misfits

Hayley wanting to talk to MaryAll four of these people are misfits. They have quirks, old-fashioned standards, all are laughed at by many in the street. All have been, or are, desperately lonely. It hasn’t been easy for any of them.

Norris with his dreadful ex-wife the late unlamented Roy explains his love for Hayley to MaryAngela, Roy with Aspergers or whatever it is, Hayley having started life as Harold, and Mary with her Mary telling Hayley about feeling invisiblemother and the burden of being Mary. Yet all of them this week had so much to say about loneliness, love and the human condition. The acuity of their observations about themselves and each other spoke to the heart of the need for human contact. And it was polite and with Mary tells Norris why they returned early from concertrestraint, befitting the personalities of the characters.

It is too bad for Steve and Tracy’s new domestic mess that it was sandwiched in between these other scenes. Without the counterpoint of the Roy-Mary story, they would have been fine. But as it was, for me, they were just dross.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Jan. 1/12)

Eunuchs and Parasites

Tracey telling Sylvia about Hayley's sex changeOnce they’d decided it was necessary, Hayley and Roy didn’t have a chance to tell Mother Cropper the truth about Hayley’s sex change.  Tracy Barlow, trademark sneer in place, was happy to enlighten Sylvia even while Roy was shooing her out of the café.

The three Croppers then had a moment of Sylvia looks askance at Hayley as she explainsmutual self-revelation.  Sylvia tried to avoid it, but Hayley said ‘sit down’ in a tone that even she had to obey.  Hayley then reverted to herself, trying to placate and explain.  Sylvia reverted too, pronouncing on the abnormality of Hayley, Roy and their relationship.

Roy changed his usual way of dealing with his mother.  His love of Hayley takes precedence over even his fear and dread of his Roy tells Sylvia to leave if she cannot accept Hayleymother.  He told her that even though she had absolutely no money and he and Hayley had been happy to welcome her into their home, he was happy to see her walk right out the door if she could not accept Hayley as his wife.

The mix of emotions in Sylvia’s response – in words and expression.  Memories of his childhood flickering across her face, her frustration or incomprehension of his ‘differentness’.  “There was no help in those days,”  she says.  Roy says, “you were ashamed.”  Maybe she Sylvia explaining her feelings about Roy as a childwas but she wasn’t going to admit it.  “Disappointed,” she says.  Then she speaks of her pride when she saw him with a business, a wife, friends, standing in the community – normal is the unspoken word.  Then the shock of finding out Hayley is a transsexual.

She’s an intelligent woman and a caring one despite the crusty exterior. As Roy said, “this morning, you thought the world of Hayley.”  She knows that too.  She will come around.  And it’s Becky who will help, just as Sylvia will cause Becky to rethink her pity party.

Sylvia talks to Becky about eunuchs and parasitesBoth of them exiled upstairs to the apartment while Hayley and Roy do make-work in the café, trying to avoid their houseguests.  Sylvia decrying the state of a world where you don’t know who or what anyone is.  “Cavorting with eunuchs and taking in parasites” she says, that’s what Roy has done.  “I don’t know what she is.”  “She’s Hayley Cropper, simple as that,”  Becky turns to Sylvia and replies.

Sylvia suggests to Becky that it might be time for her to sort her life out and make up Becky telling Roy and Hayley she is going to find Stevewith a husband who clearly loves her.  Becky listens to her.  And two difficult women of different generations and worlds take stock of each other.  I think they see themselves mirrored and they like what they see, although both of them would deny it to the bitter end.