Monday, 7 May 2018

Coronation Street Review






Warning: This article contains discussion of suicide, which some readers may find upsetting.


As I mentioned in the What To Watch Tonight, and has been mentioned in the general media, this is a big week for Coronation Street. Tonight in particular marks Aidan Connor's final episodes as he does extremely tragically kill himself. Once again to reiterate, no part of the actual suicide will be shown on screen either tonight or on Wednesday, when Johnny goes to the flat and discovers what Aidan has done. Coronation Street have given out advance warning on the episodes, to give viewers a choice in whether they wish to watch as the subject matter is extremely distressing.

And given we are facing such a sad subject, the right balance does have to be found between foreshadowing Aidan's death & comedy. Sure tonight had a heck of a lot of conversations all about life, struggles and humanity, but it also had some comedy even if I don't care much for the characters involved in the stories.

Since it is Aidan's final night so to speak, it is only right tonight's double bill kicks off with him. Coronation Street have done a wonderful job setting this storyline up so gently and with such subtlety that whilst some may have guessed and been able to see the signs for the potential storyline, it was still a great shock when they officially confirmed it. But we're past all of that now and tonight is to an extent all about the signs. Coronation Street's angle with this storyline is that someone can appear to be perfectly happy to all those surrounding them, whilst inside be struggling, and that's what we see tonight. Aidan's staring out into space, lost in an episode of 'Lorraine' which is playing extremely loudly. he cuts an extremely haunted figure, matched by his flat which is a mess and kettle boiling over. He's taken out of his daydream by the bell ringing. Kate's decided to pay her brother a visit and immediately notes the unpacked boxes. He does fob her off, and against his behaviour to her doesn't seem out of the norm. But to us, we know that Aidan hasn't bothered unpacking because he's not going to be living in this flat very long. He may also eerily want to make it easier for his family to take his belongings when he is found. She's soon distracted by the engagement ring on the counter, and worried at first he may be intending to put it to use. Aidan assures her he's not, and Kate suggests selling the ring to fund their trip to Spain to visit Johnny and Jenny.

It's all pretty nice, siblings bonding and teasing each other, which will only make the discovery that much worse than it's already going to be. Next off Aidan pays a trip to Johnny and surprises him with a golf membership. Again to Johnny and even Jenny this just seems like Aidan being extremely generous, when really he's giving everyone a parting gift. At the going away party Aidan has a little bonding time with Carla and Kate. He also shares several awkward moments with Toyah and baby Susie in the Rovers.

Given how awkward she's previously been in his presence, Aidan already knows there's something up with Toyah. She's extremely cagey whenever the surrogate or even Eva is brought up. Trying to stop him from touching his newborn daughter, all the whilst allowing other locals in the Rovers marvel over her? It's extremely suspicious behaviour. When Johnny and Aidan have a run in outside the Rovers which results in beer going everywhere, Aidan tidies himself up in the back room. He once again questions Toyah on where exactly Eva is, she's once again cagey, and this time can't stop Aidan holding his newborn daughter. No words are exchanged but both of them know the other knows the truth. Toyah is beyond petrified her secret is going to be outed, and even worse Susie be taken away from her, whilst Aidan travels to the cottage to surprise Eva with a visit.

He again apologizes for how he spoke to her when he found out she was pregnant, and admits to snooping around the Rover's backroom due to how weird Toyah has been acting. Eva is very much on edge having him there, not knowing exactly what he wants and scared her secret will be outed. Aidan looks back on his relationship with Eva rather fondly, and soon makes himself scarce as Leanna and Eva video chat. In the background Aidan is forced to listen as Toyah and Leanne question if she left because of Aidan, and Toyah soon realizes that Aidan has indeed paid a visit to Eva. With Aidan continuing to skulk in the background, proclaiming that Eva made the right choice getting rid of the baby because he wouldn't have made a good father, Eva isn't having any of it and demands to know why he's really there. Aidan says he just wants to have a dance with Eva as a way of saying goodbye to each other if she indeed doesn't coming back to the street, and at this point I'm well and truly bawling a bucket of tears.

Getting caught in the emotion Eva confesses her love to Aidan who completely rejects it, and finishes off by telling Eva whatever she does is the right thing and for the best, and he does indeed love her two. There's so much unspoken between these two characters in this bit of interaction and praise must go to their portrayers Shayne and Catherine. Eva does eventually report back to Toyah who is again extremely worried all this is going to fall apart, and she'll lose baby Susie. Toyah and Aidan have one final meeting where he assures her that the secret is safe.

Aidan also has a final conversation with maria, where he reveals he in fact gave Liam the watch currently in his possession, and the Connor's are soon attending to a beyond drunk Kate. He then settles down for one final drink with his loved ones, and the way the whole final segment of this episode is shot is just so beautifully tragic, coupled with Florence + The Machine playing in the background.

The conversation with Johnny and Aidan outside the Rovers was extremely sad. Johnny commenting on how alike he and Aidan are, and how much he's going to miss the kids and the street. There's sadness in Aidan's eyes as he's obviously reflecting on all the things he's going to miss as well.

As well as the comedy aspects, the aftermath of David's rape is paralleled with Aidan's suicide this week and tonight's episodes were a good introduction to that. Aidan is without all hope, already made the decision to kill himself, walking around basically like a ghost, taking in all the sights just that one last time and making sure he leaves everyone so to speak well off with the flat all packed and gifts. David too is without all hope, lost in his own despair over what's been done to him, so desperately wanting to speak up but unable to because it is so painful. To those around Aidan he is a happy chap with a business and everything to live for, whilst David is cold, in places callous, massive attitude problem, possibly in denial over his upcoming court date, and in a relationship with Emma because he's rebounding off Shona. Where Aidan and have family have great relationships, to the point where they will be questioning after his death why he didn't talk to them, David doesn't. Sarah is still annoyed over what he did to Gary, Gail desperately wants to understand why her son is acting the way he is, but also issuing tough love, Audrey just isn't interested and Bethany's kind of cut off from everything involving him.

David wants to make sure the kids are looked after if he is sent to prison, in the same way Aidan wants to make sure his family are taken care of when he dies. Gail and Emma are still trying to understand and deal with David's erratic mood swings, as Sarah drops the reveal from Gary's conversation with David that he's suffering PTSD from Kylie's death. Sarah doesn't believe a word of it, David is embarrassed by his excuse being brought up, gail and Emma suddenly have loads of sympathy for him and promise to look after the kid's and David doesn't care.

Another interesting tid bit revealed by Emma is that she and David have only slept together once, as he gets jittery when near her. Maria very much isn't here for David. He does later try to do the right thing and break up with Emma, but she refuses to accept it proclaiming that David needs her and unfortunately their conversation is overheard by an inquisitive Max, who wants to know where exactly David could be going.

And two other things happened tonight for which I have very limited interest; Bethany and Craig went out to Zeedan's restuarant that went awry and Ali decided in part to use Moira's attention in him to make Carla jealous.

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) also has helplines available from 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58 (nationwide) and 0808 802 58 58 (London) (www.thecalmzone.net/).

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.