Saturday, 1 December 2018

Coronation Street Review "Behind The Mask"





One of the reasons Coronation Street is the best soap on TV is because it knows how to pull things out of the hat. You can watch episodes and be completely infuriated, and then out of nowhere you're drowning in feels which roughly sums up viewing this week.

Ever since Aidan died earlier this year, it has been clear that Kate is struggling with it. When she first found out the news and went to the flat she desperately wanted to believe Carla was lying because she didn't want to believe her brother was dead, she had a confrontation with Johnny after proclaiming she'd never forgive Aidan for what he'd done, and she collapsed in Sophie's arms as she lamented the fact she was the one person he didn't say goodbye to.

Since then, Kate has done everything that she could to not think about his death and thankfully she has had things to distract her from said grief even if that distraction has always proved temporary. She's comforted rana during her family troubles, and even begged her not to go on the cruise with Saira because she didn't want to be left alone. Rana went on said cruise to try and repair her relationship with her mother as that's something she needed to do at the time, Kate put her feelings aside to promise to actually be here waiting when she got back and spent the last few hours before Rana's return planning a proposal.

She should right now be going full steam ahead with wedding planning because weddings are a massive thing, but instead she's got stuck on babies. It's all she can think about. Is it by fertility treatment, adoption, Kate's not really that fussed on how exactly it happens, she just wants it to happen. For those who don't read articles or interviews, her sudden desire for a baby might feel quite strange, but tonight's episodes shed a bit of light on that.

Wednesday saw Kate and Rana take a trip to the fertility clinic where they discovered just how ill-prepared they are for a baby, and Rana admit to Kate a stranger fathering their child isn't something that appealed to her. As soon as Rana dropped the bomb that having a baby this way wasn't something that she wanted, Kate went into a state of panic. She tried to reassure Rana, who in turn explained her reasoning in a completely understandable way and it's refreshing to see a soap of all places have this type of discussion taking place.

Kate though isn't really computing logic as we saw tonight. It started off with her and Rana having another discussion where Rana said she was open to the possibility of babies one day, but not right now, but she wants to give Kate everything that she wants because she does love her with all her heart but Kate just can't see that. So they went from a conversation where they both agreed to slow down, to Kate once again in the company of a child and then deciding to barge in on Rana at work not once but twice to inform her she doesn't need to worry about fertility treatment and not knowing the babies father because they can adopt.

Given she was in the middle of dealing with a patient, Rana was forced to shut Kate down and tell her to leave and that resulted in Kate reaching for the wine. It's not at all uncommon for people who are avoiding facing their feelings to drown themselves in wine. But drowning in said wine whilst you're on the job, and getting so drunk that you can't do your job properly? That's cause for concern.

Enter Robert who ordered Kate to get off the till before she cause some real damage, and Kate decided to have the wine bottle join her for company in the kitchen. Robert of course found her again, wasn't happy and Kate began to explain just why exactly she was upset and broke down in tears. Any normal human being would be seeing this course of action and fetching either Michelle or Rana to take Kate home. Instead Robert listened as Kate spoke about Aidan for all of 2 seconds and then found it all too much to cope with yet again, so turned the subject back to babies. Her reasoning is none of us know how much time we have left on the earth, so we don't know if we have years and years to travel, and live our lives before we then settle down for kids. Whilst Eva may have left the street, she still exists in the Corrie world as does Susie, who is of course Aidan's daughter and seeing her would obviously bring up memories for Kate.

Kate is obviously not someone who is thinking clearly at the moment. She's quite clearly trying to distract herself with anyone or anything so she doesn't have to think about Aidan, and having a baby gives her the opportunity to build a family of her own. She'd have someone who loves her unconditionally, someone who would never leave her, she can shower with love and someone who will always need her. Granted she does already have a person giving her some of those things in Rana but Kate doesn't see that and Rana doesn't quite realize that this all runs deeper than baby fever.

She's obviously concerned about Kate given how many times she did attempt to ring her. If Robert had actually told Michelle just why he sent Kate home, I've no doubt she would've either gone round the flat or phoned Rana to tell her all isn't right with Kate. But Rana's not getting to see what we're seeing. She's hearing Kate admit that she was getting carried away, she thinks that's the end of the matter and they can just have a quiet night, completely unaware that Kate is slowly dying inside. Her devastation is etched all over her face, and exceptionally portrayed by Faye Brookes who always rises to the occasion with the more emotional aspects of Kate's character.

The only person who has seen behind Kate's mask is Robert, and he's too self absorbed and wallowing in his own manpain to do anything about it. Given the devastation Michelle went through with Ruari, it's completely understandable that another child just isn't on the cards for her. She already has her hands full with Ali and Ryan, they're somewhat independent, and now like many other parents she just wants to enjoy her life now that the nurturing is done. Robert is desperate for a baby of his own, someone to continue his legacy, and convinced that with time Michelle will come round. So he treats Ryan with disdain and looks on wishfully as baby fever takes over Kate. That's something Michelle does pick up on and whilst Robert denies it at first, they do later have a heart to heart where she explains her feelings will never change. She feels guilty that she's denying Robert something that he wants so much, and instead of maybe taking the time to reevaluate the relationship given Michelle will never give him the thing that he wants, Robert lies that he's OK and sneaks over to Kate's.

At this point thanks to her conversation with Johnny she has calmed down slightly and is thinking a bit more rationally, but Robert undoes all of that by proclaiming that Kate was right and they should have a kid. Kate's unsure about this given how against it Robert was before but Robert's sure that this is what he wants now, and they can keep it from Michelle and Rana until they've finalized everything.

Honestly Robert's attitude here is completely and utterly revolting. He shows no regard to Kate at all, and just as much as he was a means to an end for her, she is to him. Kate wanting to keep Rana in the dark for now is somewhat understandable to her warped mind, given she clearly isn't at all thinking clearly, jumping from one idea to the other, having brief moments where she regains rationality and then something comes to take that all away. Given the amount of times Robert and Michelle have been on the verge of splitting up? Secretly visiting her cousin to say he wants to have a baby? It's not a wise move and ironically enough is a perfect example of why Michelle shouldn't be having a child with him, since he does only think about himself and that's not something a child should have to grow up with.

This will obviously all backfire in the end, after all it is a soap, everything will eventually come tumbling out and when it does it will not make for pleasant viewing. But at least Coronation Street have remembered the goldern rule of 'show, don't tell' and no-one watching tonight can finish the episodes and believe that Kate is at all thinking with a clear head.

The other storyline to dominate this week was of course Sally's trial. She was predictably found guilty. Paula ended her relationship with Sophie, thought it's a little hard to call it a relationship when we barely saw anything on screen. Thanks to Gina's testimony, Tim is now bizarrely convinced that Sally was indeed cheating on him with Duncan.

Soaps are always going to soap and do things that we don't like, but the writing for this storyline this week wasn't the greatest. How on earth Tim can go to thinking Sally had an affair based off Gina saying she didn't know where Sally was all the time will be one of life's mysteries. How he can go to the prison and ask Sally why she had an affair that she never actually had was ridiculous, as is the contrived way in which Gina is managing to keep them apart.

She has firmly inserted herself in the house, cutting Tim off in contact from his wife and even stopping other people from trying to talk sense into him, and doesn't seem to be suffering from any type of conscience over her actions. Granted for her it is easy to believe Sally had an affair, as it probably makes her feel less guilty about her own feelings for Tim, but the way in which she's playing them off against each other is ridiculous.

Given how cold Tim has been with her, why would Sally believe Gina's advice that he just needs time and cancel the visiting order, when seeing her would probably clear up a number of their issues. Why does Tim not think for himself, and maybe wonder if there was something in his father's suspicions over Gina's feelings for him, instead of making things so easy for her?

Finally we have Jenny's jealousy over Liz and Johnny's friendship. Given they recently had an affair, how on earth anyone thinks it's appropriate for her to still be working at the pub, never mind being in such close quarters to Johnny is a good idea I'll never know. Jenny has managed to install a tracking app on Liz's phone which let's her know exactly where Liz is and when she thinks that she's in the same place as Johnny? She flips and marches over to the Bistro only to find her suspicions were unfounded. This is obviously a storyline that is expected to escalate over Christmas, and granted Jenny does have a history of manic moments, but it doesn't make it any easier to watch.

The residents of Coronation Street wear many different masks, and it's both fascinating and devastating to sometimes get a look at what is actually happening.