Wednesday 17 April 2013

Karl Munro - Evil Villain or Misunderstood Fool

"Evil personified", "evil scum", "super villain", those are some of the phrases I've seen describing Karl Munro in blog comments and various Corrie discussions and forums the last few days and weeks since both the fire and his alleged murder of Sunita. But is he truly evil?  In the tradition of most Corrie villains, he's desperate to hold on to the one he loves and has taken desperate measures to do it.

I'm not defending him, oh no. He left Sunita at the bottom of the cellar stairs at the start of the fire. And that was more calculating than an impulsive or panic move. It was still based on self-preservation. If he'd pulled her out, she'd have recovered and told that he started the fire. He didn't set the fire intending on killing anyone but alas, a fire fighter died and two little kids were deprived of their mother.

Most of the Corrie villains who murder people do so out of the aforementioned desperation. They may even plan to kill someone but usually feel pushed to the wall and can see no other way out lest their other nefarious deeds be uncovered or they are after revenge.

Alan Bradley pummeled Rita when she uncovered his fraud. He didn't intend on killing her in Blackpool, he wanted to take her back to Weatherfield to prove that he hadn't done her in!  John Stape wasn't evil. He was an idiot who kept getting into situations that he couldn't get himself out of.

Tony Gordon had more of an evil edge. He was a control freak and when he couldn't have Carla's heart, his jealousy prompted him to take Liam out of the picture permanently. But when he discovered that Maria was pregnant with Liam's baby, he showed a flash of remorse. Still, it didn't stop him trying to kill Jed Stone and later, Carla herself and, when Carla knocked out the hit man he'd sent, he let her think she'd killed him. More control, you see. She was going to expose him as Liam's murderer to Maria whom he'd fallen for, after a fashion. She was able to give him the family he craved and he was determined that Carla was not going to take it away from him. He nearly killed Roy Cropper who haunted him as his conscience but saved him and turned himself in only to break out of prison, kidnap Carla and Hayley and later blow up the factory and die in a blaze of "glory". Tony Gordon certainly was mad by that point.

We've had the mad nanny, Carmel, who became obsessed with the hapless Martin Platt. We had Don Brennan who set Mike Baldwin's factory on fire, kidnapped Alma and nearly bashed Mike's skull in before driving a car into the viaduct. But there again, Don's mind was overtaken by madness and revenge. I still don't consider these people "evil".  Kirsty Soames was not evil. She was controlling and troubled and had learned to survive the only way she had learned from her father, with aggression.

There was Richard Hillman as well. He tried to convince Audrey she was losing her mind and tried to kill her by fire.  He left Duggie Fergusson at the bottom of a stairwell when he'd fallen over the railings during a struggle. He went to his flat and robbed Duggie's safe but Duggie was dead when he returned. He killed his ex-wife because she was going to expose his double dealings. That was an impulse action. He nearly killed Emily Bishop twice so he could get her hands on her house. She'd entered into a scheme where he'd front her the cash value of the house and then inherit it after her death but he ran into serious financial difficulties and tried to hurry things along. Maxine Peacock's death was "collateral damage" as she'd walked into the house just as he had struck Emily so he had to bash her as well. Richard did feel guilt and remorse but was desperate to keep his new family and when the walls closed in on him and he couldn't see any other way out, he tried to take his family into the bottom of the canal.

Tracy Barlow could be considered Evil in many ways. She doesn't feel much remorse no matter who she hurts and is devious when she's attempting revenge. She's also shallow, selfish and not that bright. There are some redeeming features. She does love her daughter and her parents and loved Blanche as well even if she can be a bit mean and rude to them. She claimed to love Steve though I never believed it. She doesn't know how to truly love and be loved by a man. She'd be near the top of the Evil list in second place. 

To me, "evil" is someone that is cold, calculating and feels no remorse or guilt and usually on the edge of insanity. They have absolutely no redeeming qualities.  This is clearly not what we're seeing from Karl. The closest baddies  to that definition that we've seen on Coronation Street since I've been watching is not Alan Bradley, Richard Hillman and not even Tony Gordon though he's a pretty close second place. It's Maya Sharma  who certainly had that out-of-her-mind edge and Frank Foster who was as ruthless as a ruthless thing.

Mad Maya lived for risk and excitement. She attached herself to Dev and when she lost him, she took revenge on Sunita slowly. She pretended to be Sunita and married 7 men as an immigration fraud scheme as well as bigamy and managed to get Sunita arrested on her wedding day. She later kidnapped both Dev and Sunita, blew up all of Dev's shops (knowing there would be families living in the flats above) and then nearly succeeded in doing the same to Dev and Sunita and when that didn't work, tried to run them down in her car where she'd been sitting watching the shop burn with them inside. No remorse. No guilt. Just seething insanity. *That's* evil if you ask me!

Frank Foster would be up at the top of the list as well, sharing the honours with Maya. He was cold and calculating. He was ruthless. He was a rapist who knew it but had no remorse. He had no visible guilt. His mother thought him a monster though she didn't intend on killing him.  He was definitely Evil in my reckoning.

Karl? Evil? He's just a sad, pathetic fool who's lost everything due to his own stupidity. He can't take responsibility for that so he blames everyone else. He's jealous and smug. He does most definitely feel guilty about Toni's death and I think Sunita's as well though that was done as a desperate measure. The guilt is going to eat away at him over time. Will it end in another of those soap cliche moments where his crimes catch up with him? Will Stella threaten to shop him to the police so Karl feels he has no choice but to try to kill them both? "If I can't have you, nobody will".

The ominous words he uttered in the fire, "At least we'll die together", suddenly become a lot more foreboding.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the blog. I like it.

If I were to rank the Corrie villains I know, I would do it like this;

1. Frank Foster - Most evil. A sane, cold blooded monster with no mental problems at all.

2. Tracy Barlow - Second to Frank. Sociopathic though unlike Frank she has redeeming qualities like love for her parents/daughter, as you pointed out.

3. Richard Hillman - He was evil because he attempted first degree murder for money. Sure he felt guilty over killing Maxine but only because Maxine wasn't supposed to be there - he had no qualms about attempting to kill Emily and Audrey for their money. He also ended up attempting to kill the family he claimed to love.

4. Tony Gordon - I don't believe he is as nasty as Hillman. Yes he was very controlling (like Frank) and his jealousy led to him killing Liam but though he attempted to kill Jed Stone, Carla and Roy he spared both Roy and Jedd in the end. Though he was mad by the very end, I believe he did genuinely love Maria and he id have flashes of guilt/remorse. When Maria asked him to swear on her unborn baby's life that he hadn't killed Liam, he wasn't able to and he never harmed Maria despite everything.

5. Karl Munro - as you said, a sad, pathetic fool who lost everything thanks to his own stupidity and definitely felt guilt and remorse over the deaths he caused.

6. Kirsty Soames - As a Tyrone fan I find her conduct unforgivable because of the calculated way she abused Tyrone - isolating him from his friends, jealous and controlling (like Frank and Tony), battering him with objects like the hoover cord and leaving marks on him. However, she didn't kill anyone and told the truth and handed herself in thus redeeming herself.

6. John Stape - Not evil at all - a kind hearted, bumbling fool who got himself in scrapes thanks to his own idiocy - the suffering he went through redeemed him completely in my eyes and he will always be my favourite character. :)

Tvor said...

Great assessments. I never really thought of Kirsty as "evil" because we could see where she got her controlling personality from (her father's abuse). And Yes, Stape was just an idiot!

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