Saturday, 21 March 2015
Yep. That pretty much sums up the mess that Andy Carver's in. He was unemployed, skint and a bit lonely. His flatmate and childhood friend, Gavin Rodwell had dumped his own fiance, stolen Andy's girlfriend and gone traveling. The bills were mounting up. He and Gavin had often competed to see who's dad was more rubbish and Gavin usually won through force of personality if nothing else. When a reconciliation letter popped through the letterbox one day, addressed to Gavin and from his father, Michael, Andy was intrigued. He thought he'd meet the man, pretend to be Gavin, and find out of all the stories were true.
While he was in a sticky spot financially, he wasn't intending to rip off Michael for any major cash though thought he might cadge a tenner or two or a free pint. He didn't intend to be pulled in by Michael's sincerity and pleasure at finally getting a chance to make things up with his son, the lad he'd left behind when he walked out on his wife all those years ago. He felt sympathy with Michael's regrets and his genetic heart condition that had spurred on his quest to find his son. He didn't intend for the pretense to go very far. But Andy found himself drawn to the man and liking him quite a bit. He got slotted into a much-needed job in the Bistro even though he really had no experience (the real Gavin did). He even got a great new girlfriend, Steph.
He nearly did it, he went to see Michael and was going to confess, but Steph stopped him before he could, because Michael's medical condition had worsened and the shock could kill him. Oh great. What next? Andy's former girlfriend shows up but he managed to wiggle out of that one by staging a row with Steph over it. Even after Michael's heart operation, the truth had to stay in the closet until the results were determined and those results weren't very good. Michael now needs a heart transplant. All stress had to be avoided.
The mire got deeper. The web got more tangled. Michael and Gail were getting married and Andy would be best man. By now, he was growing to love Michael and the new family Michael had gathered, the Platts. They may have their crises and they certainly have their faults, but they were a strong little family unit, more of a family than Andy had had before and they all pulled together when it mattered. As wrong as it would be to continue the... let's face it...identity theft and fraud, maybe, just maybe he could get away it it until Michael's health was better.
But wait! Wouldn't you know it? The real Gavin Rodwell finally shows up, just as we all knew he would someday. Perfect timing, too, on the eve of Gail and Michael's wedding. And he proved himself to be a bit of a wrong'un, also as we all thought he would be. He had to be, to contrast with the lovely Andy who, fraud and impersonation aside, is a very nice guy.
Gavin wasn't very happy with what his mate has done and you can't blame him for that. But rather than immediately reveal the truth to all and sundry, with probable dire consequences for Michael's health (which wouldn't have bothered Gavin) or go to the police, he decides to blackmail Andy. Pay up and I'll shut up. Since Andy couldn't raise all the money, Gavin shows up on Gail's doorstep on her wedding day and now she knows the truth. To save Michael from the shock, she paid Gavin off the remainder but missed her wedding because of it.
Except Karma is a bitch. And the next layer of the onion/storyline is revealed when Gavin died suddenly, very shortly after Gail passed over the cash. Too bad it wasn't a cheque, he likely wouldn't have had time to cash it! It first appeared to be a drink driving car crash but, no, it was actually a heart attack. Remember the genetic heart condition? That was the other reason he needed to get hold of his son, so that he could be tested. Andy did tell Gavin this and so did Gail but Gavin either didn't believe him or hadn't had the chance to get checked out before it was too late. Irony, thy name is Rodwell.
I love how this storyline has unfolded in layers and twists. The first one was the surprise that Gavin wasn't really Gavin. The viewer then knew for a couple of months before the truth was revealed to Steph and we watched Andy become more and more involved and more and more uncomfortable in various situations. The actor playing RealGavin was superb, too. He really projected Gavin's anger and bitterness believably and was far more believable as a villainous character than Callum, a drug dealer who should be equally scary in his own way but isn't. (Though I do like his touch of the occasional sniff, as if to imply he's got a cocaine habit, but nope, still not scary.)
This most recent twist, with Gavin dying of the same heart condition that Michael has is brilliant as the plot device to move this to the next phase. Little by little, more people will find out who Andy is and Michael will probably be the last to know. Whether the shock is going to kill him or not remains to be seen. He'll be devastated, not only to find out the truth but that his loved ones didn't tell him, even if it was for his health. (don't click here if you don't want to know who finds out next).
The last storyline that had this many twists and turns was the John Stape/Colin Fishwick saga which was funny and dark and ludicrous at times but very enjoyable. I don't know how this will end. Will the shock of it all kill Michael? Will he get a transplant before he finds out? What about Andy? Will the reveal mean he's going to leave us? I hope not. I like he and Steph together but he's sure gonna have a lot of 'splaining to do.