Saturday 31 December 2016

State of the Street - December 2016

Here we are at the end of the month and at the end of the year. As always, it's been a year of ups and downs but that's a discussion for another time, maybe. Let's discuss December, shall we?

The Barlows stumbled through the month with some interesting discoveries. Not only has Daniel been on his own since he was 15, but he hasn't seen hide nor flaming red hair of his mother since. Not a word. Nothing. I'm a bit surprised, as it's an unusual thing for a mother to cut her child off like that. I wonder if we'll discover anything more about her disappearance? I really like that Peter has taken Daniel under his wing like a big brother/ father figure.

The other discovery is the identity of Peter's new girlfriend. Right from the start he was disappearing for hours on end and there have been lies about him contacting a friend about a job. But little by little, we've realized it's a new woman. Or is it an old one,figuratively? Nick's always been jealous of Peter and his inner green eyed monster has lashed out once again. He's sure that Peter is after Leanne and not completely sure she's not receptive to the idea. One again, he is in danger of pushing Leanne away with his trust issues. On Christmas, Peter's gift of a tape that Leanne and he spoke about in the car seemed to indicate she was the "love of his life" as the gift tag read but we soon discovered who that really is...Toyah Battersby!

Although I did guess who the identity of the woman would be, it surprised me because Toyah would be well versed in all the personality flaws that Peter has via Leanne over the years but she's having trouble with her husband and is vulnerable and Peter does have charm and a twinkle in his eye. By the end of the month, their secret is out when Simon discovered it via his new drone camera which, by the way, he was using illegally. It's not meant to be a spy/sky cam. Will Peter be able to keep Simon quiet? Probably, for awhile.

There was some confusion when Simon spoke of Leanne going to see Janice although Toyah did not yet Toyah and Nick were visiting Leanne in hospital. I suppose it was a lie they told so Simon wouldn't get upset so it appears they're still treating him like a 6 year old. It's no wonder he acts out.

Nick's jealousy of Peter is really tedious. This isn't new, either. He's been like this even before he had a brain injury so he can't use that as an excuse. The more he lets the green eyed monster take over, the more Leanne is going to feel like he doesn't trust her even though it's Peter that takes most of Nick's suspicions. It can't help but leak over to her, though. Mind you, that fight on Christmas day was brilliant in that Peter did get the better of Nick overall.

Luke and Tracy seem to have an ongoing...something. I wouldn't call it a relationship because it implies committment and that's something Luke particularly keeps saying he doesn't want. Tracy's acting like a booty call is just fine by her but little by little it looks like she would rather have him all to herself. I hope they don't do that. They are very ill suited as far as  a proper relationship does. Even improper. But then, most of us don't want Tracy to be happy. Luke might be a bit of a ladies' man but he's no match for Tracy, who is definitely a cougar with very long claws.

Roy and Cathy didn't get married after all.  They were probably as suited as anyone would be as far as someone that might suit Roy though Cathy did have an impulsive and quirky side that seemed to rub Roy the wrong way at times. I wonder if she's a victim of fans unwilling to let the Roy and Hayley dream go, fans just weren't willing to accept her? Roy seemed determined to follow up on his promise to Hayley to move on with his life but the relationship with Cathy always seemed to move on a bit too quickly for his comfort. It wasn't quite the speed that Ken progressed with Nessa but in a way it wasn't that different, either.

Nessa railroaded Ken who didn't have the ability to say no, thanks, I'm still grieving my wife's death. Cathy kept blundering into Roy's life and he seemed to go along with each step before he was ready for it, ostensibly because Hayley would want him to. She might, but she'd also not want him to rush into anything. Roy does not do well when rushed. It's not in his nature. And perhaps if he waited until he was ready, he'd be a pensioner so it's a fine line. I do think this was too soon, however. Roy was engaged and ready to marry someone else but never took off his old wedding band until mere hours before the wedding.

Cathy finally saw the truth of the situation and called off the wedding, letting Roy out of his promise honourably. The wedding band went straight back on and Cathy has retreated. Roy decided it would be kinder to sell up and move away rather than upset her by his presence.

Another continuity issue, here. Cathy seemed to disappear from the screen after the wedding. Probably went to Scotland with Nessa for a time but we saw her on New Year's Eve in the pub with Roy and other of their friends. It seemed a bit weird.

All we ever knew about Mary's background, aside from a wide variety of quirky stories, is that she has a mother that she seemed to have a very strong love-hate relationship with. Her mother has always been portrayed as a strict woman that never believed in her daughter, never encouraged her and never showed any love or affection for her. We have discovered that a 14 year old Mary was raped by a minister, a family friend, after she babysat his children and she then bore a son whom her mother took from her immediately and gave away.  Her mother was not supportive and only showed disappointment and anger.

The old feelings of longing for her son, feelings she usually kept tucked away out of sight and mind, resurfaced when she saw Ken Barlow's family rally round him after his stroke. In a lovely scene, she told Norris what happened and he decided "What are friends for?" and insisted on helping her find her son. While he has been a good friend, he interfered when she asked him not to and perhaps she would have regretted it, who knows? But he found her son, Jude, and he tracked her down. It all worked out really well which is nice for a change. I was afraid we'd have another rejection similar to when Hayley found her son, Christian, who was an odious git even when she was dying.

But Jude was very nice, and Mary found out she was a grandmother which is a lovely thing for Mary. (Asha and Aadi who?) He invited her to move to South Africa with him and she's all set to go as we end the month. Will she leave for a new life with a perfect stranger? Jude seemed to address Norris' similar concerns. He may very well be on the up and up but it feels like a drastic move to be made so suddenly. In the pub on New Year's Eve, Mary seemed to be expressing disappointment that Norris didn't try to talk her out of it like he did with Emily's trip to Peru last year. I look forward to the episode this coming week where we find out if he does make the effort and whether Mary will go. I'd rather see her go for a visit and come back.

David met a new woman, Shona, in a club and she proceeded to steal his wallet. Next thing you know, we see her in the church with a bottle of booze and Billy takes her under his wing. She's got an ex boyfriend, Nathan, and we start to see him follow her around. He's also the one that carries passed-out Bethany out of the ginnel on Christmas after her diet pill overdose and now they've made friends. Was Shona's introduction mainly to bring Nathan across Bethany's path? What will she mean to David? I do hope they're not throwing him into a new relationship like they did with Ken and Roy both. It just doesn't work and fans really have a hard time with it. Characters need to be left to grieve, not jump in with someone else to soothe their troubled souls.

In an abrupt personality turnaround, Andy attacked Phelan. He blamed Phelan for Michael's death and in his anger and grief, lashed out. Then he attempted to kill Phelan with drugged orange juice and gin.  I just don't buy that Andy has that violent streak in him. Yes, he was willing to scam Michael that he was his son, Gavin, at first but he soon felt guilty and they ended up being quite close sometime after the truth came out. He also robbed the Bistro once before, didn't he? He did seem to be turning himself around and this violence seems out of the norm. It's all because he's got to be under Phelan's control. Phelan needs money and he's using Andy to get it. It won't end well.

I'm enjoying Phelan as a villain but I don't think I'm going to be able to get into this particular storyline. Andy is no match for Phelan. Neither was Michael as far as being no match but for some reason, Michael being close to Phelan's age made it feel a tad more equal. Andy's young enough to be Phelan's son and it almost feels like he's bullying a child. That's how it's felt to me, anyway. Even Todd is more of a match than either Andy or Michael. 

Eileen decided she can't live without him and they're set to get married on January 20. This means if it happens, Eileen is most definitely heading for major heartbreak because somehow, someway and sometime soon all of Phelan's misdeeds are going to come crashing out. Perhaps he'll be killed and we'll have a "Who Killed Phelan" story. There are certainly plenty of suspects. Time will tell.

I hope you all have a happy and successful 2017!

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

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