Week in TV Soaps (w/e 15/07)
Hello, and welcome to The Yorker's brand new soaps feature, where our writers give their own unique takes on the happenings of Weatherfield, Walford and Emmerdale. And with chess championships, tantalising affair mysteries and vicious shark attacks, it proved to be a highly eventful week indeed...
Coronation Street (written by Jacob Martin)
“There’s more to Mary than meets the eye,” mused Roy, as the latest layer of her personality/ies (she’s a dab hand at chess) was revealed during scenes of pure comic brilliance, which acted as the perfect counterbalance to the high drama found elsewhere. And with seven episodes this week, there was lots of drama to be found, as Peter was not a very happy… well, let’s say he was an even less happy bunny than usual.
First, he ruined Simon’s birthday party (in my mum’s eyes, he couldn’t have done anything worse), causing him to have another fall-out with Leanne. He then fell out with her again when she revealed she was leaving. Then he fell out with Carla, her new-on-the-scene brother (more on him later), and Ken, wheeling out the “oh, you’ve never loved me, you sent me to Scotland” routine for the latter (I didn’t realise Scotland was that bad, did you?). He subsequently fell off the wagon (but at least he didn’t fall out with it…), disappeared, didn’t die, and took Simon for a pizza. But apart from that, he didn’t really do much.
Elsewhere, Kirsty went crackers again, and confirmed that she has Soap’s Best Evil Laugh. Which must be some consolation for the fact that she’s now also got Soap’s Worst Crockery Collection. In similarly fiery news, Anna Kicks-Windass gave Brian a piece of her mind after she found that Faye was being bullied, with Owen providing moral support by blowing another gasket. But at least he’ll know how to fix it.
Now, let’s go back to Carla’s brother Rob: he’s almost instantly unlikeable. In his opening scenes, both the character, and actor Marc Baylis, who appears to have less emotional range than Harveys’ furniture collection, were all over the place, rapidly flipping from violent, to happy, to even happier as he leered after anything breathing, and then to EXTREME ANGER as he revealed, oh so subtly, that Carla had previously abandoned him. He should just be grateful she didn’t send him to Scotland; I’m told it’s hell up there…
EastEnders (written by Lois Cameron)
Well, they’re certainly all about the slow-burn story over on Albert Square, aren’t they? After a whole week of episodes devoted to several different stories, there was barely a whisper of any progress in any of them.
By far the most tedious of all the storylines was the “who’s Kat having an affair with now?” saga. We were treated to endless scenes of Mrs Moon looking guilty as Alfie was kind to her, Mrs Moon receiving unsigned messages, Mrs Moon saying cryptic things in front of the various potential lovers... In Tuesday’s episode, she was determined to give up the affair, but Alfie callously deciding to spend some time with Tommy and Shenice pushed her back into it. So we’re still no closer to knowing who Kat’s mystery man is, and frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
The other big story of the week was Jay and Ben’s continued attempts to cover up the truth behind Heather’s murder. Dear old Andrew found out he was no longer a suspect, and things seemed to be looking up for Shirley and the Mitchell boys. Said happiness lasted all of, oh, half an episode, when it was shattered by Jay’s discovery of the photo frame used to off Heather under Ben’s bed. After some frankly ridiculous machinations involving bin bags, recycling and Jean Slater, the murder weapon is now in the possession of Cora, but Shirley is still none the wiser.
Actually, having been pretty awful all week, the Masood story was salvaged on Friday when Zainab and Mas actually sat down with AJ and explained the truth of their recent troubles. You know, they actually acted like real, mature people would. Shocking, I know. Of course, then it was all undercut by the hilarious discovery that AJ had stolen from the family, but if we pretend that didn’t happen, there was some tangible progress this week. Sort of.
Oh, and Kim got Sasha some work experience with an undertaker, in some scenes that were actually pretty funny. All right, vaguely funny. Look, I’ll take what I can get, ok?
Emmerdale (written by Catherine Munn)
It’s been a busy week for the residents of Emmerdale, as the village set out to play a game of “Where’s Ashley?” Marlon was the winner, tracking down the tragic, bearded ex-vicar in park, then letting him stay in his house. Let us not forget that Marlon is still in love with Ashley’s wife Laurel – awkward. But, as Marlon points out, “Awkward is my M.O.”, and with Paddy, Rhona and Leon possibly jetting off the New Zealand, he needs a new buddy to mope around with.
The day before her trial, Alicia finally admitted to an oblivious David that she loved him - revealing that their marriage wasn't a complete sham after all. "You got me to marry you under false thingymajiggys!" David squealed in apparent horror. Don't worry Dave, you've got twelve months to mull it over while Alicia's locked up. Or this being soap prison, she'll be out in three weeks.
And as one marriage began, another ended when Ali and Dan's divorce papers came through. Poor Dan. He spent several episodes playing matchmaker to his ex-wife and her girlfriend, before flirting with a thoroughly depressed Chas. Run away, Dan. RUN. AWAY. Relationships with Chas do not end well. Just ask Cameron, or Carl, or Paddy... etc. etc.
Elsewhere, Emmerdale dipped into the box marked "Soapland loan sharks" and pulled out two gurning, thug-like specimens to threaten Zak when he returned from hospital. While their tactics to retrieve his borrowed money were somewhat lacking in imagination (shaking him and shouting "MONEY!!"), Zak was eventually saved by all the Dingle ladies, including Belle. But remember, kiddies - not all loan sharks will be threatened by a teenage girl with a spade.