(Series 6, Ep.19) The thing with Jonah Kirby is, one minute he looks like quite a plausible boyfriend for a 20-something year old teacher (saving her from scary dogs, being a lovely shoulder to cry on after a hard day, being ever so supportive generally and a bit of a hunk). Then the next minute he’s kicking a football against the wall, or scrapping with his mates, and he’s just a seventeen year-old schoolboy again.
The Jonah/Cesca romance has been interesting in that it’s seemed to be a perfectly mutual, completely genuine thing – no coercion, no power games, just a mature young man and an immature older woman getting together against the odds. Proper Romeo and Juliet stuff. Except that we knew it couldn’t last, and we knew that Cesca was very much in the wrong in letting her heart rule her head and take her into a taboo relationship with someone who was supposed to be in her care. “No-one was hurt!” she protested to Karen after everything unravelled this week. On the contrary, Karen told her, Jonah has been hurt.
He only started to understand the extent of this in this episode, as he realised that taking his girlfriend on cosy camping trips with his dad and his sister is never likely to be an option. That he may never have the glittering career that everyone predicted for Waterloo Road’s star pupil as he has to leave school early and get a McJob to support his imminent offspring. Ronan told him that Cesca looks like a woman who appreciates the finer things in life and wouldn’t find life on the dole with Jonah all that attractive. Though PLA Jr pointed out that Cesca’s mobile phone is rubbish so maybe she’s willing to settle for reduced circumstances after all.
So, considering they’ve been ever so discreet and only ever had sex in cupboards and the art room in broad daylight, how did the secret romance become public knowledge? Well, it was mainly due to that famous lack of discretion, and Chris Mead having a diploma in body language. He can spot the difference between people discussing Spanish homework and a lovers’ tiff even through a fire door. Add this to Jonah’s odd behaviour generally, and Cesca’s shock resignation (she told Karen her father had had a heart attack and she was going back to Spain, when in fact she was bound for Gretna Green and a quickie wedding with Rochdale’s most eligible schoolboy). Chris got the final proof he needed when Cesca fell off a ladder and went to hospital for a check-up, and Chris pulled back the cubicle curtain to find her in a clinch with Jonah, and after that it was a short step to Jonah’s father and the police being called and Karen wearing her very best “I’m so disappointed in you” expression (though she always seems to be smiling at the same time, which undermines it somewhat).
Meanwhile, Adanna had come up with this week’s New Initiative, which was a gender-bending pantomime called Cinderfella (see what she did there?). This was basically an excuse to showcase George Sampson’s running-up-the-wall-and flipping-over skills, as Kyle Stack auditioned for the lead role and got it, thanks to ninja level dancing skills and winning Britain’s Got Talent and everything. Will this be the making of the lad? Possibly. Will Fin “Pantos are for kids and divvies” Sharkey be very, very jealous because Kyle is playing opposite Fin’s girlfriend Sam Kelly? You betcha.
Sam should be worrying about her brother Denzil at the moment, though, as he’s taken up extreme sports. Not snowboarding and so on, as the opportunities for this in Rochdale are relatively rare, but he definitely has an appetite for adrenaline. Last week it was extreme fizzy pop drinking, and this week he was taking bets on how many volts of electricity he could withstand. It’s so nice to see pupils interested in science, isn’t it? But luckily for Denzil his friends were a bit concerned about the risk of death, and Tom Clarkson was informed.
Dealing with his former girlfriend’s recklessly daft son was a welcome respite for Tom, as he’d been called upon to decide whether Grantly Budgen’s rewrite of Ruby’s novel was better than her original. Grantly was confident: “You are looking at someone who studied writing while you baked pies,” he told his literary adversary. Ruby played to her strengths and baked one of her famous pies by way of a little bribe for Tom. But, pie or no pie (I’ll have pie, please), he eventually decided that the winner was… Ruby. And he’s an English teacher, so he should know. Though expertise in a subject area has never been a prerequisite of being on the Waterloo Road staff, witness Steph Haydock.
Next time: Cesca and Jonah head north, and Denzil heads downwards.
Posted by PLA (more Waterloo Road posts here)