(Series 7, Ep.9) Last night’s Waterloo Road reminded me of an episode (any episode) of Brothers & Sisters, where everyone starts off promising they “won’t tell Mom,” and five minutes later somebody tells Mom and all hell breaks loose.
Chris Mead didn’t promise he wouldn’t tell his mom anything, but he did promise Karen that he’d be on his best behaviour, and in particular he’d steer clear of any contact with Scout that wasn’t classroom-related. “From now on, it’s strictly professional,” he told his boss. But that was before Scout’s feckless mother (Lisa Riley) decided to have a bit of “me time” by leaving Scout and her three year old brother to fend for themselves while she went on holiday with her latest bloke. Scout couldn’t risk not going to school, so she left little Liam parked in front of In The Night Garden while she went off to do some gardening herself, courtesy of a community initiative overseen by Kelly Crabtree from Corrie (Tupele Dorgu, whom I would love to see joining Waterloo Road on a permanent basis).
Scout wasn’t the only reluctant gardener with thoughts elsewhere. Eleanor Chaudery, who’d been co-opted because a female staff member was needed, was completely out of her comfort zone in wellies. She was a troubled soul, too – it seems that enjoying the pleasures of Tom Clarkson had made her rethink the way she’d been telling tales about Karen to the Slimeball from the local authority.
Meanwhile the Slimeball had told Karen that a member of her staff had been informing on her. Karen looked appalled and stunned, and summoned the faithful Janeece to bring her the passwords of the staff email accounts. It was then a short step to discovering the traitor was – da da DAH! – none other than Eleanor Chaudery.
It all got very tense back at the gardening project, when Chris Mead got wind of little Liam being Home Alone. He and Scout dashed to her home and found the toddler had gone AWOL. There was much rushing up and down and some extremely tense music, until Liam was spotted about to cross a busy road (between parked cars, too – I blame the parents). But didn’t.
So did Chris do the right and proper thing and inform the appropriate authorities, including Karen? Like heck he did. He took the well-worn Chris Mead route and decided to handle things himself, by taking Scout and Liam home to stay with him for the night.
When Karen finds out about this, she’s going to be super-ropeable, as she was already cross enough because of the Eleanor Chaudery business. Like the schoolteacher she is, she got all the staff together and stared at them hard (more tense music) until one of them ‘fessed up to being the supergrass. Of course, Karen already knew it was Eleanor, but there really is no substitute for getting a guilty person to humiliate themselves by admitting everything in front of their peers, as every teacher knows. “I’ll deal with you later!” Karen told her. And deal with her she did – by refusing to accept her resignation. What could be a greater punishment than having to keep working at Waterloo Road?
Karen then went off for a showdown with Slimeball, who was also reading from a tried and tested script – this one lifted from a gangster film. “You’ll never work in this town again!” he told her. “Your name will be mud in any educational establishment between here and Halifax!” (He didn’t actually say that last bit, but that was the gist). I’m still not sure what Karen has done to earn her such a venomous reaction.
Away from the politics and gardening, there was sadness for Vicki, as she lost her baby. “I really wanted that baby,” she told Ronan afterwards. “It was going to be my family.” One look at Ronan should have convinced her that he was more than ready and willing to be her family. Ben Ryan Davies doesn’t get the credit he deserves in Waterloo Road, overshadowed as Ronan sometimes is by the likes of Finn and Josh, who get the meatier storylines. But he can do comedy and seriousness equally well, and he’s made Ronan one of the most real and most likeable characters in the programme. It was lovely to see him and Vicki get back together again.
Next time: Inspection day!
Posted by PLA (more Waterloo Road here)