(Series 8, Ep.2) I missed episode 1 of the new series of Waterloo Road (apart from the first 10 minutes) and decided to just dive straight in to episode 2. Frankly, it was like falling down a rabbit hole.
Some of the familiar landmarks were there – Tom Clarkson, Grantly Budgen, The Adorable Josh – but we weren’t in Rochdale anymore, Toto, we were within picturesque shimmering distance of the Clyde. Michael Byrne has always spoken with a Scottish accent, what with being Scottish and that, and I expected a certain amount of Scottishness, but certainly not from Jane Beale out of EastEnders, who’s apparently an alcoholic teacher these days. She’s the mother of an extremely pretty son, Connor, who may be easy on the eye in a pale-eyed, alien-type way, but is more than a tad weird. You can forgive him this, what with the alcoholic mother and everything, plus he is not the strangest kid in the school by a long chalk.
The strangest kid in the school award had to go to Problem Pupil of the Week, the Grace Jones-haired, manically-staring Lula. Turned out she wasn’t mad, or bad, but her uncle thought she was possessed by demons and she’d been pencilled in for an exorcism. This never happened in Rochdale, but you can bet if it had, Tom Clarkson would have sorted it out, like he sorted out poor Lula and her predicament.
This all helped him to get over the guilt he was feeling at the loss of poor Denzil, whose enthusiasm for having his picture taken at the Scottish border had led to him being mown down by a wayward truck (which also put Tariq in a wheelchair). A memorial tree was planted and you had to feel for the absent Rose Kelly – two of her children have now become memorial trees and they’re not even in the same country, never mind the same school playground.
Tom gave a rubbish eulogy, such was the depth of his guilt and grief, and sniffed the blossom of the Denzil Memorial Shrub in a moody fashion, but there wasn’t much time to dwell on the sad loss of such a young life, because he had an exorcism to interrupt and fights were breaking out among various Girls With Grudges.
The whole thing is just a bit weird. “Weird,” is, of course, Waterloo Road’s default setting, but everything looks so different it’s all a bit (more) surreal at the moment. And I haven’t even mentioned the ultra-bizarre boarding house thingy, presided over by Grumpy Grantly and the dinner lady.
Next time: Tariq takes up kayaking, probably too late for this year’s Paralympics, and a secret about Michael is revealed.
Posted by PLA (more Waterloo Road here)