Given that we knew Jason Done was done with Waterloo Road, the chances were high that the thing that went badly wrong would involve Tom Clarkson. For weeks my money has been on him dying on the operating table as he waved one of his kidneys off in the general direction of Grantly Budgen, but that’s probably because I watch too much Holby.
Obviously things were more complicated than that, and it was going to be something to do with Kyle Stack, the disturbed youth with the hunted-animal eyes and the seductive dance moves (not on display here) who turned up at Waterloo Road fresh from prison and apparently ready to get himself some book learning.
(if you haven’t seen it yet, there are spoilers ahead)
Tom Clarkson wasn’t thrilled to have Kyle on the premises, the old crossbow attack on Finn Sharkey in which The Lovely Josh got caught in the crossfire, and the gang warfare that almost resulted in Tariq’s sister getting burned being fresh in his memory and so on. But his co-deputy head, Tactless Simon, reckoned he had a record of sorting out this kind of troubled youth.
So there was Kyle Stack wandering around like a caged wolf in a parka, requiring only a spot of goading from the always reliable Barry Barry to turn him from Mark Twain to violence. There were also a couple of red herrings in the form of the box of fireworks Tom kept carrying around (“Fireworks and Waterloo Road?” I said to PLA Jr. “That can’t end well”) and the cake Kyle Stack baked (poisoned, surely? But no. Angus Deayton ate it quite happily).
The real tragedy is that lessons have not been learned from the incident in which Harley almost jumped off the roof while under the influence of something potent and unspecified. Clearly access to the roof is still way too easy, as that’s where Kyle Stack ended up, teetering on a parapet above the playground. And who was there to talk him down? Obviously it was Tom Clarkson, the man who’s been in Waterloo Road since day one and has practically embodied the concept “pastoral care.” He’s seen the deaths of his wife, his girlfriend and his sort-of stepdaughter. He’s had his sperm stolen and acquired an adorable son. He’s offered a shoulder to cry on and a spare kidney to anyone who might need one.
And in one tragic slip, he’s found himself crashing to the playground in front of the entire speaking cast and assorted extras. “Stay with me, Tom,” pleaded Jane Beale, but it was too late.
If I’d been the director, I’d have had Nikki Boston setting off the fireworks just moments before, so Tom’s demise would have had a backdrop of fizzing fireworks, rockets and explosions, and his beautiful eyes would have reflected pretty lights one last time. But I’m not the director (and just as well if I come up with clichéd nonsense like that). Instead we had the lonely figure of Kaycee Barry kicking a football around in front of some graffiti saying “RIP Denzil” (the last spectacular WR death) and pondering a future without a man who always looked out for her and who was going to build a women’s football team around her legendary skills.
And Grantly Budgen, speculating on the loss of a friend and – maybe – a kidney.
Posted by PLA (More Waterloo Road here)