(Series 9, ep.13) Gabriella Wark really is the perfect villain. She’s gorgeous – and the best villains are always pretty – and she’s a mistress of manipulation. First of all she acquired Verruca Salt as a sidekick, because it’s always handy to have a sidekick to do the donkey-work, especially one whose self esteem is so low that you can make an instant disciple of her just by paying her some attention and calling her “Rhi-Rhi.” Then she proceeded to acquire Imogen as well, not so much as a sidekick but more as a means of upsetting Dynasty, whose major crime is that she’s not bedazzled by Gabriella.
Gabriella’s other focus, apart from upsetting Dynasty, was to get her hands on new PE teacher Hector “Teamwork makes the dream work” Reid. When he told her in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t interested in any of that inappropriate pupil/teacher romance stuff (how very un-Waterloo Road-like of him), Gabriella flounced out of the moderately pleasant bar she and Imogen were in, and ended up in the sleazy bar she’d sent Verruca to, where the tattoo/teeth ratio was tilted heavily to the tattoo side. Making no attempt to ingratiate herself with the regulars, Gabriella proceeded to almost get herself bottled. And then, as Mariah Carey told us in song, a Hero comes along. A hero with an evil new haircut and the bad-boy swagger that can only come from being the black sheep of the Barry family. It was only Barry Barry!
“Barry!” said Imogen, just in case we could have possibly forgotten him already. But he’s always found Imogen easy to ignore, and everybody finds Verruca easy to ignore, so fairly soon he was snogging Gabriella in a corridor. Meanwhile Verruca and Imogen were being coerced into drinking too much and Verruca ended up slumped in a toilet cubicle while Imogen was getting slapped about by a woman who wanted the PIN number of Gabriella’s gold card. Luckily Imogen had time to ring Christine, who arrived swiftly and sorted everything out.
It was exactly what Christine needed, because she’d spent the day in a cloud of empty-nest blues, darling Connor having departed for That London and a new life in the culinary world. Prowling the Resilience Camp Staff Awareness Wine ’n’ Nibbles Soiree desperately trying to get someone to share a takeaway with her after school had only resulted in an offer of a curry with Sue and Simon, and even Christine wasn’t that desperate. But being able to take Imogen home and give her a kindly lecture before lights-out filled the Connor gap nicely.
While Christine was busy waving her child goodbye, Nikki Boston was waving hello to hers, and wondering how to tell her that she was engaged to Vix. Her worried perusal of that helpful volume The Teenager and You didn’t help, but what did help was Sue “Call me Aunt Sue” Losely-Spark dropping a hefty clue. Nikki needn’t have worried – Eve seemed thrilled to meet Vix.
As well as the reappearance of Barry Barry, the other two remaining Barrys had a busy time. Carol (still working as a dinner lady) has started a romance with George Windsor and also produced the best line of the night:
Simon: “Ms Barry, can I have a quick word?”
Carol (defensively): “If it’s about them nuggets, the kids like ’em dark an’ crispy.”
And Dynasty discovered that she didn’t get in to the university she wants to go to. Kevin Chalk consoled her that at least she had a fabulous boyfriend. Gee, thanks, Kevin.
Next time: Barry! Guns! George’s mother!