I used to live in Newcastle upon Tyne where the single most important part of the culture; above Brown Ale, Cheryl Cole/Versace whatever-it-is-she-calls-herself-now and kebabs, is football. The scenes of chaos, violence, torn ears, police sirens, beer swilling, chanting and grown men acting like sleep deprived gorillas in last night’s Casualty were a very familiar sight. In fact, all it would have taken would have been that angry chap from The Bill who made a cameo as a callous grandad last night, punching a horse and it would have mirrored footie night in the Toon.
Like Newcastle’s ongoing violent rivalry with Sunderland, the riotous fans in Casualty were comprised of two teams who detested each other clashing over a derby match. It was one of two main themes in last night’s episode balanced alongside a far more poignant strand relating to Remembrance. The message of the episode was effective; displaying the scenes of men at war over a game of people kicking a leather ball about a pitch set as a contrast to the far more dignified approach of those reflecting on genuine grief of actual war.
The scenes of growing tension which spilled into a full blown war were realistically done; they captured the horror of being caught up in such a mass brawl with a frightening accuracy and the direction of the scenes has to be commended for that. The football riot scenes focused on two main guest characters; a young lad who had been pushed into the fracas by his Grandad and ended up injuring his head and Antony Costa from Blue who was protecting his fiancee Briony, blissfully unaware that she was having it away with one of the rioters.
Before long, the cavalry had arrived in the form of no nonsense Dixie, who hit the riot like a canister of tear gas and Big Mac, who was beginning to find himself disillusioned by the situations he was finding himself in.
Meanwhile, back on the wards, a newly promoted Rita was facing her first major challenge by being thrown in at the deep end in typical Casualty fashion whilst Zoe took time out from her Halloween jive on Strictly, to try and hold the ensuing chaos together.
The waiting room turned into an angry football stadium before long, with nurses trying their best to keep the baying fans apart and Rita lashing out at her staff when this went wrong. She eventually apologised and was embraced as the new lead nurse; but it became obvious that her first day in post had hit her hard. Nevertheless, her decision on Charlie’s advice to take a step back and stop taking the stress out on her staff eventually won her the respect of her comrades.
As Antony Costa was feeling Blue upon discovering his fiancee’s infidelity, Tess was using Big Mac to rush across the hospital offering tea and sympathy to those affected by the domestic issues getting in the way of medical care. This did not go down well with Dixie, who had some harsh words for Mac over being used as Tess’ locum therapist, but Mac had begun to realise that perhaps his strengths lay in a more hospital based role. This led to an emotional heart to heart with Dixie over how things had changed since Jeff’s death and, in a genuinely touching scene, she gave her colleague her full blessing to apply for the role he now sought.
Back on the wards, the young lad who was now under Lofty’s care finally confessed that he had sustained a bash to the noggin; having not wanted to stir the wrath of his psychotic Grandad. As his condition deteriorated, Grandad did exactly what his family had feared, and marched down the ward to take revenge on the opposite side. This led to a flare being set off in the middle of the hospital, with Antony Costa taking the brunt of the blast and incurring severe burns. As smoke filled the wards, Lofty made a daring rescue of the lad he had grown close to, inhaling a dangerous amount of smoke as he did.
However, the boy’s injuries from his strike to the head proved too severe and he ended up passing away, which led the lovely Lofty to give his Grandad some home truths about why this tragedy had happened. The scenes of the flare blast and the panic which ensured, including the gruesomely accurate performances and make up of Antony Costa’s character, reflected a war scene for some drama with huge impact, again giving resonance to the Remembrance theme weaving through the narrative. And all of this over a game of footie.
Elsewhere, Dylan took a break from his boat and cooking mushroom heavy pasta dishes to lend a hand in the chaos and it was like he had never been away. Sharply efficient but also beautifully sarcastic, it was great to have him back where he belonged, Also making a cameo appearance was Michael Spence who was sharing some sizzling chemistry with Connie who, as expected, was the only one not really flustered by what was going on. She didn’t have a single, perfectly-styled hair out of place.
The closing scene of a heavy hearted Lofty laying a white poppy at the deathbed of the poor lad dragged into the mess by his own family brought a lump to my throat and ended what was a very hard to watch but brilliantly acted and written edition of Casualty. But what did you think of the medical drama’s latest offering? Leave me your comments below as always, and for further Holby and Casualty related chat, amongst much much more, you should do the decent thing and follow me on Twitter…https://twitter.com/Our_manPLA
Huge thanks to my glam photo assistant, Twitter user @_ifyouseekatie for sourcing my screenshots for this article.
Written By Our Man In The North