(Series 10, ep.6) In almost too many genius twists to contain in one episode, this week’s Controversial New Initiative was thought up by a pupil rather than a staff member; Troubled Pupil of the Week wasn’t even a pupil at Waterloo Road; and Sonya discovered a passion for writing potboiler romances that was in no way reminiscent of Ruby Fry.
Troubled Pupil of the Week first. His name was Mickey, and Tiffany and Justin spotted him shoplifting tins of generic baked beans. Not even brand name beans, which shows just how desperate he was. Justin paid for the beans (after much nudging from Tiffany). He was rewarded for his chivalry by having his wallet stolen, and it all escalated, with visits to each other’s schools (Mickey was a Havelock boy, until he was expelled), playground fights (thrillingly filmed by a fight cam, right down in the scrum) and finally the offer of a Waterloo Road tie for poor, disadvantaged Mickey. Justin had persuaded Vaughan that Mickey was one of These Kids who needs the special magic that only Waterloo Road can provide.
And Justin also decided to set up a food bank, and talked the owner of the shop where Mickey had been stealing beans to donate a huge number of cabbages. It remains to be seen who’s going to run the food bank, though, because Rhiannon seems to be up to her eyes just answering calls related to the community hub business that was launched a few weeks ago. Still, they never let practicality or studying for their elusive qualifications get in the way of a good initiative.
Justin was rewarded for his efforts by Vaughan finally saying he was proud of him, and then he went home to a candle-lit pizza courtesy of Tiffany. This was rudely interrupted by Floyd, who’d come in to see how fabulous his ginger hair would look by candlelight.
Audrey McFall, a teacher who likes to make history almost as much as she loves to drone on about it, has apparently been staying at some kind of protest camp, in order to protect the European Crested Tit (no laughing at the back) from an evil company called Wire Data. This gave Master Kevin Chalk the idea of hacking into Wire Data’s data, which he did by acting like he was a knight rather than a pawn (obviously he’s a chess nerd as well as a hacker – Kevin likes to tick all the geek boxes). This is all vaguely reminiscenet of when Anna from This Life was inciting Lula to protest against animal testing, but who says you can’t use the same plot twice?
Speaking of which, ditzy secretary Sonya has embarked on a writing career and was keen to find a mentor – or at least somebody who’d read her story. It was passed from Vaughan to Twinkle to Maggie and finally Christine, who all had a patronising chuckle. You’d think at least one of them would be aware of former Waterloo Road cookery teacher and best-selling author Ruby Fry, but apparently not.
At the beginning of the episode, Twinkle was talking about the lamb he was slow-roasting for a dinner party later. Then Hector jogged up, all sweaty and grinny. We were supposed to think “phwoar” to Hector and “boring” to Simon, but frankly I had the opposite reaction. I do like a nice bit of slow-cooked lamb. Anyhoo, Hector managed to get himself invited to the soiree, which was just Sue and Twinkle and Vaughan and Allie, and he soon started dropping conversational bombs and embarrassing everyone. This is what happens when you let PE teachers schmooze up to you in the kitchen when you’re meant to be stirring the gravy. It’ll end in tears.
In other news, Lisa has made a massive improvement in her work and achieved a D. And the giant broccoli in the canteen was spotted about 14 minutes into the episode.