(Series 10, ep.10) It wouldn’t be a proper end-of-term at Waterloo Road without an art teacher telling her class to use their imagination in turning the canteen into a sparkling fairytale ballroom. And it would definitely not be the end of term without someone being injured and at least one branch of the emergency services being involved. For good measure this time there was also a hastily improvised explosive device.
No surprise that most of this mayhem (apart from the jazzing up of the canteen with streamers) was caused by Justin Fitzgerald. It was his eighteenth birthday, but he behaves more like he’s eight than eighteen, sulking and snivelling his way through life like the spoiled brat he is. I’m sorry, but I’ve got no sympathy for the weasel. After he punched Allie in the face and Vaughan marched him down to the police station, I was really hoping they’d follow through on the “worst case scenario” of a year in prison. Later on, as he threatened his father with a gas canister and a lighter (meant for Allie), was I the only one who was hoping he’d light it and blow himself and his useless lump of a father to kingdom come? Or am I just a very bad person?
A less explosive and more sensible outcome was achieved, though, as Allie has finally decided to move her entire family away from the creepy Fitzgeralds.
Vaughan isn’t the only one who got dumped. Sue Spark very quickly realised that Hector wasn’t the man of her dreams when he proposed that they both move to a skiing resort where he could be a ski instructor and Sue could be a chalet maid. Understandably this didn’t appeal to Sue, and she realised that Hector was just a controlling salad freak with scary eyes.
George Windsor came back this week, and what a welcome sight he was. Nobody else has George’s way with a bitchy comment (“Vaughan-Trapp hasn’t run [Waterloo Road] into the ground just yet”), and just as importantly his character works excellently with Christine, who is really the only teacher at Waterloo Road who actually seems like a teacher.
George had news, but he wouldn’t tell Vaughan what it was until he was promised his old job back. The news is that Havelock High is expanding, to take the extra pupils when Waterloo closes. Say what? Closes? Surely this has nothing to do with the fact that there are only ten episodes left ever?
Which leads me to speculate how the series will eventually end next year. Will it just be a long montage of people packing things into boxes and the few pupils who are still young enough to be pupils being welcomed through the gates of Havelock by its charm-free head teacher? Or will the box-packing montage be followed by everyone getting on a coach and going back to Rochdale (Warning: Do not stop to have a photo taken by the ‘Welcome to England’ sign)? Will the school blow up, as I didn’t notice Vaughan turning the gas off in the art room, meaning next term everyone will be taught in portacabins on a bomb site?
Which brings my mind back to the episode at hand, and the end-of-term Strictly Come Dancing-themed party. Rhiannon and Darren did some match-making for Grace and her long-lost sweetheart Ted, and celebrated with an ill-advised tango (not the fizzy drink; the dance). Kevin Chalk won an award for Inspiring Pupil of the year, for recovering so well from his stroke that he managed to hack into a corporate computer and almost get himself arrested (atta boy!). And Vaughan told everyone they were special, just like a family.
This was shortly before half his own family loaded themselves into a taxi destined for anywhere-but-here and a Christmas of bitter soul-searching. Festive!