(Series 6, Ep.9) This week’s Chris Mead Controversial New Initiative could also be termed “clunky plot device of the week.”
Chris decided, singlehandedly apparently, to have CCTV installed in all areas of the school, including classrooms. No-one else except Chris (and Ruth Kirby) thought this was a very good idea, which begs the question: how did Chris get this past the school governors? Surely on grounds of expense alone it wouldn’t be the kind of thing that you would let one teacher do on a whim to “see how it goes”? Never mind the privacy issues.
Ah, the privacy issues. What it was all for, really, was so that certain things which have remained hidden until now were brought out into the open. Jonah Kirby (how gorgeous is Lucien Laviscount, btw? He has a stillness and grace about him which is quite lovely to watch) was less enamoured of the scheme than his sister, and so was dad Marcus, who asked Jonah to compile a presentation about the negative aspects of keeping the school under surveillance. Ronan Burley sneaked a little webcam into the staffroom.
And so it turned out that Jonah finally discovered that girlfriend Jess has had previous carnal knowledge of the aforementioned Deputy Head Chris Mead. Jonah’s normally a lover rather than a fighter, but he instantly went off and gave Chris a bit of a battering. Jess begged him not to reveal what it had all been about, and at first he covered for Chris and risked being excluded from school. Eventually Chris had to come clean and tell his boss Karen that he had, indeed, been on an intimate footing with her daughter before he knew she was a pupil at the school.
Once again I felt the programme parted company with reality (I know, I shouldn’t be surprised) because Karen decided that Chris could keep his job. A big lapse of judgement on her part. Possibly she just has a soft spot for Scousers, for which I couldn’t blame her, but really – surely Chris’s integrity has been dented so many times in this series that he’s beginning to look like a human dartboard?
Meanwhile, the webcam in the staffroom picked up Grantly telling Ruby Fry that Fleur had hit him with a racing book. Fin, Josh, Amy etc all gleefully picked up on this and teased Grantly during a lesson, and were shocked at his reaction – what they didn’t know was that Fleur has Alzheimer’s and Grantly is only barely coping with looking after her. Ruby realised that Grantly needs help, and called on an old friend – the totally fabulous Steph Haydock (hurrah!). Grantly came home to find Steph and Fleur chatting away happily – only poor Fleur thought Steph was her mum, and didn’t know who Grantly was at all.
As if this wasn’t heartbreaking enough, Janeece realised that she couldn’t give up her baby Cheryl to the Frys after all. Ruby and John had both bonded with the baby (they called her Poppy), so it was a sad situation all round, but Ruby knew that Cheryl should be with her real mother.
Next week: Jess receives an unexpected visitor. Will it be the long-lost Bex? Was that who the shady figure on the CCTV was at the end?
Posted by PLA (more Waterloo Road posts here)