Saturday, 19 November 2016

Horror has a Face in the Heart of Darkness

Roy Cropper spoke of lemon drizzle when he explained Aristotle’s golden mean to a politely baffled Rita in last night’s Corrie, but this philosophy on achieving balance between extremes held a message for Pat Phelan, deficient in morals, and Michael Rodwell, reckless in his pursuit of the truth, as the battle between the pair came to a head with devastating consequences.

Having had the scam confirmed by Anna after she heard a voicemail on Phelan’s stolen mobile, Michael goes to the site for evidence while she distracts Pat. Not convinced by her offer of £2,000 to leave Weatherfield, the game is truly up when Phelan hears his lost phone ringing and learns from a delivery man that someone fitting Michael’s description has just accepted a delivery. This leads Pat straight to the site where he catches Michael just as he finds the fake passport and ticket to Mexico.

What ensued is arguably one of the darkest events we’ve seen on Coronation Street, as Phelan calmly allowed Michael to die of a heart attack without offering any assistance. We’ve seen some tragedies unfold on Corrie over the years, but there is always a safety and security running parallel, whereas the site of the false flats holds no such comfort, and it’s for this reason that it was fitting for it to occur off the cobbles. It told us of an otherness, a horror, that lurks beyond its parameters, but nevertheless hides in plain sight.
Phelan’s Ride of the Valkyries ringtone reminded me of Francis Ford Coppolla’s

Apocalypse Now in which the strains of this third act piece by Wagner feature. Those who’ve seen the film will know of the formidable Colonel Kurtz, and it was as if Phelan himself took on this role, holed up in his false kingdom. “Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror” Kurtz declares, “Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared.” It strikes me that somewhere along the way Phelan has adopted a similar stance.

Kurtz, of course, is pursued by someone in search of truth, and Apocalypse Now being an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness, there is a parallel to draw between Michael and the book’s character Marlow in their decision to leave safety and certainty for the unknown in pursuit of their Kurtz. “It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice” spoke Marlow, “I was anxious to deal with this shadow by myself alone.” This was Michael’s downfall.

The predicament in which Phelan found himself as he was faced with the realisation that Michael knew all was an interesting and complex one which revealed a lot about him as a person. It registers on Michael’s face that his death is the only viable option as far as Phelan is concerned. As he appeals for mercy and tries to persuade Pat to do the right thing, Phelan does seem to struggle with the deed, searching deep within himself for the capacity to do it. 

We’ve long wondered at the existence of Pat’s conscience. Were we about to see evidence of it? When Michael suffered a heart attack, Pat’s solution was presented to him and he saw it as a blessing which spared him having to kill him and even saw him likening himself to one of Napoleon’s ‘lucky’ Generals. The only way we could possibly see his conscience now is if he called for help, but he didn’t.

When Kylie Platt lay dying in the arms of her husband, she told him, “That’s the David Platt that I loved. The kid who cried when his rabbit died”. As cold and calculating as David has proven himself to be, we also know of his capacity to love and to feel emotion. Maybe this is why he can be villainous, but at the same time, is not considered a Corrie villain in the traditional sense. However, as Pat Phelan calmly watched Michael die of a heart attack, we learned of a very different childhood experience concerning a rabbit. 

Our first insight into Pat’s life prior to his appearance on the cobbles would be a chilling one as he recalled being a child with an air rifle, setting out to kill the creature instantly, but fatally injuring it instead. While he claims his nature wouldn’t allow him to put it out of its misery, he nevertheless watched it die, and was able to recall its final moments in some detail which, for me, was the most sinister element of his recollection. As Pat did exactly the same to Michael last night, we can surmise that he has had this in him since he was a boy. 

The logic he uses to divest himself from any responsibility for Michael’s death adds another dark dimension. Watching Michael suffer without a glimmer of conscience, regret, doubt or anguish, he tells him of the rabbit, “I felt really bad Michael, ‘cos it was my doing, you know. But not this time. It just so happens your time’s up.” Phelan’s warped justification for his lack of feeling or action gives us a chilling insight into his mindset.

But what of his claim that he’s too ‘soft’ to be a murderer? Can this really be the case, or is it perhaps cowardice? The only hesitation he showed was at the point where it looked as if he’d have to kill Michael and while he did say he’d ‘make it quick’, we’ll never know if he’d have done the deed had fate not intervened. What we can be sure of is that we know more about Pat Phelan after tonight, and what one of Corrie’s greatest villains might be capable of.

All of this unfolded courtesy of compelling performances from Connor McIntyre and Les Dennis and a stellar script from Chris Fewtrell. Also of note is the fact that we had no idea how this would play out, which undoubtedly contributed to the fact that I was on the edge of my seat throughout. It’s great for Les Dennis to have been given such special episodes to depart on, and for Michael to have stayed true to himself to the very end.

By Emma Hynes
www.emmahynes.net
Twitter: @ELHynes
Facebook: @EmmaHynesWrites
Instagram: emmalouhynes

Like us on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter | Download our free App | Visit Corrie.net


NEW!
Coronation Street: The Official Colouring Book
Available now!



Please read our advice for leaving comments on the Coronation Street Blog

All original work on the Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

4 comments:

Humpty Dumpty said...

Great blog but I'm not persuaded. It was an excellent monologue that we heard from Phelan as Michael lay dying. Far, far too late to give Phelan any kind of depth. We should have heard this insight about the rabbit much earlier. It's as though the writing team have decided Phelan needs fleshing out and have given him some background. If we'd heard him telling Todd maybe, we might have thought he was a psychopath who could flip at any time. It would have been great to see Todd's horrified expression as he realises who he's dealing with. Phelan might get away with it. As we often point out here, Tracy dodged her punishment 'on a technicality' and bounces back after every wrong-doing. I've long come to realise that soap villains don't get their come-uppance if the writers want them to continue.

Tvor said...

Wonderful! Absolutely brilliant. I think I'll go delete my blog post now! Yours is way better ;) You're right, it was very dark and twisted. Phelan always seems to get someone else to do the dirty work rather than get his own hands bloody. I assumed that was so he could protest his own innocence but it could also be deeper than that.

Pat said...

Can someone enlighten me on a few matters please?
Does Billy know about Todd's part in the scam and if he does why is he not saying anything?
Why is Todd so willing to put his mother through the ensuing heartbreak?
Thanks

Llifon said...

I did think that Michael would be electrocuted as I noticed the signs on the fence. A red herring perhaps?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Our Top 10 Blog Posts in last 7 days (automatically updated)

Click on a name to find out more about your Corrie favourites!

adam barlow aidan connor alan halsall alex bain alexander bain alison king alison sinclair all about soap awards alma baldwin amy barlow amy kelly andrea beckett andy whyment anna windass antony cotton audrey roberts awards baby Oliver barbara knox barlows battleaxes becky mcdonald behind the scenes ben price ben tagoe bet gilroy bet lynch beth tinker bethany platt betty driver betty turpin betty williams betty's hotpot bev callard beverley callard bill roache billy mayhew billy the vicar blanche hunt brian packham brooke vincent bruno langley can i visit the coronation street set Canada canadian coronation street fans carla connor Cath Tyldesley catherine tyldesley cathy matthews celebrities on coronation street characters joining coronation street characters leaving coronation street cherylee houston chesney brown chris gascoyne chris harper claire king classic corrie clothes worn on coronation street colson smith competition connor mcintyre conversation street coronation street coronation street art coronation street babies Coronation Street Blog - the book coronation street cartoons coronation street fan events coronation street fan of the week coronation street fans coronation street funerals coronation street history coronation street in canada coronation street look-a-like coronation street map coronation street men coronation street merchandise coronation street news coronation street preview coronation street spoilers coronation street weekly update coronation street weekly updates coronation street writers craig tinker damon alexis-rochefort damon rochefort daniel brocklebank daran little david neilson david platt debbie oates debbie rush debbie webster deirdre barlow deirdre hunt denise osbourne derek griffiths dev alahan eileen derbyshire eileen grimshaw Elle Mulvaney ellie leach ellie-louise leach elsie tanner emily bishop emily nugent ena sharples erica stewart exclusive interview exercise dvds famous people who have been in corrie fat brenda favourite females favourite males faye windass feckless fellas in coronation street filming locations filming mistakes fiz brown fiz stape florizel street flying ducks gail rodwell gary windass gary's army diaries gay and lesbians gay men in coronation street gay men in soaps gay women in soaps granada manchester coronation street set granada studios gurn of the week helen flanagan helen worth hilda ogden hilda ogden's curlers Hope Stape hot pot how to contact coronation street inside soap inside soap magazine izzy armstrong jack p shepherd Jack P. Shepherd jane danson jean alexander jennie mcalpine jigsaw jimmi harkishin job vacancies at coronation street joe duttine johnny connor jonathan harvey julie goodyear julie hesmondhalgh kabin kate fitzgerald kate ford katherine kelly kathy jones katie mcglynn ken barlow kev webster kevin webster kieran roberts kirk sutherland kylie platt kylie turner kym marsh leanne barlow leanne battersby leanne tilsley liam bairstow lily platt lisa george liz mcdonald lloyd mullaney Lucy Fallon luke britton maggie jones malcolm hebden manchester tart marc baylis maria connor mark llewellin martin sterling mary taylor matriachs maxine's bench michael le vell michelle connor mikey north mikey north miley windass minnie caldwell mothers on the cobbles music in the rovers nathan curtis new set new zealand newton and ridley nick tilsley nick's bistro nigel pivaro no.1 Coronation Street no.11 coronation street no.13 coronation street no.3 coronation street no.5 coronation street no.6 coronation street no.7 coronation street no.9 coronation street norris cole norris cole's brother nuttalls brewery odd side of the street official coronation street website oldham coliseum oliver battersby on location opening titles original cast our blog is the best blog in the world outside broadcast paper boys paper girls pat phelan pat phoenix patti claire patti clare paula lane peter barlow peter gunn pets on coronation street pictures of the coronation street set pigeons pillars of the community platt family plot holes props qasim akhtar quay street returning characters rita fairclough rita littlewood rita sullivan rita tanner road to coronation street rob donovan rob mallard romanian holiday rosamund street rosie webster rovers bosses rovers fire rovers return rovers return barmaids rovers return fire rovers return landlady roy and hayley roy cropper roy's rolls roys rolls ryan thomas sair khan sally webster sally and tim sally dynevor sally dyvenor Sally Metcalfe sally webster sally whittaker sam aston samia ghadie samia longchambon sarah platt Sarah-Louise Platt schmeichel sean tully shayne ward shelley king simon barlow simon crowther simon gregson sinead tinker six episodes per week sophie webster special effects speculation spin-off spoilers state of the street steve mcdonald storyline speculation storylines streetcars sue cleaver sue johnston sue nicholls susan barlow susan oudot sylvia cropper sylvia goodwin terry duckworth the corrie years the kabin the Nazirs the newspaper boy the road to coronation street through the years tim metcalfe tina o'bren tina o'brien Tina O’Brien tiricia hopkins todd grimshaw tony warren Tony Warren inspiration tours of coronation street toyah battersby tracy barlow trafford set tram crash tricia hopkins tyrone dobbs underworld underworld sign unofficial book unofficial merchandise unseen characters viaduct street victoria court fire vip bloggers walking tours watch coronation street online weatherfield weatherfield arms weatherfield council weatherfield county weatherfield county football club weatherfield fire station weatherfield gazette weatherfield haulage Weatherfield high Weatherfield Open Days weatherfield style weatherfield wayfarer websters' autos wedding wedding dress weddings weekly awards weekly update where have you seen william roache William Roache Interview window cleaners writers for soaps Yasmeen nazir zeedan nazir