Waterloo Road Episode 4: A revelation about Imogen and the introduction of Michael’s father do little for us in the weakest episode of the series so far
I feel that I’ve spent the last few weeks defending Waterloo Road to various people who have ridiculed the move to Scotland and also those who poked holes in last week’s Tariq storyline which I quite enjoyed. So after championing the series for the so long I was upset about this fairly lacklustre instalment which included a revelation about a character which I found fairly unnecessary. The character in question is Imogen who so far has been a bit-part player in the story between Christine and her son Connor befriending the latter with the impression being that at some point these two will become a couple. I got the impression that Imogen connected with Connor as they both had troublesome mothers, with his mum being an alcoholic and all, a theory that was proved right when we meet Imogen’s mother Sally a personal trainer who enjoys wearing tight fitting clothes that don’t leave much to the imagination. From what we’ve learnt of Imogen up to this point she’s the complete opposite a very alternative girl with a love of Stephen King the fact that her mother bought her a red dress and heel shoes to match for her birthday doesn’t go down well neither does the revelation that she’ll be assisting Lorraine with the sponsored row in order to raise funds for a new kayak for Tariq.
Yes of course last week Tariq attempted to drown himself on the river but this week he’s had a complete turn around and has now put all of his energy into training for his upcoming canoe trials. The rest of the school pitches in by using machines to attempt to row a distance that they will obviously hit in the moment just before the clock runs out. The programme really isn’t about this row but rather about Sally’s involvement as she appears in a pink workout number that only covers half of her body and Imogen is disgusted as she sees a load of male extras leering over her mother. It is Gus though, who seems to have been forgiven for his part in the fight last week, who bets he can’t bed Sally by the end of the day something that would never happen in real life however here she seems to be won over by his charm or maybe his little grey sweater vest thing that he insists on wearing. So far this made sense because, even though we’ve seen the alternative daughter and tarty mother thing before, you could see why Imogen would empathise with Connor’s situation plus Sally’s nature is explained away by the fact her husband left her for a younger woman several years ago. Then though we got the silly revelation that Imogen is deaf as she removed her hearing aid to block out the constant comments about her mother and later, at a party thrown for her at the School house, she tells Connor this which results in their first kiss. As Sally and Gus almost get it on, Imogen bursts in and finally the mother and daughter sort things out as it transpires that Sally’s guilty about her daughter having meningitis as a child something she didn’t spot until it was too late. Though I’ve got no problem at all with the introduction of a deaf character into Waterloo Road it seemed to be nothing but a plot device to explain why Sally wanted to change Imogen so much rather than it being treated as an issue storyline. Despite all this silliness I thought Kirstie Steele was impressive as Imogen her wide-eyed innocence and feisty nature making for a good combination for this intriguing character and I feel that she and Connor do make a good team.
Speaking of Connor this week we had more of he and Christine this week a story that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere other than her making Michael think that her son is abusing her, though to be fair he did slap her last week. As Christine’s nasty behaviour towards Connor continues, including crushing the ring that he made for Imogen, he tries to teach his mother a lesson by drinking her vodka and using her lighter to cause a fire in the boiler room. I didn’t really get why he did either of these things as at the end of the day it made his mother look like a saint once again while he just came off as an unstable lad and part-time arsonist. As Lorraine had to fund a new boiler she decided to steal all the money that the rowers had raised, yes of course they made it, before having a change of heart and buying six kayaks though she didn’t need a boiler which they will need as those Scottish winters aren’t pleasant. Lorraine is a fairly odd character going from Michael’s biggest promoter to someone who is getting on his back over various funding issues and also this week abusing poor old Janeece’s good nature. If I’m honest I just don’t buy Daniella Denby-Ashe as this power-suit wearing businesswoman as to me she’ll always be Janey from My Family so I’ll always struggle to take her seriously.
The story of Michael’s past continued this week as Gerard Findlay used his accident this week to insinuate that Michael had assaulted him wearing a cast to demonstrate this. Audrey informed Michael that a lot of parents weren’t happy about this, as in her spare time she also works at the church making her a bit of a saint in my eyes, and as we saw attendance was down. This story was making sense until parents starting showing up to just randomly take their children out of school sometimes in the middle of lessons and once again I really didn’t see this as realistic. Sian got over her disgust at Michael by tracking down his father Billy who spent most of his time wheezing while telling her that he deserved every blow that his son gave him. Billy did his best to clear his son’s name and it seemed to work however whether he and Michael will ever repair their relationship is where I’m guessing this story will head over the next few weeks. In other stories it’s the third week now with now mention of Jade’s pregnancy and the fact that in this episode she was jumping around in a cheerleader’s outfit suggests to me that everybody’s forgotten about it while Rhiannon has also stopped bullying Scout for the time being. The one event that I can see coming over the horizon is Maggie and Grantly’s wedding as it was referenced a couple of times as he told the pupils that he wouldn’t be seeking out any strippers on his Stag Do. There was also a sweet little subplot where Lula asked Harley to be her cultural attaché and teach her about English phrases and music I do like this as the two make a good pair and it gives them both something to do.
Despite the revelations about Imogen’s deafness, the arrival of Michael’s father and a fire at the school I found this episode fairly dull at times as it seemed to be treading on old ground. I felt that they could’ve continued the Michael story for at least one more episode before his father showed up while I’m assuming the rest of the series will concentrate on their attempt at reconciliation as it seems Billy’s on his last legs. I’m not much for the Christine and Connor story any more so I’m hoping that it at least progresses next week while it seems that Waterloo Road have done what they’re best known for in forgetting several plot strands that they set up at the beginning of the series. I’m not saying that it was a completely terrible episode but one that seemed to think it was more clever than it actually was and if we get another instalment like this next week then I won’t be sticking up for the show any more.
What did you think to this week’s Waterloo Road? Are you enjoying the series so far? Leave Your Comments Below.