It’s time to get the hankies out on Waterloo Road this week as, after six years of playing Janeece Bryant on and off, Chelsee Healey is departing the show for pastures new. I think we all saw it coming last week after Chalky revealed that he’d been keeping a log of Janeece’s neglect of her daughter Cheryl that her departure would have something to do with her daughter. Indeed this week’s episode opened on Janeece as she was rushing around in her flat ready to play at being Lorraine’s assistant again she was desperate for Chalky to come and babysit though he couldn’t hear her banging on his door, call me dense but I didn’t realise they lived across each other, so she left Cheryl on her own in the flat informing Chalky of this however she didn’t realise she left her hair tongs on.
Inevitably by the time Chalky got to Cheryl she’d injured herself meaning that he had to take her to the hospital meanwhile at the school the rest of the staff were bemoaning the fact that Janeece wasn’t there as they all needed her for some reason or another. As Chalky is well-meaning yet bumbling he lets slip that Cheryl was at home alone so the hospital then have to hold her till the social workers come and when Janeece meets up with them it’s clear that she’s struggling to balance both her career and motherhood.
As Janeece hits back at Chalky for betraying her he reviews his relationship with the secretary finally hitting back pointing out all of the times he’s been there for her recently. Meanwhile as she believes she will soon become Lorraine’s PR, Janeece quits her job after Michael lay into her one too many times however she later discovers that Lorraine doesn’t consider her to be assistant materials and suggests Janeece stick to what she’s good at. Without a job and desperate to spend more time with her daughter, Janeece decides to go to stay with her mum in Ibiza however when she hears that Chalky pleaded with Michael to give her another chance she changes her mind. Janeece decides that she’s in love with Chalky, which in all fairness was a bit quick, and wanted them all to move in together however later decides that she’s being rash and tells her to go off to stay with her mum. It’s always hard when writing a long-serving character out of a continuing drama like Waterloo Road but it seemed to me as if they hadn’t really spent much time on how Janeece was going to leave only that they needed to get rid of her.
While the material between her and Chalky was good I found it a bit odd that she didn’t get a little bit more of a send-off than she did and when Michael told her she was always welcome back I got the impression that the door’s been left wide open for Healey to return in the distant future.
Even though it’s been one of Waterloo Road’s on/off storylines this week’s main subplot was centred around Rhiannon’s bullying of Scout which started with the rather radical step of urinating in her rival’s bed and then making out like she’d done it herself. Later Rhiannon smashes the perfume that Grantly had bought Maggie for her birthday as well as soaking her own bag in water both times blaming it on Scout as she wants the entire school to see her for the cow she is. Jade isn’t convinced though and together with Scout breaks into Rhiannon’s locker revealing the box of Maggie’s perfume and exposing her for the lying bully she is. Rhiannon continued her trail of destruction by emptying a load of what looked like of kitchen cleaner into the school’s lunch causing mass food poisoning throughout Waterloo Road. After Scout pointed out that Jade’s baby could be in danger Rhiannon finally admitted all to Maggie and was chastised by Michael but allowed to stay on in Havelock on the proviso that she work on an anti-bullying hotline. I’m sure there’s more to come as regards the Rhiannon character though especially as she’s started to mention her dad berating her so I’ve still got my money on Rhiannon and Scout being related in some way.
After weeks of taking sneaky gulps of the vodka that she stashes in her handbag, Christine has finally got the news from the doctors that she was treading namely that she has cirrhosis of the liver and should stop drinking immediately however as Connor points out it would probably be a good idea if she stayed at home instead of trying to go cold turkey at work. Predictably she breaks into hot sweats and zones out occasionally while trying to teach one of her classes about ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ getting abuse from the students when she claims she’s going to drop it before physically assault Phoenix and running out of the classroom. As has been the way all season though Christine has wrapped Michael round her little finger and lies that Phoenix had been making advances towards her while at the same time telling Phoenix that he reminds her of a pupil that once attacked her. It’s obvious then that Christine’s drinking will be discovered by the entire school by the end of this run of ten episodes but just how that’ll happen is yet to be determined.
Though I did like the interaction between Janeece and Chalky for me the sweetest moments of this episode came courtesy of Grantly and Maggie who were planning their wedding and much to his annoyance she seemed to want to get him in a James Bond-esque white tuxedo. After nursing him following the poisoning debacle she realised that she’d tried to change him too much and wondered if he’d want to leave her but instead he presented her with a lovely little trinket with his favourite Elizabeth Barrett Browning quote engraved into it. We also saw Tom’s personal life put under the spotlight as Josh worried that his father was treating him as a relationship substitute and after some advice from Chalky told it to him straight however Tom wasn’t having the best day as his plans to incorporate reality TV into the English curriculum were ridiculed by Michael.Elsewhere we saw that Maddie no longer wanted to bother with Gus after he loved her and left her last week and Liberty was perplexed by the fact that Tariq wouldn’t open up to her a bit more. Finally even though it was Janeece’s final episode she wasn’t given the last scene instead we saw Michael finally visit his dad after Sian let the cat out of the bag about his illness. The scene between father and son was fairly brutal as Michael basically told his father that he didn’t care at all about his impending death as he’d buried him a long time ago. I do sometimes find it hard to like the character of Michael as he’s not always the most pleasant of men however I will give him some leeway in a week in which he lost his secretary, his English teacher hit one of the pupils, his maths teacher was out half the day tending to someone else’s child before the majority of the students were poisoned at lunchtime.
Though we did get advancements in both the bullying storyline and Christine’s drink problems, this episode of Waterloo Road will be remembered for Janeece’s last stand. I think Chelsee Healey’s done a good job throughout her run seeing Janeece evolve from a loud-mouthed student to a similarly loud-mouthed secretary who prances around the office in ill-fitting high heels. While I would’ve like to have seen her exit get a little bit more attention I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of her on the BBC, personally I think she’ll pop up soon in either Holby City or Casualty.
What did you think to this episode of Waterloo Road? How well do you think Janeece’s exit was handled? Leave Your Comments Below.