First posted on State of the Street, reposted with permission.
Late last year we had a storyline that was a bit different for Corrie, that of the "revenge porn" photos that Steph's ex boyfriend Jamie used to blackmail her brother into illegal car racing. It didn't go on too long but it was long enough to paint Jamie as a selfish idiot who seems to be one of those men who feels entitled and is ticked off if the world doesn't comply.
He got himself into debt and used Luke's ability as a racer boy to try to get himself out of it. Luke was coerced because of Jamie's threats to post online some intimate photos he'd taken of Steph when they were together. Once online, it's there forever. You might take them down off the original site but these days, things get saved, shared, posted and otherwise filtered around the interweb.
Steph finally found out and was horrified, mortified and pissed off, but more the first two, initially. Taking sexy photos isn't a new thing. Lots of couples do it, in addition to things like video-recording themselves. You are in love, you are passionate about each other, you trust each other, so why not? Age is no restriction on this either. You don't have to be young and naive.
Back to Jamie. Steph found the courage to call the police, with Leanne's support and he was arrested. It's illegal to do that, you see, post photos with the intent to embarass or blackmail or bully someone. That's what Jamie was doing, on all accounts. He said he was very sorry but he was desperate and when Luke and later Steph wouldn't give him what he wanted, he followed through with his threats and he'll now have a criminal record. He's also down one girlfriend because Luke and Andy busted him in the bar where he hangs out just before the arrest.
Jump ahead a month or so. Luke and Andy have discovered that Jamie is out on bail. I'm not sure why they were so shocked and outraged. He was likely bailed shortly after the arrest, which is pretty normal. He might be a toe rag but he's not a dangerous axe murderer. The dynamic duo decide Steph's honour hasn't been completely defended, find out where he's working and proceed to get him and his mate who vouched for him sacked. Job done, right?
It's interesting to remember that the girlfriend that was told about the photos dumped him immediately and the bar manager, also female, did likewise. Part of that was him not telling her about the arrest and pending trial. It might have been more interesting if the manager had been a male and been equally outraged about the reason for the arrest, just to put both sides' points of view out there, that it isn't just women that would hold this sort of thing against you, but never mind...
Now we come to the most recent chapter. Jamie is pretty ticked off that he's lost his job and he drags his friend along with him to suss out the area where he knows Steph, Luke and Andy live and work. Jamie may have said he learned his lesson but he hasn't and we can clearly see that. He's still intent on revenge but now his bullying side shows up again. He's not going after Luke and Andy who are the ones that caused him to lose his job (and previously, his girlfriend). He's going after Steph to teach her a lesson because he thinks she sent them to do her dirty work. Teach *her* a lesson. Because it's easier to go after a woman than two men, isn't it? Easier to go after a woman you've already victimized.
He wants to scare Steph so he decides to stage some sort of robbery or invasion of the place where she works, probably at closing time but they sit in the car over several days, for hours at a time watching the place. I'm not sure why nobody actually noticed and questioned it. If i saw two men in a car on my street or in the vicinity sitting there for hours on more than one occasion, I'd be calling the police. It's a soap so we would have to suspend disbelief on that point. At the last going off, it looked like they were parked outside the Kabin (see photo below, you can tell by the type of things in the shop window), with Jamie watching the Bistro through the rear view mirror. Surely Norris would have been in there like a dirty shirt!
That was also the day that the Bistro was closed most of the day due to the power cut. They must have missed the lunchtime event when the restaurant had emptied out. They sat there, and for hours never really questioned why there were no customers going in our coming out, nor staff or deliveries. By the time they saw Robert come out, it was now later in the day and getting dark. They knew, somehow, that he was the chef though how they knew is another mystery though I suppose they had been in and out of the Bistro a couple of times back when the blackmail was going on. They still didn't figure out that the restaurant was closed. Jamie still thought Steph must have been inside all day.
Let's do it! Though Jamie's friend wasn't too keen on it by this time, he went along with it instead of walking away. In they go, into a dark restaurant with nobody there except Carla who decided, after a confrontation with Robert, to stay on and drink by herself. She'd locked the door when she arrived but Robert had unlocked it to leave, giving her the keys to lock up behind herself. I wonder if she was going to check the door in the kitchen? that was open because Tracy was able to let herself in and out when she heard them burst in. Why didn't she make an anonymous call to the police? Well, that's Tracy for you. She could have said she had gone there to surprise Robert and didn't have to reveal she'd overheard the conversation between he and Robert. But then we couldn't have had the action that came next.
Jamie was in a rage, now, because there was no Steph, no money in the till (duh, closed most of the day, why would you leave the money there?). At least there was a woman there you could push around and scare but Carla being Carla, with a good gutfull of red wine in her, did put up a good front. Because Jamie hadn't already seen the candlelight bouncing off that huge rock on her finger when he first pushed her on the ground, she slipped it into her handbag to prevent it being taken if they did notice it but they end up stealing the whole bag instead. They didn't really hide much of their faces and Carla would have a very good look at their eyes and their face a few times, and the other guy mentioned Jamie's name at least once.
Jamie finally realized he ought to get away from the scene of the utter disaster he'd wrought with armed robbery (baseball bats) and assault now added to his criminal record, not to mention the possibility of attempted murder when Carla ran after them to retrieve her bag in a pretty stupid move, really, but again, you can probably blame the wine and the adrenaline for that, and she got dragged along by the car until she landed on the cobbles. I couldn't see whether she got the bag or not but she's in pretty serious condition.
Jamie is obviously a bully and obviously not the sharpest tool in the box. This is not out of the realms of reality. A lot of law breakers are not very smart. I expect this is the last we'll see of Jamie. I hope Steph is strong and testifies at his trial but I don't suppose we'll get to see that.
All in all, I thought this was a good storyline and the actors involved were great! It was something different and something relevant for this day and age. Keep your knickers on, boys and girls, the internet is out there just waiting to salivate over your bits and pieces!
Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)
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