If you’re a soap opera fan who has yet to broaden your horizons in the world of sudsers, you are certainly missing out something great! Just across the pond, soap operas are still an important part of people’s lives and networks still offer their full support to these shows; a stark contrast to the situation here in the United States. Hollyoaks is my UK soap opera of choice — a fast paced, more youthful drama than the drab (sorry) Eastenders and Coronation Street, there is always something going on and there’s nary a topic shied away. The series has extensive ensemble cast similar to tgat of General Hospital, though Hollyoaks’ is comprised of many colors, sexualities, genders and abilities, and utilizes everyone as often as possible.
Back in 2013, what attracted me to the show (outside of three female best friends murdering a rapist and hiding his corpse in a freezer that eventually broke and thawed) was the sense of reality centered around this village, even in the face of believable and sometimes unbelievable (check the aforementioned note) drama. Hollyoaks is a living, breathing town where even if your favorite character isn’t in a story that day, you might see her shopping for groceries in the background, enhancing that sense of realism and that connection. US soap operas have been cut and dry, copy and paste, wash and repeat for decades.
After taking a year off when the show took a very dark turn (Let’s just say Hollyoaks should be the murder capital of the UK), I returned at the perfect time it seems. There’s never a short end to the drama in Hollyoaks and hopefully my recap of the happenings this last week might curb you into checking it out, if you haven’t already!
Week in Review for Hollyoaks episodes airing August 29th– September 2nd.
Mercedes Maria Theresa Immaculata McQueen (yes, that is her actual full name) is everything a soap opera fan could want in a character all wrapped up in one feisty, ratchet little package. (Editor’s Note: She’s basically the UK version of Days of our Lives’ Sami Brady and General Hospital’s Carly Corinthos [Sarah Brown version])
With a family equally as cooky and unpredictable that seems to grow more and more each few months, she still manages to stand out in the crowd. So to many, it’s still such a shocker that she’s decided to settle down with everyday man, Joe Roscoe the local mechanic. From the outside looking in, it can be confusing to see the two together, always making one wonder how exactly their relationship worked with such contrasting personalities but it does – or did. Last week Mercedes was arrested for dealing drugs, caught in a set up scheme by her mother’s boyfriend’s ex-wife that left her relationship wrecked.
Lonely lawyer Joanne Cardsley has had a thing for Joe for weeks now, even making a bet with best friend James Nightingale that she could ruin his relationship with Mercedes. And ruin she did, thanks to her tip off, Mercedes landed behind bars and with her taking up the job as the former’s lawyer, she ensured that she stayed put. Now Joe was all hers like she’d desired. After losing her mother and being friend zoned by Joe time after time, Joanne’s confidence was low so moving ahead with her plan still felt unsteady. Joe was feeling unsteady in a different way as his feelings for his fiancée began to shift, not for the simple fact that she’d been a part of a drug deal but that she’d had his daughter on the scene even after lying to say she hadn’t taken her. Putting his child in danger proved to be the last straw for Joe and before visiting Mercedes in jail to end it, he spends a steamy night with her lawyer who’s been secretly lusting for him for weeks. Even the good guys slip up, it seems! I was gutted at how quickly Joe was ready to lie to himself about moving on from Mercedes (it’s obvious he can’t and won’t), shacking up with Joanne not even a day after Mercedes was taken away. But he’s a family man, so messing with his kids ultimately means severing ties no matter how much love there may be.
To every viewer, it’s apparent that Joe is completely emotionally detached from Joanne, basically using her body as revenge against Mercedes. He wants her to know he can hurt her, betray her like she did him so he continues to hook up with Joanne while Mercedes is on the inside. When Joe’s little brother Freddie Roscoe caught them together, he gave his brother a necessary earful as well as Joanne. See, this isn’t Joanne’s first time going after a taken man as she only recently stopped pursuing her old friend’s husband. After breaking up that family, her sights were set on Joe and Mercedes’, anything to fill her empty void.
Though Freddie’s concerns were voiced, they fell upon deaf ears. Joe had already convinced himself that there was something between him and Joanne, some kind of feeling that had ignited in just a day of fooling around in bed. Not even Freddie the decorated cheater himself was buying his brother’s story. Little do they all know, Diego De la Cruz, boyfriend to Myra McQueen and ex-husband of Maria who set Mercedes up, is working to free the latter. Myra kicked her live-in boyfriend out of the family home after learning of his involvement with her daughter’s incarceration so he kicks into high gear to get in touch with Maria to force out a confession. It’s easy for him, he’s handsome and sweet talks his way back into his ex-wife’s good graces only for her to admit to setting up Mercedes so she can steal the dealer’s cash to start a new life with Diego. The police promptly arrive to take her away just as viewers learn Diego had been recording Maria the entire time.
Maria’s confession proved to not be enough for an immediate release for Mercedes. James Nightingale, the lawyer for the other side, let his friend Joanne know that soon a deal would be cut for the McQueen. Regardless of being set up, Mercedes still participated in a crime but her release could come within days instead of years. Her release could only mean an immediate collapse of the deluded world Joanne had already began to form in her head. Daydreaming about setting wedding dates with Joe on day 2 of their romp, Joanne was not happy to hear that Mercedes might be back. And as she’s proved before, obstacles in her way could be obliterated – only problem is she’s never had a McQueen for an obstacle. Let the scheming wars begin!