Soaps

‘Hollyoaks’ Week In Review: Change Your Life

The McQueens send Celine off in style.
The McQueens send Celine off in style.

Hollyoaks just wrapped a whirlwind of a week and let me tell you – I sort of don’t want this storm to end. From the beginning of the week to the very end, each story played out was pumping full throttle and the best part? Every bit of it was tied together, pushing ahead to what will surely be an explosive climax to change many characters’ lives. It was week of major change, signifying the natural progression of losing something to gain another and how that might affect the rest of one’s life. Some of these characters will never be the same again after this last week. Again, this was an exciting week in the Hollyoaks village so I’ll do my best to break it down into smaller bits! Let’s get onto the highlights of this last week in Hollyoaks!

Week in Review for Hollyoaks episodes airing February 13th – 17th.

The Sweet Hereafter

Celine McQueen was a different kind of McQueen; she was kind to most, humble and quiet and even worked to make an honest living instead of cashing government checks. When she met her demise at the hand of ex-boyfriend Cameron Campbell, it sent a massive shockwave through the village. The beginning of the week highlighted her funeral and how her youngest sister Cleo McQueen was coping with the realization she’d never be back. To say the least, Cleo was not coping very well at all. Leading up to the big day, the usually levelheaded Cleo is a mass of nerves that only collapses when the day goes from bad to far, far worse.

The week began in a somber fashion for the McQueen family as they all began readying for Celine’s funeral. While some members of the larger than life family understandably couldn’t make it (how would they be able to fit so many McQueens on screen?!), some prominent members made a return for the tragic affair. Marlena “Nana” and Bart McQueen arrived back in the village and of course no one turns up in Hollyoaks village without a secret. This great-aunt and nephew duo was of no exception. Early on, we learn the retconned history of Cleo and Bart, everyone chatting about how attached the two were growing up. Meanwhile this is the first time viewers have ever seen the cousins interact but there really was this natural friendly chemistry between them, making it easy to believe that they once were the best of childhood friends. Viewers also know that Bart played a role in Katy Fox’s tragic overdose death with best buddy Joel Dexter. But while Joel has reformed, taking up the cloth to repent for his sins, Bart has spiraled further into addiction as proven when Cleo quickly finds his hidden heroin stash.

I felt awful for Cleo in this scene because ever since the announcement of her sister’s death, she’s been living in a bit of a fog, denying the loss for some time. After finally having come out on the other side, it was crucial that she had people around her to support her but unfortunately her unrequited love and best friend Nathan Nightingale was busy with girlfriend Lisa Loveday. And then her childhood hero and best friend Bart disappointed her. I applaud the way she handled the revelation that her cousin was a junkie, she immediately tore into him, shooting down his excuses of having a tough life when every McQueen has never had it particularly easy, chastising him for bringing that trash into their house when they were to celebrate Celine’s life. I don’t think she expected her grandmother to know about Bart’s addiction – and to be covering it up as well. Marlena promises that she’s keeping an eye on Bart and that the focus should stay on Celine for now.

Cleo struggles through Celine's funeral.
Cleo struggles through Celine’s funeral.

The funeral service was beautiful with half of the village showing up to give support to Celine’s family. Cleo was obviously the most emotional, breaking down as she gave a eulogy about her older sister’s untimely death. Joel was at the funeral as the apprentice priest and stepped in to calm her, giving the floor to other friends and family members to speak. One of the most touching moments was with Jesse Donovan, Celine’s boyfriend at the time of her death, who like the utter sweetheart he is expressed how lucky he felt every day he was with her. A huge part of me is sad that Celine died obviously but then part of me feels anguished for Jesse too; the two of them were such pure sweethearts who did not deserve a heartache like this. The service ended in a magical way like earthy hippie Celine would have wanted, her friends and family cheering for her life and tossing white feathers into the air signifying the guardian angels Celine believed in so strongly.

When the service ended, the family gathered around Cleo as she talked about her sister. Nana McQueen made a little saucy comment about Nathan, wondering why he hadn’t shown up to the funeral to which Cleo said she sent him to be with his girlfriend. Her grandmother couldn’t believe Cleo wasn’t with him considering the way he treated her. Hilariously, Nana wondered if Nathan’s disinterest in Cleo was because he was gay, clearly sensitivity toward homosexuality was still a bit of a new concept for her. With a gay grandson in John Paul, she has to learn and is trying her best. Cleo’s family urges her to go after Nathan before it’s too late and she does, racing to the local pub The Dog In The Pond owned by the Nightingale family. But just as she arrived, Nathan tumbles to his death in front of her from the balcony.

Losing the love of her life on the day she buried her big sister sent Cleo into a tail spin. A wild Cleo broke up the wake, sending everyone home so she could drink on her own. She’s usually so mild-mannered and meek but she held nothing back, especially after spotting Lisa outside. Everything that she held back to keep Nathan happy, she let loose, declaring herself the best choice for Nathan, blaming all his pain and heart ache on Lisa herself. The final blow was Cleo stating that if he’d chosen her over Lisa then maybe he’d still be alive now.

Bart reunites with his grieving family.
Bart reunites with his grieving family.

It’s only when Joel arrived at the Nightingale’s restaurant that Cleo’s turn for the worse finally settled. The priest in training offered kind words to quell the storm she’d become and to be honest, I squealed inside. Nathan was kind, big-hearted and sweet but much like Cleo, he was soft and easily wavering. That’s why I think he worked well with Lisa because she was the opposite. She gave Nathan a challenge, kept him on his toes and guided him when he needed it. Joel could be that for Cleo – albeit a lot less loud and more gentle than Lisa could ever be. The show has been subtly hinting at something developing with this pair as they came together for Celine’s funeral and now with Bart back in town, the accomplice in Katy’s overdose disaster as well as Cleo’s cousin, I don’t think Cleo’s time in a love triangle will be over soon. Except this one will be just a little different.

It’ll be a tumultuous time for Cleo as she tries to get over the death of a love and a sister. But I can already see her connection with a reformed Joel pulling her in one direction while the need to protect her cousin Bart will bring her in the opposite. So if you’re like I am and are tired of seeing the cut and paste love triangle formula on soaps these days, look forward to the progression of this one. It’ll definitely be dynamic and interesting to see unfold. Now I’m sure your’e wondering just what happened to Nathan… Let’s get into that!

About the author

Coryon Gray

Coryon Gray joined as Staff Writer for Soaps at TVSource Magazine in October 2014. Prior to TVSource Magazine, he's written for and moderated Asian entertainment blogs all while staying updated with his multiple "stories" like the elderly person in his soul. TV is a big part of his life, and it shows as he has been known to try to incorporate TV hijinks into his life with varying results. Follow him at @sourcecoryon for soapy soap reactions and more!