Hollyoaks made the good girls and boys go bad this last week. These characters tend to walk the moral high ground even while being a part of one of the most shamelessly immoral families in the village. While Cleo is a first time offender, John Paul was finally caught up and called out for his bad behavior. These cousins both sought escapes from the darkness they invited in only to find very different outcomes for themselves; while one dark journey ends in hope, another only seems to just be beginning. Let’s get into the highlights of this last week in Hollyoaks village!
Week in Review for Hollyoaks episodes airing March 6th – 10th.
Cleo McQueen was the best of the McQueen bunch. While the majority of her family lived on government assistance, constantly shop lifted and fought and drank, Cleo worked hard at school to head down the straight and narrow path. Then her biggest cheerleader, older sister Celine McQueen as murdered and on the day of her burial, unrequited love Nathan Nightingale died accidentally. To say the very least, Cleo has had an extremely rough last few weeks. First came the abundance of alcohol then the lies until finally it wasn’t enough and Cleo needed something stronger. Seeking out her cousin Bart McQueen, Cleo joined him on his quest to forget the pain of life with something much, much harder…
Easily the busiest house in the village, the McQueen is always full with one drama after another. Being so unassuming, it’s very easy to miss Cleo and even easier to miss how far she’s fallen after losing so much over the course of a few weeks. It’s a shame that no one has really bothered to check in on her through it all though. My guess is that they’ve left Cleo to her own devices simply because she’s usually so strong-willed, so independent and keen on doing things her own way. When it comes to Cleo, one can usually trust her to be okay but she’s so far from okay right now. This last week we saw her cousin Goldie McQueen teasing her about the crush she had on priest Joel Dexter but only playfully so, she really wanted to try and help set them up. Both women know that anything romantic with Joel is completely off the books as he’s devoted to his faith but Goldie is nothing if not persistent. Wrangling up Sienna Blake, Goldie and Cleo have a girls’ night down at The Loft to let loose after so many tense days in the village.
Joel’s there but Cleo sees him chatting up the bartender, even offering her his number which sets her off. Whereas the other ladies have a drink, Cleo goes back for more and more until she’s tripping over herself to get Joel’s attention. Goldie had been trying to push the two of them together all night but in Cleo’s state can only request that Joel walk her home to keep her safe. Back at the McQueen house, Cleo made an ill-fated move that was immediately rebuffed. I love these two together as friends as well as potential romantic partners so I was gutted to see the two of them have a falling out. Joel liked Cleo well enough but he’s a man of God, he’d never cross that line. Apparently the bartender was someone he was counseling, not trying to hit on. Joel made the mistake of offering the same thing to Cleo who snapped.
To Cleo, she thought Joel only saw her as some kind of charity case when it’s very clear he has feelings for her as well. Echoing that well done slow burn forbidden romance between Nicole and Eric on Days of Our Lives, there’s so much in just the way these two look at each other but still they hold themselves back. Except for when arguing, of course. With emotions running high, Cleo tells Joel that she propositioned his father Warren Fox for sex and might actually go take him up on it. The next day she lies and says they actually went through with it, all to rile up Joel but her lies quickly unraveled. In a great scene, the bunch of McQueen women burst into Warren’s garage to berate him over sleeping with the teenager. They’re such a ride or die crew, Mercedes, Myra and Goldie were ready to go to jail for their little cousin’s honor. I loved this scene especially when they realized it was all made up by Cleo herself.
When everything comes to a head and she’s confronted about her lies, Cleo storms off. For a full day no one knows where she’s disappeared to but the viewers soon find out she’s taken up with her favorite cousin, Bart. Unfortunately Bart is even worse news than he was during his initial run almost ten years ago. Now addicted to dope, he’s looped his cousin in on the dangerous game as well. Poor innocent Cleo quickly becomes addicted to that feeling of empty bliss the drugs bring her. After belatedly finding out John Paul has left the village (probably the only McQueen she could truly relate to), Cleo breaks down again and goes to shoot up only this time proved much more dangerous.
It’s around here that I was worried that Hollyoaks was playing it a little too after school special-y. On only her second time using, Cleo has an overdose but she’s thankfully rescued by Warren and Joel who arrived at Bart’s looking for Shane, a mutual friend and baby daddy to Goldie’s kids. In full on dramatic fashion, Cleo’s brought into Dee Valley Hospital where she has to recover. It’s here that one of the best scenes plays out and of course it’s between my forbidden lovers Joel and Cleo!
At her bedside, Cleo discovers that Joel was in her shoes just a few years back. They learn that they share so many common points but also that drugs aren’t the answer to getting over them, they only lead to danger. Joel knows that first hand as he was the one who supplied his aunt Katy with her lethal dosage of heroin and could only watch as she died. There was a moment when Cleo was overdosing that he had a flashback, freezing up from the shock of the lingering PTSD. You could tell the two of them shared something in that moment. Cleo thought she’d be pushing Joel away by arguing with him and by running to Bart’s side but I think this will only bring them closer in the end. But there’s still the matter of his faith between them. And whether or not his father will kill him when he finds out he’s at fault for letting Katy die. Either way, this romance has already proven to be one of my favorites on Hollyoaks, already much more intriguing than Cleo and sweet but boring Nathan could have ever brought to the table.