Soaps

‘Hollyoaks’ Picks and Pans of the Week of May 8, 2017

Maxine needs Adam to explain about Darcy.

I’m excited to talk about Hollyoaks using this new format for my reviews! There are always these little bits of the show that I love that may or may not be tied in with the bigger story, so pinpointing them in this way will make doing these weekly recaps a lot more fun! So much went down in the village of Hollyoaks this week – as always! There’s seriously never a dull moment in town. There was a lot I liked and very little that I didn’t like, all in all the show has set forth some new, interesting stories with great emotional ties. But like any show, some of the stories will go in an interesting direction while others pursue the uninteresting; Hollyoaks is not perfect! But damn is it enjoyable! Let’s get into my picks and pans of this last week in Hollyoaks village!

Picks of the Week

Two of Hearts

Hunter does not want to be Prince and Shane’s accomplice.

Thank God, focus has finally fallen upon these two extremely charming characters! Hollyoaks has a huge cast that they more or less know how to utilize well; everyone tends to weave together into multiple storylines but Hunter McQueen had been neglected for a long time while Neeta Kaur has been just hanging on aimlessly. This last week saw a new start to new stories for the two overlooked characters.

For some reason Hollyoaks spent months focusing on the less fleshed out, poorly acted twin Prince McQueen instead of Hunter. The latter was introduced as an artist, not the typical McQueen who was content with stealing or cheating to get ahead in life but actually interested in working hard to produce something to be proud of. It was a wise decision to group him together with Neeta who became his assistant art teacher. While I can’t say I support any Mary Kay Letourneau-esque shenanigans between these two, I love having them in each other’s orbits.

This last week we learned that Hunter has a massive crush on the teacher, so much so that he’s drawing sexy fanart of her and is freaking out over the thought of her finding it. He does his utmost to keep her from seeing it, even helping his father Shane in a school robbery plot as he’s blackmailing him with the threat of releasing the sketches. Prince who is very much his father’s son is all in to help his father with anything, but as always, Hunter has a lot of concerns. Ultimately he doesn’t go through with it and exposes the plot to Neeta. Unfortunately for him, family’s everything to the McQueens.

Prince shows the teacher his twin’s sketches and she immediately calls a meeting with the headmistress about the inappropriate content. Neeta changes her mind about pursuing punishment for Hunter when she sees Prince tear into him about ratting out his own family, berating him over the choice to be honest instead of defending his crook of a dad. I think she really connected with that as they’re both these sad, sort of misunderstood characters; people are always doubting them or downplaying their goodness. They form a connection in the end that makes Neeta cover for the student, getting him out of any trouble he may have been in for his inspired artwork.

But will this just lead to even more trouble? Probably. Neeta is pretty desperate for a boyfriend at this point. I just don’t want her to because she’s finally making moves of her own. Neeta came onto the show as arm candy to a much older man who often verbally abused her; now she’s studying to become a teacher, has goals and is working hard toward them. It’s so rare to see characters like her, the inspiring upstart eager to make a name and life for herself, in American soap operas. Everyone’s established, wealthy and gorgeous which gets old so fast. I can identify with Neeta too save for the fact that she’s incredibly naïve… that naivety can lead her to trouble if she lets it.

Falling for a student could set back everything she’s put in motion.

Love Heals

They’ve been trying and trying to get their romance to be like the ones in fairy tales only to continually fail. This last week, Maxine Minniver and Adam Donovan (or MaDam) finally tied the knot but not without dysfunction before and during the ceremony. The best part of it all is that they finally accepted the dysfunction that makes them so damn lovable.
Darcy Wild is so deliciously evil that I almost want to like her even as she attempts to break up my Adam and Maxine – over and over again. To a certain degree, you feel really bad for Darcy. Her future mother-in-law knocked her overboard and left her for dead after tormenting her for years, telling her she isn’t good enough for Adam. Then when she finally decides to resurface with his son in tow, she thinks she can have it all back but everything’s changed. It must suck to know that she missed out on such a great guy as Adam but does that give her the right to come in between his happiness? She actually pulled a stunt of all stunts by disguising herself as Adam’s bachelor party stripper, just to put herself closer to the man who wants nothing to do with her. From that, she alluded to the fact that they may have slept together and she needed a morning after pill to the bride to be.

Right to Maxine’s face!

Watching all the hijinx unfold just a day before the wedding had me stressed, perched on the edge of my seat. The idea of Maxine and Adam not getting married just felt so wrong to me. Maxine suffered for years in an abusive relationship before Adam and when he came tumbling into her life, she couldn’t trust him or even herself for that matter. But they both slowly opened up to each other and became such a force together; it’s impossible not to smile when these two are together on screen. The wedding almost came down burning when Maxine confronted Adam on the suspicions Darcy put into her head – only to have him reiterate his love for her and distaste for his ex.

A classic soap opera trope is this push and pull between old and new flames, so I’d expected this to go on for much longer than it did. Adam may have had his doubts upon first seeing Darcy but he’s more or less remained steadfast in his love for Maxine, even fighting to get her back and proposing for a second time. No matter how good Darcy is as a bad girl, I was so pleased to see her shatter when Adam firmly declared his love for Maxine. The salt in her wounds must have burned as she watched the man she loved get married to another, but it was so worth it for the viewers.

Too bad for Adam, the object of her revenge has switched from Maxine to him.

Creep

As if Nick Savage couldn’t get any worse after his rape and ultimate exoneration after raping Ellie Nightingale, this last week showed that the attack wasn’t just a slip up for Nick. While this young nurse may put on a smile for the patients he attends at Dee Valley Hospital every day, there are sinister gears turning in his head that propel him into doing horrible things – mainly to women.

Tegan cant believe someone elses boyfriend has dumped her again.

For weeks now, Nick has been leading fellow nurse Tegan Lomax on by promising to leave girlfriend Holly Cunningham for her. The two of these women were staunch Nick supporters during his rape scandal so they both have left an extremely bad taste in my mouth so I couldn’t care that he was playing them, but this last week their little affair was ramped up tenfold. The nurses got caught fooling around at work by friend Zack Loveday who immediately berated Nick for an explanation. I loved that Zack had Holly’s back immediately, demanding her boyfriend tell her the truth; it’s so rare we get male and female friendships that are just that, friendships.

Nick finally confesses to Holly later in the week only to be hit in the face by news that Tegan is pregnant with his child. In predictable douche form, Nick shoots her down completely and goes off to try and reconcile with Holly who’s kicking him out. It’s here that these scenes take a really dark, unsettling turn all while keeping in line with the topical story of consent. When Nick raped Ellie, a lot was left out and viewers had to piece together things slowly as the story progressed. No one was sure what to believe but as more information was revealed, Ellie was confirmed to have been taken advantage of – even though Nick seemed like this great guy!

Cut to present time and as he’s on his way out the door, Nick manipulates his girlfriend into taking him back by saying he’ll go shack up with the side piece instead. Holly has never been a girl whose had much self-worth and gladly takes Nick back, only to have him talk her into sex as means of proving she’d forgiven him. Like what? Holly had been sitting on the couch wiping her tears when Nick came onto her and continued to do so even when she expressed being uncomfortable. It’s a shame she gave into him but it’s also very real; this is not only a pattern for the abusive Nick, but it’s a pattern in society that most rape victims are assaulted by people close to them. I think by the end of this incredibly poignant long story, we’re going to see Holly and Ellie come together to take down Nick.

While these scenes were a disturbing way to end the week, they were so important as well. I knew Nick was going to be a repeat offender! That scumbag.

Pans of the Week

Ain’t My Fault

Tegan Lomax is pathetic. She’s always been a sad, pathetic judgmental little girl of a woman who loves to victimize herself after allowing herself to be the victim. This last week had her lamenting over the fact that after a pregnancy scare, Nick tossed her to the side – like the side piece she was. And that she also knew she was!

Tegan is acting so shocked that this man who had a girlfriend wouldn’t want to commit to her when they only met in dark corners at work and texted. Tegan continues to put herself in these situations from a dating married man or her sister’s man and yet she always tries to set up a pity party for herself. Sorry, I don’t sympathize with you at this point! Three strikes and you’re out, right?

It looks like she’ll be turning back to popping pain pills after this latest heart ache but I can’t say that I care anymore. Everyone in this world is entitled to love and happiness, but if your only method of finding that is by wrecking someone else’s? Then bye.

Can’t Get You Outta My Head

The fact that Hollyoaks is willing to even go there by having a transgender character played by a transgender actress looking for love should be commended. Daytime dramas in the US introduce LGBT characters just to have them sit in the background just to say they did it but across the pond, they’re often treated much like their heterosexual counterparts. Sally St. Claire is a woman who was born a man but is looking for a lovely lady of her own; my only complaint is that she needs to look further instead of in her own home.

Sally recently allowed Neeta to move in with her when she fell on hard times; the two women then became close after Neeta expressed desire to build a career and life for herself instead of depending on men. Their friendship felt very genuine, like they both filled in for this piece they both lacked. But it was perfect when it was platonic, now the showrunners seem to have Sally pining after an oblivious Neeta, making her pocket one of Hunter’s sexy fanarts for herself at the end of the week. I am so worried this will turn into yet another “LGBT person obsesses and stalks a straight person” clichéd story; now this is coming from me just assuming that Neeta is straight as we’ve never seen anything saying otherwise. Neeta is actively looking for a man but has been failing each time, if she gets paired with Sally, it’ll feel like she’s doing it out of pity or desperation. That’s not fair to Sally nor to Neeta’s character which would never do that in her right mind. And yet, that really seems to be where this story is going and I don’t like it!

I’d much rather see the writers explore Sally and Myra McQueen again. A few months back Hollyoaks had the women contemplating getting together, to giving it another go after failing to stay together with the pressure of then new baby John-Paul McQueen and Sally’s transition. Although Myra returned to the arms of her baby’s father for a short time, leaving Sally in the dust because she didn’t feel she was a lesbian – there was a lot of real consideration on Myra’s part. It’s clear that she loves Sally as a person and she was genuinely curious to see where their relationship could go but then she kept overthinking the decision and lost her nerve. Reconnecting with an old love after she transitions to her true gender? That’s such a progressive story that should be told and shared with the masses. The person’s physical body may have changed but is it still possible to love them for their unchanging soul? I think so, and I hope the show writers reconsider and think so too!

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!