Do not have a wedding in Hollyoaks! Do not marry someone from Hollyoaks! These two warnings should be posted up on the village welcoming sign for all to see. Neeta Kaur had no idea what she was getting herself into – on multiple levels – when agreeing to marry Mac Nightingale in this quaint Chester village. They’d had a fight recently, resulting in her leaving him temporarily to backpack but since returning, she’d decided to give him another chance. See, Neeta had caught a glimpse of her fiancé’s fiery temper and after having suffered in an abusive relationship in the past, she wanted absolutely nothing to do with someone of that temperament. Like someone desperate to hide his secret, Mac begged and pleaded that she’d been mistaken all along, that he was a changed man. But promises too never hold up well in Hollyoaks.
Having been engaged for a while now, it was truly just a matter of time until Mac and Neeta were wed. But this last week was a total rush job, Mac dropped to one knee almost immediately upon seeing Neeta again and begged to up the date of the wedding. Mac’s children Nathan, Ellie and Alfie Nightingale all went to work redecorating the town public house and pub, The Dog in The Pond for the festivities. Transformed into a red and golden dream, the stage was set for the long awaited wedding. Neeta had had time to think on her trip and had settled her mind and heart; she wanted Mac and could not wait to be with him forever. But the only ‘happily ever after’ Marnie Nightingale believed in was her own and her ex-husband Mac was a very important piece of that tale.
Marnie believes that she and Mac are meant to reunite, to make up for the mistakes they made in the past that ended with Marnie walking out on most of her family. She truly believed that she knew him best and could handle him best. When Neeta was away, the former couple had been growing close again so to see them reconcile this quickly was a huge blow to her. She broke down, immediately seeking comfort in her closest confidant and eldest son, James Nightingale. He encouraged his mother to confess her feelings to his father after she expressed that losing him again might break her this time. James only did this for his mother’s sake as he’s never been close to his father, even going so far as to compare their relationship to “two hurricanes colliding” but if there was still love there, she had to go for it. A tearful Marnie returned the favor, giving her son the blessing to go after the love she once told him was trivial. If James felt the same way about John Paul McQueen as Marnie felt for Mac, then he too had to fight for it. Both quickly learn that love hurts when Marnie’s confession is shot down in flames by Mac’s burning anger and James is turned away by John Paul’s mother, Myra for hurting her son in the past.
A disconnected Marnie proceeded to then trash the wedding venue in retaliation only to be stopped by James before going to far. After sending her off so he could clean up the scene, he’s confronted by Mac who physically tears into him, thinking he’s the one who destroyed the scene. Mac’s anger is a terrifying thing to see, especially since he goes from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye each time, making the viewers feel whiplash before the fear sets in. John Paul is the one who finds James after the assault, confused as his sight has only just begun to return so he did not got the chance to really see the scene but is definitely concerned for James. When the wedding kicked off the next day, everything is pure sweetness with even Marnie settling her score with Neeta. But just when the rings were set to be exchanged, Neeta noticed that Mac’s knuckles were bloodied from his fight with James the day before and called him out on it. Refusing to put up with not only Mac’s lies but also another abusive relationship, she cut the ceremony off there while Mac roared about her regretting the decision later, thus proving her point. He is an angry, vile and abusive man that she no longer wanted in her life. Good for her!
As all of this happened, across town James opened up to John Paul after finding out his father fractured a few of his ribs. Apparently this was their usual routine and had been since James was a child. Though no reason was ever given, the cause of friction seemed to stem from James’ attachment to his mother, maybe even his homosexuality as Mac seemed to pair the two together as he often alluded to James’ weakness and other frilly synonyms to the word. At John Paul’s urging though, James decided to seek counsel from a lawyer friend only to find that the only evidence he had was his word against Mac’s. After a drunken night in bed together, Mac and Marnie found themselves maybe heading toward reconciliation with a lead in scene that was half intense and half scary. Much like those two hurricanes described, the two were a mix of rage and desperation as they pushed and pulled one another until they both gave in. But the question’s become does Mac truly care about Marnie still or does he want to pull her from James out of spite? And when James’ friend posed the question that maybe he wasn’t the only Nightingale to fall victim to Mac’s anger and he began to investigate, what might he find? He’s looking into his siblings first but something tells me he might want to check with his mother.
The Nightingale family has to be most successful addition to Hollyoaks in years… I say after I’ve only watched for three years. But even so, there assimilation into the town was so seamless and the dynamic between each character is so different and interesting. A family split down the middle by a conniving mother and her equally devious but dependent son whose bad behavior stems from a dark place and an abusive cheat of a father who raised the other three children on his own – there’s just so much story there that unlike US soap operas, I don’t care if the show runners focus a lot on these newbies. This storyline taking this sharp of a turn has already pushed it to the top of my list.