‘Hollyoaks’ Week In Review: Doing It To Death

Photo Credit: Lime Pictures

Critics and fans alike have been praising this last week of Hollyoaks – should I say, to death? In recent years, Hollyoaks has done an annual stunt around this time of year which usually results in many characters dying. Hollyoaks often gets looked down upon for these stunts with opposers citing lack of follow up, shallow stories and lack of realism but I don’t believe anyone can say so with this Halloween Spooktacular disaster. Every story that tied into this stunt had the time to marinate, to grow toward its respective climax and coming out of the other side of the disaster, they will all have so many new ways to grow. Critics have declared Hollyoaks has finally found the perfect balance between their break neck drama, wild twists and even wilder stunts. And I agree! Let’s get into some of the highlights of this last week in Hollyoaks village!

Week in Review for Hollyoaks episodes airing October 31st – November 4th.

Down in Flames

Nico Blake’s reign of terror finally came to a close this last week. After paralyzing her uncle, killing a friend, a husband and her grandfather and getting away with it all, it had really begun to feel like Nico was unstoppable. The one thing about Hollyoaks is that although it’s easy to roll your eyes at the amount of murderers roaming free in the village, you know for sure that eventually, their time for punishment will come. On this show, everyone is human which means they all have their time kick the bucket. It was finally Nico’s time.

Last week ended with Nico holding her best friend and crush, Peri Lomax, hostage in an underground bunker. If this were a any other week in the year, not during Hollyoaks annual autumn disaster then Peri’s imprisonment might have dragged on for a time. Though I knew Nico was set to play a big role in the Halloween disaster, I hadn’t expected her to leave Peri alone so quickly. Nico had begun by playing nice, dreaming up a future life for her and her crush only to be shot down when Peri expressed her desire to see her daughter and Tom Cunningham. Intensely jealous at all times, Nico could not handle the mention of Peri’s ex-boyfriend and flew off the handle. In order for them to live a happy life alone together, she’d have to off Tom – so she left for the Halloween festival to do just that.

Left alone underground, Peri miraculously found Nico’s discarded cell phone that she used to call Sienna Blake. After being released from prison after implicating her daughter in all of the murders, Sienna was keen to find Nico before the hunting squad of police officers did. What followed were scenes that kept me on the edge of my seat as well as panicking, knowing that a deadly climax was around the bend. Hollyoaks’ producer Brian Kirkwood let know beforehand that two major characters would be dying off this week but that could have literally been anyone! We get to see all of the carnival that Jude Cunningham set up on our own first, and then we get erratic views from Nico’s point of view as she hunted down Tom. Knowing that two major characters die, my fear of losing Tom – who literally represents the heart of the show, having been played by the same actor continuously since 1999 as a few weeks old baby – was running on high. On any other show you might laugh off losing a legacy character played by an 8 time soap award winning actor but with Hollyoaks, a viewer learns to never get too attached regardless of who the character is.

Nico did manage to find Tom in her frantic hunt but after attacking him, is scared off by Cindy and Jude Cunnignham who promptly alert the cops already on the teen’s tail. By the time everyone arrived to apprehend Nico, she was again gone, slipping away into the wooden Halloween maze until the heat died down. Not at all knowing that someone would soon be turning it all the way back up.

After alerting Nico’s mother and the authorities, Peri was rescued and transported to Dee Valley Hospital to recover from Nico’s poisonings. Leela Lomax and Cameron Campbell had been on their way to France, mistakenly thinking that’s where the two teen girls had fled to but they showed up to the hospital quickly, learning that their daughter’s creepy friend was behind the whole drama. For weeks now, Cameron had been trying to keep Peri away from Nico because as a fellow murderer, he probably sensed that something was off with the girl – but then again, everyone in the village of Hollyoaks knew something was wrong but couldn’t pinpoint just what. With concrete evidence, Cameron went out to do what he did best. Jesse Donovan had been tapped to help with the fire dancing show but had neglected his tools near the entrance to the maze. Cameron saw Nico run inside but didn’t notice Sienna had as well and lit the maze on fire using Jesse’s tools.

My favorite scenes of the week all took place inside of the Halloween maze. Sienna pleaded with her daughter to come back to her so that they could move on from this. All she ever wanted was the perfect child as perfection was a burden placed upon Sienna’s shoulders by her evil father but Nico would never be that. No amount of therapy could erase all of the anger, hate and malice built up inside the teen. When Sienna let slip that therapy was an option, Nico flipped out and went to attack her mother just before noticing the flames spreading toward them. Both of the Blake women make a run for it, seeking out another exit as fire ran toward them. I was literally on the edge of my seat watching this stunt especially when a wall collapsed, trapping Nico and Sienna in a room as fire began to catch all around them. Luckily for them a hero was on the way and it was – Warren Fox? Sienna’s boyfriend has a checkered past in Hollyoaks from drug dealing to murder and yet he raced into the inferno after her. I surprisingly found myself cheering for him, praying that not only would he not catch fire but he’d make it to save the two women in time.

Warren did make it but amidst Sienna’s cries to save Nico before her, he took a chance and grabbed his girlfriend who was closer to the exit. A trapped Nico sat crying as fire fell all around her, declaring a final “I hate you” to the mother who’d been professing her love for her the entire time. Once Warren and Sienna were out, the maze exploded then imploded like the fires of hell. Though so over the top, Nico dying in a blazing ball of fire under a sign saying “Welcome to Hell” was just so fitting.

There was truly no way to redeem Nico as a character unless the writers had sent her away for years of intensive therapy; she had to die but no matter how vile she was, I was sad to watch her go. Her chemistry with mother Sienna was something unique in how dependent yet full of spite it was, so their every scene was a treat to watch. You never knew if Sienna and Nico would be enemies or accomplices as it all depended on the day. This time, Sienna has promised to be Nico’s champion in the wake of her death. Even when Warren finally admitted to loving Sienna, she threw him for a loop by expressing her hatred for him because he did not rescue Nico from the fire first like she’d asked.
Warren’s facial expression when he realized Sienna was serious about this revenge business was sadly hilarious. Sienna’s misplaced emotions have gotten a lot of people in town into some dangerous situations, and as the last Blake standing, Sienna feels like she’s got nothing to lose. That means, Warren better sleep with both eyes open from now on!

The Air Up There

Last week I predicted either Joanne Cardsley or Joe Roscoe would be knocking on death’s door after the Halloween festival – and I was right! Except this was the outcome none of us really wanted. Joe met his maker in the aftermath of the Halloween fire in a freak cherry picker accident, set in motion by his obsessed fling’s desperate action. As usual, a Hollyoaks death delivers in beautiful emotion and Joe’s was no different, if there’s to be an upside to this tragedy.

The week began with hope for Joe, hope that if he tried his hardest he’d be able to win back the affections of Mercedes McQueen. After abandoning her after an arrest mix up, cheating on her while she was locked up and even getting a restraining order… it was a bit of an uphill climb, to say the least. Though we all knew Mercedes still fiercely loved Joe, I was happy to see her stick to her guns about the way he’d treated her following the first arrest. She’d tried and tried to explain herself but he wasn’t having any of it – and that’s because Joanne had been in his ear the whole time. The scheming lawyer’s true nature was found out by Joe and now he wanted Mercy back, so he planned a grand gesture at the Halloween Spooktacular. He was going to propose again.

Joe enlisted the help of younger brother Freddie Roscoe to wrangle in Mercedes. It took some convincing but she finally showed up to the festival to meet with Joe. Freddie had already spoiled the surprise about the proposal so Mercedes had a plan. For all of the embarrassment he’d caused her in recent weeks, Mercedes wanted to embarrass Joe right back by turning down his proposal in front of the other watching villagers. She passed on a video camera to Tegan Lomax and Scott Drinkwell, telling them to capture every moment so she could replay it back. Joe had absolutely no idea what was heading his way in the form of Mercedes, but we soon find out that she had no clue either. This plan of hers was thin to begin with but once the pair board the Ferris wheel; it began to unravel when the ride came an emergency stop. On the ground, a jealous Joanne stopped the ride and tossed the key which only ironically brought Mercedes and Joe back together.

Mercy was downright prickly about being trapped with Joe atop the Ferris wheel but when he began to apologize, it was clear to see how weak she was to him. In a good way too! I wasn’t one for the pairing of these two at first, but there’s no denying that they did work well together. It felt so out of character for Joe to treat Mercedes so awfully these last few weeks, so for both Mercedes and the viewers, hearing him apologize for his behavior was so satisfying. He meant every word. It was when he then went on a tangent, dreaming up the couple’s lives together as parents then grandparents that Mercedes gave in. I was officially supporting the couple when Mercedes broke down just how they worked. Joe didn’t change who she was as a person, but helped her realize that she wanted more out of life just by him being mundane, boring and just all around normal. That was probably one of the sweetest backhanded compliment exchanges ever to be on TV. The two agreed to marry as soon as possible, not wanting to waste any more time than necessary.

Their time was unfortunately cut short. The couple had to wait to be rescued as the firefighters worked to contain the fire in the maze. A fireman came to their rescue later in a cherry picker, Mercedes was the first to be rescued thanks to Joe’s “Lady’s First” motto and ultimately safe when an ember from the fire caused an explosion near the Ferris wheel. Joe had been moving from the ride to the cherry picker when it happened, the force of the blast forcing him to jump for the cherry picker but the timing was off and he only just made it. He did his best to hold on but fell to the ground below after telling Mercedes he loved her. The scene was shot from Joe’s point of view, the camera showing in slow motion the fear on Mercedes’ face from the safety of the cherry picker, reaching out for Joe. He crash landed next to the banner asking Mercedes to marry him. Joe was declared brain dead at the hospital and subsequently taken off life support.

What followed the loss of Joe were some of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever seen in any soap opera. Both Mercedes and Sienna lost someone important to them at the Halloween festival and though they were never close, and probably never will be, they come to help each other through the grief on the roof of the hospital. Both women were poised to jump off, to end it all so as to not face the pain but froze when they spotted each other there. These women have never had much interaction over the years but they knew of each other. They had to work through this prejudices to eventually form this surprise connection over the loss of their children. But what was most poignant and almost beautiful was when Mercedes told Sienna to forget her father’s unreal expectations and stop blaming herself, to instead push it onto someone who deserved it. A little misguided was her advice, sure but in a sense it worked. The Mercedes of even a year ago might not have given Sienna the time of day in her grieving, but Joe really had an effect on her. Sienna noticed it too.

It’s when Mercedes comes to notice that part Joanne played in Joe’s death is what I’m waiting for. Joanne, you’ve got a big storm coming! Without Joe there to hold her back, Mercedes will surely take down the bunny boiler once and for all! There’s no longer room for redemption for Joanne, only retribution. Preferably tenfold.

Trust me on this! You do not want to be missing this show right now as it’s easily the most entertaining soap on the air! Please comment below with any questions about the show or tweet me, let’s get you addicted to Hollyoaks too!

Coryon Gray
Coryon Gray joined TV Source Magazine as a staff writer in October 2014. Prior to TV Source Magazine, he's written for and moderated Asian entertainment blogs and forums. On top of writing duties, Coryon is also a panelist for the TV Source Podcast, Soap Countdown Podcast and Our Take Media.

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