‘Hollyoaks’ Week In Review: Shaky Starts and Exciting Endings

Goldie gets Ryan to leave the club with her.
Goldie gets Ryan to leave the club with her.

Hollyoaks never slows down; it’s just not in the show’s vocabulary to do so. There’s always something going down in the quaint village giving villagers and the viewers watching no reason to be bored. Like any other show, there will always be weak links and stronger ones to support them up. Hollyoaks knows how to balance them well, giving equal play to almost every story. My favorites this last week dealt with some McQueen family members, my favorite eccentric and uncouth tribe in town and the posh Lovedays. Two incredibly tight knit family units involved in exciting beginnings and climaxes of stories just make for great TV. The McQueens may not be new in town, but they’re ever growing and the addition of the Lovedays (and the Nightingales) to the Channel 4 soap has been amazing. In my 3 years of watching the show, I don’t think any new characters have ever fit in so well, created such a unique dynamic and changed the show for a better like they have. Let’s get into my highlights of the week in the small Cheshire village of Hollyoaks!

Week in Review for Hollyoaks episodes airing November 28th – December 2nd.

Golden Honey Trap

Goldie McQueen thinking her big cousin Myra McQueen’s side of the family is posh will forever be laughable to me. Even funnier is the fact that Myra’s family really is kind of upper crust in comparison, this family that has half of its members living on public assistance for no good reason than to do it. The McQueens are extremely money motivated, always in search of a big win so it’s no surprise when Goldie can’t help but be interested in the idea of some fast money. Doesn’t matter if that money comes at a down and dirty price.

Goldie decides to work with Ste.

Goldie decides to work with Ste.

Ste Hay needed a specific kind of help, one that only a McQueen woman could pull of so naturally. After losing a custody hearing for his two kids, Ste has found himself in a desperate position. Amy Barnes’ new fiancé Ryan Knight spearheaded the campaign against removing Ste from his children’s life (with very valid reasons to do so) and Ste being Ste (immature) wants to take him down for it. He found himself an unlikely ally in Warren Fox, slowly reforming thug who back in the day did not get along with Ste but now he sympathized with him. Losing a child to a miscarriage and another to his dirty lifestyle, Warren knew what it was like to want nothing more than to be in your child’s life. So he decided to lend a hand – it didn’t hurt that not only does he have a disdain for all coppers, he happens to hate Ryan even more for being on good terms with his son Joel.

The amateur detectives tailed Ryan for a day only to find him exchanging money with a woman who looked a lot like a prostitute. Feeling excited with catching his enemy red-handed, Ste decided that they need to find a prostitute of their own to set Ryan up. Warren’s old contacts fell through at the last minute so their only hope was a money hungry McQueen. Hilariously, Mercedes turned them down only to have Goldie sign on at the promise of a paycheck. I don’t think she even know what she was signing up for – then again, I don’t think she really cared either! Goldie arrived in Hollyoaks with nothing but a bag, her sons and social services on her tail. Her goal is to make an honest woman of herself and to turn her troublemaker twins around yet somehow always finds herself shoplifting and now pretending to solicit for sex. Clearly, Goldie has a long way to go.

It’s pure comedy from here on out when Goldie hits the scene as working girl, Chanel. The job goes almost too well when she sets up a meeting with Ryan at The Loft, chatting him up over wine that Warren probably bought (Goldie’s broke, if you didn’t know). In my opinion, Goldie laid it on a little too heavy for they were quickly leaving the club to start the transaction. Much to Goldie’s surprise, she’s arrested for soliciting and Warren is taken in too under suspicion of pimping her out. At the station, the detective does his hardest to intimidate his two new inmates but neither of them is cracking. Ryan’s no fool, he knows that there’s more to this scheme than meets the eye but can’t yet put his finger on it especially when Goldie and Warren continue to accuse him of being a john. Turns out, the prostitute Warren and Ste saw him meet was an undercover officer he was aiding in her investigation. So all of this was really for nothing.

Warren is set free with nothing to charge him with but Goldie doesn’t make it off so easy. Goldie’s released into her angry second cousin Myra’s custody with a charge for solicitation on her record, something that might make social service’s case against her even stronger. That quick money quickly seemed like a big mistake to Goldie now. Fortunately, her former target offered her a way out of the trouble she’d stumbled into. After figuring out that Ste was the one attempting to set him up, Ryan offered to pull some strings and wipe Goldie’s record clean if she played for his team instead.

There doesn’t seem to be a con Goldie doesn’t want to jump into, especially if she wound up on the winning side and right now, that meant being Team Ryan Knight. It’s still crazy to think that somehow the McQueens have been out-McQueen’d by Goldie yet here she is, doing just that. Seeing a character really come from nothing and struggle to make something of herself is such a refreshing move. So often in soaps everyone is just the child of some mega rich CEO with indispensable income but that’s not everyone’s real life, definitely not the real lives of the people watching the soaps. I can’t say I relate to everything Goldie does but her hustle is something to admire.

Not Loving This Day

Mercedes vows to make Joanne suffer.

Mercedes vows to make Joanne suffer.

The Lovedays certainly had a few days they did not love this week, but by the end of this last week they could finally breathe again. Or at least begin to learn how to do so again. With Simone set on filing for divorce from Louis, Lisa spiraling after making the mistake of cheating on Nathan Nightingale and Zack – well, being Zack – the Lovedays have been buried in drama. Then along comes Joanne Cardsley to make it even worse.

The loony lawyer somehow figured that her months long obsession with Joe Roscoe was just a small ripple in the pond that was Louis Loveday, the man she truly loved. No matter that he was her former best friend’s husband and not at all into her like he was during their affair 15 years ago. Still, Joanne was not going to let go of the man she thought belonged to her. Easily one of the most cunning characters I’ve ever seen on a soap opera, Joanne had a plan for everything and her plan to get Louis back in her arms involved a little blackmail of teenagers. Hunter and Prince McQueen were caught by the lawyer in the middle of tagging a wall with graffiti, so she held the vandalism act over Prince’s head to get him to do her dirty work. Under Joanne’s guidance, Prince lied to Headmistress Sally St. Claire that Louis had physically assaulted him. The teacher had already been spoken too about being too harsh on the two new McQueen boys so Sally really had no choice but to believe Prince, even if he was a delinquent. This played right into Joanne’s hands and soon Louis was on suspension from work, depressed and even better – vulnerable.

It’s utterly sick to think that Joanne figures the only way she can win over a man is when he’s at his lowest. Even sicker to think that those low points are almost exclusively brought on by Joanne’s own actions too. She began to slink her way back in then, whispering sweet nothings to Louis to get him to let her represent him in this assault case. It’s only after fellow lawyer and friend James Nightingale had first offered to represent him, then bailed on their meeting under phony pretenses that Louis agreed to Joanne’s offer. All a part of her plan, of course. Little do the two of them know, the other Lovedays are hopping around town to break down every story Joanne has ever told over time.

See, Lisa and Simone may be mother and daughter but they’ve missed out on 15 years of experiences together and are practically strangers. Lisa was kidnapped at 6 years old by Margaret Smith, a friend of Joanne’s and someone who Lisa actually grew to love and see as her mother. Simone discovered Lisa had been visiting her kidnapper in jail and flew off the handle, driving to meet with the woman herself. Before she could tell her off for meeting with her daughter, Margaret began to list off wild reasons as to why she kidnapped Lisa in the first place. She claimed it was to save her from abuse. Now mind you, Simone is a very proper woman (which I love to see in a black female character) who lives for the opera and sometimes a little too much wine so the accusation of child abuse threw her for a loop. Apparently Margaret had heard stories from Joanne over time which eventually pushed her to take Lisa. Funnily enough, it was Joanne who found the real Lisa and had Margaret arrested 15 years later. It was such a huge ah-ha kind of moment that I was screaming at my TV in disbelief. The writers obviously had this planned for the entire year Joanne had been scheming about town, but to see it all fall into place on screen was fantastic. I love a good long story – that doesn’t mean a drawn out story, but a story that actually develops gradually over time with a clear direction. This was that kind of story.

Jacqueline Boatswain’s Simone was so fabulous in these moments of realization. As the viewer, you were right there with her piecing it all together. Meanwhile her children were set to pummel the truth out of Prince McQueen about the so-called assault their father committed. Outnumbered, the McQueen twin admitted that Joanne had set it all up to get at Louis. The kids tipped their father off and the legal talk with Joanne turned to lunacy. No matter how much she pleaded for him to love her, Louis just wanted to escape but she’d locked the two of them in James’ apartment. By the time the cops arrive with Lisa and Zack in tow, Joanne’s torn her dress to make it look like Louis had attacked her. And the black man is carded away in handcuffs – classic! Joanne is terrifyingly good at playing the victim. Even when she obviously caused the mess herself, the outcome is never her fault unless it’s good. And people eat it up each time!

Joanne decides to frame Louis.

Joanne decides to frame Louis.

Unfortunately for Joanne, the tides quickly turned against her while being held at the police station for an interview of the incident. Simone made it in time to meet Lisa on the steps, filling her in on how Joanne manipulated Margaret into eventually kidnapping her as a child. For now, the two women were on the same team again after blowing up on each other earlier. Taking down Joanne was priority. I love that when James overheard of Joanne’s part in the kidnapping, he immediately removed himself from her, wanting no part. He entertained her little schemes and kept quiet about some of the bigger stunts too, but I was glad to see him realize she was not healthy for herself and for him. Simone was the one who met with Joanne under the guise of being her lawyer, arriving with a beautifully delivered, “Have a seat, bitch.” I almost wet my pants right there.

Former co-workers, former friends, the two women went over their checkered past together. Simone who never understood the young woman her daughter grew up to be, tore into Joanne for robbing her of a real identity for all those years. All while Joanne figured that since she brought Lisa back into Simone’s life, all should be forgiven. Ha ha! Other characters on the show often call Simone cold, heartless but the passion in her heart was on fire as she stood up for her family against Joanne. I was utterly captivated. But of course Joanne was not going to go down without a fight, armed with James’ letter opener pressed to Simone’s back, she took control of the commotion Goldie and Myra were causing to slip out the door. Thankfully Lisa followed behind to save her mother with a good punch square to Joanne’s head but that only angered the lawyer who stabbed Simone in the end and fled.

My favorite scenes of the week took place around Simone’s hospital bed after the incident. The family was still shaken up but grateful that Simone was set to recover just fine. Lisa and Simone have this heart to heart that would make anyone break down into tears just because of the portrayals by the actors. The emotion was hanging heavily in these scenes. They loved each other but after 15 years apart, couldn’t understand each other but they desperately wanted to. Lisa had grieved for her family already since Margaret told them they’d died; she’d never thought she would see them all again and had moved on. All of this grief for a little 6 year old because of Joanne’s evildoings. Lisa admitted that she hurts others so that they won’t hurt her in the end, so she doesn’t have to feel the same pain that came with losing her family. Wreck it before it wrecks you became Lisa’s motto because of it all, and you could see Simone’s heart just crumbling hearing this. These scenes were such an amazing emotional development for the character of Lisa, one that was the definition of superficial from the beginning. Such a great emotional climax to this part of the Lovedays story.

Bonded in mutual hatred for Joanne, newfound friend Mercedes McQueen showed up to Simone’s bedside to check in. It’s then that they all learn Joanne’s been taken in for stabbing Simone, but only for that crime so far. There’s no one in that room that wants her to be able to wriggle out of this one so Louis dropped a little tidbit Joanne had revealed earlier. She was the one who stopped the Ferris wheel at the Halloween festival, a ride that took a deadly turn for Joe Roscoe.

The Lovedays’ beef with Joanne may have come to a hectic halt but Mercedes’ was just kicking off now. Joanne’s end is going to be so messy; it’s only the McQueen way to do business that way. I will be shouting expletives at my screen when Mercy finally gets her hands on her, just like everyone watching! Joanne’s time has come!

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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