‘Hollyoaks’ Week In Review: Change Your Life

The McQueens send Celine off in style.
The McQueens send Celine off in style.

All Falls Down

Nathan plummets as Mac and Lisa watch.
Nathan plummets as Mac and Lisa watch.

Self-sabotage is unfortunately a hobby for Lisa Loveday. Whenever things seem to be looking up for her, Lisa goes out of her way to ruin the situation and this time it’s irreparable. For weeks, Lisa has been fooling around with boyfriend Nathan Nightingale’s much older father, Mac Nightingale. Has it been a sexy affair? For me, not at all but it has been a nice trainwreck to watch. That metaphorical train came to a screeching halt this last week when by chance, Nathan stumbled upon the woman he vowed to marry and the man who fathered him tangled up in bed. Everything fell to pieces quickly after that.

This last week Lisa had pushed Nathan away once more but as usual, he never gave up on her. Even when Lisa was at her most unreasonable, Nathan was always ready to forgive her and continue where they left off. This time he wanted to change their situation for the better by doing something so drastic to bring her back into his good graces – proposing marriage! While I did really come to love Nathan and Lisa as a couple, their relationship has been a consistently volatile up and down of emotions that no wedding ring would ever be able to stabilize. Much like real life people, there’s always this misconception that signing a marriage certificate will fix all the problems in a relationship but more often than not, the situation worsens.

Lisa and Nathan experience a few fleeting moments of happiness during their makeshift engagement party but matters turn dark in no time. Nathan’s siblings Ellie and Alfie Nightingale rally around the newly engaged duo and shockingly, so does Nathan’s constantly disapproving mother Marnie. For months now she’s talked down on Lisa, blatantly calling her not good for her son in hopes of tearing them apart but after the proposal there wasn’t any more room for her to talk badly about her. Lisa made Nathan happy, it was apparent now and as a mother it was all she wanted for her son. Obviously Marnie had no clue Lisa was sleeping with her ex-husband Mac while playing sweet to the rest of the family. Up until recently, Mac and Lisa were extremely covert with their affair but as with most heated love affairs, the involved parties get reckless. During a family dance off, Nathan accidentally spills his drink on Lisa who storms upstairs to change her outfit. While changing, Mac confronts his son’s girlfriend about their feelings for each other. Apparently he’s in love with her and refuses to accept this marriage, not when they have an even stronger connection.

At this point I’m rolling my eyes. Not only is Mac an awful father but he’s an all-around awful person too, notorious for sleeping around and ruining his family yet still finds room to judge other’s decisions. Lisa stands firm at first but eventually gives in to the older man’s advances. That’s when Nathan arrives to check in on his new fiancée only to find her mid-coitus with his father. I’d have to bleach my eyes out after that but instead Nathan understandably saw red. Much like Cleo, Nathan is always pretty mild-tempered when it comes to just about everything but I am so happy he actually stood up for himself this time, especially in the face of a betrayal of this magnitude. Of course the cheaters attempted to downplay the situation but all the evidence was damning, there was no way to flip things in their favor at this point. But as the argument got heated, so did the participants until father and son nearly came to blows. What happened next was a purely tragic twist of fate.

Mac who suffers from anger issues shoved his son but when he lost his footing and began to fall backward, tried to grab him but only managed to grasp his bracelet which did not help. The Dog in The Pond pub was under heavy reconstruction so the entire wall was out, so there was nowhere for Nathan to catch himself as he continued to slip until he eventually toppled over the edge. His best friend Cleo saw the fall. The Nightingale family ran to Nathan’s side after hearing Cleo’s screams and while he was still breathing at the time, he quickly lost his life during the wait for emergency services.

Everyone reacts to the death in various ways; Marnie who is always a drama queen finally has a valid reason to groan in anguish, Mac lashes out even more and Lisa retreats into herself because of the guilt. She’s obviously to blame indirectly for what happened with her fiance, but Lisa actually feels like she’s the one who pushed him over the balcony’s edge. I am honestly worried what this development means for Lisa. While I’m sure everyone will eventually get over the loss of Nathan, moving on with their lives, Lisa is someone who clings onto things that have happened to her. When she was kidnapped as a child, Lisa was made to believe that she’d caused the deaths of her family, a manipulation tactic so she’d more easily trust her kidnapper. Those years of guilt changed her. She might be fun and brash and bold on the outside but inside she’s extremely weak. That’s part of the reason I do not like the Mac and Lisa pairing because Mac is extremely manipulative to the core.

Nathan can't believe what his fiancee's done.
Nathan can’t believe what his fiancee’s done.

He doesn’t love her but he loves to use her. Now she’s forever tied to Mac, roped into him for hitting Cameron Campbell with his car and leaving the scene and now Nathan’s death. He’s obligated to play family man now to ease the Nightingale’s grieving but Lisa wants to confess to everything, to admit their part in the tragedy but Mac’s not having it. He may not be a smart man but he’s definitely calculating which makes me scared for Lisa’s safety. With his anger issues, I don’t think it’s above Mac to angrily wipe Lisa out to keep these secrets quiet. But Lisa isn’t dumb either, I only hope she can escape his clutches and get some therapy afterward. Home girl has been through so much, much more than a normal person could take without talking about it. She’s got to let go of all that self-doubt, guilt and desire to hurt before being hurt so she can move on and be happy.

But first, Lisa and Mac must pay the consequences for their actions. And I must give kudos to Hollyoaks PR team for keeping this shocking death under wraps. Paparazzi pictures of the filming of Nathan’s funeral popped into the news about two months back but everyone assumed James Nightingale would bite the bullet, mainly because he wasn’t featured in any of the pictures. But did you know who was? Nathan! It was a complete psych out and it worked! No one would have even thought of losing Nathan but the handsome actor behind the character, Jared Garfield chose not to renew his contract as had been his original plan. So off he went!

Public Enemy

Diane Hutchinson has a strong family ethic but for some reason, I feel like that is what always gets her into trouble. She’s got to learn to care a little less about her degenerate children because all they do is make her look bad – for defending them (or in daughter Sinead O’Connor’s case, always going against her). Finn O’Connor’s rape case is up for review after two or so years of rehabilitation on his part but he needs his mommy’s help. After sneaking around and paying lawyer fees for her pleading son, Diane is found out and very quickly berated by half the town – including her husband – for supporting a rapist. But to Diane, she’s just doing her job as a mother but unfortunately that job now comes with a thousand pounds of emotional baggage.

There’s no one in the entire village of Hollyoaks that wants Finn O’Connor released from jail. A serial rapist and master manipulator, he’s attacked many of the town’s inhabitants in more ways than one over the years. It’s obvious why there was such an uproar from citizens when news spread that his sentencing was set to be reviewed by the courts. Surprisingly, the victim at the center of Finn’s reign of terror would have much rather ignroed the issue. John Paul McQueen was manipulated and raped by his then student on numerous occasions, then taunted into submission after the fact. The years after the attacks were rough on him but he still relives the attacks every day, quietly suffering. All of his friends and family want John Paul to testify by writing a victim’s letter, barring the release of the young rapist but he’d much rather live in ignorance. His boyfriend James Nightingale isn’t coping well with the death of his younger brother, remaining hardened and cold while trying to work the grief away. John Paul understandably wants to be there for his boyfriend but unfortunately that means ignoring his own problems and that’s just not healthy.

In a surprise move, Ste Hay flies to his husband’s side when the news of Finn’s pending review hits. While they may both be seeing other men, their divorce has yet to be finalized and the bad blood between them seems to have dried up. This pairing was never a favorite (I can’t seem to get behind Ste in a relationship with anyone!), there were a few aw moments as they reconnected in the face of this mess. Ste and John Paul were together during the Finn fiasco where the former was the latter’s staunch supporter, even while high out of his mind. They had severe ups and downs leading to their breakup but coming together now felt a lot better than it had before, a lot healthier. Thanks to Ste’s soft urging, John Paul decides to write the victim’s letter, expressing his feelings for Ste to transcribe. It was almost therapeutic for John Paul to get everything off his chest because yes, he was still dealing with the rape, every day he was and having to see Finn out and about again would only worsen his already poor method of dealing.

Later in the week, it’s discovered that Diane is the one financing Finn’s legal support for the sentencing review. Even her husband Tony Hutchinson is in disbelief and disgusted at his wife’s stance, especially since she’d used their money to support the rapist. He doesn’t mince words either, stating that if Finn wins his case and is released then he’ll have nothing more to do with her. I’m so happy that Hollyoaks understands what Finn did was deplorable and make no qualms about calling him exactly what he is, a rapist. Soaps on the other side of the pond either call rape “a moment of heated passion” or deny the existence of male rape completely, choosing to write it off entirely. Myra McQueen went to bat for her son, forcing Diane to explain herself in public for helping her son out. Diane had to emphasize that she didn’t agree with what Finn did but it’s her obligation as parent to help him if he needs help, no matter what. Myra could sympathize but couldn’t agree with Diane in this case, not when her son was a serial rapist – a word that Diane couldn’t even bring herself to say. I cheered for Myra when she corrected Diane from saying “crimes” or something similar, reminding her that Diane’s son raped her son. Simple as that.

When it was revealed that James had volunteered to take on Finn’s case, John Paul immediately felt betrayed without giving much thought to what his famously calculating boyfriend could be up to. Very early on it’s revealed that James took up the case to ensure Finn would never be released, a plan that Finn’s step-father Tony signs onto. But it’s in this moment of weakness, fearing that his usually money hungry and career motivated boyfriend had taken up the case for the wrong reasons that John Paul finds himself kissing Ste.

Do I want John Paul to go down this route again with Ste? Absolutely not. They were one of the most self-destructive, dangerous couples that made it impossible to root for them at any time. I am happy to see Ste support his husband but he’s lost, I don’t think his motives are sincere at all. It feels like he’s just being transported back to that time when he was in love with John Paul, that because things aren’t working with Harry Hutchinson at the moment and John Paul needs support, he’s just sliding back into his own spot. Feelings shouldn’t work that way, it’s harmful for everyone involved. That’s why I always say that Ste needs to take some serious time alone to think. Just be single and stop hopping from man to man!

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