‘Hollyoaks’ Week In Review: The Ties That Bind Us

Frankie gets steamy with Diego.
Frankie gets steamy with Diego.

Family Feud

Grace's ugly scarf incriminates her in newfound evidence.
Grace’s ugly scarf incriminates her in newfound evidence.

The Donovan family is easily one of the best additions to Hollyoaks in some time. Each member of the family is complex and that complexity has helped to solidify and humanize the anchor character, Grace Black. As mentioned before, Grace was tyrannical criminal who always got away but these days she’s still a tyrant but with a little more sensitivities thanks to her burgeoning family. It’s a shame her brother Liam and mother Tracy Donovan both actively worked against her this week, forcing Grace to flee town without her son. The worst part of it all – she’s innocent. At least on this crime.

The walls began to c lose in on Grace at an alarming rate. Grace is the kind of person who has every single one of her ducks in order at all times, considering her line of side work, getting caught slipping up could prove deadly. After many attempts from the cops and younger brother Liam to entrap her, Grace managed to wriggle free. Unfortunately a kind gesture from Maxine Minniver is the one the helps to do her in. Maxine and Adam Donovan have had one of the sweetest romances on Hollyoaks as of late but that sweetness didn’t last long; it can’t on a soap opera. She learned that he’d been hiding a secret former fiancée, one who disappeared under mysterious circumstances on a boat. The natural reaction is to point fingers at the lover, it always goes that way but Adam had been investigated and cleared years ago which unfortunately left the case unsolved. Over the last few months, Adam learned one brother had slept with Darcy Wild the former fiancee and another had done a drug deal with her, shattering this image had. Feelings resurfaced and Maxine could sense how unsettled her boyfriend had become, so she hired a private investigator to dig deeper into the case. What he came up with was a photo of an unregistered guest on the boat wearing one of the worst scarves I’ve ever seen in my life. The hideous pink leopard print fringe mess belonged to Grace, Liam spotted it immediately in family photos provided by mom Tracey and finally he felt like he’d won.

He had tried to catch Grace in a counterfeit money scam and even wore a wire to catch her confession, but she was always two to three steps ahead of her baby brother. After learning of his betrayal, Grace was even more careful but this time she couldn’t deny it. Liam took the evidence to the police with his mother in tow who admitted to seeing Grace shove Darcy overboard. All of this happened while Grace pleaded to Adam to believe her and that she played no part in what happened to Darcy. She admitted that under her mother’s urging, she went to intimidate Darcy who Tracy believed to be bad for her son. They tried to pay her off but Adam’s fiancée did not take kindly to the bribe and fought back. But Grace adamantly declared she had nothing to do with Darcy’s demise – just as the police swarmed her residence.

She managed to flee the village but because of Kim Butterfield’s meddling, wasn’t able to take her son Curtis with whom Esther Bloom was spending the day. Confused and frantic, Grace hit the road as her family was left feeling quite the same way. All of these years gone by and Darcy’s supposed killer was right there in their family. Or so they were being lead to believe.

Inexplicably fragile, Tracy admitted to Liam that she really didn’t see Grace do anything to Darcy and that she only made it up under pressure at the police station. Tracy might not have the best relationship with her last living daughter but breaking up her family was not her intention, it’s in fact one of her biggest fears. Now they’re at this crossroads of whether or not to continue to pursue Grace, taking her down for a crime she’s innocent of to pay for the ones they know she did commit or to retract their statements. With Liam’s ire at the loss of his fiancée and unborn child, I don’t see him backing down any time soon but Tracy will eventually crack. It’s obvious.

Amidst all of the chaos, Hollyoaks gave viewers some of the most saccharine romantic scenes that literally made me squeal. Like something out of an 80’s movie, Adam had to think of a way to win Maxine’s favor back. Confronted with all the updates on his lost fiancée, his old feelings stirred, causing him to accidentally speak about his love for her – in the present tense. A pep talk from Liam made him realize that Maxine was his second chance at true love and that he’d be dumb to lose it. So in the corniest but cutest way ever, Adam called into Maxine’s taxi dispatching line to apologize to her. He then showed up and proposed, his brother blasting some love song on a boombox as he slid a metal nut on her finger as a makeshift engagement ring. They were in a car garage, so he had to improvise. But the effect was still there, still completely squealworthy.

Their peaceful happiness won’t last long, neither will the accusations against Grace. In the latest news, Hollyoaks announced it recently cast Game of Thrones extra Aisling Jarrett-Gavin in the role of Darcy. And no, not for flashbacks detailing her disappearance and apparent death but as a full time regular character. I cannot wait to see how that mystery unfolds. My general guess right now is that while on the run, it’s Grace who hunts down Darcy to bring her back to the village to prove herself innocent of any murder. Could it be that the mysterious blonde with the ugly scarf on the boat was actually Darcy in disguise, slipping away into the night?

What are your thoughts on what could happen next?

Prisoner of Love

Lily worries Diane will split family apart.
Lily worries Diane will split family apart.

On one hand, Diane Hutchison knows that her son is a monster and shouldn’t be released from prison but on the other? Finn O’Connor made a surprise appearance at the end of this last week, begging his mother to help him get out of the prison where he’s served for raping his teacher John-Paul McQueen. Terrified of what her family and other villagers might think of her even considering to help her disaster of a child, Diane has been keeping hush about these plans. But her niece Lily Drinkwell knows something is up so I doubt this’ll be a secret for long.

Lily Drinkwell is such a breath of fresh air to Hollyoaks. What I love about the female characters on this show is that when they’re headstrong and tough, not even romance will change them – because that’s just who they are. Their characters don’t lose integrity. Lily is just like that, a young girl who is both mature but vulnerable all at the same time. Viewers saw Lily noticing things this week that began to unnerve her, her aunt Diane Hutchison began taking secret calls that began to sound more and more intimate. On top of her playful banter with known ladies’ man Diego, Lily began to think that maybe this new family she’d come into was already set to implode and send her reeling. Poor thing even began to look for government housing for herself, thinking that Diane and Tony would be headed for a breakup soon and would want her gone.

For the first part of the week, it’s unclear just who Diane is talking to on the phone. Hollyoaks loves a good red herring, so very often we’d see Diane flirting with Diego or even given a shot of a hat very similar to hers in his trailer as he begins a hot romp with a faceless woman. We quickly learn that it wasn’t Diane but Frankie but still the mystery caller looms above. Lily’s reaction is very realistic for a teen who has seemingly lost it all, it’s easy to feel shaken up should one thing in her new environment seem on the edge of imploding. Fortunately for her, she’s worrying too much and about nothing like what she thought but unfortunately, it has the potential to be worse.

The mystery caller is none other than her son, Finn O’Connor pleading for her help to get him released from prison. A convicted sex criminal, Finn was responsible for the rape of his teacher John Paul McQueen and the attempted rape of another teacher, Nancy Osborne as well as assaults. All in all, he is not someone the village will welcome back with open arms. Diane knows that but she can’t seem to find the heart to shut her son out of her life. She went to visit him in lockup later that week where he begged for her help, claiming that he’s reformed in his time away and deserves to live a full life. From attacking pensioners and raping teachers, it’s hard to believe that all it took was two years for that drive to go away and Diane plays it cautious. She’s his mother, she will always want to help but what would she become by releasing the monster he’s become back into the world? She’d been sneaking around to accept his calls out of fear of being judged for allowing the contact and I don’t blame her.

I will however be questioning her if she welcomes the rapist back in her home. At the end of the week, viewers see Diane have another phone conversation with Finn where she agreed to help him with his appeal. But the condition for that help is that he leaves Hollyoaks and never returns, never shows his face there again. John Paul is set to leave the show in the coming months and his storyline with Finn is arguably one of his biggest, it makes sense to revisit that, to try and tie up the some of the loose ends. There’s no doubt in my mind that Finn will not adhere to his mother’s rule and will make his presence known in Hollyoaks for that final stretch of John Paul’s time there. My only fear is that his pretty young cousin might be in his line of fire. Technically they’re not related by blood but I don’t think incest or pseud-incest would stop someone as vile as Finn from grossly asserting his dominance. What Diane just agreed to do will not only be dangerous for Finn’s past victims, but for the ones of the future as well. There’s no doubt that there will be many.

Do you think Diane is wrong for helping out her rapist son?

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