‘Hollyoaks’ Week In Review: Role Reversals

Freddie gives Ellie an empowering goodbye.
Freddie gives Ellie an empowering goodbye.

Love to Love You

Ste pleads not guilty of murder.
Ste pleads not guilty of murder.

Harry Thompson is one pathetic kid and I mean that wholeheartedly, both pathetic and kid. He’s meant to be a university freshman, more or less an adult and yet he has this unhealthy childlike obsession with jailbird boyfriend Ste Hay. And no one seems to think that it’s incredibly dangerous!
I believe I have touched on my distaste for the Ste and Harry couple in an earlier review but I’ll give you a little run down again today. Basically, an HIV positive Ste lusted after his best friend’s 17 year old son, they started an affair they kept secret until they no longer couldn’t – an intense drug habit, a little prostitution and other things followed too. In a nutshell, Starry is the absolute worst but this last week the writers were still working on trying to make them into something when they’re really nothing but bad.

The Amy Barnes murder mystery is a twisty-turny umbrella story that I can’t figure out if it’s smart or convoluted. It might be a little bit of both honestly. Just about everyone seems to be involved to some degree but there’s still no real clue as to what really happened to Amy on the night of her death – or we’re completely missing it. Harry seems to think he knows though, he also seems to think he’s a lawyer and a cop and the head of some kind of social justice movement. This last week he continues to dig his nose deeper into Ste’s steaming pile of mess just as a letter from his school comes alerting father Tony Hutchison that he’s failing. And what’s Harry’s response to that? He doesn’t care about school if Ste isn’t around.

What?!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a soap character so blindly pathetic until Harry. No amount of talking sense from his father can get the young man to see that he’s throwing away his entire life for a man. This is a man that no one can truly trust after he’s scammed, lied and broken all of their trusts countless times. But Harry cannot seem to shake him yet no one seems to see what dangerous obsessive levels it’s reached as he neglects his own life for Ste’s. That is not love! Tony finally sees a bit of it and talks Ste into breaking up with his son after seeing the effect this is having on his life.

This most current breakup shatters Harry but only for a time, he re-energizes his efforts to exonerate Ste because he thinks no one else will. There is some truth there as we learn attorney James Nightingale is actively working against Ste, lying about checking into new leads probably as a final revenge against the man who blew up his engagement. Or to maybe cover up the fact he killed Amy. We don’t know yet.

Under Harry’s annoyingly incessant counsel, Ste realizes that he’s misremembering events from the night of the murder. Thanks to prolonged drug use, Ste has severe brain damage causing him to lose minutes and even hours at a time. He’d imagined calling Tony on that night when he’d actually called his super nice drug dealer that told him not to use. That bit of doubt was what made Ste change his plea to not guilty.

What I hope comes out of this story is that Harry finds a purpose in life outside of Ste. He was kept hidden from his father by his mother, he clearly must have some daddy and attachment issues from the way he clings to this man. I think it’d be smart for the writers to make Harry realize he wants to become a lawyer or psychologist. This young man literally only exists for Ste and exists as a character to prop up Ste, to make him still feel rootable. It’s not working for me though!

I Remember Yesterday

Maxine overdoes it at her re-engagement party.
Maxine overdoes it at her re-engagement party.

In a show where the absolute most can happen, it’s so refreshing to get a standard soap opera cliche every now and then. Hollyoaks can deliver hard hitting topical stories and zany murder plots all in one episode, but I feel like they often forget the tried and true tropes of serial storytelling. In recent weeks when Darcy Wilde came back from the dead to wreak havoc on Maxine Minniver and Adam Donovan’s romance – and I am loving every juicy minute of it. But you know, Team MaDam (such s good ship name!) all the way or whatever.

This last week was a week-long test of Maxine’s patience that Darcy was living to try. Since the shock announcement that not only did she not die the night she disappeared from Adam’s life but that she’s also had his child, Darcy has been working overtime behind the scenes to get Adam back in her life. Thankfully it hasn’t been working. A few weeks back, Maxine broke it off with Adam so that he could sort out his feelings for his returned ex. It was a scene that I applauded on so many levels not just because of how real to life it was, but because it was such a major development for Maxine’s character. See, she’d suffered for years under the thumb of her insanely abusive ex-husband, tearing her down from her former vivacious self to a meek self-conscious mouse of s woman. Being with Adam showed her what true love should feel like but it also gave her the strength of self to know when to step away, for her own sake.

Adam realized that Maxine was the one for him and worked to get her back, now they’re more solid than ever. They’re making love all over the house, making future plans and basically already living that newlywed life. So why not put the halted wedding back on again? The couple makes moves to put a rush on their re-engagement party so they can move up their wedding date – but little do they know, evil Darcy catches wind of their plan and concocts one of her own. By this point, Maxine’s patience is threadbare as Darcy dumps son Toby on the couple every chance she gets. A romantic brunch date turns into soccer in the park and nosebleeds. As a viewer, you wonder if this little boy is being used as a pawn and whether or not he knows as he continues to torment Maxine. Eventually, they grow to actually like one another thanks to Darren Osborne’s advice to Maxine telling her to play nice and kill Darcy with kindness. The combination of seeing her son bond with Maxine and hearing about the MadAm re-engagement makes Darcy craft up yet another plan.
Apparently Toby’s birthday is the same day as the engagement party and he just can’t imagine not spending it with his dad. So the solution? Have a birthday and an engagement party all in one! Maxine had wanted to go all out with an opulent gig (which in her eyes includes a chocolate fondue fountain) but now there were children to worry about… lots of them too, as Darcy desired. The birthday side of the party was meant to be light but with Darcy’s meddling, balloon animals and a magician show took over – so Maxine took over the champagne.

Needless to say, the night ended with Maxine puking during her speech and running out in embarrassment. But like the absolute sweetheart Adam is, he still ran to her side to reassure her (and even kissed her nasty puke mouth!). We learn in the end that Darcy lied about it being Toby’s birthday and even has the little boy playing her partner in crime! She’s not only scamming Adam but she has his son in on the job too! But my main question is, if Darcy is lying about the birthday then could she also be lying about Toby’s birth? If I were Adam, I would have a blood test on that mystery boy in a heartbeat instead of immediately loaning all my time and support to the women actively trying to break up my happy home.

But that’s just me, naturally suspicious!

Though I am all the way here for Adam and Maxine as a couple, Darcy is the epitome of good soap bitch. She is ruthless, cunning and determined in the worst way. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a character just be so unabashedly bad that even though I should hate her for her actions, I just can’t as she’s just that entertaining. Female characters in US soaps are either helpless as mentioned earlier or just wish washy. Good girls go bad for an episode then become apologetic and whimpering or the bad girls are watered down to nothing these days, meanwhile the bitch archetype that’s so necessary for a good rivalry story is alive and thriving in the U.K. in Darcy. This storyline is going to be one to watch in the coming weeks, for sure.

Please comment below with any questions about the show or even tweet me, let’s get you addicted to Hollyoaks too!

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