Jal is pregnant and doesn’t know what to do about it. She knows Chris is still pill popping and loves him, even though she knows that if she commits as he asks, she risks her high flying future. Maxxie finds a boyfriend, Tony and Michelle are back together, as are Sid and Cassie, and the pressure to be a couple becomes immense as all Jal’s friends make time for their partners over her. Eventually she blurts it out to her father – the architect of her upcoming bright future – who immediately disapproves but provides few answers. Her life is already incomplete with her parents split – are the baby and Chris more important now than her future as a musical prodigy?
It’s a great plot but back to being far too dark. The misleading signposting of Chris’ downfall is ultimately clever, but the cliffhanger of his life saving surgery is far too soap operatic. But that’s the problem this series has – how to toe the line between being a better written Hollyoaks, and living up to the sensationalism of its own pretty-actor based publicity. And here it kept getting unbalanced, partly because the editing was so bad (the Maxxie subplot was welcome, but the meat of it was edited out and released onto the web only – it’s above and quite lovely and cute), partly because having seen that particular subplot, it’s clear just how much lighter the tone of all that was shot is, and how many decisions were taken in post production to ‘get serious’. Quite a mistake. Jal’s well acted by Wilson, and Cassie in particular is acted cleverly by Hannah Murray, but this disproportionate focus on one character a week is, whilst a worthy idea in principle, rarely executed well, leaving the whole series disjointed. We’re left remaining intrigued by some interesting characters, without ever seeing their full potential. Hopefully next week won’t be so dark again, but it looks unlikely to be different.