Hollyoaks‘ hour-long episode focusing on the county lines drug dealing storyline upped the ante on the hard-hitting plot, with several dramatic developments set to have huge repercussions for the rest of 2020.
As teens Juliet Nightingale (Niamh Blackshaw) and Sid Sumner (Billy Price) did their first cross-county delivery for ringleader Jordan Price (Connor Calland), the wider impact of drug gangs invading suburban communities was also explored as Kyle Kelly (Adam Rickitt) admitted his struggles with depression as he saved Darren Osborne (Ashley Taylor Dawson) from a suicide attempt, which pushed him back into substance abuse.
Here are five standout, game-changing moments from Monday 13th April’s E4 showing of the thought-provoking special, and a tease of what the long-term consequences will be for the characters.
Juliet admits her love for Peri
December’s flash forward to New Year’s Eve 2020 showed Juliet locked in a clandestine affair with Peri Lomax, and the scared schoolgirl finally came out to Sid during their seaside day trip as her on/off boyfriend supportively encouraged her to be honest about her sexuality. Any hopes self-loathing Juliet will learn to love herself after this are pretty slim, as her and Peri didn’t exactly look happy together by the end of the year.
Sid and Juliet start a turf war
The furtive friends tried to keep their cool as they dropped Jordan’s package of drugs to a local trap house and pocketed the cash, but cocky Juliet clashed with one of the girls taking the delivery and sneakily snatched her phone as a joke. Thinking nothing of it, Sid and Juliet were terrified when the gang later caught up with them at the beach and accused the pair of trying to steal their contacts before dishing out a beating to Sid. For the sake of a childish prank, Juliet and Sid may have inadvertently started a county lines turf war, and dug themselves in deeper with Jordan.
Ollie and Imran are drawn into the danger
Sid was saved from being stabbed when oblivious mates Ollie and Imran, who thought they’d all gone for an innocent day out to the funfair, arrived on the scene and the local gang dispersed. Juliet and Sid refused to tell their suspicious pals the truth and the quartet agreed to keep quiet about the terrifying turn their day out took. While this was a noble gesture from Ollie to protect his pals, the flash forward also teased that by Christmas the Morgan lad is hooked on ketamine – is keeping quiet the start of his own spiral into the murky world of county lines?
Jordan’s threats get worse, despite a tragic backstory
Back at the Lomaxes Peri was horrified to find drugs in Jordan’s pocket, but he opened up about his troubled childhood and how his mum’s death from cancer and his dad’s struggle to cope pushed him into dealing. While there was element of spin to stop Peri blabbing, and he blatantly lied about not dealing any more, Jordan’s tragic backstory was a genuine insight into how he was once a vulnerable child, like Sid and Juliet, who was groomed with the promise of status and self-worth before it twisted him beyond recognition. His chilling threats to his petrified protégées for mucking up the job showed the sinister cycle continues, meaning there is little chance of Juliet and Sid escaping the clutches of the nefarious network.
Darren tries to take his own life and Kyle heads down a dark path
Elsewhere in the episode Darren’s depression storyline reached a peak when the troubled dad was stopped from taking his own life by Kyle. The plot was deftly linked back to county lines through Kyle’s increasing reliance on drugs, scored from Jordan, to distract from his mental health issues after he opened up to Darren that he too attempted suicide when he was 15 and was sectioned. While he encouraged Darren to seek professional help after his worrying wake-up call, fans were left fearing for Kyle as he buried his own feelings and appeared to slide deeper into addiction and darkness – with Jordan and his supply chain of illegal substances ready to take advantage as he infiltrates Hollyoaks village even more over the coming months…