(Series 29, ep.21) I thought at the beginning that this episode was going to be annoyingly Valentine-themed – Robyn had a card for Lofty (which he thought was from Max), Ethan was writing one for Honey, Max was giving Zoe random gifts – but then it took a very dark turn indeed, and became something dramatic and quite unsettling.
Central to it was guest artiste Marcia Warren. Why was her character, Olive, in prison, and why was she being kept away from other prisoners? When another woman crashed a furniture van into the prisoner transport van containing Olive, everyone ended up in hospital. And the word soon spread – Olive was “The Sweetshop Lady” – the convicted murderer of four children, and so infamous she had her own nickname.
Marcia Warren’s performance was brilliantly unsettling – even handcuffed to a bed and with a fractured hip, this apparently sweet old lady was absolutely terrifying. It was the way she tried to get into people’s heads, trying to get them to talk about their children. She had no remorse and revelled in her strange power and fame. The script (by Sally Abbott) gave no details about the murders apart from the victims being children, but I always think things are even scarier when left to the imagination and a few sinister hints.
The driver of the furniture van turned out to be the mother of one of Olive’s victims, and she wanted to talk to Olive to try and get her to tell her where her daughter’s body was. This culminated in a dramatic confrontation, but Olive showed no humanity and remained relentlessly vile in the face of the mother’s desperate grief.
Compared to Olive, Connie Beauchamp seemed like a fluffy kitten this week, and indeed she does seem to be softening a bit. Despite an early blip where she practically gave Cal his marching orders (someone had to take the blame for the bad report they got after last week’s inspection, so why not Cal?), a severe telling off from Charlie and then seeing first hand how much skill Cal actually has made her change her mind. Connie recognises that she needs help, though – and she’s decided the help she needs is Dr Dylan Keogh. Hurrah!
So that’s some good staffing news, but the bad staffing news is it looks as though we’ve seen the last of Honey. She’s been summoned to Manchester to look after her Nan, who’s had an accident. Noel had a very tedious little sulk about this, but Ethan sorted him out. Ethan also managed to pluck up courage to give Honey the Valentine he’d got for her, and to finally kiss her. I’m going to miss Honey – she brought light and fun to the proceedings and I loved her partnership with Ethan.
It looks as though the Zoe/Max relationship is well and truly on, though. She’s booked them both a champagne trip in a hot air balloon for V-Day. But she wants to keep “Zax” quiet from the other staff for now. I’m guessing “now” won’t last long – not with Robyn around.