This review contains spoilers.
When Raquel faced down that demon with her “I’m bullet-proof” speech, I felt a tingle. That scene showed that with the right combination of Susan Wokoma, Raquel’s attitude and plot peril, Crazyhead is capable of heart-lurching thrills.
Raquel is a character designed for an adoring fandom. Like a superhero, she’s identifiable in silhouette. Also like a superhero, she wears a cos-play-friendly outfit (purple letterman jacket, black jeans, boots, big hair…).
It’s not just her look, but also her dialogue. Filth meets whimsy in the odd mental images it conjures up. If “Namaste, bitches” weren’t already a thing, it would definitely become one among fans. I can already picture the “Man, get serious” range of Raquel mugs, badges and phone cases.
Except, that’s unlikely to happen because the show wrapped around Raquel isn’t strong enough to boost her into cult status. If I were Simon Cowell—well, we are talking demons here—I’d be telling her and Amy that they can go through to the next round only if they lose the rest of the group. Lose the evil Hollyoaks supporting characters, lose the uninspiring apocalypse plot, certainly lose all the weirdly anachronistic sexuality punchlines (Crazyhead has far too many jokes about people being gay for a show with no gay people in it.) Drop the dead weight and we’ll talk.
Because without all that, Amy and Raquel are great. They’re funny and endearing and tough and vulnerable, and watching their friendship form has been really worthwhile. This week saw Amy fulfil the familiar role of the best friend telling her pal not to trust the new bloke she’s smitten with because he’s bound to hurt her.
In this case, Amy is bang on the money. By the end of the episode, Harry was revealed to be the worst kind of manipulative prick (unless he turns out to be a double agent, which might be a bridge too far across ‘do any of us really give a shit’ river). He’s a demon, he works for Callum and appears to have wormed his way into Raquel’s heart to do the Scot’s bidding.
Putting an isolated vulnerable character like Raquel through this kind of betrayal is perfect. I mean, it’s horrible, obviously, but who wants shows about people doing really well and getting their five-a-day? Something like this will destroy Raquel’s trust in people. But crucially, not in Amy. That should be great to watch.
Even more crucially, it should make Raquel mad as hell and end in a big Carrie White-themed showdown at the Halloween party (bit of a shame that the scheduling couldn’t have worked it out to coincide the finale with the real thing.)
Said party is due to take place not at a tacky nightclub but a creepy stately home where, by the looks of the decorations, the apocalypse is being sponsored by Pound Land.
Will Raquel be used to bring about the end of the world, or will she rally her powers at the last minute and defeat Callum? If the final battle is anything as exciting as the brief glimpses of Raquel in action we’ve seen until now, the six-episode journey through this quirky, erratic, bumpy show will have been well worth it.
Read Louisa’s review of the previous episode, Penguin Or Cow, here.