Hazel cracks under the pressure

This time last year, Ashley was close to cracking as psycho Sally determinedly set about trying to take Laurel’s place in his affections. So you would think he’d spot the signs of someone in distress. But Ashley doesn’t see the cracks in Hazel’s brave face, he just sees her fall apart at the village carol service. Hazel’s angry with the cruel God who has left Jackson unable to fend for himself and left her struggling to fend for them both. As she storms off she crashes into the Nativity display. Seeing the damage she’s caused is the final straw for Hazel and she breaks down.

Rhona’s under pressure, too. Marlon wants her to keep their baby, but Rhona doesn’t think she’s capable of caring for a child with special needs. Refusing to bend to Marlon’s will, Rhona insists the best thing to do is terminate the pregnancy. But Marlon won’t give up and turns to Paddy for support.

Adam could use a bit of support when Mia decides to make him pay for leading her on. She’s got him wriggling like a fish on a hook and now she just has to reel him in.

*Second episode*

Following Hazel’s very public breakdown Ashley finally sees how she’s struggling to cope and offers her the church collection to help finance the alterations needed at Jackson’s new home. It would certainly answer a lot of Hazel’s prayers, but she can’t accept. She doesn’t get a chance to refuse, though, when builders turn up and go to work – builders that have already been paid for. Suddenly it looks like Jackson will be home for Christmas.

What about Jacob, though? Where will he be this Christmas? Alicia wants him with her, but Justin wants to be with his boy on Christmas Day, too. They could just be grown-up about it and agree to spend the day together for Jacob’s sake, but that would be far too civilised. Feeling like he’s the cause of all the arguments, Jacob runs away in his Roman soldier costume, the one Leyla made with so much love.

Charity feels like running away when she has to admit to Jai that she has failed in her mission to get Zak and Lisa to move out of Wishing Well cottage. She figures she’s out of a job but Jai says he’ll keep her on. Hmmmm, now what does he want?

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