The following article contains a discussion of coercive control and physical abuse.
Hollyoaks spoilers follow.
Hollyoaks continues to explore the dark side of influencer Rayne Royce.
Viewers know that Rayne has been manipulating boyfriend Romeo Nightingale to turn against his friends and family, but now she's tried to turn Zoe Anderson against Sam Chen-Williams too.
Zoe has started receiving mysterious threatening texts and the obvious suspect is Sam, since he did develop an unhealthy fixation of their relationship several months ago.
However, in Friday's (September 8) first-look episode, Sam begged his sister Lizzie to believe him that he wasn't behind these threatening messages.
Meanwhile, Rayne was determined to turn everyone against Sam by pressuring Zoe to take part in a live stream where she would reveal Sam's worrying behaviour over the last few months.
Rayne wasn't actually trying to help Zoe — it was all a sinsister plot to convince talent manager Faye Fuller that she shouldn't be working with influencer rival Lizzie's family.
She was furious to find out that Romeo had actually spoken up to defend Sam by urging his loved ones to give Sam a chance to prove his innocence.
After Hunter McQueen questioned Zoe on whether she was absolutely sure about the allegations she was about to make public, Zoe told Rayne she couldn't go through with the interview.
Elsewhere, Sam had managed to convince some of his family that he wasn't behind the recent threatening messages until they found photos of Zoe hidden in his car.
Sam desperately tried to explain that he hadn't been the one to hide those incriminating photos, but he was still facing suspicion from those closest to him.
Back at the house-share, a furious Rayne took out her anger on boyfriend Romeo for interjecting on Sam's behalf.
Romeo tried to explain that he was just thinking about Zoe's best interests, which only angered Rayne more because she interpreted Romeo's action as putting Zoe before her.
"Do you have any idea how worthless that makes me feel?" Rayne asked Romeo.
Romeo tried to comfort Rayne with a hug, but she turned violent by digging her nails into his arm until he had to physically pull away.
"Sometimes it hurts when the person you love doesn't have your back," Rayne warned.
The soap is gearing up for a huge week of episodes later this month where all of Rayne's lies could come to a head when she organises a getaway weekend to impress talent agent Faye.
From Monday, September 25, Hollyoaks will stream first online via Channel 4 each weekday. Episodes then air on E4 the following day, before getting their YouTube premiere a week after that.
Selected omnibus episodes are available via Prime Video.
Organisations including The Mankind Initiative (www.mankind.org.uk) provide support and advice to men experiencing domestic abuse or coercive control. The helpline is open weekdays between 10am and 4pm, is 01823 334244.
If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, organisations including Refuge (www.refuge.org.uk) and Women's Aid (www.womensaid.org.uk) can provide further support and information. The 24-hour, freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247. The US National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or text LOVEIS to 22522.
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