Holby City review with spoilers: Guy Self is back as Max comes to terms with recent events

This episode followed straight on from last week’s Holby City, with Essie (Kaye Wragg) having just received the terrible news that her cancer is back, David Hide (Jason Durr) still working on Darwin and Max McGerry (Jo Martin) reeling from the discovery that her daughter Lily is now her son Louis (Tyler Luke Cunningham).

The ranting scene from the beginning of last week’s episode was a flashback to the last time Max had seen Lily. It was no surprise that her child walked out on her given that behaviour, and when Louis and Max once again met to talk he gave an insight into his childhood – of his mother drunkenly throwing up on the kitchen floor when he had school friends round to visit.

All this was against a backdrop of Louis’ father having died not long before, which was why Max was struggling. Despite this it was hard to sympathise with Max’s situation as she insisted on being absolutely vile to Louis, saying of his decision to transition, ‘You leave and run off with the circus freaks without so much as a text.’

She actually told Ric (Hugh Quarshie) and Ange (Dawn Steele) that her daughter was dead. ‘She killed herself and I wasn’t there to stop her.’ Later she told Ric what had actually happened. Of course Ric has plenty of past history of messing up his relationships with his children and his advice was for her to try to make amends. Before she could think about that she decided to go to an AA meeting.

A very close encounter with alcohol earlier in the day had given her cause for concern. She rang someone up to check that he would be at the meeting, telling him she loved him, and when she got there who should this confidante be but fellow neurosurgeon and slimeball Guy ‘Selfie’ Self (John Michie)? That’s a gruesome twosome if ever there was one.

Essie, meanwhile, was trying to come to terms with the news about her cancer. Dominic (David Ames) was trying to be supportive, insisting that he’d already lost one friend – Arthur Digby – to cancer and he wasn’t about to lose another. Essie was worried about what would happen to Isla: ‘How can I look after a child when I’m dying?’

She was also very reluctant to say anything to Sacha (Bob Barrett), fearing that he wouldn’t be able to cope with the news. She even tried to dump him, thinking that was the kinder option. Sacha eventually worked out what had happened and there was a sad, touching scene as they talked about it and Sacha, like Dominic, insisted that Essie would be fine. Then he proposed to her and she said yes. ‘How could I not?’ she said.

There’s another romance brewing on Darwin, as Jac (Rosie Marcel) and Kian (Ramin Karimloo) enjoyed a late night pizza and glass of red in Jac’s office. Jac really has entirely revised her outlook on carbs since she had Emma. Her daughter was on her mind and Kian was really sweet, telling her that if she wants custody of Emma she’s always been able to do anything she puts her mind to.

David Hide had the chance to make up for the mistake he made last week, showing skill and kindness looking after patients Billy (Chris Rogers) and Kitty (Linda Marlowe) from last week. And we were treated to a revelation. ‘The future’s not just bright, it’s a rainbow,’ he told Kitty, who’d been telling him that it hadn’t always been easy to be a gay woman. ‘Are you sure you’re not on our bus?’ she teased him. ‘Just the once, back in the eighties,’ he replied. I think that needs its own spin-off series.

And Zav (Marcus Griffiths) tried to make up with Donna (Jaye Jacobs) after their Cameron-fuelled falling out. He’d have managed it too, if he hadn’t ruined it by starting to talk about the connection between Cameron (Nic Jackman) and Evan’s death. Zav knows that something’s not right – but sadly Donna thinks that the thing that isn’t right is him.

Sue Haasler is the author of five novels and the official BBC Holby City book, which you can read about here.

Holby City continues Tuesday 14 April at 8pm on BBC One.

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