Emmerdale fans were deeply disturbed last night as Maya Stepney appeared to finally get grooming victim Jacob Gallagher exactly where she wanted him.
In uncomfortable scenes shown on Thursday (7 February), the pair resumed their affair when Jacob told his teacher that he loves her.
So it’s little surprise that the name #Maya was trending on Twitter…
Read more: Emmerdale SPOILER: Paddy meets his real dad
Just as Jacob was beginning to break away from Maya and find hope of a happy – and LEGAL – relationship with Liv Flaherty, it all came crashing down.
After calling the affair off, Jacob was upset to discover Maya was still meddling in his life and his fledging romance with Liv and warned her to back off.
And his threats to expose her clearly sank in, as she made plans to leave the village…
However, as she rushed to pack, she fell and hit her head – resulting in her being admitted to hospital.
When Jacob heard about the accident, his feelings for her overwhelmed him as he visited her hospital bed.
He told her: “I never wanted to stop seeing you, it was you that told me we couldn’t be together properly.
“When granddad told me you were in hospital, I couldn’t breathe. I kept imaging you lying here hurt.”
“So you do still care?” Maya replied.
“Of course I do,” Jacob said. “I love you, Maya.”
Fans were “broken” at the twist, just as Jacob had seemed free of manipulative Maya.
One said: “Honestly all the jokes about Maya aside, seeing her manipulate Jacob actually breaks me #Emmerdale.”
Others felt “uneasy” and found the storyline “creepy”, while some were concerned that Jacob was “trapped”.
Maya has Jacob back under her spell 😔 #Emmerdale
— ♥Kezza_Lou♥ (@KerryLouiseRoss) February 7, 2019
The Maya and Jacob storyline is a very difficult watch but it really shows how easy it is for adults to groom vulnerable children #emmerdale
— ⭐️ Twinkle ⭐️ (@MyShiningstars_) February 7, 2019
Jacob is trapped #Emmerdale
— Shaheen Ashraf (@topgooner100) February 7, 2019
— Laneys lens (@LaneysLens) February 7, 2019
This whole Maya / Jacob thing is making me feel really uneasy now. #Emmerdale
— Brett Hadley (@BrettHadley42) February 7, 2019
Honestly all the jokes about Maya aside, seeing her manipulate Jacob actually breaks me #Emmerdale
— ℓคนгค ✮ (@Wastedlasagne) February 7, 2019
The way Maya licks her lips makes me want to throw up #Emmerdale
— Amanda Mead (@Amanda1956) February 7, 2019
#emmerdale This Jake/Maya story is becoming unwatchable. He’s too young to consent. She’s a predator. Now get her caught and move on please.
— Wendy Bradley (@wendybradley) February 7, 2019
“This Jake/Maya story is becoming unwatchable,” said another. “He’s too young to consent. She’s a predator. Now get her caught and move on please.”
While it’s clearly an upsetting storyline, many viewers shared their belief that it’s an important issue to highlight.
In response to the episode, children’s charity Barnardo’s explained that the reason Jacob may believe he loves Maya comes down to guilt and shame.
A spokesperson for the charity, who have been working alongside the ITV soap on the plot, said: “When a young person is manipulated, controlled or forced into taking part in a sexual act, that is sexual abuse.
“Even if the young person thinks it’s a consensual relationship, it is still abuse. Vulnerable young people may think that their abuser is their friend, or even their boyfriend or girlfriend.
“But in reality they may force the young person to do things they don’t want to do.”
If you have been affected by this storyline, fpr support please visit Barnardo’s website.
What do you think about the Maya / Jacob storyline? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!