There's little doubt I imagine that the Max/Stacey thing was rushed in time for Christmas Day, and it's a shame there was no build up. I agree that it makes sense Stacey would be bored, and I don't find it difficult to believe that she could be tempted by Max but the story could do with being a lot less blatant and written with more subtlety. Perhaps it would have been more interesting if it was just a kiss, initiated by Max, and Stacey hesitated for a moment. Stacey still could have said that she felt tempted and likes the idea of feeling free but wouldn't risk her marriage to Martin. We then could have done without the theatrics over the next few months between Martin and Stacey before they inevitably get back together, they could have played on the Max/Stacey connection and still have had Tanya jumping to conclusions about them. I do think Max and Stacey have undeniable chemistry but unless they're going to go the whole hog and let them have a relationship together I don't see the point narratively of them sleeping together other than for cheap thrills. I did like Max telling Tanya that Stacey was the love of his life which I could believe, but the writing decisions always seem so short-sighted. Until now I've expected Max to be written out as they've exhausted him so much and I don't see any way they can keep him on the show, do you think they honestly feel differently? It would be a mistake IMO to keep Max around now, especially as
I do wish everyone involved in Max being sent to prison showed some remorse because as it stands Max is being painted as the one in the wrong and evil and while of course his actions are deplorable, Ian, Phil and everyone else involved need to be held accountable for their actions too and this needs to be shown on screen in order for those characters to feel less damaged. I get the impression this is what SOC was aiming for but JY's interpretation hasn't seemed to include this; no idea whether the way it's coming across was always intended to be this way but I always viewed SOC's vision of Max's revision as a way to reverse some of the damage done to so many characters as a result of the Lucy storyline.
I do get the impression I'll be taking a break from the show soon. I did enjoy the Christmas episodes despite the flaws, but if I carry on watching once the casting changes take place it will be out of curiosity to see how crap it can get.