We do love a Neighbours villain when they’re done well (sit down, Dimato, no one’s talking about you) and even better, we love them when they’re genuinely a bit more grounded and manipulative as opposed to OTT gangster drama, so it’s no surprise we’ve enjoyed the arrival of Nina ‘Nene’ Williams. In a short space of time she’s already got her eye on Karl and has weaselled her way into a job, manipulating all around her. It’s so typical Karl would fall for Nene’s ‘charms’ but we love the growth in his relationship with Susan. There’s no threat of infidelity here, thank God, and it’s great to see Karl and Susan bluntly discuss Nene and her fixation on Karl. Susan really sparks onscreen when faced with characters like Nene and we loved that she caught onto her in record time. The highlight (or lowlight) has been the dreadful way Nene has been exploiting Doug in order to protect herself and get closer to Karl in the process. With Doug as sick as he is, seeing Nene lie to him as she did was really shocking and we hope Doug gets a chance to reveal her for what she truly is! That said, we’re in no rush to lose her…
It’s been a busy few weeks for Steph as she’s struggled to deal with the stress of her custody battle for Charlie. As sad as it was to see Charlie turn on her and for Philippa to seem on the verge of ruining Steph’s chances, we loved the drama of Steph breaking down during the hearing. The mix of the heat and lack of meds took their toll on Steph and it was shocking to see how quickly she unravelled. The show has done a brilliant job making Philippa more than a 2D villain but someone who seems to genuinely care about Charlie, even if he intentions to removed Steph from his life is anything but noble. It was brilliant to see the two ladies come to an amicable agreement with the help from wise sage, Lucas. Thus finally brining closure between him and Steph and cling a chapter on Steph’s darkest moment – kidnapping baby Patrick. Other highlights in recent weeks have involved the show’s unlikeliest friendship between Steph and Paul. Even if Paul’s advice was misguided, we loved seeing him try to help Steph. Finally, the burgeoning romance(?) between Steph and Mark has taken us by surprise. Whilst we would prefer Belinda to return, we did enjoy Steph and Mark raking over the past (particularly the Marc and Flick mentions!) and it’s nice to see Mark interested in someone more on his wavelength.
A Sad Goodbye
As the weeks progress on what his been a very welcome lengthy guest stint for Doug (and hopefully a sign that the show will continue to invest in longer guest runs!) it’s been tragic to see his condition gradually deteriorate. Terence Donovan, well aware that he’s in the latter days of Doug’s time on the show, is doing some very fine work and bringing out the heart in a man who is beginning to lose every sense of himself. His unwillingness to go into a home, to the point of genuine anger and hurt at the suggestion, is heartwrenchingly realistic. So too is Josh’s constant defence and care for his grandfather, and Brad’s gradual realisation that the family unit is struggling to care for him adequately. As Doug’s daily challenges become greater and moments of forgetfulness increase, it’s nice to see a character like Lou, a longstanding friend, around these past few weeks providing a much needed sounding board for Doug’s frustrations and sadness. Whether Doug is your favourite or not, you can’t deny that he has a wealth of show history behind him and a large part of the early 90s era of the show. It’ll be very sad to close a book on that and it’s made all the more powerful seeing an iconic character, played by the same actor, doing so all these years later.
Fools Rush In
Oh Aaron. A sniff of a leather shoe and a designer shopping bag and he’s apparently anyone’s. It didn’t take long for Tom Quill’s obvious flattery and flirting to get Aaron’s attention and that spells disaster for the future of Lassiter’s. Okay, so we can’t blame Aaron for feeling a little bit sore that Nate’s back in the country without so much as a phonecall to his so-called boyfriend, but did that mean he had to drop everything for Tom so fast? Tom comes across as a little bit of a slime ball and we know Aaron’s naive, but is he that stupid that he can’t tell he’s being played. Aaron’s struggled to find a place in the show with Nate gone and has flitted from one character group to the next without really finding where he fit. He works well as Sonya’s EA (how did he get that job from exotic dancing?!) but he’s generally pretty clueless. Now that Tom’s got him on side and smuggling information right under Sonya’s nose there’s only one way this can end, and that’s VERY badly for dopey Aaron. Let’s hope if and when Nate gets his butt back into Erinsborough he manages to ground Aaron again.
One unsolved Neighbours mystery was answered these past few weeks with the arrival of Brodie aka Piper’s mystery texter Chas. We had kinda hoped for a slightly more exciting reveal that just some random vest-wearing swimmer, but it’s a testosterone dominated Willis plot so what can you expect. We could buy the idea of Piper having a secret lover that she had to hide away in Canada because of Shakespearian family strife and Pipes being Pipes, of course he was older for her to gaze starry-eyed at, but the backstory? Pur-lease. We’re meant to believe that Brodie caused such a disruption to Brad and Josh’s swimming/trainer careers and yet they’ve never talked about him? Not a moan from Brad as he carves another hideous sculpture? Not a mention in a man-paining wail from Josh post-shoulder injury? As if, we know those Willis men, they carry their grudges and their chips on their shoulder to the grave. Brodie’s arrival just meant every scene was weighed down with exposition and we had to revisit those awful memories of swimming championships and Brad as this training superstar. Yeah right. And if Brad being Brodie’s trainer is the highlight of his career then we seriously suggest he needs to get out more.