This week we waved goodbye to Matt Turner and I think it’s fair to say after the rushed and underplayed response (apart from Paul’s fantastic depression arc) to Kate’s untimely death, we were all wondering how the show would deal with Matt’s death. We were pleased to see Neighbours learn from last year’s mistakes by both giving us a proper response to Matt’s death in the aftermath episodes and not rushing into the funeral and jumping ahead in the timeline, thereby sacrificing dramatic potential. Kate Kendall gave a powerful and raw performance as always and in particular her scenes with Tom Oliver tugged at our heartstrings. Matt’s death also meant that Amber’s self pity over her non wedding was put into perspective and we were really happy to see Calen Mackenzie give his best performance so far as Bailey struggled with his father’s death. With the funeral to come and Sharon still around, we can’t wait to see what developments the next few weeks bring.
Tension Down the Well
The well plot was pretty ridiculous and we spent time last week moaning about it, however our minds were almost changed this week as we found ourselves pretty gripped by the cliffhanger and tension surrounding the drama. Even though we knew there was no possible way Daniel and Imogen wouldn’t make it, as the water started pouring and Imogen began hallucinating we couldn’t help but be gripped. Switching between the scenes in the well (great set!) and over ground where a clueless Josh and Kyle continued with their mission to drain the lake, oblivious to the trapped pair, was a great touch. We think Tim Phillips and Ariel Kaplan did a great job convincing us of their plight. Great scenes.
Bailey and Alice
Space Alice was back this week and completely clueless to Bailey’s grief over his dad’s death as she berated him for not being around on social media. We’ve always been big fans of Bailey and Alice so we were thrilled to see them reunited even in such sad circumstances. As Bailey pretended everything was fine to cope with his pain, Alice carried on in her usual manner only aware of Bailey’s problems when he grew a little hot and heavy. Bailey’s final breakdown was incredibly simple and moving – Calen Mackenzie did a great job and left us feeling genuinely choked up.
This week saw everyone’s favourite injury-prone mechanic Chris Pappas leave Ramsay Street for good to start a new life in New York with baby mama Lucy Robinson. We are pretty sorry to see Chris leave Neighbours as our freckled friend made quite the impact as Neighbours’ first regular gay character, but we were pleased he had a fairly upbeat exit. Sadly Chris leaving meant a disappointing and rather rushed end to the rather touching Chris and Nate relationship which we had grown rather fond of. Chris’s final scenes with his friends were nice (although Josh’s inclusion was a little strange considering the history) although we think the obligatory ‘taxi goodbye’ scene might have been a nice touch.
Driving Miss Danni
Now, don’t get us wrong, we know Neighbours has a limited cast for budgetary reasons and that also includes guest cast. Therefore if a recurring or guest cast member pops up, it usually means there’s a proper purpose for them. This was nowhere more evident this week when Danni Ferguson popped out of the Erinsborough black hole of guest cast to promptly run Matt over. We are big fans of Danni and at one point suggested she be made a regular and while it is great to see her get her biggest story so far (and potentially her final story), we would’ve liked to have seen her establish a bit more of a regular presence at the garage before the story began. But if having Danni around meant we lost out of the recent influx of returnees then the right decision was made! That said, we’d have happily sacrificed a Dimato appearance or two if it meant some more Danni!
Part of the Family
Paige is a big favourite with us and every interaction she’s shared with her new extended family has had us glued to the TV. This week it was nice to see Paige meet her granddad Doug for the first time and such a meeting was given the attention it deserved. It’s always nice to see an old character return and it’s realistic ot see Doug return often given his current health. His scenes with Paige were a joy to watch and surprisingly emotional. We got a little misty-eyed as he gave her an ankle bracelet and welcomed her into the Willis family which she’d felt so excluded from. We hope she gets to meet Pam soon!
The show provided some great drama this week as Josh’s “coward punch” trial finally took place. Dodgy courtroom aside, we have to admit our happiness at Josh’s sentence. Much as we empathise with Chris, we didn’t want to see poor Josh jailed. We really must praise this entire story for its shades of grey: there were no heroes or villains but rather, one drunken mistake and two victims. It’s provided some fresh material for Chris (although please no more hospital stories) and solidified Josh’s position as a young man truly redeemed. We hope that Josh and Chris are able to put the incident behind them in time and Chris makes a proper recovery.
The Adventures of Alice
This week we said goodbye to Alice, Bailey’s brainy and space mad girlfriend. We loved their antagonism from day one and it was even better that through their rivalry they forged a cute relationship. It’s great to see two young ambitious and clever Neighbours characters and Alice’s outlook on life was really refreshing so we were sad to lose her to space camp. Not as upset as Bailey, mind you, who’ll be left friendless and girlfriendless once again with only his telescope for company. Aw. But their goodbye scene (and snog) was a nice way for her to leave the show, making Bailey even more determined to reach Mars but making us wish she could stick around.
Hot and Cold
Remember not so long ago when we had three Neighbours couples we loved? Now that Bailey/Alice, Josh/Naomi are no more, the only lingering hope we had was on Paige and Brennan reuniting. Well, Brennan had to go an cruelly dash those hopes this week just as Paige clung to his twinkle-eyed smiles thinking he was still into her. Damn you Mark! We thought he was pretty mean. Sure there’s an age gap and they’ve both been through a lot but with a bit of communication they could be good together. They’re strong willed, got great chemistry and let’s face it – smokin’ hot. If Brennan doesn’t want to lead her on then he should get on with telling her instead of playing hot and cold.
Bad Dad Brad
Brad, Brad, Brad. He’s not been in our good books lately for his terribly unsympathetic treatment of Teres and inability to stay away from Lauren for more than a couple of hours but it was his actions leading up to the trial that riled us up this week. Not only could his stupidity have cost Josh his freedom but it could’ve negatively impacted Toadie’s career when Toadie had the decency to represent Josh. Worse still he took advantage of Imogen’s position in Rebecchi Law and potentially jeopardised her own future. Both his kids could have found themselves much worse off due to an action that you wouldn’t expect from a grown man! Brad needs to try hard to win his family, and us, back.
It was a great week for Paul who is continuing his resurgence as a character. The question of who trashed the nursery may not have been the most gripping of whodunnits but it worked due to some great character interactions and good characterisation. Seeing Paul happily chat with the Rebecchis is refreshing for what was becoming a very tired character and better still, this week showed a very balanced Paul. He’s essentially a good man with a shrewd mind and not above using a situation to his advantage. More of this Paul, please – we hope the new and improved Paul is here to stay!
Refreshing Relationship Recovery
It is a soap staple for any young characters involved in a relationship to constantly face a series of ups and downs – it can get boring but that’s the genre. In recent years, Neighbours developed a case of giving characters so many trivial things to fall out over that we no longer root for the couple: step forward Kyle and Georgia, and Amber and…anyone. What was refreshing this week was seeing two couples (Brennan and Paige, and Chris and Nate) face two relationship hurdles but dealing with their issues in a quick and mature manner. We can only hope that these weekly issues don’t become too frequent and until then, we’re happy to see these two couples act like real people and not be at breaking point over simple incidents and misunderstandings.
Geeky and determined – Bailey and Alice are practically love’s young dream at Erinsborough High. They love space, movie mistakes, Russian biographies and blogging – how could we not love them? Bailey’s wincingly awkward attempts to play hard to get and his crumbling into coy smiles just makes him the most adorable teen right now and Alice is a great match for him. We love her too.
Never has Erinsborough been rocked by such a revolutionary plot. Not even the tornado could match the excitement of this week: yarn bombing! Okay, we jest, but really is this anything less exciting than knitting vandals? The Ramsay Street sign was cool for half a second but Erinsborough is not going to benefit from Danber’s wooly efforts. It was more hippie free-expression guff from Daniel and Amber, the only saving grace being Naomi’s derision and Imogen getting a bit dreamy eyed. This was the return of the Imogen we know and love – so this just saved yarn-bombing from the bottom of our list this week.
Oh dear oh dear, where to start with Georgia? Hot on the heels of being oddly endearing in lacking her voice, it was ruined this week when she reverted back to victim mode. Now we know Georgia loves to sing and is understandably gutted but there is nothing more unappealing than seeing a character act victimised (take a bow Amber Turner) so we had little time for whiny Georgia this week. To make matters worse, she lost all our sympathies when she accused all-round miraculous doctor-god Karl Kennedy of helping to cover a case of medical negligence. Maybe Georgia should focus more on her nursing instead of singing…
It’s All About Chemistry
Neighbours is really lucky right now to be exploring some natural chemistry in their couplings (Daniel and Amber aside – more on that later). This week we saw Paige and Brennan sizzle with their competitive spirit and (finally) share a fiery kiss mid-storm. We’re also huge Josh and Naomi fans and their flirtation continues to be a great watch and we enjoyed seeing a more romantic side to their hook-up. Then there’s Bailey and his space camp rival Alice who aren’t in a couple stage yet but their sparring is a sparky watch – we love their chemistry!
Ups and Downs of Married Life
Toadie and Sonya find themselves as one of our highlights this week as their continuing marriage dilemmas make them Neighbours’ most well-written young couple in many years. Fresh from the Naomi incident, it’s great to see that the aftermath is being subtly played out as Sonya struggles to get over her issues of trust. Most heartwarming, however, was seeing the couple deal with it in a mature, reasonable, caring manner and long may their loving marriage continue.
The wonderful Paige yet again finds herself a highlight of the show and it’s become clear that the show has found a star in Olympia Valance. Feisty, fiery and fun, Paige is a joy to watch and this week it was great to see her develop bonds and interact with all her siblings – but also Terese. We’re hoping to see lots more of the pair’s tenuous relationship in the future, as well as many more scenes with Paige’s brothers and sisters – each one unique and developing at their own pace. As well as that, it was great to see the long-awaited relationship with Brennan heat up this week. Paige remains one to watch.
We still can’t make up our mind on Nate. The idea of a new ‘adoptee’ of the Kennedys has its appeal, as well as having a character with a deep backstory but we’re just unsure that the gruff, monosyllabic troubled guy works for us at the moment. Even though we now know he’s not a serial killer, he’s still less of a haunted man and more creepy! It remains to be seen if his relationship with Chris turns into anything watchable – right now it’s a bit flat and miserable.
Boy, where to begin with ‘Danber’? Daniel took his free-spirited hippie ways even further this week when he suggested Amber and he pack in all their future plans and go travelling. Both of them dropped their work responsibilities to skinny dip and talk nonsense about the beauty of spontaneity. Irritating beyond belief. Like ‘Jamber’ before them, Danber are so self-involved, immature and bratty we just can’t find a single thing we like about them.