The Fantastic Three Hander Episode
In light of the show’s historic three hander, it’s only fitting this week that our three ‘hits’ are dedicated to the episode that will surely go down in Neighbours history was one of its most memorable. Since the announcement that the show would air a landmark episode featuring only three characters as the climax to the Brad, Terese and Lauren triangle, fans were eager to see how the episode would be pulled off and whether it would live up to the very high expectations. In our opinion, it exceeded them. In this day and age, viewers aren’t used to plots running for long periods of time. Things escalate and climax with dramatic, unrealistic pace, so it was so refreshing to watch this plot really play out as a slow burn since 2013. And because it’s played out so naturally and realistically, it made this pay off all the more satisfying to watch. We’ve seen Brad gradually fall for Lauren, time and again we’ve witnessed Lauren’s longing for Brad, and we’ve watched Terese morph from strong, confident, happily married woman to a desperately insecure alcoholic losing her husband to another woman. The episode itself was peppered with wonderful character moments. It was so heartbreaking to see Terese admit her alcohol issues on the day her husband betrayed her and the moment she witnessed the evidence was gut-wrenchingly played by Rebekah Elmaloglou. The explosive chain of events after that moment were soap at its finest! From Terese delivering an ice-cold jab about Matt to Lauren, to the jam jaw throw ( the ‘Susan slaps Karl’ moment of the 2010s in our opinion) and of course the massive garden fight complete with an iconic dip in the pool for Lauren. Similarly, it was great to see that, as theorised, Lauren truly did have feelings for Brad all along and for the character to be made much more morally grey that has sometimes been presented in the past and allow Terese to cement her role as the victim of their betrayal, despite her flaws. Kip and Kate did some of the finest work in the episode, with Kate’s post-soaking recollection of her feelings for Brad a particular highlight. The star of the episode though was the wonderful Rebekah Elmaloglou. The episode felt like a proper moment for her character and Rebekah smashed it. From the aforementioned moment of realisation to the desperately sad scene where she tried to seduce Brad in vain, to her fury at Brad and Lauren – the episode belonged to her and in our opinion, Rebekah joined the pantheon of iconic Neighbours actresses and has become an indispensable asset to the show.
Attack of the Drones
Okay, drones might be a very modern, 21st Century thing for Neighbours to explore, but we seemed to learn about these council drones the same week they had a huge role to play in Neighbours’ biggest story. We can’t help but feel there must have been a better way for Lauren and Brad to be caught in the act. A photo or a phone video – just anything that didn’t scream plot device as much as the drone capture did. Terese’s reaction to the email was brilliant and we enjoyed the episode as a whole so much that we’ve been able to overlook it, but will we ever hear about these drones again? Perhaps we should, perhaps Karl should go on a one man mission to get them banned if he’s worried about privacy invasion – something that makes their inclusion in this plot a little more believable.
Like Father Like Son
Once again we find Josh Willis at the bottom of our list for basically being a horrible jerk. If there was anyone to sympathise with lying, cheating coward Brad – of course it would be his equally vile son. We stil don’t think Josh got a fair lashing after his creepy catfish antics and now he goes one step further to be on our hate list. He’s been on Terese’s back now for weeks claiming her drinking issues are her own fault, her marriage breakdown is all her doing and on discovering Brad has cheated on their vulnerable mother he starts pointing the finger of blame at the victim in all this – his own mother! Terese isn’t faultless but Josh’s attitude towards the situation was a damning indictment of his horrible personality. We’re firmly on the side of the Willis women and if Josh and Brad want to team up in their holier than though “the naggy woman just made my pants fall off” attitude then we hope there’s some bad karma coming their way.
Continuing from last week where Lauren and Susan shared an awkward morning wave after Lauren appeared to be doing the walk of shame away from Brad’s, Lauren felt the need to explain herself this week. Suse being Suse knew there was a little more to it than Lauren’s nervy witterings about it being just two old mates having dinner and eventually went to see Brad about it. Lauren was not a happy bunny and stormed into the Kennedy’s, turning from angry ranting to tearful as she explained how alone she felt with Brad and accused Susan of not knowing what it was like to lose a husband. Susan explained that she did know and the two had a heartfelt and believable conversation which showed us once again what a talented actress Kate Kendall is especially up against the legendary Jackie Woodburne!
Another fantastic scene dealing with the aftermath of Matt’s death saw Lauren comfort Bailey over his grief and him apologise for trashing Matt’s memorial. It was impossible not to be moved by their discussion about how unfair and pointless Matt’s death was and once again we were incredibly impressed by Kate Kendall and Calen Mackenzie’s performances. It’s been a while in Neighbours since a young adult has had to cope with the death of a parent and Bailey’s unstable, angry and lost reaction has been a real highlight of the show giving a realistic picture of how someone might cope with such a shocking and needless death. We’re glad that in the wake of tragedy we’ve been given some meaty and emotional scenes that have made Lauren and Bailey shine.
Funeral for a Friend
In another week of high emotion, we witnessed Matt Turner’s funeral and although far from an iconic character, we were really impressed by the effort made with the character’s farewell. Having seemingly learnt a lesson from the mistakes made with Kate’s and Priya’s funerals (rushed, and non-existent respectively) it was great to see Matt get a traditional Neighbours send-off. There was some wonderful emotional moments with Lauren and Bailey, played fantastically by Kate and Calen, and even better it was great to see a proper turn-out at the service. As Neighbours fans we’re used to seeing notable absences at weddings and funerals but instead everyone who would’ve been there was there – and that makes a huge difference in terms of believability. He may have been far from our favourite character but it’s great to see a regular given the respect and emotion they needed with such a shock exit.
It’s been a tough time for poor Nate lately with the end of his relationship with Chris and we were worried that Chris’s departure would leave Nate in a precarious position – it’s no secret that Nate hasn’t been quite as well integrated as some of the other new cast. However we were wrong to be worried as it seems Nate is finally beginning to develop a really natural and fun friendship with fellow newbie Tyler. In comparison to boring Brennan, it’s refreshing to see two of the younger cast having fun instead of getting hung up on their jobs or romance difficulties. It helps that the actors have a really natural and fun chemistry together and we’re pleased to see it bring out a whole new side of Nate. More of this bromance please!
Who wouldn’t love a very glam and entertaining woman like Naomi as their PA and secret keeper? She’s been an amazing assistant and friend to Paul this week as he suffers through Nick’s scheme and we can’t help but fall more and more in love with her as the weeks go on. No wonder Paul wants her around she’s the perfect pick me up, ever when Paul chucked his guts up over her dress (yuck!). We’re hoping that it’s not long before Naomi realises what Dr Nick is up to because seeing Paul so ill and fragile is hard going, but his scenes with Naomi have been so enjoyable.
We know that Brennan’s the good cop and being the good guy isn’t always fun, but we’re just so tired of his grouchy kill joy approach to everything. Granted it hasn’t helped that much of his time has been tied up in the Dimato plot but this week we also had him nagging at his brother and being off with Naomi too. Fine, Tyler is a bit immature and needs a steer in the right direction and Naomi has been letting him down to help Paul but Brennan’s been so uptight lately when you think he’d be happy to be back in blue. We enjoy Brennan scenes when he’s getting ratty over cleaning or he’s having a laugh but he just seems to have lost that fun factor lately.
This week finally saw the end (we hope!) of the Dimato plot and we have to wonder, are we the only ones questioning the point? Setting aside the fact that basing a story around the bland Brennan, Matt and a guest character was never going to be a hit but surely the story should’ve had some long term consequences? It could’ve had led to some really interesting drama for Matt and Lauren’s marriage but with Matt’s death, it no longer mattered. And had Matt’s death been Dimato related, we could understand it but he was coincidentally killed by an unrelated character. So with all that in mind, was it really worth putting us through weeks and weeks of boring threads outside Grease Monkeys? We think not.
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!
In a week that saw full scale devastation and a rampant tornado ripping through Erinsborough, Scene of the Week was smaller in scale but no less dramatic as Terese Willis finally confronted Lauren over the illicit kiss with Brad. In the darkened Harold’s, Terese – our woman in black – let rip on Lauren and we couldn’t help but love every second as she accused Lauren of still being in love with Brad. Angry and raw, Rebekah Elmaloglou shone in what was a very well-written, well-performed and adult scene for Neighbours. The scene may have lacked the slap Lauren deserved but Terese’s understated, controlled hurt and menace was all the more powerful in her restraint.