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Home and Away: Episode #1.6462 (2016)
"They're going to get themselves killed or they'll get caught"
This is the point.The point where we have to admit that the Home and Away they we knew is dead and gone.The show that began in 1988 would never have allowed two such reprehensible characters as Josh and Andy to drive off into the sunset, having killed four people and got away with it, while cheery music plays.When Evelyn is the most moral character in the episode, you know you're in trouble.Matt cheering on a cold-blooded killer responsible for the death of one of his best friends causes him to lose a lot of sympathy.That's before you even get on to the farce of their escape, with Josh, an effective life prisoner, having a single easily bribed guard and being taken out to a public road where any psychotic brother can drive past and pick him up, and the police unable to catch a vehicle that's right in front of them.What a pathetic joke of an ending to six months of turgid storytelling.
Sitting awkwardly alongside this sickening dross is a story about Nate and Tori being cute before he gets attacked by a psycho with a syringe. Who'll probably be forgiven and dating Kat by the end of the year.
Home and Away: Episode #1.6461 (2016)
"So the HSC's important, but you and the baby aren't?"
It's frustrating that the script seems to expect us to be on Leah's side, after she's driven VJ out of the house with her constant nagging and inability to treat him like a grown-up when he's apparently about to become a father.Billie's unease about how things have happened is understandable but it seems like Leah's portrayal as supportive is slightly rose-tinted.At least Phoebe seems okay with having VJ around.
Josh is another character that the script seems to expect us to be on the side of and it's hard to see why.Everyone trudging through his cell to say goodbye to him as if he didn't kill someone is frustrating, as is Andy's continued illegal actions to try and get them both off the hook.But it won't actually happen...right?
Home and Away: Episode #1.6460 (2016)
"I've grown attached to this tiny little thing"
A mixture of the good and the bad.We finally get a pay-off to Alf's behaviour after about two weeks worth of bullying people.It's a storyline that deserved about half the amount of episodes it's had devoted to it, but at least he finally realises how stupid he's been and accepts Roo, Matt and Justin's assistance.
Less successful is the way John changes his mind about fostering.This should be a reinstatement of the show's core concept of opening your doors to children in need, but instead it comes across as Marilyn being selfish, the Palmers unable to survive as a couple without a child to keep them together and Leah guilt-tripping John into doing something he didn't want to.
In fact, it's a pretty poor episode for Leah...and indeed Zac, as their appalling parenting tactics are laid bare.Hunter wanders around wallowing in self-pity, yelling at a typically clingy Olivia and burning any trace of Charlotte(because heaven forbid she be viewed as a human being)and Leah and Zac just sit back going "Well, we'll help him when he wants us to." VJ chooses to support his pregnant girlfriend who's just had a scare and they try to bully him into studying for a qualification that he doesn't particularly want or need.Him announcing he's moving out really is a moment to cheer.
Home and Away: Episode #1.6459 (2016)
"Rough night, huh?"
This is...a bit better.The Alf storyline continues to let it down with even Matt's blunt honesty fail to have any impact.Once more, Roo seems to tell everyone except Alf that his decision to close down the bait shop makes no sense.Meanwhile, John finally challenges Marilyn's desire for foster children and asks her if he's enough for her: She ultimately decides he is, even if she seems less than certain.
Chris and Olivia continue to work well and it's a shame it's taken this long for them to be a team.Chris once more comes up with an unorthodox method of counselling and ultimately Irene benefits from Billie's assistance, in a scene that is just dripping with hidden meaning.Billie and VJ continue to be sweet together and it's to be hoped that Billie's alarm at the end is just misdirection.
Home and Away: Episode #1.6458 (2016)
"It looks like you're thinking of working, which is way too soon"
So we get an explanation for the Morgans, although it's still rather garbled and feels like no-one really knows how witness protection works. Or, indeed, what they're being protected from and why.Lara is increasingly feeling like a mere plot device, not helped by the fact she looks a lot older than Mason.And we're treated to another daftly named hit-man.
Someone seems to have goofed and given Alf and Irene the same storyline, as they both insist on carrying on as normal when they're not up to it, simultaneously expecting everyone else to carry them while yelling at them when they try and help.In fact, Marilyn's storyline isn't much better, as she sulks at John and acts like he's the one in the wrong when he's already bent over backwards to accommodate her whims.
Home and Away: Episode #1.6457 (2016)
"You're not exactly a good horse to bet on, Barrett, so why should I?"
Andy once again proves what a thoroughly unlikable individual he is, outright betraying Ash and Kat who have both given him more help than he deserves, just because he thinks Josh should get away with killing someone.Ash really should have listened to Justin, who's in a more tolerable mode today and shows he has morals that the outgoing characters lack.
Phoebe is slightly annoying with Brody but probably works better with the Masons than with the Braxtons.Alf's attitude towards the bait shop continues to be illogical if understandable but it's a shame Roo doesn't give him a proper talking to.
Evelyn is only in the episode to feel sorry for herself and cause conflict between Mason and Lara.Mason finally reveals the family's secret at the end...shame it's something half the audience already dismissed as being too ridiculous.
Home and Away: Episode #1.6456 (2016)
"He did the right thing by coming forward"
Josh finally gains the backbone to take responsibility for what he's done...a concept that is completely lost on Andy, who is soon coming up with plans to save someone who doesn't want saving, sacrificing Ash and his misguided loyalty in the process.It's another frustrating spanner in Ash and Kat's relationship, with the latter realising that the only criminal left unpunished is her.The reveal of Josh as the killer gets a typically low-key reaction from the other characters, with the likes of Zac and Hunter pretty much taking it in their stride.
Meanwhile, Alf continues to be a difficult patient and his desire to keep the bait shop open seems to serve no purpose other than creating conflict.Mason is a bit of an inconsistent character, managing to get up Nate's nose but charming Alf and Roo.
Home and Away: Episode #1.6455 (2016)
"I'll always be someone that killed somebody"
So Josh accepts his fate and so does Evelyn.What you think of their farewell scene probably depends on whether you accept them as a together-forever couple or not, but I guess it was needed.Matt feels like a bit of an intruder, while Andy gets successfully tricked into unincriminating himself.
Hunter's community service is laughable, with his supervisor betrayed like a villain simply for not being a pushover and the over-the-top collapse of new boy Jordan in order to vindicate Hunter's complaining. Zac does need to learn some objectivity.
There's a decent moment for Irene which reminds us of everything she's been through lately, while Marilyn learns that John's experiences in her absence have changed him.
Home and Away: Episode #1.6454 (2016)
"Yeah but you said you're sorry"
So, Hunter gets away with everything.Well, it's to be expected, as is the way that everyone has just shrugged it off and carried on treating him like a cute little cherub.There does seem to be an odd attempt to invoke the spirit of Home and Away here though, with Zac encouraging him to make the most of his second chance.Time will tell.
It's ironic to see this juxtaposed with Josh yelling "Things will never be normal again!" at Evie.Cos, hey, they will if you're still under contract.The blossoming friendship between Matt and Mason is interesting, while Brody struggles to contain his Bad Boss tendencies. But they are only directed at Phoebe, who admittedly is just trying to be a good friend to Billie.Finding out the identity of her attacker, instead of giving her closure, has just opened up barely healed wounds and left her more determined than ever to hide what happened to her.
And Alf was grumpy.
Home and Away: Episode #1.6453 (2016)
"Don't you just hate it when real life gets in the way?"
So...we finally get the identity of Billie's attacker.Tessa de Josselin and Isabelle Giovinazzo hit it out of the park in their scenes, to the point that you almost forgive the ease with which Billie gets past a police guard.But there's a whole heap of denial that she's not willing to get past yet.
Andy as a moral voice is pretty much impossible to accept but it is good to see Kat realising she's being hypocritical over Ash.There's a nice bonding scene as Nate and Ash discuss the policewoman.We're no closer to learning what's going on with the Morgans but Brody seems determined to knuckle down and build a life and manages to encourage Tori to do the same.