What did you miss?
For those needing clarification that their eyes haven’t deceived them: headstrong Terese (Rebekah Elmaloglou) is indeed marrying loveable lawyer Toadie (Ryan Moloney).
What, how, and why?
The last time we saw Toadie, he had just married quirky Melanie (Lucinda Cowden), while Terese had reunited with flawed businessman Paul (Stefan Dennis).
All had seemed well — if a little rushed. Yet, in this universe, we’re meeting the residents of Ramsay Street not one year, but two years on from that emotional finale.
Clearly we’ve missed a lot, as the much-missed Susan (Jackie Woodburne) points out.
Neighbours must have had fun teasing fans with this wedding. As we clocked that Terese was the bride, Paul seemed the most obvious groom. Toadie and Melanie, meanwhile, discussed Terese’s big day, as well as their own troubled relationship — but that was no reason for us to suspect what was coming.
Besides the jaw-dropping cliffhanger, let's not neglect the rest of the story.
What else happened as Neighbours returned?
Susan and husband Karl (Alan Fletcher) are still central to the neighbourhood; and Susan has a flashy new bracelet, courtesy of a “pay out”. But there’s definitely something making her uneasy about the whole situation.
Paul, who obviously still adores Terese, confides in sister Lucy (Melissa Bell). Recent losses have turned him softer — which explains his tolerance of slacking hotel worker Holly (Lucinda Armstrong-Hall), daughter of Karl.
In true Paul style, he hastens to add that having Karl in his debt is no bad thing.
But other than Terese, who has Paul lost? Son David (Takaya Honda), who's said to have moved away from Erinsborough with husband Aaron (Matt Wilson)? It's been reported that Wilson has been spotted on set, but we'll just have to wait and see if this spells a return for Aaron. The couple’s absence is certainly strongly felt.
Back to the present, though, where Jane (Annie Jones) and partner Mike (Guy Pearce) are still happy together; but beloved character Harold (Ian Smith) doesn’t seem himself. We sense some sadness on the horizon.
New face Haz (Shiv Palekar) labels himself as Mackenzie’s (Georgie Stone) wedding date; while Remi (Naomi Rukavina) and wife Cara (Sara West) are staying temporarily at Jane’s house with sons JJ (Riley Bryant) and Dex (Marley Williams).
But, given that they seem to be escaping their “troubles,” and JJ is developing a fascination with the street’s history which hints at a deeper meaning, they’re sure to be sticking around.
Mischa Barton plays Reece, a Lassiters hotel guest embroiled in a passionate affair with Jane’s son Byron (Xavier Molyneux); and whatever secret she’s harbouring appears to be a ticking time bomb.
Amid the chaos, Mrs Mangel (Vivean Gray), Jane’s late grandmother, is still terrifying people through a painting with her wandering eyes. It’s good to know that some things will never change, even if it may take us some time to get used to Toadie and Terese as a couple.
Yes, let’s get back to the matter at hand. Terese's daughter Imogen (Ariel Kaplan) and her husband Daniel (Tim Phillipps) are in attendance for the occasion. Daniel is also there to support his uncle Paul as the love of his life weds another man.
Just as the ceremony begins, Toadie is finally revealed to viewers as the groom. As soap twists go, it's a real moment.
Toadie’s kids, Callum (Morgan Baker), Nell (Ayisha Salem-Towner) and Hugo (Tanner Ellis-Anderson), and mum Angie (Lesley Baker), watch on happily enough, but we’re still playing catch up.
Will we be back for more?
This is a bold way to reintroduce the beloved Australian soap. But as jarring as this new dynamic may be, at least there’s a sense that those on-screen can't quite believe who’s marrying who, either.
Add to that a glimmer of evidence of Toadie’s last wedding, in the form of balloon confetti, and there’s hope that Neighbours isn’t simply dismissing its memories.
There’s a game plan here, and we’ll just have to go along for the ride.
Neighbours continues on Tuesday 19 September and every Monday to Thursday at 7am on Amazon Freevee.
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