Home and Away has many strengths but tackling mental illness is not one of them.
Last year during Jasmine’s delusion, her deep-rooted pain was cured with just a few counselling sessions so will they approach Martha’s sudden psychosis with the same lack of gravitas?
The extended Stewart family are having dinner around the table but it’s not all happy families because Martha isn’t afraid to voice her frustrations towards Alf.
“I have no idea where my son is and you think a gallery tour is going to do the trick?” Martha snaps back at Roo’s suggestion.
Martha is an art lover and often takes sabbaticals from Summer Bay to paint – although the fruits of her labours have not been seen – but she’s right, not even a visit to a gallery can bring back her adult alcoholic son Kieran.
“This is getting ridiculous,” Alf says.
He’s actually being reasonable on this occasion but Martha decides she’s off to her safe haven — aka Merimbula — out of spite.
Roo tries to talk Martha out of it and while the words coming out Martha’s mouth do sound the part, it feels like Martha is about to do a runner.
Indeed Martha has done a runner… without her bags.
Alf and Roo are stunned that Martha has gone and begin to ponder as to where she possibly could have gone.
Surely Merimbula would be a good place to start. But the the search party will be saved for another episode.
However just moments later we catch sight of Martha and she has developed a sudden psychosis which is portrayed to us using a film technique you might have used at uni because you thought it looked really good, but later regret.
It’s not unlike Jas-cam which featured a few times before it was retired for good (or so we thought) back when Jasmine was completely delusional.
Martha finds Irene and exclaims in a panic that she is being her prisoner by Alf and Roo.
“I’m trapped Irene,” Martha says.
Martha does have a history of mental illness so it will be interesting to see if, like Jasmine, Martha will be better after a few counselling sessions.
Meanwhile Bella is jealous because her boyfriend is giving all his attention to his long lost “sister” Chloe.
Bella ropes in Ryder and pulls the “you said you’d be here for me” card and Ryder relents and agrees to get Chloe away from Nik for a while.
It doesn’t go to plan and instead the four of them – Ryder, Nik, Bell and Chloe – have breakfast at the diner together because their minimum wage jobs that they rarely go to do afford them the luxury of avo toast.
Bella is at her wits end and pulls Chloe aside – to the jetty – to speak to her woman to woman.
But it also doesn’t go to plan and Chloe doesn’t back down.
“Nick’s like my brother and I’ve known him a lot longer than you have,” Chloe says.
Bella retaliates and calls Chloe a “selfish cow” which is overhead by Nik.
Ryder tells Chloe to cut Bella some slack because her brother is in prison. Something that is deeply personal to Chloe and she softens up a bit a begrudgingly agrees to hang out with him.
Meanwhile Nik and Bella put their differences aside and apologise to each other.
“Just because Chloe’s here doesn’t mean you’re going to get pushed away,” Nik reassures Bella.
“You’re not going to lose me Bella”.
And just like that everything is fixed.
Over on team Susie, the continues to “corrupt” the vulnerable John by cooking him dinner and later luring him to the bedroom.
The next morning she is playing the victim card and reveals to John that she’s “got herself into a real pickle”.
John falls for it and through tears and a very dramatic performance she tells John that she’s been kicked out of her serviced apartments and has nowhere to live.
John falls for it and suggests she moves in with him. With separate bedrooms of course.
But Susie takes her business as a con artists very seriously and takes John to the bedroom after which he wont’ be able to resist her charm.