Home and Away’s return to Australian screens saw Felicity, Eden and Leah with their lives on the line after two dramatic crashes. Did everyone survive the eventful 2023 season return?
After 6 weeks off the air, Home and Away is finally back on Australian screens, starting with a dramatic episode which left the fate of Felicity (Jacqui Purvis), Eden (Stephanie Panozzo) and Leah (Ada Nicodemou) up in the air.
In the final moments of the 2022 season finale, which aired in Australia at the end of November, Flick and Eden had been driving to Felicity’s wedding to Tane (Ethan Browne) at a remote country farm, oblivious to the fact that their brakes had been tampered with by a member of the Death Adders bikie gang.
The gang had placed a bounty on Cash’s head after he shot their leader Marty (Ben Wood) last year, but they’d been laying low in recent months. The night before Felicity’s wedding, a mysterious man snuck onto the Paratas’ driveway and tampered with the newly restored ute, in which Cash (Nicholas Cartwright) was planning to drive his sister to her wedding.
In the end, it was Eden who took the wheel of the ute after Felicity’s pre-wedding jitters caused a change of plan.
The final episode of 2022 also saw Justin (James Stewart) and Leah make an early exit from the ceremony after Marilyn (Emily Symons) called Leah to let her know there’d been a disaster with the wedding cake back at the diner.
As had been previewed multiple times over the past few months, the pair jumped in their car to head back to Summer Bay, where they soon found themselves on a collision course with Flick and Eden.
During the drive, Felicity passed the time rehearsing her vows, while Eden drove fast to make up for lost time.
When Eden approached an orange campervan, she tried to slow down, only to discover that the ute’s brakes had stopped working. When she swerved around the van and into the other lane, she and Felicity found themselves hurtling towards Justin and Leah’s car.
When Justin swerved out of their way, he ended up flipping his and Leah’s car, which flew through the air before crashing to the ground.
Flick and Eden’s car continued to hurtle uncontrollably for a number of meters, before crashing through the wall of a service station, coming to a stop dangerously close to some petrol pumps.
At the wedding venue, Tane’s nerves built as he awaited Felicity’s arrival. Felicity was late – hardly unusual – but as time ticked on, it eventually became clear that the bride-to-be wouldn’t be arriving for her wedding.
Only Cash and Gary (Peter Phelps) knew that Felicity had been having major doubts the night before the wedding, to the point of wanting to call it off.
When the wedding party realised that Flick was running late, Cash stalled by telling Nikau (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) that Flick had had a problem with her wedding dress, but knew there was a chance she wouldn’t be turning up at all.
Eventually, Cash assumed Eden had failed to convince Flick to go ahead with the wedding, and he was left with the difficult task of breaking the news to Tane – Flick wouldn’t be coming.
Justin and Leah were left in a bad way after their crash. When Justin came to, he looked to his left to see a metal pole through the windscreen, and Leah next to him gasping for breath. The pole had punctured Leah’s abdomen when the car landed, and she needed help, fast!
He was able to call 000, and soon the ambos and police were on their way.
They managed to cut the pole, make her stable and get her into an ambulance, where Justin headed with her to the hospital.
When Flick regained consciousness, she discovered that Eden next to her was out cold, and she was unable to wake her. Worse still, her car door was crushed from the impact, meaning she couldn’t open it to escape.
When the paramedics and police turned up, Xander (Luke Van Os) did his best to help, putting a neck brace around Eden while reassuring Flick that they’d get her out, as Rose (Kirsty Marillier) coordinated things.
Back at the venue, just as Tane headed to the front to call the wedding off, Gary ran in and revealed that there’d been an accident.
Felicity and Eden were both still trapped in the vehicle, but with the firefighters tied up at another incident, it was on the medical team to cut them out.
There was no sign of a petrol leak, meaning the team believed it was safe to begin cutting, and they worked to extract a still-unconscious Eden from the vehicle. She went into full cardiac arrest during the rescue, wasn’t breathing, and things weren’t looking good.
Cash went with Eden to Northern Districts, but only after telling the paramedics that she was his girlfriend. It looks like the crash has made him realise his true feelings, just as he risks losing her for good.
Back at Summer Bay and the town’s remaining residents were starting to learn of the disaster. Maz, back at the Diner, threw the wedding cake – the cause of Leah and Justin’s part in the crash – in the bin.
At the Parata house, John (Shane Withington) was left consoling Nikau, who had no idea what to do next.
The episode also showed one of the gang in Northern Districts Hospital, as he watched Cash attack Justin, blaming him for the failed brakes and resulting accident. The gang member was on the phone to someone, presumably Tex, updating them on the latest developments.
“He definitely wasn’t in the car,” he explained, as he watched Cash lay into Justin. “I’m looking at him now, there’s not a scratch on him. Regroup and put Plan B into action.”
Back at the accident site, as the team started work on rescuing Felicity from the vehicle, they realised that they couldn’t do it from the driver side of the car, through which they’d rescued Eden.
As they shut the driver door, it caused a rupture of the fuel tank, and petrol began to leak from the ute’s underside.
A medic also her concerns over Felicity, telling Gary that Flick had been trapped for longer than they would have liked, with her legs compressed.
She explained that when they did eventually free her, there was a risk that toxins would flood her body, which could stop her heart.
After the medics noticed the leaking petrol, they ushered everyone away from the ute.
However, despite telling Felicity to remain still, she started panicking and tried to force open the door of the ute herself.
This caused the vehicle to shake back and forth, prompting a rogue spark which ignited the spilt petrol, causing a huge fireball and engulfing the ute in flames with Felicity still trapped inside!
With the fire brigade still nowhere to be seen, it was on Tane to try and rescue his fiancée from the burning vehicle.
With only his suit jacket for protection, he ran through the flames, putting his own life at risk to save Felicity.
The dramatic episode ended with us wondering whether Felicity, Eden or Tane would make it.
Do Tane and Felicity survive?
Thankfully, with the flames confined to the outside of the vehicle, Felicity survives the explosion, and it seems running through fire doesn’t have much of an impact on Tane either.
Photos of the aftermath of the crash show Tane carrying Felicity in his arms away from the vehicle.
Both Ethan Browne and Jacqui Purvis have been seen filming together in recent months, confirming that Flick makes a full recovery, and it certainly appears that the two remain a couple.
Whether they go on to say their vows, or whether the event puts Felicity off marriage once again, remains to be seen…
Does Eden survive?
As far as we know, Stephanie Panozzo is still filming for Home and Away, meaning Eden also survives the accident.
A promo for tomorrow’s episode shows the doctors expressing concern that she could have suffered a permanent injury, so we’ll have to wait and see how well she recovers after the dramatic crash.
Does Leah survive?
Thankfully, we know that Leah makes a full recovery, as actress Ada Nicodemou has been seen filming with fellow Home and Away cast members in recent weeks.
In early November 2022, a number of the cast headed to central Sydney, filming scenes at a beautiful location with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Alongside Leah were Justin, Theo (Matt Evans), Cash and Roo (Georgie Parker).
With everyone in formal attire, and Justin and Theo suited and booted, it looks like we can expect something fancy – a wedding, a celebration, a presentation or something else entirely – later in the year.
In the coming days, Justin is set to blame himself for the crash.
The ute used to belong to Felicity and Cash’s dad and hadn’t been used for decades, so Cash asked Justin to bring it back to life before the wedding. With the brakes failing on the newly restored vehicle’s first proper outing, Justin can only assume that he messed up the repair, and that Flick, Eden and Leah’s injuries are all down to him.
However, it seems it won’t be long until the truth comes out. With Cash still alive, the gang of bikies are sure to make another attempt on his life in the near future.
In next week’s episodes, ‘Cash uncovers a horrifying truth’ – presumably learning that he was the target of the tampered brakes – before he ‘follows a lead’ in next Tuesday’s episode, and launches a rogue crusade next Wednesday.
Will he get to the gang before they get to him?