Neighbours Review for the Week of 10-23-23: Grief and Loss Came to the Forefront As Secrets Finally Came Out

Spoilers

Heartbreak was inevitable for Mackenzie.

She’s finally thrown herself back into the dating pool, only for her new potential boyfriend to be Holly’s no-good ex. And to make matters worse, Ed took off with Mackenzie’s wedding ring — her only tangible reminder of Hendrix.

Mackenzie’s grief surfaced on Neighbours during the week of 10-23-23; she wasn’t the only one. Nell talked about Sonya’s death in therapy, while Reece finally shared her secret with Byron (and viewers.) What a week!

The Ed reveal didn’t go exactly as expected, but it was almost perfect.

Holly: I’m going to show you a photo, and I’m hoping it’s not, but is this Ed?
Mackenzie: Yes, that’s him.
Holly: No, it’s not.
Mackenzie: Of course it’s Ed.
Holly: No. That’s my no-good ex, Eden.

He and Holly didn’t come face-to-face, but after  Holly saw him sneaking away from the Vineyard, she quickly realized what was up and showed Mackenzie a photo, leading to one of the week’s best cliffhangers.

Mackenzie’s devastation would have been painful enough if the guy only turned out to be Holly’s ex. That would have made it clear that he wasn’t who he said he was and left Mackenzie struggling with whether to give him a chance despite Holly’s negative experience.

But Ed made everything a thousand times worse by taking off with the girls’ belongings, especially Mackenzie’s bag, which meant her wedding ring was gone.

Talk about heartbreaking! Not only did Mackenzie get badly burned the first time she tried to date again after losing her husband, but the guy took the only thing left of Hendrix.

You don’t have to have liked the Mackenzie/Hendrix pairing (I didn’t!) to feel for Mackenzie here. They weren’t a couple that merely split for the sake of drama; Hendrix’s death was tragic, and Sadie’s role in it didn’t help anything. And now Mackenzie has nothing left of him.

Haz: Everyone’s worried about you. You know?
Mackenzie: Today kind of brought me to a dark place.
Haz: It’s not surprising.
Mackenzie: I’ll work through it.
Haz: I know you will. But I’m a good listener if you need one.
Mackenzie: It kind of shocked me how powerful the grief was. How raw. I know Hendrix is gone. But it felt like losing him all over again.

No wonder Mackenzie felt like she’d lost him all over again. I felt the same way when, a few months after my friend’s death, the car we shared was totaled by someone hitting it while it was parked on the street.

And in Mackenzie’s case, it was even worse because the guy who stole it was the same one she had tried to move on with.

Thank goodness they didn’t drag this out. Holly missed running into Ed twice, but Neighbours wisely used the rule of three, allowing her to catch a glimpse of him the third time they nearly crossed paths so that we could move on with the story.

Soaps must strike that delicate balance between delaying reveals to build anticipation and annoying viewers by dragging things out too long. This one was great, but it would have become ridiculous if it had gone on any longer.

Erinsborough is a small enough town that the high school is in danger of closing, and everyone on the block knows everyone else. It wouldn’t have been realistic for Ed to avoid running into Mackenzie’s best friend for months.

The reveal brings up a lot of questions.

For one thing, what was Ed’s motive? He saw Mackenzie’s business card when he bumped into her; did he flirt with her on purpose because she was connected to Holly, or did he find out later? Was he also the guy who stood Mackenzie up that night?

And most importantly of all, is he dangerous or not? Holly said he wasn’t, but that not-so-cute meeting felt like the beginning of an obsessive love story, with Ed hanging around for ages while Mackenzie drank herself into a stupor. Plus, he stole two wallets, a handbag, and all the money in the till at the Vineyard.

What else is he capable of?

Leo’s reaction to learning that his new employee was a thief who was AWOL seemed too laid-back. Maybe he was in shock, but his big whisky party had turned into a massive loss for his business, all because of a new employee Mackenzie had introduced to Leo.

Neighbours is a far lower-key show than most American soaps, but still. I’d think he’d have some reaction — but maybe he’s saving it for some future discussion with Paul or Reece about it.

Mackenzie wasn’t the only one who grieved this week. Nell finally talked about her feelings about Sonya’s death.

That storyline traumatized me so much that I almost stopped watching, so I can only imagine what it did to Nell, who was only five or six at the time.

The flashbacks were well done — unlike Days of Our Lives, Neighbours uses old clips judiciously, and they were especially effective when paired with Nell’s narration to the therapist of her perspective on Sonya’s death.

Rhonda: I know it’s a bit weird talking to a stranger, but I”m not here to judge you on what happened. I’m only here to help.
Nell: I know. I’ve had therapy before.
Rhonda: Was it for a particular reason?
Nell: My mum died.
Rhonda: I’m sorry to hear that.
Nell: That’s what everyone says.
Rhonda: Well, if you’re open to it, maybe you could tell me a bit more about her.
Nell: She was the most amazing person in the world. Sometimes when I close my eyes, I can still see her.
Rhonda: What do you see? What’s she doing in your memory?
Nell: She’s sitting on the beach with my dad.
Rhonda: That’s beautiful.
Nell: Kind of. It’s the day she died.
Rhonda: Oh, Nell.
Nell: I was building sand castles. Dad said she wanted a nice time as a family. That’s why we were there. I didn’t realize it was the last time I’d ever see her, ever get the chance to talk to her. I just kept building sand castles, and by the time I stopped, she was gone.

Sonya’s role as Nell’s mother deserves to be honored as Toadie and the family move on, and the counseling session did it perfectly.

In addition, it finally gave viewers some insight into Nell’s animosity toward Terese.

Since Terese has been Nell’s neighbor and was a good friend of Sonya’s, while Melanie was a stranger to Nell, it would have made more sense for Nell to have been the one who sent Melanie packing.

But Nell’s guilt over not realizing Sonya was dying while she played on the beach and her fear of losing Terese like she’s lost her other mother figures makes it a bit clearer.

It would be nice if this were the end of the nonsense and Nell was shifted into some other kind of story, but I’m not convinced this is the end of this any more than the last attempt at peace was.

There certainly won’t be any between Terese and Jane any time soon!

Jane’s been acting so ridiculously throughout this story that I wished she’d stayed in London with Mike. Understandably, she’s upset that she’s about to lose her job or that the school she’s passionate about is closing, but none of that is Terese’s fault.

The school was likely closing anyway, but no matter how many times Terese and Toadie tried to explain that, Jane refused to believe it and insisted that Terese wanted to close it so she could take over the land.

Jane: You two are celebrating already. Why aren’t I surprised?
Terese: Jane. Susan. I realize this isn’t the outcome you two are hoping for.
Susan: It’s very sad news for the school.
Jane: I’m not here to yell and scream. I just hope that you know what it is that you have done. Fifty years of learning, of developing, of helping young people to become valuable contributors to our society. People like you. All of that is going to end.
Terese: For the record, I had nothing to do with the timing.
Jane: Well, you have won. I just hope you feel good about that.

Jane’s temper tantrum when she spotted Terese touring the school didn’t help anything. The parents who might otherwise have enrolled their children weren’t interested after that display of immature behavior.

Nor did all the drinking Jane did at the whisky tasting.

But the biggest problem is that Jane doesn’t appear to learn from these mistakes.

She’s become one of TV’s most annoying characters, constantly flying into a rage and then apologizing, only to do it all over again.

Even her calmer, more measured approach after learning the sale was a done deal blamed Terese and attempted to make her feel guilty about moving forward with the proposal.

Am I the only one who hopes that she doesn’t come back when Jane goes to the UK to visit Mike over Christmas?

However, Cara gave Jane a run for her money as the most aggravating character this week.

Andrew: How’s JJ?
Cara: Yeah. Sorry you got mucked around with that. And like we said in our message, it’s got nothing to do with you.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, I know.
Cara: So are you any closer to finding a culprit or…
Andrew: Yeah, we’re still working through a few possibilities. Hey, I’ve been thinking. Maybe JJ and Dex are going through a little more than they’re letting on.
Cara: What do you mean?
Andrew: Well, I just know when I was their age, I bottled up a lot of stuff and it came out not in the best ways.
Cara: Are you saying we’re not talking to our kids?
Andrew: Oh, no. No, no.
Cara: Look, I appreciate the concern, but we’re handling it.
Andrew: Yeah. It’s just an observation. Sometimes you think they’re telling you everything and they’re not.
Cara: I don’t need your backseat parenting, okay?

Her animosity toward Andrew was uncalled for. He was never entirely on board with the war between Wendy and the Varga-Murphys, and he was only trying to give her a heads-up that JJ may be struggling more than she realizes.

She softened just in time for Andrew to save the day — he’ll probably be among the rescue workers to arrive on the scene once the family calls emergency services about the anthrax-laced mail.

Still, I don’t know why she was surprised that Andrew took the smashed window seriously. Unlike on Days of Our Lives, the police force on Neighbours is pretty competent.

Maybe in Werribee, the cops didn’t care about someone attacking a same-sex couple, but it seemed like the issue was more her dislike of the Rodwells.

This’ll go over great when it eventually comes out that JJ thinks Andrew is his father, especially if Wendy also confesses to poking around Cara’s resume and alerting the Linwell brothers to where she’d gone!

Hopefully, Wendy will at least learn her lesson about putting her nose in others’ business, though she will likely hold even more of a grudge once that inconvenient truth comes out.

Reece’s secret is also finally out.

The situation with her sister reminded me of one of the storylines on Good Trouble. However, I’m sure the Australian take on it will be very different (and not lead to the discovery of a dangerous cult!)

Reece’s father and his right-hand woman are delusional if they think Reece can find out where her elusive sister went in five seconds. Krista doesn’t want to be found, and the fact that her last known location was Lassiter’s doesn’t mean anyone there knows where she went.

Now that the truth is out, Byron and Reece can play private detective together. I’m still not a fan of them as a couple, but at least we’ve finally broken the cycle of breakups and makeup because of the secrets these two carry.

Your turn, Neighbours fanatics! Wherever in the world you watch from, we want to hear your opinion of this week’s shows.

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.

Don’t forget to check back over the weekend for the latest Neighbours spoilers.

Neighbours streams on Amazon Freevee in the US and UK and Amazon Prime in Canada after broadcast on Australia’s Peach 10. New episodes drop on Monday through Thursday mornings at 2/1c.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

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