© Channel 5

It’s one of those weeks where I’m having to write this before Friday’s episode (again), but Thursday’s episode was a doozy, so there’s still plenty to talk about.

Everyone is Stunned as Kyle’s Interfering Backfires

But really, who could have predicted that this would happen? Everyone, that’s who. Kyle has been trying to orchestrate some sort of reconciliation between Levi and one of his attackers, Packo, unaware that Packo has been out on a date with Levi’s crush, Bea. When Kyle finds out that Levi is going to meet up with Packo and take Bea along for moral support, he panics and desperately tries to put the brakes on the whole thing. Aided by Roxy, the pair confront Packo (I still cannot remember his real name) and make him agree that he won’t go out with Bea again, so he drops her like a hot potato. Meanwhile, Sheila is having misgivings about this whole situation and, because she’s a Canning and they like nothing more than to aggressively interfere in each other’s lives, she goes to meet Packo on the sly. Unfortunately, she meets up with him at the exact moment that Levi and Bea are walking past, and so all of Kyle’s panicky meddling goes up the spout when Levi finds out that Packo went on a date with Bea, and Bea finds out that Packo is the one who attacked Levi – all at precisely the same second. Thanks to Kyle, there are literally no winners in this scenario and all he’s done is cause everyone stress and heartache, including himself. Nice one, Kyle!

Kyle’s made a mess. Photo: © Channel 5. Source: Digital Spy.

Nicolette Drops a Baby Bomb

David is the only person who has ever planned to leave Erinsborough on a plane with more than a few hours’ notice, and we see him preparing for his trip in tedious detail for what feels like several days. He’s off to Canada to make a deposit, so to speak, and get the ball rolling on his and Aaron’s surrogacy plans. Even despite the protracted preparation for his jaunt, Nicolette still chooses the moment that he is about to step out of the door to tell him and Aaron that she’s interested in being their surrogate. Well, more accurately, she’s interested in co-parenting with them. Let’s ignore the fact for just one moment that it’s utterly bonkers to even entertain having a baby with someone who you’ve known for about five minutes, but David was literally hours away from getting on that plane. You’re not telling me that any airline would give him a refund at that short notice, and, “My housemate suddenly offered me use of her womb,” does not seem like the kind of extenuating circumstance that would wash with any travel insurance company. Why not just hop on the plane, do his business, and then consider Nicolette’s offer at a later date? It almost causes me physical pain to say this, but I agree with Paul on this one. Let’s hope that’s the last time I ever have to type that sentence.

Hendrix Legitimately Poisons His Dad and Everyone Acts Like it’s No Big Deal

Last week Pierce collapsed at his front door with some sort of heart abnormality, and it later transpired that it was because Hendrix spiked him with amphetamines. And everyone just… acted like it was not a big thing at all, and there have been literally no repercussions for Hendrix. Erm, excuse me? He spiked his dad with speed and almost gave him a heart attack, and nobody is raising an eyebrow? Is it just me, or is this utterly, utterly mad? If I’d have done that to either of my parents, I would still be grounded now. I’ve never thought that Pierce was a particularly great parent, but this is a whole new level.

Toxic Masculinity Ruins the Party Again

Thursday’s episode was the all-male one filmed for International Men’s Day. One could argue that men (particularly straight, white, middle-aged ones) get enough screen-time as it is, so this quite possibly could have been a slight misfire, but I think Neighbours did really well with it. They used the episode to explore an aspect of sexism that hurts men as well as women – toxic masculinity.

The teens all head to their campsite for their big schoolies trip. First of all, I just need to say that this trip looks absolutely rubbish. Secondly, what group of hormonal teenage boys needs their campsite to be decorated with jolly bunting? Thirdly, are there only three boys who go to Erinsborough High? If this is the big end of school party, where is everyone else? As soon as they get there, Ollie starts acting like a tool. Nobody really likes him, and I can’t explain what he’s doing there, but then Jay doesn’t even go to their school and he’s tagged along with his case of stolen wine as well, so whatever. Ollie’s latest thing is an app that the boys have been using to rate the girls in the school. Hendrix rightly calls him out on it, and they have a big argument, so the trip gets off to a shaky start.

The least fun camping trip ever. Photo: © Channel 5. Source: Digital Spy.

Meanwhile, a couple of cars full of a random assortment of Ramsay Street’s other men are on the way to save the day, and in no way make the situation worse. Pierce and Shane are among the strange array of people coming to check up on the teenagers (that most of them are in no way related to), and so things inevitably come to blows between them. Hendrix and Jay hear a commotion and arrive just in time to see their dads having a very undignified fight while everyone else just stands around uselessly and watches.

This gives Shane, Toadie, and Karl the chance to talk about another aspect of toxic masculinity – namely the notion that men feel the need to be the main provider for their families, and any failure to do so is somehow shameful and emasculating. Sadly this is something that can have deadly consequences for men and their families, so it’s vital that we talk about it. This episode could so easily have been just a pointless gimmick, but hats off to Neighbours for exploring some important issues while giving us some of the weirdest character groupings I’ve seen in quite a while.

Look at David swooping in to stop them. Photo: © Channel 5. Source: Digital Spy.

This will be the last Ramsay Street Round-Up for this year. There will be an end of year round-up going up over the festive period, but I’m taking a break to do very important things like lie in front of the TV and eat my own body weight in Christmas cake, whilst waving goodbye to the worst year in human history. I hope you all stay safe and have a very merry Christmas!