After a dramatic year for VJ Patterson (Matt Little) and Billie Ashford (Tessa de Josselin), and with the shocking truth finally out about baby Luc’s paternity, it surely must be time for the young couple to finally have a reprieve!
Sadly, as heartbreaking Home and Away episodes to air in the UK next week will show, fate has other ideas…
As friends and family tried to put a traumatic couple of weeks behind them, a blessing was organised for baby Luc. And whilst the happy occasion went as planned, soon afterwards Billie had a coughing fit and collapsed.
This week, Billie is rushed to hospital and given an urgent chest x-ray, where it’s revealed that there is a mass blocking her airway.
After a further bronchoscopy and biopsy, Nate is forced to deliver some devastating news to Billie—she has an aggressive form of lung cancer that is both inoperable and untreatable, and it has progressed to the point where Billie only has a matter of days to live.
As Billie’s loved ones struggle to take in the news, VJ decides he wants to spend any remaining time with Billie as his wife, and everyone rallies together in the couple’s hour of need to organise an impromptu wedding in the hospital chapel.
As the night progresses and Billie’s time grows shorter, she asks a favour of VJ—she wants to be at the beach, it’s where she’s happiest.
Sat on the beach cradling baby Luc as the sun rises, Billie makes known her final wishes. And as VJ promises that Luc will always know her mother, Billie peacefully slips away in her husband’s arms.
How did things progress to this point so quickly? Well the signs have actually been there for quite a while.
Eagle-eyed viewers may remember that Billie was displaying various ailments in the weeks leading up to Luc’s birth—her bad case of heartburn for example—which were simply put down to her pregnancy at the time.
As Billie went into labour, the season opener saw the couple stranded in the bush when their car broke down on the way to the hospital. With the bushfire bearing down on them and VJ forced to carry her a couple of kilometres, the amount of smoke inhalation caused some serious issues for Billie—and in fact exacerbated the aggressive cancer which was still undetectable at that point.
When she finally made it to the hospital to give birth, it became apparent that Billie had fluid on her lungs and her airways were swollen—and it was touch and go as to whether she would have to have a caesarean in order to prevent further harm to herself or her baby.
Whilst Billie was able to give birth naturally in the end, Billie started gasping for air and Nate was forced to intubate her.
Though she eventually stabilised, things haven’t been quite right since—Billie had to be administered oxygen after being confronted by her rapist Mick Jennings, and she has also suffered with a persistent cough since her homecoming.
Long-term viewers may find the circumstances of Billie’s passing on the beach familiar, and Home and Away Script Executive Dan Bennett took to Twitter as the episodes came to air in Australia to confirm that this was deliberate.
… Including a homage (to celebrate the show’s 30th season) to one of the most significant moments in the show’s history #HomeAndAway
— Dan Bennett (@DanMBennett) February 14, 2017
The reference is of course to Meg Bowman, whose death on the beach in 1992, in the arms of her boyfriend Blake Dean, has become one of Summer Bay’s most memorable moments—which we just so happened to refresh viewers memories of in the weeks leading up to Billie’s death….
— Back to the Bay (@backtothebay) February 1, 2017
For other storylines and a full rundown of what’s to come over the next few weeks, visit our Upcoming UK Episodes page.