It’s been a rollercoaster few months for the Palmer household, but the drama isn’t about to end any time soon as John (Shane Withington) prepares to undergo brain surgery.
Things haven’t been right with John since he fell and hit his head last year—which resulted in a bleed on the brain. Whilst assured by the doctors that it was nothing serious at the time, in the months since we’ve seen John suffer dizziness, physical and mental blackouts, and display some very out of character behaviour.
In recent weeks, both Marilyn (Emily Symons) and Alf (Ray Meagher) became concerned about John’s moodswings, and John himself started to worry about his frequent memory lapses and headaches. During another mental blackout, he attempted to set fire to the bait shop, but was interrupted by Alf and dropped his lighter as he made his escape.
When Kat (Pia Miller) heard from forensics that the lighter contained only John’s fingerprints, the pieces of the puzzle finally come together and confirmed that he was the one responsible for the fires. However at the same time, John had a seizure and he collapsed at home in front of a shocked Marilyn.
Rushed to hospital, Nate (Kyle Pryor) revealed that John had a brain tumour, and that surgery to remove it would be the most viable option. He also confirmed to Kat that a tumour of this type could well cause significant behavioural change.
Whilst Kat chose not to confront John with the truth of what he’d done just yet, the Summer Bay grapevine didn’t take long to reach Ash (George Mason), who stormed into a bewildered John’s hospital room to attack him for causing Billie’s death.
As Kat explained further, John and Marilyn struggled to face up to the shock news that he was responsible for both Billie’s demise and Marilyn’s burns.
This week, John grows increasingly despondent and informs a distraught Marilyn that he’s decided against having the surgery—even if he did make it through, he’d still have a possible prison sentence awaiting him.
“It was horrifying for John when the realisation of what he’d done hit him” said Shane to TV WEEK. “He descends into the blackest of times. John’s thinking, ‘What’s the point? I don’t remember what happened but I did this. I don’t want surgery—I want out!’”
After a heartfelt plea from Marilyn, John finally agrees to undergo the surgery, but she voices her fears to Alf as to whether the man she loves will be the same again, and if the community will ever be able to forgive him.
Whilst John makes it through the surgery, a further complication ensues when an administered painkiller causes him to go into anaphylactic shock, leaving him on the brink of death unless action is taken immediately. “He reacts badly, leaving him unconscious” Shane continued. “Marilyn is broken. She’s severely burnt, the whole town is burnt, and her husband has admitted he’s responsible. Now she might lose him.”
Meanwhile, having learnt that he could be facing charges of medical negligence in regards to Billie’s treatment during her labour, Nate (Kyle Pryor) and Tori (Penny McNamee) are called in for a meeting with Dr Bernice Chung (Karen Pang) this week.
Dr Chung explains that Billie’s oxygen levels were dangerously low and that the delay in intubation could well have made Billie’s condition life-threatening.
Nate stands by the decisions that he made on the day, but something doesn’t sit quite right with Tori, even more so when she learns that it was boyfriend Riley (Ryan O’Kane) who made the complaint against Nate.
She sneaks into Dr Chung’s office to go over Billie’s medical notes, and is surprised to find a huge discrepancy between the original lab results and Riley’s report, which she quickly has to point out to Dr Chung after being sprung.
Whilst this puts Nate in the clear, Tori is suspicious and confronts Riley, asking he if purposely tried to destroy Nate’s career. His silence confirms what Tori’s been thinking, and she finally realises his true colours.
She walks away from their relationship, and states in no uncertain terms that she never wants to see him again.
For other storylines and a full rundown of what’s to come over the next few weeks, visit our Upcoming UK Episodes page.