2006 opened with a lot of huge storylines hanging over from 2005. The 2005 finale was a cyclone which ripped through town leaving the lives of several of our favourites in danger. Luckily they all lived to see another day but for Flynn, diagnosed with terminal skin cancer in 2005, time was running out. After being knocked down the stairs by Belle he became weak and after the Doctor made it clear that he didn’t have very long left to live we were treated to one of the most emotionally charged episodes of home and away ever. Telling Ric he had to be the man of the house, Cassie he was proud of her and getting a promise from Alf that his family would be looked after, Flynn had one final dance with Sally to their song and passed away in her arms.
His funeral was another real tear jerker with Cassie breaking down whilst reading a poem, only to be rescued by Colleen and the return of Pippa and Flynn’s father and sister. the episode ended with a quiet scattering of ashes at the beach and the whole town surprising Sally by turning out to honour Flynn, all carrying candles.
In another story carried over from 2005 Tasha was heavily immersed in the world of the Believers, a cult headed by Mumma Rose and her son Jonah but what Tasha didn’t realise was that this seemingly innocent group of people were referring to her as the chosen one and had some mysterious plan in store for her. Eventually Tasha realised what was going on and escaped from their clutches to be reunited with Robbie but Mumma Rose managed to escape arrest and finding out she was pregnant without sleeping with anyone it became clear that Tasha had been drugged and raped by Jonah. With Robbie’s support she decided to keep the baby but with Mumma Rose still on the loose and determined to get hold of Tasha’s baby, this storyline was to run.
The Believers wasn’t the only storyline involving Tasha and Robbie that carried over from 2005. Beth’s father Graham Walters had recently married Amanda Vale, convinced she loved him but everyone else knew different. Amanda was seeing Josh West and heavily embroiled in Project 56, a plot to build a bridge through Summer Bay, practically demolishing the town and Graham’s money was central to the plan. When Graham found out what his wife was up to he suffered a heart attack and before slipping into an irreversable coma he asked Beth not to keep him alive but to let him die with dignity. Amanda though, bound by a pre-nup which meant Graham had to survive for a certain amount of days before she could inherit his money, refused to turn off the life support machine.
The Hunters went to court to force Amanda’s hand but with Josh paying off the judge they lost the case. One member of Beth’s family wasn’t willing to let it go though and turned off Graham’s life support machine.
Early 2006 was a tough time for several Bay members. With Alf locked up in prison after being framed by Josh West, Ric was subject to some major bullying at work from the boss’s nephew Dom who, amongst other things, framed Ric for shobby work and poured acid on his legs. Eventually though, Ric got the better of him and Dom was revealed to be a bully. Another bully was Rachel’s collegue Dr Helpman who at first was supportive of her until she refused to sleep with him, at which point he started to make her life a misery. Finding out about her growing relationship with her patient Kim, he blackmailed her but Rachel’s feelings for Kim were too strong and she reported Helpman to the hospital board, admitting her own errors at the same time. Keeping her job thanks to her father, Rachel and Kim became a couple and Kim was soon to need her support through a really difficult time.
Somebody had shot Mayor Josh West dead in his office and provided Morag with the evidence to stop Project 56 at the eleventh hour. The list of suspects for his murder practically covered the whole town.
After many twists and false hints, the killer was revealed by Morag to be Principle Barry Hyde, in a desperate attempt to keep Josh from revealing the truth that he had murdered his wife years earlier in an attempt to save his son. Driven out of town, Barry headed to the City to await trial, where as far as we know, he’s still waiting.
For Kim and Rachel, they became stronger as a result of what happened with Barry and managed to overcome several hurdles together. They befriended a young boy by the name of Charlie who seemed at first to be innocent and lonely but Rachel soon became suspicious about the amount of time Charlie was spending with Kim. Stealing his clothes and name badge, cutting Rachel out of photographs and kidnapping Rachel, holding her hostage in the gym, it quickly became clear that Charlie had major problems. Rescued by Kim, Charlie was admitted to a psyciatric unit for help.
Another major storyline at this point in the year came when Martha’s brother Macca came to town and got together with Cassie. A seemingly nice guy, Macca was revealed to have a violent temper, lashing out at Cassie. Eventually told by Matilda and Ric what was going on, Sally confronted Macca and took Cassie home.
During the who shot Josh case the newly returned Peter Baker seemed to be acting very mysteriously, receiving emails from a person known as TT, taking mystery phone calls and knocking Jack out when he started to pry. Already revealed to the viewers in the 2005 finale cliffhanger, Jack eventually found out the real reason for Peter’s weirdness. Zoe McAllister, the psycho stalker responsible for terrorising the town had somehow survived the explosion at the old abbatoir and was back, hell bent on revenge.
With Sally finding ‘tick tock’ scrawled on a red lightbulb, she realised the truth and when a video arrived at Jack and Martha’s engagement party the secret was out and the games began. A series of fake and real bombs, emails, taunts and a wild goose chase eventually culminated in Zoe’s arrest and everyone happily attended Jack and Martha’s wedding, safe in the knowledge that Zoe was in prison.
Except that Zoe had escaped and turned up at Jack and Martha’s wedding. With the revelation that Detective Tracy Thompson, Peter’s collegue, was actually working with Zoe, Sally announced that she could smell gas and a seemingly oblivious girl entered carring a wedding cake and causing an explosion that left many of our favourites fighting for their lives. At the hospital Peter and Rachel’s mother were both announced dead and Jack was fighting for his life, in desperate need of a liver transplant, which he got, when Dan gave permission for Peter to donate. A grieving Rachel, organised for a helicopter to take some of the burn victims, Kim, Belle, Kit, Robbie and Martha to hospital in the city but the helicopter crashed onroute and the five were lost in the bush for days. With the search for survivers running out of time and those out in the bush slowly losing the fight, they were saved when Amanda ‘felt’ Belle be bitten by a spider and led the search teams to the survivors.
Amanda as Belle’s mum was a revelation the viewers found out in 2005 but the truth did not emerge in Summer Bay until Amanda’s mother Kitty arrived in town and turned out to be the same woman as Belle’s grandmother. Having told Belle her mother was dead and Amanda that her daughter had died as a child, they were shocked to realise they’d been lied to and after the truth came out, Amanda desperately tried to forge a relationship with her daughter but Belle didn’t want to know. She eventually relented though, won over by the idea of having a ‘cool’ mother and moved in with Amanda.
Another storyline from 2005 was to be resurrected as Mumma Rose made a re-appearance whilst Tasha and Martha were away together, taking them both hostage. She then tried to force Tasha into labour kidnapping Dr Rachel in the process but when a syringe filled with a potentially lethal dose and aimed for Mumma Rose hit Tasha instead, her life was on the line. With the police arriving to arrest Mumma Rose, Tasha was rushed to hospital; where she eventualy survived as did her baby. Tasha though had trouble bonding with her daughter Ella but with help from Charity, a seemingly reformed member of the Believers, Tasha did come to love her baby. When Charity kidnapped Ella and reunited her with the escaped Mumma Rose, Tasha was determined to get her baby back. Eventually convincing Mumma Rose to hand over Ella, a moment of chaos ensued with Mumma Rose hanging out of a window and Tasha, rather than punishing her for all the trouble she had caused, saved her life and she was sent back to prison.
There was more heartache in store for Robbie and Tasha though as Robbie was revealed to be the person responsible for turning off his grandfather Graham’s life support machine. Standing trial, his case was strengthened by Amanda’s support and though he was found guilty, the judge decided to release him without making him do time and Robbie and Tasha decided the time was right to make a fresh start in America with her Aunt Josie.
The explosion and helicopter crash had caused some chaos for the town. For Jack and Martha it was not the best start to marriage and within a few months they had separated, both finding new loves with Ash and Sam. For Rachel it meant further heartache when Kim was revealed to have slept with Kit whilst lost in the bush but managed to forgive him. When a new girl Tara O’Neill started making eyes at Kim, Rachel felt threatened but Kim quickly talked her round, telling Tara he wasn’t interested. Except that Tara did not take rejection very well and threw ‘an Angie’ accusuing Kim of sexual assault. With her father as the Police Chief, the case looked bleak for Kim, until Lucas found evidence that Tara was lying but her reaction was to set Lucas up for assault as well. Eventually though it was Rachel who managed to get through to Tara and she admitted that she had lied to get her father’s attention, leaving Kim off the hook and he and Rachel, much stronger.
For Matilda, the horrific burns she suffered as a result of the explosion, caused a re-emergence of the self esteem issues she had previously battled. Overeating and making herself sick, it quickly became clear that Matilda had bulemia and she was sent to a retreat to receive help. There she met Dean, who much to the disgust of Lucas, became her boyfriend. Except that Dean turned out to be gay and Matilda turned to Lucas once more, only to realise they no longer felt anything anymore.
Another major storyline to originate from the explosion was the arrival of Drew Curtis, Peter’s son, who nobody knew even existed until after Peter had died. An angry Drew arrived in the Bay, intitially unwilling to have anything to do with his father’s family, he eventually changed his mind when Dan supported him as he was accused of being the pyromaniac who was setting fire to the town. Drew also had girl issues when he started to fall for Amanda Vale, Dan’s ex wife and his current girlfriend Belle’s mother. When Amanda too gave into her feelings for him, his life was put at risk when he was kidnapped whilst meeting Amanda out of town. Although he was returned unharmed, it quickly became clear that something more sinister was afoot and after the truth about his affair with Amanda blew up and Amanda cruelly dropped him, Drew decided to leave town only to be followed by the black car that had been stalking him. Just as he was about to be kidnapped somebody else arrived and bundled Drew into their car, taking him to an abandoned hut. There Drew’s captor was revealed to be Peter Baker, Drew’s seemingly dead father. Forced into faking his death after the explosion, Peter had been in witness protection, except that the people after him knew he wasn’t dead and began framing Drew in an attempt to force Peter out in the open. It worked as Peter went to hand himself over to the gangsters only to get the better of them and escape. Although initially angry, Peter’s family were relieved to see him alive and he and Drew began to build a relationship. It was threatened when Peter fell for Amanda, the woman who had hurt Drew so cruelly but he eventually came to terms with it and set his sights back on Belle, now with Lucas.
The end of 2006 bought a new love interest for Sally, in Rachel’s brother Brad Armstrong, who Sally supported during the death of his wife Emily to luekemia and a new character called Rocco. Sally and Brad initially clashed over ex-gang member Rocco but after finding him badly bashed, they agreed to help him and Sally offered him a bed in her house. Brad’s suspicions about Rocco seemed to be justified though as it was revealed that behind the scenes Rocco’s brother and gang leader Johnny, was still very much pulling his brothers strings. Co-erced into a spate of robbieries and Johnny’s personal vendetta against Brad, Rocco eventually turned on his brother and tried to shop him into the cops. Johnny, however found out what Rocco had done and changed the plans but a suspicious Sally found the new ones and foiled the robbery causing Johnny to threaten that Rocco had to finish sally or be finished.
In the season finale, Martha’s new man Ash was revealed to already be married with children, Kit returned heavily pregnant with Kim’s baby and a sobbing Rocco found Sally in the school car park. She tried to comfort him only to be brutally stabbed and left for dead meaning that 2006 ended in a similar way to how it had begun. With a major character fighting to stay alive and Sally at centre stage