Episode Spotlight - 4576 (Mar - June)


It would be completely impossible for me to include or even summarise everything our forum members had to say about this episode as never before has a single episode of Home and Away generated as much discussion or debate as this one. RustySurfer described it as 'the most discussed episode of Home and Away ever' whilst Jamiehugh acknowledged that the debate generated was 'the fun of the board (and) let's face it, how boring it would be if we all agreed?'

So why did one single episode cause so much debate?

It was a risky thing to do, quite extreme, which is why I think it's obviously polarized people. (JamieHugh) It had 'so many strands, so many interpretations, and so many questions posed regarding my own thoughts on 'life and death'. (Foxy) The main reason the episode divided so many people was because there were so many different ways to interpret it. 'I guess it is up to the audience own interpretation, you can either take it as a wacky dream Sally is having about meeting Tom in Summer Bay House again, or you can take it literally and go down the path that it really is an afterlife situation.' (Alexx) The episode 'required some suspension of disbelief' (Ryan) and some people found it difficult, either due to their own views in regards to the supernatural or because of their expectations of what an episode of Home and Away should be like.

So what did we like about the episode?

Firstly, the way the episode started with the logo, then the recap fading into black with the intro of the new episode was great! Much better then what we normally see. It brings such a greater effect to the drama as a whole. (Drew) Many thought Tom was an excellent and logical choice 'because she has been thinking a lot about the early years' what with Milco being real' (Alexx) and Tom 'was kind of her father in the beginning it was nice especially since he was the first real big death of the series' (D.J.Rocks) For long time viewers of the show the nostalgic elements were a huge bonus; 'My heart skipped a beat when the table in Summer Bay House was set up the old way'. (Jay Preston)
'What I really loved what the alternative sequences, and the way in which I was able to question what is real and what it fantasy.' (Foxy) I liked 'the way it moved between past and present was very effective. It was darker than the episode when Alf had his near death experience... and had far more depth...but it needed to have all this..... and it worked in that respect.' (Frankie) Some of the 'real life' scenarios attracted most of the debate but some 'loved the live/die scenarios' (Cake) and 'liked the episode for the fact that it showed the characters in different scenarios.' (dnp52td)
For a lot of our forum members the emotional aspects touched them most such as 'the first few moments when (Sally's) face lit up when she thought of Flynn and at the end when Tom said: 'tell Pippa I love her more than ever and I am waiting for her'.' (Ter06) 'I think it's nice to think that is what will happen we die being greeted by the people we love.' (psychstud68) The idea of Sally's choice also tugged at a lot of heartstrings; 'Sally being torn about wanting to go and see Flynn......oh my gosh that would be a terrible thing knowing how close you were, but I loved how Sally said to Tom that if she decided to stay she couldn't be sure Flynn would be there to greet her and she was probably right (because) she had the choice, Flynn didn't and I imagine he would have been devastated to know Sally had left all the people behind that they both loved for selfish reasons. (Dark Angel) 'The saddest part for me was one of the glimpses of life without Sally when Ric and Cassie were at Leah's and had decided that they couldn't keep little Pippa - so sad!' (EmyKate68) 'The highlight of the episode for me was the scene where Sally touched the picture of Flynn and she was bathed in glorious light, she looked so truly happy in that moment and as usual, she had me in tears.' (mrs baker)
Possibly the aspect of the episode that divided most people was the lighting, camera angles and effects but for many these were the best bits. 'As is increasingly the case in recent weeks, the underscore amazed me. The music and all of the sweeps and other sound effects really did bring a mystical quality to the episode. (Dan F) 'What I LOVED, was the 'switching' between door/hall/table/staircase/table thing. I thought the way Sally was placed in the scenes was interesting and really reflected her contemplating her choices.' (deadea) 'The acting, writing and lighting were excellent,' (Ryan) 'I loved how most of the episode was in yellowish tinge, gave the entire thing a really eerie feel to it and that the entire episode was dedicated to one storyline made it much more easy to get involved than some of the other ones.' (Jamey-Maria)
In terms of potential story lining many commented on the fact that the episode would open up many possibilities for Sally's character; 'it should lead to some interesting and emotional scenes with Sally and Leah.' (Jamiehugh) These scenes with Leah over the next few weeks are going to be powerful and just as much upsetting. (Drew)

So what didn't people like?

A lot of our forum members didn't buy into the idea of Sally as falling victim to such a supernatural scenario; 'Not once in the past 20 years has Sally had any supernatural experiences or encounters with ghosts so it was pretty out of the blue.' (Ter06) Others didn't buy into the idea of Sally being so central to things in the Bay; 'Is it just me or did they make out like Sally was some kind of saint and life would turn upside down for everyone if she had died and if she lives, everything would almost good again? (Natasha) And for others the mere fact that sally was the chosen character didn't work; 'It was hard to get emotionally attached to the episode knowing that Sally would of course live.' (Dark Angel)
Whilst some took the stance that it was a dream sequence and therefore things weren't meant to make sense, for others 'it had way too many inconsistencies for my liking' (Leith) such as 'the way Colleen left...why would she take her luggage from the diner when she doesn't live there? Plus luggage isn't that light.' (RustySurfer)
The sequence involving Annie caused a lot of people discomfort as people failed to understand 'Why Sally suddenly feels so wholeheartedly responsible for Annie anyway.' (emmasi) and others couldn't see how Sally was so big an influence in Annie's life that her death would cause her to go off the rails so badly. Many commented on Annie's clothing as making her 'look like a bad embryonic hooker. I mean there's off the rails and OFF THE RAILS' (Jamiehugh)
Possibly the biggest drawback for some members was 'the strange lighting and that bizarre thing with the picture of Flynn.' (Jay Preston) Many people commented that it 'did look like a fan card, and it sort of had the effect of a life size cardboard figure.' (Deadea) 'While I do think the actual purpose and meaning of the scene was brilliant the picture was so tacky and took away from the emotional side of things, I would have rather (had) a wedding picture of them, at least it would have been more real. (Dark Angel)
Sally's choice also came under criticism as people struggled to believe that Sally would ever 'choose to die. I think if Flynn were there, the outcome of Sally's choice would have been more tense' (Jay Preston) and others added that 'it was quite obvious she should return for her daughter alone.' (Alexx) Members commented that 'Tom kept going round in circles and (didn't) think (that) the character of Tom was resurrected in a particularly good way.' (Jay Preston)
The balancing the books also came under criticism as being inconsistent and members couldn't understand why 'Dan (should) die because Sally's not ready?' (Leith) Some commented that it seemed inconsistent that 'if Miles' fate was originally to die, and the powers That Be really are sticklers for a well balanced book, then shouldn't he be the one to die now in Sally's place?' It was also asked why Sally got a choice at life or death yet the person to die in her place seemingly wouldn't even though it was 'never his/her time to die.' (emmasi)
The criticisms of the episode are possibly best summed up by saying that 'there were elements of that episode that were very soap and a bit of a stretch of the imagination' (Jamey-Maria)

The Debate

I think the majority of the debate came about because people interpreted the episode differently, where some took it literally others took it on a more simple level. Personal beliefs also came a lot into play in whether or not people liked the episode, not just with regards to supernatural but also with regards to the character of Sally and what an episode of home and away is really meant to mean. For some 'it's pure entertainment, and that was exactly what this episode was about. It first and foremost, made me sit up, stop eating my dinner, and watch intently. And that is what I want from H&A.' (bobliveson) 'I took it pretty much on the surface level of an interesting and different episode that kept me involved.' (Jamiehugh) 'I took the whole thing to be a dream, so it shouldn't make sense, and it should all be muddled, just as dreams are... All the strange questions and answers were all part of the dream, and that's why some of them were a bit tedious and out of character.' (Alexx) 'It was not supposed to make sense! That's the whole point! Sally doesn't understand, we don't understand, That doesn't mean it was unnecessary.' (Andy16) Others though simply found the episode was 'too far fetched and inconsistent for my liking' (emmasi) and 'fell flat.' (JayPreston) Others found that their own beliefs made the episode unrealistic; 'perhaps it's my personal opinion on life and death and afterlife's that contrasted so starkly that just made unbelievable watching.' (Ryan)
The idea of a life for a life was widely debated with some feeling it was 'not something I feel comfortable with existing in the Home and Away universe. I think that was a (mistake) to include that. I think that was unnecessary and will actually lead to some annoying moments for Sally in the near future. It's interesting to think about it as a twist with a sting in its tail and it's effective on that score. But it seems to me to be so nasty, and not like the Home and Away supernatural world that's been built up in the past.' (JayPreston) For others it was more simple; 'Sally wasn't meant to die and so had a choice of whether to go on or go back. In order to make that choice she was shown what was happening after her stabbing, how she could help certain people if she went back and how certain people's lives would be changed if she didn't'. (Jamiehugh) Some felt that it was unbelievable that Sally would ever abandon Pippa; 'I think that if I had to choose between my husband and child, I would choose my daughter hands down' (Tmg) whilst for others; 'I don't know quite whether I would've been able to return knowing that all those I'd lost (and in Sally's case, that's a lot of people) were a staircase away.' (Foxy) A few people struggled with Sally's role in the episode and the 'whole Sally lives positive/Sally dies negative idea, as with Alf. Of course when someone dies they are those that win and those that lose, but as with Alf, she appears to be the Messiah.' (Ryan)
The inclusion of Annie was another hot topic for debate. A lot of members did not feel Sally was significantly important enough to Annie to turn her so far off the rails and many commented that the move was too drastic. For others though 'Sally was the one who really put herself out there for Geoff and Annie in the beginning and she (was) shown Annie (so Tom could) say to her that she would be able to have an effect in the girl's life, in terms of her loss of faith, if she goes back.' (Jamiehugh) 'The whole thing with Annie, I think it's because she gave up on everything after Sally's death, she may have not spoken to Sally directly but think it this way: her parents are dead, Bruce dies, Rev might as well be dead, Sally dies. Then Annie doesn't believe God even exists anymore and turns dark and bad. But if Sally doesn't die perhaps she doesn't lose it like that...yet'. (WillowsTara) For a lot of people who accepted the Annie issue on face value, it was 'meant to mean (that) Sally is the only one that can save her from becoming that, not that just because Sally isn't there she turns into (the girl in the vision). ' (Dnp52td)
Annie's dress and the photo of Flynn have come in for a lot of criticism with some hating the concepts and others suggesting that 'some of the direction and production issues may have spoiled the writers intentions in parts'. (Frankie)