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Old H&A Fan

The Steven and Dodge Story

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Spanning Episodes 287 to 375 (April 18 — August 18, 1989), and Episodes 1775 through to 1807 (September 8 — October 24, 1995), and containing key unanswered questions like his disappearance off the cliff, the story of Steven Matheson and his friendship with town bad boy 'Dodge', deserves a dedicated thread of its own.

 

BACKGROUND

Steven Matheson's parents died in a fire that was started accidentally, leaving Steven with a fear of fire from knowing the way they were killed when trapped inside the house. Left without a family because of it, Steven was fostered by the Fletcher family, who later moved to Summer Bay to begin the series of Home And Away. Steven's uncle, Philip Matheson, came to Summer Bay as a GP and hospital doctor late in 1988. Steven looked up to him like a god, because of how well he did at university and his budding career in medicine. He lived in the flat behind the shop with Frank and Bobby. Then, in April 1989, he got killed when Dodge threw a firebomb into the store, which was owned by Bible-bashing Celia Stewart as payback for setting mouse traps on the shelves where he was intending to steal Philip Matheson's pills. Phillip's death was a remarkable coincidence as it was the same way his parents burned to death.

The police could not, at the time, prove Dodge lit the fire, and Dodge was later fostered by the Fletchers, and formed a good strong friendship with Steven, who was dealing with Phillip's death. The story of how Dodge ended up being fostered, as he said, was that his father beat the crap out of him and his mother left him when he was about one year old, and he ended up on the street. He identified himself as Brian Knight and was enrolled at the school under that name. He was accepted as one of the Fletcher kids, but not without constant antagonism from Sally — the bullying of Sally from Dodge wasn't until later episodes of his stint. Nevertheless, Alsa, Pippa and Sally all said they didn't like Dodge because of something they "couldn't explain" or "couldn't put their finger on". Meanwhile, he and Steven's "camping trips" to the city eventually led them into trouble when they were caught out, then Steven, out of the goodness of his heart, took the rap for Dodge stealing a car and joyriding with Viv.

As the antagonism from Sally reached its peak, Dodge offered to leave the Fletcher family, but Tom talked him into staying, and had family meetings to agree to get along with Sally despite her pledges she will "never, ever" be friends Dodge. In Dodge's final week, he helped organise a party for Tom and Pippa's wedding anniversary. This seemed to finally earn the trust and respect he had been fighting for all along, from Pippa. All that came undone when one night, when he went out with a mate of his from the city, to a concert. Stevo couldn't go with him because he had to help Pippa look after Christopher because Tom was conveniently called away on a business trip to Tasmania. Dodge came back from the concert blind drunk. Adam put him up in his yacht to sleep it off, but Dodge let it all slip out when he told Adam couldn't call Pippa from the "shop" (confused with the Diner) because he burnt the shop down. Adam told Dodge the next morning what he said when he was drunk, and so — instead of telling Adam to keep his mouth shut — Dodge stupidly tried to set Adam up with a video stolen from the school. Adam told Steven what Dodge said when he was drunk, and bang went his friendship. When cornered, Dodge tried to refute what he allegedly said when he was drunk, but it was too late. He was then interrogated by detectives who said his name was Brian Forbes not Brian Knight, and he was not the Brian Knight described in his welfare file, the Brian Knight he was arrested a couple of years previously. The detective said Dodge was not some street kid down on his luck. Instead he was just a thug, his real father is an accountant, and his mother holds Tupperware parties.

6 years later, Dodge came back to Summer Bay after being released from prison, to pay Steven back for the lack of support he gave him as his best mate at the time. Stevo refused to have a bar of it, while maintaining a tough exterior and thinking he can handle what Dodge had planned. As Stevo planted the computer he stole from the school back in his caravan, he saw the harmonica he stole from Irene's husband Murdoch when he was hired by their son Nathan to murder him. Dodge took precautions to make sure police wouldn't find the harmonica when they executed a search warrant on his caravan, throwing it overboard the ferry in front of Steven. That night, he made Steven take the rap for his murder by jumping off the ferry and disappearing. Dodge eventually reappeared weeks later, for one final fight with Steven. Dr Kelly Watson was used as bait to force Steven to answer to him if she was to be rescued. As Steven and Dodge fought, they both jumped off the cliff together. Steven resurfaced with barely a scratch, while Dodge was never found, dead or alive. The last we hear of the search for Dodge was in part of a news broadcast Selina was watching the next morning, which said police would resume the search for one of the men who disappeared after the fight.

 

SOME KEY QUESTIONS TO EXAMINE

Why did Dodge leave home where he had well-off parents? Did he come to Summer Bay under a different name because he was on the run for something big (even before burning down the store)? How did he assume the name Brian Knight and have his story match what was on the real Brian Knight's welfare file? How did his real father come to be at the police station to identify him?

Was his clifftop disappearance deliberately left unresolved? Was it a scripting error? This happened around the time of Quinn's appearance — did something happen to the script producing team around that time?

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I know it happened weeks ago but the Dodge/Steven storyline was built up and I felt it just ended up flat in the end. I mean his girlfriend just disappeared and we could have even see her come up to Steven and yell at home for him disappearing. Even though it wasn't Steven's fault but the writers could have had Chris Hale come and tell Steven that they found is body. That would conclude it. Instead the writers just moved Steven on with Quinn and acts like nothing has happened. 

I find watching the old eps the writers back then seem to have moved storylines very quickly. 

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I have since found another thread discussing this case, with suggestions like having him brought back as the Summer Bay Stalker, as a 'friend' of one of the other residents whose lives he was a part of (eg. Irene Roberts). Or the idea that leaving his final fate a mystery somehow makes the storyline more memorable. I agree though, it is far too late for it to be revived today.

 

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I hope one day they do give us closure on Dodge, but a small part of me wants it to remain a soap mystery, similar to whatever happened to Jake Moon in EastEnders.

Dodge and Gary Samuels could be jumping off cliffs in the great cliff heaven in the sky.

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^ I'm under no doubt that Johnny Allen Had Jake killed due to an order screwup while having the attack "Get Jake Moon", his henchmen must have misinterpreted that when the Order was to finish off Sean. (2003-06 was a bit of mess for EastEnders, if I'm being honest)

Home and Away:

Only Alf and Carly saw Gary fall to his sickening death.

And by Dodge's admission, Nathan only paid him to rough Murdoch up but went overboard (no pun intended after the whole "MAN OVERBOARD!" thing, well maybe a little :D)

As I said, the only people other than Sal who were wise to Dodge were Lance (who has the IQ of a raisin) and Celia (For once she was right).

This could have been resolved in 1997 on Stevo's temporary return. "Ya miss me Stevo? Well, I won't miss you, old pal!" *gun click*  I could just see that happening with Travis, Jesse or Lachie entering the scene and trying to wrestle the gun away and getting shot in the process

All the Money in the World can't make good parents. Guessing YCPS worked with the City cops, got hold of Forbes Sr and had him ID Dodge.

And regarding Steven's attachment to Philip, he was his only living relative, so it was nautral.

Perjanik must have been possessed by a demon to be playing "chase piano" when the trio chased down Dodge/Lisa. Something almost reminiscent of Blue Heelers.

 

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I love both of Dodge's stints. I do remember him saying during his first stint that he could not swim and wonder if he learnt when he was in prison, or if he really did drown in 1996. I kind of like the idea that he is out there somewhere and if Steven ever returned again he could still strike.

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