UPDATE: Please note that since this story was published, it has been announced that Home and Away is to go off-air for at least two weeks in Australia to make way for news coverage.
It’s been nearly two months on-screen since Mason Morgan (Orpheus Pledger) was shot dead in the siege at Northern Districts Hospital, but the time has finally come for his family (and viewers) to bid a final farewell.
In the week after Mason’s death, it was decided by siblings Tori (Penny McNamee) and Justin (James Stewart) that Mason’s funeral would take place away from Summer Bay.
With departed siblings Brody (Jackson Heywood) and Raffy (Olivia Deeble) now living interstate in Victoria, the funeral was held off-screen, halfway between the two locations.
Alongside Tori and Justin, the only other Summer Bay residents to attend were Mason’s boss Alex (Zoe Ventoura), gym co-worker Willow (Sarah Roberts), John (Shane Withington) and Marilyn (Emily Symons).
Mason’s ex-sister-in-law Ziggy wrestled with the idea of attending, but ultimately decided she couldn’t face seeing ex-husband Brody with his new love Simone.
Boyfriend Dean helped Ziggy say goodbye in their own way, by laying a wreath in the water off the pier.
Although we previously reported that there would be a further gathering for Mason some weeks later, many fans were understandably upset that Mason’s actual funeral occured off-screen.
As this finally comes around, the week begins with the fallout of Leah storming out of the Morgan household, after she accused Justin of being just like her kidnapper Douglas (Adam Booth).
With Leah’s attempts to get back to a degree of normalcy, a concerned Justin was worried Leah may be taking things too fast, and discouraged her from doing too much.
©Seven. Leah accused Justin of being just like her kidnapper Douglas
Unfortunately Leah began to find this overbearing, and with control freak Douglas still at the forefront of her mind, it wasn’t long before Leah snapped and she ran from the house to seek solace with Irene (Lynne McGranger).
A pep talk from Irene sees Leah encouraged to talk to Justin, to explain exactly how she feels.
“Leah has PTSD,” Ada told New Idea. “She is still trying to deal with being back in the Bay. She really doesn’t know who she is and what she wants anymore.”
“Justin is being – without meaning to – a little overbearing and controlling, in a very loving kind of way” she continued. “However, it’s triggering Leah to feel as though she is back at the house with Douglas.”
The couple finally sit down and have a heart to heart, with an apologetic Justin fully understanding why Leah reacted the way she did.
Leah reponds by telling him that she knows how lucky she is to have a man like Justin in her life.
With one obstacle seemingly overcome, the next day brings more heartache when a delivery arrives at the Morgan house, containing Mason’s ashes.
Justin and Tori know the perfect place to inter Mason’s remains, and Leah asks if she can come along too, having only learnt about the recent tragedies last week.
“Leah didn’t know about Mason and Robbo for a long time,” Ada told TV Week. “So it came as a huge shock when she found out and she didn’t get to grieve them.”
And so the three take a road trip to a picturesque park, the place where the Morgan family parents, Koby and Kate Lee, are buried.
©Seven. Justin, Tori and Leah travel to the secluded spot where Koby & Kate are buried
Mason (whose birthname was Michael Lee) visited his parents graves for the first time in 2017, when Justin took the family there in an attempt to heal the deep rift between Mason and Brody—following the car crash Brody caused which left Mason temporarily paralysed.
The Morgans visit the site of their parents graves in 2017
It was explained at the time that the park was a special place for people who had lost those they loved whilst in witness protection.
In emotional scenes to be aired on Wednesday, Justin and Tori share memories of their lost brother as they stand in front of the unmarked white crosses, and then bury Mason’s ashes in between the two graves.
Leah then lays a bouquet of flowers on the grave as Justin and Tori hold each other, and a third white cross is placed to commemorate Mason.
After returning home, the reality of the past few weeks hits Justin once again as he breaks down. Leah, who has struggled to be physically close to Justin since her ordeal, is finally able to sideline her apprehension as she comforts him.
Will the couple finally be able to move on from their respective traumas?
Here’s the full spoilers for this week in Australia:
Monday 23rd March
Maggie fears for her marriage when Marco blackmails her. Leah and Justin struggle to reconcile after her outburst. Jasmine is rocked by huge news.
Tuesday 24th March
Maggie is blackmailed into a compromising position. Jasmine’s attempt to spread good news is unexpectedly tempered. Justin and Leah’s reconnection hits bumpy ground with an unexpected package.
Wednesday 25th March
An emotional farewell leads to a new beginning in the Morgan house. Willow’s breakup is causing her to lash out at friends. The town discovers Jasmine’s big news. Maggie tells Roo her big secret.
Thursday 26th March
A reluctant Dean gets caught up in Mackenzie’s love triangle. Willow continues to emotionally struggle with her break-up. Leah and Justin try to move forward and get their groove back.