As John (Shane Withington) continues to get on the wrong side of the Parata family this week, wife Marilyn (Emily Symons) instead chooses to make them a generous offer, but at what cost?
Having been kicked out of their motel after falling behind with their bill, Ari (Rob Kipa-Williams), Gemma (Bree Peters) and Nikau (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) have been forced to spend the night in their car, and it isn’t long before Marilyn spots them as she makes her way to work.
“Ari is challenged between the life he had and is now living,” Rob told TV Week. “He doesn’t earn what he used to and supporting his family is proving a struggle.”
Later that morning, Gemma receives a phone call from Ari’s brother, Tane (Ethan Browne).
Things are tense between the two, since it emerges that Tane felt forced to leave the family behind by Ari, and Gemma becomes emotional as she asks about his welfare before hanging up.
Meanwhile, Nikau and Ari are making use of the surf club’s outdoor facilities to wash themselves and their clothes. John is quick off the mark to try and put a stop to it though, being manager of the surf club he feels it’s his duty to “maintain standards”.
Nikau revels in giving him some cheek in return before Ari steps in, making it clear that he won’t be intimidated by John.
Later on, Marilyn tentatively approaches Gemma and asks about them sleeping in the car. Gemma breaks down and admits she never thought her life would come to this.
Marilyn then makes a surprising offer, she tells Gemma that she would like the family to come and stay at her place.
“Post-siege, there is now incredible trauma and shock for Marilyn,” Emily told New Idea magazine. “Ari was so kind to her when they were being held hostage, and now she feels that no-one else can understand what she went through. She thinks that he was her saviour – that he showed her empathy and kindness when she needed it most – and that she is now indebted to him and his family.”
Gemma’s taken aback, but politely refuses the offer.
Elsewhere, having been told the latest on the Paratas situation by Marilyn, Roo (Georgie Parker) recruits a passing Nikau into helping her move some boxes into the bait shop, before then asking for help with loading a boat for a fishing charter.
Roo points out the free feed he got at Alf and Martha’s wedding when he jokingly questions her promise of a burger and milkshake for his help, but she later comes good by giving him a handful of cash.
Nikau is touched by the generosity and is stoked when Roo then asks if he’d be able to take on some casual shifts at the bait shop in Alf’s absence.
He takes the money straight to Gemma in the diner, who is wary about where it came from before Nikau points out that he earned it fair and square—he’s not going to turn out like his father.
The phone call from Tane has given Gemma food for thought, given their desperate situation, and she discusses with Ari whether they could ask Tane for help.
Ari flat out refuses to take anything from Tane, as far as he’s concerned Tane turned his back on his family.
Realising that she needs to swallow her pride if the family is going to survive in Summer Bay, Gemma then chooses to take Marilyn up on her offer.
What Marilyn hasn’t taken into account though is John’s reaction, and unsurprisingly he’s shocked to later return home and find the family in his living room.
When the Paratas head out to give them some space, John insists that Marilyn retracts her invitiation, but she angrily puts her foot down—the Paratas are staying.
Astonished at how heartless John has been, Marilyn goes and apologises to Gemma before she then confides in Irene.
She’s finding John very hard work at the moment, and we get the impression that she feels her marriage is struggling.
Marilyn later tells Ari that she feels everything has changed since the siege, and she doesn’t look at things in the same way anymore, including John.
“There are definitely big thunderclouds approaching in the John and Marilyn nest,” Shane told New Idea. “It’s a huge storyline.”
Could this be the beginning of the end for one of the bay’s few married couples?
Here’s a full rundown and video slideshow of this week’s episodes:
Monday 30th March
Roo manages to do a good deed and enjoy her last day of holidays. The Paratas must swallow their pride. Mackenzie’s blind date is not what she expected. John’s worst nightmare comes to life.
Tuesday 31st March
The Paratas struggle to put a roof over their heads. Marilyn and John’s marriage is in trouble. Can Dean help Mackenzie? Will Bella reveal too much during her counselling?
Wednesday 1st April
Dean has an invitation for Ziggy. Bella starts to accept her need for counselling. Jasmine’s grief over Robbo continues.
Thursday 2nd April
Is Willow ready to make a big decision? Jasmine makes peace with Robbo’s gift. There’s shock when a mystery photo suggests Leah could be alive.
Friday 3rd April
Justin is devastated as Leah’s photo leads to more questions than answers. Alex and Willow have big decisions to make.