As Colby finds himself working on two investigations, he’s determined to prove that the Parata family are in some way connected. But when he hears they’re planning on leaving the country, he takes drastic action which leaves the family torn apart…
It’s safe to say that Senior Constable Colby Thorne (Tim Franklin) has something of personal vendetta against the Parata family, stemming mostly from the fact that Ari (Rob Kipa-Williams) is now in a relationship with Colby’s ex, Mackenzie (Emily Weir).
The Paratas natural wariness around the constabulary also hasn’t helped matters, with Colby becoming immediately suspicious when Gemma (Bree Peters) refused to give her fingerprints for elimination purposes in the aftermath of the diner break-in.
When Colby later did some digging he discovered that Ari has been previously jailed for armed robbery, and that Tane (Ethan Browne) has often been suspected of being involved in criminal activity, but never been caught.
Knowing that the diner intruder wore a dark hoodie, seeing a similar hoodie in the Parata house was all the excuse Colby needed to execute a search warrant, which proved fruitless.
After Colby wanted to arrange a lineup, including all three Parata men, his sister Bella warned Nikau (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) of Colby’s plan.
Nik was terrified, fearing his family would be ripped apart whether they were guilty or not, and decided to make his escape from Summer Bay.
Unfortunately his panic to get out of town saw him steal Tori’s car, not realising that baby Grace was in the back. Although Tane helped Nik return Grace, the Paratas now have real reason to be worried.
Convinced that the car-jacking happening on the same day as the proposed line-up is no coincidence, Colby immediately heads around to the Parata house to announce to a stunned Ari that he’s investigating the kidnapping of a baby, and would like to know where Nikau is. Ari doesn’t know, and sends Colby packing.
Returning to the station, Colby learns that Grace has been returned safely, but is even more suspicious that it occured just after he’d spoken to Ari.
Whilst Constable Murray (John-Paul Jory) rightly points out that it can’t have been Ari, as they were with him at the time, Colby replies that it doesn’t rule out Tane or Nikau, and he drags them both into the station.
Interviewing a nervous Nikau, Colby tries the good cop routine by telling him that this is all off the record, and that he should just come clean now—it will feel a lot better than having to carry it around with him for the rest of his life.
Nik just about manages to retain his composure, and as Colby begins questioning, he replies that he has nothing to say, other than that he was at work.
Meanwhile, to Ari’s hesitance, Tane rings a lawyer that he knows, who informs him that there is no requirement for them to be interviewed or take part in the line-up.
Colby warns them that he could get a court order, but Tane welcomes that as the three of them walk out.
Back at home, the three decide to keep Nik’s crime hidden from Gemma, who has been deep in thought herself.
It’s fast approaching the one-year anniversary of her husband Mikaere’s death, and her beliefs tell her that his spirit will return to his ancestors at this point.
Explaining that she wants to take a trip to return Mikaere’s ashes back to New Zealand so that he can be with his people, Gemma theorises that this could be the reason for their troubles in recent times.
Perhaps if Mikaere is laid to rest and is finally at peace, they all will be.
Knowing how important it is, the three agree to accompany Gemma back to their homeland.
“This trip has been on the family’s mind for a while” Ethan Browne told Australian magazine New Idea. “This is something they all need to do in order to begin the healing process.”
Later in the week, the Paratas are in good spirits as they arrive at the airport, looking forward to catching up with family on what will be an emotional occasion.
But back in the bay, Alf (Ray Meagher) lets slip to Colby that Nikau is off work, with the whole family heading away for a few days, and Colby races to the police station determined to put a stop to it.
After Gemma passes through the security checks with no issue, the three men are confused when they’re all asked to step to one side.
As Nikau calls out to his mum, Gemma tries to return to them but is stopped by security.
Gemma phones Tane who tells her to carry on without them, they’ll get things sorted and join her soon.
Gemma breaks down as she’s forced to continue the trip on her own.
The three men are then informed that a travel ban has been placed on all of them—they won’t be going anywhere and are advised to return home.
Back in Summer Bay, Colby can’t wait to head around to the Parata house and gloat, telling them they must be stupid to think they’d be allowed to leave the country during his investigation.
Ari lunges at a smirking Colby, but Tane is able to hold him back. He orders Colby to leave, and the three of them are left devastated at the turn of events…
Sadly, this week actually marks the departure of Gemma from the show after a six month stint, with Channel 5 confirming the exit following the episode’s broadcast in Australia.
Bree Peters took to Instagram to thank producer Lucy Addario, script executive Louise Bowes, and the rest of the Home and Away team.
The departure came as a shock to many fans, though we had speculated that it could be on the horizon. Bree had not been seen on set for several months, and was known to be working on a theatre production in her native New Zealand for the first few months of this year.
The reason for Gemma not returning to Summer Bay is yet to be revealed.
To see some of the touching tributes Bree’s fellow cast members have paid her, as well as some fan reactions, be sure to check out our original story covering the departure at Australian pace.
Here’s the full spoilers for next week in the UK:
Monday 3rd August (Episode 7361)
Tori faces every mother’s worst nightmare.
Colby has two active investigations on his hands.
Nikau realises he’s made the biggest mistake of his life.
Tuesday 4th August (Episode 7362)
Tori struggles to forgive herself.
Jasmine takes matters into her own hands.
Gemma makes big family plans.
Colby’s investigations are thwarted.
Wednesday 5th August (Episode 7363)
Jasmine is confronted over her recent behaviour.
Ryder struggles to live a normal life.
Maggie has concerns about the future.
Thursday 6th August (Episode 7364)
Maggie and Ben make major plans.
Marilyn and John struggle to see eye to eye.
Ryder gets some heartening news from Evan.
Friday 7th August (Episode 7365)
Colby makes an unforgiveable decision.
Gemma, Ari, Tane and Nikau begin their journey.
Marilyn gets some much needed respite.