On next week’s Home and Away episodes in the UK, it’s a fond farewell to Ben and Maggie Astoni, as they leave Summer Bay for Italy after renewing their commitment to one another. But as one marriage gets back on track, John and Marilyn’s looks set to be coming to it’s end…
After a rollercoaster few months for Ben (Rohan Nichol) and Maggie (Kestie Morassi), the time has finally come for the couple to get their happy ending.
Having finally agreed to give their marriage another go—following their split when Ben found out that Maggie had slept with his brother Marco over twenty years earlier—the couple felt that a completely fresh start was needed, away from a town where everyone knew their history, and so they decided to move to Italy.
This week as Maggie and Ben look to book flights, they realise there’s going to be a big price hike in the coming days. With the farmhouse, Ben’s board shop, and daughters Ziggy and Coco to think about, it’s going to be manic to get everything organised in time, but the couple decide to seize the day.
Whilst their flights aren’t for a few days, Ben and Maggie need to travel up to Cairns to say goodbye to Coco and give her the car, so when they later meet up with Ziggy (Sophie Dillman), they break the news to her that they will be leaving the very next day. Ziggy tries to put a brace face on, but it’s clear that she’s panicking about her parents’ departure.
When Ben and Maggie later offer Ziggy and Dean (Patrick O’Connor) a cheap rent on the farmhouse if they wish to move in, the couple are appreciative but ultimately decide that they’re going to stay as they are for the moment. Ziggy feels she needs to move on, whilst Dean knows that Colby needs the rent money—plus with the farmhouse some way from town it isn’t ideal for either of them.
The generosity doesn’t end there though, as Ben later offers his board shop business to Dean—and he doesn’t want any money for it. Whilst Dean is very reluctant to take on the responsibility, Ben reminds him that the board shop wouldn’t exist without Dean’s initial investment, and commitment to keeping things going whilst Ben was going through his mental health struggle.
With Ben’s insistence that he wants to do this to express his gratitude, the next day Dean feels he has no option but to gladly accept.
Having heard of the last minute plans, Alf (Ray Meagher) has no intention of letting Ben and Maggie slip quietly out of town, and phones Ben to inform him that a goodbye lunch has been arranged for the pair of them outside the surf club.
Meanwhile, John (Shane Withington) notices that Marilyn (Emily Symons) is dressed up and is surprised when she tells him that there’s a farewell lunch for the Astonis. Commenting that he’d better get ready, he’s then surprised when Marilyn replies that she didn’t think he’d want to come.
John sees no reason why he wouldn’t when they’re his friends too, but in an uncharacteristically cruel moment for Marilyn, she tells John that he should be resting after having physio the previous day, and that she would only struggle getting his wheelchair into the car. John reluctantly agrees but is clearly hurt as Marilyn hands him his lunch before heading out.
After receiving a phone call from John wishing him the very best, Ben smells a rat when Marilyn arrives and tells him that John was too tired to make it to the lunch. Wanting his good friend to be there, Ben enlists the help of Justin (James Stewart) to fetch John from the house.
John is very moved by their efforts, and when he rocks up to the lunch the tension between he and Marilyn is palpable, as she comments he must be feeling much better.
Alf starts the proceedings off by giving a speech, recalling the Astonis arrival in Summer Bay three years earlier.
He tells the story of how he helped them after their car broke down at the roadside, only for Ben to thank him by accidentally reversing into a water tank at the caravan park, and by then gazumping him in buying the Pier Diner complex.
Jokes aside, Alf pays tribute to the friendships they’ve built up over those three years, and makes a toast.
Ben then gives his own short thank you to everyone, for never waivering in their support for the couple as they’ve gone through the highs and lows.
Later on, Ben and Maggie say their final goodbyes to Dean and Ziggy back at the farmhouse. As Ziggy begins to get emotional, Ben thanks Dean for being such a good mate to him and knows that Ziggy is in good hands.
As Ben and Maggie drive out of Summer Bay for the last time, they comment that they’ve made some great memories in Summer Bay… but it’s time to make some new ones.
Meanwhile, later that evening, things aren’t looking so rosy at the Palmer household.
After avoiding John for most of the evening, Marilyn arrives home to a frustrated John. Whilst she tries to avoid the issue, John tells Marilyn to stop everything she’s doing and listen. John has come to a painful realisation, as he asks Marilyn to admit that she she doesn’t actually love him.
Marilyn can’t answer, and again avoids the conversation. But the next day things become heated as John insists that she’s only helping him out of obligation.
As John pushes her to admit the truth, Marilyn finally cracks and confirms what he’s been thinking—she doesn’t love him anymore.
Is this really it for John and Marilyn after nearly six years of marriage?
Following their departures from Australian screens last month, both Rohan Nichol and Kestie Morassi took to Instagram to mark the occasion.
Rohan kept it short and sweet by thanking producer Lucy Addario, all his colleagues, and the fans of the show—whilst also showing that he got to keep a small memento from the set, a sign for Ben’s Boards that is now affixed on his wall.
Kestie also shared her gratitude to all the fans who had sent her kind messages, and provided a heartfelt insight into her experiences on the show over the past three years—whilst posting a fun picture of herself and Rohan taken by Georgie Parker.
Admitting that working on the show had exceeded her initial expectations, Kestie said:
My belief was that because it was a “soap” I would probably find it easy, maybe end up a little bored and be able to just happily “phone it in” most of the time. To my delight, nothing could have been further from the truth. Every single person on the show, in every department, worked their asses off, at every stage, to make the show the absolute best it could be. From rehearsals, to re-writes, to on-set blocking and rehearsing, the directors, everyone, take by take, always asking questions, reshaping, and doing what they could to make it the best it could be. Battles weren’t always won, but they were fought. Respect.
However Kestie then admitted that the past year of her life had been extremely tough, and whilst working had initially provided an escape from some very traumatic events, the storylines leading up to Ben and Maggie’s departure had been difficult on both her and Rohan:
Then, the finale storyline came through which saw Ben and Maggie pitted against each other. The storyline took a toll on myself, more than I could’ve imagined – as Rohan, being a main source of fun and friendship for me on set, had to become not so fun, dark and really nasty at times. It was hard for both of us. Even though Ben and Maggie “make it” in the end, it wasn’t the most pleasant way for me to say goodbye to The Bay. That’s just how I felt……
Kestie finished on a positive note by confirming she will remember her time on the show with affection, and shared news of some very exciting projects she has lined up in the near future.
BUT – the good news is….. I will always look back on my H&A experience with love and gratitude.
Since saying goodbye to my beloved cast mates and crew, I have forged a new path for myself by starting my own business, am working on several films and been writing an album with one of my lifelong musical idols, that will be released next year. I’ve also been invited to direct and produce a film clip for another incredible musician and beginning discussions about the possibility of writing the score to a new feature film. So watch this space if you’re interested.
Slowly but surely things come together, I am the happiest I’ve ever been.
We send both Rohan and Kestie all our best wishes for the future.
Here’s the full spoilers for next week in the UK:
Monday 10th August (Episode 7366)
The Parata men farewell Mikaere in a deeply spiritual way.
Ziggy receives a generous offer.
Ben and Maggie’s adventure is imminent.
Tuesday 11th August (Episode 7367)
Dean accepts an unexpected proposition.
Ziggy seeks closure.
Tane disappoints Ari.
Wednesday 12th August (Episode 7368)
It’s a special celebration for Ben and Maggie.
Ziggy and Dean overcome challenges.
Marilyn and John make hard decisions about their marriage.
Thursday 13th August (Episode 7369)
Marilyn and John reach the point of no return.
Tori draws a line in the sand.
Ryder encourages Alf to seize every moment.
Friday 14th August (Episode 7370)
Jasmine’s behaviour reaches a crescendo.
Nikau and Bella’s relationship continues to blossom.
Tori makes an impossible choice.