Coming up this week on Home and Away in the UK, Willow leaves Summer Bay for a new life in Queensland as she reunites with old flame Alex. Will Dean give her his blessing?
She has only been back in Summer Bay for six weeks, returning to reunite Dean with Amber and his son Jai, but this week Willow Harris (Sarah Roberts) makes the bold move to leave the town in search of some happiness of her own.
Willow has had a tortured few months since she sacrificed her friendships with Colby (Tim Franklin), Dean (Patrick O’Connor) and Bella (Courtney Miller) by becoming Angelo Rosetta’s “Witness X” and testifying against Colby, resulting in him being sentenced to 25 years in prison. She did it to protect Dean, knowing that if the truth came out, he faced prison for his part in covering up Ross’s murder.
By sacrificing Colby, who was already on a self destructive path, she could save Dean from prison and allow him to carry on with his own life free of fear. She skipped town after the trial, heading down the coast to take stock of what had happened, and to avoid the backlash from Dean and Bella. However, she returned earlier this year with the aim of sorting things out.
Even she was taken aback by how forgiving her old Mangrove River friends were, and after just a few weeks in the bay managed to rebuild her fractured relationships with Dean, Bella and Ziggy (Sophie Dillman), and resumed her job as manager of Summer Bay Fit. She even managed to convince Amber (Madeleine Jevic) to return to town with Jai (River Jarvis), explaining that with Colby in prison, Dean’s life would be a lot more stable.
Now, things are pretty much back to normal, but Willow is still coasting through life without any real goal, and no romantic prospects on the horizon. At the end of last week, in a heart to heart on the balcony of Dean’s place, Amber put the idea in Willow’s head that she needs to start thinking about herself.
“So, I’ve been wondering, what’s next for Willow Harris?”
“Beer, friends, beach, what more is there?” – Willow’s simple answer doesn’t convince Amber, who knows that her friend is capable of so much more, and deserves to find love herself. Willow tried to convince her that she’s okay without love, but Amber reminded her that there’s a difference between being okay and being happy.
She brought up Alex, referring to her as “that girl you told me about when I first showed up here” and commenting that “That seemed like it was something.” And, just like that, the thought is in Willow’s head – maybe the time is finally right for her and Alex?
When Dr Alex Neilson was in town as a locum doctor covering Tori’s maternity leave, the two were at very different points in their life. They ended up striking up a relationship – Willow’s first with a girl – but as Alex’s job and life in Summer Bay was only ever temporary, a future was always going to be complicated.
Despite knowing Alex’s role in the town wouldn’t be forever, the two ran headlong into their relationship, with Willow convinced that she was ready to commit.
When Tori returned to work, Alex was left looking for her next post, eventually finding a job in Queensland. She invited Willow to move with her, but it soon became clear that Willow wasn’t ready for such a big commitment.
Even Alex’s compromise, that the two find a place together somewhere local with Alex searching for jobs closer to home, wasn’t enough to quell Willow’s nerves.
Willow eventually talked herself into believing she was ready, and told Alex she would move to Queensland with her after all. However, Alex saw through it, and, realising that her life was in a very different place to that of her girlfriend’s, she left Summer Bay under the cover of darkness, leaving Willow a heartfelt goodbye note.
A year later and Willow is in a very different place. So when Amber suggests that she get back in touch with Alex, it almost sounds like a good idea. Yet she’s paralysed by fear – what if Alex says no? What if she’s moved on and has a new girlfriend?
As we rejoin the action next week, Willow decides that a reunion with Alex is definitely out of the question… that is, until Amber does some investigating of her own.
Stalking Alex’s social media, she discovers that the doctor is still very much single, leaving the path open for a reunion between the two ex-lovers.
“Look me in the eye and tell me you’re not burning to know more,” Amber teases as she shows her Alex’s socials.
Willow eventually decides it’s worth a shot, and calls Alex from the balcony of the Diner. Voicemail! She leaves her a nervous message, telling her she just wants to talk through some stuff, that she hopes she’s happy, and hangs up. Now just the anxious wait for a response.
Eventually, as she’s on the beach with Dean the next day, she gets the call she’s been waiting for. “Hi. It’s so great to hear your voice again.”
However, it isn’t the result she was looking for. She explains to Dean that she was hoping Alex would have asked her to move up to Queensland to be with her… but the question never came, and Alex refused when Willow offered to pay her a visit.
Yet one conversation with Irene later leaves her with the confidence to just go for it. Willow explains that Alex kept going on about how complicated her life is, and how she clearly wasn’t looking for them to try things again.
“Oh love, where’s the romance?” questions Irene. “Whatever happened to taking a leap of faith for love?”
When Willow tells Irene she can’t just pack up her whole life and move to Queensland on a whim, Irene reminds her that that’s exactly what she did a few weeks ago when she moved back to the bay to reunite Dean and Amber. “And against all odds, you won! Who’s to say it can’t happen again, hey?”
“Fight for her. What’s the worst thing that can happen?”
Safe in the knowledge she could always return to the bay if things didn’t work out in Queensland, Willow’s mind is made up. She’s going to Queensland! Approaching Dean in Salt, she tells him that she’s going to go right up to Alex and lay it all on the line; she’s going for the grand gesture!
Yet in scenes reminiscent of the first time Willow planned to leave town with Alex, Dean isn’t happy!
All he can think about is how it affects her friends and her life here. “What about Bella, and your dad?” Just like when she went to leave the first time, he can’t give her his support and throws her suggestion back in her face. “If you’re looking for a high five, it’s not going to happen.”
It takes a stern talking to from Amber for Dean to see that the best thing for Willow might just be leaving everyone she cares about behind. Bella has Nikau to look after her, Dean has her and Jai; it may suck, but things change.
And with that, Willow Harris says goodbye to Summer Bay after a little over three years!
She and Dean have one final emotional walk down the pier, reminiscing over their lifelong friendship. The pair, who once dated, have certainly been through a lot together throughout their turbulent childhood and beyond, and Willow recounts how they’ve come a long way since being “a couple of ratbag kids from Mangrove River.”
Though as Dean reminds her, geographically speaking Summer Bay isn’t exactly far from Mangrove River. “And we’re still a couple of ratbags,” adds Willow.
Then it’s time for her to leave. Even Bella is there to see her off – something that would’ve been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. Their goodbye is one of the more emotional, considering the hatred Bella felt for WIllow just a matter of weeks ago.
Willow is so grateful that they reconciled, telling her, “never in a million years did I think you would take me back into your life, and I’m so happy you did.”
She has a mini but intimate goodbye, with Irene, Bella, Dean and Amber there to say goodbye to her.
Her decision is so sudden that even Jasmine can’t make the farewell, tied up with her shift at the hospital, and the flatmates and colleagues are forced to say goodbye over the phone.
Jumping in her Triumph, her friends assure her that Alex would be a fool not to take her back, and wish her a safe journey.
Bella and Nikau are in for a spooky shock as they head for a romantic getaway, while Christian finds himself arrested as Lewis goes to more extreme measures to get rid of him.
Here’s the full spoilers for next week’s Home and Away episodes in the UK:
Monday 10th May 2021 (Episode 7530)
Mac comes home but remains broken. Christian learns the outcome of the autopsy. Willow makes a chance phone call.
Tuesday 11th May 2021 (Episode 7531)
Roo comes up with a plan to help save the Surf Club. Willow begins to hope for a future with Alex. Christian is surprised when Lewis makes a surprising move.
Wednesday 12th May 2021 (Episode 7532)
Willow makes a decision. Will Justin overdo things and risk his recovery? Will the article be a help or a hindrance?
Thursday 13th May 2021 (Episode 7533)
Ryder and Chloe crash Nikau and Bella’s romantic weekend away. John decides to sell his house, it’s time for a fresh start. Dean and Amber want different things.
Friday 14th May 2021 (Episode 7534)
Mac pushes herself too far. Justin takes his pain meds early. Nikau and Bella’s getaway takes a scary turn.