Seven’s annual ‘Upfronts’ event has given us our first hints of what’s in store for Home and Away in 2022. Read on for some major spoilers about what’s coming up in Summer Bay.
The annual Upfronts event, once again held virtually as a result of the ongoing pandemic, is the network’s chance to showcase its programmes to advertisers and investors.
It uses the event to preview major new shows and showcase what’s in store in its existing programmes, as it tempts advertisers and sponsors into spending money with the network.
This year was no different, and we got plenty of insight into what’s coming up over the next 12 months, as Seven brings back Australian Idol, My Kitchen Rules and its runaway success of 2020, The Voice. Yet there were some big shocks in store as it previewed some major storylines coming up in Home and Away.
The night is normally a star-studded affair held at Seven’s offices in Media City, Eveleigh, but, for the second year in a row, it was replaced with a virtual event featuring presenters and cast from across Seven’s shows, as well as talks from the network’s management team.
When it comes to Home and Away, a press release from the network had this to say:
“Fresh from recording its biggest audiences in more than two years – and being honoured with its own coin, no less – Australia’s #1 drama will be back in 2022 for its remarkable 35th season.
And it will be bigger and brighter than ever before, with 45 weeks of all the drama, fun, romance, action, heartbreak and twists viewers have come to expect from our most successful drama series.
Life is never dull in Summer Bay. Home and Away is a Seven Production.”
During the hour long event, we got a special preview from Sophie Dillman and Patrick O’Connor.
The real-life couple, who play on-screen couple Ziggy Astoni and Dean Thompson, highlighted some of the show’s successes from the past year. They pointed out its growth across every audience demographics, how it averages over 1 million daily viewers across Australia, and how it’s regularly the most watched show on 7Plus.
Then it was time for a sneak preview, and this is where things get interesting.
Interspersed among footage of some of the show’s biggest moments from the past 12 months – the car crash, the surf competition, Nikau’s disaster of a modelling career and the attack at Martha’s exhibition – were plenty of clips of brand new material, and it’s fair to say we’ve got some dramatic months ahead.
Who has kidnapped Felicity?
Felicity (Jacqui Purvis) has only been in Summer Bay five minutes, but we bet she’s already regretting the decision to move to the sleepy seaside town.
She quickly attracted the attention of Tane (Ethan Browne) on a night out, and the pair ended up back at her place, kickstarting a passionate fling that saw them jump into bed together at every opportunity.
That is, until Tane realised that Felicity was developing feelings, and he put a stop to things. Soon after, he started receiving single red roses – first on his doorstep, then stuck to his car – and he instantly suspected Felicity was to blame. Things got heated, he accused her of stalking him, and she took out an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) against him.
Then, in recent Australian episodes, Tane passed out after being poisoned at the gym by both a sedative and a toxic gas. While most of the town immediately suspected Felicity, it looks more and more likely that she’s innocent – both of the stalking and the deadly attack.
Now, it looks like she’s about to be on the receiving end of an attack of her own.
The first new shots in the Upfronts promo are huge! They show Felicity tied to a chair by her wrists, in the middle of a dark and dusty building with ripped covers on the windows and what appears to be rope piled up in the corner.
She struggles in the chair, rocking back and forth, before sitting bolt upright as she appears to hear a sound from off screen.
In the next shot, Felicity appears to have moved from the chair – but it looks like her attempt to escape failed miserably. She now appears to be attached to one of the wooden support pillars, this time securely tied around her midriff.
Could it be the same person who targeted Tane? Perhaps Felicity discovered their identity, causing them to make her their next target?
Ryder and Theo’s rivalry continues
Beneath text reading ‘There’s a reason our audience is growing’, we see Ryder (Lukas Radovich) and Theo (Matt Evans).
The two are currently as far from friends as you can possibly get, with newcomer Theo constantly riling Ryder up while simultaneously trying to attract the attention of Chloe (Sam Barrett).
Yet it looks like they’re about to team up at an event at the Caravan Park. Or is this just another example of their rivalry?
The scene appears to show burning charcoal on the ground of the caravan park, as an audience of teens and backpackers gather round to watch.
Are the two about to walk across the hot coals to prove their manliness, potentially in yet another attempt to show off to Chloe?
Theo and Chloe kiss
Recent Australian episodes have seen Theo successfully drive a wedge between established couple Chloe and Ryder.
He’s made every effort to flirt with Chloe ever since he arrived, and it’s been driving Ryder crazy. Then, as Chloe organised a surprise 21st birthday for Ryder, Summer Bay’s newest arrival kidnapped the birthday boy and bundled him into the back of his car to take him to the celebrations at the club.
It’s fair to say Ryder didn’t enjoy his ride in the boot, and the night was a disaster. The latest episode saw Chloe confess to Ryder that things weren’t working out between them, after she took offence to his suggestion that something may have happened between her and Theo.
Yet, the new promo makes it clear that her feelings for Theo are set to change. In a split-second clip, we see the pair lock lips, suggesting the trio’s relationship drama is only just beginning.
Tane struggles post-recovery
In another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it set of shots, we see Tane seemingly struggling to breathe, as he pulls down his black hoodie to reveal a square patch of bandage on his neck.
He underwent an emergency tracheotomy after the recent gas attack at Salt, and it looks like it’s going to take him a little while to get back to full health.
Whether his struggles are an ongoing consequence of the attack, or whether he’s in for yet more drama, remains to be seen. Thankfully, it looks like he’s got Nikau (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) on his side as uncle and nephew embrace.
Ryder is buried alive
A rectangular wooden box, placed in a shallow hole in the ground. I mean, that could have any number of uses, right? It won’t necessarily be anything sinister…
But this is Summer Bay we’re talking about, and it seems the box is soon to be home to poor Ryder.
As if he hasn’t been through enough the past year!
He, along with Bella (Courtney Miller), Nikau and Chloe, were kidnapped by Paul and Leon earlier this year, as the gang members sought revenge on Ari and Tane. They bundled the teens up as they waited for a bus to Yabbie Creek, before driving them to an unknown location where they were forced to endure a cold night locked in a shipping container.
Then, as we’ve already mentioned, he endured a second kidnapping when Theo grabbed him and manhandled him into the boot of his car. It may have been a shorter journey this time – just to the local club for his 21st birthday celebrations – but it still left poor Ryder traumatised.
Now it seems he’s in for yet another terrifying night. The promo shows him reach up and touch the top of the wooden box, a panicked look on his face, and soil covering his t-shirt. The torch his kidnapper has left him with is likely to be of little comfort to the terrified youngster.
Just who has it in for Ryder this time?
What has Chloe done?
Whether or not this next scene is related, we have no idea, but it looks equally dramatic.
A dishevelled Chloe emerges from the side of the Parata house, clutching a large rock in her left hand. As she stumbles towards Mia (Anna Samson), she drops the rock and collapses to the ground.
Could she be returning fresh from confronting Ryder’s attacker(s)?
Could she be Ryder’s attacker?
We’ll find out in the coming months!
Will Ari propose?
Ari and Mia have been through the works over the past few months.
It hasn’t been long since the lovers reunited after a decade apart, but they’ve already faced heartbreak when Mia suffered an miscarriage, a result of the dramatic car crash which left her, Dean and Nikau hospitalised.
They then embarked on an adoption journey, after Mia decided she couldn’t face trying for another baby. Aussie viewers have just seen their first application get rejected as a result of Ari’s criminal record, leaving them worried that they may never get to raise a child together.
However, could happiness be around the corner for them in the form of a marriage proposal?
The promo shows Ari looking pensive, as he stares down at a beautiful diamond engagement ring.
Will we have another Summer Bay wedding to look forward to in 2022?
Felicity and Tane reunite
Anyone currently engrossed in Tane’s current stalker drama wouldn’t have seen this one coming, but it looks like Tane and Felicity are set to reunite.
Our biggest clue yet that Flick isn’t Tane’s stalker after all, the promo shows the pair looking loved up as they kiss on the beach.
It looks like Tane is finally ready to move on from Ziggy, but we imagine a grovelling apology will be necessary when he discovers that it wasn’t Felicity leaving him red roses and stalking him all over town.
The Mac and Logan adventure continues
This one is no surprise, but a brief split-second clip shows lovebirds Mackenzie (Emily Weir) and Logan (Harley Bonner) passionately kissing, suggesting their whirlwind romance is set to continue into the new year.
A high speed chase?
Finally, it looks like Summer Bay’s finest will be kept on their toes in the months ahead, as a black undercover car and white marked police car speed through the country roads.
Just who are they after?
And that’s it. It looks like we’ve got plenty to look forward to as the show speeds towards the 2021 season finale, and as the show returns from its annual summer break in early 2022.
Last year, the show’s final episode in Australia aired on Monday 30th November, while in 2019 the final episode aired on Wednesday 27th November.
Assuming the show follows a similar trajectory this year, Aussie viewers likely have between six and seven weeks of episodes left before we say goodbye to Summer Bay for another year.
UK viewers will also see their final episode of the year at the end of November.