Jack Ori

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Nicolette and Wendy’s protest would have been a good idea if it had occurred a month earlier.

Susan was right that it was probably too late to change anything, and predictably, the peaceful protest turned violent on Neighbours during the week of 12-07-23.

Sadly, it was equally unsurprising that Nicolette got the brunt of the blame when she was one of the few people not storming the school building and tried to get the rioters to stop.

A Protest Turns Violent - Neighbours

Nicolette almost always gets blamed for other people’s bad behavior. It’s a tired soap trope that needs to go.

While she’s a bit of a schemer and can be unnecessarily nosey (why does she need to investigate what’s going on with Chloe and Elly?), she tends to be Erinsborough’s whipping girl, which is annoying.

Nicolette Confronts Chloe - Neighbours

When Paul ran her out of town by threatening to rip baby Isla from her arms as soon as the child was born, all of Erinsborough turned on Nicolette for depriving David and Aaron of their daughter when Paul was 99% responsible for that whole mess.

And now the same thing’s happening again.

Nicolette should have gotten a permit — that much is on her.

But her original event included people standing outside the school building and giving media interviews about what the school meant to them, which was not malevolent. And when the event turned into a riot, she used her megaphone to tell people to cut it out.

She had nothing to do with any property damage or Melanie getting hurt. Why not arrest actual rioters and investigate why a security guard allegedly shoved Melanie down the stairs?

The Protest Gets Out of Control - Neighbours

Fortunately, Nicolette’s legal troubles appear short-lived, but her arrest was unnecessary and stupid.

Wendy’s reaction to it was also ridiculous. She was right that if one organizer was arrested, the other should be as well, but throwing a tantrum in the police station wasn’t the way to correct that injustice.

Andrew: The Board of Education was quite clear that they want the organizer of the protest to answer for it.
Wendy: Organizers. Plural. I helped organize it too.
Andrew: I’m not arresting you, Wendy.
Wendy: Why? Because I’m married to you? That’s favoritism or nepotism or something.

Since the new season began, Wendy has been flying off the handle at everyone. It erodes whatever sympathy she might otherwise get; every time she throws a fit, I wonder why Andrew has put up with her nonsense all these years.

If she’d been held overnight for disruptive behavior at the police station, I would have laughed. That’s the least of what she deserved.

Seriously Injured - Neighbours

The protest brought back several old faces, a treat for long-time viewers. But I was at a loss as someone who only discovered the series in 2017. I didn’t know who these characters were and would have appreciated some flashbacks to go with their stories.

It didn’t detract from the overall story, and people’s on-air explanations for their history were interesting and helpful, so this was a minor oversight. Still, this was one time when flashbacks would have been immensely helpful.

Jane and Terese behaved like children when they learned about the protest. The protest was peaceful before the cops showed up, so there was no real reason for Terese to call them, and Jane blamed Terese for Melanie’s accident because Melanie said a security guard pushed her.

After the protest, Jane continued the childishness by increasing her radio volume to drown out Terese’s attempt to talk to her. Those scenes, and Terese camping out in front of the house, were likely supposed to be comic relief but were more annoying than funny.

There are so many badass women on Neighbours, but Terese and Jane’s handling of this situation defaulted to the stereotype of women being overly emotional and at each other’s throats for no reason.

David's Tough Confession - Neighbours

Terese’s proposal doesn’t make much sense. How are the school and retirement community going to co-exist on the property? 

Maybe this is more of an American concern, but I’d think parents would be concerned about whether any retirement home tenants might pose a safety risk to their children.

In addition, some retirement home tenants likely prefer a child-free environment, and those who don’t might not appreciate it if kids mock or bother them.

Staff could ensure the two facilities remain separate, solving those issues. But haven’t parents already arranged for their kids to attend another school since this one wasn’t supposed to exist? Enrollments for the school might be even further down — or non-existent — for this reason.

Still, I’d rather the two of them work together than continue the childish fighting, so hopefully, they’ll find a way to make this bizarre idea work.

Nicolette is Arrested - Neighbours

Melanie getting hurt was predictable, but the aftermath was not.

I knew that Nell would worry about another mother figure dying and that Melanie’s near-death experience would affect Toadie.

But on American soaps like Days of Our Lives, the incident would have made Toadie realize Melanie was his true love. Instead, Toadie feels Melanie is an obstacle to his new family, and Melanie wants him to stay away from her.

Surprisingly, Terese was the one who made the arrangements for Melanie to stay in town temporarily. She claimed she did it for Nell’s sake, but was Paul right that she wants to keep an eye on her rival?

Paul: I heard it was your idea to have Melanie stay with the Kennedys. Keeping your enemy close is a good maneuver.
Terese: Melanie is not my enemy.
Paul: I’m just saying, if my partner’s ex who still has a hold on the children was in the picture, I’d want to keep a close eye too.
Terese: Thank you, Paul, for this reminder that you and I are very different people.

Paul was trying to put ideas in Terese’s head so that she’ll doubt Toadie and move back toward him instead. (Newsflash: not happening any time soon, Paul!). Still, he knows her very well, so he could be right.

Reaching Their Breaking Point - Neighbours

In any case, Nell’s attachment to Melanie is almost an obsessive love story.

She’s made it clear that she will not accept anything less than a full stepmother/stepdaughter relationship with Melanie. So, with Melanie living across the street, if Nell goes AWOL again, it’s likely she hasn’t gone far.

Still, Toadie should schedule a new therapy session ASAP (and not invite Melanie.) Nell’s behavior is not healthy in the slightest.

Most of the week was dedicated to the aftermath of the protest, but there were a few other odds and ends.

David’s ‘confession’ that he’s no longer a doctor seemed unnecessary, and Cara was surprisingly chill about it. While she appreciated another doctor on the street, I’m sure she wasn’t thinking 24/7 about David’s job status.

Terese Has a Surprising Proposal - Neighbours

But will there be more to this later? Right now, it seems like a nothing moment that got blown out of proportion.

And what’s up with Chloe and Elly? Chloe’s going to great lengths to keep things secret, especially concerning Nicolette.

Nicolette and Chloe used to date before Chloe became overly judgmental after Nicolette ran away. If Chloe and Elly are having problems, Chloe might want to keep that to herself so there’s no risk she and Nicolette end up hooking up.

Chloe is entitled to privacy and was correct that Nicolette had become Ms. Detective for no good reason.

Still, something is going on, and I can’t wait to find out what it is.

Toadie's Complex Emotions - Neighbours

Your turn, Neighbours fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and tell us what you think of this week’s episodes.

Don’t forget to check back over the weekend for the latest Neighbours spoilers.

Neighbours streams on Amazon Freevee. New episodes drop on Mondays through Thursdays.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

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Neighbours Review for the Week of 12-07-23: A Tragic Accident Has Long-Reaching Consequences