A new Home and Away promo gives us our first look at Leah’s injuries after she and Justin are driven off the road in the dramatic 2023 season return.
The 2022 season finale ended abruptly with Felicity (Jacqui Purvis) and Eden (Stephanie Panozzo) gleefully departing for the rural farm where Felicity was scheduled to wed Tane (Ethan Browne).
Even though Felicity had nearly called off the wedding just hours before, encouragement from her brother Cash (Nicholas Cartwright) and best friend Eden helped her realize that she was truly prepared to dedicate her life to Tane.
Even though they put a bounty on Cash’s head soon after Cash shot and killed gang boss Marty, the gang that had been pursuing the Paratas just a few months earlier had long since forgotten about them (Ben Wood).
Cash took his father’s old ute to Summer Bay in the final weeks with the intention of fixing it and giving it to Felicity on her wedding day.
The day before the wedding, the gang saw an opening and one of their buddies tampered with the ute’s brakes, perhaps thinking that Cash would be the one to drive Felicity to her wedding. Eden took the wheel after a last-minute change of plans, sending the bride and bridesmaid down the wrong path.
Felicity and Eden jumped in the recently restored truck and drove to join Tane, Cash, and their friends and family as they waited at the wedding venue, Tane unaware that his fiancée had almost bailed. Felicity and Eden were unaware that the brakes were about to fail at any minute.
In the climactic scenes, we also saw Leah (Ada Nicodemou) and Justin (James Stewart) depart the wedding site after Leah received a call from Marilyn (Emily Symons) informing her that there had been a problem with the wedding cake and she needed to head back to the Bayside Diner to rectify it.
Then, while brake fluid spilled out from under the car, we witnessed Eden and Felicity drive quickly through rural roads on their route to the event. Disaster was coming, but we wouldn’t witness it until 2023 because 2022 concluded with the couple driving off into the distance.
Now, a second 2023 return trailer shows Justin as Leah and Eden as Felicity approaching each other and offers us our first glimpse of Leah’s wounds, which will put her life in danger.
The bumper promo, at a minute and a half in length, shows that Flick and Eden will joyfully continue their journey when Home and Away returns on 9th January 2023, brimming with excitement as they head to the venue.
Leah, meanwhile, is less happy as she and Justin head in the opposite direction.
She’s seen frantically on the phone, telling someone – we assume Marilyn – to just leave the cake in the fridge until she gets back to the bay.
“We will be there soon,” she reassures Maz.
Sadly she’ll never make it back to Summer Bay, as tragedy is quite literally hurtling towards them.
“Slow down,” Felicity pleads, as the ute gets dangerously close to the orange camper van in front of them.
However, Eden can’t – the brakes have stopped working!
As their situation becomes apparent to them, Eden exclaims, “I’m trying,” in a panic. She repeatedly presses the brake pedal, but nothing occurs.
They must veer off of the camper’s path in order to miss it. Leah and Justin, sadly, are in the other lane.
Felicity’s panicked expression says it all.
They turn into Justin and Leah’s lane as they swerve around the camper, leaving Justin with little choice but to swerve out of their path to prevent a crash.
He flips the car as a result.
We’ve seen this before, with the crash previewed in previous promos – but this brand new promo shows the dramatic aftermath of their crash, as Leah is left with severe injuries.
Before the car comes to a stop, we see some rather terrifying close-ups of Justin and Leah being hurled around the vehicle as it flies through the air.
The most dramatic part of the promo, though, is the last few seconds, which show what happens when Justin decides to veer the car off the road.
Justin wakes awake, and as he grabs his head and observes the broken glass all about him, he notices to his left that the windscreen has been penetrated by a massive metal pole.
He’s panicked as he realises that the pole has smashed straight through the windscreen and impaled Leah to her seat, who is clearly panicked as she takes shallow, gasping breaths.
Able to get to his phone, he dials 000.
“Ambulance, I need an ambulance.”
Will Leah’s life be saved by the time the paramedics arrive?
The extent of Leah’s injuries is ultimately confirmed by the promo. The wedding and disaster sequences were filmed in August in the Central West NSW town of Blayney, which is around 240 kilometers west of Sydney.
We first learned that Leah and Justin would be in a serious collision when a nearby homeowner posted a picture of Leah’s destroyed car under a tree and surrounded by rescue workers on social media.
Another fan photo later emerged of Ada Nicodemou and James Stewart, with Ada wearing a blood-stained dress, hinting that she would suffer an abdominal injury in the crash.
Thankfully, Leah is still alive; Ada has been seen filming in recent weeks; but, the seriousness of her wounds suggests that Leah will need a lot of time to recuperate.
The new promo also showed more of the impact of the crash on Flick and Eden.
Eden appears to be comatose while Flick checks on her, and when Felicity shakes her, she doesn’t seem to wake up.
Tane and Cash are unaware of what is happening beyond the wedding location.
The terrible chore of informing the husband that his bride-to-be won’t be attending falls to Cash, who now thinks his sister has stood Tane up.
Somehow the alarm is raised, as Gary (Peter Phelps) – Felicity and Cash’s foster father – runs down the aisle.
“We’ve gotta go, there’s been an accident,” he explains, before he, Cash and Tane rush off towards the scene of the crash.
The new promo doesn’t show anything, but we already know that Flick’s car will catch fire when the gasoline that is leaking from the ute’s engine ignites.
With multiple lives on the line, will everyone survive when Home and Away returns for 2023?
Home and Away returns to Australian screens on Monday 9th January 2023.
UK viewers will see the 2022 finale and 2023 return episodes in March.