On Neighbours next week, it’ll be a race against time to save imprisoned pupils as a fire engulfs Erinsborough High — is Zara to fault, or is she being falsely accused?
In recent weeks, things have been heating up in Erinsborough — literally.
Zara (Freya Van Dyke), a new kid at her new high school, was determined to establish a name for herself, even if it meant offending the teachers.
She triggered the fire alarm in the school corridor, requiring an evacuation and incurring a costly call-out fee from the fire department. She also made it apparent to Susan (Jackie Woodburne) and Jane (Annie Jones) that they needed to keep an eye on her.
Since then, she’s told her new pals Aubrey Laing (Etoile Little) and Sadie Rodwell (Emerald Chan) about Jane spying on Nicolette with a camera hidden in a bear, and the rumour quickly spread around the school.
Jane had a bear planted on her desk before she realised it, and students teased her by filming her every action in class. Zara was grounded and placed in detention after Amy accused her of bullying.
When a student set fire to a bin last week, all indicators pointed to Zara as the perpetrator. Zara, after all, has a history with fire. She also lit a marquee on fire at the Far North Hotel, Amy’s previous workplace in Cairns, where she worked as Marketing Manager until returning to Erinsborough last year.
Susan looked prepared to trust Zara when she insisted she had nothing to do with the trash fire — that is, until Toadie revealed her past with fire. Her own mother, it appears, couldn’t believe she wasn’t the one who did it.
So whoever is causing havoc at Erinsborough High now knows they can get away with it because Zara will be held responsible for anything they do. Unfortunately for Zara, the would-be arsonist takes things to the next level next week as a massive fire rages across the school, putting a lot of our favourite characters in jeopardy.
Zara goes to kiss Hendrix (Ben Turland) this week, as if things couldn’t get any worse. She’s formed a huge infatuation on him and has even used deception to make Aubrey and Sadie believe he’s interested in her. So, in the living room of No. 28, she plants a kiss on him when she finally convinces herself that her feelings are reciprocal.
Hendrix is startled and shoves her aside. He tries to hide the kiss, but it isn’t long until the truth is out. Mackenzie (Georgie Stone) is furious; she was already envious of Zara’s love for Hendrix, and the fact that he kept the kiss a secret makes matters more worse.
Hendrix and Zara face Zara now that the truth is out, and her world comes crashing down when she realises Aubrey and Sadie have also betrayed her. She now has no friends, has alienated Hendrix, and her mother still believes she is a pyromaniac.
Then, when Zara is at her most vulnerable, another tragedy occurs at the school. This time it’s not simply a bin – the school is engulfed in flames! Jane risks her own life in the search for missing students, while Susan oversees an emergency evacuation.
Zara and Mackenzie are both unaware that they are locked in a smoke-filled art room with no way out.
Zara looks for a way out through the air vents. Mackenzie, on the other hand, can’t get up because her right arm is still in a cast from the Flamingo Bar accident.
Will Mackenzie be able to find a way out before the fire reaches her?
As Zara makes her way outside, she runs into Amy, Susan, Karl (Alan Fletcher), and Toadie (Ryan Moloney), who all believe she is to blame!
Nobody believes her when she claims she had nothing to do with the fire — she was imprisoned herself!
She ultimately realises Aubrey is hiding something and launches a savage attack on her old friend, pleading with her to confess the truth.
As Toadie pulls her back and Amy checks on Aubrey, it appears that convincing anyone that Zara is innocent would be impossible.
It doesn’t take long for her to be arrested and sentenced to prison. When she tries to defend herself again, she just succeeds in digging a deeper hole. She implores the guilt-ridden Sadie to confess, but the teen is breaking under Aubrey’s pressure.
Will Sadie be able to clear her friend’s name, or will Zara’s life be over?
Zara goes missing later in the week. Amy and Toadie find a note from her in which she claims that they are better off without her. Will they discover her before it’s too late, as they, the police, and the rest of Ramsay Stret organise a search party?