Earlier in the week, having recently returned to the Bay with his wife Martha (Belinda Giblin), fellow town stalwart Alf (Ray Meagher) is shocked when he learns that John and Marilyn have split up.
As far as Alf is concerned, it simply makes no sense.
And John clearly couldn’t agree more. For he would love nothing better than to reconcile with his wife.
“The separation definitely took John by surprise,” says Shane. “It has hurt him deeply and I have felt sorry for John.”
As for Marilyn, she has formed a close connection with newcomer Ari (Rob Kipa-Williams) and the entire Parata family, who until recently were living under her roof. Safe to say, the bubbly blonde seems to be doing just fine without her often-cantankerous husband!
“John has been unkind to the Paratas and has trash-talked them,” says Emily. “There has been a lot of brashness from John, and that’s upset Marilyn greatly.”
That said, as Emily confirms, Marilyn’s feelings for Ari have only ever been platonic.
“John was wrong in thinking that Marilyn had developed romantic feelings for Ari,” she says. “There is no romantic angle to this story at all.
“Marilyn simply connected with Ari after he helped her during the hospital siege, and she has always just wanted to be a good neighbour and friend to him and the rest of his family.
“She has also formed a really nice friendship with Gemma (Bree Peters) – they have become close as well.”
Lately, however, says Emily, “the ice has been thawing just a little” between Marilyn and John.
“She has confided in him recently,” she says. “She was upset when the Paratas moved out of her house, and she spoke about her feelings with John. She knew she would miss the Paratas – although they certainly didn’t move far away.
“But even though she was upset that they were leaving, she was happy for them. They’re a genuine family who are trying to start again.
“A lot of people come to Summer Bay and turn their life around, and Marilyn’s attitude is always that everyone deserves a second chance.”
However, the last that thing Marilyn – or anyone, for that matter – could have foreseen is this week’s devastating turn of events.
When the Paratas invite the townsfolk to attend a traditional Maori hangi, John suddenly begins to feel unwell, then loses consciousness as an ambulance is frantically called. But is it too late to save John’s life?
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