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Pop CultureDecember 18, 2017

The Shortland Street Christmas cliffhanger just left us at sea


Tara Ward watches the power-chucking, beard-itching, blood-soaked finale to Shortland Street. Contains spoilers. 

Lie me down on Chris Warner’s soft, pink bed and let me die quietly. The Shortland Street 2017 cliffhanger just served up so much glorious Christmas goodness that even my fat pants can’t handle it. I am stuffed full of drama, I am fit to burst, I am wrecked forever. WRECKED, I tell you.

It was a magnificent hour of television, tenser than the time Nick was caught photocopying his arse in the nurse’s station and more thrilling than Victor Kahu’s sword-fighting rap. There were shootings, deaths at sea, Santa sabotage, masked gunmen, Leanne with a beard, prison escapees, crazy dancing, a kidnapping, a power chuck and, best of all, a drunk Chris Warner fondling Drew’s bald head.

I mean, you had me at ‘catamaran’, Shortland Street. You got me. You got me GOOD.

The whole bloody mess was all Mason Coutt’s fault. “He wants me to watch my family burn,” Chris wailed, as the creaky wheels of Mason’s revenge plan against the Warners began to turn. Mason hired a sniper to shoot Finn and Frank, while he escaped prison to gatecrash Sass’s ocean cruise. Every piece in the fruit bowl of Chris Warner’s loins was in danger, and if you thought Harry storing his dick pics on Chris’ iPad was a risky situation then you should prepare for the worst.

Was Mason also responsible for the cruel Santa beard sabotage that gave Leanne a terrible face rash? “I’m a monster!” she cried. “I look like Prince Harry!” Bloody Mason, his evil knows no bounds.

The hero of the hour was, of course, Chris flipping Warner. He couldn’t fix Leanne’s beard rash, but he saved Finn, nay the entire world, when he pushed the masked gunman into the hospital atrium. The shooter hit the ground like “a water balloon full of mince”, and Chris breathed a sigh of relief and told everyone it was over. Oh, my precious Dr Love, have you learned nothing in 25 years?

We were only nine minutes in. For the love of sweet Karen Carpenter, we’d only just begun.

White lace and promises were long forgotten for Mason and Sass, who sailed into a world of terror on a catamaran named ‘Bad Kitty’. Sass was horrified as Mason banged on windows and screamed through skylights and probably ate all the melon on the fancy fruit platter. Bastard. The shipping forecast was grim, and when Jasper hit his head and died on a pile of stripey beach towels it seemed the only thing Sass would get for Christmas was a watery grave.

Mudflaps, as Dawn would say.

Mason wasn’t the only one desperate for revenge. Nobody makes Leanne look like the fifth in line to the throne and gets away with it, so she hid her blotchy face behind a shroud of retribution to spike Dawn’s party trifle. Ali scoffed the entire pudding, and as the waves of Christmas tidings washed over Ferndale, Ali’s tsunami of vomit washed over Dawn. It dripped through her hair, it flew into her mouth, it pooled in a chunky puddle at her feet. It was spectacular.

Even more astonishing was the tantalising peek into Chris Warner’s inner sanctum. Intoxicated by fear, rage and a shit-ton of whiskey, Chris was taken home by old mate Drew. I’m sure I heard Chris hum the opening bars of ‘Anchor Me’ as he wrapped his grateful arms around Drew’s head. Drunk Chris is a glorious sight to behold, but I’d be even happier if someone could tell me where to buy that blush pink duvet cover, thank you and good night.

The episode climaxed with three lives hanging in the balance: Esther, whose weakened heart gave out after she was kidnapped by another escaped prisoner; Virginia, found unconscious at the bottom of Chris’ stairs (pushed? Fell? Another tragic victim of Triflegate?), and Sass, who shot Mason through the guts with a spearfish gun and was left treading water somewhere in the Pacific.

Who lives? Who dies? Who really knows if Leanne did grow a beard during the 1970s?

“This is the best Christmas ever!” squealed Dawn, and she was right. The 2017 cliffhanger was a power-chucking, villain-sinking, atrium-splatting extravaganza that left me gasping for more. It was the gift that kept on giving, and with weeks to wait until Shortland Street returns, I’ll be channelling my best Chris Warner by crying into my pillows about my big lonely bed. Rude? I’ll show you rude. Ding dong merrily on high, Shortland Street, see you in 2018.

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