Home and Away supporters never breathed a shot in 2020.
Yes, we screamed and gulped our way back, but to an edgy crowd, it has provided little comfort. And yet, we just love that.
The rollercoaster begins this week as Leah's whereabouts eventually come to light. A deranged man who not only wants to punish her-but also to marry her-is keeping her hostage!
Can somebody find her on time?
Leah's terrifying storyline takes a dramatic turn this week. (Channel Seven)
Cruel motives The hunt for Leah (Ada Nicodemou) is now a legal cause for missing persons.
Justin (James Stewart) is worried beside himself as weeks pass without a single word.
When a relaxing bath does little to calm his mind, he goes home to check out Leah's journal for the one-hundredth time it feels like.
A video of Leah has just been posted on the site, to his shock and horror. She sits joyfully beside a man of mystery and sports a ring of marriage! Which happens?
Leah had all but disappeared… until now. (Channel Seven)
Justin calls forthwith Roo (Georgie Parker) and Maggie (Kestie Morassi).
Neither can believe their eyes, and none of them feels this is true.
Justin encourages the police to take measures, but they're telling him they've already spoken to Leah, and she's verified that.
They have no reason to carry on looking.
But Justin refuses to believe it is as simple as that.
And yet he is haunted by a kernel of doubt. Has Leah left him for another man?
Justin is completely confused by Leah's disappearance. (Channel Seven)
Beck and call Meanwhile, a man waits impatiently for his breakfast in the outskirts of town.
It is the guy in the picture and Leah, dutiful and terrified, constantly apologises as she lays his plate on the table.
"Viewers see a whole new Leah," describes Ada, 42.
"She's quiet, managed and almost a Stepford Wife. She's walking on eggshells, afraid of making his problems." The guy, Douglas, then asks for a peck on the cheek and the phone.
Before he shrinks into a corner, Leah obliges. Battered and bruised, it's clear that she was attacked.
Leah is subjected to one of her most harrowing situations to date. (Channel Seven)
"If she steps out of line, or talks back, he becomes really angry with her," Ada says.
"He needs Leah to follow him. He's planning on getting married and sharing a bed on the wedding night together, it's really scary." Douglas tells her they're calling Justin.
He doesn't seem to get the message and it's time they made arrangements for their forthcoming bridal weddings.
Justin is stunned to hear from his girlfriend, but she can tell instinctively that something is wrong.
Leah warns him to stay away in a trembling voice and hangs up before he can ask any questions.
Douglas ' temper flares, disapproving of her performance and he lashes out.
While it's still uncertain why this guy affects Leah, her life is in grave danger…
Douglas is a dangerous man. (Channel Seven)
Runaway bride Leah emerges from her locked room the following morning, wearing a wedding gown and a swollen lip.
In the hours ahead Douglas arranged for them to become husband and wife.
He orders Leah to repair her lipstick-to hide her wounds-as he calls for the ceremony to welcome his "men's group."
Justin is relaying his phone conversation with Colby back in Summer Bay.
The policemen, alarmed and slightly bashful, search for clues on the case files.
While the case is active, a potential suspect discovers Colby across a street address.
Leah gives chase… but will she free herself from her kidnapper's clutches? (Channel Seven)
Justin won't hesitate to race to his car instantly.
With the finishing touches in order in the cabin, it is time to start the wedding. Leah panics and searches for a reason to quit.
Douglas is determined to make Leah his wife-at all costs.
"She thinks she's got to get out there," says Ada.
"She flees in a wedding dress, hoping to find someone to help." Leah strikes him across the head with a nearby flashlight, as he places the veil on her head. She makes a door break and flees across the bushland. But under the weight of the robe, she fails to move.
Douglas stands up groggily and gives chase. As he closes in, Leah knows this is a moment of struggle or flight.
"It's or never is now-she he closes in, Leah knows it's a moment of fight or flight."It's now or never – she has to do something," Ada teases.
Can she escape his clutches?