Shortland Street's Christmas parties don't have many recognisable real-world incidents like drinking too much, flirting with that guy from accounts and being poured into a taxi. Because in Ferndale, Christmas is the Season of Death. Judging by the body count of recent Christmases, I'm amazed that any of these doctors, nurses, ambos and CEOs still go to Christmas dos.
If I worked there, I'd skip town, somewhere far from serial killers, drunk drivers and drug addicts. But it was returning favourite The Exploding Building that guest-starred in last year's cliffhanger episode.
Something bad was always going to happen when the Warners threw a Christmas bash at their bach.
Emma saw boyfriend Dallas kiss her best friend Kylie, but Shorty rarely relies solely on human drama to lure us back for another year.
Accordingly, the soap's latest villain, Josh, showed up uninvited at the party to try to win Bella back, and convince her to leave with him. But he was confronted by an angry TK and Roimata, who know Josh has Hero Syndrome, where he puts people in danger then rescues them. Just as Roimata discovered a bomb on a timer, an explosion ripped through the bach.
Shorty is set to return tomorrow night and the question is who dies and who survives? Roimata was closest to the blast, TK and Josh were nearby and Chris, Rachel and Emma were the worst hit upstairs, directly above the blast.
Viewers who can't help but speculate got some help over the break. Each day for 34 days, a multimedia clue was revealed online. One stylish short shows a car carrying a coffin, with Chris, Rachel, Emma, TK, Roimata and Josh looking on, and the words: "for one of them this is the end" flashing across the screen.
Now, I'm not much of an amateur detective but, judging by the clues, TK, Bella, Kylie, Chris and Rachel are probably safe. However, there may be multiple casualties.
Fear not: I wrote the above before watching tomorrow night's double episode. Now that I've seen it, I won't reveal any major spoilers, certainly not who dies. But have a box of tissues at the ready as the hospital loses one of its best-loved staff members - and the show loses one of its finest actors.
The episode also asks whether Vasa killed Travis, after her violent, embezzling ex was found dead in her apartment-building carpark. Viewers didn't see whether Vasa did it or not, but my gut feeling is that she didn't, and that perhaps someone she knows did. We also see a lot of Dayna and Kane, who look set to become the soap's new teenage characters now that the other teens have thoughtlessly grown up. Hopefully someone tells them to stay home next Christmas.
Tomorrow is a big night on TV2. Straight after Shortland Street at 7pm comes the premiere of Super Fun Night at 8pm, a new Rebel Wilson comedy about three nerdy female 20-somethings trying to live life outside their comfort zones.
That is followed at 8.30pm by the premiere of comedy Trophy Wife, starring Malin Akerman as a party girl who marries a middle-aged professional with two ex-wives and three kids. At 9pm, the popular political thriller Scandal returns for a double episode partway through its second series, moving from TV ONE to a more natural home. Plenty of ways to escape the back-to-work blues or a bout of Monday-itis.