- Charlene blaming Madge for putting Henry in jail
The fighting escalates between mother and daughter until Madge orders Charlene to pack her bags and leave. Shane, Max and Danny mediate, pointing out that it's too late for Lenny to find a new place tonight. Feeling outnumbered, Madge tearfully heads off to bed while Max offers his room to his niece for the night; he'll put up with the couch.
Early the next morning Madge stumbles out, unable to sleep, and offers Max a hot cup of tea. But Max would rather hear about how Henry wound up in jail. Crying, Madge explains that Henry's in for theft. She tried to do all she could to help him, but when he kept running away, Fred washed his hands of him. The last straw came when Henry stole from his employers and wanted Madge to cover his $1000 debt, but she didn't have the cash and refused.
MADGE: I thought he had to be made responsible for his own actions, but I didn't realise they'd be so harsh. Henry had turned 18 and the judge had decided to make an example of him. [Bursting into tears] Now he's refusing to see me. He hates me, Max.
Max reassures his sister that it's not her fault, but Madge wishes Charlene could see it that way. She doesn't know where she went wrong and admits that she no longer feels close to her children.
Nikki bounds over to Mike and bugs him about being her new jogging partner, but Mike's in a snappy mood and takes it out on her. He soon apologises and admits he's having money problems. Nikki reminds him they're friends and she'll do all she can to help him out, before giving him a kiss on the cheek. Mike gives her a kiss in return before walking off.
Shane explains the ins and outs of Daphne and Clive's pancake competition to his family. Danny thinks Madge should have a go, and she agrees. Charlene appears and sourly announces that she's leaving, but Madge confesses that she may have been too hasty in her actions last night. She tells Charlene she can stay but on one condition: she has to attend school. Charlene protests - she'd rather get her apprenticeship - but Madge is all “like it or lump it”. Oh, and she's starting today.
Scott compliments Helen on her breakfast and suggests she enter the pancake competition. Helen smiles and says she could have a go. Nikki's all for it too - anything that lets Mike keep his job is OK in her books.
Madge brings Charlene over, who shares a big hug with Helen. Madge introduces her daughter to Nikki and announces they'll be going to school together.
SCOTT: Oh great, I'll show her around.
CHARLENE: Just show me the way to Mike Young; what a spunk!
NIKKI: [stares death rays at her]
Helen tells Nikki that Charlene can borrow one of her uniforms. Nikki scowls and goes to fetch it. Madge wants to take Charlene in and get her enrolled, but Charlene isn't keen on being treated like a child, so Madge agrees to meet her at the office. Nikki brings out a spare school dress, which is quite an unfortunate puke colour.
CHARLENE: Oh, yuck. I wouldn't wear this to a bad taste party.
She quickly makes plans to walk to school with Scott (and Mike) then flits off with Madge in tow.
Charlene walks out and parades her dress (and hot pink socks) to the boys. Danny isn't impressed with how she treated Madge last night, but Charlene doesn't think it's any of his business. Danny and Shane start to wonder what Henry's in jail for, which makes Charlene angry. Max intervenes and tells them to pull their heads in just as Madge appears in the kitchen. Taking one look at Charlene, she does the mum spit thing with a tissue and wipes off her excess make-up.
MADGE: It's a high school not a wine bar!
Charlene isn't fussed about making a good impression on the principal - she's going to be a mechanic anyway - but Madge recoils at the thought. She won't have her daughter wasting her brains in a garage.
Nikki tells Helen all about Mike's family and money woes because she's worried about him. She thinks it'd be such a waste if he had to leave school. There's a knock at the door, and of course it's Mike. He's looking for Mr Robinson because he's in the market for a full-time job (much to Nikki's alarm). Helen says she'll pass on the message and Nikki grabs Scott to head off to school.
The three teens catch up with Charlene, who immediately takes her place alongside Mike. Nikki tries to push in the middle and talk to Mike, hoping it's not his last day at school, but Mike says he's serious about getting a job and is checking one at lunch time. Charlene offers to come with him.
Ext: Erinsborough High
Mike frets about getting caught while Charlene awkwardly changes into her civvies behind some trees. She pulls her dress over her head but it gets stuck on her massive earrings. Mike tries to help her out, but freaks when he sees the principal heading towards them. Clamping a hand over Charlene's mouth to shut her up, Mike ducks down with her behind the bush. But they're in luck - he's only heading to his car to get some files. They resume clothes wrestling.
Madge has a chat with Helen and admits she's ropeable after speaking with Fred on the phone earlier. She can't stand the fact that he's moved on and has demanded he send down every stick of furniture from their house. Helen offers to have Charlene stay at her place - she's sure Nikki wouldn't mind sharing (yeah right). Madge isn't sure, Charlene can be quite the handful, but Helen likes that she's full of beans.
Mike waits in line while Charlene struts back after her interview and tells him she wasn't offered a job. Mike, meanwhile, has been waiting an hour and hasn't had any success. He worries about getting back to school on time, but Charlene doesn't see the point of stressing since he's leaving anyway. She says she'll wait with him and just stick her fingers in her ears if she cops an earbashing off Madge later on.
Scott and Nikki arrive home from school and act evasive when Madge asks them how Charlene went on her first day. Via their numptiness, Madge realises her daughter “played truant” and angrily storms out to find Charlene and yell at her.
Mike and Charlene are still waiting when a guy comes out and puts up a ‘No Vacancies' sign. Mike feels it's all over, but Charlene fires up and yells at the interviewer for not talking to all of the applicants before he decided on the best man for the job. Charlene continues on her angry tirade before Mike manages to drag her away.
Nikki waits for Mike to get home, turning green when she sees him laughing and chatting with Charlene as they walk up the path. Nikki hands Mike some homework he missed, just as Madge yells at Charlene from the balcony of #24. Charlene thinks Nikki dobbed her in, but Nikki protests her innocence. Before she heads off to face the firing squad, Charlene gives Mike a good luck kiss on the cheek for his future job endeavours. Mike smiles. Nikki seethes.