Beth introduces her fiance, Rod. He's the Vietname vet Jim met in the pub.
Jim is very surprised and tells Beth that he and Rod have already met. They all sit down in the living room and Jim awkwardly broaches the topic of the wedding. Apparently it'll take a month to get the licence and it'll be no problem getting Beth's mother's signature (because Beth is under 18) because she already knows Rod.
BETH: She'll be rapt. I sure am. And now that you've met him, you can see why!
Jim and Todd look far from convinced!
Marco is confessing to Madge about the All You Can Eat loss. She says he should have banned Brad Willis from proceedings(!) She reminds Marco that he's there to cook and wash up - not to have bright ideas.
Just then a bloke saunters in and it's Rick Alessi! Marco introduces his brother to Madge.
Rick helps Marco to clear up, helping himself to a drink from the fridge in the process. Marco asks Rick why he's dropped in - he doesn't usually - he wonders if he's in trouble with their parents.
RICK: Let's just say - when Dad finds out he's going to turn a wild shade of purple!
Helen and Lou are having a chat and preparing dinner. Helen is very pleased that Madge and Lou are back together. Madge comes home and Helen heads off to meet Beth's boyfriend. Madge makes her promise to relay all the details!
Lou has a surprise for Madge - he's cooked her a nice meal, and from her own healthy cookbooks, no less! Lou is in a very good mood - sales have been great today. He thinks Dorothy's body language tips have worked, but he may have to take someone on to do the book-keeping. Madge offers to do it - she only works part-time, and why pay an outsider?
Jim serves Rod with a glass of wine and Beth with an orange juice. Rod tells Jim that he does love Beth. He's got his own business selling electrical goods.
Helen comes in and Jim introduces her. She looks a bit shocked when she sees that Rod is much older than Beth.
In the kitchen, Jim and Helen whisper to each other that Rod is old enough to be her father. Beth's mother is overseas, so they have to try to talk Beth out of it - they're not sure how, though.
In the living room, Rod says that maybe they should have told Jim and Helen about the age difference in advance.
Kitchen of the Coffee Shop
Apparently Rick has been expelled from his private school. He replaced the school flag with some underwear(!) He wants Marco to talk to their father.
While they've been talking, the money jar for the World Vision with $50 in it has been pinched from the shop.
MARCO: What is it with you, Rick? Wherever you go, whatever you do, there's always trouble!
Lou is reading about a competititor in the paper - Phil Friendly. He's not worried though.
Madge wonders what the wear to work at the car yard and Lou suggests something business-like.
No.26, the following morning
Jim is up early to go for a meeting. Helen is whipping up a massive breakfast for everyone. Apparently Lucy stayed over at Paul's house last night. Jim can't understand why Helen invited Rod to doss in Todd's room, but she feels that she had no choice. Jim has been awake half the night worrying about Beth. Helen is going to try to get in touch with Beth's mother, but since she's abroad on her honeymoon, that may prove difficult.
Beth comes out and raves about Rod. Helen observes that falling in love is easy, it's staying in love that's the hard bit. Beth is offended and accuses Helen of trying to ruin her happiness.
HELEN: The simple fact is that if you marry Rod, you may not be happy. Not in the long run.
BETH: How can you possibly know that?!
Beth says there's nothing wrong with loving an older man, and she wishes Jim and Helen would butt out.
BETH: No offence, but I don't think either of you are in much of a position to tell me how to run a relationship, anyway.
Marco has broken the news about Rick's expulsion to their parents. Apparently he's going to be enrolled in Erinsborough High now. Todd comes in and Marco introduces him to Rick. He asks after Beth's boyfriend and Todd says he'll find out soon enough. Todd is suffering a bit with the famine, but is determined to see it through. Rick asks what the school principal is like.
TODD: We call her The Terminator. We reckon she was a prison warder before she became a teacher.
MARCO: Real Gestapo stuff, right Todd?
RICK: Come on, she can't be that bad.
TODD: That's what I though, until I threw some dirt on her car and she made me clean it off...with my tongue.
Rick looks rather worried(!)
Madge tells Lou that some of his cash entries look rather dubious(!) Lou goes to meet a customer and introduces Madge. She starts talking about a family car being the thing for him and points out a cheaper car. Lou isn't chuffed and sends Madge back to the office! He shows the man a more expensive car.
Jim is telling Dorothy about Rod. He seems nice, but they don't really know anything about it. Helen tells them that she had a terrible talk with Beth this morning - she was extremely blunt. There isn't much they can do - Beth can just wait until she's 18 and go ahead then.
JIM: If Beth marries this bloke it'll be the biggest mistake she's made in her young life.
HELEN: Yes, Jim, but what can you do?
JIM: Got to find some way to stop her.
Lou is talking on a large(!) mobile phone while Madge shows some customers around the yard. Lou comes over and drags her off, telling her that the bloke she was talking to was flirting with her, hoping to get a discount.
Rod observes that Jim doesn't approve of his and Beth's engagement. Apparently when Rod got back from Vietnam,his marriage was over. He's had no thought of getting married to anyone else since then. He knows he can love and trust Beth. He's not a cradle-snatcher - he loves Beth and will care for her.
JIM: She's a child! And you're about to rob her of her youth!
ROD: Beth wants this marriage as much as I do!
JIM: She thinks she does! How long is it going to take until she realises that you've hooked her into this relationship, and made her old before her time!
ROD: If you're insinuating that I've somehow seduced her into all of this, you're wrong. I don't want a fly-by-night romance, I want a real marriage!
JIM: And you think a month is long enough for a girl of seventeen to be ready for that?!
ROD: That's up to her!
JIM: Is it? If you had a shred of decency, you would walk out of her life right now!
Rick asks Marco who the "Daphne" in "Daphne's Coffee Shop" is. (My lip trembles just a little bit.) Marco doesn't know. Rick thinks it's a daggy name. Sacrilege! Rick helps himself to another drink and asks Marco to give him a job. Marco says Rick has to go to school.
RICK: I'm planning to give this old Burke dragon the full treatment. By the time I've convinced her I'm a total trouble-maker and no-hoper, she won't want me anywhere near the place. Anyway, I reckon Todd was laying it on! I haven't met a female teacher yet I couldn't wrap around my little finger in five minutes flat.
But Dorothy has entered the Coffee Shop and has heard what Rick said!
DOROTHY: How very interesting! Enter the old dragon. you must be Ricardo Alessi. I shall look forward to our interview tomorrow. I'm sure your father will be most interested to hear of your intentions. Two salad rolls, please, Marco.
Rick cowers in his seat.
Rod has packed his bags. He tells Beth that he's moving in to Lassiter's - he doesn't feel welcome in the house after his talk with Jim. He doesn't think Jim will get over it easily.
BETH: Are you walking out on me?
ROD: Course not.
He kisses her.
ROD: I'll call you as soon as I get to the hotel room.
Jim comes out as Rod's leaving and there's a bit of an awkward pause before Rod closes the door behind him.
BETH:(to Jim) You're trying to get him to call off the wedding, aren't you?
JIM: I'm suggesting he gives you a chance to grow up before taking such a major step.
BETH: I have had this! Who are you to decide what's best for me?!
JIM: Your friend. I hope.
BETH: My friend? A friend wants you to be happy. But you've forgotten how that feels, haven't you? You made a mess of your marriage and now you're trying to wreck mine before it's even started!
BETH: Look, I love Rod. And I'm going to marry him no matter what! So you'd better get used to the idea.