Lou making Harold his offer about the bus.
Lou asks Mal how his throat is and Mal says he's healing OK, he just can't afford to take any sick days. Lou asks him to give him a quote on renovating the bus. Mal says it'll be a total overhaul and offers to go have a look now.
Mal's looking at the bus and making a few notes. The thing is rusting, falling apart and has grass and mould growing all over it.
Susan calls over and comments that she thought Lance would be outside, enjoying the sun and the last few days of freedom. He's fixing his skateboard to which Ruth says he should do that outside. Susan asks if Lance will be at the school working bee the following day, then offers Ruth a lift but she'll be taking her own car.
Isn't the school supposed to be a walkable distance away?
Once Susan hears the door shut she confesses to Ruth that she called over to talk about Lance. She's been going through the reports of all the kids due to start school this year and she thinks there could be a problem. His marks just aren't high enough for Susan to recommend that he go on to year eleven, even though she is aware of the issues the family had last year. She tells Ruth that it might be best if Lance repeats Year Ten.
Darren's telling Lib that the school job is taking longer than they thought – he's actually missing Karl. Lib immediately offers to help and Darren quips about getting the kindergarten class involved too. Lib needs the money, they need the help, and Darren says he'll pick her up in the morning. Couldn't Mal give her a lift? Seeing as he's a) her brother and b) lives with her. And come to that, Darren lives across the road!
DARREN: Just remember to wear some old clothes.
LIBBY: You mean my oldest pair of sling backs and my second best tiara?
Ruth tells Lance what Susan mentioned about his reports and suggests he repeat Year Ten. This goes down as you'd expect and Lance says he's not stupid. He refuses to talk about it and he certainly refuses to do it.
Hannah and Anne are playing with Bonnie as Lance storms out, followed by Ruth. He ignores her trying to talk about it while Anne and Hannah wonder what's wrong.
As Ruth and Lance walk off down the street Ruth tries to tell her son that it's not the end of the world if he repeats.
LANCE: It is when my twin sister is going to be a year ahead of me.
He storms off and Anne asks what's wrong. Ruth says she needs to ask Lance as to tell her herself would only get her "into more trouble for gossiping".
Across the road, Harold is watching them and tells Madge that this is exactly what he means. The angry teenagers and unhappy parents, people going to the streets because they have nowhere to go. Madge points out that it's just a mother having a row with her teenager – perfectly normal. And pretty tame by my family's standards! Harold says he doesn't mean Ruth and Lance specifically, but he wants the bus so teenagers who feel they have no one to trust can go somewhere people will care.
Marlene asks Lou if he's picking up Lolly or if she should. Lou's waiting on Mal who walks in at that very moment.
I'm waiting on Alan Rickman…
Mal hands over his notes on the bus with "ball park figures" on repairs. It's a lot more than Lou was expecting and Mal says he'll be looking at something similar from a mechanic; the engine is certainly "not well". Darren and Libby join Mal at the bar and Darren asks if they're getting the gig. Lou says he'll give it some thought.
LOU: Oh, you said there was good news and bad news. What's the good news?
MAL: The steering wheel. It's in mint condition.
Mal asks if Darren's happy to work with him on the bus then asks if he managed to get some help for the gig at the school tomorrow. Lib announces that he did – her. Mal's not keen but Libby is.
Anne finds Lance and asks what's going on. When she rules out their father Lance admits that Susan thinks he should repeat Year Ten. Anne says it's not a big thing but Lance would rather drop out of school than repeat. She asks what he'll do instead and suggests that he go and talk to Susan about it.
Mal and Darren discuss work the following day, agreeing on a half seven start. Lib goes to the bar to get some chips and Mal asks Darren why her? Darren said she offered and he thinks that she'll turn up and maybe get some work done before she collapses. Mal points out Lib doesn't collapse, she whinges. Darren suggests that they just send her home early instead. Mal reckons she'll stick it out and they bet the after work drinks on it.
Lance is pleading his case to Susan; last year was an abhorration, she should take his other years and reports into consideration. She does know but there are other students repeating with similar marks so she can't show him special treatment. Susan suggests Lance join the "catch up" classes instead and he agrees to think on it.
As he leaves, Mal and Lib come home and Libby announces she's going to be working with the guys tomorrow. Mal says he thinks she'll do a great job before heading off to have a shower before dinner. (I find myself strangely wondering how he copes with having the bandage still on his neck from the tracheotomy from episode 2771
Susan and Libby talk about what she'll be doing and joke about how boys always make it out to be more than it is.
Harold's talking about getting publicity for the restaurant/soup kitchen bus when there's a knock at the door. Madge answers it to Lou and tells him about the quote on the renovations.
MADGE: Should he be sitting down to read it?
Lou's having second thoughts about the whole deal now but Harold says they could start with just the bear minimum. Lou points out that Mal's quote *is* the bear minimum and the only thing for it is to cut corners. Harold protests; he won't be party to anything illegal.
LOU: Oh you're just no fun, Harold.
Harold's not letting this beat him though.
Mal and Darren are loading up the Ute as Harold power walks past. Harold stops to ask if they can have a word about the quote as Darren blows the horn for Libby. Libby turns up, Susan offering luck until Mal says she needs stamina more.
SUSAN: Good stamina then!
Lib says that they don't think she can handle a day's work, I just think Darren can't handle the seatbelt as he's having a lot of trouble putting it on…
En route to the working bee, Susan drops off some information for Lance. She asks how he is and Ruth admits he's still not happy with the idea of repeating. Anne chimes in saying that he had no issues until last year. Susan does understand and mentions that Lance came to see her last night. She was impressed with how he stood up for himself and if they can get Lance into the catch up classes he'll be mainstream within three months.
Lance walks in having overheard them and is unimpressed with how they're all planning his life for him. He says he's not repeating and he's not doing the catch up classes.
Lib looks at the paving bricks…
LIBBY: All of them?
DARREN: Yeah, well we're doing all the paving, not half of it.
Darren explains what she's got to do and say they'll help out when they get back – they're off to see Harold about the bus quote. Phil and Hannah walk past as Phil cracks a joke about them helping at the working bee for nothing, but those three are on the payroll.
DARREN: That's because we do a better job!
PHIL: We'll see.
Mal arranges (on a *very* big mobile… ah, '97…) to meet Harold at the Coffee Shop in ten minutes. Lib tells them to go, she'll be fine. It's not a hard job, it's just boring.
MAL: What do you want? Dancing girls?
Lib tells them to go and to bring her back a lemonade.
Ruth, very unimpressed with Lance, is telling him that he's going to listen to what they have to say. Ruth tells Anne to go get ready for the working bee and Susan makes her excuses to leave. Ruth tells him in no uncertain terms that Susan is the only person who's going to get him into Year Eleven so he'd better apologise and he'd better make it good.
Harold's trying to guilt the boys into drop their quote; given the nature of what the bus will be doing. He says that charity is a snowball, one good deed sparks off, and the effects are overwhelming. Mal asks by how much Harold would like it dropped and without missing a beat he says 25%. Of course they're under no obligation, there's no pressure… He gets up to check on his herbal tea and Darren can't believe it. Twenty five percent? Mal says they should at least consider it.
DARREN: Why? What's in it for us?
MAL: Ever heard of goodwill? How's it going to look when word gets out that we turned our backs on the homeless and the starving?
DARREN: If we lower our quote by twenty-five percent we're going to be the homeless and the starving, mate!
He says 15% - maximum – and when Harold comes back they tell him that it's the best they can do. Harold is thrilled and races off…
…to the pub where he announces the good news. Lou's amazed at the fact that Harold managed to do it, and when Harold mentions he just explained it was for charity Lou gets one of those ideas. He spoke to a mechanic that morning but he never mentioned the charity angle. He dashes off to make a call and Madge hopes he didn't misunderstand – Lou's not as charitable as Harold but Harold thinks that after a few stints of handing out food there will be a change in him, he's certain of it.
Libby loads up the wheelbarrow with bricks then notices that the barrow has a flat tyre. Susan comes up and asks if all is OK, Lib replies that she's not given up. Susan asks if Libby's seen Ruth – she hasn't – before letting her daughter get back to work.
Lance catches up with Susan and apologises for his outburst that morning. She accepts his apology and says they should talk more tomorrow about it.
Phil and Hannah chat to Libby about her working, Hannah can't believe that the boys are at the Coffee Shop while she's moving bricks about. Phil offers to give Lib a hand shifting the bricks and volunteers Hannah to fix the wheelbarrow wheel, exchanging a nervous "hello" with Ruth as he gets to work.
Ruth walks up to Lance and asks if he caught up with Susan before telling him to start helping and stop stuffing his face. Anne comes over and tells him that he did the right thing by apologising to Susan, but Lance tells her he only did it to keep Ruth happy – there is no way in the world Susan Kennedy is keeping him down.