- Joel telling Lance it's important to pace himself at their training sessions.
- Paul objecting he saw his case manager Tracey only a couple of weeks ago, but Madge reveals she's coming round for a meeting with her and Harold.
- Bill at the pub, angrily refusing to let Karl use him to get to Susan.
- Tracey explaining Paul may have been scared by news of his father's visit, since he's run away.
- Hannah hugging Phil for retrieving her doll from the garage sale, only to find that she has Ruth to thank.
- A phone call informing Harold that Paul has been located at an Outreach Centre in West Waratah, delighting Madge that the boy is coming home.
Lance is busily doing strenuous upper- body exercises on the carpet, with his trainers up on the sofa.
Meanwhile, Anne and Amy stuff their faces with snacks as they watch the floor show, and natter about who will win the election for School Captain. Obviously, the girls decide, Pinhead is just a joke candidate, and the winner according to Amy will be Amy - or Anne according to Anne.
Lance sits up, so Amy kisses him since she loves it when he's hot & sweaty, and remarks that at least she can count on her sweetie's vote. Amy goes to fetch more junk food, so Anne darkly warns Lance that his sister can make his life twice as miserable as his girlfriend can.
Lance's face drips with perspiration and apprehension.
Karl and Bill are still drinking at the pub. Karl explains how he felt when Susan went away: Sarah never intended any harm, she was upset about the breakup with Matt Compton, she was down in the dumps, and he and Sarah were closing, and somehow they just kissed. Karl knew it was wrong, but you can't turn back the clock - they had dinner a few times and talked about their feelings, but Karl thought it was nothing more than friendship.
KARL: The important thing is that I did not have a full- blown affair with Sarah - I've never loved anyone else but your mother, and I probably never will.
Is this a lie? Karl previously told Sarah he loved her, as well as Susan & his kids.
Bill is impressed by this, and accepts that Karl is telling the truth, so he believes him. Karl admits he wasn't as honest with Susan as he should've been - it was a human mistake, and he points out that Bill was in a similar situation with Caitlin. Bill understands this, so Karl finally admits he was attracted to Sarah, but he is not proud of it.
That evening, Bill tells Anne how weird it was to be having an adult male conversation with his father, and he now realises that Karl wasn't as bad as he thought.
ANNE: Hmmm... try telling that to your mum.
BILL: Yeah, see, the thing is that if only she *listened* to him, they might get somewhere.
Anne advises Bill not to get involved, but he hates seeing both of them so miserable, and he doesn't know what to do.
Then it's Anne who doesn't know what to do, as her boyfriend hangs his head in despair.
Tracey Cox is helping Madge clean up after dinner, as she assures her and Harold that Paul probably doesn't want to talk to them, because the boy doesn't trust himself to stay strong if he hears their voices.
HAROLD: He's afraid of us!?
TRACEY: No, quite the opposite. I think he's so attached to you, that he wouldn't be able to stay away if he spoke to you.
MADGE: Which means, he's determined to stay away.
Harold disagrees since John (the outreach worker he spoke to on the phone), says he's bringing Paul home. Madge reminds her husband that John didn't say *when* - today, tomorrow, next week...
Harold asks Tracey if the boy's father (Leo McClain) was dreadfully disappointed.
TRACEY: If he was, he didn't say. He's a quietly spoken man, doesn't argue. He just listened.
MADGE: Hrrrmmm... it's my bet that he does a lot more than that!
Bill and Susan begin eating some food she's just cooked.
BILL: (tucking in) Good dinner, Mum.
SUSAN: (messing with her plate) Liar.
Bill mentions he met Karl at Lou's - her instant reaction is one of startled anger, which lasts only a fraction of a second before she regains control to say offhandedly and oh- so- casually... "That's good."
Brilliant acting by Ms. Woodburne again.
Susan then tries to change the subject back to the bad meal they're not eating, but Bill won't let her, asking if she's sure that his paternal meeting wasn't a betrayal.
This is an easy one - apparently it's important that he sorts out his relationship with his father - but then she blows her counter- stroke by lamely enquiring if "at Lou's" means the pub, (presumably as opposed to Number 22 Ramsay Street).
And then slips out a simple little enquiry if his dad looked well, "did he?" so Susan is not best pleased when Bill instead replies that Karl misses her pretty badly.
Foiled, Susan can only retort that Karl merely has himself to blame - then suddenly her chair scrapes the wooden floor as she abandons the dining table, and grabs the phone to order a Takeaway Chinese.
Tracey has left, and Harold has fallen asleep in front of the TV when Madge wakes him to complain that Paul hasn't arrived as was promised. Harold assumes he's staying at the hostel, which means he'll be back in the morning - but Madge wants him to phone his friend John.
Harold objects it's too late for that and Paul will be okay, but Madge laments that the boy is not even 15 yet. Harold assures her that Paul is a sensible boy, and they know he's in good hands, so she lets him take her off to bed.
Next morning, Hannah has just packed her school bag when Mrs. Kennedy comes to ask if she can help a new girl, Denise Cook, who'll be starting Year 9 in a few days; she is a bit prickly, since her family has had a tough time. Before Hannah can reply, Ruth volunteers her for the assignment, so Hannah stomps off to school.
Blithely unaware of what she's just done as the front door slams shut, Ruth puts Hannah's sudden grouch down to step- mother/step- daughter issues.
Susan explains how Harold told her the Salvation Army was involved in helping the Cook family, when Mr. Cook's business went bust so he took off, and the kid (also known as Denny) has got a giant chip on her shoulder. Ruth agrees she'll encourage Hannah to be 'helpful'.
The corridors are packed with students as Zoe Tan asks her best friend why would she have to look after this Denise? Hannah replies that's what you get for living next door to the principal, and then The Ruth has to stick that big nose in by saying "Oh of course Hannah would love to help oh of course she will look after her."
Zoe loyally promises she will give her a hand, as Hannah continues to rant how all she needs at the moment are someone else's problems when she's got enough problems of her own.
A bit later, the older students have gathered for the School Captain election result, with Anne still going on at Lance about whether he voted for her or for Amy.
He's saved by Mrs. Kennedy arriving to announce that Craig Pinders (not present) got only four votes, while all the rest were evenly split between the other two candidates, Amy Greenwood and Anne Wilkinson.
However, by examining the vote tally it's clear that some joker has voted both for Amy and for Anne - so Mrs. Kennedy promises that if he or she is prepared to come forward and break the deadlock, there will be no reprisals.
Amy and Anne turn around to stare at poor Lance, who just looks guilty.
A weird- looking young policeman (not listed by the guest credits even though Cassandra and a pianist are)......
An officer of some sort comes to admit to Madge and Harold that he's lost Paul, lamely explaining how the boy jumped out of his car at some traffic lights. Didn't they have central locking Down Under back in 1998?
Oh, that's not a cop in some strange Australian uniform, this must be John the outreach worker. And that funny red badge is the Salvation Army, this makes sense now!
The Salvo (not being a simultaneous discharge of artillery or other guns in a battle) reports how last night Paul wanted to come home, but he knew his father was looking for him, and Paul wasn't going to be around for any meeting.
Then this morning Paul was extremely quiet, and John couldn't get a word out of him -
HAROLD: Oh, no no...
MADGE: (interrupting) But he just got out of the car at the lights, no word, nothing???
John makes more excuses.
MADGE: He's just a kid, HE'S TOO YOUNG to be out out there on the streets!
Faced with this magisterial onslaught, the poor little Salvo can only say that the boy is loved and he knows it - and as this homily quietens Madge, John bravely stakes his reputation upon the belief that, nevertheless, Paul will soon be back.
Principal Kennedy receives Anne and Amy in her office (Susan is enjoying this distraction from her woes) and recognises that neither young lady will withdraw, or draw straws for who's demoted to School Vice Captain; so she suggests that a joint captaincy will leave them more time for their studies and other activities.
AMY: (so not joking) Well, who gets called "Captain"?
MRS. KENNEDY: You both do, and since your platforms are so different, you each get to implement your own.
They both agree to this; and Mrs. Kennedy smilingly makes it clear that she will *not* be mediating any disputes, her captains will have to be mature enough to sort it out themselves.
Anne doesn't get a word in as Captain Amy immediately launches into her idea to raise money for a new Year 12 common room, with a 40 hour Foxtrot dance- athon.
MRS. KENNEDY: (pause) A what- athon?
Later on at the lockers, co- captain Anne is doubtful about the Foxtrot idea, it's old- fashioned and the kids are just not going to get into it.
However, as they collect their books Captain Amy insists it's romantic and she'll prove it; even before the election result, she had begun the organising with Madge and Harold helping her out - and Anne can head up the refreshment committee.
But back in their classroom, Anne is suddenly the dominant one, as she tortures Lance about who won, until he admits to voting for both of them due to a conflict of loyalties - then Amy steps in to tell him that to get into her good books again, she has this idea...
Another quiet little man comes to brave the lions den.
Harold answers the door, but his smile turns upside- down in quite an ugly way upon hearing that his guest is none other than Leo McClain, Paul's big bad brutal bully father.
Bill visits Mrs. Kennedy's office (never say "Mum" at school), but she is so not pleased to have her unfortunate private life dragged into her professional refuge. When even worse Bill beseeches her to see Karl just to hear him out, she becomes so furious that she bottles down her control very hard, refusing even to look at her son.
BILL: All you wanted to know last night was how he was. Well, why don't you talk to him, find out for yourself?
SUSAN: Because. I don't want to. I'm not ready to.
BILL: You'd better get ready to.
SUSAN: (rapidly) Why? WHY? You've not done anything stupid have you, you haven't got your father WAITING IN THE CORRIDOR OR SOMETHING -
Bill is no longer Billy, so he's not cowed by his mother's outburst, instead telling her she'd better do it because it's obvious she's hurting like the rest of the family, and she's the only one who can change that.
Having really got through to the poor woman, Bill walks out leaving Susan to her lonely thoughts.
Harold angrily glares at his unwelcome visitor, as Madge grimly rubs her wrists together in agitation.
LEO: (innocently) I know he doesn't think he's ready yet. But it just seems to me that no time's going to be the right time if they're sitting around trying to decide, you've gotta go for it.
MADGE: I think you should've taken Tracey's advice, she is his case manager.
LEO: Errr yes, yes, I understand that, Mrs Bishop, and she seems a very good person, but she's not Paul's parent. That's not like she'd react the same way to Paul as a parent.
HAROLD: (stuffily) Well, we're not Paul's parents either, but we feel that we've got his best interests at heart.
LEO: (timidly) Ah yes, I understand that, I wasn't suggesting that you didn't. Is he here?
HAROLD: (clamped down) Not at the moment.
MADGE: No, and he isn't going to be.
Leo finally lets himself notice that something is a little awry here.
LEO: Do you want me to... just go away?
MADGE: Yes! I think that would for be for the best.
LEO: Look... I, I, don't think you seem to understand HOW MUCH I've gone through and how far I've COME to see Paul!
MADGE: (all snotty now she's elicited a reaction) Tracy has kept us very well informed.
LEO: That's not what I meant.
Beginning to worry, Harold backs off, apologising to Mr McClain that Paul won't be here for some time - when suddenly, Tracey chirpily lets herself in through the front door, looking relieved to see Leo.
TRACEY: I thought you weren't coming.
As she smiles at him, Leo begins apologising that he wasn't able to take her advice only for Harold to interrupt - but she only wants to know from Harold if he has heard from Paul, so he shakes his head.
LEO: (upset) What do you mean? Where is he?
TRACEY: We don't know, Leo, Paul's run away.
Leo turns to look at a suddenly defensive Madge and Harold.
Susan strides past Bill at the lockers, making a point of calling him "Billy" as she shuts him up by saying they'll talk at home.
Anne reminds Bill that she told him to stay out of it, but he knows his mother wouldn't be so upset if he was not getting through to her, he just has to be tactful. Anne wishes him Good Luck.
Meanwhile, Amy and Lance arrive at the next classroom with her begging him to do the dance, and he refusing since he'd look like a dork - so she switches tactics by claiming he owes her for splitting the Captaincy vote.
The guilt trip doesn't work either, but a sweet smile and a pretty please does.
Forest Hill Chase Shopping Centre
Wintry evening lights twinkle as an excellent pianist plays a famous Chopin piece in the mall, where Karl suddenly happens to notice his wife striding away from him. He calls out her name twice, but apparently Susan pretends not to know or hear him, and he gives up as she disappears around a corner.
The beautiful yet poignant music continues as Karl sees her again standing inside a glass- walled elevator - and as Susan ascends to an upper balcony, she frowns gently when she sees his sad little face looking up at her, then looking thoughtfully down at the floor.
Lots of hungry diners are being kept waiting, so Cassandra checks with Anne that she is sure the Bishops said all this would be okay.
Anne manages to reassure her, but even so Cassandra insists that she needs her kitchen back. This is because its door is firmly closed, and when Anne tries knocking on it, Amy calls out that she's nearly ready but -
LANCE: (voice) Well, I'm not.
To play for time, Anne turns the jukebox off - which is fair enough, since Lance owns it along with Toadie and Hannah - then Anne makes a big speech about the school's new money- raiser, which is a 40 hour Foxtrot. The customers start laughing at this, so Anne concedes it sounds little daggy, but there's also the fun of dressing up!
Anne then starts handing out leaflets while at last, Bill turns the dance music on (a cassette tape in what passed for a portable radio in the 20th century), and to cheers and whoops from the audience out come Amy and Lance, in a full Strictly Ballroom get- up.
Amy looks lovely as she happily foxtrots around and between the tables with Lance, who is equally adorable but having far less fun than Bill, who is at the back gleefully dancing with the cassette player in his arms.
Mercifully, we seem to have missed an awful lot of going around in circles.
LEO: (puzzled) What do you mean, I've got no right to know? I'm his father for God's sake.
MADGE: (back on the attack) Oh, don't you go jumping up on your high horse, you're a father in name only!
Tracey and Harold attempt to shut her up again.
MADGE: Oh, why not? We don't owe this man anything, he's the reason that Paul's not here!
TRACEY: We can't be sure.
MADGE: Oh, yes we can, and I want to know why. I want to know why a perfectly normal, well- adjusted decent teenager takes off like the clappers just because he's got to meet his own father!
A worried Leo asks Tracey and Harold if that's what happened, but they don't know why Paul ran away. Madge objects that it's blatantly obvious, and demands to know why Harold is defending this man.
HAROLD: I am not! I just don't think we -
Madge won't let Harold reply, then continues to pile accusations upon Leo who can only say it's not like that.
MADGE: I don't believe you. That kid is scared of you, and I for one want to know why!