Max arrives at the garage to find that Charlie isn't with Steph after all
Steph offers Janae an apprenticeship at the garage
Max and Steph find that Charlie is at number 32 – Lyn says that Elle heard him crying but Max is adamant he wasn't there earlier
Max thinks that something's going on – Charlie wasn't in his play pen. Lyn reiterates that he was as Elle looks on, watching the consequences of her scheming unfold before her eyes. Steph tearfully asks what Max thought had happened – like Charlie had just gone for a stroll?
Paul and Elle decide to leave. Elle tells Steph that the main thing is Charlie is back and then asks Max if he's okay, being all friendly. Lyn decides to leave too.
Max tells Steph again that Charlie wasn't in his pen – she has to believe him. Steph does but thinks he's suffering the after effects of the accident.
MAX: What – you think post-traumatic stress is making me hallucinate?!
Steph asks what other explanations there could be; that someone moved Charlie then put him back? It doesn't make sense. Max agrees with her and seems to have a hard time accepting what that might mean.
Janae and Boyd are making the most of Toadie's taxi service before he goes to Sydney. He could be away for months and warns them not to trash the house in his absence. Boyd says they'll have their own little pad soon enough.
Janae meets the head mechanic, Christine, who isn't happy about her being late. She tells Janae to wash some cars while she goes on her break. Janae is not best pleased, asking Boyd what washing cars has to do with being a mechanic. Boyd tells her to relax. She'll prove to everyone she can do this.
Max has a theory; Paul took Charlie as revenge. He's messing with Max's mind. Steph clearly doesn't believe this, reminding him that Paul forgave him. Max thinks it's all an act and decides to go and confront him. Steph tells him not to – Paul will just deny it and they have no proof to prove otherwise. Things are tense enough at the moment. To convince him further she says she'll talk to Lyn about it. Max wants to know when she'll do this and Steph decides to go over immediately. When Max says she can leave Charlie with him – he'll be perfectly safe – Steph says the fresh air will do them both good. She hurries out, holding onto her son tightly.
Elle is holding Lyn's hands in hers, telling her how they're all going to get over Cam's tragic accident and be there for each other, including Max and Steph. Lyn thanks her for her kindness.
Steph arrives and Elle and Paul make themselves scarce. Steph sits down and tells her mum that everything is okay…only it isn't. Lyn understands that they got a terrible fright. Steph tells her about Max's theory that Charlie was snatched and that Paul was behind it. Lyn thinks it's ridiculous. The gun incident was his turning point and he no longer holds a grudge against Max. Besides, Paul was with her all day.
Lyn tells her that it's time Steph convinced Max to see someone; what's been going on recently is symptomatic of Post-Traumatic stress. She has to; they have Charlie to think about too.
Elle tells Toadie that she feels sorry for Steph with Max is losing the plot. Toadie doesn't think it's that bad. Boyd has been listening to this and walks up to them. He says that it's probably just stress from the accident. Toadie decides to go and see Steph. Elle muses to Boyd that Toadie is so supportive. How lucky Steph is to have such a great friend. Boyd doesn't pay much attention as she goes on about how good it is Steph has someone she can trust. He tells Elle that Toad and Steph are just friends. There have been too many rumours going on about his family and Elle's behaviour is how they get started.
Elle understands and apologises for being out of line. She convinces Boyd to let her mind the bar for him so he can go home.
Janae talks to a happy customer, who promises to return the next time his car needs work. Once he's gone Christine demands to know if Janae makes a habit of taking credit for other peoples' work. Janae says she was simply doing customer relations. Christine says they don't flirt with customers around here - only fix cars and do a good job of it.
Christine teaches Janae how to do an oil change, warning that the oil will be hot. Janae slides under the car and Christine says, under her breath, that she wouldn't want her to ruin her make-up.
Toadie tells Steph that grief and guilt can do weird things to a person. When Dee died he was pretty close to the edge.
Boyd runs round the corner to see Steph and Toadie chatting. He hides behind a bush as he watches them.
Toadie tells Steph that he got through it and Max will too. Steph tells him he's a great mate. Toadie smiles and says he tries.
STEPH (hugging him): No, I mean it.
Boyd watches as they hold onto each other.
Lyn appears, wondering why Paul is taking so long to choose a bottle of wine. Paul knew they needed space and tells Lyn it'll be okay. Lyn just hopes Steph can get Max to a counsellor. Paul, with his own recent experience, thinks it'll do him the world of good.
Paul points out Elle, working behind the bar. Lyn thinks his little chat with her must've really worked.
We see that Elle is in fact filling out an order form for booze and faking Max's signature.
Lyn and Paul think about how she's a wee gem for all the help she's given Max and Steph. If only they knew…
Karl and Susan appear, wonderfully coordinated in shades of pink. Paul is mega friendly, asking how they enjoyed their visit to Shepparton to see Lib, Darren and Ben. Karl says the family are all very happy. Paul asks if they'd like to have dinner with them. Karl begins to make excuses but Susan jumps in, saying they'd love to. Paul goes to get some menus and Lyn thanks Karl and Susan.
Max is staring at Charlie's empty play pen when Boyd pops in and asks how he is. Max lets out a bitter laugh and says he's fine. Boyd tells him that Elle filled him in about Charlie. Max says not to worry and Boyd replies that he knows not to.
MAX: Steph's taken Charlie. Doesn't trust me alone with him anymore.
Boyd thinks she's just a little bit freaked out and she'll come round. Max thinks there's more to this – he's not imagining things or making stuff up.
BOYD: I know.
Steph and Charlie return and Max says they'd been gone a while. Steph tells him that she was chatting with Toadie, as Boyd looks pensive. She hands over Charlie, who's been missing his daddy.
Steph tells him she spoke to Lyn and Paul couldn't have had anything to do with taking Charlie. Max tries to take this all in while Charlie presses his hands into his face. Steph still thinks that talking to someone would be a good idea but Max wants to leave it for a while. If there's any more strangeness he will go to a counsellor. Steph nods but doesn't look that happy about it.
Once Max has left to get a cuppa Boyd asks Steph what makes her think Paul wasn't involved. Steph is nearly in tears as Max listens on the other side of the wall…
STEPH: Mate, didn't you hear what I just said? Your dad needs help, not conspiracy theories.
Boyd thinks she's making it sound like Max is going nuts and Steph admits that there's definitely something wrong.
STEPH: We have to do something about it before it gets worse!
Max kisses Charlie's head, letting his wife's words sink in.
There's a big oil stain on the ground, underneath the car Janae was working on. Christine confronts her and Janae realises she must've forgotten to put a plug back in! She apologises and gets to work on cleaning up. Christine tosses her the keys, telling her to lock up when she's done; she's had enough for one day.
Janae asks if she wants her to come back tomorrow. Christine says it's up to her – does she really want this? Janae does, more than anything.
CHRISTINE: Then pull your finger out.
This is a hard job for a woman; you have to work twice as hard as the blokes to get half the respect. Janae says she wants the apprenticeship and is grateful for the chance. Christine tells her to turn up tomorrow and prove it. Otherwise go back to school.
Paul, Lyn, Karl and Susan are crowded round a small table, eating dinner. They talk wine talk, then get on to barbecues (Paul wants Karl to come over and check his new one). Karl thinks every good Aussie bloke needs a barbie.
Paul goes to get more Kiwi wine and Karl wonders if they're in a Seinfeld eppy – this is like bizzaro world! Lyn says Paul's really trying.
KARL: From the devil incarnate to the most boring man in the world! (impersonating PAUL) Five burners, it's a little ripper!
SUSAN (hissing): Karl!
She turns to Lyn and tells her she's having a lovely time.
Elle tells Boyd over the phone to take the night off. Paul asks for more of the Kiwi rubbish he was just raving about earlier on – his dinner companions seem to love it! He's in hell and the drearier the conversation gets the more excited his fellow diners become. They're talking about boring suburban nonsense, which is so not Paul. Elle reminds him that he's not like them and shouldn't try to be a suburban drone. Paul thinks that at least it's honest and dignified. Elle says he should talk about what really interests him.
Lyn tells Karl and Susan that this is all new to Paul. Karl thinks it must be very hard for him not to destroy relationships, neighbours' businesses and spawn psychotic children –
Paul returns and asks how Karl and Susan's rekindled romance is going.
PAUL: You must be at it like rabbits!
Lyn looks mortified.
Karl is thankful it's all over – dessert seemed to take forever. Susan tries to put a positive spin on things then concedes that it was terrible. Karl thinks Paul is completely socially inept.
Paul tells Lyn that he simply panicked. Who's he kidding anyway? He'll never fit into this kind of world. Lyn thinks he will but Paul is adamant that gardening and lawnmowers will never be of much interest to him. Lyn says not many people have had the exciting life he's had – he'll get used to the less exciting things in life.
Meanwhile Karl's telling Susan that it's all trauma-related. Paul'll be back to the NewOld-scheming-and-conniving Paul. Susan thinks that there might be a decent person in Paul, fighting to get out. Karl just wants her to promise him they'll never have to do it again. Susan tells him that Lyn made a mention of next week as Karl grimaces at the mere thought of it.
Lyn promises Paul he'll become more comfortable with socialising. Paul thinks so, just as long as he “doesn't stick (his) fake foot in his gob”. Lyn thinks he's brave.
PAUL: Brave or stupid?
Susan is telling Karl that Lyn has befriended Paul, rightly or wrongly, and she wants to be supportive, as Lyn's friend. Karl is on great form tonight, chuckling over Lyn ‘befriending' Paul and wondering whether that's what they're calling it in Cosmo these days; “I'm having a befriend affair with my neighbour”. Susan mentions that they're housemates, who have separate bedrooms. Paul has even had some positive effect on Lyn; she's much more assertive and dynamic nowadays. Karl chortles away to himself.
Paul reaches over to smack a kiss on Lynnie but it's not happening - “Not tonight, Josephine.” (see To Venus And Back by Tori Amos, track 7) Lynnie bursts into giggles at the memory of Karl's face when Paul mentioned rabbits.
Karl's glad that at least it's over. He's about to turn in but Susan isn't tired at all. Karl wants to know whether she has a Leo Sayer album.
SUSAN: Why…do I make you feel like dancing?
(Which is a terrible line; it's like something I'd write in a vain attempt at being witty and humorous.)
Toadie's on the phone to Tim as Boyd comes in. Toadie is saying that there's a friend who needs a bit of help back in Erinsborough and he'd like to be here for her. He hangs up and Boyd asks if he's no longer going to Sydney. Toadie says he can't be bothered. Boyd thought all the models/actresses/ cocktails there would've been right up his alley but Toadie likes the simpler things in life. Boyd thinks Max will be happy to have him around to support Steph. Toadie keeps trying to steer the subject elsewhere but Boyd says that it must be such a comfort to Max to know his wife will be looked after. Toadie asks if he has something he wants to say. Boyd says it just always looks like good mate Toadie is always around for Steph in a crisis.
TOADIE: Yeah, well, that's what mates are for.
BOYD: Listen, my family is going through a tough time at the moment and you sniffing around my step-mum isn't helping. So just back off, alright?
Later on Janae and Boyd are doing the dishes. Janae says she gets on with Christine alright – in fact she thinks she likes her (even though it's obvious this is a lie). She coughs and asks Boyd about his day. He starts to talk about Toadie being close to Steph. Toadie, in the hallway, hears them and decide to eavesdrop. Boyd asks Janae if she thinks Toad has a thing for Steph. Janae laughs and says no way; Toadie might be a lazy slob but he wouldn't do that.
JANAE: Besides Steph would have to be out of her tree - Max is hot!!
Boyd gives her a weird look.
JANAE: Y'know in a father-in-law, I-would-never-find-him-attractive kinda way.
Toadie bursts through into the kitchen and grabs his keys, acting as if he's heard nothing. But Janae knows they're busted. Boyd thinks he's just upset over the beer situation and didn't hear a thing.
Steph checks with Max that he'll be home by three so she can do the books with Christine. He seems absentminded and admits he's having trouble with something; there's been a huge order for stuff they don't even need. Steph doesn't know a thing. He should be able to tell her, given his signature is on the form. Max suddenly smiles, realising that it was ordered for the Mexican evening they're having in a few weeks. Completely slipped his mind. Steph asks when he came up with that. He thought of it a few days ago. They can have Mexican food, a Mariachi band… He kisses Steph and tells her “Adios”.
Boyd appears and Max asks him about the order. Boyd hasn't a clue. The only other person who was on yesterday was Elle. Max wonders why Elle was there when she isn't even an employee. Boyd reminds him he was checking up on him and told this all yesterday.
Max thinks Elle's done a bogus order. She's forged his signature. Boyd asks why she'd do that.
MAX: To get back at me.
Boyd thinks he's sounding paranoid.
MAX: Oh, am I? Y'know, I killed her brother. And she's trying to make me pay.