- Nathan getting on Declan's case for missing AFL training
- Andrew advocating his zero tolerance policy
- Libby claiming she's never heard of the policy
- Andrew suspending Libby and Dan
- Callum having trouble reading
- Karl telling Harold that he has cancer
- Harold refusing to start treatment
Harold solemnly walks into a cemetery holding a bouquet of flowers and gazes around before slowly marching down a row of graves.
At #28, the teens (minus Declan, who's at training, and Zeke) are getting the rest of the food for the BBQ when Karl walks in and gruffly asks if they've seen Harold. Getting a negative response, he waits till they exit and dials Harold's mobile, getting his voicemail.
HAROLD VO: Oh, ahh, yes. Harold Bishop speaking. It seems I'm unable to take your call, I am sorry to be such a bother! Listen, if you'd be so kind as to leave your name and number, I'll return your call post haste. Thank you.
Harold continues to wander through the graveyard, while Karl leaves a message.
KARL: Yes Harold, it's Karl. It's very important that we speak. Now I do realise that you've had a terrible, terrible shock, but you are not alone. You need to know that. We can fight this, Harold, but you need to get started. There's not a lot of time. Please call.
Reaching his destination, Harold is horrified to see that someone has scrawled graffiti on Madge's headstone. He tries in vain to scrub it away with his hanky, but gives up in frustration.
HAROLD: Blast! (He struggles to remain composed) Oh, Madge. I know you want me to be strong but what can I do?
He breaks down into tears.
Nathan is pushing Declan (and his gloriously buff biceps) to the limit with his weight training, but Declan refuses to give in. Nathan reveals that he had the chance to be a mega footy star when he was younger, but he threw it all away. Declan knows he's hanging by the skin of his teeth and assures Nathan that he's 100% committed from here on in.
Susan apologises to Libby and Dan for getting them suspended, but Libby doesn't want to dwell on the negative and suggests they talk about the wedding instead.
DAN: Any excuse!
LIBBY: I caught you reading my bridal magazines.
DAN: I read those for the articles.
Harold appears to help them with the salads, which gains Karl's attention. They exchange a look, but are interrupted by Libby getting a sudden idea - she wants Harold to be the celebrant at the wedding. Everyone's delighted by the suggestion except for Karl, who subtly asks if Harold will be up to it. But Harold is chuffed, and immediately accepts. They all trundle out as Karl silently stares after them.
All of the residents (minus Declan, Ty and Paul) are out in force for the BBQ. Everyone dives into the food like they've never eaten before and Harold takes his place at the head of the table.
Rebecca and Steve chat about Declan. Rebecca thinks Declan is too obsessed with footy and needs to realise that there's more to life than training. But Steve works out that Rebecca's projecting her own career dissatisfaction onto her son, and suggests that she changes jobs if she's not happy.
Karl sits down near the oldies and Lou announces to the tribe that Karl's given him a clean bill of health.
LOU: Lou Carpenter, the human cockroach! Nothing can kill me!
Mindful of Harold, Karl reminds Lou that his health isn't something to joke about and he should be thankful that he's fit and well. But this only angers Harold, and he throws his napkin down in annoyance.
HAROLD: Oh put a sock in it! Doctors make pronouncements about life and death like you were God on high.
He storms off and Lou looks at Karl in confusion.
Karl has been looking at prostate cancer websites on his laptop and is now on the phone with the hospital trying to secure an urgent appointment for Harold - without any luck. Rachel and Zeke saunter inside and Rachel pretends she's fine with the fact that Ty's hanging out with Tanya all afternoon. Susan, Rebecca and Miranda charge in not long after to gather more supplies, just in time to hear Karl lose his rag on the phone. They all look at him in surprise.
Toadie is collecting stubby holders to take outside (including one that says 'I'm busy now, can I ignore you later?'), when Callum strolls out with a change of shirt - Ms Katsis is on her way over and Toadie's currently wearing yesterday's dinner. But it's too late as Kelly is already on the doorstep. Callum makes himself scarce (by loitering in the hallway), but Kelly informs Toadie she's mainly here on school business. She tells Toadie that Callum isn't a quick learner and may benefit by staying down a year. Toadie gets defensive and says it'll be too disruptive to Callum, and Callum freaks out in the hallway and runs outside.
Ringo finds Callum playing video games and says Mickey and Ben need help fixing the motorised esky, but Callum snits that he's too dumb. Harold brings in some plates and has a quiet word with Didge, encouraging her to block out all the doomsayers.
HAROLD: Young children are life's greatest joy. You will love being a mum.
Didge smiles and thanks him before heading into the kitchen to join Donna and Rachel. Donna tries to get the goss about Tanya and Ty, but Rachel isn't impressed.
RACHEL: Can we talk about something else please?
DONNA: Nah, there's nothing as interesting as this!
But Rachel swings the conversation around to Libby and Dan getting suspended. Didge is surprised that Dan was dragged into it as well, and is now convinced that she can't return to Erinsborough High. Too many people are getting hurt because of her. Donna and Rachel try to talk her out of it but she won't listen. Donna, however, looks to be getting an idea...
Toadie wants to have a chat with Callum, but Callum has more pressing issues to contend with - like finishing his dessert. Kelly tells Elle that she's going to head off, but Elle wants her to stay and hang out. Carmella then tries to cheekily ask Kelly why she's not with Toadie anymore when Karl stands up to make a speech, saving Kelly from answering.
KARL: A bit of shush everyone please. I think a few words are in order.
SUSAN: (rolling her eyes) Oh no.
KARL: I couldn't stand this neighbourhood when I moved here...
(Everyone laughs in disbelief and bags him out)
KARL: No really! I found it claustrophobic. I thought everyone was just a little bit too close.
LUCAS: You still are, it's creepy!
KARL: But seriously I was wrong. What we have here is precious. There isn't a person here I couldn't count on. No more so than our guest of honour, Harold. Welcome back, Harold, you've been missed.
LOU: To Harold!
(Everyone claps and cheers)
KARL: Kind, compassionate, wise... Since he's been gone I've realised just how much I treasure his friendship. The world needs more Harold Bishops. We hope you'll be sticking around for a while, Harold. Our lives are poorer without you.
Harold looks both deeply touched and upset at the same time, so takes the focus off himself by toasting to Libby and Dan's upcoming wedding. Karl gazes at Harold while everyone is chatting and Harold gives him a quick nod.
Zeke asks Susan if she thinks Karl has been acting strange lately, then confesses that he was looking at Karl's laptop and saw that he'd been researching cancer sites. Susan thinks there's nothing to worry about, but Zeke gets upset and says his dad did the same thing when he fell ill. Susan manages to reassure Zeke that Karl would let them know if anything was wrong - but it gives her food for thought.
Ringo watches Callum tinker with the esky and tells him that he's got mad skillz at fixing stuff.
CALLUM: Have to be, I'm always breaking stuff.
Ringo asks what's up with the foul mood and Callum admits that he's going to have to stay down a year at school. Toadie listens in from the hallway as Ringo concurs that it sucks, but at least Callum will still have his friends to hang out with. Callum confesses that the only thing he likes about school is Ms Katsis - he's been to tons of different schools, but he's never had a teacher like her.
Susan lets Karl know that Zeke's worried about him, and how similar he's acting to Alex when he fell ill, but Karl assures her he's fine. He admits that he's just had to deliver some depressing news to a patient and it's rattled him.
SUSAN: Is it terminal?
KARL: Unless he acts fast.
Toadie finds Kelly and apologises for getting on her case earlier. He tells her she's the best teacher Callum's ever had and he'd be lost without her. Smiling, Kelly figures out that Toadie needs her help chatting to Callum about staying down. (Some nice background colour - Lucas refereeing an arm wrestle between Mickey and Ben, and Elle encouraging Carmella to sit and have a gossip session with her).
Miranda and Susan moan about the kids running off when they saw there was cleaning up to be done. Karl walks out and notices that Harold's van is missing, asking Lou and Steve where he went.
STEVE: He's probably gone to get some more supplies.
LOU: Probably ran out of tofu sausages!
But Karl looks concerned and stares down the street.
Harold has brought some cleaning products along and has managed to clean up Madge's headstone.
HAROLD: Now if those hooligans come back, you've got my permission to haunt them.
His smile fades away and he asks Madge to give him some sort of sign that she's with him. He always believed that they'd see one another again when his turn came, but he can't feel anything. He can only see a big black void. Karl appears out of thin air and touches Harold on the shoulder, momentarily startling him into thinking his beloved Madge and her gravel-lined voice had returned.
HAROLD: I don't want to die, Karl.
KARL: It's not a certainty, you can still fight it.
HAROLD: Oh how can I? I'm too old, I don't have the strength.
KARL: I think you do.
HAROLD: How can I fight when there's no hope?
KARL: I can hope for both of us. We can do this, Harold. Together.
Contemplatively glancing up at Karl, Harold slowly turns back to Madge's headstone and gently places his hand on it.