Previously on Neighbours
- Paul offers Terese the coveted position of Director of Operations for the Whole of Lassiter's Complex
- But he's also introduced paid parking, to finance Terese's proposed improvements to the hotel
- The Fun Run suddenly gets less fun, when Josie collapses from exhaustion
- Paul launches his mayoral campaign, promising to end the paid parking and blaming it on Terese
Paul is basking in the glow of extras' approval following the announcement of his (one would have thought) transparent ploy to win electoral advantage by blaming Terese for his own complex's paid parking scheme. Terese marches over and accuses him of only introducing the paid parking in the first place so he could mount a sham election campaign on the back of it.
PAUL: It's a rather convoluted way to become mayor, don't you think?
Yes, scriptwriters, it is. But Paul waves her concerns away by reminding her that he put her in charge of the Whole Complex, for which reason he thinks everyone will simply forget that he owns the place.
PAUL: I think I'll dub you Ticketing Terese.
Terese points out that Paul's attacking his own business for personal gain. He retorts that he's only attacking her, as he's no longer involved in the running of Lassiter's. However, Terese knows she needs the income from the paid parking to finance her upgrades, so can't cancel the scheme. She's furious at Paul for putting her in such a bind, but he just finds her distress amusing. And of course he doesn't even bother trying to keep a straight face as he says...
PAUL: My focus is now on the people of this community.
Sonya, Toadie and Callum are waiting for news on Josie's condition, when her mums arrive - our very own 'Smiling Detective' Ellen Crabb (who isn't smiling now it's her family on the line, as opposed to say, one of her colleagues') and her partner Victoria. Sonya introduces them to Karl, who explains that Josie's okay, but that she's been severely dehydrated and had very low blood sugar. He also thinks she's malnourished, which surprises her mums. Josie had told them she'd gone to see a movie, and not mentioned the Fun Run at all.
Ellen and Victoria go in to see Josie, asking how this happened. Josie admits she's been throwing away the lunches they've been making for her, because eating made her feel like not exercising. Ellen immediately starts blaming Sonya (who is listening at the door) for encouraging Josie's fitness regime. But Josie insists it has nothing to do with Sonya; it was her idea as she wanted to lose weight.
ELLEN: We have never said that you need to lose weight or be anything other than who you are.
JOSIE: What, you mean fat and ugly?
ELLEN: Darling, you are beautiful exactly the way you are.
JOSIE: Maybe I'm sick of being me. Maybe I'm sick of looking like this. I just want to look like...
Sonya looks sad.
Terese is with Brad and Imogen, lamenting her victimhood in Paul's latest evil scheme. Brad proposes that he and Terese dance to take her mind off it. Imogen is suitably appalled as they waltz around the room, and Lauren watches with amusement as she rejoins Matt at their own table with some drinks. Lauren suggests she and Matt join the Willises and dance too, but Matt's mind is on stopping Paul from winning the election. Lauren looks envious of her dancing neighbours.
Sonya is telling Toadie and Callum all about the conversation she's just earwigged on between Josie and her mums; Toadie says how sad it is that Josie felt the need to go to those lengths. Victoria and Ellen come out of Josie's room, and Victoria kisses Ellen goodbye, before going home to get some clothes for Josie.
Ellen asks Sonya what she knows about Imogen - has she been pressuring Josie not to eat? Sonya says she doubts it. When Ellen asked if Josie has been bullied, Callum explains that lots of kids (not him, of course) call her Lamb Shanks. He denies any involvement by Imogen in this, and Sonya points out that Imogen's been made school captain recently and that a lot of kids look up to her.
ELLEN: Maybe for the wrong reasons.
Ellen goes to talk to a nurse, while Callum goes in to talk to Josie. But she won't even turn to look at him, and tells him to leave her alone.
JOSIE: I don't want you to see me like this.
CALLUM: Is that why you - were you trying to be like Imogen for me? Because, you know, Imogen's Imogen - and you're you. You can't pretend to be someone else, even if you think that's what you need to do. There is nothing wrong with you. You're fine just the way you are. You look great. And you should just be happy with that. I'm sorry this isn't coming out right, but...
JOSIE: Please just go.
CALLUM: Josie, I'm sorry.
Imogen is pitching the idea of a 'retro school dance' to Susan, but she's not keen - saying that when they've imposed a dress theme in the past it has put kids off from attending. (Possibly she's thinking of Harley Canning and Rani Kapoor, who never made it to Priya's celebrated barn dance in the Men's Shed last year because of some wicked and unspeakable prior engagement in Frankston?) Susan tells Imogen to come up with another idea.
Cal comes in, and Imogen asks if he has any ideas for the dance - but he awkwardly tells her he has too much else on his mind, before joining Toadie at a table. Cal's feeling bad for making Josie feel even worse by trying to talk to her earlier, and wishes he could do something to make her feel better. Toadie encourages Cal to give her some space, but Cal wonders if it might be a good idea to invite Josie on a date.
TOADIE: Callum, how would you feel if someone asked you out because they felt sorry for you?
As the spirit of Rani is invoked for a second time in one scene, Toadie tells Cal just to respect Josie - and to be clear and honest with her.
TOADIE: And don't lead her on. Just be her friend; that's what she needs right now.
Paul is still cavorting with extras to persuade them of his mayoral qualities, as Terese and Matt look on in disgust. Matt points out that Paul's a criminal, whatever his platform - and decides there must be someone else in the community who would make a great mayor. Terese asks if Matt's going to stand; he says he hasn't been here long enough, but that he has another idea about who could...
Josie pours her heart out to Sonya, saying she didn't mean to make everyone worry. She apologises for her mum tearing into Sonya, but Sonya says she didn't take it personally.
SONYA: She just wants you to love yourself for who you are - and I agree with that. You know, we're all made up differently. We all have our little quirks - little things we wish we didn't have. But you know part of growing up, is accepting who you are.
Ellen comes in, and Sonya leaves. Outside in the corridor, Matt is vociferously trying to persuade Karl to stand as mayor! Karl's flattered, but says he couldn't give up his work at the hospital. Matt asks if he can think of anyone else.
Now Karl and Matt are trying to persuade Toadie to stand for mayor! Toadie is almost tempted when they start calling him a 'respected pillar of the community', but eventually he stands his ground and says no.
Sonya has come to see Imogen. Not content with having broken Josie's confidence to Cal and Toadie already, she now tells Imogen that Josie was dieting and exercising so she could be more like her.
IMOGEN: But I hardly even know Josie.
SONYA: I know. But when she looks at you, she sees what society idealises as the perfect girl. I mean, you're popular, and you're beautiful, and she just wants to emulate that. But unfortunately it's taken her down a very dangerous path. So I thought that maybe you could talk to her about it.
Not realising what Imogen's been through herself, Sonya is surprised when Imogen tersely says she can't help. Sonya keeps trying, saying no- one's blaming Imogen for what happened, but that she could be a very positive role- model for Josie. But Imogen just gets annoyed and upset, and Sonya leaves. Brad overhears the end of the conversation, and Imogen fills him in on Josie's situation. Brad thinks talking to Josie could be positive for Imogen as a way of confronting her own issues, but she says she's not ready for that.
Brad comes round to see Sonya, who says she didn't mean to pressure Imogen. Brad explains that Imogen is going through some things he can't talk about at the moment - hence her strong reaction. Brad asks Sonya not to push Imogen any further into talking to Josie, saying she has good reasons for not wanting to go there. Sonya agrees.
Josie and her mums are about to head home, when Callum shows up. While her mums wait outside, Cal apologises for upsetting Josie before, and tells her he's here as a friend if she wants him to be. Josie says she doesn't want him trying to say all the right things to make her feel better, and suggests they leave it for now. So of course Cal says...
CALLUM: Do you want to go to the dance with me? ... Will you?
JOSIE: You're just asking me because you feel sorry for me.
CALLUM: No. It's not pity.
JOSIE: Look, it happened, and it wasn't your fault. I'm over it now. Why don't you ask Imogen to the dance?
CALLUM: Because I'm asking you.
JOSIE: She's the one you really like. If you have feelings for someone you shouldn't let anything hold you back. You've got to live your life, right?
Josie leaves sadly, and Cal looks upset.
Karl relays to Susan the details of Matt's attempts to find an electoral rival for Paul.
SUSAN: Well, he is up against the usual bunch of incumbents, most of whom are just a watered- down version of himself.
Karl laments that nobody in politics is good these days - and Susan adds that Paul is in the strong position of being a successful businessman, and being able to give up his role at Lassiter's to work for the community. She thinks that unless another candidate can match that, Paul will win.
Matt comes home to find Lauren watching TV; he's depressed that he can't find anyone to run against Paul in the election. Lauren agrees there's a strong chance Paul will win at this rate. Matt kisses her goodnight and goes to bed, and Lauren starts to doze herself on the sofa...
Lauren dreams that she is dancing with a mysterious man in a hat, and having the time of her life. The man is shrouded in shadow, until he eventually lifts his head to look at her - and we see that it's Brad!
Lauren wakes up with a start, and gasps.
The next day, Sonya is reading about Paul's anti- paid parking campaign in the West Waratah Star, and comments to Lauren about it - but her mind is clearly elsewhere.
LAUREN: Have you ever dreamt about an ex?
SONYA: Does a nightmare count?
LAUREN: This wasn't really a nightmare.
Sonya quickly guesses Lauren's talking about Brad, and Lauren regrets saying anything. Sonya promises it's 'in the vault', and asks for more detail. Lauren says it was a romantic dream, but denies having any feelings for Brad. Sonya tells her it's probably nothing to worry about - the subconscious does strange things. But as she leaves, Lauren still looks worried.
Paul is lying through his teeth to a journalist, Joe, about his mayoral campaign, taking the credit for all the money from Georgia's song going to the hospital (when really it was her idea and he was dead against it!) and claiming he would never try to hide his fraud conviction (when he's just tried to do exactly that). Paul claims he wasn't himself when the fraud took place because of the brain tumour, but that now he's trying to make up for it by giving back to the community. Karl, who is at the bar, listens in disgust at Paul's twisting of the truth.
Eventually, Karl is so incensed that he marches over and challenges Paul's claim that his tumour made him break the law. Paul waves Karl away, and begins talking about his plans for office.
KARL: You haven't won yet.
PAUL: Well there's no- one running who stands a chance of matching what I'm capable of, Karl.
KARL: There's me. Why don't you put that in your article? I'm Dr Karl Kennedy. I'll be running for Mayor of Erinsborough at the next election.
Paul smiles venomously.
Tomorrow on Neighbours
- Jackson throws his weight behind Karl's electoral campaign - but Susan is none too pleased
- Cal admits to Sonya that he invited Josie to the dance, and she wonders if it's more than sympathy
- Rhiannon brings Jackson to work when she can't find childcare, but hides him from her colleague