- As he realises being a mechanic is no longer feasible, Chris starts to think about his career options
- Kyle and Naomi both reject Gary's offer of cash, aware it's Paul's hush- money
- The Turner siblings learn that they own No 32, leaving Matt feeling inadequate as a father
- Matt tells Lauren he wants to buy the house back off the kids
Lauren is sceptical about Matt's plan to buy back the house, saying they'd have to take out a huge loan on a place they're already living mortage- free. She's not sure they can afford it, but Matt insists he's done the sums. Lauren's also concerned about giving the kids a huge sum of money, but Matt's convinced this is no worse than living in a house the kids own.
MATT: Isn't this uncomfortable for you? We're the parents, we're supposed to provide shelter for our children, not the other way around.
Lauren accuses him of wanting to do this for reasons of pride, but Matt insists it's the right thing to do and they can make it work.
Outside Grease Monkeys
Terese is telling Josh how impressed she is at the way he's handled his community service, and asks what he'll do when he's finished.
JOSH: Let's just say I know what I want. I just need to work out how to get it.
They run into Nate, and Terese asks after Chris's first day back at work. Nate reveals Chris has quit the garage. Everyone looks uncomfortable, and Nate says he'll see them later, before walking off. Terese tells Josh not to give himself a hard time – they always knew Chris might not recover sufficiently to go back to the garage.
JOSH: Knowing it was coming doesn't make it any easier.
Over a drink, Mark is lamenting to Naomi about Chris's decision to quit the garage, admitting he's worried about Chris and what he'll do next.
NAOMI: Well, he's got that gorgeous hunk of a boyfriend to look after him, so how could he not be okay?
MARK: Yeah, I know in your world, love pays all the bills. But I'm not sure that works for the rest of us.
Naomi retorts that she does what she has to to stay afloat, and shows Mark her little black book of acquaintances and business colleagues, saying someone in there will give her a job.
NAOMI: The best jobs are not advertised. You need to be persistent, and hunt them down like a… wolf- lion!
MARK: A wolf- lion?
Mark looks bemused, and Paul turns up – so Naomi rushes across to talk to him. She gives him $100 towards the money she owes him for the painting debacle, out of the money she made from the carol concert.
PAUL: You know there are more effective ways to pay a debt than raiding your piggy bank every five minutes. If you get my drift.
NAOMI: Oh, it's not a very subtle point you're making. And you can forget it – this body is not for hire!
PAUL: Alright. Well if you change your mind…
NAOMI: I won't.
Paul reminds her she has a big debt to pay, and that unless she makes some headway with it, he'll be forced to start charging interest. Naomi grimaces and walks off, while Paul looks pleased with himself.
In the kitchen, Lauren is moaning to Brad about Matt's plan to burden them with financial pressure by buying No 32. She repeats her theory that it's just Matt's male pride talking, and asks Brad if he'd feel the same.
BRAD: You're talking to a guy whose house is owned by his wife's boss.
Brad says he sometimes wished he owned the place, but tries to defend Matt, saying he probably just wants to feel he's looking out for his family. Brad also thinks Lauren should consider that it might not really be about the house – reminding her that Matt's had to swallow a lot in terms of Paige's arrival and Brad and Lauren's kiss in Adelaide.
BRAD: For the most part he has been pretty good about it all.
LAUREN: Yeah, yeah he has.
BRAD: You can't blame him for wanting to claim back some control.
At the counter, Naomi and Chris are talking about his future career prospects. Chris is unsure what to do next, as he always wanted to be a mechanic. He asks after Naomi's own new career in events management.
NAOMI: Well, you know, it's not quite the money spinner I was hoping. I mean, the carols went well. But I don't think the council will be hiring me again any time soon.
CHRIS: After you locked up that councillor? You think?
NAOMI: Let's not talk about that.
Chris says he's been thinking about restoring and selling vintage cars, recalling how he and Andrew Robinson used to do it to earn some money on the side. But he admits he wouldn't be able to do it now.
As they talk, Bailey is trying to process Naomi's credit card with which she is paying for their lunch, but it keeps getting declined. Chris pays instead, and jokes that they should swap jobs to have a hope of making money – he'll do events management, and she can refurbish old cars. Naomi looks like she's having a lightbulb moment.
Chris is playing pool when Terese comes in. She says she's heard he's not going back to the garage, and offers him a job as trainee manager at Lassiter's! Chris says he knows nothing about hotels, but she says he can learn on the job. He wonders if it's a genuine position, or created with him in mind.
TERESE: Does it matter?
CHRIS: Yeah, kind of. I'm not about to sue Josh, if that's what you're worried about.
Terese insists Josh doesn't even know about this, and that it's a genuine job offer. Chris says he appreciates it, but tells her he can't accept charity.
Lauren comes in to find Matt busily organising their finances, in preparation to buy the house. Lauren says she's spoken to her mum Kathy, who's happy to dissolve the kids' trust and let them buy the house, as long as the kids do something sensible with the money. She also says she's spoken to the bank, who've given them initial approval on the loan.
LAUREN: So if this is something we really want to do, we can do it.
MATT: You want this?
LAUREN: If you want it, I want it.
MATT: What made you change your mind?
LAUREN: I've been thinking about everything we've been through since Mum bought this place. And we've been through a lot. And when things got really out of control, you stood by me. And you committed to us. So if this is something that you really need to do, then I'm in it with you. Let's do it – let's buy the house.
Matt picks her up and hugs her happily.
Outside the Waterhole, Naomi has met up for a drink with Margot Bisco, a prospective client from when Naomi worked for Toadie. She's just in the process of getting divorced – and Naomi recalls that prior to Toadie deciding he was unable to represent Margot in her divorce proceedings, she provided them with a list of joint assets, including a vintage MG car. Naomi asks if Margot could get her hands on the keys to the MG.
Chris has been telling Nate about Terese's job offer, who thinks it sounds like a pretty good idea. Chris is convinced it's a pity job, but Nate says Terese maybe just knows him and wants someone like him on the staff. Chris admits that if the offer had come from someone else, he might be interested. Nate tells him not to let pride get in the way of a career opportunity.
In the garden, Bailey is lounging on an inflatable in the pool like the lord of the manor, while the ladies of the manor – Amber and Paige – recline on deckchairs nearby. Lauren and Matt, dressed up for their bank visit, come out to talk to them.
BAILEY: Well, where are the tenants going?
LAUREN: Ha ha ha. Actually, we're on our way to the bank.
AMBER: Okay, that's not usually enough to warrant an announcement.
PAIGE: Okay, spill.
MATT: We are buying the house.
Matt says they'll get independent valuations and pay the kids a fair price for the house, the profits of which will be split between them equally.
AMBER: We are gonna be loaded!
But Lauren says they'll also organise a financial advisor for the kids, who can guide them on how to invest the money sensibly. This goes down less well.
AMBER: Mum, we can think about that later. In the meantime I am gonna shout us girls a luxury trip to the hot springs.
PAIGE: You are speaking my language, lady!
LAUREN: Okay, best we walk away now.
As they walk inside, Lauren and Matt worry about whether the kids will spend the cash wisely. They try to convince themselves they will, but look back at the kids uncertainly!
Chris turns up to see Terese, and tells her he's decided to accept her job offer after all, if it's still available. She's already drawn up a contract, and tells him to read through it so they can discuss the details later.
CHRIS: Terese – thank you.
TERESE: Oh, it's my pleasure. Welcome to Lassiter's. I look forward to working with you, Chris.
Paul, who is walking past, overhears this with concern. Chris thanks Paul too on the way out, assuming he knows about it – but once he's gone, Paul accosts Terese.
PAUL: Excuse me, did I hear correctly? Have you just employed Freckles to work here?
Paul tells Terese that Chris has no experience, but she reminds him that she's the hotel manager. Paul suggests that she's just trying to stave off a civil lawsuit against her family, and accuses her of bypassing recruitment procedures. Terese reminds Paul that he's insisted she employ plenty of people in the past who Terese thought were inappropriate, including Daniel. So now it's her turn!
TERESE: The decision's been made. And I have no interest in your meddling or your commentary.
She walks off, and the look on Paul's face is priceless.
Naomi pulls up outside the garage in the vintage MG, and asks Mark to give it a service and a roadworthy certificate. He asks where she got the car, immediately assuming there's something dodgy about it. Naomi is offended, and declines to explain – just hands him the keys and tells him to get on with it. Mark looks suspicious – and once she's gone, he phones (presumably) a contact in the police, asking them to check the car registration for him.
MARK: Yeah, I think it might be stolen.
Shortly afterwards, Matt approaches, and comments on the vintage car. Mark explains that Naomi wants a roadworthy certificate for it in a hurry, but admits he's checked it out and that it isn't stolen. Mark is puzzled as to how Naomi could have afforded the car, given how strapped for cash she's been. Matt's theory is that Naomi has received some of Gary's hush- money from Paul, and that's what's paid for the car.
MARK: I can't see Kyle or Sheila taking his hush- money.
MATT: But Naomi? She's more of a wild card, right? And she's got form. Stealing paintings, fake stalkers.
MARK: Locking up councillors.
Mark sidesteps the issue, and points out that Naomi still owes Paul money for the painting episode – he saw her pay him some this morning. He seems to accept Matt's theory that Gary's money paid for the car, and says he was hoping it was more legitimate.
Bailey is looking at prices for four- bedroom houses in Erinsborough – and is excited to discover that the average is $700,000. Amber and Paige are equally excited, realising it works out at $175K each between the three of them and Mason.
AMBER: I could get my entire wish- list of photography gear.
PAIGE: Ugh, you guys are so boring. There is only one thing to do when you unexpectedly come into some cold, hard cash. A massive party. Our own Big Day Out. Okay, we're going to pay for an awesome band; we're going to have a row of spit roasts; we'll invite everyone we know, plus their friends…
Lauren comes in, having overheard this, and reminds them there are far more sensible ways to spend the money, telling them they could each buy a house, pay for uni fees, or open a savings account. The kids look horrified.
PAIGE: Don't stress. We'll do all the sensible stuff with the leftover cash.
PAIGE: Okay, no spit roast!
But adding quietly once she's thinks she's out of earshot – ‘but definitely a party.'
Chris is showing off his new hotel uniform to Nate. Nate tells him he's proud of him, and kisses him.
CHRIS: It's gonna be a bit weird wearing a tie to work every day, though.
NATE: Well obviously you don't know how hot you'll look in that uniform.
CHRIS: Oh, stop it.
Brad and Josh approach. Josh guiltily says he's heard Chris has had to give up his mechanic job, but Chris says it's okay, explaining about his new job at Lassiter's , and says he's really looking forward to a fresh start.
CHRIS: I'm ready to move on with my life.
He shakes Josh's hand, and they smile at one another.
Naomi comes to get some details from the vintage car, as she's selling it ASAP. Mark confronts her, saying he knows the car was purchased with dodgy money from Gary and is therefore the proceeds of crime – admitting in the process that he had it checked to see if it was stolen. Naomi is hurt that Mark thinks she'd stoop so low.
NAOMI: I didn't take any money from Gary. You should know that. You know me.
MARK: Yeah. I do. (!)
Hurt, Naomi just turns and walks away.
Shortly afterwards, the car's owner Margot turns up with the car's service book, explaining the real situation to Mark – she's enlisted Naomi to manage the service and sale of the car on her behalf, for a small share of the sale price. Mark looks contrite.
- Mark goes grovelling to Naomi for his mistake, but she's unwilling to hear him out
- Georgia gets a call from a mystery person, and tells them she doesn't think ‘that's a very good idea'
- Gary sees Sheila and says he wants to do one thing for her, but she tells him ‘it's blood money'
- At the hospital, Karl tells Erin that they demand honesty of her – but Sonya thinks she isn't coping
- A desperate Erin begs Karl for his help