- Philippa asks Steph to sign a letter consenting to Charlie's adoption, but Steph tears it up
- Paul asks Steph how she feels about renaming the Erins Burrow as Robinson's
- When Piper finds out Xanthe's stolen Brad's iPad, Xanthe begs her not to dob
- Susan tells Xanthe she's suspended for two weeks for stealing the iPad and exam paper
- A confused Doug kisses Lauren, thinking she's his wife Pam
Morning. Lauren comes in to find Doug, Lou, Brad and Josh having a coffee. She's surprised to see them all up so early, particularly Doug after his long ‘bucket list' day yesterday.
LAUREN: We even had a dance.
DOUG: A dance, of course…!
BRAD: Are you trying to sweep Lauren off her feet? I'm keeping an eye on you!
They all laugh, but Lauren looks uncomfortable and walks away. Brad goes to follow her, asking if she's okay. She insists she is.
And the titles roll.
The sun is rising in the sky, and a black cat basks on the asphalt as we hear radio footage.
RADIO ANNOUNCER: And now for the weather. Temperatures are expected to peak today, with a top temperature in excess of 40 degrees…
The radio broadcast continues, as Xanthe complains to Sheila about how hot it is. Sheila advises her to get all her gardening chores done before it's too hot, but Xanthe moans that she'll die of heatstroke if she has to go outside again.
Paul turns up at the open front door, and watches Xanthe and Sheila talking.
XANTHE: All that bending down and digging will give me arthritis – you know, it's already wrecked my nails.
SHEILA: Oh, stiff cheese! This suspension is not a holiday. You need to make yourself useful.
Paul comes in, and says he might be able to help with that.
PAUL: I want to talk to you about Erinsborough's hottest new accommodation and function venue.
SHEILA: Your manky little motel?
Paul explains he's planning an event for the motel and needs some staff, and had heard that Xanthe was off school. He offers her a ‘junior executive internship programme'!
SHEILA: What does this ‘internship' actually involve?
PAUL: Well, it would be on a casual basis at first, but Xanthe here would get hands- on experience as a service enhancement consultant, and a hygiene technician.
SHEILA: So she'll be actually wrangling rude customers and cleaning the toilets. I presume when you say intern, you mean unpaid.
PAUL: Initially, yeah, during the training period. You should consider it at least, eh?
SHEILA: And you know what you should consider? The door. It's behind you.
Paul leaves as requested – and once he's gone, Xanthe accuses Sheila of always ruining everything. Sheila says Xanthe should be thanking her; she just stopped Paul taking advantage of her free labour. Xanthe points out she's been doing free labour all morning for Sheila, with no chance of a job at the end of it! Xanthe marches off to her room.
In the kitchen, Lou remarks to Lauren how being a carer to Doug must be a lot for her to take on. Lou says he noticed before how Doug pretended to remember how he danced with Lauren to save face, when really he's forgotten all about it – adding he's been doing a lot of that lately.
LAUREN: Dad, when Doug was dancing with me, he – he forgot who I was. He thought I was Pam, and then he kissed me.
Lou encourages Lauren to tell Brad about it – it's not fair on either of them for Lauren to try to protect Brad from learning about Doug's deterioration.
Outside The Waterhole, Steph and Toadie are talking about Philippa's plans to adopt Charlie, and how Steph's going to combat them. Toadie says all Steph can do is keep building a stable life, in order to prove she's a fit mother when the time comes. Steph suggests she should make the first move, to prove she's serious about gaining access to Charlie. Toadie says it could be risky.
STEPH: I've made progress with Charlie.
TOADIE: Yeah – only after your mother broke the court order and brought him down to see you.
Steph admits that was wrong, but says Charlie's dad Max is no saint either.
STEPH: They keep harping on about my mental state – why don't we shed a bit of light on Max's? Bring up his criminal record.
TOADIE: Yes. That is a big gun, and we might be able to use it to our advantage. But we have to be very careful when and how we use that.
Toadie says he can begin mediation proceedings if Steph wishes, but that it might be a good idea to think about other options first.
Xanthe is giving Bossy some water to help her keep hydrated during the heat. There's a knock at the door; it's Ainsley, one of the school pupils Xanthe sold the exam papers to. Ainsley's furious that she's been suspended, because the teachers found her out when they saw she'd passed the maths exam with flying colours. Her whole group of friends got busted too, and are blaming Ainsley.
AINSLEY: You need to fix this, or else you're going down.
Xanthe spies the card for Robinsons Motel on the desk (guess Steph's agreed to the name- change?), and has an idea of how to turn things around for Ainsley…
Brad is keen to see some of Doug's ‘fancy footwork' following his dance with Lauren.
JOSH: Why have you never asked me? I was the professional dancer.
BRAD: Hey, no offence, mate, but I'm not sure it was your dance skills that the ladies were coming to see!
But when Doug invites Lauren for a ‘quick twirl' around the café, she seems very uncomfortable and says she'd rather not. Brad follows her into the kitchen, where Lou tells her to explain to him what the problem is. She admits that Doug kissed her because he thought she was Pam – but then they all realise Doug is standing there, and has overheard.
DOUG: I made a fool of myself.
LAUREN: No, no – it was just a mistake!
DOUG: You shouldn't have to deal with this. I shouldn't have come.
BRAD: Dad, that's not true, okay? We want you here.
LAUREN: We love having you stay with us.
DOUG (to Brad): Don't try to make me feel better, Adam. I'm a burden, and I know it.
Lauren looks worried, realising Doug's called Brad by his brother's name. Doug walks out, followed by Brad.
(But the signs still read Erins Burrow.) Xanthe turns up, telling Paul she wants to rent a room. He asks how old she is, but she dodges the question and hands him a wad of cash.
PAUL: What exactly are you planning to use the room for?
XANTHE: Oh, just a small gathering – me and a couple of friends.
PAUL: A couple?
XANTHE: Yeah, like, three or four, maybe.
Paul tells Xanthe to drop the innocent act – but tells her she can have the room, provided that she promotes the motel and the ‘executive internship programme' on all her social media accounts! He adds that he'll need a credit card, to cover any damages that may occur. Xanthe promises to get that sorted, and walks away.
Brad tells Lauren that Lou is looking after Doug, who's calmed down a bit. Brad says he had been hoping some medication Doug was on would make a difference to his behaviour, but evidently things are worse than he thought.
BRAD: I just thought there was gonna be some way of reversing it, or at least hold it off until they found a cure. But I was just kidding myself.
Lauren apologises for not telling Brad earlier about Doug kissing her, but he's not annoyed.
BRAD: You didn't sign on for this.
LAUREN: Yeah, I did. He's my family too now.
BRAD: Thank you.
He kisses her, and they hug.
Xanthe comes in. She gets a text from Ainsley, saying ‘I've invited everyone. Don't screw it up!' Sheila is surprised to see her as she still has chores to do, but Xanthe asks if she can do them later once it's cooled down. Sheila agrees. Xanthe plays the apology card to get Sheila on- side, then asks if she can borrow her library card, as she wants to go and do some schoolwork at the library.
Sheila points Xanthe in the direction of her handbag so she can retrieve the card. But rather than taking the library card, Xanthe swipes Sheila's credit card…
There is now a teenage party in full swing in one of the motel rooms. Xanthe is surprised to see Piper arrive; Piper explains Ainsley invited her, along with most of the year group! Xanthe admits she organised the party for Ainsley. Piper points out that she doesn't even like Ainsley.
XANTHE: Look, you either get off your high horse, or you ride it on out of here, because I don't need you judging me.
Piper asks why Xanthe's doing all this; she replies that Ainsley threatened her. Piper says Xanthe should have told Ainsley to ‘crawl back into her mean girl cave' – but Xanthe gets annoyed and tells Piper to leave.
PIPER: No! Xanthe, this is a really bad idea, but I'm not gonna abandon you to deal with it on your own. You do realise they're raiding the minibar?
Xanthe unconvincingly claims she has it under control. Outside, Steph has overheard the noise from the room and asks Paul what's going on. He explains there's a guest having a get- together in there, and that's it's all fine, as it's someone he knows.
PAUL: Sheila's granddaughter.
STEPH: Xanthe? Paul! She's in high school!
PAUL: Your point being?
STEPH: Well the room's bound to be full of underage teens, getting up to god knows what!
PAUL: Any damage they do will be paid for, because I had the sense to take a credit card imprint as security.
STEPH: Oh, right, so where did Xanthe get a credit card? Sheila approved the party?
PAUL: Well, yeah, I presume so!
STEPH: Did you even ask?
PAUL: Oh, look, I am not in the habit of interrogating paying customers!
STEPH: Paul! You can't turn a blind eye to this!
PAUL: Alright, Steph – ordinarily I would not rent a room to a minor. But we need to get this place up and running ASAP. And in order to do that, we need staff. And guess what? Xanthe has agreed to recruit some of her mates for us.
Steph asks why they need staff when they're barely taking any bookings. Paul tells her he has a grand plan, and to wait and see! Steph looks unconvinced.
Heaven knows what eye- popping story Lou has been relating to a sombre- looking Doug, but we join them halfway through it.
LOU: I spent two hours in the back row, necking with the headmistress! You see? I make far worse mistakes than you with women, mate, and I don't have an excuse!
DOUG: … This isn't just an embarrassing moment. It's my life. And I can feel it slipping through my fingers. Have you ever had a dream where everything seems normal? You're at home with your family, but then, things turn strange.
LOU: What sort of strange, mate?
Doug becomes increasingly emotional.
DOUG: Your home isn't as you remembered. And your family aren't who you thought they were. And it gets worse, until nothing makes sense at all. And that's how it is inside my head. Eventually, I won't even know it's happening. It's the people I love who'll suffer. And there's nothing I can do to spare them.
As the heat rises, Steph comes in and goes to talk to Sheila at the bar. She asks how things are going with Xanthe; Sheila says she's been much better behaved lately, and that she's currently at the library doing schoolwork. Steph tells Sheila there's something she should know…
Xanthe and Piper are sitting on the bed, watching the partygoers around them enjoy themselves as the music blares. Piper says that Ainsley is ‘a disaster waiting to happen'. At that moment, someone smashes a bowl of popcorn. Sheila bursts in, followed by Steph.
SHEILA: Xanthe Canning, get your backside here NOW!
Steph says that Xanthe's underage, and shouldn't be here.
XANTHE: Alright, okay – just let me shut this down quietly, please?
SHEILA: Fat chance of that!
Sheila unplugs the music, and shouts at all the teens to clear out – adding that she'll deal with Xanthe at home!
Outside, Steph has another go at Paul for renting a room to Xanthe and her pals. He admits it wasn't the brightest idea, but says that hopefully some of the teens will get in touch about the internship opportunities.
Steph asks him for more detail about his ‘grand plan' to improve business. Paul explains that he wants to host a community event, to help build loyal custom before Lassiter's builds its new tower. This will be in the form of the Erinsborough Citizen of the Year Awards; they were phased out some time ago, but Paul's going to ask Sonya to resurrect them, with a view to hosting them at the motel.
PAUL: If you don't take an opportunity when it's in front of you, somebody else'll come along and take it. You need to be the hunter, or the hunted. I know what I'd prefer.
Steph gets a ‘this wise advice has a bearing on my other storyline' look in her eyes.
Doug is with Josh, Lou, Brad and Lauren. He's apologising to Lauren for kissing her, and says he hopes she can forgive her. She insists it's forgotten.
DOUG: I'd swear that nothing like this will ever happen again – but I can't make promises like that anymore.
Brad and Josh take Doug home, leaving Lou and Lauren alone.
LOU: It seems so unfair, doesn't it, eh?
LOU: You know, I remember Doug as a fit, healthy bloke raising a family, and it seems like yesterday. That's why I've come to a decision. I am gonna make the most of the time I have.
LAUREN: By crossing items off your bucket list?
LOU: No – by joining the Erinsborough Adventure Club!
LAUREN: Not the one that goes white- water rafting and caving?! Dad, what about your back?
LOU: I'm not made of cotton wool, sweetheart.
He says he's going to start up a gym regime to prepare. Lauren's not sure about his plan, but he insists he's up to the challenge!
Steph tells Toadie that she wants to start mediation proceedings right away.
STEPH: I just need to rebuild my relationship with Charlie.
TOADIE: OK. Well as long as you're fully aware of what this means for him? I've seen what this does to some kids in court. It just eats them up on the inside.
STEPH: Yeah. You know I'd never pressure him into doing anything he didn't want to do. And I'm gonna do everything I can to make it easy.
Toadie's still concerned that Steph hasn't taken long enough to think things through, but she says that dealing with Xanthe today made her worry that Charlie might start acting out one day if she doesn't take action, because he'd feel Steph had abandoned him.
STEPH: He needs to know how much I love him.
Toadie hesitantly agrees to get the ball rolling on setting up an official mediation.
TOADIE: I want you to know that this is gonna be a tough fight.
STEPH: Mm. I'm ready. I'm gonna prove to everyone that I'm a fit mum.
Sheila is giving Xanthe an ear- bashing as they return home, while Xanthe accuses her of embarrassing her in front of her friends.
SHEILA: You got off lightly, young lady. You stole from me – do you think that's a joke?
XANTHE: No, of course I don't!
SHEILA: I have tried so hard to make you feel like you belong here. But your behaviour is just getting worse and worse, and I don't know what else to do!
XANTHE: You don't have to do anything, because I never asked for you to take me in!
SHEILA: Well, what was I going to do? Throw you out on the street? Your dad is in jail; your mum is off the map. What you need is a family, and I am perfectly happy to be that for you, but I can't be if you keep abusing my trust!
XANTHE: Just forget about it then, because I'm obviously not worth it!
Sheila has been getting very irate, and at this last utterance from Xanthe she starts to gasp, experiencing terrible chest pains. Xanthe sits Sheila down as she struggles for breath, and calls for an ambulance…
- Piper has arrived, and asks Xanthe where Sheila's heart medication is. It's news to Xanthe
- Paige clashes with Sonya over a green issue; Mark accuses Paige of trying to impress her uni mates
- Sonya sees something disturbing at her nursery
- On learning of his latest scheme, Terese tells Paul he's unbelievable