- John and Paige almost get intimate at the Geelong hostel
- Paige talks John into staying in Erinsborough
- Sheila calls school bully Alison Gore a nasty little brat, and slaps her
- Sheila then ends up raging at Alison's mother Jackie, too, during a mediation session
- Xanthe admits to Angus that she has a thing for Ben, but doesn't think he feels the same
- Angus calls Ben an idiot, and kisses Xanthe
- Terese convinces Cecilia to falsely testify against Paul
- Terese admits to Brad that she bribed Cecilia to testify with a job at Lassiter's
- After Brad agrees to keep quiet for Terese, Ned sees them hugging and is suspicious
Paige and Piper are swimming in the pool, while Ned's cleaning it. Lauren and Brad are hanging out at the side. Piper says she's going to Xanthe's in half an hour, after she's checked in on Terese, who's in a bad way and doesn't want to see anyone at the moment. Brad gets a text from Terese, saying she needs to talk. He rushes off, claiming he needs to make a phone call. Ned looks suspicious.
Preparations are underway for Xanthe's sixteenth birthday party; Aaron, who is helping, thinks it's going to be the talk of the town. Meanwhile Sheila is dressed up for her court appearance following her assault on Alison.
SHEILA: Have your party and I'll join you when I can. As long as I'm not in jail by then.
Susan and Angus turn up with presents for Xanthe. Angus has bought her a bracelet – while Susan has brought along a character reference for Sheila!
Meanwhile, Amy and John are cleaning up the back garden after the storm. John laments that Sheila's gnomes didn't get broken! Piper and Paige turn up with party food; John seems in a good mood, stealing some pineapple from a fruit tray Paige has brought, and admits he's glad Paige convinced him to stay in town.
They pencil in a meet- up for later, after John has helped with more of the storm clean- up. Once Piper has gone indoors and Paige has left for work, Amy teases John about how well he's getting on with Paige. But he insists they're just friends; he can't date someone if he doesn't know who he is.
AMY: You guys are great together. Chemistry like that is hard to come by. Don't just throw it away.
Back indoors, Angus, Piper and Ben are helping decorate the house with balloons for the party. Ben and Angus are arguing as usual. Xanthe comes in, on the phone to her dad, Gary, who's presumably called to wish her happy birthday.
Once she's done on the phone, Xanthe shows off her new bracelet to Piper and explains Angus bought it for her. Ben is clearly upset by this; Xanthe says that she liked the scarf that Ben and the Kennedys bought her too, but it's too hot to wear it right now. She says she's going to have the best birthday ever; Angus kisses her on the cheek and says she deserves it. Ben looks gutted.
Piper rushes off to check on Terese, saying she'll be along to the party later – while Ben says he might not be able to come at all, because ‘something might come up'. Xanthe's clearly upset, but says it's his loss. Angus smirks.
Lauren is sketching on the patio. Ned turns up and admires her artwork – she's trying to draw the Great Ocean Road from memory. A little flirtatiously, Ned suggests they take a drive down there sometime so she can get more inspiration; Lauren says she'll mention the idea to Brad. Ned looks peeved, and asks where Brad is; Lauren explains he had to go to town to pick up a book.
Ned asks whether Lauren's sure that's where Brad is.
LAUREN: He's not gonna lie about it.
NED: Honesty isn't his strongest suit.
LAUREN: I beg your pardon?
NED: I'm just saying – you know everything that goes on with the guy?
LAUREN: Where's this coming from, hmm?
NED: Just an observation.
Ned leaves Lauren to her sketch, but she looks concerned as he walks away.
Amy and Xanthe continue the party preparation; Amy asks how many are coming.
XANTHE: Aaron's kept the official invite list small, but then he's leaking the rest on social media. So expect a line- up around the block.
But Xanthe reassures Amy that she has VIP status, so won't need to queue!
AMY: And is Angus a VIP? Or is he an extra, super- special VIP?
XANTHE: I dunno. I mean, he's cool and everything; and he's a pretty good kisser.
AMY: Oh, wow! That happened?
XANTHE: But he's not Ben.
Xanthe admits she's not sure Ben is even coming to the party. Amy suggests he might be playing hard- to- get, but Xanthe thinks he might just not be interested.
Corridor of Trees™
Tyler appears to be helping out with the storm clean- up, and Ben has come for a chat.
TYLER: So basically, you have the hots for her.
BEN: Not that she'd know it, with the dumb things I say. Like, every time I open my mouth.
TYLER: Well go to her party, then. Let her know you're her friend.
BEN: But then I'd have to watch Angus lick her face.
TYLER: That's kind of messed up.
BEN: Well, he's all over her. It's driving me nuts.
But Tyler says Ben shouldn't punish Xanthe just because she's with someone else – today is about her, not Ben.
Steph is buying a coffee, when Lauren asks her about her experiences with her stepkids, Summer and Boyd.
LAUREN: Ned… He keeps making these comments.
STEPH: Such as?
LAUREN: Well, it's like he's warning me off Brad, or putting doubts in my mind. Sometimes I feel like… I feel stupid even saying this.
LAUREN: Sometimes I feel like he's flirting with me.
STEPH: Really? Are you sure?
LAUREN: I dunno. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.
STEPH: Well, could there be an innocent explanation?
LAUREN: … Well, he might just be worried about me.
STEPH (amused): Yeah. Might be.
LAUREN: … Yeah, that'll be it.
Corridor of Trees™
Tyler is still clearing up storm debris. Paige comes looking for John, but Tyler says he's on a break. Tyler asks what the story is with her and John; Paige says they're into each other, but have decided just to be friends. Tyler advises Paige to go for it and ask John out, provided she's sure he's into him. Paige says there's definitely a Vibe™ between them.
John is at the bar, coughing. He admits to Brad, who asks if he's okay, that he has a sore throat and is a bit itchy. Brad refers him to Karl, who's just arrived with Susan; Karl asks John what he last ate. He realises it was the pineapple from earlier, and Karl thinks he might be mildly allergic. He suggests antihistamines, acupuncture and even hypnotherapy as potential alleviators.
SUSAN: Any chance of hypnotising you into paying the bill?
JOHN: Actually – would hypnosis help with my memory?
KARL: Well, it's possible. It's not widely used.
John asks Karl if he would try hypnotherapy on him. Karl warns him that it can be very confronting, particularly if you don't know what you'll find. But John says he's willing to try. They agree to meet at the Kennedys' later.
Sheila comes in; she tells Susan that the magistrate let her off with a fine, but that Alison's mother Jackie was livid about it…
Piper has brought some flowers to Josh's grave. Ned arrives at the same time.
NED: Come here much?
PIPER: It makes me feel closer to Josh.
NED: I come here to think. Clear my head.
Piper leaves Ned to it; she doesn't want to leave Terese alone for too long. Ned remarks that she's not the only one, and asks whether she's seen Brad today – casting doubt on Brad's story about going into town.
PIPER: You don't believe him?
NED: I saw him and Terese together yesterday. I think they're back on. They were whispering, having this intense conversation; they were hugging, and then they just disappeared for the rest of the day. It's no coincidence.
PIPER: Maybe you misread it. Maybe Mum was upset about Josh, and Dad was just comforting her.
NED: No, it was more than that.
PIPER: No, I think you've got it wrong. Dad loves Lauren.
NED: He loved your mum once. And mine. I'm gonna tell Lauren what I saw.
PIPER: Ned, everyone's been through hell this past couple of weeks. Are you sure you want to make everything worse?
Sheila, Xanthe and Angus are sitting around awkwardly, waiting for the much- vaunted queue of birthday party guests to show up. Xanthe asks Angus when Ben is coming; he doesn't know. Aaron turns up, and is surprised to find the house so empty – since he's had a lot of RSVPs. However, when he checks his phone, he realises what's going on.
AARON: Oh no. There's a rival party.
Apparently, Alison is hosting an open- invitation, fully catered party in a penthouse in The City™. Sheila assumes that Alison's mum Jackie is behind it, in a bid to punish Sheila for slapping her daughter. Sheila apologises to Xanthe, who says it's not her fault.
ANGUS: So what does this mean?
AARON: I guess it means that no- one's coming.
Everyone looks worried.
Karl has John under hypnosis!
KARL: As you walk down the staircase, every step takes you deeper and deeper. You feel more and more relaxed. Are you feeling relaxed?
KARL: At the bottom of the staircase, you come into a gallery, and there are pictures on the walls. These are pictures of when you felt safe and happy. Can you see them?
JOHN: I can't.
KARL: Don't push yourself. Take your time.
JOHN: I can smell smoke.
KARL: Try to ignore that. Just focus on finding the picture.
JOHN: I see it. No, it's a mirror. I can see my face.
KARL: And what else?
JOHN: There's flames. Flames behind me.
The scene is interrupted by images of billowing flames.
JOHN: It's getting hard to breathe now.
JOHN: It's getting hot.
KARL: Alright. Do you know how the fire started?
JOHN: No. It's getting close.
More flames, as John becomes very agitated.
JOHN: I can't move. It's getting closer!
KARL: John, you're safe. I'm here to protect you. Nothing can harm you – just try to breathe. I want you to climb the staircase again. You're going to come back to me. Three, two, one – and you're back.
John opens his eyes.
JOHN: What just happened?
Brad comments to Paige how nice John seems. Paige agrees but feels bad about being happy, having just lost Josh and Doug. Brad says they'd want Paige to be happy – and if John makes her happy, that's great. Paige heads out, just as Ned arrives.
NED: How was The City™?
BRAD: … Yeah, good.
NED: Did you get the book you were after?
BRAD: … Yeah.
NED: Where is it?
BRAD: It's in the bedroom.
BRAD: Ned, is there a problem?
NED: You and Terese – I saw you.
BRAD: You saw us what?
NED: Whispering. Hugging. Being with her when you should have been with Lauren.
BRAD: Terese called me. She was upset; I was calming her down.
NED: So you say.
BRAD: Look, I don't need to explain myself to you.
Brad walks off.
Xanthe gets a text from Piper to the effect that Terese needs her; and since Terese is Not In This Episode™, that means Piper isn't coming to the party. Sheila moans about Jackie Gore's malicious rival party, and announces that she's going round there. But Aaron tells her not to; she'll only get into more trouble. Amy comes in and suggests they watch one of Xanthe's favourite movies.
XANTHE: Yeah, sure – how about The Perks of Being a Wallflower? (!)
AMY: It's actually a good film.
ANGUS: You're not a wallflower. You've still got us. And we can still party.
Xanthe's not in the mood, however, instead feeling like a loser – and she's even less enthused when Aaron suggests putting some birthday selfies on social media. Xanthe gets a text from Ben, saying he's not coming either. Upset, she announces that everyone should just go home. Angus says they're not going to leave her on her birthday.
XANTHE: Guys, wake up and smell the party pies! I don't want a party; I don't want a birthday, okay? It's cancelled!
SHEILA: Oh, Xanthe!
XANTHE: Please. Just leave me alone.
Xanthe rushes into her room.
Lauren comes out onto the patio to find Ned indulging in some topless boxing with the punchbag. Seeing he's angry, she asks if he's okay. Ned doesn't answer.
LAUREN: That warning that you gave me before – I get that your dad let your mum down. And I suppose you think he hurt Terese when he and I got together.
NED: I'm not defending Terese.
LAUREN: Right. So you're protective of me?
NED: The thing is, I don't think he's telling the truth.
LAUREN: About what?
LAUREN: I think you need to give your father a bit more credit.
Ned says he thinks he'll leave town, saying nobody wants him here – but Lauren says that isn't true; the girls have loved having him about.
LAUREN: And so have I.
LAUREN (nods): Brad is grieving over Josh and Doug at the moment, and he's very raw right now. And that's gonna be that way for some time, but things will get better, I promise. Stay and work things out. Please.
Lauren takes Ned's hand.
NED: Okay. For you.
Lauren thanks Ned, and taps him playfully on the chest. He watches her as she walks away.
In the kitchen, Xanthe is playing her euphonium. Angus comes in from the garden and tries to convince her to come outside and join everyone.
XANTHE: Who's at your house right now?
ANGUS: Umm, Karl, I think. Actually, no – he'll be at work by now.
XANTHE: Great. I think you should go over there, and I'll meet you there.
ANGUS: Why? Everyone's here.
XANTHE: Angus – my sixteenth birthday has been the worst. I've been humiliated, and let down, and I don't want to remember it like this. I want it to be special. So if no- one's at your place, maybe we could…
ANGUS: You mean…?
XANTHE: Do I really have to spell it out to you?
ANGUS: No. It's just not what I expected.
XANTHE: Are you saying no?
ANGUS: No – it's just out of the blue.
XANTHE: Well, surprise! It's my birthday, and this is what I want.
John turns up in the kitchen, and Paige leaps on him with a hug. She's summoned him here to talk; having taken Tyler's advice, she asks John if he wants to go out with her tonight, on a date.
JOHN: We agreed to be friends.
PAIGE: Err, yeah, but we're obviously more than that, unless I'm a complete idiot.
JOHN: You're not an idiot.
PAIGE: Well, I feel like one.
JOHN: I'm sorry, erm… I just can't. We can't.
JOHN: We just can't. I have to go.
John darts out of the kitchen and the café, to the surprise of the dining extras. Paige chases after him.
John runs away from Harold's, Paige still in pursuit. Slowing to a walk, she shouts his name as he continues to run away.
- Amy finds something significant
- Ben tells Angus he'd better not be planning to jump Xanthe; Angus tells him three's a crowd
- Xanthe tells Ben that it was her idea to TITTNL™ with Angus, not his
- Sheila tells Amy she found something in Xanthe's garbage bin
- Angus and Xanthe kiss; she asks if he wants to go to his room