- Ned tells Elly he's been seeing another woman while away, but isn't seeing her anymore
- Paul advises Madison not to let her singing opportunity pass her by
- Elly intervenes to protect Xanthe from the secret camera scandal, hiding the truth from Udagawa
- Elly catches Piper checking her marks for the media project
- Piper accuses Elly of giving her bad marks because she dislikes her
- Elly refuses to get a coffee with a conciliatory Piper because, ‘I don't like you, you skank'
Erinsborough High School
Piper reports straight to Brad about Elly calling her a skank. Brad seems sceptical, asking if Piper's marks might have dropped because her performance has slipped.
PIPER: No! And I cannot believe that you're siding with her when she's calling me names!
BRAD: I'm not siding with her. But was there anyone else there when you think you might have heard it?
PIPER: As if she'd do it in front of other people. Dad, please tell me you believe me!
Brad doesn't look entirely convinced.
The titles roll.
Afterwards, Brad takes Piper to talk to Elly about the situation. Elly shrugs off any suggestion that she's marked Piper's work unfairly.
ELLY: Piper, you really don't work that hard. And your grades aren't that different to your other subjects.
PIPER: But I always kill it at English.
ELLY: Well, at the moment, you don't.
BRAD: Piper says you called her a skank.
ELLY: Do you really think I would be that unprofessional?
Elly says that there's a conflict of interest, since Brad's a fellow teacher. She suggests that if Piper has a problem with her conduct, Terese should deal with it instead.
ELLY: And next time, I don't think you should be bringing this up in front of Piper.
The courtyard is being prepared for Madison's latest singing gig, and Madison and Aaron are on site. Paul brings Madison a music tape that her parents, Scott and Charlene, made with their friend Mike Young in 1986. The trio wrote a song called ‘I Believe' to impress talent- spotter Molly Meldrum (Episode 351), and Paul suggests Madison listen to it for ‘a good giggle'.
PAUL: Molly Meldrum wanted to sign your mum, just her. But she was too loyal to the others. So what I'm saying is, don't let loyalty get in the way of a good career, okay?
AARON: That's lovely advice, Paul (!)
Madison asks Paul not to fight with Terese today; she has enough on her plate without their bickering. Paul gives Madison the tape as a good luck charm. But Aaron points out that you're not supposed to say ‘good luck' before a performance, as it's bad luck. Madison starts to get worried.
MADISON: I'm so doomed.
Elly tells Ned that she doesn't remember what she said to Piper, as she had a migraine at the time – but that Piper has been giving her a hard time. Ned suggests that Elly apologise just in case, but Elly's having none of it; she says their ‘uncomplicated' relationship is getting ridiculous thanks to his family giving her grief, particularly Piper and Paige. Ned suggests Elly talk to Susan and Lauren about it.
ELLY: This place – everyone is just up in your business.
NED: Yeah, but I kind of like it. People actually give a damn about me.
ELLY: Well, maybe I miss my personal space.
Ned suggests they invite Piper over for a swim to clear the air, but Elly doesn't want to be around Piper. Ned says Elly just needs to be patient with Piper, but Elly gets annoyed at this and flounces off.
Ned whines to Lauren about Elly getting annoyed with him for his suggestions about how to deal with Piper.
NED: Do women want solutions? Or do they just want to live in a constant state of drama?
Lauren advises that sometimes people just want someone to care about their feelings rather than suggestions and solutions.
Elly comes to Terese's office for a meeting. Terese thanks Elly for her help in hiding the truth about the secret camera scandal from Mr Udagawa; Elly responds that Terese did right by Xanthe in sending her the video footage. They move onto the situation with Piper.
TERESE: Piper can be very headstrong, I'm afraid. But normally she's a good kid.
ELLY: Didn't she burn down the school last year?
TERESE: Yes, that was an incident.
When asked by Terese, Elly insists that she didn't mark Piper unfairly, or call her a skank.
ELLY: See, it's rumours like that that could really damage a teacher's reputation.
TERESE: I don't intend to repeat that, I promise.
ELLY: Thanks. I guess having just escaped the threat of your own career being tarnished, I knew you'd understand. I mean, imagine if all that hidden camera footage got out. Ideally it'd be great if Piper just dropped the whole thing.
TERESE: Well, if there's nothing in what she's saying, I'm sure it'll just fizzle out on its own.
ELLY: There's nothing in it. I think it would be best for all of us if she just let go of it now.
Terese looks uncomfortable, as if unsure whether she's just been threatened.
Outside in the courtyard, Terese briefs Brad on her conversation with Elly. We see Madison and Aaron listening to Scott, Charlene and Mike's tape in the background, and Paul glancing intermittently over at Terese.
Brad thinks it's strange that Piper's marks have dropped in Elly's class, but Terese reminds him that Piper's not like her sister Imogen – she only tries when she feels like it. Brad adds that English has always been her best subject, and Terese agrees. They decide to talk to Piper together.
TERESE: But in the meantime, don't do anything further with Elly or the school, okay?
Once Brad's gone, Paul approaches, all smarmy. Terese wishes he had the grace to keep a lower profile after his latest attempt to sabotage her business by calling up guests and telling them about the hidden cameras (and the fine alternative accommodation at Robinson's), but Paul just continues to smirk and give her backchat.
TERESE: Why do you keep tormenting me, Paul?
PAUL: Because you can take it. And why aren't those hidden cameras front page of the Star? That's what I want to know.
TERESE: Oh, maybe there's some actual news.
PAUL: No, it's because you're sleeping with Tim Collins, isn't it? I mean, it makes perfect sense!
TERESE: Oh, you're thick.
PAUL: At least it's a step up from that sleazebag Ryan Prescott, isn't it?
TERESE: Oh, that's a pretty rickety high horse you're judging me from.
PAUL: Oh, come on, this isn't about me.
TERESE: Oh, It's always about you!
The conversation descends into a screaming match, forcing Madison to intervene by screaming at both of them! But as a result, she loses her voice, just hours before her gig is due to begin! What will the music- lovers of Erinsborough do now?
AARON: It's the bad luck!
PAUL: Oh, don't be ridiculous.
Presently, Karl comes rushing to the scene to tend to Madison, there apparently being no more pressing medical emergencies at the hospital providing his attention. He advises her to rest her voice while he takes a look at her throat.
KARL: Hey, you know what? If Maddie can't play, I'm happy to fill in.
PAUL: Oh, Karl, would you just stick to what you're actually good at?
Terese blames Madison's voice loss on Paul, and promptly bans him from The Waterhole. Karl takes Madison inside for a check- up.
Ned shows Elly the campervan that he and his siblings have bought Brad for his birthday. He's arranged a special tea in the van to apologise for upsetting her earlier. Elly says she should have handled herself better regarding Piper, and promptly pulls Ned into the van, where they draw the curtains so they can TITTNL™.
Karl is examining Madison, but can't see anything amiss in her throat. Toadie has showed up too, and wonders if she's afflicted with the same vocal nodules as his cousin Georgia. But Karl thinks her voice loss is likely just overuse, and nerves. He tells her to drink plenty of fluids.
Madison is feeling better already – until Aaron reveals the costume he's picked up for her from the dry cleaner. It appears to be some kind of hideous fancy dress costume – the bags have been mixed up. Aaron realises they don't have time to fetch her another costume before the show, so says she'll have to wear what she already has on. Aaron reassures an increasingly nervous Madison.
AARON: Think about it this way, right? We've had two lots of bad luck. That is all the bad luck used up for sure! Everything's gonna be great from now on.
Paul and Steph are discussing her ongoing stalker ordeal.
STEPH: Mark wanted me to have a Brennan brother with me at all times! But I'm alright – I can look after myself.
Happily, the stalker is Not In This Episode™ - but Steph has a feeling he might be hanging out in the motel, where ‘weird stuff' has been going on. Paul suggests they up security and change the locks, saying he would walk her to Madison's gig for protection, but that Terese has banned him from The Waterhole.
STEPH: It's a wonder it's taken Terese so long to do that.
PAUL: Ha- ha.
Paul announces his theory that Terese is sleeping with Tim Collins. Steph is highly sceptical, but Paul says it's the only explanation for the West Waratah Star not covering the hidden camera story. Steph suggests Paul's fixated on his Terese/Tim suspicions for other reasons, and points out that Paul spends a lot of time talking about Terese. Paul dismisses her insinuations and looks the other way.
Terese and Brad are talking to Piper about the situation with Elly, and that she's insisted she wouldn't mark unfairly. Piper points out that Ben got a 10% better mark than her despite working on the same project, but Terese says Elly is adamant there's no prejudice. Terese suggests that Piper might want to stop ‘flinging around' allegations for the moment and try to get on with Elly.
Piper is unimpressed by her parents' attitude, saying they should be more worried about what she's telling them.
PIPER: So just to be clear, neither of you are gonna do anything about this?
BRAD and TERESE: …
PIPER: Great. Thanks.
Piper stomps off.
Terese finds Paul in the courtyard, and demands to know why he's still hanging around. He says he escorted Steph here to ensure she was safe.
TERESE: How chivalrous of you (!) Run along now.
Paul looks upset.
TERESE: Or should I ban you from the whole Complex?
PAUL: Look, if you must know, I'm waiting to hear Maddie sing. And I can catch a bit from here.
Terese softens briefly, then asks why Paul hasn't had his lawyers onto her yet to try and get the Waterhole ban reversed. He admits he thought about it, but says he doesn't want to upset Maddie by causing a fuss. Terese takes momentary pity on him, and decides to let him into the beer garden where Madison is singing.
TERESE: Yes! But don't make me regret it.
PAUL: I won't. I promise.
In the beer garden, Aaron is on the stage, introducing himself as Madison's manager and calling her a star in the making. Paul comes in with Terese, and also present for the show are Steph, Toadie and Karl. Madison takes to the stage and is about to start singing, when suddenly all the power goes off! Toadie thinks it's a blown fuse, but Steph suddenly looks worried.
TERESE: This had better not be your fault, Paul.
PAUL: Hey, it wasn't me, alright?
Terese goes to investigate.
KARL: Would you like me to lead a sing- along, just until the power comes back on?
Nobody looks thrilled at this prospect.
PAUL: Oh, must you, Karl?
KARL: Luckily, I've brought my guitar.
AARON: I guess this is bad luck number three.
Karl begins a rendition of Waltzing Matilda. But we shift to Steph's perspective; sounds become distorted and she starts looking around, paranoid. Toadie puts an arm around her, perhaps sensing she feels unsafe. Karl's song continues, and Madison looks miserable.
Piper is on the phone to Xanthe – they were going to meet to go to Madison's gig, but Xanthe's Not In This Episode™ either. Lauren asks how Xanthe's going after all the stuff with Cooper; Piper says she's not too bad.
PIPER: I just wish a certain brooding dark- haired boy would realise that he should be with her.
Lauren explains that Brad filled her in on the situation between Piper and Elly, and Piper starts moaning to Lauren about how Elly has been marking her work unfairly. Lauren points out that Brad's in a difficult position as Elly's colleague – and she's sure Terese has her reasons too for not taking action.
PIPER: So you're saying I should just let it go?
LAUREN: Well, no, actually – just maybe look at other ways to deal with it.
PIPER: So you believe me about Miss Conway?
LAUREN: I have no reason not to.
Lauren adds that she's seen Piper's film and that it was really good. So she suggests Piper look at getting her grade reviewed through the proper channels.
LAUREN: Whatever you decide, you have my support. If that helps.
Back indoors next to the staff room, Paul and Terese get uncomfortably close in the dark, as he offers to go and look at the fuse box for her.
TERESE: I am not letting you near anything electrical in this complex. Not after the air con fiasco.
PAUL: Oh, for goodness sakes, can we just leave that in the past?
TERESE: You're the one that keeps adding fuel to the fire.
PAUL: Fire? You're saying there's a bit of heat between us, are you?
TERESE: What? You must be joking!
PAUL: I wouldn't joke about something this important. Come on – let me have a look at your fuse box.
TERESE: Maintenance will be here. They'll fix it.
PAUL: Or I could fix it now. I'm very good with my hands.
TERESE: So you keep telling me.
PAUL: And you never, ever give me an opportunity to show you.
TERESE: Let it go, Paul.
PAUL: Can't fault a guy for wanting to help, can you?
He's about to push past her and go in anyway, when Terese blocks his path. It almost seems like they're about to kiss – until the lights suddenly come back on! Uncomfortable, Terese pushes past Paul and leaves.
Ned and Elly come in, all flirtatious after their campervan encounter. While Elly goes to get drinks, Ned is greeted by a woman at a table near the door, whom he recognises and addresses as Bree. Ned's immediately uncomfortable, and glances around before asking…
NED: What are you doing here?
BREE: Just visiting Tugg. I heard you were around. I didn't think I'd actually run into you.
NED: Yeah, it's a surprise.
BREE: You seem pretty friendly with that girl.
NED: Oh, we're just friends.
BREE: Better be. You know Regan wouldn't be happy. I'd be careful if I were you.
Ned says it was good to see Bree, and leaves her to eat her dinner – but seems pretty shaken as he joins Elly at another table. Bree watches them with interest.
The lights and music are back on, and it's time for a Maddie singing montage. Paul, Aaron, Steph, Toadie and Brad are all in the audience. Piper arrives too, but when she sees Brad is there, she quickly turns around and walks away from him. She goes to her phone, and hovers over Susan's number on the display. Paul and Terese make eyes at each other across the beer garden.
The montage continues, with Ned and Elly looking like a happy couple at Harold's – until Ned glances over his shoulder surreptitiously. Bree has gone, for the time being…
Back to Maddie, as Karl nods along to the song. Nearby, Piper gets through to Susan on the phone.
PIPER: I want to make an official complaint against Miss Conway.
- Susan asks Elly if there's anything she wants to tell her
- Elly tells Ned she could lose her job
- At a No 28 mediation session, Piper accuses Elly of hating her
- Mark tells Steph needs to keep her distance, so as not to put Charlie in danger
- Mark tells a colleague that the stalker ordeal may have something to do with Steph's past
- Outside No 24, Steph feels like she's being watched…