- Sheila arranges to go on a date with Clive Gibbons
- But she cancels when Xanthe loses her work experience placement, holding Clive responsible
- Karl tells Susan that her multiple sclerosis is flaring up again
- Toadie plans to move into the Eclipse complex with Willow, but Sonya looks concerned
- Piper is upset by the extent of her online stalkers' activities
- Xanthe and Piper resolve to face adversity by returning to school together
- Xanthe's upset when Ben says he knows she was under Mr Kelly's spell
- As other kids tease Xanthe for what happened with Finn, she makes a tearful exit from school
Erinsborough High School
Susan is on the phone to Gary, asking him to call her if Xanthe turns up at home. As she finishes the call, Susan comes across Elly, and asks her if she knows what could have upset Xanthe. Elly guesses that she must have had ‘nasty backlash' from other kids, but then Ben turns up, explaining how he upset her accidentally by talking about Piper's leaked comments about Xanthe and Finn.
SUSAN: I've got to find her. I've got to talk to her.
But Elly volunteers to go and look for Xanthe instead, as she doesn't have a class next period. Susan says she'll contact Xanthe's counsellor to let her know what's happened – but as Elly leaves and Susan goes to operate her phone, we see her struggling with her hand.
Toadie asks Sonya about how her community service is going. Sonya says it's been good to give the local plants some attention, as the new mayor has somewhat neglected them. Toadie says he's still okay to pick up Nell later. Willow walks over from the counter, and it's a little awkward – but Sonya breaks the ice by offering Willow a shift at the nursery tomorrow afternoon. She agrees.
Toadie asks after the repaint at No 30 – Sonya says that Amy has done wonders with the house.
SONYA: You should definitely come over and… check it out.
TOADIE: … What, now?
SONYA: Oh, yeah… Why not? If you're free now?
Willow encourages a pleasantly surprised Toadie to go with Sonya and see the makeover.
Erinsborough High School
Sheila has turned up at the school, and worriedly discusses Xanthe's disappearance with Susan. Sheila is panicking, and decides to go to The City™ to check in Xanthe's favourite shops for her.
As she leaves, Karl turns up to collect Susan for a doctor's appointment – but Susan tells him they'll have to reschedule, as Xanthe's gone missing. Karl is frustrated, telling Susan how long the waiting list is, but she insists she has no choice as they're short- staffed and Xanthe has to be her priority. Karl grudgingly agrees to rearrange the appointment, and leaves, saying they'll talk about this later.
Meanwhile, Willow talks to Ben in the corridor, asking after Xanthe. Ben replies that Xanthe's not okay – far from it – and walks off to class. Willow looks worried.
Toadie comes in with Sonya to find Amy hard at work painting the walls, and is suitably impressed by the new colour scheme and the other new touches, all on a budget, which Amy says Sonya has designed herself. Sonya asks if Toadie wants to stick around for a bit – he replies that he does.
While Sonya goes to put the kettle on, Toadie asks Amy why Sonya didn't go with the colour that he hated. Amy admits that she told Sonya he didn't like the colour.
TOADIE: Did she change her mind because of me?!
AMY: The moment I mentioned it.
Toadie looks hopeful.
Sheila searches a shopping mall for Xanthe. Outside, by the river, she runs into Clive Gibbons, and gives him another telling- off for having kicked Xanthe out of the hospital. Clive tries to explain that he supported Karl's decision to send Xanthe home because he thought it was in her best interests.
Sheila admits it's possible that Xanthe overreacted to Karl's questioning, and explains that she's now gone AWOL on her first day back at school. Clive empathises, having been through similar with his own kids. He offers to help Sheila search for Xanthe. She turns him down at first, but then changes her mind, saying that another set of eyes wouldn't hurt.
Mark bumps into Elly, saying he's been meaning to call her. But she's preoccupied with looking for Xanthe, who Mark says will probably turn up at home when she's had time to cool off. Elly's clearly worried, so Mark offers to get his colleagues to look out for Xanthe. Elly says she could have gone somewhere connected to Finn, as she was upset about him.
MARK: How does that make sense? I mean, he treated her so badly.
ELLY: Yeah. Well, she's very confused, and working through her feelings for him. Don't worry about it – it's a girl thing.
Mark suggests the motel. Elly's already looked there, but suddenly thinks of somewhere else, and rushes off to check there too.
Elly finds a tearful Xanthe staring at the necklace Finn gave her. She rushes to comfort her.
XANTHE: Now it's official. I'm a total headcase.
ELLY: No- one thinks that. We're worried about you. You want to talk about it?
XANTHE: How did you know that I was here?
ELLY: I guessed you'd still be hurting about Finn. And I remembered he camped out here for a while.
XANTHE: Pathetic, huh? I just can't help missing him. I'm really worried about him.
ELLY: What do you say we get out of here?
XANTHE: I can't go back to school.
ELLY: That's okay, you don't have to.
XANTHE: Or home – not yet.
ELLY: Okay. I know where we can go to help take your mind off things.
Sheila finishes up a phone call to Gary as Clive approaches. He hasn't had any luck finding Xanthe, but Sheila explains she's just heard she's been found, emotional but safe. Sheila thanks Clive for his help, but admits she's worried about Xanthe's state of mind, and that she might end up missing out on her education if she drops out of school – something Sheila herself has always regretted doing.
CLIVE: I wrapped up my eldest in cotton wool his whole life. When you're a doctor, you're hyper- aware of all the dangers in the world. The minute he had the money, he bought a motorbike. Crashed it, first time out. He's fine. I mean, we don't always like the decisions our kids make, but it's better that they make them in the end, don't you think? Anyway, you know what you're doing. You don't need to listen to me.
SHEILA: Oh, I think it's always nice to hear someone else's opinion.
They smile at each other flirtatiously.
Toadie is admiring Sonya's vision for the fireplace, as they sit drinking tea with Amy. They raise a tea- toast to a job well done. Sonya goes to make a refill, just as Willow arrives. Toadie's keen for her to stay but Willow says she's fine, aware of not wanting to intrude between Toadie and Sonya. Suddenly, Toadie shrieks – he's seen a huge spider. He starts to panic and rolls up a newspaper.
SONYA: You can't kill it!
TOADIE: No, I'm not going to – much, anyway.
But Amy safely captures it in a jar and takes it outside. Sonya and Willow laugh at Toadie for being so scared.
Elly has brought Xanthe in for a fingernail- painting session in a bid to keep her mind off Finn. Xanthe's still down on herself, saying that Elly would never be dumb enough to ‘hang around a man like a sick puppy' after everyone warned her about him.
ELLY: Don't be so sure.
XANTHE: Those final days when he was hiding out – I just can't help but think about them. He was so sick, and he told me that I was the only thing that kept him going.
ELLY: Is that why you went back to the church?
XANTHE: I wanted to be with him. We never kissed, but somehow I always found myself daydreaming about our wedding day. Or even having a baby together. Just so that a part of him could live on. But it was all a lie. And if that doesn't make me the world's biggest loser, then I don't know what does.
ELLY: Xanthe, Finn's the loser. Not you. He took advantage of you because you're a loving, selfless person. He used you to prop him up because he knew you were strong.
XANTHE: I'm not strong.
ELLY: Yes, you are. Because you won't let this beat you, will you?
Erinsborough High School
Karl is back, fussing around Susan and trying to get her to relax. Susan is feeling bad for not having protected Xanthe from Finn more effectively. But Karl points out that she'll be even less capable of doing her job if her relapse gets worse.
SUSAN: Don't talk to me as a doctor!
KARL: Darling, I'm talking to you as a husband, who loves you and cares for you – wants to share the best of our life together.
But Susan ignores him, going on and on about how she didn't notice the problems with Xanthe until it was too late and using this as a justification for staying at school, rather than going home and resting. Karl looks worried as Susan walks back inside.
Clive and Sheila are chatting as they walk along the river bank.
CLIVE: Well, it's not easy being the mum of a teenager.
CLIVE: Sorry, yes, I keep forgetting.
SHEILA: Well, it's not all butterfly kisses and chocolate crackles, but I wouldn't swap it for anything.
SHEILA: No! Because you get a chance to fix up all the stuff- ups you made raising your own kids. I think the biggest stuff- up I made was pushing too hard.
Sheila gets a text from Elly, saying she and Xanthe have been to the spa, and that Xanthe's now ready to come home. Sheila thanks Clive for his company, saying she has to get back to Xanthe.
CLIVE: Before you go – our first date was unfortunately called off. Is there any chance for another go – this time as a proper outing?
SHEILA: I think I'd love that!
They agree to arrange it in a few days, once Sheila has spent some time with Xanthe. Clive smiles as Sheila bustles away.
Sonya, Nell, Willow, Toadie and Amy are gathered around a table, as Toadie tells Nell the story of the scary spider he saw earlier. Nell is shocked as Toadie exaggerates the spider's size by a magnitude of several.
WILLOW: Let's just make sure there's insect screens in the apartment before we move in!
SONYA: … Have you… have you got a place?
TOADIE: Yeah, I was gonna tell you. I was just gonna wait until the lease was signed.
Sonya makes out it's all fine, but the atmosphere has changed palpably – and Sonya announces that she and Nell have to go. Willow looks guilty for putting her foot in it, and once Sonya and Nell have gone, apologises to Toadie, saying she thought he'd told Sonya already about the apartment. But Toadie says it's fine – Sonya knew it was on the cards.
Sheila returns home to a big hug from Xanthe, who apologises for all the worry she's put Sheila through. Sheila says she's just glad she's safe. Xanthe has something to tell Sheila.
XANTHE: I'm not going back to school. And it's not just because of all the bullying stuff – I know that that will clear up. Eventually. It's just that everything about that place reminds me of Finn. And I don't know how I'm supposed to study when all I want to do is curl up in a ball inside my locker and never want to come out.
SHEILA: But we could probably find you another school.
XANTHE: No, Gran, that's not gonna work. Putting on a school uniform, sitting in a classroom – it's the old me.
SHEILA: But have you thought about how this is gonna affect your future? I mean, what about your nursing career?
XANTHE: Gran – this isn't one of those crazy, spur- of- the- moment decisions, okay? I've really thought about this. It's just not who I am anymore. And I'm ready for the new me. I knew that you wouldn't like my decision, but I really need you to let me make it.
While Toadie's out on the phone to a client, Willow admits to Amy that she's still feeling bad about blurting to Sonya about their new apartment.
WILLOW: I thought that if I came back, I could make up for the trouble me and Mum caused. But all I've done is make things worse.
AMY: No, that's not true.
WILLOW: Toadie and Sonya lost their marriage, their savings – Sonya lost her baby.
AMY: Yeah, and none of that is your fault.
WILLOW: But they've both been so kind to me, and all I've done is cause problems. I don't want to be in the way, but I don't have anywhere else to go. I mean, if I knew where my dad was, maybe I could live with him. But he didn't stick around when I was born. And who knows what he's even like.
AMY: I understand how that is.
WILLOW: It sucks.
AMY: Have you ever tried to find him?
WILLOW: Mum said that was what London was about. It's probably another lie, though.
AMY: Still, he's out there.
WILLOW: He's never wanted anything to do with me. That's hardly about to change, is it?
Sheila is thanking Elly for looking after Xanthe today. She tells Elly about Xanthe choosing to leave school, and Elly agrees that it's probably best not to try and push her into changing her mind.
ELLY: Show her that support, and hopefully in time she'll see things differently.
Sheila says she has insisted that Xanthe keeps going to counselling, however. She leaves, just as Mark arrives. Elly thanks him for helping with Xanthe, and they have a mildly flirty moment.
Just then, Amy interrupts, asking to speak to Mark. She asks him if he ever found Willow's real father when he was investigating Andrea. Mark replies that Scotland Yard couldn't track him down when the Australian federal police asked them. Amy says she thought someone would have looked into it, and leaves. Mark watches her go, looking curious.
Xanthe is packing all her schoolbooks into a box, presumably to get rid of. She looks inside the cover of her ‘Elementary Japanese' textbook, where Piper has written, “ur my Shin'yu” (you're my buddy). Xanthe looks emotional, before continuing to pack the box. Sheila emerges from the bedroom with Xanthe's school uniform, all bagged up, but still looks uncertain of what Xanthe has chosen to do.
Sheila gets a text from Clive, saying, “looking forward to our outing. Let me know when you're free.” She smiles, and then passes Xanthe the uniform bag to zip up.
They both smile.
Erinsborough High School
Willow is apologising to Elly for creating the fake photo of Elly in bed with Angus last time she was in town.
WILLOW: I could understand if you couldn't forgive me.
ELLY: I trust you'll never do anything of that nature to another person ever again?
ELLY: Apology accepted.
Elly sees Ben, and stops to talk to him. Ben tells her Xanthe's quit school, and Elly admits she had an inkling, but didn't want to say until it was official. Susan's asked Ben to clear out Xanthe's locker and return her stuff.
As Elly walks off, Susan arrives – but everything suddenly goes blurry, and Susan drops to the floor. All the kids crowd around, concerned, but Susan implores them all to go to class. Ben sees Susan on the floor and rushes over to help her – we see blurred vision from her perspective. Ben helps a visibly distressed Susan back to her feet…
- Kirsha insists to Dipi that she really, really doesn't want to go somewhere
- Jack is looking after Gabriel, and admits to Steph that he's crying non- stop
- Dipi and Shane get amorous in the pool, as she remarks that ‘sleepovers have perks'