- Sheila is surprised to receive a letter from the Brennan brothers' father and her ex, Russell
- Jack admits to Leo that he felt something for Steph when she fell asleep on his bed
- Steph enlists Jack's help to assist Sonya in entering the ‘liveable suburb' competition
- After an encounter with some sprinklers, Jack's just forced to take off his shirt and kiss Steph
- Aaron serenades David at The Shed's karaoke night, and they finally share a kiss
David and Aaron share dessert at a table. David jokes that he's never seen Aaron eat dessert before. Aaron says he only eats it when he's happy – kind of the opposite of most people.
DAVID: I can't believe this is actually happening.
AARON: We sure took our time to get here, didn't we?
DAVID: I thought about it enough.
AARON: Really? Me too.
DAVID: Everything has its own time.
AARON: I think it's about time we made this thing happen, huh?
They kiss again.
Mark and Tyler are playing computer games when they hear something banging up against the front door. Mark opens it, and Aaron collapses through the doorway – with David on top of him! They're still clothed but looking red- faced and dishevelled as they tuck themselves back in! Tyler and Mark grin – they have already heard reports about Aaron and David's newfound coupledom.
TYLER: Can we just say ‘finally!'
Tyler and Mark pull Aaron and David into a congratulatory hug.
AARON: Who told you?
TYLER: Well, I got a text from Ben.
MARK: Yeah, and I got one from Elly, and Amy, and Steph…
TYLER: And Jack.
DAVID: So, privacy's not a huge deal around here!
Mark offers for them to join in with the video game, but Aaron and David swiftly disappear into the bedroom instead!
TYLER: Really, bro? You think they came home just to play a video game?
MARK: I was just being polite!
TYLER: Well, Piper's already texted me a couple of names. Aarid, Davron and Daz are the frontrunners!
Mark suddenly gets a phone call.
MARK: Hey! …. No, no, it's really good to hear from you…
Tyler looks intrigued.
The next morning, Steph comes in, and Sonya demands to know when she was planning on telling her what she and Jack have been up to!
SONYA: You think I wouldn't find out?
STEPH: Well, it was – I guess it was kind of spontaneous. I still can't believe I did it!
Steph clearly thinks Sonya is referring to her kiss with Jack, but it soon transpires that's not the case – she was talking about Steph and Jack entering her for the Most Liveable Suburb competition. Sonya seems pleased, but isn't sure she can see it through now she's not the mayor, as they need the whole community on board. She feels she might be biting off more than she can chew.
David and Aaron emerge from the bedroom, very touchy- feely and still not entirely dressed! They find Mark and Tyler busily cleaning the house – it turns out that the call last night was from the Brennans' mum Fay, who is coming to visit from near Adelaide, where she runs a wine- tasting business. (Don't tell Elly she's coming!)
TYLER: We didn't want to interrupt whatever you guys were doing and break the news.
Aaron doesn't seem especially happy to learn his mum's on the way. Mark explains to David that Fay left the boys with their father after they split up, taking their sister, Chloe, with her. Tyler seems uncomfortable, and walks off, leaving Mark and Aaron to explain further to David.
MARK: Tyler was ten when Mum and Dad split up. I was eighteen.
AARON: I was thirteen.
MARK: Anyway, the two of us left Port Lincoln as soon as we could. Tyler was left at home with Dad. Over the years, Dad became more and more angry about the way things had turned out, and – he started hitting Tyler.
Mark explains that he and Aaron had no idea until a couple of years ago, when Russell came to visit and Tyler revealed the truth.
DAVID: I'm sure you gave him all the support you could.
AARON: Oh, we did – we did. Mum didn't.
AARON: I'm not gonna sugar- coat this, alright? And if you ask me, this visit is way too late.
Tyler is telling Piper about his mum's imminent visit. He last spoke briefly to her at Easter, but Mark is the only one who keeps in touch with her, he explains.
PIPER: Yeah, which is a total fail on her part. Sorry, it's just – no, actually I'm not sorry, Tyler. Because when everything came out about your dad, she should've been here, on the first flight.
TYLER: Well, she's coming now, okay? I just wanted you to know.
PIPER: So what do you need me to do, hey? I can ditch school and hang out for when she arrives, if you want?
TYLER: School's important.
PIPER: Yeah, but so are you.
TYLER: I don't want to get you in trouble… But, I mean, hypothetically, if you wanted to miss your first class of the day, would anyone notice?
PIPER: No! Mr Baxter would probably throw a parade at the thought of not having to see my face.
TYLER: Well, if it makes Mr Baxter happy, that seems worthwhile.
Piper says she'll tell the school she's taking a morning off because of the stress of the hoax and police raid.
TYLER: Thank you.
PIPER: Of course. You always have my back, and I always have yours.
Mark is in full- on tidy- fascist mode, and stomps around telling Aaron to take his feet off the table. The tension in the room is palpable, particularly when Tyler and Piper arrive, and Mark chastises Tyler for ‘cutting it fine'. He asks if Piper's on her way to school.
TYLER: Is that a problem?
AARON: No, it's not. I think Mum would like to meet you too.
MARK: I asked you to clean the stain off this cushion weeks ago.
TYLER: It's barely visible, bro.
PIPER: Yeah, honestly – I can't see anything.
MARK: Well, I can! And I live here!
TYLER: So do I, and I'm saying it's not a big deal!
Mark points at Tyler's infamous green chair.
MARK: You know, I let you keep that eyesore and you can't even help me keep this place neat and tidy.
TYLER: So you let me?
AARON: Guys, can we actually stop arguing about soft furnishings here?
MARK: It's not about that. It's about respect. For this house, and for Mum.
AARON: Well, I think you actually need to stop and respect the fact that there's a lot more going on here than just cushions!
Aaron flings the cushion towards the door, just as his mother, Fay, walks through it.
FAY: Hello, boys!
Shortly afterwards, Mark greets his mother with a warm hug, lamenting not having been allowed to pick her up from the airport. Everyone else's body language is more ambiguous, and no- one else is offering hugs.
FAY: Look how much you've all grown!
AARON: We all stopped growing years ago, Mum.
FAY: You're my boys. You'll never stop in my eyes.
Tyler introduces Piper to Fay, who seems a bit surprised to learn that Piper is a school pupil. Fay asks if she lives with her mum and dad; Piper replies, just her mum.
PIPER: Children of divorce unite!
Aaron says Fay will have to come and see The Shed, but he visibly flinches when she gets it wrong and thinks it's something to do with his dancing career. Mark explains it's a fitness centre, and Aaron manages a smile when Fay says she can't wait to see it.
FAY: And you're still at the garage, Tyler?
TYLER: Yeah. Give or take a few firings.
AARON: So I guess we're all wondering – how come you're here, Mum?
FAY: Do I need an excuse to visit my sons?
MARK: Of course you don't.
AARON: No, I mean, like, today. Out of the blue.
FAY: I've, umm – I've missed you.
Everyone looks a bit awkward.
Sonya walks down the front path, and looks at a text message from Toadie. “Thanks for talking through the Willow stuff,” it says. “Appreciate it.” Sonya replies, “Pleasure,” and bends down to pick up some stray paper from the lawn – just as Tim Collins appears from nowhere.
TIM COLLINS: I don't think you can count picking up rubbish in your own front yard as part of your corrections order.
SONYA: Tim. I'd say it was a pleasure to see you, but lying's not good for my recovery, so…
TIM COLLINS: Oh, I see sobriety has made you all sanctimonious again. How boring!
SONYA: What do you want?
TIM COLLINS: It's important to have your own projects – I can appreciate that. And I assume that's why Jarrod's off raising someone else's child. But this fixation you have on the Liveability Competition – well, that's beginning to feel a little bit sad.
SONYA: You know about that?
TIM COLLINS: If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were trying to rebuild your public profile.
SONYA: It was actually Steph Scully and Jack Callahan that sent in the application.
TIM COLLINS: Ah, the puppets! Do you really think allying yourself with a walking, talking leather jacket and a defrocked priest is a good move?
SONYA: It's not an alliance. They're my friends.
TIM COLLINS: Trying to reclaim your place on the council isn't gonna work. You know, unlike utes, and surrogacy agreements, some things just can't be reversed.
SONYA: You know, the more personal you get, Timmy, the more threatened you sound.
TIM COLLINS: Save yourself a lot of grief, and just focus on something that you're good at. Which appears to be picking up rubbish.
SONYA: Oh, okay, good. Well, I'll take your advice on board. Thank you – thank you so much.
Sonya walks away, smiling to herself.
Fay remarks on how spacious and well- decorated the house is, much to a fawning Mark's pride.
MARK: I always thought I got my tastes from you!
Fay notices the Green Chair of Acrimony™.
FAY: That's interesting!
MARK: Isn't it? (!)
TYLER: It's mine.
FAY: Oh! I love a vintage touch.
MARK: Yeah. Vintage from the side of the road.
FAY: It looks just like the one we had in the house at Port Lincoln.
TYLER: That's kind of why I like it.
Fay nods and smiles sadly.
FAY: I'm so proud of you boys for sticking together the way you have.
Mark offers to make a cup of tea, and Fay asks for organic peppermint, which of course they don't have. Piper says she's heading to school now, so can bring some of said tea back for Fay.
TYLER: Are you sure?
PIPER: Yeah. Yeah, unless you want me to stay?
TYLER: No. Should be alright.
Fay looks awkward – and once Piper has left, asks if she could have a moment with Tyler alone. Tyler agrees, but both look apprehensive.
The Flame Tree
Jack turns up to talk to Steph.
JACK: Of all the Flame Trees in all of the world, fancy seeing you here, hey?
STEPH: … Totally!
JACK: You know I spent twenty minutes brainstorming how to start this conversation?
STEPH: Yeah? And that's what you went for? (!)
JACK: I just thought it would be nice to talk about what happened last night. And what it meant.
STEPH: … Oh, well it was just a kiss. Doesn't have to mean anything.
JACK: It felt like there was something between us. So I would like to invite you out for dinner!
STEPH: Oh, Jack – you're a great guy, but there are a lot of reasons why that's a very bad idea!
JACK: I can't think of any.
STEPH: Well, you just spent the last twenty minutes trying to work out how to start this conversation!
JACK: Well, that's charming, hmm?
JACK: So, why did you kiss me, then?
STEPH: Well, I just – I got caught up in the moment.
JACK: … Right. Message received!
STEPH: Jack, I'm sorry. Maybe we should, erm, stay out of each other's orbit for a bit, huh?
They both look awkward – and it only gets worse when they both get messages from Sonya.
STEPH: She wants to talk to us both together!
Fay is talking to Tyler.
FAY: The divorce from your father was awful. He blamed me; I blamed him. And you kids were stuck in the middle.
TYLER: I remember the arguments.
FAY: He was so determined that you boys stayed with him when I left. He said he loved you too much to lose you. And I thought I was doing the right thing by letting you three stick together. I never would have left if I'd thought he was gonna harm you.
TYLER: You told me this on the phone.
FAY: I know. But I should have been here to support you when it all came out.
TYLER: Then why didn't you? You should have realised how much I needed you. How much I needed my mum.
FAY: The truth is, I couldn't bring myself to visit because I still felt so guilty. When I left Port Lincoln, the only way to cope with losing you boys was to separate myself from you. I thought – I can call, I can send cards, we can see each other a few times a year, and it'll be enough.
TYLER: Yeah. Well it wasn't. You weren't there for me, and I felt so alone. It was like you didn't even exist.
FAY: I should have been more present when the abuse happened. Prevented it, or taken you away. And yes, I should've come two years ago when you told me, instead of burying my head in the sand. TYLER: Yeah, well. You're here now, okay? And I'm fine. I got through this.
FAY: You remember when Mark staged that competition to see who could climb the highest? You shouldn't have won. You were tiny – but so determined to impress your brothers.
TYLER: You had to get the ladder to rescue me.
Fay is now tearful.
FAY: Aaron asked you why you weren't scared. And you pointed at me, and you said, as long as I was around, nothing bad ever happened. I failed you in every way a mother can – and I'm so sorry.
TYLER: Yeah. I know you are. I know you are.
Fay hugs Tyler.
Piper turns up to ask Sheila if she has any organic peppermint tea for Fay. Harold's has run out, apparently…
PIPER: … and I really don't feel like going all the way to Eden Hills.
SHEILA: That seems like an awful lot of trouble just for a cup of tea, even at the backpackers'! Has it got some kind of magical properties that I should know about?
Piper explains it's for the Brennans' mum, Fay, and Sheila is keen to know what she's like. Piper says she's barely met her, but confirms when Sheila asks that she's in town alone. Digging further, Sheila also asks if anyone has heard from Russell recently, but Piper says not. Sheila directs Piper to the selection of teas they have in the storeroom.
SHEILA: Some of them are organic – not made of mushrooms – so go and have a look.
Once Piper's out of sight, Sheila retrieves the letter from Russell from her bag, and decides to open it. We see her take out a letter, but there's also a playing card – the queen of diamonds!
Jack and Steph turn up together to see Sonya following her request. Sonya tells them that, after Tim Collins attempting to bully her out of it, she's decided to go ahead with entering the Liveability Competition, and wants to try and get the council's support. She wants Jack and Steph to help her pitch to the council to fund the proposal. Jack and Steph look at each other uncertainly.
JACK: Well, it's not really my strong suit.
But Sonya perseveres, saying Erinsborough really needs this, and begs for them to stay involved. Steph and Jack both eventually agree, looking slightly awkward at the prospect of having to keep working together.
Mark and Aaron come back into the kitchen to find Fay and Tyler holding hands, and looking a little happier, if emotional.
MARK: Everything okay?
FAY: No. But that's something I'm here to work on. There's still a fair way to go.
TYLER: Yeah. But you're here. That's a start.
Aaron still doesn't look happy, and asks Tyler if he wants to go for a walk, to get some space.
TYLER: I want to spend time with Mum, while we've got her.
FAY: You've got me for as long as you need. Until you're happy to get rid of me.
Fay goes to freshen up, and Mark says he wants all of them to have a good relationship with her. Tyler says he's fine, and that they had a good chat, but Aaron still seems angry, and looks as if he can barely believe what he's hearing.
Sonya, Steph and Jack are discussing the competition proposal outside The Waterhole. Clearly not keen to work with Jack, Steph suggests they each take a section of the proposal to work on individually. Jack confirms that he'd like to take the same approach, and goes to get them more drinks.
SONYA: Is he acting weird today?
STEPH: How would I know?
SONYA: He just seems very tightly wound, like he just needs to loosen up. Maybe you could help him with that?
STEPH: Oh, I don't know how I could help him.
SONYA: Why don't you just take him for a ride?
SONYA: On your bike! You always say how a nice, long ride relaxes you.
Steph looks incredibly awkward, so Sonya drops the idea!
Piper is back with the organic peppermint tea. Tyler explains that he and Fay talked, and managed to clear the air. Piper thinks that's great – now they can start moving forward. But Aaron is still making dissenting faces and noises nearby. Mark comes in, followed by Fay – the meat's ready, he says, and just needs a couple of minutes to rest.
AARON: Give it a couple of years, isn't that the family average?
Fay gets a call on her mobile – it's Russell. She looks surprised, and when Aaron pointedly asks if she has somewhere she needs to be, she says no and ignores the call.
AARON: It's alright, I get it. You've got priorities.
FAY: I'm right here, Aaron.
AARON: Yeah, I suppose there's a first for everything, isn't there?
TYLER: Bro, if you're mad on my behalf, don't be, okay? We really did sort things out.
AARON: Okay, so that's it, is it? Everything's fine and we can all go back to normal? I'm sorry, but it's just not that easy.
Aaron walks out of the house, and Fay and the others look upset.
- Fay and Mark try to call Aaron, concerned to check he's okay
- Gary searches for ‘Australia's top cancer experts' on The Search Engine™
- Gary asks Steph if there are any alternative treatments with fewer side effects
- Terese tells Paul that she doesn't think her treatment is working
- Mark comes to No 22 to discuss IncogNitro – Piper asks if he's caught him