- Lyn insists on a bit of extra spending for the Flametree Retreat opening
- It's a strategy which Steph later concedes has made dividends
- Steph tells Amy how much she appreciates everything she did to get the retreat started
- Sonya tells Mark that the police have been asking her whether Mark covered up evidence for her
- Mark tells Steph that he's been suspended for his evidence- tampering, and will likely be fired
- Hotel Wars™ continue between Terese and Paul – but she has a plan to put an end to it
- Terese tells Paul to pull out of the hotel, or she'll tell the police about him altering the check- in data
We continue where we left off, as Paul accuses Terese of hypocrisy – reminding her that she once manipulated a police investigation herself, to get Paul sent down when she thought he was responsible for her son Josh's death.
TERESE: Yeah, but we both know you're guilty this time.
PAUL: I have built up my reputation and my life. Having charges against me now would be disastrous.
TERESE: I don't want you in my life anymore, Paul!
PAUL: You do realise that people aren't exactly queuing up to invest in this place, don't you?
But Terese says Paul will be able to sell his share, as long as he's not asking over the odds.
PAUL: You'll be lucky to keep any stars at all.
TERESE: I'll take my chances!
Amy comes in, and Terese says she's just leaving – telling Paul to let her know what he decides. Once she's gone, Paul tells Amy that Terese wants him out of Lassiter's for good, and another investor to take his place.
PAUL: Guess I finally pushed her too far. She's got something on me, and I know she's got the guts to use it. So basically, she's got me over a barrel.
Terese asks Gary whether he thinks she's overplaying her threat to blackmail Paul, particularly since she isn't sure whether she'd be prepared to dob Paul in to the cops – pointing out that the hotel couldn't afford the bad publicity. Gary thinks Paul will back down to avoid charges, but Terese is worried that he might call her bluff.
Terese is contemplating calling Paul and telling him she's changed her mind, but Gary convinces her to stick to her guns.
GARY: You've done the right thing – he respects a strong hand. He'll see sense.
TERESE: I just hope I haven't backed myself into a corner, that's all.
David, Leo, Amy and Elly are raising a Christmas Eve toast. Leo receives a message telling him that he and David are being turfed out of their apartment by the new estate agency, so says their first New Year's priority will be to find somewhere new to live. Elly's puzzled as to why Paul wouldn't have warned them; Amy wonders whether he didn't know.
Leo wonders if this is Terese's way of getting back at Paul, and Amy adds that Terese has told Paul she wants him out of Lassiter's as an investor. Leo heads off to talk to Paul about it, and to sort some things at the backpackers', while David leaves to help Aaron with some paperwork.
Steph comes in, on the phone to Lyn about some admin at the Flametree Retreat – while Amy and Elly raise another toast to Christmas and their 100- day no- men pact. Amy asks Steph how it's going; Steph's still a bit awkward around her, and declines an offer to join them for drinks, saying she has things to do. She leaves.
ELLY: I thought you said things were getting better?
AMY: Yeah. It's just baby- steps.
David is with Aaron, and has apparently also been helping stack the dishwasher – which has impressed Mark no end!
DAVID: Sorry if I overstepped.
MARK: Oh, no! Not at all – it's great! I mean, I did have to rearrange a couple of glasses. But I usually have to restack the whole thing when I let this knucklehead or Tyler anywhere near it!
Mark heads outside to collect the post.
AARON: There's that weird moment where you realise your brother and your boyfriend are kindred spirits.
DAVID: I've got skills – what can I say?
AARON: He's been pickier than usual lately. It's like, the more stressed he gets, the more obsessive he gets. And Tyler's not doing great either.
Aaron admits he's finding it hard worrying about both Mark and Tyler, which is why he wanted to get the accounts for The Shed in order – hence David's visit. He admits things have been tight since Mishti left the business, and that he's been subsidising Tyler too since the work he's been doing at Amy's yard doesn't pay so well, so is short on cash.
Conversation turns to David's accommodation predicament, as Aaron is surprised to learn he and Leo are being evicted…
The Flametree Retreat
Gary and Steph are discussing his cooking for the Retreat, and how the TAFE course has been helping him prepare for it. Lyn comes in, and asks if Steph got her voicemail about the candles in the massage rooms. Steph says she left Lyn a message about it, but Lyn says she was already halfway here – and it's clear she's been looking for excuses to come back to Erinsborough.
Lyn starts fussing about storage solutions for the yoga mats and other such trivialities, but Steph says Lyn could have called to discuss these things – she didn't need to come down in person. Steph explains she and Gary are just going through the food menus, so she'll have to speak to Lyn later. Steph and Gary leave the room, and Lyn is left looking very lonely.
Aaron finds Mark reading a letter – it's from the police, saying his job has been officially terminated. Mark isn't surprised to have received it.
MARK: All I need to do now is hand in my uniform, and it's over.
AARON: Still, it seems cold.
MARK: Nah, I stuffed up. Big time. I deserve it.
AARON: Yeah, but… Bro, I am really sorry.
Mark says that it's going to be a tight Christmas money- wise, but Aaron has been thinking about this since learning of David's eviction. He explains he's been thinking he could ask David to move in, which would ease the burden of rent and bills on the rest of them.
AARON: He'd fit right in, and he stacks the dishes properly.
MARK: Are you sure you're ready for that? I mean, you've never lived with anyone. Don't rush into it simply to pay the bills.
AARON: No, it feels right. I'm looking to take things forward with David. Plus he needs a new place to live, so…
MARK: Okay. If you're happy, I'm fine with it.
The Flametree Retreat
Amy pops in, hoping to catch up with Steph. Lyn's still alone in reception; Amy's surprised to see that Lyn is back in town – and even more surprised when Lyn bursts into tears mid- sentence!
LYN: Don't take any notice of me, I'm just being silly!
But Amy presses Lyn to explain what's wrong.
LYN: It's just, as a mum, you know – all you really want is for your children to live independent, happy lives? (…) It's just, Oscar wants to go and live with his dad, permanently…
AMY: Oh, I'm sorry.
LYN (crying): You know, we haven't had a falling out or anything like that. It's just he's the last of my babies!
Lyn explains that since she sold the café in Bendigo to invest in the Retreat, she was hoping she could make herself useful here.
LYN: But of course Stephie doesn't need me poking my nose in, and… I'm just really not sure what to… what to do with myself.
Amy comes to see Steph about Lyn.
STEPH: Okay. What have you two been cooking up now?
AMY: Oh, no, nothing – honestly (…) But I can't turn my back when someone's as upset as Lyn is.
STEPH: What are you talking about?
AMY: She's hit a really low point. I think she's feeling lonely and left out.
STEPH: And when did you become a self- appointed expert on my mother?
AMY: Since I found her crying her eyes out.
Amy explains about Oscar deciding to live with Joe permanently. Steph is shocked, saying Lyn didn't tell her. Amy says Lyn feels like she has nothing.
AMY: I don't want to make you feel guilty.
STEPH: Well, you kind of are…
Amy acknowledges that she's overstepped with Lyn and Steph's relationship before and doesn't want to repeat the mistake, but says she thought Steph should know. Steph looks worried.
Leo arrives to see Paul, explaining that he's heard from Amy about Paul being forced out of the hotel by Terese. He asks about the dirt Terese has on Paul, but Paul doesn't want to go into it – saying only that Leo should ‘use his imagination' to consider what would be worse than him losing the hotel. Leo wonders if Terese would accept some kind of compromise. But Paul seems resigned to his fate.
LEO: After everything you went through to get this hotel back, you're gonna let it go without a fight? I don't believe that.
Paul looks thoughtful.
The Flametree Retreat
Steph comes in to talk to Lyn, telling her how much she appreciates her – and admitting that Amy has let on about Oscar moving out of home.
LYN: It's for the best, love. You know, he's a farm boy – he's where he needs to be.
STEPH: Oh, Mum, I'm so sorry.
Steph hugs a tearful Lyn.
STEPH: I've just been so caught up in my own life, I didn't even realise there was something going on with you.
LYN: Hey, hey – listen. It is not your place to be worrying about me.
STEPH: Yes it is! (…) And it's irony. I've opened a health retreat. I'm so worried about the wellbeing of people, that I've just gone and completely missed the fact that my own mum needs some TLC!
LYN: It did hit me like a tonne of bricks, you know? I am no good at feeling useless!
Steph tells Lyn she has a plan. After Toadie and Sonya's party tomorrow, she's going to come back to Bendigo to spend a few weeks with Lyn, and they'll have Christmas tomorrow night with Joe and Oscar – with Skype appearances from the other siblings.
STEPH: And it'll just be one big Scully love- in!
Lyn tearfully admits she'd been dreading Christmas.
LYN: I thought I'd be alone, and I…
STEPH: That's not happening.
Steph says they can also talk about ways to Lyn to take on more Flametree work from home. Meanwhile, Steph has an idea of who can cover for her while she's away…
Terese turns up to put further pressure on Paul – she has a pair of signed declarations from Sheila and Gary, stating that Paul helped them concoct an alibi for the night Hamish was killed by manipulating the hotel check- in system.
TERESE: … just so you know what you're up against!
PAUL: What if there was another way to sort this out?
Paul says he loves Lassiter's, and suggests that Terese could get exactly what she wanted without Paul having to withdraw his investment. He offers to donate $100,000 to a charity of Terese's choice as recompense for his meddling between Terese and Gary, in order to keep the police out of it. In addition, he'll cooperate with her in future in their working relationship, as they have in the past.
PAUL: Because I do respect you, Terese, and I know you respect me, in a business sense.
TERESE: $100K is small change for you. You know what? Make it two, and then maybe we have a deal. But, you stop harassing me, and you stop harassing Gary. From now on, you'll be completely transparent.
Paul agrees, and they shake on it.
PAUL: Here's to a brand new start.
Terese asks for an update on the Eclipse apartments.
Steph is apologising to Jack for having to renege on their Christmas plans, since she's now going to spend the holiday with Lyn. Jack is understanding, and suggests he could come up to join them at New Year after spending Christmas with Gabe. But Steph was hoping Jack would stay in Erinsborough and look after the Flametree!
Jack's a bit hesitant as he's also doing some work for Leo over the holidays, but says he could share the job at the Flametree with somebody else – and it's clear who he has in mind.
JACK: I wonder who we could ask at such short notice? (!) Oh, it's such a hard one – cos obviously they'll need to know the Flametree… Nah, I'm drawing a blank (!) Who could it be? (!)
STEPH: Stop it. Stop it.
JACK: It is the perfect solution. You know it.
Leo finds Paul in a celebratory mood having struck a bargain with Terese to stay on as an investor in the hotel. Paul explains he's agreed to have no more hidden agendas with Terese – and that this is something he wants to extend to his family too.
PAUL: I may have done something which could be seen as a little underhanded.
LEO: Now I'm really scared!
PAUL: I want you to know, it came from a good place, Leo – you and David should know that.
LEO: Yeah, just cut to the chase – what have you done?
PAUL: I'm the reason that you and your brother got booted out of the apartment.
PAUL: I wouldn't have done it if I didn't have a good alternative to offer...
David is helping Aaron into No 24 with some shopping. Aaron tells David to open the door.
DAVID: I don't have a key!
AARON: Sure about that? Go on – check your keyring.
Sure enough, David retrieves his keys from his pocket and finds a new one on the ring.
DAVID: Is this a Moment™? Because I feel like this is a Moment™, but I want to be sure.
AARON: I hope it is!
DAVID: I have my own key to your place?
AARON: No. You have your own key to our place. Look, I could've just gone and asked you to move in. But isn't this way a whole lot more cute?
DAVID: … Are you for real?
Aaron confirms that he wants David to move in. David can't keep the grin off his face.
AARON: I want us to start building a proper life together, alright? But you know what – most of all, I just really want you to open the damn door, because I'm about to drop these!
But David is too busy plastering Aaron's face with kisses!
DAVID: Yes, yes, yes, yes!
Aaron drops the shopping, and picks David up, before carrying him through the door!
AARON: Welcome home!
Elly is with Amy, who has received a text from Steph saying she wants to talk. Amy is nervous as to what it might mean, and Elly promises to call her later to find out, before heading off to do some present- wrapping.
Steph comes in as Elly leaves, and Amy begins to apologise for getting involved in Lyn's problems. But Steph says she's glad Amy intervened, explaining that it's prompted her decision to go to Bendigo for Christmas, and to get Lyn more involved in the Retreat.
STEPH: So thank you for pointing out what I really should've seen myself (…) The thing is, if I'm away, I'm gonna need someone to take care of the Flametree for me. I've already asked Jack; he's on board. But he's gonna need some backup. So I know this is a really big ask, but you're the only other person I'd trust.
AMY: Yes! Yes, I would love to! (…) The Flametree will be in good hands, I promise!
STEPH: Of course it will!
David arrives to find Paul giving Leo a tour of a mysterious new area behind a curtain in the penthouse. David wants to share his good news, but Leo cuts him off – and Paul explains that he's bought the adjoining apartment and is knocking it through into the penthouse, so that Leo and David can live with him, Amy and Jimmy as a big, happy family! David is speechless…
Coming up on Neighbours
- Paul, Leo, Amy and Jimmy have fun at the penthouse, but David looks conflicted
- Aaron tells David he wants No 24 to feel like his place too – and David still looks conflicted
- A man at the marina tells Paige and Piper that he recognises Louise from the posters
- Sonya prepares to present the $100,000 liveability prize money to…
- ‘Unmissable drama'