- Toadie tells Steph he has a task for her to take her mind off not being able to see Charlie
- Steph helps Ben fix up his dad's old car
- Amy spends the night with Wayne Baxter, but later tells him she can't have a relationship
- Elly tells Sheila she's never stopped liking Mark, but that she doubts he's interested. Sheila disagrees
- Mark and Elly kiss, but she decides she can't do this
- Much ado about the China exchange programme; Holly has secretly applied and been selected
- Karl is devastated when he finds out, and accuses Susan of engineering it to punish him
In the garden, Holly is on the phone to Izzy, telling her about the China exchange programme - while Susan insists to Karl that she didn't even know Holly had applied, in the face of his claims that she's deliberately conspired to send Holly away. Finishing her call, Holly insists to Karl that Susan didn't know; and that she didn't tell him she was applying because she didn't think she'd get a placement.
We learn that Izzy has given Holly her permission to go to China. Karl apologises to Susan for assuming the worst of her, and asks Holly why she wants to go. Susan queries whether it's because of the tension in the house, but Holly insists it's something she wants to do for herself.
Amy has a date this evening - so naturally, rather than just waiting to meet the bloke by herself, she tries to rope her unwilling friends into coming along for moral support. Mark and Elly are present, and hence the first on her victim list - but figuring four's not enough of a crowd, Amy threatens also to invite Chloe, Aaron, David and Leo. Mark and Elly grudgingly agree to go along with it.
Karl continues to question Holly about her reasons for wanting to go to China, and wonders aloud whether she's feeling responsible for the problems that Izzy caused when she was here.
KARL: Holly, I'm sorry - I forbid you to go.
HOLLY: Forbid me?
KARL: You need stability. You're not going to get that alone in a foreign country.
HOLLY: Libby will be there.
But even the mention of his estimable older daughter isn't sufficient to talk Karl around. He says Holly needs to stay in Erinsborough and Study™.
SUSAN: Isabelle has given her permission to go.
KARL: Yeah, well - Isabelle can't pay for the fare, can she?
Susan thinks they should discuss it further, but Karl says his decision is final. Holly sulks and Susan shakes her head in despair.
Elly is quietly telling Amy off for having invited Mark to be part of the entourage at her date; Elly's still feeling awkward after she and Mark kissed and she backed off. She moans that spending all afternoon with him will be torture. Amy tells Elly she can't spend her life avoiding Mark.
Elly switches topic, asking Amy for details about her hot date. Amy admits that she's been chatting to her date via text, and that he even called her the other night - he's 'a nice guy'. Steph turns up, and Amy tries to rope her into tagging along for the date too, under the pretext of there being a pool competition.
The topic comes up of Amy having slept with Wayne and had a crush on Jayden; this is all news to Steph, and she feels left out of the loop. Feeling awkward, Steph declines the offer to join the pool competition/date posse, and leaves.
The Flametree Retreat
Steph moans to Gary that her friendship with Amy hasn't really felt the same since she took on Lyn as a secret investor behind Steph's back. They've sorted things out, but there's still a distance between them, she explains. Steph admits she felt out of the loop seeing how Amy had been confiding in Elly, whereas that person used to be her.
STEPH: Everything that's happened lately, with Jack, and stuffing up my visit to Charlie - I just feel like I'm in a bit of a rut at the moment. And I don't have anyone to download to. Except for you.
GARY: What about Toadie?
STEPH: He's been so flat out with work, I've hardly seen him.
GARY: I reckon you need to cleanse.
Steph raises her eyebrows.
Uh-oh - Elly has bought a bottle of rosé. And with Amy reporting that Leo, Mishti, David, Chloe and Aaron are all Not In This Episode™ so won't be able to join them, it seems they will have to drink it all themselves. Mark is racking up the pool table, and Elly quietly complains to Amy that her new beau will think it's a double-date - and that Elly will end up getting stuck with Mark.
AMY: I promise I won't abandon you. Even if this guy is as perfect as he seems.
And this is how Mark reacts when he learns it will just be the four of them...
MARK: Right. I'm gonna get myself a beer.
Good call, Mark - you'll probably need it. Amy then gets a text from 'Mr Perfect', cancelling their date - with no reason or apology.
AMY: He's dumped me before we've even met.
Amy hits the wine...
Susan comes to talk to Holly in the garden, and expresses surprise that she never mentioned the exchange programme given it's supposedly so important to her. Holly explains that Izzy 'just laughed at' her when she wanted to go on an exchange to Romania last year, so she's learned not to mention it. She adds that...
HOLLY: I love you guys. But being here isn't easy. Some of the kids at school have given me a hard time about Mum.
SUSAN: Oh, darling, you should've said something.
HOLLY: No, I couldn't. Not with everything going on with you and Dad.
And anyway, Holly says she can handle the teasing.
HOLLY: Wanting to go isn't about running away from anything. I was accepted because of what I wrote in the application. Cos of who I am. And that makes me believe that I'm not a waste of space, and that I can actually achieve something.
Heartwarming underscore tells us that Holly is right, and that Susan believes in her.
So, it turns out that when Gary said Steph needed to cleanse, he wasn't having a pop at her personal hygiene. Instead, he's brought some burning sage around to exorcise Steph's demons, in the same way as Dipi exorcised the spirit of Hamish Roche from Sheila's spa recently! He gives Steph the sage and encourages her to vent about all her problems.
STEPH: My life in the last few months has been really hard (...) I started a business that my mother had to bail me out of. Lost my best friend over it. Fell in love with a guy when I really didn't want to. He cheated on me. And then I - I started working things out with Max, and I was about to go and visit Charlie in Fiji, and... I lost the plot, and got arrested, and my visa was cancelled. This is just not working - it's just making me remember how much my life sucks lately.
On that note, Steph and Gary head back to work, as the burning sage smoke continues to billow across the living room...
Amy is worried that her date came in, saw her, and then cancelled. Mark and Elly strenuously deny that this is a possibility.
As if things couldn't get worse, Wayne Baxter walks in, wearing a waistcoat and armed with his own pool cue. We learn that he's seen Elly's Instagram post - a selfie she took with Amy earlier - and has tracked them down to gatecrash their pool competition (although Wayne pretends he didn't know they'd be here).
ELLY: The table's taken.
WAYNE: Do you like my cue? I call him Little Wayne.
AMY: Put Little Wayne back in the box! You only came because you knew we were here.
WAYNE: I swear I didn't know. Look, I know I can be a little bit over-the-top. I get why you blocked me on Facebook. But honestly, I just came down here to play some pool.
AMY: Wayne, this is a private game.
WAYNE: There's only three of you! We can play doubles!
When Wayne laments that no-one ever wants to play with him, Amy relents and says he can have one game. He prepares Little Wayne for action...
In the greenhouse, Susan tells Karl he can't forbid Holly from going to China.
SUSAN: We both love Holly, and we'll miss her terribly. But this isn't about us. You saw how excited she was when she was accepted into the programme. The kid's never been validated like that - ever.
KARL: Yeah. And I feel partly responsible for that, because I haven't been there for her, okay? I'm not going to let that happen again.
SUSAN: But you can't change the past. You can just try and learn - don't repeat the same mistakes in the future.
KARL: She needs to be here so she can get guidance and support from us.
SUSAN: She needs to be here - or you need her to be here?
KARL: I feel like I've been making mistake upon mistake. With the hospital, with you. I don't want to make a mess of things with Holly, which is why I have to spend time with her.
SUSAN: But if you guilt her into staying, she's just gonna resent you. You'll do more damage to the relationship than the distance would. China will be good for Holly. Libby's looking forward to getting to know her better - and she can be there for her when we can't.
The Flametree Retreat
Toadie comes to find Steph. He's keen to learn why his house smells like a café in Amsterdam - and when he finds Steph having fun with Gary, he assumes she's high! Steph bursts out laughing, which Toadie takes as confirmation of his theory. But Steph explains that Gary was just trying to help her cleanse her energy with burning sage - hence the smell in the house.
Steph admits she's been a bit down lately, and thought it'd be a quick fix. She says she might go back to therapy instead.
TOADIE: Oh, mate - I had no idea it was that bad.
Toadie feels guilty for not spending much time with Steph lately. She assures him it's not his fault. But he says he knows how they can fix it.
After some reflection, Karl tells Holly that she can go to China after all - on the condition that he gets regular emails and Skype calls.
KARL: And you have to go and see your mum.
KARL: Because she's your mother.
HOLLY: But she left me.
KARL: Yeah. Yeah, she did. But you're the better person. And the better person takes the first step.
Karl says she can stay with Malcolm in the UK and sort things out with Izzy, before she goes to China. Holly reluctantly agrees.
HOLLY: I know this is hard for you. Thanks, Dad.
KARL: I love you very, very much.
Wayne is (presumably) describing to Amy how he keeps his cue, Little Wayne, in top condition - while Mark and Elly watch with mingled horror and fascination.
WAYNE: A bath in soapy water, just to really make him sparkle (...)
AMY: Oh, Wayne - I've tried to be polite. But no means no. Stop following me on social media - stop following me in real life! I don't like you! You know the night we spent together? It was horrible!
WAYNE: Oh, it wasn't that bad!
AMY: No, it was horrible! Don't speak to me again, unless it's as Jimmy's teacher - do you understand?
WAYNE: Yeah, alright. I can take a hint. And just so you know - I don't ever want to see you again either.
Wayne storms out, and Amy continues to drink.
Steph is feeling better after some quality 'hanging out' time with Toadie.
TOADIE: I'm sorry I've dropped the ball on this lately. I've just been so busy trying to make back the money that Andrea stole from us.
STEPH: You really need to give yourself a break - both on the work front and with Andrea. It's not your fault.
TOADIE: Yeah. I just want to make a nice dint in the mortgage for when Sonya gets back. I'm not even a quarter of the way there yet.
STEPH: Well, listen. All Son's gonna want to see when she comes home is you. With arms open wide. No guilt, alright?
TOADIE: Alright, I will work on the guilt. In the meantime, let's work on some quality friend time!
This summariser is now very much watching through his hands, as Amy, Mark and Elly, in their alcohol-fuelled haze, embark on a game of Snog, Marry, Avoid: The Ramsay Street Edition. Amy is particularly drunk.
AMY: Snog Gary. Marry Sheila. And avoid Terese.
MARK: Snog Gary? Gross!
AMY: Ah, he's cute! And he's tall. I like tall.
MARK: He is tall. Okay.
ELLY: What about the others?
AMY: Well, Terese - anyone who can rattle my dad - she scares me. And Sheila, well - chances are she won't be around as long as the others. So it's a no-brainer!
MARK: A bit harsh!
ELLY: Alright - what about the Sharma-Rebecchis?
AMY: Oh, no - no, no, no. Okay, your turn - who would you snog, marry or avoid in the Brennan house?
MARK: We don't need to go there.
AMY: Oh, come on, guys.
ELLY: ... Okay. I'd snog Mark, marry Aaron, and avoid Chloe.
AMY: Oh, liar! Liar, liar, pants on fire! You would *so* marry Mark!
ELLY: I think it's time to play another game.
AMY (singing): You wanna marry Mark! You wanna have his babies!
ELLY: Okay, you have had too much to drink.
MARK: You're just being ridiculous! I mean, kids were never on the cards for us.
AMY: That is what *you* think!
ELLY: Amy, stop!!
AMY: No, it's true - come on, it's true! She is so madly in love with you, she was going to go off the pill. Because if she was pregnant, then she wouldn't lose you.
Elly is, understandably, mortified.
ELLY: Amy, stop!!
ELLY (to Mark): I'm really sorry.
But Mark is already walking away. Amy looks contrite - and still drunk.
Karl tells Susan that he'll be taking Holly to the airport first thing in the morning. He apologises to Susan again for accusing her of engineering Holly's departure, saying the news threw him and he wrongly took it out on her.
KARL: I look at my life - do you know what I see? I see a lot less time in front of me than what's behind me. That's why I strive to try and make a difference - the hospital thing, you know? And then that fell through. And then I lost my job, and Ben left. And I thought if I could just focus on Holly, I'd be useful. I used to feel I had everything. And now I feel like I've got nothing. And I'm worried that one day, you're gonna wake up and look at me, and think I'm not enough for you anymore.
SUSAN: Now you know how I felt every time an Isabelle Hoyland or a Sarah Beaumont walked into our lives and just captured your attention.
KARL: I get that now.
SUSAN: I love you, Karl. But if you think that I'd abandon you after everything that we've been through, that just says that you've got less faith in us than I thought. We will be alright - we will. It's just gonna take some time.
KARL: With Holly gone, we will have more time together.
Susan agrees, and asks Karl to help her with the gardening she's doing. But she still looks disconcerted by how things stand between them...
A furious Elly is leaving, and Amy begs her to stay.
AMY: Let me talk to Mark.
ELLY: No, don't talk to Mark!
AMY: Let me fix this - I can explain to him!
ELLY: There's nothing you can say to fix this! I told you this in confidence cos I thought that we were friends!
AMY: We are friends!
ELLY: No, Amy - friends don't humiliate each other, even when they're drunk!
AMY: I'm so sorry, Elly!
ELLY: I don't care, Amy! Don't talk to Mark - don't talk to me. We're done!
Elly marches out, leaving Amy looking crushed.
Coming up on Neighbours
- Aaron asks Chloe what she was thinking
- Elly tells Leo and Mishti that Chloe is a 'nut- job'
- Elly and Piper agree on not being fans of Chloe
- In the No 32 garden, Chloe tells receptionist Brandon that Clancy the dog's name is Elly!
- Xanthe is worried when Sheila calls a Canning family meeting