- Jake Hendra accepts Dipi's apology for banning him from Harold's
- Clive tells Toadie he wants him to shut down Rita Newland's support for Karl's programme
- Chloe kisses Brandon in the No 32 spa after bribing him not to reveal her fake references
- Piper tells Mishti she should talk to Leo, to find out if they're Meant To Be Together™
- Things get steamy between Chloe and Leo in the hotel lift; Mishti heads upstairs soon after
- Chloe and Leo get passionate in the office – but they're interrupted by someone at the door…
In the office, Chloe and Leo hurriedly get dressed. At the door, looking unimpressed, are Brandon the receptionist – and Chloe's mum Fay!
CHLOE: Mum, what are you doing here?
FAY: I could ask you the same question!
CHLOE: Please! It's not the worst thing you've walked in on me doing!
LEO: Why didn't you call first?
BRANDON: Figured you'd be in here – working. My bad!
Leo goes to shake Fay's hand, but she's not interested in doing so! She tells Chloe to meet her at Harold's when she's dressed – and Fay and Brandon leave. Leo is concerned that news of their fling mustn't get out; Chloe says that Fay won't tell anyone, and that she'll ‘take care' of Brandon.
CHLOE: I've handled him in the past!
That's one way of putting it, Chloe! She leaves, and a dishevelled- looking Leo looks worried.
Mishti arrives to update Piper on her decision to talk to Leo – and we see flashbacks to her arriving in Paul's penthouse. It was empty, she explains, but she saw an invoice for John Wong, the private investigator, on the table. It reminded Mishti of how Leo hired Wong to dig up dirt on her dead fiancé Zander – and therefore, how she and Leo are ‘too different to work'.
PIPER: Do you still love him, though?
MISHTI (nodding): But sometimes that's not enough.
Chloe meets Fay, who expresses concern that she shouldn't be sleeping with her boss, especially on work premises. Chloe insists it's not a big deal – and asks Fay if Brandon told anyone. Fay doesn't know. She explains she's arrived hoping to spend Mother's Day with her children.
FAY: Ideally, without scandal.
CHLOE: Oh, lighten up.
FAY: Well, is he your boyfriend, Leo?
CHLOE: You know I don't do boyfriends. It's just nothing – the usual. Just a bit of fun.
FAY: Do your brothers know?
CHLOE: No!! And you can't tell them! (…) It didn't mean anything, and it's, like, all done now.
FAY: You say that every time.
CHLOE: And every time, I know you've got my back. So can we please just keep this between us, like we always do? Please?
FAY: Of course. Our little secret.
Declaring Fay the best mum on the planet, Chloe rushes off back to work, promising to see Fay at home later. Fay looks worried.
Fay arrives and greets Aaron with a hug.
FAY: How many muscles are enough, do you think?
AARON: I run a gym!
Fay tells Mark and Aaron that she's already run into Chloe, who'll be back later. Fay announces that she might be around ‘for a bit'.
MARK: Okay, how long?
FAY: … See how we go?
AARON: Hang on. Who's gonna be visiting Ty?
FAY: I thought we could come up with a roster. Take turns going back to Adelaide on a regular basis.
Fay adds that with Chloe here now, she thought it might be nice to be together as a family for a while. Mark and Aaron say she can stay as long as she likes, but look at each other curiously.
Lassiter's employees are gathering for a training session. Leo and Chloe are still worried about Brandon, so she goes over to talk to him.
CHLOE: Don't be that guy.
BRANDON: What guy?
CHLOE: The guy who gets off on watching people squirm. You caught us out; I'm asking you not to say anything.
BRANDON: How do you know I haven't already?
CHLOE: Because I've still got a job!
BRANDON: Hope it stays that way.
Brandon smirks and walks away as the training session begins. Among the trainees are Sheila and Dipi; and Paul explains that all staff and tenants alike are now required to undergo and pass a compliance training course, to ensure they're all complying with the law, as well as the standards and values of the Lassiter's Group.
PAUL: If anyone fails the training, Lassiter's is gonna find it very difficult to retain them, both as an employee or a tenant.
Dipi looks worried, and Sheila tries to reassure her. As Paul says there will be an emphasis on what is and isn't appropriate in the workplace, Brandon turns to Leo and Chloe and smirks again.
Sheila and Dipi are outside The Waterhole, having a break. Dipi is worried about failing the compliance training and losing her lease at Harold's. She thinks the complaints against the café may have prompted Paul's decision to introduce the training, and that it's his way of getting rid of her. Sheila says Dipi should use the opportunity to show Paul how she's developed and matured.
SHEILA: You know, all that stuff the suits really love!
Sheila tells Dipi to follow her lead back in the training session, and she won't go wrong.
As they go back inside, Karl and Toadie appear, and sit down at a table. Toadie is telling Karl that he turned down Clive's offer of work. Karl is surprised; he thought Toadie was just being taken on to do due diligence.
TOADIE: I can't go into what was said with a client in a meeting.
KARL: But you must've had a reason to turn down the job?
KARL: Hang on – did Clive ask you to find something to stop the programme going ahead?
TOADIE: Those words didn't come out of my mouth.
KARL: Well, why would he do that?! I know Clive doesn't like the programme, but I didn't think he'd go that far!
TOADIE: Maybe they think that Rita has another agenda.
KARL: Like what?
TOADIE: Even if I knew, my hands are tied.
KARL: Okay. So someone's not being completely honest. It's either the hospital or… or it's Rita.
TOADIE: Just be careful, mate. That's all I'm saying.
The training session has resumed, and Paul introduces his former receptionist Caroline Perkins, who will be facilitating!
PAUL: I don't mind admitting that Caroline and I learned a few things about compliance ourselves a few years back!
Sheila nods wearily at Dipi, no doubt recalling Paul's attempt to get Caroline to perjure herself to help settle a score, and Caroline's later attempt to sue Paul for sexual harassment!
At the bar, Leo and Chloe discuss Brandon – Leo's perplexed as to why Brandon would be ‘playing games' with them. He goes over to try to speak to him, but then Mishti arrives. She asks if Leo got the key card that she left in the penthouse when she went up there; she thought it was about time she gave it back to him.
Leo is keen to get back to Brandon and, seeing Leo is distracted, Mishti assumes he's giving her the cold shoulder. He tells her he does want to talk later, but Mishti has taken offence and walks out. Leo is just about to talk to Brandon, when Caroline cuts him off by resuming the session.
BRANDON (to Leo): This is fun, isn't it?
Leo retreats back to the bar to look worried with Chloe.
Karl has requested a meeting with Rita, and they catch up at a table outside Harold's. He thanks her again for agreeing to fund the MRI programme. But he also explains that he's found minutes from hospital board meetings, revealing that Rita's company tried to do a pharmaceutical deal with the hospital last year, which failed.
RITA: We want to sell more drugs, Karl – that's our business.
KARL: Of course. But can you assure me this funding is not an attempt to butter up the hospital so you can present the deal again?
RITA: No. That deal's dead. The current hospital administration's made that very clear.
KARL: And what if the administration were to change?
RITA: I'm not sure what you mean.
KARL: Well, what if Clive were to move on? There've been rumours.
RITA: Look, I'm not going to deny that I've been disappointed with some of Clive's decisions. But if you think I can get COOs sacked, you vastly overestimate my influence. But I'll talk to Clive and smooth it over.
KARL: I'd appreciate that.
RITA: The last thing I want to be is a source of tension. It'll only distract from the brilliant work you're going to do.
Karl laughs, seemingly placated.
Caroline continues to lead the training session. She asks the trainees whether ‘the customer is always right' is an appropriate mantra, starting with Dipi.
DIPI (laughs): Pfft! No way!
DIPI: Sorry – yes!
But Caroline pushes Dipi on why she said no. Dipi says there are sometimes customers who've made mistakes or misunderstand something, and who get angry as a result – but that you have to hear them out, find common ground and offer a compromise. Caroline and Paul look impressed. Caroline moves on to begin talking about workplace bullying and sexual harassment.
CAROLINE: Can anyone give me an example of one of these inappropriate types of behaviour?
BRANDON: Kissing another staff member.
Leo and Chloe look awkward.
CAROLINE: Well, that would depend on the circumstances.
BRANDON: What if it was during work hours, in an empty office space, on work premises?
CAROLINE: Yes, I think that would be highly inappropriate. What else?
Brandon raises his hand again, and Leo tells him to give someone else a go – but Caroline overrules him!
BRANDON: A senior manager having an affair with a more junior staff member?
CAROLINE: Yes, definitely. Given the power imbalance, it needs to be declared immediately.
Chloe and Leo look increasingly uncomfortable…
Fay shows Mark and Aaron all the post she's brought for Chloe from Adelaide – they're surprised by the amount of envelopes. Mark notices that many of them are bills, and Fay looks uncomfortable. One of them is from the Los Feliz Medical Clinic in the USA – the same outfit we saw Chloe receive a text from the other day.
Fay's even more uncomfortable when Mark notices that one of her own letters is from a conveyancer. She tries to claim it's junk mail at first, but eventually is forced to admit she's selling her house in Adelaide.
FAY: I just had a few debts to settle. That's all.
MARK: Debts? You don't have a credit card! The house is paid off – what debts?
FAY: Mark, it's not your concern.
MARK: Is this why you're here?
FAY: (…) Over the years, I've helped Chloe out to fund her travels, and the odd project, and – that has added up.
AARON: Hang on. So you are selling the family home because of Chloe?
Fay confirms this, and Mark and Aaron look startled.
With the training session over, Leo and Chloe confront Brandon. Leo asks what he wants in order to keep his mouth shut about their fling.
BRANDON: A pay rise.
LEO: Fine. I'll organise a promotion.
BRANDON: I don't want more work. Just more money. A lot more money.
Leo points out that a big rise would raise a red flag within the business, so it would have to be within the range for his grade. Brandon says that the maximum within that range will do – for now – and walks off, leaving Leo and Chloe even more worried.
Fay is explaining to Mark and Aaron how she got into this mess, saying Chloe's never been good with money – she'd call her on her travels, asking to be bailed out, and Fay would agree. Chloe has given Fay the money from her share of the boat, she explains, but it's not enough to cover the debts.
FAY: When the family split up and it was only me and Chloe, part of me was afraid that I would lose her, just like I lost you. And so… I overcompensated.
MARK: You spoilt her.
AARON: Mum, she is walking all over you.
MARK: You can't keep bailing her out; she'll never learn.
AARON: You have to stand up to her, alright? And that starts now!
Paul approaches Karl and Rita; apparently, he and Rita are acquainted. She congratulates him on Robinson Heights – and Karl, looking annoyed that his meeting's been gatecrashed, thanks Rita for her time and walks off. Paul sits down to join Rita.
RITA: Is that residual tension from the hospital wing mess?
PAUL: Oh, no – our residual tension goes back further than that. We were neighbours. Mind you, I'm surprised he's talking to you, given your history with the wing.
RITA: I'm involved with his MRI project.
PAUL: Really? Good luck with that.
RITA: What, you don't think he'd be good to work with?
PAUL: Not particularly, no. But I mean, he's passionate, he's dedicated – it's just his ego you're gonna have to manage. I don't know how Susan does it.
RITA: That's his wife – she has MS, doesn't she?
PAUL: You have done your research, haven't you?
RITA: Well, if you ask Izzy anything, you tend to get details.
PAUL: You asked Izzy about Susan Kennedy?!
RITA: In passing. Is she alright?
PAUL: Yeah. She's had a few relapses over the years – but from what I can tell, she's on top of it. I mean, she's a pretty tough lady, Susan. Not like her husband. Which may come as a surprise.
RITA: A wife tougher than her husband? When is that ever a surprise?
Chloe arrives home from work, to find Mark, Aaron and Fay waiting for her. Mark explains that Fay is having to sell her house because of Chloe's ‘endless holiday'. Chloe seems genuinely sorry; she had no idea things were that bad. She promises she'll pay back every cent.
FAY: It's a lot of money. I'll still have to sell the house.
CHLOE: How much?
FAY: $200,000. But you can make a start (…) Pay your own bills from now on. Your credit card, your phone. Medical – there are a few of those in there.
CHLOE: Of course. You don't have to worry anymore. Mum, I'm so sorry.
FAY: It's time you faced up to your responsibilities.
Later that evening, Chloe finds the letters from the Los Feliz clinic. She's about to open one, but then changes her mind and throws them in the kitchen bin. Fay comes out of her room, and Chloe apologises again. Fay says it's mainly her fault.
FAY: I let you get away with everything because I couldn't say no to my little angel.
CHLOE: Well, I'm going to change. I love you so much, Mum.
Chloe reiterates to Fay not to say anything about her hook- up with Leo; if she's going to pay her back, she needs this job. Mark and Aaron come in; it's time to discuss sleeping arrangements now Fay is staying. Chloe volunteers Aaron for the couch, but Fay says she'll be taking Chloe's room!
CHLOE: You know what I'm like when I don't get my eight hours!
FAY: Paying me back isn't only about the money – unless you didn't mean what you said about changing.
CHLOE: Of course I meant it. Sorry.
Caroline and Paul are handing out certificates to the trainees who have passed, and Dipi's thrilled to learn that she has. Caroline tells her that her approach to customer service is excellent.
PAUL: Yes, even if you have had the occasional lapse.
DIPI: It won't happen again, I promise.
Next, it's Sheila's turn to learn how she's fared.
SHEILA: I have the perfect place to display my certificate – somewhere where the ruder customers will have second thoughts about giving me backchat!
CAROLINE: I'm sorry, Sheila. You didn't pass.
PAUL: The attitudes you've shown today couldn't be further from Lassiter's values.
SHEILA: I have been managing pubs for years, with no complaints!
PAUL: But your approach to customer service, to staff management, to sexual harassment –
SHEILA: I'm from a different generation – yours! And you know what it's like!
PAUL: I don't care. You are a liability – and therefore, I can't have you managing any part of Lassiter's.
SHEILA: Oh, you can't just fire me because of some ridiculous training thing!
PAUL: No. But I can demote you. Until you complete this ‘ridiculous training thing', and pass with flying colours!
SHEILA: What if I don't pass?!
PAUL: Well, I'll have no choice but to view your position here as untenable.
SHEILA: Well, you can stick your training, and you can stick your job! Because – I quit!
Sheila flounces out, shrieking at an extra to get out of her way as she goes!
Coming up on Neighbours
- Poppy continues to bully Kirsha on the school camping trip
- Karl tells Shane and Toadie that he's coming too, as Susan is missing; Toadie thinks it's a bad idea
- Toadie comforts a struggling Karl
- Toadie on the phone asking if someone's heard from Karl, saying he wouldn't do anything stupid
- Karl wandering through The Bush™ shouting for Susan