- Mark speaks to Toadie about appealing his dismissal from the police force
- But Mark's upset when Toadie suggests bringing up Caitlin's death as evidence of his state of mind
- Sonya tells Mark to use their tragedy for something really positive
- Paul looks on sadly as Terese and Leo reunite
- Piper tells Paul to stay away from Terese altogether, or everyone will get hurt
- Terese asks Leo whether he thinks it's possible that Paul is avoiding them
- Terese tells Leo she'd love him to move back in
- Sonya asks Toadie if he's worried; he replies, only about her and getting her through this
- Sonya is wheeled in for her cyst removal
- But afterwards, Dr Goodwin has some upsetting news - Sonya has stage four ovarian cancer
There's a shocked pause as Sonya and Toadie digest the news that Dr Goodwin is telling them.
TOADIE: There are other scans that we can do, though, right?
DR GOODWIN: I'm afraid the results are conclusive.
TOADIE: Well, no - because, people make mistakes. And I mean, it could be from the poisoning, and that could've damaged some of her organs.
Toadie glances at a grave- looking Karl for support, while Sonya sits in tearful silence.
KARL: I've seen the scans.
TOADIE: ... Sonya - Sonya?
SONYA: It's okay. It's okay... Alright, okay - so how do we beat it?
Mark and Aaron are topless jogging, as is their wont. Piper reminds Mark of his appeal hearing, which is in an hour; he needs to meet with Pia Stott, the replacement lawyer, since Toadie's unavailable. Mark is surprised, as this is the first he's heard that Toadie isn't coming - and he starts ranting about being fobbed off. Piper says she's sure Toadie has a good reason, and goes to call him.
Dr Goodwin is talking Sonya and Toadie through the process.
DR GOODWIN: We will throw everything we can at the disease, which means starting you on a course of aggressive chemotherapy.
TOADIE: We're going straight to chemo?
DR GOODWIN: Once a week to begin with.
KARL: The aim is to shrink the tumours, and then look at surgery.
SONYA: And so the surgery would be to remove the tumours?
DR GOODWIN: It would be to remove the organs affected by the cancer.
SONYA: Yeah, but I mean - you've said the cancer is spread. So I mean, you can't remove all my organs.
DR GOODWIN: Well, that is something we'll need to assess after the first round of treatment.
SONYA: Okay, and when does that start?
DR GOODWIN: We'll be starting tomorrow.
Toadie struggles to hold himself together, and so does Sonya.
SONYA: Umm, no - no, I took - I mean, our daughter Nell, she's gonna start primary school really soon. We held her back last year, and she's - you know - she's so excited. And we can't let anything take away from that.
DR GOODWIN: It's imperative that we begin treatment as soon as possible. I'll organise for a social worker and a counsellor to be assigned to you. The social worker will help you with the practicalities, while the counsellor will emotionally support you and your family through treatment. I'll do whatever I can. It won't guarantee anything, but it will give you the best possible chance.
Toadie is in floods, and Sonya assures him...
SONYA: It's gonna be okay.
Terese turns up and demands to know why Paul is ignoring her calls.
PAUL: I thought that was fairly self- evident.
TERESE: Well, would you like to explain it to me?
PAUL: What do you want, Terese?
TERESE: Valentine's Day (...) It's literally a few weeks away, and we need to talk about the breakfast picnic and the drinks event at The Waterhole.
Paul dismissively promises to look at the plans and send any revisions via Chloe.
TERESE: We could just hash it out together now?
Paul more or less pushes her into the lift, telling her to go home and recover from her surgery.
TERESE: But hold on! It's not just about Valentine's Day, it's -
But Paul has already pressed the button for her, and the lift closes! Terese opens it again.
TERESE: You listen to me. I don't know why you're trying to avoid me like the plague, but you need to sort it out.
She exits, leaving Paul looking worried.
Sonya is entering her treatment schedule into the calendar on her phone. Toadie gets a call - it's Piper, but he says he'll call her back later.
TOADIE: So all those symptoms that you had after the poisoning, then - the stomach pains, the shortness of breath - was that the cancer?
SONYA: Yeah, I dunno. I started having those headaches when Ali- Heather came.
TOADIE: So this was in front of us the whole time.
SONYA: You know, if there's one thing that I've learned, from the things that have happened in my life, it's that if something can be treated, it can be... beaten, so...
TOADIE: Yeah, absolutely. And you are young, and you're strong.
SONYA: Yeah. And I've got you, so...
SONYA: ... Yeah, I mean, we just... you know. We'll throw the kitchen sink at it. And when it's done, we'll - I mean, hopefully we'll be done by June.
They both smile optimistically, but it's more to reassure one another than out of any genuine belief. Toadie goes to ask if Sonya can be discharged now - and as he changes the room, his body language sinks into utter bewilderment. He takes a seat in reception and breathes deeply. Karl emerges, and sits next to him.
KARL: It's a lot to take in, isn't it?
TOADIE: Dr Goodwin knows her stuff?
KARL: Oh, she's one of the best oncologists in the state - and her team (...) they're all top- class.
TOADIE: ... I wish it could've been found sooner.
Karl looks worried.
Melbourne Police Academy
As he prepares to go in for his hearing, Mark is whingeing and moaning to Aaron about how Toadie has let him down. Aaron tells Mark he doesn't need Toadie - or even his replacement.
AARON: At the end of the day, it's gonna come down to you... Hey - you've got this.
Mark nervously heads towards the entrance.
Paul catches up with Piper as she heads into work. He says he understands why Piper wants him to keep his distance from Terese, but that it's pretty difficult when she's the one coming to him - and it's not practical to avoid her long- term, as they work together.
PAUL: Maybe you should keep her occupied.
PIPER: Fine, okay - I'll see what I can do.
Leo appears, and tells them he's just had a text from Delaney.
LEO: Mannix has been picked up by the cops (...) some country town near the border.
PAUL: Did she say why?
LEO: Drugs. Apparently it was a minor offence, but - what if he talks about other stuff to get himself off the hook? The stuff that we're involved in?
Paul thanks Leo for the intel, and goes off to make some calls to find out more.
Melbourne Police Academy
Mark comes out of his hearing with bad news for all of us - to cut a long story short, the panel lapped up his contrition, and he'll be back on the police force in a few weeks. Sigh.
Aaron, the only person alive to whom this will be welcome news, punches Mark for acting like it went the other way.
MARK: Hey - assaulting a police officer, that's a mandatory six- month sentence.
And here we go again...
Toadie and Sonya pull up in the car, still looking very shellshocked. Neither of them gets out.
SONYA: It's strange being back. Cos nothing's changed, but everything has.
SONYA: We should go get the kids from Shane and Dipi's.
TOADIE: So how much are we gonna tell them? Or anyone else, for that matter?
SONYA: I think that Nell's too young to understand.
TOADIE: I agree.
SONYA: I really just want her first day at school to be as normal as possible.
TOADIE: What about friends and family? Do we want them to know?
They watch through the window as Terese emerges from her house to check the mail, and waves at them happily.
TOADIE: I think we should get Yashvi to look after the nursery while you're going through treatment.
SONYA: No, I wanna keep working.
TOADIE: No. No, you need to spend your energy on recovery, instead of worrying about invoices and missed shifts. It's only for a few months. Then you can get back to it.
Tearful again, Sonya agrees.
SONYA: It's gonna be hard to hide the effects of the chemo, but, umm... I just don't think I'm ready to tell anybody yet.
TOADIE: We don't have to, okay? We can keep this to ourselves for as long as possible.
SONYA: Yeah. It's okay. It's okay.
She dries her eyes, and they get out of the car slowly, before wandering hand- in- hand towards the house.
Toadie and Sonya are with Nell. They're just about to organise lunch, when Mark and Aaron show up with the 'good' news that Mark is now Constable Brennan again. Mark wants to thank them both for pushing him into the appeal.
SONYA: I'm so happy for you. It's the best news that I've heard all day.
Toadie and Sonya try to look excited for Mark, but it's clear to him there's something wrong. Sonya explains she's had a cyst removed, but doesn't tell them anything about the cancer. Nonetheless, Mark feels bad for concentrating on his own problems - he hadn't realised. Aaron asks if Sonya's okay following the operation.
SONYA: It's gone. It's all gone.
MARK: Oh, well - two good bits of news today, then.
TOADIE and SONYA: Absolutely.
Leo and Piper come in, and explain to Terese about Mannix having been arrested after he failed a drug test. Seeing this as the perfect excuse to rush off and find Paul, Terese grabs her keys - but Leo assures her he's already told Paul. Terese claims that Lassiter's will be affected if Mannix says something and Paul finds himself under arrest. Leo distracts her by offering to make a sandwich.
TERESE: I don't want a sandwich! For the last time, I'm fine.
PIPER: Mum -
TERESE: No, no, no - I am sick of everybody treating me like a child.
LEO: I'm not treating you like a child. I just want to help.
TERESE: I don't want help. And I'm sick of your constant attention... I'm sorry.
She walks out, leaving Leo and Piper looking concerned.
Nell is drawing a picture, while an emotional Sonya (and Rainbow Ted) observe.
NELL: Can I bring Rainbow Ted to school?
SONYA: Yeah - yep. You just have to make sure that she stays in your bag, okay? Because you don't want her to get away.
Toadie comes in with lunch, and sees how upset Sonya is as she watches Nell draw. He beckons her into the kitchen, and gives her a big hug. Toadie tells Sonya that Yashvi has agreed to take on running the nursery - he's told her it's because Sonya will be busy with Nell starting school.
TOADIE: I don't want you overdoing it. It is gonna be hard enough for you over the next few months.
TOADIE: Listen to me. Steph had cancer. She beat it twice, okay? And Terese. And Lucas. You are gonna be the same.
SONYA: Yep. I know I will. I know I will.
He kisses her, and they hug again.
Paul is just finishing a phone call when Terese storms in, and demands to know what the situation is with Mannix. Paul has heard from his ubiquitous Contacts™ that Mannix has been charged with a minor drug offence and released on bail, so no harm done.
PAUL: It's not a long stretch. And he knows that it's smarter to do the time, than to risk the police digging into his murky past.
TERESE: What, you think he'd incriminate himself?
PAUL: Oh, I can guarantee it.
TERESE: Well, you still should've told me about it!
PAUL: Terese, I only found out two hours ago! Besides, it's none of your business.
TERESE: Lassiter's is my business, Paul!
PAUL: I have it under control, okay?
TERESE: Yeah, well - I'd believe that if you weren't going out of your way to try and avoid me.
PAUL: Oh, not this again.
TERESE: Yeah, well you're not answering my calls - and you're sending messages through other people.
PAUL: Yeah, and you are finding every excuse under the sun to come down here and harass me.
TERESE: In case you've forgotten, we're supposed to be running this hotel together!
They go quiet as a guest walks past!
PAUL: Do you want to know why I've been avoiding you? Do you want to know the truth?
Paul looks as if he's about to tell her that Piper has asked him to stay away, but then falls back on claiming that it's because Terese is injured and needs to recover, without distractions from him.
PAUL: You need to work on your relationship with Leo, and get better. That's what you need to focus on, alright?
Terese looks miffed as she walks away.
Terese returns, and informs Piper that Paul thinks Mannix will keep quiet. Piper says Leo's gone out, and suggests Terese apologise to him, since she was 'kind of mean to him' before.
TERESE: So, I think I know why Paul's been avoiding me! And it's so obvious, I can't believe I didn't twig on it earlier. He's trying to cut me out of the business - again! (...) It is so obvious. When he doesn't give me that eye contact, it's just a dead giveaway.
PIPER: Okay, sorry - why do you think he's trying to undermine you?
TERESE: Well, because he's still upset about me and Leo.
PIPER: Mum, stop, okay? You're overreacting. He said that he supports you guys, so you should take him at face value.
TERESE: No, I still need to talk to Leo.
PIPER: No you don't!
TERESE: Yes I do!
PIPER: Mum, stop, okay? Paul's not trying to kick you out of the business... I asked him to stay away from you.
TERESE: Why would you do that?
PIPER: Because I'm trying to protect you from yourself!
TERESE: What does that mean?!
Piper gives her a look.
Karl is playing the guitar, and looking pretty forlorn. There's a knock at the door - it's Sonya.
SONYA: I can't stay long - I didn't tell Jarrod that I was here. Is anyone else here?
KARL: No, just me. Please, come in.
SONYA: Look, I - I wanna ask you something, and I didn't say it before in front of Jarrod. But I really want you to be honest with me, okay?
KARL: Of course, yeah.
SONYA: Umm... so what is the... survival rate, for someone with my... type of ovarian cancer?
KARL: Okay. You know, it's best not to look at the numbers because they're so arbitrary, and every case is different.
SONYA: Yeah, I know that. I'm just trying to - I guess I just want to know what to expect. I'm just trying to be realistic - for Jarrod and the kids, you know?
Sonya's becoming emotional again, and Karl is lost for words.
SONYA: Look, if you don't tell me, I'm just gonna Google it, yeah? And then I'll probably get the wrong information. And I'd rather hear it - I'd much rather hear it - more accurately from you.
KARL: Yeah. Yeah, okay. Umm - with this sort of diagnosis, we think about it in terms of buying time. So, a five- year survival rate - it's about 25%. But every case is different - yes?
Sonya is crying and Karl is pretty close to it himself. She sits down and takes a moment.
SONYA: Thank you for being honest with me, Karl.
He hugs her, as they both cry.
Coming up on Neighbours
- Mel tells Paul she knows what people want to hear, and how to get them across the line
- Chloe says that 'she' knows how to work people
- Elly tells Bea that she gets a vibe off 'her'; Bea asks if 'she' has an agenda
- Piper tells Leo he's really good for Terese; he replies that she's really good for him
- Amy asks Paul if he still has Feelings™ for Terese
- Paul asks Terese what she's not telling him