- Shane decides to take some time out from Erinsborough, ostensibly to stay with brother Stonie
- Mackenzie tells a concerned Richie that Shane completely burned himself out, hence the trip away
- Shane is not really at Stonie's, but in Bourke, in a very bad way due to his drug habit
- Toadie and Dipi suspect that Shane isn't staying with Stonie after all
- A desperate Shane calls Roxy, begging her not to hang up
- Roxy fills in Kyle on Shane's drug addiction
- Toadie asks Roxy and Kyle if they've heard from Shane
- Shane is expecting Roxy to turn up at Bourke, but it's actually Toadie who appears
In the shed at Shane's old home in Bourke, Toadie confirms that Roxy told him where to find Shane, adding that she's worried about him.
SHANE: Does Dipi know?
TOADIE: No. Hand 'em over.
Shane is fumbling with a packet of drugs, but doesn't comply.
TOADIE: Hand them over.
Shane drops the packet on the floor, and Toadie crushes it with his foot.
Dipi emerges with a breakfast tray, Mackenzie having brought her breakfast in bed to wish her a happy anniversary. Mackenzie asks where Toadie is; Dipi only knows that he has something on, and that she needs to take the kids for a playdate later.
Richie comes in, also wishing Dipi a happy anniversary. He asks if Shane's back yet; Dipi confirms not, and says that she hasn't heard from him, saying he's probably slept in. A phone call comes in, which Dipi says will be from Jay and Kirsha, and heads off to answer it.
RICHIE: Is it just me, or is that weird? I mean, no call, no message at all. On their anniversary?
MACKENZIE: Oh, Shane's probably on the road already. Anyway, we have got stacks to do, so we'd better get to it. Yashvi's picking up some supplies, so could you grab the cake for me?
RICHIE: Do you really think with all this going on, it's a good idea to go ahead with the party?
Richie doesn't look so sure.
Shane explains to Toadie that he's tried to go cold turkey with the drugs, but it didn't work. So he thought if he left gradually larger intervals between taking doses, and a little less each time, it might help. Toadie says that approach only works under close supervision.
TOADIE: Not on your own. In a shed.
SHANE: Hasn't been easy.
TOADIE: I understand why you didn't want to go to Colac. Doing this in front of your family just wouldn't work.
SHANE: Hasn't worked on my own, either.
TOADIE: Why here, brother?
SHANE: I came to Bourke straight from prison, to turn my life around. I met Dipi, and it seemed possible.
TOADIE: You did turn your life around.
SHANE: Yeah, Dipi saw something in me. She gave me purpose. Then I stuffed it all up.
TOADIE: I think you're being too hard on yourself, mate. You've built a beautiful life, a wonderful family.
SHANE (tearful): Well, what have I done to them? I lost this place, our home. Then I spent years on inventions that no- one ever wanted. Now we're all living in my little brother's house.
TOADIE: And you're going to uni, and you're chasing your dreams.
SHANE (tearful): Yeah, but they're all slipping away from me. I got distracted by all these other things, and... I couldn't fail the course as well. I had to turn it around. I had to get my degree.
TOADIE: And you thought this stuff would help?
SHANE (tearful): ... I'm such a failure.
Karl and Jane are at home when Dipi calls around. She was supposed to be seeing Jane later, but wanted a friendly ear, so Jane fetches her bag so they can go out and spend some time together. While she's gone, Karl asks how Shane is doing.
DIPI: I'm not sure. Toadie doesn't seem to be as worried as I am, but maybe... I dunno. Maybe I'm over- thinking things.
Dipi and Jane say they'll see Karl at Mackenzie's debate later, which Dipi still doesn't suspect is being used as a cover to get her and Shane to the surprise anniversary party, and leave the house.
Toadie is still chatting to Shane in the shed.
SHANE: Dipi deserves better than me.
TOADIE: But she doesn't want anyone else. You may not be your best right now, but she is devoted to you. But she's worried, mate; she is really worried. We need to get you home.
SHANE: I can't go back now. Not like this.
TOADIE: Well, you're not gonna get better here. You're just avoiding reality.
SHANE: Cos reality sucks. How can I let her see what I've become?
TOADIE: So, what's the alternative? You stay here, and you abandon your family?
SHANE: You don't know how this feels.
TOADIE: You're right. I don't. But I've held Sonya's hand through this before. And I know more about recovery than what you do. And if you honestly want to get better, then you have to be brutally honest with yourself, and everyone you love.
SHANE: I can't let her see me.
TOADIE: Okay, right, enough. Up.
SHANE: What are you doing?
TOADIE: I'm taking you home. Where are your keys?
SHANE: No, I need more time.
TOADIE (forcefully): No. Now. Get up.
Kyle is on the phone to Roxy, assuring her that she did the right thing by telling Toadie about Shane. He tells her to try not to worry about it. Levi is listening to this from the kitchen, intrigued. As Kyle finishes his call, Sheila comes in, and asks Levi which of two outfits she should wear to Shane and Dipi's surprise party.
LEVI: Uh, that one?
SHEILA: What are you talking about? *This* one obviously screams, 'surprise!'
LEVI: Then why did you ask?
SHEILA: Kyle, which one of these should I wear?
KYLE: (...) Uh, that one?
SHEILA: Excellent! (to Levi) Was that so hard?
Yashvi turns up to collect Sheila; they're going shopping together, presumably for the party supplies. But Sheila's stomach gurgles and she grimaces in pain, before rushing out of the room...
Harold's Café / Power Road
Mackenzie has closed up the café and enlisted Karl and Susan to help arrange things for the party, starting by making room for the cabaret singer. While they're doing this, Susan tells Mackenzie that she had a call from the local council about the sustainability project at Lassiter's.
MACKENZIE: Do they see me as an agent of chaos?
SUSAN: No, no, in fact, they were very impressed. They're setting up a new position - a youth advisor for eco- friendly initiatives. I reckon you'd be perfect.
MACKENZIE: Do I just apply, or...?
SUSAN: No, it's an elected position. They want candidates from Year 12, and then Erinsborough High students will vote.
KARL: It's a shame it's only students. I think I'd have a lot to offer.
SUSAN: Yes, because that's exactly what politics needs, Karl - more ageing white men!
Yashvi, who is outside the booze store on Power Road with Sheila, calls Mackenzie to tell her that the cabaret singer has accidentally double- booked, so won't be able to make the party.
YASHVI: And I can't make it either.
MACKENZIE: Vee, this is your parents' wedding anniversary!
YASHVI: I know, but work's called and they need all hands on deck. I have to go.
While Yashvi's talking, Sheila is looking unwell again.
YASHVI: And I don't think Sheila can come, either.
Sheila darts towards some nearby bushes and promptly throws up!
SHEILA: It was the emu eggs - I'm sure of it!
YASHVI: Yeah, she's definitely not coming. That is a lot of spew.
Yashvi promises that if she gets to clock off early, she'll come to the party straight away. Mackenzie hangs up, left feeling like the party is fast becoming a wash- out. Enter Richie.
RICHIE: I come bearing cake!
Susan, Karl and Mackenzie crowd round to have a look at it. Richie opens the box.
SUSAN: ... Oh! Is that what you ordered?
MACKENZIE: Obviously not! Why would I order a cake shaped like a pair of... It's not funny!
RICHIE: Oh, it's kind of funny.
MACKENZIE: I can't present this to Shane and Dipi. It's... obscene!
SUSAN: It must be a mistake. It's obviously for a buck's party.
KARL: Oh, Susan, let's not jump to heteronormative conclusions!
SUSAN: Thank you, Karl. Maybe we can change them into something else, like... big cherries?
RICHIE: The colour's a bit too detailed for that. And there's no stem.
So Mackenzie sends a reluctant Richie back to the cake shop to exchange it.
MACKENZIE: This party's turning into a disaster.
A road somewhere / Lassiter's Day Spa
Toadie is driving Shane back to Erinsborough. Toadie makes a call to Dipi, who is at the spa with Jane. Dipi's surprised to learn that Toadie had gone to pick up Shane, and asks why he didn't say so; he says it was easier this way, but doesn't elaborate, saying they'll be home in a few hours.
Dipi asks to speak to Shane, but Shane makes it clear to Toadie he doesn't want to, so Toadie reluctantly lies, telling Dipi that Shane's asleep.
DIPI: Right... well, tell him that I love him.
TOADIE: Will do.
After ending the call, Toadie tells Shane that he hates lying to Dipi - as well as asking her to sort the kids out while he secretly flew out to Bourke to collect Shane.
SHANE (twitchy): I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I just can't talk to her right now.
TOADIE: She's your wife, mate. You've gotta let her in.
SHANE: You make it sound easy, mate.
TOADIE: No, I didn't say that. In fact, it's gonna be hard. And it's gonna get worse before it gets better. But it's gonna get worse the longer you put it off, too. Try not to freak out - just hold it together for Mackenzie's debate, and then the first chance you get, you come clean to Dipi.
SHANE: Pull over, I'm gonna be sick.
At the spa, Dipi tells Jane that she can feel something isn't right with Shane - she isn't sure Toadie was telling the truth when he said Shane was asleep.
DIPI: There's something he's not telling me. Since when does it take a day to drive back from Colac, and why didn't Toadie tell me that's where he was going in the first place?
JANE: Dipi, don't let your imagination run away with you. Shane will be home soon, and then you'll be having a lovely night with the family.
DIPI: It just doesn't make sense.
Karl and Susan are still helping Mackenzie, when Richie returns with the same cake - the shop refused to exchange it, he explains, claiming it's what Mackenzie ordered. She decides it'll be quicker to get a new one.
KARL: You know, I could take it off your hands.
KARL: Oh, well, you know, despite the anatomically inspired design, it really looks delicious.
MACKENZIE: Well, it's all yours. Seventy bucks.
KARL: Seventy? That's highway robbery!
MACKENZIE: Well, it cost way more.
KARL: I'll give you thirty.
KARL: Done. I'll pay you later.
SUSAN: Oh, for goodness' sake.
KARL: Come on, darling. Once we cut it, no- one'll know what it is! (...) We could eat one now, and save the other one for your birthday later.
Susan drags Karl and the cake ('the girls') home, promising they'll be back in time for the party. Once they're gone, Richie suggests to Mackenzie that they should seriously consider pulling the pin on the party - Yashvi can't come, neither can the singer, and Shane still isn't home. But Mackenzie assures him Shane's on his way; she's just heard from Dipi that Toadie is bringing him back.
RICHIE: What if Shane's not just stressed out? What if he's... in trouble? MACKENZIE: What kind of trouble?
MACKENZIE: Look, if Shane was in trouble, then Dipi would've gone with Toadie, but she's still here.
RICHIE: Yeah, but what if Dipi doesn't know?
MACKENZIE: No - no, that's crazy. But you're right about the party - too much has fallen through.
She opts to cancel the party and go for Plan B - an intimate, romantic anniversary dinner for two.
A road somewhere
Toadie and Shane are still driving.
SHANE: Just wish I knew what happens next. Dunno if I'm gonna lose my wife - my family. Dunno how to get better - where to even start.
TOADIE: Well, you start by admitting it. That you're an addict. You haven't actually said that yet.
SHANE: Might not use those words exactly.
TOADIE: I mean, you say you want to get better, which is all well and good, but you don't truly start the process until you admit it to yourself. That you are an addict. It's okay - I mean, you just treat it like any other illness. I mean, you wouldn't shame someone for saying that they had diabetes or depression, would you?
TOADIE: Well, same thing. You have an illness. You need help. You're an addict.
Shane looks upset.
Jane and Dipi are having a cuppa. Dipi wants to get going soon, but Jane's trying to keep her on track for the surprise party, claiming that Mackenzie has been in touch to say that people are meeting at Harold's for a bite before the debate kicks off. Dipi's keen to give that a miss and head straight to the debate.
JANE: No... because Susan has already been in touch with Toadie, and he's taking Shane there.
DIPI (subdued): Okay, then.
JANE: You're still worried about him, aren't you?
DIPI: Well, of course I am. It's our twentieth wedding anniversary, and he still hasn't even texted me yet.
JANE: Well, anniversaries aren't just about the day. They're about celebrating all the good times throughout the year.
DIPI: What about the not- so- good times?
JANE: Well, why not? Anniversaries should celebrate those, too. Marriages are complex. I know that you're going through a tough time, but you'll get over it, like every other tough time. Because you're an incredible, indestructible couple.
DIPI: I suppose that is a good way of looking at it.
JANE: I admire you and Shane. I only hope that I could have a bond like that one day.
DIPI: Twenty years is quite an achievement, isn't it?
JANE: Mm. Too right it is.
Mackenzie and Richie have changed for the evening, in preparation to host the dinner for two for Shane and Dipi, and Richie's texted everyone to tell them the party is off.
RICHIE: Everyone's on board - everyone except Karl, who insisted to be there to provide music.
MACKENZIE (laughs): Of course he did.
Mackenzie explains Jane has taken Dipi to the pub, to buy them some time, as they're running late. Richie still seems distracted.
MACKENZIE: You haven't told me how amazing I look yet.
RICHIE: Sorry. You do. Obviously.
The Uber arrives to take them to Harold's, via the cake shop - but Richie tells Mackenzie he needs to use the bathroom and that he'll lock up, meet her there, and pick up the cake on his way.
As soon as she's gone, Richie heads over to Shane's backpack and starts searching in it. He quickly finds one of the empty drug bags, and looks worried, albeit not entirely surprised...
While Karl hovers with his guitar, Richie tells Mackenzie he needs to urgently talk to her about Shane. They go to the kitchen to discuss it in private.
Toadie and Shane turn up, with the intention of allowing Shane to take a couple of minutes to get himself together before they head over to meet Dipi. Shane looks in a bad way. They soon see that Dipi is with Jane at a table, which they weren't expecting - Shane wanders over sheepishly, and Jane leaves them to talk alone.
DIPI: Hey! Happy anniversary.
SHANE: Yeah. You too.
DIPI: Are you okay? You look a bit... rough.
SHANE: Well... I've got, umm... something I need to say.
Richie is showing Mackenzie the starry drugs packet he found in Shane's bag.
MACKENZIE: No. No way. You must've made a mistake.
RICHIE: It's the same kind of bag, Mac. I wish there was another explanation for all this. Honestly, I hope I'm wrong.
MACKENZIE: You are. You have to be.
The Waterhole / No 26
Toadie watches warily, as Dipi suggests to Shane that they head over to Harold's and grab a bite, while talking about whatever's on his mind. He reluctantly agrees.
DIPI: I love you.
SHANE: Love you, too.
Dipi and Shane leave, while Toadie answers a phone call from Kyle, who's at home. Kyle asks how Shane is; Toadie says he's worse for wear and was just about to tell Dipi, but that it'll now have to wait till after Mackenzie's debate.
KYLE: The debate? No, there is no debate - it's a cover. Mackenzie organised a surprise romantic dinner for their anniversary.
Toadie rushes out of the door...
The scene and the table are set for the romantic dinner. Karl is strumming his guitar in the corner when Shane and Dipi come in.
SHANE: Dip, I can't put this off any longer...
But they're surprised to see Karl, and the dinner table. Karl wishes them a happy anniversary.
KARL: This is for you - a romantic dinner for two, courtesy of everyone who loves you.
DIPI: Oh, my goodness!
Dipi looks excited, as Karl calls Mackenzie and Richie out from the kitchen, introducing them as their hosts for the evening. A worried- looking Richie and Mackenzie emerge, and force smiles. Shane forces a smile too, but is increasingly uncomfortable...
Coming up on Neighbours
- We see Dipi crying in the Harold's kitchen
- We hear Shane saying, 'I only ever wanted to make you proud'
- Toadie is with Kyle at the pub, looking worried
- We see Mackenzie crying at the pub
- We hear Shane saying, 'Having you by my side makes me a better man'
- Yashvi looking glum in the No 22 garden with Ned
- Shane is looking defeated in the police interview room
- We hear him say, 'I just hope that in another 20 years, I'll finally be the man you deserve'