- Glen tells Ned and Terese he's won a getaway trip to the bush at a retreat called River Bend
- Glen tells Terese, David and Nicolette that there's no reason they all can't join him
- Upset by David's apparent closeness to Dean, Aaron tells David he doesn't want him to see Dean anymore
- 'I get to decide who I'm friends with, not you,' says David to Aaron
- Aaron loses his temper when he finds Dean with his arm around David, and slams Dean up against a car
- Aaron tells David he'd like to go to River Bend with him after all, but David won't go as he needs space
- Ned and Harlow head to a trailer park to look into a lead Levi's received about Gareth
- They find Gareth living there, but he tells them Freya's story about police corruption is a lie
- Ned and Harlow explain to Levi that Gareth said Freya had been stalking him, hence him leaving Echuca
Levi is very sceptical about what Ned and Harlow are telling him.
LEVI: Freya is not a stalker.
NED: Levi, you have zero evidence to back up her story about corrupt cops. Gareth was very convincing.
LEVI: Yeah, well, maybe he's a good liar. You know, I see this all the time at work.
HARLOW: Why would he make this up?
LEVI: Well, you guys said he's shacked up with this Emma chick, right? Well maybe this whole thing's about saving face. Maybe he can't break up with Freya himself.
HARLOW: What, so you think he just pretended to be on the run so he could ghost her?
But before they can discuss it further, Nicolette and Freya come back in. They explain they've been in touch with Toadie to borrow his fishing gear.
FREYA: What's the bet I make catch of the day?
Ned, Harlow and Levi smile awkwardly. Harlow and Ned promise to go home and get packed while Nicolette pops home to say goodbye to Isla, before they leave for River Bend. Freya leaves the house with her.
NED: Freya can't come, Levi.
LEVI: I can't just kick her off the trip, Ned.
NED: Going into the bush with someone who is mentally disturbed is not gonna end well for you. Trust me on that.
LEVI: I've got to talk to Gareth myself.
Aaron is playing with Isla, while David packs his bag for work. Aaron's waiting for Jane to turn up so that he can join the others to head off to River Bend. Nicolette comes in, clearly excited about the trip away, and fusses over Isla, then goes to change her nappy. Aaron speaks to David while she's gone, noting that David took the books Dean gave him down to the book exchange, and adopting a conciliatory tone.
AARON: Does that mean I can change your mind about coming on the trip?
DAVID (terse): I just said I had to get to work.
AARON: I'm sure they can find someone to cover for you.
DAVID: I just think it's not a good idea.
Aaron looks disappointed.
Harlow and Ned have finished packing, and are still talking about Freya. Harlow says Ned's description of Freya as mentally disturbed may have been a bit strong, but Ned retorts that Freya's been lying to them all since she arrived. Levi comes in; he's tried to get in touch with Gareth and Emma to verify their story, but explains they checked out of the caravan park a few hours ago.
NED: Well, can you blame them? Probably figured if we could find them, it wouldn't be long before Freya did.
LEVI: I don't see Freya being a threat.
HARLOW: Wasn't she going to attack Roxy with a hunting knife?
LEVI: Yeah, but Roxy broke into her house; Freya was defending herself.
NED: Oh, let me guess, she explained it all to you - made it seem like she was a victim? Yeah, that was Scarlett's MO, too - and I bought it, just like you are.
LEVI: Yeah, but I'm not gullible, Ned.
NED: Yes, you are! You like her!
Ned thinks keeping Freya at a distance is safest, but Levi retorts that it's Gareth's word against Freya's - and he trusts her more. Ned keeps objecting, but Levi tells him if he doesn't want to come on the trip with Freya, that's up to him; and to back off until he has something concrete to go on.
Amy is peering out the window, as Levi speaks to someone on the phone in the street near the minibus that's to take them to River Bend. Zara comes in, sees Amy peering from the window, and coughs loudly. Amy asks Zara if she's free tomorrow.
ZARA: I've already locked in my volunteer days at the foundation with Toadie - you don't need to push.
AMY: I'm glad - but no, I was wondering if you wanted to hang. You know, the school's still closed; I thought we could spend some time together, just us?
Before Zara can reply, Toadie comes in looking for his fishing tackle box. Amy says she hasn't seen it, so Toadie goes outside to look again.
ZARA: Did I catch you staring at Ned earlier?
AMY: No. I don't know what you're talking about.
ZARA: You know, I meant it when I said I was cool with you dating him.
AMY: Oh, darling, a lot's passed since then.
ZARA: Yeah, but if the guy makes you happy, you should go for it.
Amy admits she was hoping to see Ned before he left for River Bend. Zara encourages her to do it.
Terese comments on the smart shirt Glen's wearing, and wonders who he's trying to impress out in the bush. Glen seems nervous about the trip, and asks if the shirt is too much - then decides to change before she can answer.
TERESE: Hey, why are you being so nervous?
GLEN: It's just, you know, I'm going away with a bunch of people I don't really know, and I just want to make a good impression.
TERESE: Relax, they'll love you - why wouldn't they?
Nicolette bids goodbye to David, and Aaron says an awkward goodbye, too - David grudgingly tells him to enjoy the trip. Nic and Aaron join Harlow, Ned, Levi and Glen over by the minibus. Freya then turns up, and suggests she and Levi sit together on the bus. He hesitates before agreeing, and follows her on- board.
NED (to Harlow): We're really doing this?
HARLOW: Well, if Freya is trouble, at least we can keep an eye on her.
Ned doesn't look thrilled about it. As they're getting on the bus, Amy appears and asks for a quick chat with Ned alone. She apologises for being off with him when Zara was missing; Ned's fully understanding, saying he knows she was worried - although he's visibly keen to get on the bus.
AMY: I miss you. I miss us being together. And I know that I've messed you around. But Zara said that she was kind of cool with us. So I was thinking, maybe we could give it another go?
NED: Ah, Ames, I'd started thinking that this wasn't gonna happen. And that I needed to move on.
AMY: Oh. Umm... is that what you want?
NED: It's a lot for us to talk about, alright? And I want to; I just... I've got to go. So, umm, can we do this when I get back?
AMY: Yeah. Cool. Sure. Have fun!
She awkwardly waves him off as he gets into the bus. Harlow asks Ned if everything's okay as he sits down next to her. 'All good,' he replies.
In the seats behind them, Freya retrieves a knife from the fishing tackle box they've borrowed from Toadie.
FREYA: Oh, cool! We can gut our catch right by the river.
Levi looks worried, as does Ned!
Mackenzie is sampling Hendrix's 'five- course sore throat menu' while Hendrix sits with her. She's excited to be finally using cutlery again now her cast is off. David has come to check in, and is seemingly depressed by how loved- up Hendrix and Mackenzie are given his own current marital woes. He says everything looks good with Mackenzie, and leaves them to it.
As David returns to the corridor, he runs into Dean. He apologises for not having been in touch with Dean since Aaron confronted him, and asks how he's doing; Dean says he's 'getting there'.
DEAN: How are things with you?
DAVID (unenthusiastic): Yeah... all good.
DEAN: Are they? Listen, I'm due a break shortly. Why don't we grab a coffee and have a talk?
DAVID: Thanks, but I'm swamped.
Dean looks disappointed as David walks off.
Amy is humming to herself as she pours a glass of wine. Zara comes in, and correctly guesses Amy is happier now she's spoken to Ned. Amy explains they're going to talk about things when he gets back from his getaway, but that she's feeling positive about it. Zara thinks that's great.
ZARA: You deserve good things.
AMY: So do you, darling.
ZARA: I've stuffed up so much.
AMY: Oh, haven't we all?
ZARA: Not like me.
AMY: Mm. I dunno about that. What I do know is, is that you're my girl. And I've got your back. Always. I hope you know that.
ZARA: At least I've got someone, given that I've lost everyone else in this town.
AMY: You're thinking about Hendrix, huh?
ZARA: I just... I could talk to him in a way I couldn't with anyone else.
AMY: He got you.
ZARA: I hate what I did to him.
AMY: Oh, sweetheart.
Amy pulls Zara into a hug.
River Bend Getaway
The minibus cruises along the road through the bush, towards the getaway destination. When they arrive at River Bend, everyone jumps out of the bus; some of them comment that it wasn't the smoothest ride. Glen says it might be the air pressure, and promises to check the tyres later.
FREYA: Guys, forget about the bus - look at this place!
HARLOW: Yeah, it's so peaceful.
NED: That's one way to describe it.
NICOLETTE: Yeah, but where's the staff with the 'hello' and the frangipanes, and the cold drinks? I mean, Glen's a competition winner!
LEVI: We're in the bush, Nic, not Bali.
NICOLETTE: Same principle. I'd settle for a lemon water and a 'hello'; I mean, it's basic manners.
As Nic's speaking, the manager of River Bend, Kiri, appears, with a cool box full of drinks!
KIRI: Will these do?
NICOLETTE (embarrassed): Oh! ... Hello!
KIRI: You're right. I should've been here when you arrived. And I'm sorry to say you're gonna have to carry your own bags - Sherpas are on strike.
NICOLETTE (nervous laugh): Sherpas?! That's funny, hey, guys?
They all grab cool drinks, and Kiri asks which of them is Glen.
KIRI: Congratulations on the win! I'm Kiri.
GLEN (awkward): Thanks.
KIRI: Welcome to River Bend. This is my favourite place on earth. And I hope, by the time you leave, it'll be yours, too (...) Here, you can reset, recharge and be at one with your surroundings. Perhaps you would also like to give up your phones?
AARON: Uh, some of us have kids.
KIRI: It's not compulsory, but we don't have service at the accommodation (...) There's a landline at the office you would've passed by on your way in.
Freya suggests a group photo, so Glen takes a snap of her, Levi, Nicolette, Aaron, Harlow and Ned around the River Bend Getaway welcome sign. The gang then trudge with their bags past a sign marked '4WD vehicles only past this point'. At one point, Kiri turns and smiles at Nicolette, which seems to prompt an excited reaction!
The gang reach the accommodation, and most of them go inside to suss out the bedrooms - while Ned and Harlow remain outside. Freya and Levi come back out presently.
FREYA: One room has a double.
LEVI: And there's two sets of bunks.
FREYA: Okay, so, girls in the double and boys in the bunks?
HARLOW (nervous): Umm, I'm happy to share with the boys.
FREYA: Well, the bigger bed'll be more comfy?
HARLOW: Yeah, you know what? You have that to yourself.
Ned and Harlow head inside. Freya is confused by Harlow's reluctance to share a room with her.
FREYA: Okay, do I smell or something?
LEVI: Not that I've noticed.
FREYA: Okay. Well, after we unpack, do you want to go exploring?
LEVI: Maybe later? Yeah, I was gonna check out the common room, and just chill out for a bit.
Freya looks disappointed, as Levi walks off. Glen, Aaron and Nicolette have come back outside, and Kiri offers them her phone basket for them to dispense with their phones and thus the outside world while they're here! Nicolette throws caution to the wind and puts her phone in the basket.
KIRI: Oh! I was expecting a lecture on how I'm compromising your civil liberties!
NICOLETTE: I try not to be predictable... once in a while.
Aaron hands in his phone, too. Kiri tells them all that they'll love it here, being able to let go of all their city worries. Nicolette takes that as a challenge.
NICOLETTE: I can be relaxed!
KIRI (smiling): I bet you can.
They stare at each other a little too long, then Glen puts his phone in the basket, too. Kiri goes to lock the phones in the safe at the office. Glen goes inside to unpack, leaving Nicolette with Aaron.
NICOLETTE: Was Kiri just flirting with me then? Because I totally think she was, but I could just be inventing it.
AARON: I think she was pretty friendly!
NICOLETTE: There was something, right? Old Nicolette would know, and now I'm just a new mum, out of practice.
AARON: Hey, she doesn't know that! All she sees is a hottie on a holiday, and that is exactly what you are.
NICOLETTE: Maybe fun- loving, holiday Nicolette can come out and play. And her name is Nicky!
This makes Aaron laugh.
In one of the consultation rooms, David reads a final text from Aaron, from before his trek to the accommodation. 'Here safe,' it says. 'There's no reception so call the office number if you need me.' Dean is watching David through the window, and enters the room, startling David a little.
DEAN: This is the second time today I've seen you looking like you've lost a patient (...) I'm worried about you, David. You look how I felt just before my break- up.
DAVID: Oh, Aaron and I aren't breaking up.
DEAN: Well, then, he better hurry up and realise just how lucky he is.
DAVID: Thank you. And thank you for being so kind. But I should really -
David tries to walk past Dean, but Dean's response is to block his way, and then close the door!
DEAN: I think you're fantastic.
David looks awkward - and then is forced to leap away when Dean moves in to attempt to kiss him!
DAVID: I love my husband, Dean.
DEAN: I can't help how I feel.
DAVID: You and I, we're just friends - nothing more.
DEAN: You just won't admit it because it means facing that Aaron is wrong for you, and he is!
DAVID: Aaron is - you've been reading this wrong the whole time.
DEAN: I'm here for you, David.
DAVID: No, you are here for yourself. And you are wasting your time.
David walks out of the office. Dean looks peeved.
River Bend Getaway
In the common room, Levi and Ned are having a game of darts, while the others watch. Kiri is hanging out in the background, and Nicolette approaches her.
KIRI: Ah, it's my nemesis!
NICOLETTE: I actually prefer Nicky. You know, you're pretty cheeky for a host.
KIRI: That's because the owners can't fire me. I'm their daughter (...) They moved up the coast, left me in charge.
NICOLETTE (flirting): Ooh, I love a woman in charge.
Nearby, Levi whispers to Aaron that Nicolette is acting 'a bit weird'.
AARON: Yeah, that's because that is not Nicolette; she is Nicky whilst we're here.
NED: What, like an alter- ego?
AARON: Yeah, yeah. No responsibilities back home, just a holiday version of herself.
HARLOW: I like it. (to Ned) Hey, you could be Neddy!
Levi heads to bed, and Freya decides she's going to call it a night too - but Ned stops Freya following Levi out, saying it's her turn to play darts. Freya volunteers Aaron to play instead, but Ned says he already is.
NED: Come on, now, don't ruin the game.
FREYA (teasing): Alright. Hand over the darts, Neddy.
Zara is doing some schoolwork at the table when Toadie comes in. She's initially standoffish with him, but he takes a seat, wanting to talk.
TOADIE: I need you to know just how sorry I am.
ZARA: You already apologised; it's fine.
TOADIE: The only reason why I was so hard on you was because I used to get into a lot of trouble when I was your age, too.
ZARA: You? (!)
TOADIE: Yeah. And it just... it made my life hard, and everyone else's around me. And I didn't want that for you.
ZARA (amused): How much trouble are we talking?
But Amy, who has been hovering by the door listening, saves Toadie from delving into it!
AMY (to Zara): Do you want to see what bad boy Rebecchi used to look like?
Amy shows Zara a very familiar- looking publicity shot of Toadie circa 1995!
ZARA (laughs): You had a mullet?
TOADIE: I had *the* mullet.
AMY: Ah, yeah, it's a really good look you got going on.
TOADIE: What? Every decent footy player's got one now!
ZARA: And it's curly! That's so bad, it's nearly epic.
River Bend Getaway
The next day, Nicolette and Kiri are out for a walk by the river, clearly enjoying one another's company.
NICOLETTE: You're right. Nothing feels like a problem out here. I mean, I wasn't even annoyed this morning when I got out of the shower this morning and there were no towels!
Kiri apologises, saying a guy who works for her, Bobby, isn't super- reliable. Nicolette says it's fine - she air- dried! She recalls a backpacking trip where she did that once, too - 'just me and the breeze!'
Glen approaches, still looking awkward.
KIRI: Have you been here before? You look pretty familiar.
GLEN: Uh, been in the area, but not this place.
KIRI: Huh. Maybe I've seen you at the general store or something?
Glen heads off for a walk. Levi is sitting alone on the riverbank nearby, and Freya walks over and sits next to him, saying she'd have joined him if she'd known he was here. Levi explains he just wanted some time to himself.
FREYA: Yeah. Or it's because you know the truth. I mean, you've barely said three words to me since we got here.
Levi falls silent in anticipation of what Freya will say next. She sighs.
FREYA: I like you. I didn't plan on it. But it's happened, so... can you please stop being so weird, and just talk to me?
Levi smiles nervously at her.
In the common room, Aaron is reading 'Never Let Me Go' by Kazuo Ishiguro, one of the books that Dean gave to David, perhaps in a bid to better connect with his husband.
Nearby, Kiri and Nicolette are flirting again, as they prepare for a game of darts. They play paper, scissors, rock to decide who will go first - Nicolette wins, and Kiri jokingly accuses her of cheating, calling her 'Little Miss Air- Dry'. Unable to concentrate on the book with all the noise, Aaron leaves the room. Nicolette tells Kiri not to worry; Aaron is 'usually a teddy bear wrapped in muscle.'
KIRI: What about Glen? He seems to keep to himself a bit?
NICOLETTE: No, Glen's a good guy, he's just... he's been through a lot, too. He's battled a lot of demons in his past.
As Nicolette talks, we cut to Glen sitting on a rock by the river, taking one of his shoes and socks off. Back in the common room...
KIRI: Sounds like he could do with a spiritual intervention.
NICOLETTE: Couldn't we all?
KIRI: Either that, or take some time out tonight and soak up the moon. It always centres me.
NICOLETTE: Ah, so you've got a thing about the moon *and* the bush?
KIRI (laughs): Uh, kind of. My middle name, Hua, means 'moon'.
Back by the river, Glen is soaking his feet - and we close in on the foot with the moon symbol tattoo. Glen looks pensive as he gazes at it...
Coming up on Neighbours
- 'So you like red plumage?' Nicolette says to Kiri, flirtatiously
- Kiri asks who Isla is; Nicolette explains she has a daughter
- Levi admits to Freya that he's been avoiding her, and tells her about Ned and Harlow's chat with Gareth
- Freya angrily tells Levi that Ned and Harlow are lying; Gareth would never say anything against her
- Gareth himself arrives at River Bend - and pulls a gun on Levi! He tells Levi to get in the water, now