Toby and Katie are still hunting for clues, but Katie sighs that they haven't found one for *ages*. Toby indicates the leaves on the ground and tells Katie that the blackmailer stepped on them: if they take them home, they'll probably find footprints... fingerprints... *everything*! Katie retorts that that doesn't necessarily mean they're *his*; she thinks they should just give up and go. She looks at her watch and realises Helen is picking her up from school at 4:30 and she's not even *there*. The two of them start running across to the street, but as they do so they almost collide with a postman on his bike. As he pulls the bike to a sudden halt, Katie stares at him and then exclaims in shock:
Mr. Landers stares back at Katie for several seconds and then gives her a hug. Katie asks him why he isn't at home in Adelaide - and what's he doing with a postman's uniform on? Sidestepping the question, Mr. Landers asks Katie what she and her mate - who Katie introduces as Toby - are doing there. Toby explains that they're playing detectives. Katie adds that Helen is getting blackmailed for a whole lot of money. Toby goes on that this is the house where they've got to send it, so they're looking for clues. Looking slightly shifty, Mr. Landers asks if they've *found* any clues yet, but Katie admits that they haven't. She then asks:
KATIE: Dad, where's mum?
Mr. Landers sits on his bike looking awkward. He climbs off and asks Toby to excuse him and Katie. He then takes his daughter to one side and tells her that her mum's at home in Adelaide. He goes on:
MR. LANDERS: You know how I was having trouble getting work over there? Well I thought I'd come over *here* and try for a job. Got one, too: postie, see?
KATIE (happily): Great! Wait until I tell Todd and Aunty Bev!
MR. LANDERS (quickly): No! Don't do that.
KATIE (looking puzzled): Why not?
MR. LANDERS: Well, um, Aunty Bev might think that I've come to take you away - and that'd only make her unhappy, eh? We don't want that to happen, so why don't we - just for now - make it our little secret, eh? Just you and me.
KATIE: Can't I even tell Todd?
MR. LANDERS: Not for a while. In a week or so, after I've got my job under control, I'll come and visit you both. That'll be a big surprise for Todd, won't it?
Katie gives her father a kiss and Mr. Landers suggests that she'd better run along home. He reminds her to keep his being there a secret. As she and Toby walk off, Mr. Landers stands there looking relieved.
Mike is playing with Jamie on the floor of No. 28 when Des comes in with a lop-sided bowl he's cast! He asks Mike if he likes it. Mike nods uncertainly that he does! Des announces that he's going to make one for everybody in the street. Mike muses:
MIKE: That ought to make you really popular...!
Des picks Jamie up and sighs that all this relaxation stuff has got him really whacked. Changing the subject, he asks Mike when he's going to get his uni results. Mike replies that they should be out in the next day or so, but even if he does really well, he might have to wait a couple of months for a school. Des accepts this and turns his mind to what colour he should glaze Mike's bowl!
Jim is sitting on the couch, massaging Beverly's shoulders, as Todd tells them about a kid at school being caught for smoking. Nick announces that he's heading out to see Scott. As he opens the front door, Katie and Toby come in with Helen, who announces that they're safe and sound - although they forgot she was picking them up, as they weren't at the oval when she arrived. Katie asks if Toby can stay for tea. Beverly and Helen get up to prepare it. Todd and Jim head out to play football. As Toby goes to ring his mum to see if he can stay, Katie reminds him not to tell anyone about seeing her dad.
TOBY (indignantly): What do you think I am?!
Des is musing to Mike about the pots he's going to make for each neighbour. The 'phone rings and Mike answers it. He listens and then exclaims:
MIKE: Today? ... That's unbelievable! ... You've got to be joking ... Yeah, all right, OK. I'll speak to you later.
With that, he hangs up and tells Des that that was Neil from the uni: the exam results have been posted up on the board today. Des asks Mike how he went. Mike, however, sighs:
MIKE: Des, I don't know if I want to talk about it.
DES (threatens!): Look, Mike, I'll take my pot back off you! Now, how did you go?
MIKE (a grin appearing): I got through - with two distinctions!
Des beams that that's fantastic!
Tea over, Jim is about to take Toby home. Katie reminds him not to forget about 'you know what'. When Jim and Toby have gone, Todd - who overheard - asks Katie what 'you know what' is. Katie retorts that it's none of his business. Todd warns her that he'll tickle her if she doesn't tell! He then carries out his threat! As Katie bursts into giggles, she gives in and says:
KATIE: I'll tell, I'll tell!
Todd stops tickling her and she adds:
KATIE: You're probably going to find out anyway. Dad's here.
TODD (disbelievingly): Pull the other one.
Katie explains that it's true, and she tells Todd about how she and Toby met him outside the house where Helen had to send all the money and about how her father made her promise not to say anything. Todd exclaims that she's making it up: she's stayed out in the sun too long at the sports carnival. Katie, however, insists:
KATIE: I didn't. I saw dad, and if you don't believe me it's your bad luck, not mine.
As Mike washes dishes, he tells Des that he's going to be on the Department's doorstep tomorrow morning to find out what appointments there are. Des, however, is more interested in whether he should put a design on his pots! The doorbell rings and Des answers it to find Scott on the step. He says:
SCOTT: G'day, Des, how are ya? What's cooking?
They walk over to the kitchen counter where Des indicates the pot he's thrown and replies seriously:
DES: *That*. That is what's cooking - or it will be tomorrow, when I fire it. What do you reckon?
Scott looks at the lopsided pot in amusement. He then stutters:
SCOTT: It's, er, it's, it's good, Des. It's really good!
Des smiles that he thought it had a certain originality. Scott adds that it's really exotic; he likes it a lot! Looking pleased, Des declares:
SCOTT: You can have it, mate.
Scott, however, tells Des that he's grateful, but No. 24 is pretty chocker. Mike turns round from the sink and Des realises:
DES: Oh sorry - I gave it to *you*, didn't I?
MIKE: Don't worry about *me*, Des. I can see that Scott really wants it!
SCOTT (to Mike): I wouldn't want to take it off *you*. *You* have it.
Des says quickly that there's no need to argue: he'll just go and make Scott *another* pot. With that, he heads out the back, leaving Scott to ask Mike:
SCOTT: Is he all right?!
Changing the subject, Mike offers Scott a beer, explaining that he's celebrating his uni results:
MIKE: I'm now a BA DipEd official, thank you!
Scott offers his congratulations! Mike says he's going to go down to the school tomorrow to find out what vacancies there are, then he's going to take the whole day off to rage. He adds that he'd ask Scott to come along, but he knows he's up to his armpits in those articles. Scott, however, sighs that he's got writer's block. Mike asks what brought that on. He adds:
MIKE: Wouldn't have anything to do with that, er, 'research assistant' of yours, would it?
SCOTT (snaps): Don't be ridiculous.
Todd is talking to his mother on the 'phone, asking her how his dad is. He listens and then exclaims:
TODD: Why didn't you tell us? ... No, he hasn't rung here.
Katie joins him as he says his goodbyes and hangs up. Todd tells her that she was right: their dad took off two weeks ago and their mum hasn't seen him since. Out in the lounge room, Helen is musing to Jim and Beverly that she can't help wondering why Hilary had to dash off so suddenly. Jim comments that she was looking quite flustered. Helen asks if it could be the money. She adds that she thinks she might cash in her investments as soon as possible and pay her back. Todd listens from the kitchen as Helen sighs:
HELEN: When is this whole thing going to be over?
JIM: I think Bill Mooney's on the right track: it could well be someone in the Post Office system.
A look of concern crosses Todd's face as he hears this. Katie asks him if they shouldn't tell someone that they saw dad. Todd, however, says quickly:
TODD: No! No. Look, just let *me* handle it, OK?
With that, he goes to head to bed. As he says goodnight to Jim, Beverly and Helen, Helen remarks that it's a bit early for him to be going to bed. Todd tells her that he's got to get up at 6am to go for a run. Looking worried, Helen says she doesn't think he should; not at this time. Todd, however, says he'll be with six other guys and a coach; it'll be OK. Jim says he's sure Todd will be all right.
The next morning, Des is playing with Jamie when Mike emerges from his bedroom. Des remarks to him that he thought he'd have gone by now, but Mike explains that the office doesn't open until 8am. Des muses that he hopes Mike isn't shipped to Timbuktu! Mike asks Des what *he's* going to do today. Des replies that he's got to finish Scott's pot, then he's got to go into town and pick up those Japanese language tapes.
MIKE: Japanese, huh? Start off with something easy, why don't you?!
Todd is standing outside the Post Office. As his father emerges through the front door, Todd calls to him and Mr. Landers looks round in surprise. Seeing Todd there, he remarks grimly that Katie blew their little secret, eh? Todd explains that he rang his mum as well: she's pretty freaked out about Mr. Landers taking off. Mr. Landers tells Todd that he had his reasons for that. He then asks Todd in concern if he told his mum or the Robinsons about him being there.
TODD: No - I wanted to give you a chance to explain.
MR. LANDERS: Look, mate, you know I've been giving your mum a hard time. Well, I just felt she'd be better off without me for a while; at least until I got myself together. Look, I can only tell you what I told your sister: I'm trying to get a fresh start. I want us to be a family again - you know: together - and I can only do that by standing on my own two feet. Now, you're older than Katie; you ought to be able to understand that.
TODD (pointedly): You could've got a job in Adelaide - or don't they *have* postmen there?
MR. LANDERS: I tried. Nobody's hiring. I couldn't get any overseas contracts—
TODD: I reckon it's just more convenient to work in a Post office near Helen.
MR. LANDERS (sharply): What are you talking about?
TODD: You sent that letter, didn't you?
MR. LANDERS: What letter?
TODD: Oh come off it, dad - you're trying to get all that money off Helen. You wrote that letter and you rang her up. You threatened to hurt me and Katie if she didn't pay.
MR. LANDERS: Who do you think *you're* playing: the Secret Seven?
As Todd goes to walk away in disgust, Mr. Landers asks quickly if Helen posted the money. Todd nods that she did. Mr. Landers cries that he *needs* the money; he needs to get a fresh start; the Robinsons don't need it - they're fine - and that letter was just a bluff: he wouldn't hurt Todd or Katie; he *loves* them.
TODD (angrily): I don't believe *you*. You screw everything up: you hurt mum, you—
MR. LANDERS: All right, all right, just let me get the money, all right? I'll go out west; I'll clear right out of your life for good, if that's what you want - but you've got to give me a chance: keep quiet 'til I'm gone.
TODD (sadly): Why should I?
MR. LANDERS: I'm your father. Doesn't that *mean* anything?
TODD (shaking his head): Not to me it doesn't.
MR. LANDERS: What about your sister, eh? How's *she* gonna feel if I end up in jail? Come on - let me get clear.
TODD (coldly): Just don't come near any of us ever again.
With that, Todd walks off, looking worried and upset.
A short time later, Todd marches into No. 26 and Jim asks him how his run was. He snaps that it was OK. Helen warns him that he'll be late for school. Jim tells him to go and have a quick shower. Todd, however, demands suddenly:
TODD: Why didn't you tell me and Katie that dad had left home?
Jim looks at Helen, who asks Todd curtly how he knew that. Todd explains that he rang his mum last night. He adds that he knows he's not supposed to... Helen explains that they didn't want to worry him until they knew if it was permanent. Jim tells Todd that his mother's not sure *where* his father's gone; he may have gone to get a job, in which case he'll be back soon. Todd mutters that he and Katie should have been told. He heads off for his shower, leaving Helen to sigh to Jim that the kids probably wonder if they'll *ever* be going back to their family again. Jim tells her that he thinks they're better off there in Erinsborough.
Mike is mopping the floor of the Waterhole when the door opens and Poppy comes in with Stavros. She introduces the two guys to each other, but Stavros tells her that they've already met. He then tells Mike that he'd like to apologise for that fight he had with Scott: it was really stupid. Mike comments that Stavros is telling the wrong guy. He offers Poppy and Stavros a drink. Stavros asks him if he works there, but Mike explains that he's just earning a bit of extra pocket money - although he's soon to move on to bigger and better things.
POPPY (realises): You passed your exams, didn't you!
POPPY: And you've got an assignment?
POPPY: That's fantastic! Where?
MIKE: Well, my old stomping ground, Erinsborough High: they had a place, so I start next week.
Poppy and Stavros offer their congratulations. Poppy then tells Mike that he's not the *only* one with news: she and Stavros have got some too.
Sitting at the kitchen table with Jim, Helen asks him if he thinks she did the right thing sending that money. Jim sighs that he doesn't know. Todd wanders over and listens as Helen comments that the money doesn't seem important when the kids' lives are at stake. Jim responds that it's going to put a strain on Helen financially. Helen spots Todd standing there and smiles at him that money doesn't matter: in *her* book it's *love* that counts - and he and Katie know how much they all love them. Todd just stands there uncertainly, looking worried.
Scott and Mike are standing at the dining table with Des, who has made another lopsided pot and has placed the two pots he's cast side by side! Des asks them both which one they want, adding that, if they choose, they can pick a colour. Mike remarks that it's a difficult decision. Scott adds that they're both outstanding! Des tells them that he won't influence them: he'll leave them alone to make a decision! With that, he walks off, leaving Scott to ask Mike how long Des is going to keep this up.
MIKE: Oh, until he runs out of friends or enthusiasm; whichever one comes first!
SCOTT: Knowing Des's enthusiasm, it'll definitely be his friends!
Grabbing his motorcycle helmet, Mike suggests they get out of there: they have some heavy partying to do. Scott teases:
SCOTT: You're right back where you started: old Erinsborough High!
MIKE: Get lost! I would've taught *anywhere*, man! Just lucky I got a local school: Mrs. Nicholls has gone on maternity leave.
Changing the subject, Mike then says:
MIKE: Hey, I saw Poppy down at the pub before: she was telling me the amazing news about her and Stavros getting engaged.
Scott stops in his tracks and stares at Mike, looking shocked. He murmurs eventually:
SCOTT: Engaged? She can't do that.