- John and Paige find a photo of John with a mysterious man at the Geelong hostel
- The search for the stranger begins, as Paige enlists Bailey's help to trawl the dark web for him
- Learning that the man's name is Dustin, Paige and John arrange to meet him tomorrow
- Ben is worried about how Tom Quill will react if he finds out some of his cash has gone
- Angus tells Ben he won't get him to give the money back by being nice to him
- Piper tells Brad that she thinks Ned may be responsible for the explosion
- Brad struggles to believe it, but Terese convinces him they must tell the police what they know
- Furious that Brad went to the cops, Ned concludes that Brad thinks he blew up the hotel
Erinsborough Police Station
Piper, Lauren and Brad are waiting for Ned to come out of his interview. In the meantime, Lauren has told Brad Ned's explanation about why he lied about his whereabouts on the day of the blast - so that when Ned eventually emerges, Brad apologises for screwing up. Ned explains that the first aid lady has verified his story about him punching Brad's photo, meaning that he's off the hook.
Piper hugs Ned, apologising for getting him into trouble. Ned seems forgiving of her, but is far less so of Brad.
BRAD: I know I've got a lot to make up for.
NED: Yeah, like thinking I was a murderer?
BRAD: I just wanted to know what really happened.
NED: What, so you went to the cops? You could've just asked.
BRAD: I tried.
NED: 'I tried.' You know how pathetic you sound? Lauren was the only one with any guts to ask me what really happened. I can understand Pip, but you? I thought you trusted me.
Lauren says they should go and discuss it calmly at home.
NED: No, you know what? I'm done. I didn't have a father when I was a kid. I don't need one now.
Breakfast- time at the Kennedys'. Aaron has used the last of the milk, much to Ben's annoyance. Susan tells Angus that Sarah has emailed her, wishing him luck on his first day at school.
ANGUS: So she's too busy to call me now?
Karl says he's sure Angus will hear from Sarah soon, but he's not convinced. Once Angus is out of the room, Susan asks Ben to keep an eye on him at school. Ben thinks Angus can look after himself, pointing out that Sarah clearly thinks so too. But Susan says she has a good reason for leaving him here.
SUSAN: I just need you to be the bigger man today, Ben.
BEN: I agreed to let him stay, but I don't have to like the guy, do I?
SUSAN: He's not as confident as he seems, Ben.
BEN: He's really got you sucked in, hey?
Ben leaves the house, closely followed by Angus.
Ben meets Xanthe and Piper and seems keen to get them walking to school, but Angus quickly catches up, and has his eye on Xanthe.
ANGUS: Wow. You look absolutely smashing. Almost as good as your latest pics online.
XANTHE: Oh, please, I just woke up like this!
Having made a quip about how the girls are more welcoming than Ben, Angus asks Xanthe if he thinks the kids at school will give him a hard time about being the new kid, and his 'weird accent'.
XANTHE: If Ben and Piper can set the whole school on fire and come back, I reckon you'll be fine.
Annoyed that Xanthe's spilled the beans to Angus about the fire since he wasn't previously aware of it (and now seems rather pleased to be), Piper reminds Xanthe not to go on about it. Piper asks Angus, and Xanthe, not to bring it up at school, or on the internet.
XANTHE: Aaron handles all my social media stuff now, so I don't stick my mouth in my foot.
Piper gives Ben a despairing look.
Brad comes to speak to Ned in the garden, trying to make amends after reporting him to the cops. Brad tells Ned to 'let me have it', adding that he wants him to be honest.
NED: Okay. I think you called the cops because really, you don't want me here. Too honest?
BRAD: Why would you think that?
NED: I stayed to see if you were the same man that walked out on me and Mum. Turns out you are.
BRAD: You've hardly given me a chance!
NED: You've had enough chances, Brad. I'm going back to Sydney.
Lauren comes out, as Ned criticises Brad for never showing up on his birthdays or at Christmas. Brad apologises, but Lauren intervenes, saying she's sure Brad did try to see Ned. But Ned insists that Brad abandoned him and Beth for his new family with Terese.
NED: Admit it! You never knew where I fit in - I was never good enough.
Ned storms off inside.
LAUREN: You have to tell him the full story.
LAUREN: He needs to know that Beth made it all but impossible for you to have any contact with him.
BRAD: Then he's just gonna be mad at Beth.
LAUREN: I know you want to protect him. But at what cost? He hates you instead.
BRAD: I can live with that.
LAUREN: But Ned can't. That's the point I'm trying to make.
BRAD: I let him down - I need to own that. Throwing Beth under a bus is not gonna make it any better.
Xanthe is showing off her revamped social media pages to Angus, while Ben looks moody. He reminds them that they have an English exam today and should be focusing on that.
ANGUS: He has no chill.
XANTHE: That's just Ben!
To make matters worse, Xanthe then teases Ben by saying nobody at school likes musos. Angus laughs, as Ben walks out in a huff.
Paige and John are updating Mark on their search for John's identity, and their location of Dustin Oliver via the dark web. Mark's keen to meet Dustin so they can close John's case file, but Dustin hasn't got back to Paige and John yet about meeting up. Mark reminds them that a lot of criminals use the dark web, but Paige points out that computer nerds do, too.
PAIGE: We used our judgement to find him, and we'll use our judgement when we meet him.
Mark tells them to be careful.
Paige is attacking her punchbag, when Mark shows up. He says he's worried about her; she's spending a lot of time with John. Mark asks Paige outright if anything's happened between her and John, and she says no. Mark's concerned by how John reacted when Tyler surprised him, and also by the lengths Dustin went to hide himself online.
MARK: I think you just need to take a step back until you find out more about who John is.
He points out that John turned up unannounced the day of the hotel explosion, but Paige reminds Mark that John has an alibi.
PAIGE: So you're telling me not to trust my instincts?
MARK: Your instincts have been wrong once before.
PAIGE: I appreciate you trying to help me find John's identity. But my relationship with him is none of your business. So butt out.
MARK: Okay. You just need to be careful, alright?
PAIGE: Okay. Bye.
Ned is sitting at a table looking pensive. Jacka turns up - he asks Ned if he still wants to have 'that catch- up with Mick'. But Ned explains he's leaving town today, explaining how Brad accused him of blowing up the hotel.
JACKA: But Paul Robinson was arrested for that.
Ned explains how Brad reported him to the cops but that he's been cleared now. Jacka opines that that's 'rough', and tells Ned to get in touch next time he's in town. As he leaves, Jacka looks back intensely at Ned. Meanwhile, Piper has come in and overheard that Ned is leaving, and sets about convincing him to stay.
PIPER: Families aren't always easy. I was never close with mine. Not until Mum had her breakdown.
NED: Was that after he left her?
PIPER: Yeah. I get now that Lauren makes Dad happy. But the way that all happened was really rough. I mean, that's when Mum started drinking.
NED: And you had to deal with that?
PIPER: Yeah, I guess. Me, Josh and Imogen - we tried not to take sides, but then Dad saved Lauren instead of Mum in the school fire, and that was really hard to take.
NED: Sounds like he was just as selfish towards your mum as he was towards mine.
PIPER: People stuff up. Sometimes badly. But he's really trying to make an effort, okay - especially with you. Just give him a chance. Stay.
Erinsborough High School
Angus is turning on the charm, picking Xanthe's birthday as the date for his locker padlock combination, and then taunting Ben about the fact he's hanging out with her. To make matters worse for Ben, Jayden Warley's hitherto- unseen girlfriend Sharn shows up, and starts picking on Ben.
SHARN: Jayden's only just got off his good behaviour bond because of you.
BEN: Because of me? He falsified evidence, Sharn.
SHARN: Only after you framed him for burning down the school!
BEN: I didn't frame anyone.
SHARN: What kind of headcase starts a fire, anyway? You're pathetic.
Angus can't keep from smiling.
ANGUS (to Ben): Sucks to be you.
But Xanthe sees that Ben's upset and tells him to ignore Sharn. Ben then walks off with Piper, and tells her he's not worried about Sharn - it's Angus who's pushing his buttons.
PIPER: Why don't you like Angus?
BEN: Want a list?
PIPER: Well, I could guess. He's conventionally good- looking, charming - makes Xanthe laugh...
BEN: Look - Angus stole my share of Tom Quill's money.
PIPER: What? Why would you do that?
BEN: It's like he gets off on making my life hell.
Ben explains he's searched Angus' room, so he must have hidden it somewhere. Piper tells Ben he can't let Angus get away with it.
Terese has joined Ned for a coffee. She's disappointed he's giving up on his relationship with his dad, and says Brad tried really hard to be a part of his life. Lauren, who is hovering, initially warns Terese not to say any more, but then decides she's doing the right thing.
NED: What am I missing?
LAUREN: For goodness' sake, you deserve to know everything. It was your mother, Beth, who stopped Brad from visiting you.
TERESE: She even moved house once without telling us. Brad came back to Perth devastated because she wasn't returning his calls.
NED: That's ridiculous. Mum would never do that.
TERESE: He even kept up with your schooling. Called your teachers once a year.
NED: I don't remember that.
LAUREN: Maybe it was in your mum's best interests for you and your dad to be estranged.
Ned's sceptical. Terese suggests that Ned call Beth and ask her.
Meanwhile, Paige shows up to meet John - Dustin has been in touch and says he wants to meet. Paige says she's coming with him; she wants to know his real name, history and family. John is clearly nervous and emotional, but Paige tells him he has nothing to lose.
Erinsborough High School
Susan is surprised to see Angus wandering the corridors alone, rather than with Ben who's supposed to be showing him round. He asks where biology is, and she points him in the direction of the Only Classroom™.
Xanthe turns up and walks with him; Angus admits he doesn't want to be here, but thinks Sarah has dumped him with the Kennedys because she's fed up of him getting expelled. Xanthe says it's a good thing, as it means they can hang out together.
Meanwhile, Brad talks to Piper at the lockers. She's upset about Ned leaving, especially after Josh's death and Imogen's departure.
BRAD: Permission to break the no- hugs- at- school rule.
Piper glances around, then lets him off, just this once.
PIPER: I love you, Dad.
BRAD: I love you too.
In the kitchen, Ned informs Lauren that he's spoken to Beth - and she's admitted making it difficult for Brad to see him when he was younger. Ned says he feels like he understands Brad better now, but says he still shouldn't have split up their family in the first place. Lauren says he was young and made mistakes, like she did and like Ned has.
NED: I've been angry at him for so long. When I got here - when I heard about Josh - I tried to let go of that. But it just takes one wrong thing for him to say or do, and I lose it.
LAUREN: Well, you've got to learn to control that.
NED: Easier said than done.
LAUREN: Every time these feelings come up, you need to talk to someone.
NED: You really want to sign up for that?
LAUREN: I've done a pretty good job so far, haven't I?
NED: You have.
LAUREN: Walk away now, and you'll never know if you could've worked things out with your dad. Can you live with that?
John and Paige arrive at a bench by the lake, where they've arranged to meet Dustin. John's decided that whatever answers Dustin gives him, it's better than not knowing.
PAIGE: I trust my instincts. I think I would know if you were some creepy lowlife.
However, she does admit that Mark has warned her to be careful around John. John doesn't blame him, saying Mark's just being a good friend. But Paige admits she and Mark used to be engaged.
JOHN: Well, he's an idiot for letting you go.
PAIGE: How do you know it wasn't my fault?
JOHN: I trust my instincts too.
Paige tells John they'll be okay whatever happens, and holds his hand.
Erinsborough High School
Angus finds Ben opening the combination padlock on his locker, realising that of course Ben would know Xanthe's birthday.
BEN: I want the money you stole.
ANGUS: The money you stole first, right?
Angus opens his locker to reveal nothing but schoolbooks.
ANGUS: You're so desperate - it's kind of sad.
Ben grabs Angus by the collar and slams him against the lockers, demanding to know where the money is - but Susan sees the confrontation and intervenes, telling the boys to explain themselves.
ANGUS: He's embarrassed because we're fighting about a girl we both like. Ben's known her longer, so he thinks he should ask her out first.
Nearby, Xanthe hears this and smiles.
SUSAN: Is that what happened?
SUSAN: Well I suggest you find another way to sort out your differences. Now get back to class.
Once everyone else has gone, Ben tells Angus not to drag Xanthe into this.
ANGUS: I just think she's cool.
BEN: You only want to be friends with her to annoy me, don't you?
ANGUS: And who says I only want to be friends?
BEN: Now I get why your mum was so keen to dump you. She obviously wanted to get as far away from you as possible. And who could blame her.
Giving him a last shove, Ben walks away, leaving Angus looking upset.
Brad turns up at Harold's to talk to Ned and Lauren. Ned explains that, after talking to Lauren and Terese, he's changed his mind, and will be staying in Erinsborough for a while longer. Brad and Ned shake hands, but Ned says they still have stuff to work out. Brad promises not to let him down. Ned leaves, and Brad thanks Lauren for convincing him to stay. Outside, Ned looks pleased with himself.
Mark has just bought some takeaway coffees. Terese walks in, and Mark asks if she's seen Paige. Terese is distracted, and admits she's still finding her feet after all the tragedy. Mark says he understands.
MARK: I remember how weird it was after we lost Kate. Everyone else's lives go back to normal.
TERESE: Hmm. Do you ever think about karma?
MARK: I try not to.
TERESE: Brad's son Ned - he blames me in part for his parents' marriage ending.
But she suddenly interrupts herself, and says she won't bother Mark with her thoughts. She tells him that she saw Paige and John down by the lake. Mark leaves, and Terese orders a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, to take away...
Erinsborough High School / No 28
Susan is on the phone to Karl, talking about the animosity between Ben and Angus and whether there's more to it. Susan wishes that Sarah had told him about the cancer treatment, so he'd understand why she left him here. Karl suggests they could tell him, but Susan reminds him that they promised Sarah. However, she does say she'll email her and ask her again whether they can tell him.
John and Paige are still waiting, and Dustin finally shows up.
DUSTIN: Jay! (J!)
Dustin seems really happy to see John/Jay/J. But before he can give them any useful information, a uniformed Mark turns up with his coffees.
DUSTIN: What's going on?
JOHN: That's just Mark.
But Dustin suddenly breaks into a run, and Mark, dropping the coffees, chases after him.
JOHN: Running from the police. What a great start.
Erinsborough High School
Susan accosts Ben, telling him that she's had a report that there are matches and lighter fluid in his locker. She asks him to open it. Finding that the report is indeed true, Ben immediately suspects Angus of setting him up. Angus and Xanthe walk past; Susan tells them to keep moving, but Angus has spotted the lighter fluid.
ANGUS: Seriously? One fire wasn't enough?
Ben sees red, and lands Angus a punch to the stomach which has him doubled over in pain. Susan looks very angry!
- Aaron encounters Scotty T from Geordie Shore
- Xanthe tells Angus that she knows how it feels to be a loser; he says she's the coolest girl here
- Ben tells Xanthe that Angus is trouble, and to stay away from him
- Mark tells Paige to stop ignoring the warning signs about John
- Paige finds John looking glum at The Only Bus Stop™