- Elly assures Susan she's been completely professional with Piper
- Elly enlists Ned to help her get a copy of the nasty vlog Piper made about her as evidence
- A woman named Bree tells Ned he'd better be just friends with Elly, or Regan won't be happy
- Paul invites Madison to sing at the opening of the restaurant, but Terese has booked her already
- Paul accuses Terese of trying to sabotage the Flame Tree opening with her 'stupid bird race'
- Xanthe is horrified when she sees Madison leading Ben to his bedroom, assuming they're TITTNL™
Sheila is spooning out seeds for Gary's pigeon.
SHEILA: This damn bird could open its own paleo restaurant.
Xanthe comes in, looking upset.
XANTHE: Do you think Father Jack would teach me how to be a nun?
She tells Sheila that Ben and Madison are hooking up. Sheila's shocked, saying Madison's a bit old for Ben, but Xanthe insists it's true.
XANTHE: She's basically the most perfect person in the world.
SHEILA: Perfect people do not cut each other's grass. Anyway, wasn't she supposed to be giving you advice about Ben?
XANTHE: Yes, and she told me that I should wait for Ben to come to me. So I was waiting for him, outside his front door, and I saw them both go into his bedroom together!
SHEILA: Oh, love!
XANTHE: Why would she do this to me?!
A tearful Xanthe storms off.
The titles roll.
Erinsborough High School
Susan is surprised to find Piper litter-picking after hours. Piper claims that Elly has forced her to do it all week as a punishment.
PIPER: I didn't officially apologise for the whole vlog thing.
SUSAN: I'm disappointed, given I specifically asked you to.
PIPER: I know. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. She set me up to look like a psycho.
SUSAN: I'd really hoped we'd put this whole matter to rest.
PIPER: Yeah, well you might've, but I'm still suffering. Miss Conway hates me.
Looking concerned, Susan tells Piper to leave the rubbish, and asks for her English assignment which is due, saying she'll pass it to Elly.
PIPER: Thank you. Can't wait for another C minus (!)
Piper walks off, and Susan looks thoughtful.
Brad and Toadie finish up a game of pool, while Karl, Ned and Elly watch. Toadie raises a toast to the 'blushing groom', Brad.
KARL: And to the two best-looking groomsmen a man could ever have.
Karl is referring to Toadie, and of course, himself. Brad takes Ned aside for a word in private, and asks him to be his best man. Ned looks less than elated.
BRAD: This wedding isn't just a step forward for Lauren and I - it's a step forward for us as a family. And as my son, you're an important part of that.
NED: Wouldn't you rather someone else? Things haven't always been smooth sailing between us.
BRAD: And that's on me, okay. And I don't want this to be another thing we miss out on. Come on, mate, what do you say?
NED: Yeah, of course, I'd be honoured.
They hug, and everyone celebrates. They start discussing theme ideas for the buck's party, inspired by Brad's 'beach bum' days. When Brad says the wedding's already expensive enough, Toadie says the groomsmen will cover it - and Karl looks horrified!
TOADIE: I'm thinking big too. A fire pit, mai tais and a pig on a spit.
KARL: A whole pig?!
When Ned suggests they hire a whole chorus of hula girls, it all gets a bit much for Karl, who's sure Brad wouldn't want anything so extravagant.
KARL: After all, this isn't his first buck's night, is it?
But Elly and Toadie are keen that Brad should make it big. As Karl continues to listen in horror, something catches his eye behind them - a poster for the pigeon race, with a $5,000 grand prize!
Lauren is working behind the counter, and watches as Paul comes in and angrily accosts Gary for being behind the pigeon race that's ruining his restaurant launch.
PAUL: Oh, for god's sakes, It's absurd! And if your job is worth anything at all, you'll put a stop to it right now!
But Gary is unwilling to do that, having just spent a fortune on biodynamic seed for Lassiter's the pigeon!
PAUL: You've called your bird Lassiter's?!
GARY: It's the flagship bird for the race!
Gary suggests Paul just change his restaurant opening date. But Paul isn't willing to let Terese win, and tells Gary he's going to regret this! He marches out, just as Terese and Piper come in with a pigeon in a box. Terese mockingly shouts after Paul to come to the race tomorrow.
Ben and Madison come out of No 28 - and we join them halfway through what initially seems like an eyebrow-raising conversation.
MADISON: I didn't expect someone of your age to be so... experienced.
BEN: I've had a lot of practice by myself. It's different with someone else.
MADISON: I think we work well together.
BEN: Yeah! You're really good.
MADISON: You're just saying that.
BEN: No, I mean it. You've got a great voice and you're a natural at jamming. That's rare. You are going to slay at the pigeon race day.
MADISON: Hey. *We* are going to slay.
Sheila emerges from No 26 and watches the pair talking.
BEN: Do you think she'll like it?
MADISON: Are you kidding? Xanthe is going to die! You're serenading her! That's, like, the biggest romantic gesture ever!
BEN: I just hope she doesn't think it's too weird. I mean, you're the one who's actually singing.
MADISON: Yeah. But a song you wrote for her.
BEN: A song that Xanthe thinks I wrote for Alison. Maybe it's just too messed up.
But Madison thinks it's 'wonderful', and can't wait to see Xanthe's face. Madison hugs Ben, and Sheila fumes in the background.
Karl has taken the poster down and is explaining to Toadie, Ned and Elly his plan to win the pigeon race in order to pay for Brad's buck's night.
TOADIE: I hate to point out the obvious, but you kind of need a pigeon for this competition, Karl.
KARL: They're everywhere. I'll just catch one.
TOADIE: No, not a regular city pigeon! You need a trained bird, you nong.
Elly suggests that Karl buy a pigeon from Gary. Karl drags Toadie off to help him do just that. Elly has to leave too, and kisses Ned goodbye. But Ned's old acquaintance Bree is back, and sees the kiss. Once Elly's left, she approaches Ned.
BREE: That looked cosy.
NED: What are you doing here?
BREE: Just checking in. Regan knows you're here.
NED: So? I told her I was coming to see my dad.
BREE: She misses you. She wants to meet up. Looks like your 'friend' has a serious crush.
NED: You say anything about her to Regan?
BREE: Why would I? You said nothing was going on. You wouldn't lie to me, would you?
Ned looks worried.
Elly comes in, and Susan asks if they can talk about Piper. Susan explains she saw Piper picking up rubbish, and says that the week-long punishment was excessive. Elly claims she only asked Piper to do it for a day - she must have misunderstood. Susan warns her she needs to be 'crystal clear' with students when setting punishments. Elly promises it won't happen again, and goes to her room.
Ben comes in, and Susan asks if he has his English paper. He says he was just about to give it to Elly, but Susan asks if she can have a look at it first.
BEN: I hope you're not gonna make this a thing?
SUSAN: No, relax, it's a one-off! Although since you're being so helpful, I wonder if you could do me a favour? If you're willing?
Terese is asking Lauren what kind of food she could pull together using truffles, for the pigeon race ceremony. She claims she has 'a bit of a surplus'.
LAUREN: I thought this event was gonna be low-key?
TERESE: Yeah. Well, that's before I decided to completely annihilate Paul.
Sonya comes in. She's carrying a parcel of books which she explains she's sending to her half-sister Zoe - her bone marrow transplant has been a complete success, she tells a pleased Lauren and Terese. Terese asks if they discuss Sonya's speech for the pigeon ceremony tomorrow. Sonya says they can 'walk and talk', and they leave.
Ned comes in, with baskets Lauren needed for the food for the ceremony. Lauren can tell something's wrong.
NED: Do you remember the ex I mentioned?
LAUREN: The one who gave you a lock of her hair?
NED: Yeah, that one. She wants to see me. The thing is, she wasn't exactly honest with me when she told me she was single.
NED: Yeah. And when I tried to put the brakes on she got really possessive.
LAUREN: And now you're with someone else.
NED: Yeah. And she's not gonna like that.
Lauren suggests that Ned should tell Elly about all of this, as secrets have a way of coming out.
Xanthe is playing what sounds like a dirge on her euphonium, and Sheila is unpacking some shopping, while Gary imparts his pigeon wisdom on Karl and Toadie. He explains how the race will work - an official will drive them down to Geelong in the morning, and the birds will then fly back to wherever they get fed. Gary is confident nothing will stop his pigeon, Lassiter's, from winning.
SHEILA: Nothing except an eagle, some power lines, low-flying plane...
KARL: That's a bit morbid, isn't it?
TOADIE: Not nearly as morbid as this music. When's the funeral?
SHEILA (to Xanthe): Oh, love, keep it down! She's going through a rough trot!
Gary says he has some pigeons he can sell Karl and Toadie. Karl says he wants the alpha bird, and will pay whatever it takes! Toadie's jaw drops open!
Karl reports back to Susan.
SUSAN: You're a what?!
KARL: A pigeon-fancier.
SUSAN: Ooh, that doesn't sound like something anyone would want to be.
KARL: I've got an idea you will be too, soon. You were very fond of Dahl, I recall.
SUSAN: Oh, a pet galah's very different from a dirty pigeon!
KARL: Quite right. This dirty pigeon's gonna earn us a good deal of money. It'll pay for itself in no time.
SUSAN: Hang on - you *paid* for this bird?
KARL: Yeah, it was a bargain!
SUSAN: How much?
KARL: Darling - you will not believe how much I saved us. A good racing pigeon costs tens of thousands of dollars.
SUSAN: How much?
KARL: Five hundred dollars.
KARL: I know, who can believe it?
SUSAN: I can. You were scammed.
KARL: You'll be laughing on the other side of your face when I win that race and bring home five thousand dollars of prize-money.
SUSAN: So if I went to the Complex and got a pigeon, would you give *me* five hundred dollars?
KARL: You have no vision. This animal is 95 percent muscle. It's pure athleticism.
Karl heads over to the Cannings' to check on his new pigeon, 'Snowflake'!
Paul is trying to convince Madison to cancel her gig at the pigeon ceremony, in order to come and play at his restaurant opening. But Madison says Terese booked her first, and tells Paul to let it go. Paul storms out, but Sheila, who was watching, comes over to talk to Maddie.
SHEILA: You may as well go and sing at his dump of a motel, because this pub is too good for the likes of you!
SHEILA: You heard me! No-one wants you here!
MADISON: Are you firing me?!
SHEILA: Too right I am!
SHEILA: Because you have breached the standards of our morality clause! You can't backstab and act like a little tramp!
MADISON: Am I missing something?
SHEILA: Only a well-paid gig! Maybe you'll think twice next time you steal your friend's boyfriend!
Sheila stomps off, leaving Maddie looking ultra-confused.
Susan asks Elly how Ben and Piper did in their English assignments. Elly says Ben got an A, but Piper got a C. Susan reveals that she read Ben and Piper's assignments - they both deserved an A, she says. Elly says marking is subjective and stands by the grades. But Susan reveals she switched the papers with Ben's permission, so that Elly thought she was marking Piper's, and vice versa.
Elly says Susan had no right to do that, but Susan says she needed to put Piper's claims of being undermarked to the test. Susan asks if it's possible Elly is being biased towards Piper.
ELLY: If I have it wasn't intentional.
SUSAN: Oh, Elly. I've been a teacher for a long time. I get it, I do; sometimes there's a student who just rubs you up the wrong way. But it's your responsibility to detach from those feelings.
ELLY: It's not always that easy.
SUSAN: It doesn't matter. Your behaviour towards Piper was completely unprofessional. The detentions, the low marking, the bullying -
ELLY: I never bullied her!
SUSAN: Elly, you're the teacher. You have the power, and you abused it.
ELLY: Am I fired?
SUSAN: No, you can stay at the school. But you will have to undergo counselling.
Elly thanks Susan and promises it won't happen again - but Susan says there's something else she needs to do.
Presently, Brad and Piper arrive at the house, and a contrite-looking Elly explains to Piper what's been going on.
ELLY: We've had issues since the moment we met. And despite my attempts to remain professional, it seems I have let these issues get in the way of how I treat you at school.
ELLY: After some reflection, I can see that I have been marking you unfairly, and disciplining you without due cause. There's also a really strong chance I called you a skank. I apologise.
Susan apologises too, for not having seen it sooner. Brad apologises to Piper also.
BRAD: How can you do this? You are supposed to be her teacher!
ELLY: I didn't realise I was doing it.
Piper looks highly sceptical. Susan explains Elly is now on probation and will have to get counselling, while Piper can remain in Elly's class if she wishes on the proviso that Susan marks all her work instead of Elly. Susan will also regrade the existing work. Piper agrees to this course of action, and on being offered the chance to take the matter further, hesitates before saying she doesn't.
PIPER: Just as long as Miss Conway doesn't bully anyone else again. (...) And now that everything's out in the open, maybe we can work on things between us. I mean, after all, you are my brother's girlfriend. Well, for the moment.
Brad gives Piper a look.
Xanthe is at work when Ben comes in.
XANTHE: Oh. No girlfriend today? (!)
BEN: Are you talking about Maddie?
XANTHE: Yeah. It's fine, I get it. And I wish you both all the happiness in the world.
BEN: Is that why you got her fired?
Ben has a go at Xanthe, accusing her of being behind Sheila's decision to cancel Maddie's gig. Ben explains Maddie called him in tears after Sheila shouted at her. Xanthe admits that she told Sheila she saw Ben and Maddie together, but would never have conspired to get Maddie fired. Ben doesn't seem to believe her, however.
BEN: I thought you were better than this. I can't believe I was gonna...
XANTHE: You were gonna what?
BEN: Doesn't matter. You're too petty. I'm done with hanging out.
XANTHE: So that's it? We're not even friends anymore?
BEN: You see me at the race tomorrow, just walk away.
XANTHE: If that's what you want.
BEN: It is.
Xanthe storms into the kitchen, and Ben walks out.
Elly is admitting to Ned what a mess she's made of the situation with Piper. She admits she called her a skank and lied because she knew she was in the wrong, but claims that with the marking and disciplining, she couldn't see what she was doing.
NED: Not even when Piper complained? Or when Susan looked into it the first time?
NED: I just wish you could've been honest with me.
ELLY: Are we over?
NED: We all make mistakes. We'll just put it behind us.
Ned is about to make a confession of his own, presumably about Regan, when Elly interrupts by kissing him and telling him how great he is.
ELLY: I don't deserve anyone as genuine and as understanding as you. What were you gonna say before I interrupted you?
NED: Nothing. Just - we all do things that we regret.
ELLY: Not you. And that's all that matters to me right now.
Elly hugs Ned. He sees a text appear on his phone from Regan saying, 'Missing you,' and he quickly turns it off before Elly sees.
Paul is handing out leaflets promoting the Flame Tree's signature dish for tomorrow's opening, the Tasmanian truffle risotto.
PAUL: Fifty per cent off with this flyer.
TOADIE: No can do, Paul, sorry. We've got a couple of *flyers* in the big race tomorrow.
KARL: Yes, and why would we pay for truffles when The Waterhole's giving them away for free?
Karl points to the poster for the pigeon race, which advertises 'free truffle tasting'. Terese, who is listening nearby, smirks.
PAUL: They can't do this!
TERESE: Well, we already have. The order came in about an hour ago.
PAUL: No, hang on. Truffles feature in a number of dishes I've got planned for my opening!
TERESE: Oh, well I hope you've made your order! Because we're expecting big crowds tomorrow. And I'm afraid we may have bought out the entire supply in Melbourne.
PAUL: Oh, you think you're so smart, don't you?
TERESE: No, just smarter than you, Paul. You see, this race has captured Erinsborough's imagination. Everyone's gonna be here, spending up big. Cheering on our flagship bird, Lassiter's.
PAUL: Oh, what, that ball of lice Gary owns? I don't think so. People don't give a rat's.
TERESE: Oh, no, no - she's the highlight of the race. People have a lot invested in her.
Terese begins to pretend to cry.
TERESE: So unfortunately, the only booking you're gonna have tomorrow is a sad little table for one!
PAUL: Oh, I don't have to listen to this!
Paul storms towards the exit, while Toadie and Karl watch with amusement.
TOADIE: Well, you really put the cat amongst the pigeons there, didn't you?
Toadie, Karl and Terese all laugh. But Toadie's quip has given Paul an idea...
Paul is lurking around outside No 22.
PAUL: Here, kitty, kitty, kitty! Puss, puss, puss!
Clementine the cat starts meowing from behind the gate.
Paul creeps into the house with Clementine in his arms, and walks towards the pigeon cages.
PAUL: Look at that, Clementine! An all-you-can-eat buffet!
The pigeons look worried.
- Piper wonders how a cat could open a latch; with help, Sheila concludes
- Terese accuses Paul of using a cat as an assassin
- Toadie asks what became of the pigeon remains. Sheila replies, 'I took care of them! More pie?'
- Mark warns Ned he could be in a world of danger. Ned insists he has it sorted; Mark's not so sure
- Ben tells Susan that Xanthe's deader to him than Karl's pigeon!