- Dee asks Andrea why she's asked her to visit; Andrea claims she just wanted to say sorry
- Later, Dee tells Toadie she's thinking of visiting Andrea again; he wants no part in it
- Andrea asks Dee if she could bring a picture of Hugo for her next time she visits
- Elly decides to let Aster live with the Kennedys and Bea rather than remaining in prison
- Susan loses her temper at Mackenzie, telling her not to be so damn selfish
- Claudia tells the Kennedys she's lodging an interim parenting order for Aster
- At the family court, the Kennedys are shocked to learn Sam Fitzgerald is Claudia's lawyer
- Sam presents a compelling if distorted argument, and the judge awards custody to Claudia
Toadie has joined the Kennedys, Bea and Aster for a debrief following the court judgement. He says there will be a chance to review the court order in twelve months or when Elly gets out of jail, whenever that will be. He's already lodged the paperwork for the appeal against her sentence, he explains, and now they are waiting to hear back.
Susan decides she can't tell Elly the result of the custody hearing over the phone; she'll have to go to the prison and tell her in person. But Toadie tells her they need to get Aster to Claudia first, by five o'clock.
BEA: Can't we have her for one more night?
TOADIE: I'm sorry.
BEA: Is Claudia even set up for a baby? Does she have a crib, a change table, all of that stuff? There's no way that she's ready.
SUSAN: I suspect she's been ready for weeks. Hiring Sam Fitzgerald was not an accident.
TOADIE: And being so far ahead with her business plans, too.
BEA: So she's been playing us this whole time?
KARL: At least she's living locally and she's granted access.
TOADIE: Claudia has to adhere to the parenting order, as do we.
SUSAN: Except she has all the power.
They decide to start getting Aster's things together.
Sam is with Claudia, discussing the case.
SAM: Jarrod Rebecchi was out of his depth. He should've stuck to tax law.
CLAUDIA (laughs): He certainly seemed rattled. They all did.
SAM (laughs): Yeah, it was priceless.
Claudia fetches Sam a drink; Sam remarks that the penthouse is a 'haven' compared to what Aster's been living in!
CLAUDIA: Yeah, poor little thing. Jail, and then the Kennedys'! Well, now she's back where she belongs. Thanks again.
SAM: We took some risks, but they've paid off.
CLAUDIA: Well, at least now I know that she's going to be safe and secure.
SAM: It's a pity that you didn't cut the Kennedys off entirely. You know, I reckon you would've had a good chance.
CLAUDIA: I don't want anything going wrong down the track when we go for permanent custody.
Elly is pacing up and down the cell, while Andrea lies on her bed. She tries to reassure Elly that 'no news is good news' as regards the custody hearing, and that it probably means Toadie's putting up a big fight for Aster. But Elly doesn't look so confident.
Bea, Susan, Karl and Toadie leave the house with Aster, and boxes full of her possessions. Dee turns up and realises what's happening. She says it's so unfair, and hugs Susan and Karl, saying how sorry she is that they've lost Aster. They load up the car.
Toadie asks Dee if everything's okay with her. She says, 'it can wait', and Toadie promises to call her later when he's free; he's accompanying the family to drop off Aster with Claudia. Dee looks worried as everyone else drives off in the car.
Bea, Susan, Karl, Toadie and Aster enter from the lift; Sam is still with Claudia as they bring Aster's things in. Bea gives Claudia a scarf that she says needs to stay in Aster's crib, as it has Elly's scent on it and it's important for bonding.
CLAUDIA: She will still see her mother.
SUSAN: Once a week.
SAM: As per the agreement.
SUSAN: We currently take Aster to see Elly every day - she's breastfeeding.
CLAUDIA: And I'd like to keep her on breastmilk. So I'll speak to Elly and make regular pick-ups (...) for a month or so. And then, I might consider putting her on formula.
BEA: Shouldn't that be up to Elly to decide?
SAM: Claudia is now the legal guardian. It's her right to make all decisions regarding the child.
TOADIE: Till Elly gets out of jail.
Claudia suggests they come up with a visiting schedule for the family, but Susan tells her that now is not a good time. Claudia seems keen to end the current visit, so Karl and Susan bid Aster an emotional goodbye, before Claudia takes Aster out of Susan's arms.
CLAUDIA: Does Elly know yet?
BEA: We're about to break the news.
Claudia looks conflicted.
A sombre Karl, Susan and Bea are waiting in the visitors' area. Elly comes in.
ELLY: Where's Aster?!
SUSAN: I'm so sorry.
ELLY: What happened? What went wrong?
KARL: Claudia's case was stronger than we suspected.
Karl explains that they've had 'unpleasant' dealings with her lawyer Sam in the past. Elly looks angry and disbelieving.
ELLY (to Bea): You convinced me Aster was better off with you guys! I never should've listened.
BEA: Claudia got into my head. I'm so sorry, Elly.
ELLY: She has been planning this the whole time.
KARL: It looks that way, yes.
Bea passes Elly a photo of Aster, and Karl says Claudia will bring Aster to visit once a week.
ELLY: Once a week?!
Elly looks forlorn.
Later, Andrea is in the cell when Elly comes in, looking miserable.
ELLY: Claudia got her.
ANDREA: No - what? No, the Kennedys are model citizens! How'd they lose?
But Elly breaks down on her bed. Andrea doesn't know how to react, and looks perhaps slightly guilty for her (as yet undiscovered) role in this.
ANDREA: It's gonna feel like this for a long time, okay, but... it gets better, I can tell you that.
ELLY: Once a week. Once a week for the next three years is all I'm gonna see her!
ANDREA: It's better than nothing, hey?
But Elly is in floods of tears. So Andrea goes over and sits on the bed with her, insisting she'll get through this.
ANDREA: I can tell you that, cos I did. And you are just as strong.
She hugs a sobbing Elly.
The next day, Claudia and Sam have met up again, and Sam is having a celebratory champagne to mark their legal success. Claudia's sticking to tea, having been up late trying to settle Aster last night.
Sam asks if she needs to 'worry about any loose ends'; Claudia tells her it's all sorted, and that she can send her invoice. They agree to reconvene when the courts are ready to review the order, and clink their drinks just as Susan and Karl come in. Susan comes over, angrily.
SUSAN: Celebrating, are we?
SAM: Well, I did have a win yesterday.
SUSAN: Which you gained by denigrating me and my family.
SAM: Nothing I said was untrue, Susan.
SUSAN: Oh, you twisted the truth! You used the trauma that we'd been through as a weapon!
SAM: The judge looked at the facts and declared you an unfit guardian. And denying it like this only proves my point - you're mentally unstable.
SUSAN: And you're a disgusting human being.
Karl has come over to join in.
KARL: Come on, Samantha - you call yourself a professional? You used our personal life, and Susan's MS, for heaven's sake.
SAM: I was doing my job.
SUSAN: No. You have always held a grudge. This was your chance to come after us.
CLAUDIA: If I'd known about the history, I would've found another lawyer. I hired Sam in a hurry.
SUSAN: I don't believe you pulled this together in a few hours. Your case was far too detailed.
SAM: Well, believe it. I'm that good.
CLAUDIA: I never meant for any of this to get personal.
SUSAN: That's exactly what you meant.
Karl encourages Susan to walk away, and she does. Sam smirks as the Kennedys leave.
Andrea is pleased to have another visit from Dee - but Dee explains she's only come to tell her that she hasn't been able to ask Toadie for the picture of Hugo, as she promised.
DEE: It's not something that Toadie needs to think about right now.
ANDREA: Yeah. I get it.
DEE: I'm sorry.
ANDREA: Nah, it's alright. It sounds like Toadie's got a lot on, with Elly's case.
Andrea admits Elly's not been in a good way; she's been trying to help, and got the girls in the kitchen to make her a special brekkie, but she didn't eat it. It's recalled for Andrea the first few days when she was missing Hugo, she says; it hasn't been easy reliving it with Elly.
ANDREA: I know I agreed to Toadie taking custody of my boy, and I've made my peace with that - and I'm really grateful that he's living with his dad, you know? That's he's safe. Doesn't stop me missing him, but.
DEE: It must be really hard for you.
ANDREA: Sometimes I just lie down, and I close my eyes - and I just imagine him, snuggled up next to me.
Andrea's getting emotional, and Dee looks sympathetic.
ANDREA: Just haven't seen him in such a long time. Sometimes I worry that I'm remembering things wrong - that, umm, maybe he's hair's darker, or lighter...
She starts crying.
ANDREA: Yeah, it's just forgetting stuff like that that makes it really hard being in here.
Dee catches up with Toadie in the courtyard, explaining she's been at the prison. He doesn't seem thrilled, and remarks that she's clocking up the visits to Andrea.
TOADIE: Hope she's not guilting you into going?
DEE: No, no.
TOADIE: Yeah? No pressure at all?
DEE: Nope. She did ask me to ask you something, though. But I told her the answer's no.
TOADIE: Yeah? What does she want?
DEE: Just a picture of Hugo.
TOADIE (angry): Absolutely not! And, see, this is what she does! She starts off small, she chips away at your defences, and then just weasels her way in.
DEE: I shouldn't have said anything.
Toadie apologises, saying Dee did the right thing in telling him. But he says that Dee had the right instincts in saying no to her.
Susan, Karl and Bea are talking about the run-in with Claudia and Sam just now. Karl thinks they should've walked out of the pub the moment they saw them, but Susan defends her decision to say something, saying she's allowed to feel angry. Karl agrees, but says they shouldn't give Claudia more ammunition.
SUSAN: After what she's put us through, what, you want to play happy families?
KARL: Yes, I do!
KARL: Darling, we have to think about what's at stake here.
BEA: You know, I hate it as much as you do, but I think Karl is right. It's better to see Aster once a week than not at all.
KARL: We show up with a bad attitude, or we give Claudia grief, she may well reconsider.
SUSAN: No, she'd have to go through the courts again.
KARL: Sure, sure. But, hey, it worked out for her the first time, didn't it?
SUSAN: Yeah, but that's cos she's a conniving piece of work!
KARL: Yeah, which is why we have to be careful. We have to play by her rules, or we could lose what we've got.
But Susan doesn't like this, and walks out. Bea and Karl look worried.
Toadie is meeting with Elly in the visitors' area, and offers to lodge an application to appeal the custody order. But Elly isn't prepared to risk losing the access she already has to Aster by potentially making things worse. Toadie thinks it's worth the shot, but Elly says she can't take any more disappointment.
TOADIE: I don't want you to give up without a fight. You've got to focus on the future; that's the only thing that's gonna make life bearable in here.
ELLY: Well, I've made a new friend in here. Andrea is my biggest supporter - who would've thought?
TOADIE: ... You cannot trust Andrea. She always wants something.
ELLY: What have I got that she wants? Anything worth taking is already gone.
Claudia is at the gazebo, with Aster in her pram. Karl approaches.
KARL: I just wanted to apologise for Susan's outburst in the pub. She's having difficulty coming to terms with what happened yesterday.
CLAUDIA: She's hurt and angry.
KARL: Yeah, but she'll come round. She'll be fine by the next time she sees Aster.
Susan is nearby and overhears this conversation. She looks angry. Karl tells Claudia they'll fit in with her as regards a visiting schedule to see Aster.
KARL: It's all about this little girl now. Her needs come first.
CLAUDIA: I appreciate you saying that. Thanks, Karl.
It's clear Karl isn't happy about kowtowing to Claudia, but when he walks off and runs into Susan, she coldly asks him what he was doing talking to Claudia. He explains he was smoothing things over, and suggests they don't have this conversation in public where Claudia can see them.
SUSAN: You're worried that I'll have another public meltdown that she can use against us?
KARL: Yes! To be honest, I thought you were grossly misrepresented in that hearing yesterday - we know that Claudia and Sam can't be trusted. But she holds all the cards now.
SUSAN: So, what, we just fold?
KARL: Yeah, for now. It's the smart thing to do - in fact, it's the only thing to do. Which is why I went over there to play nice. And if you want to have a relationship with Aster, you're gonna have to do the same thing.
Toadie is with Dee again, and tells her that Elly has decided not to appeal against the custody order - so Aster will remain with Claudia for at least twelve months or until Elly's released. Toadie admits he'd be just as lost without Nell and Hugo.
DEE: She must feel dreadful. But at least she's in there with women who are going through the same thing. Like Andrea.
TOADIE: If Elly knows what's good for her, she wouldn't be looking to Andrea for anything resembling sound advice!
DEE: Come on, Toad. She's still a mum. A mum who's been separated from her baby.
TOADIE: ... You think that I should give her the picture of Hugo, don't you?
DEE: Yeah, I do. Andrea's gonna be behind bars for ten years. I hardly see how one photo's gonna cause any harm. It's your call.
Susan becomes emotional as she finds one of Aster's blankets, and holds it to her - then cries as she picks up one of her soft toys.
Claudia fusses over Aster with her toys, and kisses her on the head.
Elly is sitting on the floor by her bed, crying, as she looks at the photo of Aster.
Meanwhile, in the visiting area, Dee has brought Andrea the photo of Hugo that she asked for. Andrea is visibly delighted, and Dee admits she asked Toadie, but that it took some convincing.
ANDREA (emotional): I'm never gonna let this go. You doing this for me - it means so much... You're a good chick. The best. And no pressure or nothin', but... I feel really lucky, having you in my life. I like it.
Back in the cell later, Andrea comes in, still a bit tearful from her emotional meeting with Dee, and excitedly shows Elly the picture of Hugo.
ANDREA: He's so handsome, isn't he?
ELLY (depressed): Yeah, he is.
ANDREA: (...) You know what? You gotta keep your chin up, Elly. You know, stuff can change. I mean, look at me, yeah? A week ago, no visitors. Today, my sister's been - twice! You and me, we're gonna get our babies back.
ELLY: What are you talking about? We're gonna be in here for years!
ANDREA: A girl can be optimistic, can't she?
Andrea puts the photo of Hugo on the wall, next to the one she already has of her daughter Willow.
ELLY: You really think Toadie's gonna give you access to Hugo?
ANDREA: Elly, people can change. And when they do, you take advantage of it. Hm?
Elly looks worried, as Andrea kisses the photos of her kids.
Coming up on Neighbours
- Toadie tells Dee that what they have isn't normal
- Dipi tells Shane the atmosphere between Toadie and Dee is 'so thick you could trip over it'
- Out in the bush, Toadie tells Dee he's glad she's here - she agrees
- Dee asks Elly if Andrea's done something; Elly says she's sucked in a lot of people
- Andrea threateningly warns Elly that it wouldn't end well if she said mean things about her