- Jane wanting to get better before she sees Isla again
- Chloe telling Paul and Terese the staff aren't happy with Harlow's promotion
- Paul instructing Chloe to calm the staff down
- Chloe taking her concerns to the HR rep and Harlow overhearing
- Terese feeling angry with Paul for overruling her over Harlow's promotion
- Jesse informing the Lassiters team that the staff have gone on strike
Jesse informs Paul, Terese and Harlow that Rebecca from housekeeping is leading the charge, and that the staff will continue to go on strike until they're treated fairly. Harlow says it's obvious they're objecting to her promotion, but Paul thinks the staff should focus on their own jobs instead of hers. When Chloe reappears, Paul immediately jumps on her and says she's partly to blame.
PAUL: You were supposed to talk the staff down, not go to HR and make the damn thing worse!
CHLOE: Seriously, you're putting this on me?
PAUL: Yes, well if you'd gone into bat for Harlow's appointment like you were supposed to.
CHLOE: (raising her voice) It's not my job to defend this! You know what? I'm out! Fix this yourselves.
Terese tries to stop her from leaving, but Chloe's had enough and walks off. Harlow wonders what's going to happen with the rest of the staff, but Terese says they can't legally go on strike. None of that matters at the moment, however, as they have a hotel to run and nobody to run it. Paul says until they can get Rebecca to back down they're going to have to run everything themselves.
Number 32 Backyard
David and Aaron are happy to see Jane. She apologises for not coming over sooner but she needed time to clear her head. Jane says she's also been seeing a counsellor and it's proving to be a big help. David tells her it's a great step, and Aaron smiles and says Isla will be happy to see her nanna when she wakes up from her nap. Jane thanks the boys for being so patient with her - she's realised she's got a great support network around her.
JANE: Chloe has been a godsend. Even though obviously we're coming at it from different perspectives, we both have such complicated feelings about Nicolette leaving.
David diplomatically says it's nice to have someone around who understands. "It really is," Jane smiles.
Lassiters Hotel Foyer
Terese tends to guests at the front desk, apologising to them for the wait. Roxy arrives with Kyle and is beyond amused to see Paul doing grunt work with the luggage, documenting it on her phone. Harlow thanks the couple for coming to help out. Roxy says she's happy to, but just needs to get over the shock of Paul getting his hands dirty for once.
PAUL: Are you here to help or be a comedienne?
ROXY: (unfazed) Haven't you heard of multi-tasking?
Kyle hauls some luggage up to level five with Harlow and Roxy, while Paul checks in with Terese. He gets a phone call from Lucy, who has heard about the strike, and tries to play down the severity of it. "I do not need you to take over, Terese and I have got it under control," he promises her.
Jane is happy to be having a cuddle with Isla in the back room. Aaron and David look concerned when Chloe suddenly arrives, clearly upset about something. She plonks herself down on the couch next to Jane.
CHLOE: I have officially had it with that man.
CHLOE: (giving an uncomfortable look David's way)
DAVID: Oh! Dad. It's fine, vent away. I'm Switzerland.
Chloe tells them that the backlash over Harlow has escalated into a strike and Paul's blaming her, even though he's the one that gave Harlow a job she never earned. Jane says they all know how "questionable" some of Paul's decisions can be. Aaron sympathises with his sister, but Chloe admits that the stupid thing is she still feels guilty for walking out. Jane says Chloe should help her with Isla's next feed while she's calming herself down. Chloe thinks it's a great idea.
JANE: She really is a bundle of joy.
CHLOE: Got some of that joy to spare, little Isla? Your Aunty Chloe could use some.
Lassiters Hotel Foyer
Terese thanks Jesse for sticking around to help them, especially since the other staff probably tried to pressure him into striking too. Jesse says they did, but he doesn't think they're going about it the right way. "Besides, you've looked out for me so much lately I'm just returning the favour," he smiles. Terese says she wishes she could get through to Rebecca - the HR rep didn't have any luck either. Harlow emerges from the lift and tells them that Roxy and Kyle are prepping some rooms for early check-in. She then goes over to Paul at the front desk to ensure that her job will remain safe.
HARLOW: They're complaining that you didn't follow procedure when you promoted me but they're on an illegal strike so it's hypocritical.
PAUL: Yeah I know, darling. I don't know how this is going to play out now that Lucy's breathing down our neck.
HARLOW: But I've done nothing wrong so why am I the one who loses out?
PAUL: And you shouldn't have to. I will handle it, all right, I promise.
As they head towards the elevator, Kyle appears to let them (and Terese) know he just ran into an unhappy couple whose breakfast never arrived. Harlow says they'll get Roxy onto it, but Kyle replies it's too late, they want to check out. "Oh great, so now we're losing money," Paul sighs.
Chloe and Jane are in a better mood after spending some time with Isla. Chloe thinks she better head back to work, but Jane tells her not to feel obliged: "sounds like Paul's in full tyrant mode". Chloe agrees, but she doesn't want to give Paul the satisfaction of knowing how much he's gotten under her skin. Jane says it's not like her to let Paul rattle her so much, but Chloe says she's been off her game lately.
JANE: He's the straw and you're the camel's back.
CHLOE: I wouldn't say I'm broken just yet.
JANE: Far from it. You have been incredibly resilient and I dread to think what kind of a mess I'd be if not for you.
CHLOE: I've hardly been a pillar of strength.
JANE: To me you have.
Chloe's just about to leave when she finds a parcel on the table near the door. Jane says it's something that arrived for Nicolette and wasn't sure if they should open it, but when Chloe's curiosity is piqued, Jane encourages her to see what it is. Jane soon has regrets, though, when she suddenly remembers what's inside: a ring.
CHLOE: Was this for me?
JANE: Nicolette was having it custom made. It's your engagement ring.
Jane feels awful for not realising sooner what the package was. Staring at the ring, Chloe tells Jane they're parti sapphires. She saw a ring just like it in the window of a jewellery shop ages ago and Nicolette must have remembered.
CHLOE: (upset) I've screwed everything up so badly!
JANE: Chloe don't go down that road.
CHLOE: No, I have done some seriously dumb and selfish things in my life, but this really takes the cake.
JANE: You mustn't punish yourself.
CHLOE: Not only have I thrown away an amazing life with Nicolette, but now you and Isla have lost your relationships with her too.
JANE: Chloe don't talk like that. We need to stay strong and get through this together.
Chloe says she's trying, but it's hard. Jane rests her head on Chloe's shoulder, offering her comfort.
Lassiters Hotel Room
Paul checks in on Roxy and Kyle, who are doing some housekeeping duties in one of the rooms. Roxy sassily asks if he's come to check if their work is up to scratch. "Can you blame me?" Paul retorts. "You don't even make your own bed at home." Annoyed, Kyle says he thinks Paul meant to say "thank you for helping us out", which Paul actually acknowledges and apologises. Terese finds them and says there's been a change of plans - the guests who booked the room have cancelled. Paul's indignant and tells her to charge a fee anyway, but Terese waived the fee because they heard about the strike. The last thing they need is more unhappy guests, they're skating on thin ice as it is. Terese asks Roxy and Kyle to set up room 306 instead. When they leave, Terese informs Paul there's been more cancellations and that they're haemorrhaging money. Also, Rebecca keeps refusing to meet with her.
TERESE: Meanwhile I'm dodging calls from Rose. I think the film festival have found out we've got issues.
PAUL: They wouldn't pull out now, surely?
TERESE: They might! Paul the only way out of this is to demote Harlow.
PAUL: No! No, I am not going to give in to the petty demands of insubordinate staff.
TERESE: Are you really that pigheaded enough to take a massive financial hit for the sake of your pride?
PAUL: No, for the sake of my granddaughter!
Over it, Terese walks out just as Paul gets another reminder on his phone about the loan repayment he owes this month. He quickly makes a phone call to someone. "Yeah, hi, I really hate to do this but I think I might need a favour," he tells the mystery caller.
Aaron brings Isla in after a nappy change just as David hangs up from a phone call with Leo. David's worried because Leo just rang after hearing from Paul. "He asked Leo for a loan," David says incredulously. Aaron states that it doesn't sound like Paul at all, especially asking his family for a handout. "Exactly," David replies. "And he asked for fifty grand, I can't make sense of it." Aaron thinks it might be due to the strike and Paul just wants a safety net. But David doesn't understand why Paul would ask Leo - he could just take up the loan they were approved for when they were going to buy out the Quills. Aaron reminds him that loans from family have lower interest rates than bank ones. As David continues to muse over things, Jane suddenly pops by to say that Chloe needs them as she's in a bad way.
Lassiters Hotel Room
Jesse finds Terese and Harlow making up one of the rooms and lets them know he found Rebecca. He tried to convince her to let everyone come back, but it's a no-go unless Harlow loses the executive liaison job.
HARLOW: What? Why do they all have it in for me?
JESSE: It's not personal, they just say they've been dealing with nepotism here for years and they've had enough.
TERESE: We already knew that was their issue. But Jesse's right, you can't take this to heart.
HARLOW: (haughty) A little support from you wouldn't hurt. I can tell you basically think they're right about me.
TERESE: Hey, this isn't about you. But their overall point is a fair one. If only your grandfather wasn't so stubborn.
HARLOW: You think I should just fall on my sword?
TERESE: If perhaps you were willing to tell them you'd step down-
HARLOW: No, Terese! I earned this liaison role through hard work and smart ideas. I'm not just going to give it up! Granddad said he'd fix this and he will.
Harlow storms out and Jesse chases after her.
On the phone with Leo again, Paul thanks him for trying to wrangle the books but quickly hangs up when Terese walks in. Paul asks if she had anymore luck with the staff, but Terese says no and that it's clear they're not going to budge. "So it's a standoff?" Paul states. "Well, I can guarantee we're not going to be the first ones to crack." Having had enough, Terese says it's time to admit that maybe the staff do have a point. Paul created the executive position specifically designed to give his granddaughter a leg up.
PAUL: Because she's worthy of the role.
TERESE: Well then she should prove herself by gradually climbing up the company ladder just like everybody else.
PAUL: I can't believe they've got to you.
TERESE: You know what, more to the point, I actually don't think you've done Harlow any favours. She's already started behaving like an entitled brat.
PAUL: That's being unreasonable.
TERESE: Enough! You've made a unilateral decision in promoting Harlow and now I'm going to do the same. I'm going to reverse it. Look, Paul, I don't want to hurt her either. But the bottom line is we can not afford this strike, unless you want me to go to the bank and take out that loan that we discussed.
PAUL: That's a bit drastic isn't it?
TERESE: How else are we going to keep our heads above water if this situation drags on?
Realising he can't argue with her, Paul says she's right, this has gone on long enough and they'll have to demote Harlow. "You can be the one to tell her," Terese says.
Terese accompanies Paul to tell Harlow the bad news. But before they can, Harlow happily informs them that she managed to convince three guests not to cancel and offered them reduced rates. And she's called in some of the more casual Waterhole staff to cover room service.
HARLOW: (smug) So basically I've been covering Chloe's job as well as doing my own. Now who hasn't earned their position?
PAUL: (uneasy) Yeah, uh, the thing is Harlow we can't really let this strike keep lingering on.
HARLOW: You're not going to take away my job are you?
TERESE: Look, at the end of the day the staff do have a point about the fact that you were promoted quite quickly.
HARLOW: But you promised!
PAUL: I know, and this is all my fault. But I'll make it up to you, all right. You will be back in a management position before you can-
TERESE: Let's not make any promises that we can't keep. Harlow, you're going to have to earn each and every step up through the ranks.
HARLOW: I already did! And the only reason I'm being forced to step back is so you two can save face.
She slams her laptop shut and leaves in a huff.
Chloe looks at the open ring box sitting on the bench. She tells Aaron and David that she knows it's silly to be cut up over a piece of jewellery, but the boys say it makes sense and everything she's feeling is valid. Chloe says the thought and love that went into the ring is such a huge gesture on Nicolette's behalf.
CHLOE: I was so lucky to be loved like that. And I threw it away. Nic believed in us completely but my doubts just wrecked it all.
AARON: Chlo, can we please not fall back into that self blame stuff. We need to look forward from now on.
Jane returns after making a phone call to Terese on Chloe's behalf, letting Terese know Chloe won't be returning to work today. David wonders what Chloe's going to do with the ring. Chloe doesn't know if she wants it, but says it feels wrong to get rid of it. Jane suggests that Chloe keep it in Isla's room for now, which makes Aaron and David look a tad uncomfortable, but David manages to say that it's a lovely idea. Aaron adds that it would be nice for Isla to have that connection with Nicolette. "Especially given we don't know how long they'll be apart," says Jane. Chloe hands the ring box to Aaron for safekeeping.
Jesse finds Harlow wallowing and says she's super smart and will work her way back up the ladder in no time. Harlow doesn't think she should have to, though, since she was already there. Jesse gets that it's frustrating, but he knows Terese was in a tough position and that she has to consider the other staff too.
HARLOW: They're just jealous that I've proven myself so fast.
JESSE: Or maybe it seems unfair to them that you were given the chance to.
HARLOW: Whose side are you on? Last week you were telling me to take this job because you thought I deserved it.
JESSE: I guess I didn't see the whole picture then. Think about it, for all we know there's a management genius out there who's been working as a cleaner for years and never had the opportunity to show what they're capable of.
HARLOW: (sighing) Yeah I guess it would have been more fair if granddad had created the role and had me apply for it. But actually, no, do you know what? Chloe's been handed things for years. She even got general manager when she was married to Pierce.
JESSE: Yeah but didn't you say that was a disaster? And she had to go do a course? She worked to prove that she deserved the job she has now.
HARLOW: Kind of annoying you're right all the time, you know that?
But Jesse says he's still got a lot to learn and they're both lucky they've got someone like Terese to help them. Harlow sees her family walk by and tells Jesse it's humble pie time. She walks over to Paul, Terese and Roxy and says she was upset but Jesse has talked some sense into her.
HARLOW: I've been a brat and I am sorry. I understand that none of this was your fault, so I'm more than happy to go back to housekeeping and pay my dues.
Terese is pleased and Roxy says on the bright side, Harlow still outranks her so she can keep bossing her around. Roxy, Harlow and Paul head into the hotel. Terese smiles and calls Jesse a miracle worker. She also knows he was the one to let Rebecca know about Harlow's demotion, so all of the staff are coming back to work ASAP.
Number 32 Backyard
David brings the baby monitor out to where Aaron's cleaning the BBQ and says Isla will hopefully sleep through to her next feed. Aaron says it was nice seeing Chloe and Jane have each other's backs before. David gets a text from Leo, who has told his brother he got another call from Paul to make sure he didn't tell anyone about the loan. Aaron just thinks Paul's embarrassed that he had to go begging for a handout, but David's concerned because Paul specifically doesn't want the loan news getting back to Terese.
DAVID: Why wouldn't he want her knowing of all people?
AARON: Look, frankly, I'm happier having no idea. Sounds like a classic Paul drama. The less we know the better. Switzerland remember?
Lassiters Hotel Room
Terese finds Jesse and thanks him again for all his help with the strike and getting through to Harlow. Jesse was worried he was sticking his nose in too much, but he's glad it all worked out. "That would have never happened in my messed up family," he adds. Feeling fond, Terese says she wants to take her boss hat off for one moment and give Jesse a hug. Jesse smiles and happily accepts as Terese says she's so glad he found his place here with them. Jesse says he is too. They break from the hug and Terese says she better get back to work.
JESSE: I'll catch you later.
TERESE: Okay, thanks Josh!
They both immediately freeze on the spot when they register Terese's faux pas.