- Mackenzie meets a newcomer who takes her fancy, by the name of Ed
- But who'd have thought he was one and the same as Holly's cheating ex- boyfriend, Eden?
- Leo offers 'Ed' a job at the vineyard following a hot tip from Mackenzie
- 'Ed' asks Mackenzie out to dinner, and she tells him she'd love to
- Reece enjoys meeting Byron's mum and having a tour of Ramsay Street
- Harold tells the Kennedys about his plans to go on a grand train tour of Australia
- Jane asks the Kennedys if Terese has tried to get them onside; Susan says not her, while Karl keeps quiet
- Toadie is pleasantly surprised that Terese will get free office space at Lassiter's
- But later, Reece makes it clear to Toadie that she's under the impression Terese is paying rent
- This leads Toadie to confide in Karl that he's worried Paul could still be in love with Terese
Susan is having a cuppa with Terese. They discuss Harold's train trip, which apparently he's embarking on in a few days' time. Susan is a bit worried about him travelling alone, but she tells Terese she is 'percolating on' a potential solution. Terese moves the conversation onto the job she's offered Karl.
TERESE: I understand that it puts you in a tricky position with Jane.
SUSAN: Well, it's not just that. I feel loyalty to the school.
TERESE: No, I know. But believe me, there's little chance that the education department's going to change their position.
SUSAN: I can see your point. But if there's a possibility, however small, that the school can stay open, then I'm going to support the school. I'm sorry. But rest assured, I will not try and influence Karl's decision.
It's all left fairly amicably and at that point, Toadie comes in, and Susan heads off. Toadie is looking worried, and Terese asks him what's wrong...
In Reece's room, she and Byron are lying on the bed together. Reece tells Byron that she really loved the 'tour of your world' he's been taking her on. He asks what her favourite part was.
REECE: Umm... it was split between the meat pies, your mom's fighting spirit, and the leaning tower of pizza boxes.
BYRON: Pretty much sums me up.
He kisses her, and then looks pensive.
BYRON: I wish I knew a little bit more about your world, too.
REECE: I've told you about my life.
BYRON: I know that you were born into money. But to get where you are now... how'd you manage it?
RRECE: I didn't really have a choice. I was thrown into the company straight out of college. My dad doesn't exactly hold your hand. It was sink or swim.
BYRON: How do you feel about him? Your dad, that is.
REECE: It's complicated. I mean, obviously I respect him, but he infuriates me, too.
She switches the topic back to Byron's world, saying she's up for seeing more of it. He holds her hand and gazes at her.
BYRON: I love you.
Reece looks surprised, and doesn't say anything in response - which quickly makes things awkward. Byron makes a rambling excuse to leave, grabbing his shoes as he heads out of the door. Outside the room, he looks very anxious about what he's just let slip...
Toadie has explained that Reece thinks she's paying for the office space in the Lassiter's Complex that Paul has given her for free, and says he's been thinking about why Paul lied to her.
TOADIE: One theory is you.
TOADIE: With you in the office, Paul can see you every day.
TERESE: Woah, woah, woah. Hang on, hang on. Are you suggesting that Paul still has feelings for me?
TOADIE: I don't *want* to suggest it...
TERESE: Babe! He was the one that left me at the altar! It was him - he was the one that decided that he wanted to be an eternal bachelor.
TOADIE: I know what Paul said. And I know that we have had a thousand conversations about it at the time.
TERESE: No, there's got to be another reason.
TOADIE: Paul can say whatever he likes. But you know him. You know that it's his actions that count.
Terese decides that they should go and see Paul, and see what he has to say about it.
Terese and Toadie march into Paul's office.
PAUL: Well, this looks serious. Not returning my wedding present, I hope?
Terese asks Paul why he lied to Reece about the office being paid for. Paul says it's because she doesn't need to know. Paul asks Terese why she's making such a big deal about it.
TOADIE: Because you're not being upfront. And history would suggest that when you are not, you're usually up to something. Well?
TOADIE: Do you still have feelings for Terese?
PAUL: What?! No, don't be ridiculous!
But he doesn't offer any further explanation, instead rushing out, claiming he has a meeting to get to. Terese and Toadie glance worriedly at one another.
Holly and Sadie are hanging out in the kitchen. Holly has got a text from Karl, asking if she'll be in tonight - one of several similar she's had from him recently.
HOLLY: It's almost like he wants the house to himself.
Mackenzie comes in, and is surprised to find Holly and Sadie there waiting for her. They explain they want to head to the vineyard for some drinks, which Mack quickly concludes means they want to check out 'Ed'. Sadie admits that they need to ensure he's up to 'the Mack standard'. Mack isn't keen, saying Ed's only just started his job at the vineyard and Leo is still training him, so it's not a good time. Plus...
MACKENZIE: It's not exactly going to look cool, given I've just come from there.
SADIE: It shows you're interested.
Mack reluctantly agrees, but hesitates over what to say in a text to him. So Holly grabs her phone, writes a concise message, then sends it. Reading it, Mack immediately goes into a panic spiral, worrying that Ed will think she's being too full on. But he soon replies, saying he'll reserve a table for Mack and her friends, and join them when they arrive. Holly and Sadie order her to go and make herself 'super hot'.
Susan is on the phone to someone unknown while she waits at the counter.
SUSAN: It is, it is. It's a beautiful piece, but I just have no need for it... Oh, great. Okay. Thank you, thank you. I'll be in soon...
She heads out with a takeaway coffee. Meanwhile at a table, a despairing Byron has his head in his hands as he confides in Haz about his awkward moment with Reece, and her lack of reply.
HAZ: *Do* you love her?
BYRON: Yeah, I do.
HAZ: But it's only been a few weeks.
BYRON: Yeah, but when you know, you *know*. And at least I know. Who knows what she's thinking (...) Have I totally freaked her out?
Reece is staring pensively into the mirror in her room.
Haz says he thought Byron was looking for a 'no- strings' arrangement. Byron says they had decided to leave it open- ended.
BYRON: I don't want to come across as some stage- five clinger.
Sitting on her bed, Reece opens a white box and stares at its contents, which aren't visible to us.
Byron worries that Reece will be packing her bags right now. Haz replies that there's only one way to find out what she's thinking - sooner or later, he'll have to face her.
Reece closes the box and looks worried, while underscore of intrigue plays.
Mackenzie, Holly, Sadie and Haz have arrived, and are at a table in the bar. We learn that Billie, who had earlier committed to coming along, is Not In This Episode™, which means Haz is even less happy about being dragged along than he was before. But Mackenzie is really keen for everyone to like 'Ed', and Haz assures her that he seems like a good guy.
Leo approaches, and reports that Ed is doing well so far, adding that he's sure he'll prove useful as the big whisky launch approaches.
HOLLY: You know, if you really want to thank Mack, some free drinks wouldn't go astray?
LEO: Nice try.
Holly gets a message from work, saying she's meant to be on a shift, but says no- one had told her. Eager to escape, Haz offers to drive her back, but Leo instead suggests that Holly try to arrange someone to cover her shift, to win brownie points. So she goes outside to make some calls.
While she's gone, Eden emerges, and joins the others at the table. He and Mack smile at one another, while Haz looks less enthused.
The Sonya Wall
Karl is helping out at the nearby Community Centre, sorting clothes donations for the Sonya Foundation, and is unloading bags of them from his car. Paul approaches, and Karl rather archly asks if he's here to volunteer. Paul is deep in thought, and Karl brings up the situation with Terese and the office space, explaining that Toadie has told him all about it.
PAUL: Karl, I was just honouring a promise I made, and they're making out that I've got some sort of agenda.
KARL: Well, you're not known for your altruism. Can't you see why they'd see it that way?
PAUL: Yeah, I suppose.
KARL: Then why did you do it?
PAUL: ... I still feel guilty about the way that I treated Terese.
KARL: This is after offering her the world's best divorce settlement?
PAUL: Karl, I will never stop regretting the way that I behaved.
KARL: Right. That's all it is? Well, some people might draw different conclusions, so you might want to sort it out.
Toadie comes in and tells Terese he's had confirmation of their appointment with Rhonda, the counsellor Terese recommended - presumably this is Rhonda Del Rubio, who gave Paul and Terese marriage counselling in 2022. Conversation moves on to Paul's reaction to their quizzing him earlier - Terese agrees with Toadie that it was 'so weird'. Nonetheless...
TERESE: I don't think he still has feelings for me. But I mean, I dunno, I can't go there - I can't even think about that.
TOADIE: What other explanation can there be?
TERESE: Well, I dunno. But I certainly don't want to be involved in something underhanded.
Toadie suggests she could find other premises, but since the Complex is a prime location for her office and she'll need to launch a showroom soon, Terese decides there's only one course of action she can take.
Haz, Sadie, Mackenzie and 'Ed' are still at the table. Sadie is grilling Ed comprehensively, including about his time in Tunisia.
EDEN: Is this some sort of an ambush or something? I'm starting to feel like I'm being interrogated.
MACKENZIE (glaring at Sadie): Oh, just nosy friends.
SADIE: Yeah, sorry. It's a bad habit I picked up from my dad. He's a cop.
Eden reacts to this information, but his smile just about remains. Sadie and Mackenzie go to find some menus, while Eden tries to engage Haz in conversation about the café. Haz humours him briefly, but then rather tersely makes it clear he's had a long day and doesn't 'really feel like talking shop'. Mackenzie and Sadie rejoin them. Eden says he has to get back to work, but says he'll see them when his shift ends.
Once he's gone, Sadie declares him 'hot as - for you, though', and Haz grudgingly agrees. Mackenzie looks happy.
With some trepidation, Byron returns to Reece's room, but pauses for breath before knocking. Reece emerges before he has a chance, and explains she was just coming to find him. He goes into a panicked spiel.
BYRON: I get that the L word's probably the last thing that you want to hear right now - and believe me, it's the last thing that I thought was gonna come out of my mouth, okay? And I could just *say* that it just came out, which it did, and I couldn't help it, which I couldn't. But I meant it, and I stand by that.
BYRON: Reece, before you break up with me, please just let me say this. We were good. We were fantastic. We were great, before I opened my big mouth. Look, we can go back to being great. No expectations, and no pressure... Look, I can deal with my feelings for you. But what I can't deal with, is not being with you. You know - the weeks, the months, the minutes, the seconds - however long that may be.
REECE: I think we both know geography is against us. And if I was a better person I would push you away. Because I think we both know we're only gonna end up getting hurt. But I can't help it. It wasn't a part of my plan, but I think I'm falling in love with you too.
Meanwhile, in Paul's office, Terese presents him with a cheque for six months' office rent plus a bond, telling him she wants to 'do this properly', and asks him to email her the relevant paperwork.
PAUL: I owe you an explanation.
TERESE: Oh, I hope it's not the same as Toadie's theory.
PAUL: No, no, of course not. I couldn't be happier for you and Toadie. I mean, I said that on your wedding day, and I'll say it again today. But I do still care for you. And honouring our verbal agreement about the office space, well, that's my way of showing it.
TERESE: What, so it's not the start of some warped attempt to win me back?
PAUL: No. I mean, admittedly, I have gone about it badly, and that's caused you to question my motives. But I'm really sorry, Terese, really. Can we just move on, hm? Put this behind us?
Terese's eyes narrow as she attempts to gauge him.
Karl is telling Toadie what Paul told him, about giving Terese the office space out of guilt.
TOADIE: So why didn't he just say that in the first place? Why is he being all strange and evasive?
KARL: Toad, is there another reason why you're feeling so insecure?
TOADIE: I trust Terese. I *want* to trust Paul...
Conversation moves to how things are going between Karl and Susan. Karl says they're back on track, mostly, and that Susan's been very understanding about Terese's job offer.
TOADIE: So why the 'mostly'?
KARL: Well, there's one area where the train's not quite back on the rails, so to speak.
He starts miming, and Toadie realises what he's getting at - it's clear from his expression that this is too much information!
KARL: Yeah, I've been trying to get us in the mood, but we're constantly getting interrupted...
At that moment, Susan herself walks in. She's bought Karl a present - train tickets!
SUSAN: If you're up for it, Harold would love you to join him on all three trips.
SUSAN: Well, you were so excited when he mentioned the trip, and we've all been very worried about him going alone.
KARL: Are you serious? These must have cost a fortune.
SUSAN: Yeah. Not much different to the cost of a diamond bracelet or two. I made some returns to the jeweller.
Karl tells Susan she's amazing, when prompted by Toadie, but suggests she come too. Susan says it's not really her thing - plus someone needs to stay and keep an eye on Holly. They hug.
TOADIE: Looks like the train is back on the rails!
Still in the bar with Haz and Sadie, Mackenzie keeps glancing around, hoping to catch sight of 'Ed' - but he's nowhere to be seen, which is convenient because Holly returns at this point, having found a possible shift swap, but is waiting for a callback. Mackenzie explains Ed will rejoin them after his shift.
HOLLY: Did you grill him?
SADIE: Yep. Just short of waterboarding.
HOLLY: Ooh, what did you find out?
SADIE: Oh, he travelled overseas for a little bit, but didn't have many details.
HOLLY: Maybe you *should* have waterboarded him.
Eden appears some distance away, unseen by Holly - but he sees her, and stays back. Holly gets her callback and heads outside again, at which point Eden comes over to the table. He apologises to Mack, but says Leo has asked him to make some deliveries, so he won't be able to join them after all. But he promises to call her later. Mack's disappointed, but pleased his job is working out.
Holly returns just after 'Ed' has left, and is disappointed to have missed him.
HAZ (grumpy): Oh, I'm sure there'll be plenty of others.
Paul is in the indoor space at the rooftop area, staring pensively at an arrangement of flowers - perhaps, we might infer, he is reminiscing about the day of his vow renewal a year ago. A staff member walks by, briefly distracting his attention - but when he looks back at the flowers, they have gone, and there is only an empty table.
As they sit down on the couch together, Terese tells Toadie that she talked things through with Paul, and is satisfied that he doesn't have another motive.
TOADIE: Sometimes I feel like it's just a bit too good to be true.
Toadie and Terese's dialogue continues as we cut intermittently back to Paul, who's looking wistfully at Terese's rent cheque.
TOADIE: It wasn't that long ago that you and Paul were about to renew your vows on the rooftop. And now, look at us. You and me.
Paul looks broken.
TERESE: Paul's happy. We're happy.
Terese and Toadie kiss.
TOADIE: You're it for me.
TERESE: ... And you're it for me, too.
They hug. But we can see over Toadie's shoulder that for Terese, it's a bit of a Worried Hug™...
Susan and Karl come in. Karl's pleased about the train trip, as it was always on his bucket list, but tells Susan he's going to miss her. They hug as she returns the sentiment (it's not a Worried Hug™ this time).
KARL: Just two more sleeps and I'm gone!
SUSAN: Haha. Well, I'd better make the most of you while you're still here, hey?
KARL: Yeah. Umm, did I... did I mention that Holly's out tonight?
SUSAN (missing the point): Oh. That's alright, I won't cook for her.
Susan gets ready to begin making dinner.
KARL: Tell you what - how about you look after the main, and, umm... I'll have a little think about dessert.
Susan agrees, and Karl dashes off into the bedroom. Susan's phone rings and she answers it.
SUSAN: Harold, hi - I just told him... Yes, he's absolutely thrilled! You are gonna have the most wonderful time... Well, I might've had a sneaky chat to the hospital before I booked the tickets. I know he's got a lot of leave due... Cape York? Well, yeah, I think he'd love that. Why don't you ask him yourself? I think he's around here somewhere...
She turns back towards the bedroom, and is shocked to see that Karl has returned - completely naked - with the Blue Box™ strategically placed in front of his nether regions!
SUSAN: Uh, actually, Harold - I think he's... organising dessert...
Susan eyes Karl with amusement, and perhaps a little greedily...
Byron and Reece come out of the lift into the lobby. While she prepares for an appointment at the day spa, he needs to get back to work.
BYRON: I don't want to get in trouble with the boss.
REECE (flirtatious): That can be arranged.
As Byron walks off, Reece sees two staff members nearby, sorting through lost property. One is Katrina, who engaged in a bit of a feud with Harlow in 2022, and the other is Sandy, who we haven't seen before. Katrina holds up a fetching necklace with a pendant in the shape of a half- sun, with rays only covering its right- hand edge and an indentation on the left, as if a piece is missing.
KATRINA: I'm half tempted to keep this for myself.
SANDY: Most of this stuff is basically junk.
KATRINA: But one person's trash is another one's treasure. I'm kidding - I know the rules. I'm not gonna keep it.
But the necklace has caught Reece's attention, and she stares at it intently - then quickly returns to her room. Dramatic music swells as she opens the white box again, and this time we see jewellery inside, including a smaller box with a chain in it. Its pendant has a crescent moon design - and Reece looks pensive as she recalls the sun necklace from downstairs. The two pendants look as if they would tessellate exactly...
Coming up on Neighbours
- Reece takes a sudden interest in hotel lost property procedure; Paul wonders why she's so interested
- We see Reece searching through boxes of lost property
- Toadie presents Terese with a pair of trackie bottoms; she asks if he's ever seen her wear any such thing
- Toadie claps encouragingly as Terese prepares to come downstairs in the trackies!
- A frantic JJ asks Dex what he's doing, warning him he's going to 'make them suspicious'
- JJ looking very concerned as Remi climbs into her car, and gasps as she sees what's on the passenger seat