- David bandages Cara's hand after a minor injury, and she assumes he's still a practising doctor
- Jane and Sam are pleased to learn that David, Aaron and Nicolette are moving back to Erinsborough
- The school protest sees alumni like Michelle Scully and Summer Hoyland return to support the cause
- Susan says her loyalty has always been with the school; Jane tells her now may be the time to prove it
- Jane tells Nicolette she couldn't be more proud of her for organising the protest
- Andrew turns up at the school site on police duty, annoyed that Wendy has kept her involvement from him
- As protesters storm the building, Terese decides to bring in her private security firm
- Nicolette asks 'What have I done?' as the situation spirals out of control
- Terese tears strips off Susan for 'joining this circus without warning me'
- During an altercation with Mr Muggleton, a security guard accidentally knocks Melanie down a staircase
- Melanie hits her head and is out cold, unnoticed at the foot of the stairs
Erinsborough High School
The protest continues in some areas of the building and outside, while elsewhere, Susan and Jane have confirmed that most of the classrooms are locked and that any damage is minimal. Jane decides to go and check her office before seeking out Melanie, who she thinks must be outside with her other set of keys.
As Jane heads off, a familiar face appears in the corridor - it's Susan's old friend and colleague Teresa 'Tess' Bell, formerly a teacher at the school. Susan greets her with a hug.
SUSAN: It's so good to see you!
TESS: When I heard about the school, I just had to come.
SUSAN: You're still teaching?
TESS: Yeah, well, some of us have it in our bones, don't we? Look, I just couldn't resist one last trip to Principal Kennedy's office.
SUSAN: Oh, Principal Harris's office now, I'm retired.
TESS: Yeah, but you're still here, defending the school, though. You had to be.
SUSAN: Well, this place means a lot to a lot of people, doesn't it?
TESS: Yeah, sure does.
Terese has appeared from a classroom at the other end of the corridor, and overhears this exchange between Susan and Tess. Terese moves off towards Jane's office - where she sees Jane through the window, sitting at her desk, crying... Terese looks conflicted, but walks away.
Meanwhile, in a darkened stairwell, Melanie is still lying unconscious. She briefly wakes, cries out in pain, and then falls into silence again...
Near one of the exits, Andrew and his colleagues are shepherding protesters out of the building, threatening to prosecute them with trespassing and affray if they don't comply. Outside, Nicolette tries to help calm things down, saying to the protesters that they've made their point - there's no need to get arrested.
Andrew asks Toadie, who has shown up, to go and 'take a look on the inside' of the building (though doesn't specify what for!) and then tells Wendy, who is nearby, that she needs to leave.
ANDREW: It's not one rule for you and another for everyone else.
WENDY: Excuse me! I'm not trespassing if I have Jane's permission to be here.
ANDREW: Do you want to tell that to the owners of the building that just got invaded, with your help?
WENDY: This was meant to be a peaceful protest, and you know it.
ANDREW: Well, look how that turned out.
Wendy walks off, annoyed. Andrew sighs. Meanwhile, back inside the building, Terese tells Toadie that she thinks almost everyone's out now; Susan and Jane can deal with the rest (!) But Toadie can tell something's wrong, and asks Terese to explain.
TERESE (upset): It's Susan. I'm angry she didn't warn me about the protest. And then for a minute she made me feel like things were getting back on track with Jane. And then I saw Jane in her office, and she was crying. She looked like she was broken. And then I saw this...
She shows Toadie an overturned locker unit which has the words 'Piper and Ben were ere' on the side. Piper, of course, is Terese's daughter who attended the school, and Ben is Susan and Karl's grandson.
TOADIE: What are you thinking, babe?
TERESE: (...) It's all a nightmare.
Elsewhere in the school, Jane has joined Susan and Tess for a chat in the corridor.
TESS: I can still picture myself here - 24, and no idea how to discipline a little so- and- so like Tad Reeves.
SUSAN: Oh, my goodness, Tad! I'm surprised he's stuck in your mind all these years.
TESS: Well, first and last time anyone sticks drawing pins in my blackboard duster. I was ecstatic when whiteboards came along.
Speaking of troublesome former pupils, Sue Parker suddenly appears!
JANE: Sue! How did you get in?
SUE PARKER: Oh, I just told the nice Sergeant Rodwell I'd only be a minute.
JANE: You know our local police officers?
SUE PARKER: Well, not very well. What are you insinuating? I'm just here to talk to the journalist. I was out shopping, and I heard her over the radio in the store.
Susan pointedly remarks that Sue Parker and her son Jayden would have been released from prison for a while now.
SUE PARKER: That was 2018, Susan. Another world. I'm surprised you even remember it. I barely do.
SUSAN: I don't know if your and Jayden's history is appropriate for Summer's broadcast.
SUE PARKER: Yeah, don't worry. I'll keep it clean. I have some wonderful stories about Jayden's time on the football team. (to Jane) But if you're interested in any creative suggestions on how to derail a development - purely hypothetical, of course - maybe you and I should catch up for a drink?
JANE: I think you have me mistaken for Terese Willis.
Later, outside the building, Jane is helping Andrew collect up some of the discarded placards that protesters have left behind. Jane says the groundskeeper is on his way to chain up the gates, and that she's managed to persuade Susan to go home and recuperate. Nearby, Terese is on the phone.
TERESE: Yes, I am on site. And no, I do not want to have a meeting with you! Goodbye, Sue.
TOADIE: Sue Parker? As in Erinsborough High's Hall of Shame?
TERESE: Yeah. Can you believe she's just tried to offer me her services in case I want to put something dodgy through the council (...) The way she was talking, it was like she assumed we were cut from the same cloth.
Toadie and Terese join Jane and Andrew at the top of the steps. Jane asks if either of them have seen Melanie - she's got Jane's other set of keys and isn't answering her phone. But nobody has and, feeling sure Melanie wouldn't have left without saying anything, suggests they should check the building for her. Toadie's sceptical that Melanie hasn't just gone home, but he and Terese agree to help search.
Toadie soon finds himself in the darkened stairwell, and is horrified to see Melanie lying unconscious at the bottom. As she checks her over and finds she's sustained a head wound, he quickly calls for an ambulance. She half- regains consciousness, again moaning in pain.
TOADIE: Melanie, stay with me.
But she falls silent again...
Nicolette is chatting to Aaron and David about the protest, while David plays with Isla. Nic is hopeful that the passion and turnout of the protest will count for something with the decision- makers - and she's going to tell Jane that she'll cover any damages.
DAVID: You reminded people about what's important to them. You should be proud of that.
NICOLETTE: Yep, that's my superpower. Pressing people's buttons.
AARON: The plan was to attract attention, which you did. I think Jane's gonna be grateful, even if it doesn't change anything for the school.
NICOLETTE: (...) Trust me to start a riot the same day I have a huge life move.
They are about to drive back to their home in the country to pack up the house for their return to Erinsborough. It's a big job, but Aaron says at least they'll be back here in plenty of time to spend Christmas with everyone.
NICOLETTE: Not quite everyone.
DAVID: ... You mean Kiri?
NICOLETTE: No. I just mean, nothing's ever exactly the same the second time round.
DAVID: You two might have worked it out if I hadn't wanted to move away, and now I'm going back on it...
NICOLETTE: Ancient history.
AARON: So why don't we make some new history, then?
DAVID: Yeah. My new job...
NICOLETTE: Me finally kicking Byron off his golden child throne...
AARON: And me... umm... Who knows? Who cares? As long as we're together, right?
DAVID: Sound good, sweetie?
Remi is on duty to try and stabilise Melanie, who is wheeled in from the ambulance, closely followed by Jane, Terese and Toadie. Susan is already there, having leapt in the car as soon as Jane called to tell her what had happened. We learn Melanie's been unconscious throughout the ambulance ride., and Jane's very upset, remarking on how pale Melanie looked.
JANE: I just don't understand how this happened.
TERESE (angry): Oh, maybe it's because you allowed Nicolette to hold an illegal protest! There are safety protocols for a reason, and you all just breezed past them!
Jane and Susan look contrite.
Haz is scouring the front lawn of No 32 for dog excrement, armed with a plastic bag over his hand, while David and Aaron watch with amusement from across the road. Cara is outside No 30 cleaning the car, and recognises David from having treated the cut on her hand in the pub the other day. She comes over to say hello. David explains that Jane is their daughter's grandmother and they've been staying with her.
AARON: Small world, huh? Did you just move in?
CARA: Yeah. We bought No 30 from a bloke named Toadie.
AARON: Mm- hm.
CARA: Is he your cousin? Or your best friend since kindy?
Aaron laughs at the fact Cara's grasped that everyone knows everyone here, and says Toadie's just a friend, but also his former boss and bike club buddy. Aaron explains that he and David used to own No 32. They all look across to where Haz is hopping about, trying to get something off his shoe.
CARA: Be funny if you were still there - three doctors in a row. You, my wife Remi, Dr Karl...
AARON: Yeah, it'd be a real fancy pants street, wouldn't it?
CARA: Yeah. Good place to have a heart attack, eh?
But David looks awkward, and after Cara bids them goodbye, Aaron tells him he'll have to explain the truth to her about not being a doctor anymore, as they'll see her all the time now they're moving in.
DAVID: That'll be a fun conversation... which I'll definitely have.
Nicolette emerges - she's just had a call from Jane, and tells David and Aaron that Melanie is in hospital, having been injured at the protest. Everyone looks worried.
An anxious Jane is sitting by a sleeping Melanie's bedside. Remi tells Jane that Mel has a high- grade concussion; she's drifting in and out of consciousness so will need a CAT scan. Her shoulder has also been shattered and will require reconstruction.
JANE: She was only even at the school because of me. I should have shut down that protest. At the very least we should have stayed at Harold's and not encouraged anything.
REMI: Hey, for what it's worth, she's in the right place now.
Melanie begins to wake up. She remembers what happened almost immediately, telling Jane that it was the security guard who knocked into her.
Nell arrives at the hospital, and anxiously joins Susan, Toadie and Terese in the waiting area. Toadie was expecting her to stay at home with Hugo and Mackenzie, who is apparently looking after him, but Nell says she's not a baby and needs to be here. Toadie lets her stay. Jane comes out and gives everyone the update on Melanie's condition that we just heard Remi give her.
JANE (to Terese): She remembers everything - including that it was an overzealous security guard that you hired who knocked her down the stairs. I mean, I'll admit things got out of hand, but there was no need for your henchmen to push people around! But then again, this has been your approach since day one. The whole thing is just... just a tragedy.
Now it's Terese's turn to look contrite.
Soon after, Terese has taken Toadie aside to talk to him about the security guards. She regrets having put 'blind trust' in them.
TERESE: They assaulted Melanie on my payroll!
TOADIE: It sounds more like a terrible accident to me (...) For all we know, more people could've been hurt if the guards weren't there.
TERESE: Oh, please, don't be kind to me.
TOADIE: Well someone's got to be, don't they, hey?
He kisses her, then goes to check on Nell. Meanwhile, Susan comes over to chat to Terese, admitting she's worried about her.
TERESE: I'm the least of everyone's problems.
SUSAN: Oh, Terese.
TERESE: I was so focused on that development that I pushed aside what closing the school would mean to so many people, including me. I mean, my kids went there. So many good students and teachers. Am I that ruthless that I didn't see that? And now Melanie's hurt.
SUSAN: You look like you need a hug. I know I do.
Nicolette is stressing about Melanie and wants to go to the hospital, but David points out there are a lot of people there already. Aaron adds that it's almost dusk; if they don't hit the road now to do the house move there'll be kangaroos everywhere. But Nic feels she needs to be at the hospital, so asks the boys to just throw everything from her room into bags and boxes and bring it back with them.
AARON: As long as you stop beating yourself up so much.
Prior to embarking on their journey, David and Aaron pull in for takeaway coffees from Harold's, and spot Cara walking by. Aaron encourages David to go and talk to her about no longer being a doctor, else it'll weigh on his mind. David takes his advice, explaining to Cara that he and Aaron are moving back to Erinsborough, and that he's not a doctor anymore.
DAVID: I just didn't think it was worth going into details before.
CARA: Yeah, no, fair enough.
DAVID: Yeah, I'm actually in a new phase of my career.
CARA: Great. Well, sounds like we'll have another set of queer parents on the street.
Cara promises to have them around for dinner some time 'for takeaway', and David heads back to reconvene with Aaron, feeling lighter now he's cleared things up with Cara.
AARON: Proud of you.
Remi is doing some checks on Melanie, and Toadie stops to look through the window as he passes in the corridor. Remi checks the wound on the back of Melanie's head, causing Melanie to turn and see Toadie. She becomes upset and starts breathing heavily.
MELANIE: He shouldn't be here (...) Please tell him to go, I don't want him here!
REMI: Okay - Melanie, take a deep breath.
Also upset, Toadie walks out of view quickly, but lingers just beyond the door as Remi successfully calms Melanie down. Toadie looks conflicted.
Back in the waiting area, Toadie tells Terese that he doesn't think he should be here; he doesn't want to risk agitating Melanie further. He tells Nell it's time for them to go home, but Nell wants to stay in the hope of being allowed in to see Melanie. Toadie insists that Mel will need to sleep, but Nell isn't budging, so Susan offers to bring Nell home with her in a couple of hours. Toadie agrees.
Nicolette turns up, having left Isla with Mackenzie - just as we hear loud bleeping from Melanie's room. Remi shouts 'code blue' to her colleagues, and they rush into the room. It seems Melanie is suffering a bleed on the brain, and Remi says she needs to be taken into surgery immediately.
After confirming an operating room is available, Remi and her colleagues take Melanie straight there. Susan, Jane, Nicolette, Nell, Toadie and Terese look on in horror from the waiting area.
Coming up on Neighbours
- Andrew arrests Nicolette in Ramsay Street; and at the police station, Wendy demands he arrest her too!
- Andrew tells Wendy this isn't funny; 'I am not laughing, Andrew!' she screams back at him
- A devastated Nell tells Toadie, 'She can't die, Dad. I can't lose another mum'
- Karl is back, and is greeted by Susan at the hospital with a hug; while Toadie and Terese share a hug too