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When Xanthe’s film receives a high mark from Elly, Piper can’t help being suspicious. How did an unfinished film beat her and Ben’s effort? Worried Elly is marking her unfairly she sneaks into the classroom and looks through Elly’s assessment folder – and is shocked to see how hard Elly has graded her compared to everyone else. She is busted by Elly who defends her marking and threatens Piper with detention. Piper is left simmering. There’s no way she’s going to let this drop.
To Paige’s delight, Jack is spending all his free time with her, tutoring her in religious studies. But Amy is concerned Paige is too much of a temptation for Jack and suggests she give him some space. Paige reveals it’s Jack making all the moves and, after talking to Jack, Amy learns he is actually protecting Paige after being told something worrying on a professional capacity. Amy is understanding and promises to keep an eye on her too. Meanwhile, Paige is becoming more and more convinced she has a future with Jack. How will she take it when she realises Jack is simply playing bodyguard?
Tuesday 30th August
Reluctantly leaving Paige’s side to take confession, Jack’s spider senses pique when he hears a man crying and then abruptly leave without revealing his identity. Jack races to protect Paige from the unknown menace – but when she’s not at her usual training haunts, he panics. Misreading his concern, Steph reassures him Paige can take care of herself – and when Jack eventually finds her safe and unharmed, he covers and tells Paige he’s still worried about her upcoming boxing match. Taking this as a sign he still loves her, Paige tells him she’s rethinking the fight. The news alarms Aaron, who’s planning to sink money into the event – but Tyler’s more worried about the influence Jack holds over his friend, and he urges Paige to face reality – Jack will never love her in the way she deserves to be loved. They’re both unaware Jack is doing everything he can to deter Ari from hurting Paige. But when he realises Paige isn’t the girl he’s after, Jack’s confused. If not her, then who?
Hauling Gary into the cop shop for breaking his intervention order, Mark explains it’s likely he’ll be going back to jail. Devastated Xanthe breaks the news to the Kennedys, and Ben is especially sympathetic, much to Alison’s chagrin. Blaming herself, Xanthe feels like giving up - but when Sheila discovers the USB with the incriminating footage of Xanthe and Cooper, it seems their luck has turned. Sheila assumes it will solve everything – so she’s furious when Mark admits Gary is still on the hook - and with no other suspects in the assault on Cooper case, jail is looming. However when Alison reveals Dr Knights (Cooper’s mum) has a serious temper, Ben begins to wonder – could she have hit her son? Ben’s certain his girlfriend will do the right thing and come forward – but when Alison realises he’s still got feelings for Xanthe, she refuses to talk to police. When Ben pushes further, Alison warns him that she’ll deny everything, leaving him stunned.
Outnumbered by the Brennan brothers at Number Twenty-four, Steph’s relieved to learn Sonya and Toadie are missing their third wheel. Learning it’s been quiet on the stalker front, Steph makes a plan to move back to Number Thirty – but when Mark asks her to move in with him permanently, Steph’s torn about what’s best for Charlie. When Charlie begins acting up and an accident occurs at the motel, Steph assumes it’s the Brennan brother influence. Unconvinced by his pleas of innocence, Steph makes him help clean up the mess – unaware it’s been caused by Ari, the psycho…
… Steph’s the one he’s after – but why?
Wednesday 31st August
Jack is horrified on realising that the stalker isn’t targeting Paige – he’s coming after Steph. Church law forbids Jack from speaking up. Believing Steph is safe with Mark for the afternoon and about to head off to a footy match with Toadie and Sonya, Jack asks an older priest for permission to alert Steph and the police. The priest is clear that Jack must stay quiet, leaving Jack with a dilemma. Will he break the vow he made to the Church – or act to protect Steph?
Steph, meanwhile, admits to Sonya that she doesn’t want to live with Mark and his brothers. Her attempt to let Mark down gently fails and she heads home to change for the footy – with no idea that the stalker is following her. An argument between Mark and Steph sees Steph left alone in the house again and Jack is anxious to learn from Mark that Steph is alone. He’s right to worry as the stalker is inside the house, waiting for the moment to punish Steph. Will Jack get to her in time?
Ben encourages Karl to front Maureen Knights and force her to admit to assaulting her son Cooper. Frustrated when Maureen denies it, Ben turns to Tyler for advice. Tyler knows the damage that can be done when a parent assaults a child and he warns Ben to tread gently, offering to try and help by talking to Cooper. Ben presses Cooper to speak up – to save himself as well as Gary Canning. Confronted, Cooper turns on Ben, lashing out at him. Will Tyler help Cooper see reason, or has Ben pushed him too far?
Surprise and relief for the Cannings when Mark delivers the news that Gary is now cleared of any suspicion of assaulting Cooper. But Xanthe’s ordeal isn’t done, she must decide if she will pursue her complaint to the police about Cooper’s assault. On top of that, she learns that Ben has come to the rescue of her family. Will Xanthe admit her true feelings to Ben?
Thursday 1st September
Jack and Steph race after the mystery stalker, but he manages to get away without them catching a real look at him. Steph demands an explanation for what’s going on, but to her and Mark’s frustration, Jack is bound by the confidentiality of the confessional seal. Determined to protect the woman he loves, Mark lays out all the recent events – from Jimmy getting run off the road, to the graffiti and snakes, all the way to the creepy blonde doll – that may have all been the earlier actions of the stalker. Ellen Crabb agrees it’s a compelling case, but must deny his request to bug the confessional all the same – they would never get the warrant. Meanwhile, as word spreads of the stalker and Jack’s involvement, Paige is devastated to realise that this may be the cause of his recent interest in spending time with her. When she confronts him, he can’t deny it. Paige returns her focus to boxing, determined not to let him derail her focus anymore. Amy offers Jack her support, but he’s not sure others are quite so understanding. His words ring especially true as we see Mark surreptitiously slip into the confessional and plant an illegal bug – breaking all the rules in an effort to protect the woman he loves.
Unhappily indebted to Paul over his alibi, Gary delivers a list of all the Lassiters guests who stayed in the hotel rooms with the hidden cameras. Paul goes to work drumming up outrage, and despite Terese’s best efforts to put out the fire, word eventually gets back to her investors. Terese believes she has no choice but to fall on her sword, taking responsibility. Before she has a chance to confess all that happened, Elly storms in to loudly apologise for her student’s media project which is being miss-reported as hidden camera footage. Terese is thrown by this late save, and only later realises the assist was provided at the request of Gary (who knew how willing Elly would be to assist the person who selflessly helped Xanthe). Terese and Gary quietly acknowledge their secret mutual assistance, and Terese helps cement their growing alliance by offering to sponsor his racing pigeon.
After Brad confesses he and Lauren don’t really have the time or the money for a honeymoon, Ned approaches Piper with an idea. The pair later arrive with an old, beat up campervan that all the kids have pitched in to buy. Ned explains to Brad and Lauren that they can do short trips with it now, then take longer ones when life gets less hectic. Brad and Lauren are touched, and Piper gives her brother props for the thought. He’s quick to shift the glory, revealing it was Elly’s idea. Impressed, Piper decides to bury the hatchet, and approaches Elly at school. Her timing couldn’t be worse, as Elly has been battling an epic migraine that won’t go away. In a moment of blind frustration, Elly snaps abusively at Piper, who’s left stunned – what exactly did her school teacher just call her?
Friday 2nd September
Piper gets her official mark for the film project and it confirms she scored less than Ben on the same assignment. Brad’s concerned about the sudden drop in marks and Piper tries to explain that Elly has a grudge against her and is deliberately marking her down. Brad’s slightly dubious, but when they talk to Elly and hear her hastily concocted side of the story, he starts to wonder if there might be something in what Piper’s saying. Knowing she’s just saved Terese’s skin, Elly decides to use it to her advantage, insisting that since Brad’s a colleague and her boyfriend’s father, she should instead deal with Terese. When the women meet, Elly delivers an implied threat that if Piper doesn’t back off, then Elly will tell Mr Udagawa that she lied to cover up the hotel hidden camera scandal. In a tight spot, Terese tries to hose Piper down – let’s not call in the cavalry just yet. Piper’s left feeling completely unsupported and unsure what to do, until Lauren encourages her to fight for what’s fair. Piper calls Susan to make an official complaint against Elly.
Madison’s super nervous for the first of her regular gigs at The Waterhole. To make things worse, Paul wishes her good luck – which everyone knows is bad luck! The first thing to happen is that she loses her voice – trying to stop an argument between Paul and Terese. Luckily her voice soon returns. But then a mix-up at the dry-cleaners leaves her without a proper outfit. Everyone knows bad luck comes in threes… what will be next? As she steps on stage the power goes out. Paul and Terese argue over fixing the fuse box, leading to moment of URST. Thankfully, power is restored in time for a triumphant performance!
Elly’s upset over the trouble at school with Piper and she turns to Ned for comfort. But instead of being sympathetic, Ned tells her how she can fix things. An annoyed Elly storms off, leaving Ned confused as to what he’s done wrong. But after talking to Lauren he realises that Elly just wants to know that her feelings matter to him. He plans a thoughtful date – including the special chai tea from Bondi that she’s been missing. Elly’s incredibly touched. So touched, that she breaks with her former insistence on taking things slow. In post coital bliss the couple head for Harold’s. Unbeknownst to Elly, Ned runs into an old acquaintance, Bree – she hopes that Ned’s not getting too close that girl he’s with, he knows how possessive Regan gets…
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