Title: Five Thousand And Counting
> The 5000th Episode
by Linda Stainton, Directed
by Tony Osicka
Being pulled away by prison guards, Cameron pleads with Gail to stop Paul & Robert from going camping and warns Robert that if he hurts Paul, he’ll kill him. Katya tells Toadie that somehow, Robert framed Cameron and that he hates Paul and is going to kill him, and pleads with him to believe her.
At number 22, Katya is trying to convince Gail, Elle & Izzy that Robert is responsible for the attacks on them, to no avail. She tells them that after bumping into him at the Scarlet Bar, she knows that he was the one who saved her at the gorge, the one she had a relationship with and he saw her realise it. Gail tells Katya to let her think about it for a minute, but she tells them that there’s no time and they have to stop Robert before he finishes what he came to here to do and tries to ring Paul using Elle’s mobile.
At the camping ground, Paul pulls up in the car and gets out, desperate to go to the toilet. As he does so, the phone rings and he tells Robert to answer it.
Back at number 22, Katya is shocked to hear Robert’s voice and passes the phone to Gail. Not knowing whom she is speaking to, Gail asks if it’s Paul, Robert says it’s him and asks who was on the line before her. Gail explains that it was Katya and asks where they are and how they are getting on. With Robert becoming increasingly agitated by her questions, Gail asks to speak to Paul, but realising that Katya has said something, Robert pretends that the line is dropping out and hangs up.
Over at number 30, Karl arrives and asks what’s going on, Ned tells him that Justine has lined them up another gig for that afternoon, and has written a song that was perfect for them. Karl asks Justine to excuse them for a second and drags Ned into the kitchen, telling him that Noodles write their own songs, and is shocked to learn that Justine is the new Noodle. Ned said she asked if she could join, so he said it was fine, leaving Karl less than happy that he wasn’t consulted. Going back into the living room, Karl asks Justine if he could take the guitar she is holding, but she asks him if he hasn’t brought his with him. Karl points out that is his guitar and grabs it off her, and begins to teach her some of their favourite songs. Justine explains that it seems a little silly having both of them on guitar, and suggests that he just wears his kangaroo costume. Incensed, Karl says he isn’t a mascot, but Justine tells him that a mascot is what the kids want.
At number 22, Gail says she’d feel better if she’d have spoken to Paul, but Elle says there is nothing suspicious going on, but Gail tells them that something Cameron said was making her worry. She explains that Cameron said that Robert was going to hurt Paul on the camping trip, but Elle questions why she’d believe anything him. Toadie points out that it is very common ploy for a guilty person to blame someone else, but Katya says it is for one who is innocent too. Gail then tells them that before they left, Robert said that everything he’d done was for her, and it seemed so final, hearing this, Katya pleads with Gail to trust her instincts, as Izzy questions them all, Gail says that if there is the slightest chance that Katya is right, she has to go and find them. Elle warns them that if they turn up on a rescue mission and it turns out that everything is alright, that isn’t going to say much about their faith in Rob.
In the kitchen at number 28, Zeke & Susan are making lunch, whilst Karl is explaining to Susan about the Noodles situation. Susan tells him that maybe some fresh ideas are just what they need, as points out that Justine is bright, bubbly and young as they make their way to the dining table. Sitting down, Karl says that the last thing they need is a ‘wannabe cheerleader’ turning them into a ‘poor man’s Hi-5’. Susan tells him that is important to keep the dad’s interests covered, Karl is shocked at her suggestion, but she points out that he clearly has the mum’s appeal covered. She asks him why she let Justine join anyway, he explains that when Ned let her join he was a little pre-occupied, teasing him, she says he only has himself to blame. She suggests that as part of the original duo, he can negotiate the inclusion and tell Ned that he wants to discuss it before he agrees. Karl thanks her for he advice and leaves. After seeing how close they look, Zeke asks Susan why they are behaving so strangely, but luckily is saved by Harold, who has arrived needing a chat.
Back at the camping ground, Robert tells Paul he has never seen the point in fishing, but is willing to give it a go, Paul tells Robert that when they catch something, he’ll cook it up on the fire and then he’ll see the point in it. As Paul struggles to put the tent up, Robert offers to do it, having put it up in the shop already and hands him a drink, not knowing that Robert has drugged it, Paul complains about the taste, which Rob blames on him probably not cleaning it out properly before they left. As Paul is bitten by a mosquito, he says they’ll get eaten alive out there, but Robert says he’s got some insect repellent and begins to apply it to Paul, who tells him that for a boy who didn’t want to join the scouts, he came well prepared.
At number 28, Harold is discussing Sky’s pregnancy with Susan, saying that he is worried that keeping the baby is the right thing for her, as she knows nothing about raising a child. Susan tells him that Sky will have made her decision based on what she thinks is best, and to think of the positives, that he is going to be a Great-Grandfather. Harold smiles and says he hadn’t thought of that. Susan says that after everything he and Sky have lost, this could be a little bit of joy. Harold agrees, saying that will be wonderful and Susan tells him that she suspects that Dylan won’t be able to resist getting involved, but Harold says he’s afraid that’s a rather romantic notion. Her faith in love strengthened by her reunion with Karl, Susan tells Harold that when two people are meant to be together, no matter what separates them, true love always finds a way back. Eavesdropping from the behind the door to the bedrooms, Zeke began to realise what was going on between Susan and Karl.
In the street, Ned & Justine are helping to carry Karl’s things out to his car. He tells them that it’s not an ego thing, you have to understand young children and they all know his songs, Karl is surprised when Justine agrees. Justine then hands them each a slip of paper with the address of their venue on it, and tells them to be there ready for a three o’clock start and gets into her car. The three say their goodbyes and Ned heads back into Number 30 as Janelle emerges with some bags of rubbish. She sees Toadie coming back from number 22 and thanks him for having the reception for Janae, but he says that’s what cousins are for. She tells him that she’s tidied up the house and he thanks her, she says that families ought to help each other out where they can, for example if you’re a lawyer and your favourite Auntie had legal problems you should try and help her out. Toadie says goodbye and walks off with Janelle shouting after him that she would bring the post-wedding snaps around later.
At the camping ground, Robert is thanking Paul for the time he’s been spending with him, saying that it shows a real breakthrough in their relationship and that things are going to get a lot more honest from now on. He walks over to Paul, who is lying on the ground unconscious from the drugs and tells him that he’s prepared a surprise for him. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the parkland, Gail, Izzy & Elle pull up in the car. Izzy suggests that if Robert really wanted to harm Paul, he would lie about where they were staying to put them off the scene, but Gail tells her that he isn’t expecting them to visit, and he might have worried that if he gave them a false destination they might realise and panic, calling the police. Elle says it sounds like she has it well thought out, and Gail tells her that she just needs to think how he might, plus the keeper said he saw their car arrive and head toward the camping area on the right. Elle tells them that Paul’s phone is still dead, looking at the map with Gail, Elle says that they’ll be lucky to cover a fraction of it before dark. Izzy suggests going home and keep trying Paul’s phone, but Gail refuses to go, so they get back into the car and keep looking.
In the mineshaft, Robert has tied Paul to a support beam and is throwing things at him when he comes round, as Paul looks around Robert welcomes him to the land of the damned and asks him if he likes the décor. Paul asks him why they’re there, but Robert tells him to think about it and says that he has been waiting his entire life for this and he still doesn’t get it. Paul wonders what he means, frustrated, Robert asks how many more people he has to eliminate and hits something, causing some rubble to fall. Paul tells him to be careful, hearing which Robert laughs, saying he’s been so careful that people still think that Cameron is the plague on the family. Paul asks what the hell is going on, and gagging his father, Robert questions if he really thought that Cameron would show that much initiative and tells Paul that they’re going to go back to the beginning, where it all started and that they’ve got a lot to talk about.
At Scarlet Bar, Ned & Justine have just bought drinks and head over to a table. Justine questions Karl’s professionalism, having not turned up to the gig, Ned says he must have had a medical emergency or something, but she says that you can’t be a professional children’s entertainer in-between house calls. Just then, Karl walks in and furiously asks where they’ve been, as he went to the address they gave him, 55 Edmond Street. Ned says that it was 155, but Karl tells them that wasn’t the address that Justine gave him. Ned says that he must have torn off the one accidentally, but Karl says that maybe someone else did it, and not accidentally, implying Justine. She says that it’s not her fault he can’t read an address properly and he could’ve phoned them. Karl tells them that being in costume, he didn’t have his phone with him and says that it looked like the right house as there were cars everywhere, but he jumped in to find a load of old CWA ladies sewing quilts and that one woman shrieked and another started hitting him before the police arrived. Justine asks if he was arrested, but Karl says that he managed to explain that it was a misunderstanding and asks if the party booking wanted their money back. Ned explains that they improvised and played without him, using some of Justine’s songs, leaving Karl less than pleased. Meanwhile, Harold enters, collecting for the Salvation Army. He walks over to Janelle and tells her that he imagines they’ll be spending a lot more time in each other’s company, which Janelle finds hilarious, wondering why he’d think that. Harold goes to explain and soon realises that she doesn’t know about the pregnancy, but Janelle is intrigued and tells him to come out with it.
In the mineshaft, Robert is reading one of his old school reports to Paul, he then shows him some letters he sent that had been returned, and takes off Paul’s gag so he can answer. Paul explains that he was forever moving around with his business, but then says that the truth is that most of the time he was away he was in prison, and tried to hide it from them. Robert tells him that they’d guessed as that’s what happens to men who are greedy, as is the odd air disaster and asks Paul if he likes the one he set up for him.
Back at Scarlet Bar, Harold tells Janelle that he just assumed that she would’ve known by now, she says you’d think so, with her being Dylan’s mother. Harold says he’s sure that Dylan planned to tell her and that he knows that isn’t what she would’ve wished for him, but tells her to think of the blessings that will come from it. Janelle tells him that she’s just got used to the idea of her daughter being married and now her son is going to be a father. Meanwhile, Ned tells Karl that Toadie reckons that Katya is convinced that everything was Robert, posing as Cameron all along. Karl tells Ned he thinks he is right, Katya should get help; Ned says he could suggest it to her, but it might be better coming Karl, to which Karl agrees. Ned & Justine leave and Katya enters, Karl goes over to speak to her. He asks her how she’s going, she says confused, and that she isn’t sure she can trust her own judgement anymore. Karl tells her that is a common effect of a damaging relationship and suggests that sometimes in a situation like this, talking to a counsellor can help and offers to arrange it. Katya tells him that if she is wrong about Robert she’ll take him up on it and walks off towards the bar.
At the camping ground, Gail, Izzy & Elle pull up to Paul & Robert’s tent and wonder where they are. Gail opens the tent, but they aren’t in there, Elle tells her not to panic and Izzy says they’ve probably gone bush walking, but looking around notices Paul’s phone lying on the ground, broken. As Elle picks up a fallen chair and notices the open flask, they become increasingly worried and call out Paul’s name.
In the mineshaft, Robert boasts of all the stuff he has put Paul through, poisoning, chronic agoraphobia and that was before he even turned up. Paul wonders why he did it as Cameron, Robert tells him that he was treated differently as his brother, as everybody liked Cameron so he went about getting rid of those dearest to Paul, such as Dylan, Izzy and even the real Cameron. He tells Paul that sadly his plans for Elle went astray. Paul is shocked that he would murder his own sister to get back at him, and asks how he managed to fool everyone. Robert is pleased to get some recognition for what he has done, and tells Paul to admit that he’s impressed by his achievements. Agitated, Paul yells at Robert to untie him or… stopping, realising he wasn’t in a position to do anything. Later, Robert is showing Paul mementos from his childhood, a painting of his family, which he screws up and a “World’s Greatest Dad” mug he bought Paul for a Father’s day that he didn’t turn up for, which he smashes. Paul tells him that he can’t have been totally useless as two of his children turned out fine and that Cameron is a kid that any parent would be proud to have. Robert says that it is easy to be good when you’re everyone’s favourite, but Paul tells him that maybe Cameron is favourite because he doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder. Enraged, Robert says that if he had a chip, it was the result of years of abuse and neglect. Paul tells him that’s rubbish as he was always Gail’s favourite and Robert says that she was smart to let him go, and wonders what she ever saw of him, Paul agrees. Initially surprised to agree with his father on something, Robert tells Paul that he’s going to make sure that he isn’t around anymore to ruin her life again but as Paul begins to refute, Robert gags him again and says goodbye. He ties a rope to a support post as he leaves, and tells Paul that it’s been a pleasure, but nothing compared to the pleasure of leaving him there, and that he’s prepared a bit of a grand finale for him. As Robert tightens the rope, Paul realises what is going to happen and begins a muffled cry for help.
Outside of the mine, Robert attaches the rope to the car and gets in, starting the engine. He puts the car into reverse, screams to Paul, asking if he’s ready, and puts his foot down on the accelerator. Inside, the entrance to the mine caves in, sending a wave of dust and debris towards Paul, who groans as more of the shaft begins to collapse.