Title: Shortcut To Happiness
Steph tells Max that she can’t just pick up with him where she left off, and her love for Toadie isn’t due to any obligation to him. Carmella tells Will that, without trust, they have no relationship. Toadie tells Steph that he sees his future with her and Charlie.
At the hospital, Toadie realises that, even though Steph said she loved him, everything’s changed now that Max is back. Steph doesn’t think that anything has to change, but he points out that her ‘love’ has changed to just ‘care’. Steph can’t get a word in as Toadie rants at her about how she used him, just to make herself feel better. He shouts at her to go back to Max and leave him alone. A devastated Steph leaves the room.
At number 22, Elle is speaking to Carmella on the phone about the situation with Will, telling her to think about it and they’ll speak later. Just as Elle is about to leave the house, Dylan arrives. He asks if she’s busy and she explains that she’s meeting Jane, a friend at a hotel – but definitely not the one on Williams Street, as she told Jean she didn’t want to meet there. Dylan is confused about whether the friend is called Jane or Jean, but Elle quickly runs out, leaving him hanging.
At the bar, Max is complaining about having to carry heavy boxes again and Boyd notices that he’s been cutting some lemons. He says that they’re much better than the ones Steph does, but Max tells his son that he shouldn’t be taking sides. Boyd says that he just wants them back together and explains that when Max left, everything turned to crap and he did some stupid things, though he refuses to elaborate on what. Boyd says that it’s a clean slate from now, and Max hopes that Steph will share that sentiment. Meanwhile, Dylan and Stingray come in, with Dylan wondering whether he should have followed Elle. He decides that she wasn’t making sense and he shouldn’t follow her, but Stingray points out that if a hot girl is dropping hints about a hotel, then he should go. As Dylan runs off, Stingray is surprised to bump into Rachel, who’s just returned and come in with Susan. He compliments her on her new haircut as she and Susan rush out.
Elle walks into Will’s hotel suite and sarcastically says that she can see why Carmella wouldn’t want to hang around there. He asks if she’s come to torment him, and she walks over and starts flirting, saying that she heard he was single, before slapping him. She points out that Carmella loved him and wasn’t just after his money. He points out that she didn’t need to slap him to get that point across. She calls room service to order champagne and nibbles and says that they’ll need them while they work out how to win Carmella back.
At number 28, Steph admits to Susan that she feels guilty about the way she’s hurting both Max and Toadie, but doesn’t know how to fix things. Susan tells her that she can’t keep Toadie hanging on, and if she’s thinking about reconciling with Max then she has to be honest. Steph says that she hasn’t decided on anything yet, which means that both Toadie and Max are hanging.
At the hospital, Karl is visiting Toadie, who says that he just wants to run out of there and sort things out with Steph. Karl convinces him to stay in bed, as Toadie explains that he yelled at Steph earlier. Karl thinks that she would have stayed if she genuinely cared for him but Toadie isn’t sure what to think any more.
In the bar office, Max sits with Boyd, wondering what his chances are with Steph. Boyd tells his father just to keep trying and eventually she’ll remember what they used to have together. This seems to perk Max up a bit.
At the hospital, Karl points out to Toadie that Max was the love of Steph’s life and that love didn’t just disappear when he walked out. He wonders if Steph’s love might just be that of a confused friend, and Toadie says that he’s thought about that and it might have been once, but now it’s turned into something more. Karl asks Toadie to be honest about whether he really thinks the relationship will work.
At number 28, Susan says that Steph must have some idea who’s right for her. When Steph says that she doesn’t, Susan asks her which of them she sees her future with. Steph has a flashback to kissing Toadie and realises that it’s him.
Later that evening, Karl and Susan are preparing dinner, as Rachel and Zeke sit on the couch playing cards. Karl is telling them all about a way of living in which people remove themselves from the instruments of capitalism, and Zeke points out that it involves eating food out of dumpsters. Susan makes Karl promise that he won’t go that far. Susan then talks to Karl about Katya and how she’s still refusing to give evidence – it must be difficult on Rachel and Zeke to see her in the remand centre. They also discuss the situation with Steph, Max and Toadie and they both think that Steph will be unable to just walk away from her marriage. Bree then calls by and Karl invites her to join them for marinated tofu, an offer she’s quick to refuse. Zeke asks about Willow and Bree claims that he’s at home. After Bree gets excited about her new hair, Rachel tells them about the articles she got published in Shepparton, including one about a tractor display. Rachel then quote Libby, saying that the first rule of journalism is just to get published. Bree tells Susan that she’s going to do some articles about tattoos and their dangers for the school blogzine. Rachel then breaks the news to Bree that she’s made a decision about Stingray – she wants to get back together with him.
Back in Will’s suite, Elle is going over the plan with him – Will can become a Barnes again and Carmella will remember that she used to like being Rocco’s daughter and having money and power. Will reminds her that he wants Carmella to love him for who he is, not what he has. Elle tells him to get over himself, but Will says he’s learnt more about people as a bartender than he ever could as a hotelier. Dylan then knocks at the door and hands Elle the champagne she ordered. He sees Will and asks what’s going on, but Elle says that she just wanted to see how high he’d jump, before slamming the door on him. Will watches this, and asks why he should be taking advice from someone like her.
At number 26, Zeke goes outside to look for Willow, as Rachel says that she can’t believe her brother gave a kitten to cat-hating Bree. Bree explains that if Harold has Willow for long enough, she’ll tell Zeke that he should keep him as he’s just a lonely old man. Zeke comes back in and drags Bree out to help search, as Stingray and Rachel are left alone. She says that she’s glad to be home and then suddenly kisses him. She can’t quite believe what she’s done and she runs out of the house.
At the hospital, Karl has brought Toadie some leftover tofu and he apologises for being so harsh when he visited. He explains that he just wants him to survive all this with his dignity intact. Toadie, however, has decided to do the right thing. As Karl leaves, Steph arrives and tells Karl that she’s come to a decision and it’s good news for Toadie. She goes into his room and he apologises for shouting at her. He says that he’s tired of all the mess and it’s never going to get any easier. Steph says that she knows that, but she still loves him. Toadie insists that it’s over and Steph’s smile fades as he pushes her away. She insists that they can get through this but Toadie says that they’re great mates and that’s how they work best.
At number 28, Rachel is checking her phone when Karl comes in. He tells Susan what happened at the hospital and she’s shocked by Steph’s decision. Bree and Zeke then come in and Rachel explains what happened with Stingray. Karl decides that the situation is way too teenagery, but Susan goes and sits with them. Susan isn’t sure that Rachel should go back to Stingray after everything that happened, but Rachel points out that Libby and Darren went through the same thing and now they’re happy. Karl still refuses to help, saying that his judgement sucks, before asking if the kids still say ‘sucks’ these days. Bree thinks that they should take a vote, but Susan rejects the idea, suggesting that Rachel think things through before doing anything. Rachel says that it’s up to Stingray now.
At number 26, Boyd is telling Stingray that things should be fine with Max and Steph now, but Stingray isn’t quite so positive. He admits that Rachel kissed him and he doesn’t know what to do. Just then, Bree comes in, angry with Stingray for the way he left Rachel hanging. Boyd isn’t impressed to hear this either, and the pair start bullying Stingray, by hitting him with cushions, into getting back together with her.
Elle is taking a bubble bath in Will’s suite and he stands by the sink, surprised that she needs all this just to be happy. He says that she’s a lot like Paul and Elle begins to realise why her dad’s been trying to push them together – he’s the mysterious Mr 2 Percent. He explains that Paul was blackmailing him over it, and Elle warns him not to trust her father. She then asks him to join her in the bath, but he throws her gown at her and declines – telling her to make sure Carmella hears that he refused.
Afterwards, Elle goes to the door of the suite where Dylan has been sitting waiting for her. She tells him to brings the car around for her.
At number 28, Karl and Susan admit that they were both convinced that Steph would choose Max, since they’re married with a child. They wonder if things are going to work out with Steph and Toadie, as Max comes in. They decide not to say anything and instead Karl offers Max a beer. Just then, Steph knocks at the door and asks if Max can come over to number 32. He smiles at Karl and Susan and leaves, as they’re left thinking that Steph is about to break Max’s heart.
Later, Karl and Susan are turning out the lights and preparing to head to bed. They’re wondering if Steph has chosen Toadie because of the shooting. As they head to the bedroom, Rachel comes out and says that she left something in the car. She opens the front door and meets Stingray on the porch. He thanks her for coming and she thinks that he’s about to let her down gently, but he kisses her and she smiles at him.
At number 32, Max is looking after Charlie and Steph sits with them and announces that she wants Max to move back in with them, but just separate rooms for now. She wants to start from scratch, for Charlie’s sake if nothing else. Max promises to make things right and they share a hug, though Steph doesn’t look too happy.
Regular Cast Credits
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