> Steph's Departure
by Pete McTighe, Directed
by Adrian Holmes, Produced
by Neal Kingston
Channel Ten: 24/11/10, Five: 12/01/11
An upset Summer admits her true feelings about Andrew to Lyn... Tash tells Andrew that she's everything he needs... Toadie wants Steph to get a suspended sentence and Donna agrees to write a victim impact statement...
Lucas suggests that he, Steph and Charlie just disappear together... Steph tells Lucas that she can't go... Steph tells Lucas that she loves him...
Lucas finds Steph sitting outside the men's shed, and again suggests that they should run away together. He thinks it would be easy, and that it would be great out on the open road, but Steph doesn't want to put her family through that. She then
tells Lucas that if she goes to jail, she doesn't want him to wait for her - he has to move on. He doesn't want to have that conversation right now, but Steph says it'll be too late if she ends up in prison, so Lucas agrees that he'll move on with
The next morning, at number 26, Toadie arrives to see Steph with a positive impact statement from Donna. Steph is amazed, and Lyn reminds her that she has a lot of
support out there. Steph hugs Toadie to thank him, but he tells her that she can thank him that evening, with dinner. As they all go to get ready to leave, Andrew arrives. Lyn tries to get rid of him, but he wants a word
with Summer. He asks her if she'd like him to come to the court, but she says no, and he gives her a hug, with Lyn giving him an unimpressed look as he goes.
At number 22, Andrew is packing his bag as Lyn arrives and warns him to keep his distance from Summer. He wonders why he needs to do that, and Lyn says that he's going
to hurt her - Summer's world is being turned upside-down at the moment and she doesn't need him to make it worse. As Lyn leaves, Tash arrives, wondering what Lyn wanted. Andrew insists it was nothing.
At number 26, Steph is sitting on her bed, when Charlie appears in the doorway and asks why everyone is acting funny. She tells him to come and sit with her and she explains that she might have to go away for a while, because she made a mistake.
He asks if he can come with her, but Steph explains that it's just for grown-ups, but Lyn and Summer and Toadie will still be there for her. Charlie asks if she'll be lonely, but she says that she'll be carrying them all in her heart, and she then
tells Charlie that she loves him very much. She hugs him and he asks if he can get a snake. Lyn then appears, and Steph sends Charlie off to get some breakfast. Steph asks her mum to look after Charlie really well, telling her that she wants her
to raise him, Lyn happily agrees, but tells Steph to stop being negative.
Outside, everyone's leaving for the courthouse. Callum is heading off to school - he hugs Steph and tells her that he'll see her later. Donna is with Susan and Libby,
and she goes over to Toadie and asks to change her statement, as she thinks she could improve it. They all tell her that it was perfect and not to worry. Steph takes Libby to one side and is starting to say her goodbyes, but Libby stops her, and
tells her that she'll be coming home later. Steph then takes one last look around the street and gets in the car.
At the courthouse, Steph's sentencing begins, but Donna is whispering to Toadie, still wanting to change her statement as she feels that it was too clinical. The judge asks if there's a problem, but Toadie insists that there isn't. As the
judge continues, Donna suddenly stands up and says that her statement was wrong - she then talks about how Steph isn't just a name on a piece of paper, she's an amazing mother and daughter and friend to so many people, and if Donna, Ringo's widow,
can forgive her and be lenient, then so can the judge. Donna apologises for 'getting all shouty' and sits down. Everyone, except Sam, is happy about what Donna just did, and the judge calls a short recess.
At the school, Andrew is contemplating a text to Summer when Tash comes up to him and suggests a foam party to celebrate the end of year and launch Andrew's new
business. He isn't really in the mood to discuss it, and she swipes his phone but he gets it back before she sees the text.
Back at the courthouse, Lyn tells Summer to put her phone away. The judge then asks Steph to stand and re-commences her sentencing. She says that she can see how much remorse Steph has for what she's done and how well-loved she is in the
community, but she cannot pass sentence based on feelings, but rather on the law. She wants to show the community that drinking and driving is unforgivable, and sentences Steph to six years in prison, with a non-parole period of two years.
Steph breaks down, and Lyn cries out in horror. Toadie and Libby also start to cry, and Steph looks at her mum, insisting that she's alright, as she's handcuffed and taken away.
Steph and Toadie arrive at the prison, and a warden tells Steph to remove her jewellery and place it in a container. Steph does as she's told, and is then taken away
to shower and change. Before she goes, she hugs Toadie, telling him that he did everything he could, and to be happy. Steph then walks away, taking one final look back at a devastated Toadie.
At number 22, Tash asks Andrew if he's spoken to Tomas, his contact about the foam party. Andrew is distracted as he looks out of the window, to see if they're back from court. Tash makes him sit down to discuss some other ideas, as he tells
her that a foam party will be too difficult to organise. Tash says that they're so good together because they're both so ruthless and will do anything to get what they want.
At number 26, everyone is sitting around, trying to make sense of what's happened. Charlie wants to see his mum, Summer can't believe Steph was taken away from them so
quickly, and Donna worries that what she said wasn't enough. Libby admits that she was so sure that Steph was coming home, that she didn't even let her say goodbye. She tells Susan that she's going to leave town for a while.
At the prison, Steph is taken to her cell, and is given an envelope that was left by Toadie. Inside is a photograph if her with her friends and family, and as she looks at them all, we see how they're coping - Libby is in tears in the kitchen of number
26; Toadie hugs Callum, then angrily pushes all of his books and files from the tables; Lucas stands outside the men's shed staring into the ashes of the fire he and Steph had cuddled next to the previous night; Summer and Lyn look at each other,
as Charlie sleeps on Lyn's lap. Steph then turns the photo over and sees the message 'You are loved. Mum. xoxoxoxo' and she starts to cry.
At number 22, Andrew is still waiting for news from Summer, when she knocks on the door. He answers and she tells him that Steph's gone to prison for six years, and
everyone's falling to pieces. Andrew hugs her, telling her that it'll all be alright. She wants to be with him right now, but he suggests that she should be with her family. A half-dressed Tash then comes downstairs, and Summer realises that
they're back on with each other and she quickly leaves.
Featured Regular Characters: Stephanie Scully, Donna Brown, Libby Kennedy, Susan Kennedy, Lucas Fitzgerald,
Lyn Scully, Summer Hoyland, Andrew Robinson, Natasha Williams, Charlie Hoyland
Guest Cast: Simone Buchanan as Samantha Fitzgerald, Jane Clifton as Judge Nerida Willow, Zara Swindells-Grose as Brenda Kaplin, Angeline Thompson as Judge's Associate, Brian D James as Tipstaff
• Final regular appearance of Carla Bonner as Stephanie Scully, after 11 years in the role
• Final appearance of Simone Buchanan as Samantha Fitzgerald, after three separate guest stints in the role