Thursday, 25 October 2012, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

The homecoming, the bunting’s up, the flags are out and the troops are back in town. Major Pete Bartham (Greg Wise) leads his men home and Claire (Claire Skinner) beams with pride.

It’s a bittersweet day for the Raveley’s as only one of their two sons has survived the tour. For Joe (Warren Brown) there is no welcoming party and he returns home alone only to find that Louise (Nicola Stephenson) has changed the locks. Undeterred, Joe kicks the door down and Louise points out that thanks to his cheating ways they now have to vacate the family home. Joe and Louise reach an agreement – Joe will tell the army they are happily married and Louise and the girls can stay put. For the sake of the girls, Joe and Louise play happy families. Joe challenges the kids to a game of wii to find that his friend Carl (Daniel Francis) has his own wii avatar. It seems that ‘Uncle Carl’ has been spending a lot of time at the Mancetta’s. Joe seeks Carl out and makes sure he knows not to go any where near his wife and kids ever again.

Tom (Chris Reilly) visits Tasha (Antonia Thomas), he’s not surprised she wasn’t at the homecoming. She tells him that Matt’s belongings have been returned and hands him the friendship bracelet that Tom once gave to Matt. On a chain around her neck she wears Matt’s damaged wedding ring. As Tom moves in for a closer look they kiss.

Paula (Clare Higgins) can’t understand why Tasha’s not been around to see them. Waiting outside Alfie’s nursery she is caught spying on her grandson by Tasha. For once Tasha makes amends. Paula returns to the Cookhouse only to find a visitor in a suit measuring up. Howard (George Costigan) breaks the news that they are skint and an offer from a coffee house chain is too good to miss. Paula will not sell out and sell up. However, the bank won’t bail them out so Paula goes cap in hand to the Officers Mess. Hoping for a contract she invites Mess Manager, Colour Sergeant Simon Spader (Tomas Aldersley) to dinner at the Cookhouse.

Louise is furious to discover that Carl has taken a beating. If Joe won’t leave, she will; She’ll go to her mum’s and take the girls with her. Later that day when Louise goes to collect Grace and Hannah from school she discovers that Joe has already taken them. She turns to Claire (Claire Skinner) for help, as the police don’t want to know. Claire asks Louise to think hard about where Joe could’ve taken the girls, a special place? Then Joe rings and tells her that they are at the cottage in the country that he’d talked of buying. En route Louise calls the Military Police, she’s read about men taking their kids when a marriage breaks down with disastrous consequences and Louise isn’t taking any chances.

Grace and Hannah think they’re playing a game with their dad and that this is the best adventure ever. But before too long they start getting scared and whining, wondering when mummy’s going to take them home to bed.

Louise finds Joe at the cottage but the girls are nowhere to be found. Claire finds a drowsy Hannah but there is no sign of Grace. Joe is beside himself, just as he sets off to find Grace the Military Police arrive and restrain him. Thankfully Grace wanders out from the woods and Louise holds both girls tightly, shocked to the core at what might have been.

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