Ryder bids farewell to Summer Bay as he embarks on his dream job next week on Home and Away in the UK, but his farewell party devolves into chaos when Nikau discovers the truth about Chloe’s deception…
After 412 years, it’s time for the Stewart family to bid Ryder Jackson (Lukas Radovich) farewell as he embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Working as a bartender for Mackenzie Booth (Emily Weir) at Salt for the past three years, Ryder has recently seen a whole new career path open up before him as he observed the restaurant’s illegal poker nights.
While Ryder began honing his shuffling skills and was turned down when he asked Felicity (Jacqui Purvis) if he could work as a dealer, he has now turned his attention to the more legitimate side of the casino industry.
Ryder admitted that he’d like to be a croupier after hosting his own poker night for friends Bella (Courtney Miller), Nikau (Kawakawa Fox-Reo), and Chloe (Sam Barrett).
But that kind of role doesn’t come up very often in Summer Bay, at least not legally, so Ryder knew he’d have to look elsewhere. In the end, all it took was one phone call to Quinn (Lara Cox), who works as a cruise ship singer, to find the perfect job opportunity.
Quinn informed Ryder that a position as a mixologist was available on board the Pearl of the Sea, a luxury cruise ship. The liner also has a large casino floor in addition to its Michelin-starred restaurant, ice rink, and zip line.
Being Mac’s second-in-command and having recently completed his hospitality management course at TAFE, Ryder would be ideal for mixing cocktails by the poolside, and he would also have the opportunity to train as a croupier while on board.
Ryder would have the job of his dreams while also travelling the world, but the only problem was that the ship would be leaving port in a matter of days.
Ryder finds out this week that his application has been approved, and he will have to leave Summer Bay the next day. Nik and Bella are the first to learn when they come across a reflective Ryder taking one last wave, but he then has the difficult task of informing his family.
Ryder’s revelation astounds both Roo (Georgie Parker) and Alf (Ray Meagher), and while his aunt is ecstatic for what lies ahead, grumps is less so.
While Ryder explains his job to Roo, Alf maintains an uninterested demeanour. Ryder has made up his mind in Alf’s eyes, therefore his opinions don’t matter much.
Roo is eager to plan a departure party for the next day, but something simmers among Ryder’s buddies, threatening to disrupt the entire celebration…
Following her mother Mia’s recent departure, Chloe is now looking to the future (Anna Samson). Following the death of her stepfather Ari (Rob Kipa-Williams), Chloe’s mental health had deteriorated, and although she wanted to avoid the house as much as possible, she developed an unhealthy infatuation with Bella.
On multiple occasions, Bella tried to persuade Chloe to give Nik and her some space, but Chloe twisted the situation to present herself as the victim, staging breakdowns in order to guilt-trip Bella into paying attention to her.
Nik began to see right through Chloe, who retaliated by informing everyone that it was Nik who was having trouble adjusting to life after Ari. When Bella and Nik realised Chloe had been lying to them about spending time with Mia, things came to a head, and Bella told Chloe to back off.
The brawl was just what Chloe needed to clear her thoughts, and the three have started to move on from the whole sad episode. That is, until Nik uncovers all of Chloe’s deception.
Chloe has been keeping track of everything in her journal, and when Nik knocks it off the coffee table, the photo Chloe shot of a sleeping Bella falls out, his curiosity is piqued.
Chloe’s falsehoods are exposed plain in front of Nik, including the fake tears to gain Bella’s sympathy, acting that she regrets sleeping with Theo (Matt Evans), and even her views on how Bella could do so much better than Nik.
Bella is taken aback when she sees Nik reading the journal and rushes over to take it from him, but the harm is already done.
Nik breaks down in tears as he shows Bella the photo and explains that Chloe has been playing them the whole time!
Knowing that Chloe will be present at Ryder’s farewell party, they decide to put on a brave face, but Nik knows he’ll struggle to keep it together…
Ryder’s friends and family come at Summer Bay House to say their goodbyes, but everyone notices Nik’s coldness toward Chloe. It doesn’t take long for Chloe to step outside for a breather after Theo blanks her after her rejection of him.
Chloe apologises to Theo for the manner she treated him after a pep talk from Marilyn (Emily Symons). However, it becomes too much for Nik, who yells that they shouldn’t believe anything she says. When Nik discloses that he’s read Chloe’s notebook and wonders if she’s in love with Bella, Chloe is humiliated!
Chloe leaves quickly, followed by Theo, who feels a stab of worry for her. Nik and Bella say a hushed goodbye to Ryder, noting that he’s obviously missed a lot, and that they need to go after Chloe as well.
As the show progresses, John (Shane Withington) arrives with a thoughtful gift that is way over his typical budget: a pair of engraved bar blades commemorating Ryder’s career thus far, beginning, of course, with the surf club’s juice bar.
As Ryder makes his final preparations to depart, Alf remains a grouchy grumps. Ryder apologises to step-gran Martha (Belinda Giblin) for leaving while she is still sick, but she assures him that she will be there for him when he returns.
Alf’s mask begins to break when Ryder informs him that he’ll always have the Stewart family compass to bring him home—an artefact given to him by Alf on his 21st birthday.
Ryder tells his grumps he’ll miss them, but an emotional Alf tells him he’ll miss him much more, jumping up to embrace him.
Bella flags down Roo as she takes Ryder to the city on the way out of town—she needed to say her goodbyes properly.
Bella and Ryder are both filled with emotion as she tells him he is the finest friend she has ever had.
Ryder makes his final farewell to Summer Bay, having said an essential goodbye.