You can watch this ep with English subtitles on this Youtube playlist here.

Today, Andi wants answers. Why is Bella breaking up with him? Is it because she's in love with the guy she slept with? Is Andi not good enough for her any more? What's gone wrong?
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I make fun of Andi a lot, but I adore him really, and at this point he really does deserve answers. Especially given how she treated him when he cheated on her with Alexa, Bella owes him some honesty, the truth about her feelings. It's just common courtesy if you're dumping someone after telling them barely a month ago how much you want to start a family with them.
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So Bella, sensitive and considerate as ever, tells him to stop fucking badgering her and just leave her alone because it's over, get over it.
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Leaving Andi to go and have a weepy montage in the woods. (With all respect to Dominic Saleh-Zaki (sp?), I've not been totally impressed by his crying acting in these eps. Shocked he does brilliantly, but crying not so much.)
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While Bella gets cuddles and sympathy from Charlie. As a feminist, I am all for bucking the usual trend of having the woman demonised as a bitch and a whore in any soap break up, but I do wonder if this is maybe going a bit far in the other direction... But I've never been Bella's number one fan anyway, so maybe I'm not the best judge.

Back at the flat, it's Andi's turn to get a little support.
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Except Olli is actually a little more concerned to hear that Bella is in love with Jo. Let's generously assume it's because he's worried about family dinners being awkward as heck, and not because he's still hoping to stake a claim himself.
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Come on, Olli, sit a little closer. Then take him in your arms, kiss him softly on the forehead and say "Shh, I'm with you now." He's going to need you nearby when you have to cruelly disabuse of the notion that he might be able to win Bella back.
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Which Olli doesn't do very successfully, because there's about 20 more minutes of this episode which is just back and forth between Andi and Bella where Andi is like "please, please, please take me back, what can I do to change?" and Bella is like "not happening, sorry", over an over again. I'm not going to recap it properly or with pictures because I have neither the will nor the patience, but it is vaguely of interest if you want to contrast Ansgar's comment to Emilio about how there's nothing worse than a proud idiot (when Emilio refused to accept €50,000 as a gift not a loan), with how Andi has completely surrendered all pride. I think in this instance, Ansgar's theory doesn't really hold up.

Downstairs in No Limits, the show's new power couples have arranged themselves into formation. Andi/Tim and Sascha/Charlie OTPs!
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(Focus, Sascha...eyes away from Tim's crotch.)
Andi apologises to Tim for hitting him, and I'm fairly sure Charlie grabs Sascha's thigh (at about 9:36 on my Youtube upload).
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But it might not be smooth sailing, because, when not looking at Tim's crotch, Sascha still only has eyes for Olli...
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And his penetrating gaze causes Olli's shirt to ride up.
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It's alright though, Charlie quickly moves on to new ground... But then who will Andi have? Oh no, does this mean next episode we'll have to watch him still chasing Bella? Why do you have to ruin everything, Charlie? You already have one Helmke at home.
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Olli is disappoint. I am disappoint. Frank would be disappoint too, if he wasn't busy boning your best friend.
You can watch this ep with English subtitles on this Youtube playlist here.

Today, Olli is out jogging with Andi again.
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That's what I admire about Olli, his persistence and tenacity. Just because Andi wasn't up for it yesterday, doesn't mean there's not hope for today. On the other hand, I probably would have worn clean trousers.
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He ruins his chance though, by accidentally revealing some info about Bella's cheating to Andi. See, Olli thought Andi and Bella had talked about everything and sorted it all out, he didn't realise their coping strategy was Andi putting his fingers in his ears and saying "NANANANA I CAN'T HEAR YOU". So he tells Andi that the tryst happened while jogging.
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He realises his mistake, but compounds it further by suggestion they follow Bella and Jo's example and enjoy the sexual woods.
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Inappropriate timing.
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Thankfully Tim arrives to provide a distraction, though for some tragic reason he's fully-dressed in this episode. He is very friendly, and tells Andi all about his love of jogging and the fact that he lives with Bella now, which sets Andi's spidey-senses into motion and he deduces it must be Tim with whom Bella slept.

Andi tries to approach the situation like a mature adult, first he makes a schedule for Bella so he'll know exactly where she is at all times, then he tries to interrogate Tim.
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Unfortunately, he does it in such a nudge nudge, wink wink way, that Tim thinks he's asking him to share dirty stories, and then Andi has to attack him.
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This disturbs Jo and Bella who are exchanging fluids in the other room.
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They (and Olli) come out to break up the fight, and hear Andi's accusations that Tim slept with Bella. It's weird how on seeing the sexy mofo that is Jo, Andi doesn't automatically realise his mistake, after all we have been led to believe Dr Jo is instantaneously attractive...
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Anyway, Olli and Jo eventually corral Tim and Andi into separate flats, and Olli tries to act as the responsible observer and mediator to this whole cluster fuck. First with Andi and Bella
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And then with the assorted Helmkes. Charlie has also turned up, and is desperate for some gossip, but Jo and Bella have agreed to keep their liaison a secret, and Olli promised he wouldn't tell so she's not having much luck.
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On the plus side, Olli is looking very attractive.
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And there's some nice fraternal wound tending going on.
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Aside from stroking his brother's face, Jo picks this time to share his thoughts on yaoi why what Bella did was okay, and inevitable, and really hot, except he has a bruise now where the seatbelt dug into his back- oh, what a give away! Charlie and Tim don't catch on, but Olli loses all patience and asks him outside for a fight.
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That's his best 'grr!' face, you know.
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And that's just Jo's best face, fullstop.

They decide it will be better if they have a fight in the hospital, because then Jo can get paid and Olli can get fixed up immediately, but it turns out Olli had more of a morality battle planned. He tells Jo that it's gross that he would ruin his sister's relationship, and Jo says "Wait, what, she's your sister?! I'd never have thought such a dirty goer could be related to a sanctimonious twat like you."
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Jo says he's not in a relationship, he didn't cheat on anyone, he's not responsible for other people's actions, and actually he has better things to do than stand around being judged when he didn't do anything wrong. He assures Olli it will all be fine, and implicitly invites him to a threesome.
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Meanwhile, Bella dumps Andi.
You can watch this ep with English subtitles on this Youtube playlist here.

Today the sky is as dark as my mood.
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Andi, on the other hand, is a very happy bunny.
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This is because he has just made some tasty paella with Ricardo's recipe, and also he does not yet know that his douchenozzle of a girlfriend just shagged her dickwad of an uncle (in law) in the backseat of the car on a deserted dirt road in the woods (...because apparently Bella is 15 and her daddy mustn't find out that she's going steady with a senior).
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But before Bella can finish her "thank God I can be rid of that moronic builder and can replace him with this lovely doctor"-thought and get her clothes back on, Jo tells her that he only does One Night Stands so he definitely will not be doing this again with her. Bella is so upset by this news that she goes home and tactfully cries all over Andi about it.
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And then at Olli. She tells him sleeping with Jo was just an "Ausrutscher". Now Ausrutscher is a slightly difficult word to translate, it can be a lapse or a gaffe or an error, with the implication that it was a one time thing that was out of character and won't happen again. If you have been following the storyline from the olden days though, you will be very familiar with it, because Christian said it about a hundred thousand times after every time he cheated on Olli. Olli seemed to accept it as a valid excuse on all of those occasions though, so it was wise for Bella to pick that tacti-
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Oh, apparently not as easily won over this time. What does it say about your self-esteem when you require a higher standard of fidelity from your sister in her relationship than from your own husband? In any case, Bella tells him he's just jelly because Jo put it in her not him and Olli tells her that's exactly what she should tell Andi.
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Bella tells him she's actually not going to tell Andi (yet), and my day brightens up because Olli trying to conceal the truth from anyone ever about anything is always good for a laugh. (Although if there's one person who might be stupid enough to not be able to see through him in less than 20 seconds, it's probably Andi... #genuinesuspense)
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Having heard from Bella how overwhelmingly sexy jogging is, Olli decides to take Andi to the scene of the sex and try to make a move. But even though he's wearing his most distracting capri pants, Andi is only interested in finding out Bella's secret.
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In fairness to Olli, he does manage to avoid blurting it out unprompted. I was really expecting
Andi: "So, what's wrong with Bella?"
Olli: "What affair?"
Instead Andi gets to the truth through a process of elimination, after Olli emphatically denies that Bella has cancer, got raped, enjoys Bernard Manning or was abducted by aliens.
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Adultery was the only option left.
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Andi walks away, a picture of misery. Olli doesn't follow him because he is a good friend and knows even if Andi's vulnerability might make him open to the idea of "revenge infidelity" to get back at Bella, it would be wrong to take advantage.

Back at home, Bella has decided she can't bear to be with Andi any more, and she is happy to consider incest with Olli instead.
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But Olli is a good brother and knows even if Bella's vulnerability might make her open to the idea of shagging literally anyone who has a higher IQ than a pineapple just to make a change, it would be wrong to take advantage. Meanwhile, Andi has reached some conclusions after conversations with both Leni and Sascha.
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Yep, you. Between them, they convince him that it doesn't matter if your partner cheats sometimes, as long as it didn't mean anything to them. You're better off not knowing, not thinking about it, and not getting hurt, and just being happy that they love you.
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So he applies this new knowledge to his own situation, and tells Bella it's all fine and they should stay together.
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...As you can see, she's thrilled.
You can watch this ep with English subtitles on this Youtube playlist here.

Today, Olli is a little miserable.
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We don't get to see the aftermath of him asking Doctor Jo out for a drink, we only get to hear Olli's recount of Jo's response. Which apparently was "Why not?". This has confused Olli, because it was said apparently with neither enthusiasm nor disdain, but Leni assures him those are the only two possible tones of speech. (Leni and Olli are apparently two of those lucky sorts of people who have never had their request for a date lead to total amusement or murderous rage or anything like that.)
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Bella is also a little out of sorts, to the extent that she's even losing table football to Andi, and he only understands the rules about as well as the Chuckle Brothers (I wanted to link to a video here of the clip from Chucklevision where they celebrate accidentally scoring a goal against their own team, but I can't find it on's the one where they play tennis though, it's fairly representative). Bella is distracted by her thoughts of allegedly sexy Doctor Jo.
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Speak of the bellend, he arrives in No Limits. Olli is all excited about their date, and Bella is excited because she's a hussy my No Misogynistic Language policy is going to get a real work-out this week.
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I'm only slightly exaggerating when I say that sometimes I wish there were trigger warnings for things that feature high levels of second-hand embarrassment...I mean, admittedly, for VL that would probably have to apply to the whole show, but still. I've watched the next scene twice already, once when I first saw the show, the next when I did the English subtitles for Youtube, and I cannot bring myself to sit through it again for the purpose of this recap, so I'll just have to comment on it from memory. The jist is, Olli is very excited that Jo is there for the drink they arranged, and he offers Jo a tasty beer or a tasty coffee or a tasty smoothie or a tasty blowjob or a tasty apple juice, and then Leni comes over and is all like "here's your coffee, bui", and Jo's like "yeah, I wasn't actually here for a drink", and Bella's like "YESSS, FUCK YOU OLLI, HE'S MINE...hi, Andi" and Andi's like "Olli/Jo OTP 5EVA".
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Jo leaves, and Olli gets all embarrassed that he embarrassed himself and he hopes Jo didn't really turn up for the date but then find him so embarrassing that he pretended he had to leave.
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Andi tries to be helpful and reassuring.
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Bella takes the opportunity for a little private fantasy.
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And afterwards, her hand is sore. So she goes to run some cold water over it in the bathroom. Olli follows her and starts spilling the truth tea about how she's a terrible sister for being happy that Jo doesn't want Olli, and that masturbating in No Limits breaches the terms of the licence.
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Count how many fucks she gives.

There's no getting through to her, so Olli tries talking to Andi to see if he can control his woman.
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But Andi has his own problems with Bella, because for the purpose of dramatic irony today is a day when he has to be unusually perceptive (again, I wanted to link here to a clip from Blackadder S02E01 - Bells, where Kate says "Father, all day long you mutter to yourself, gibber, dribble, moan and bash your head against the wall, yelling: 'I want to die!'. Now you may say I'm leaping to conclusions, but you're not completely happy, are you?", but I can't find that on Youtube either...none of my Andi insults are working well today).
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Anyway, Andi says he could almost think that Bella were cheating on him, if that wasn't such a completely ridiculous idea.
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And Olli says "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA LOL THAT IS SUCH A STUPID IDEA, LOL ANDI YOU'RE SO STUPID, STUPID STUPID STUPID...probably she just needs some time... *cough* *bluster* *wink*". But Andi apparently already used up his intelligence ration, because he doesn't even notice that Olli nearly choked on his own tongue trying to say that.
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Meanwhile Bella just shows everyone that they might be the goodies in Harry Potter, but in real life ginger people are evil, by shagging Jo in his car.
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Neither of you look good right now, you know that don't you?
You can watch this ep with English subtitles on this Youtube playlist here.

Today, Olli meets Tim, the naked half-brother of Frank and Jo.
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(I fear Photobucket might delete the above picture because bums are against their nudity policy...if anyone can recommend an arse-friendly image host (which will give me unlimited bandwidth for less than £20 a year) then I'd appreciate suggestions.)
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Frank isn't as impressed by Tim's nudity as Olli or me, and asks him to put something on. (Though really, it isn't nudity, because he's awkwardly holding that cushion in front of his junk the entire time. I've got to say, this whole scene would be much better if Tim was actually uncovered and they hid his nether regions with camera angles and stuff. ...Just some advice for next time there, VL.)
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Anyway, Olli isn't actually there to ogle naked men, but to ask for some help with the surprise wedding party later. Which is apparently between Thore and Giselle. I might be generous and assume that it was a deliberate acting choice to show how Olli is distracted by Tim's gorgeousness, but I think we all know that this storyline has reached a point of such tediousness that not even Jo Weil can be bothered to pay attention to what's going on any more. In any case, Bella isn't around to help.
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But Tim immediately offers his services. At which point Olli forgets the name of every single person he ever met.

Down in No Limits, Olli has been given the task of distracting Thore and Caro and stopping them from going home. And ideal job for someone who couldn't lie his way out of a paper bag, I'm sure you'll agree.
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After tales of malfunctioning paper cups and offers of croissants, he manages to keep Caro and Thore there by asking about their plans in Paris. Thore wants to leave straight away, but Caro thinks they shouldn't rush it.
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Go on, Caro, live on the edge. Please. Just this once. We beg of you... Thankfully Rebecca phones and gets Caro and Thore to come to LCL, saving Olli from having to do any more lying, and freeing up his time to burn Tim's hand.
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(It's probably just me being weird, but every time I look at that pic it feels like there's more than 4 hands in it...)
The burn is a nasty one, so Olli wants to take Tim straight to the hospital, but Tim is worried because he hasn't been keeping up with his health insurance payments (if he's unemployed, doesn't the Arbeitsamt cover that?). Olli says it's fine though, because he knows a doctor. And then he phones Ricardo and says "Hey Ricky, how are things at the North Sea?" and Ricky says "Well, Hagen's still a nutjob, and to be honest four parents for one child is a bit much really." and Olli says "Do you want to come home and look at my hot naked friend's hand?" and Ricardo says "Only if you get naked too, I can't wai- Oh, shit, Jessi's here, gotta go." and Olli sighed and decided he'd just have to see Dr Jo Helmke instead.
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Jo is all smiles and helpfulness until he sees that it's Tim who needs help, and then he tells his little brother to go fuck himself. Olli won't stand for that though, and tells Jo he's a terrible human being and a bad doctor and if he won't treat Tim then Olli will scream and scream til he's sick [/Violet Elizabeth]

Jo reluctantly agrees, and they go to LCL so he can look after Tim.
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D'aww, hand-holding <333
Then Bella turns up, and Olli breaks it to her that Jo is her step-dad's brother.
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She thinks this is terrible news, so Olli is like "What about Andi?" and Bella is like "Who's Andi?" and Olli is like "I think he's marrying Thore." and Bella is like "I love The Voice Kids." and Jo is like "TIM WOULD YOU JUST PUT YOUR SHIRT BACK ON, THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS".
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So Olli and Bella both promise that they won't have anything to do with Jo, which they prove by interrogating Tim about his brother. Tim doesn't know anything about Jo, except that Jo and Frank hadn't spoken to each other in three years, and Jo isn't a relationship kind of guy (if that's what you want Olli, then, I mean, Sascha's crap at relationships too...just saying). Tim does know that Olli and Bella fancy Jo though, which I would say is incredible deductive skill, except they were being about as subtle as a fart in a library (still, Andi wouldn't have noticed).

Jo gets back to bandaging up Tim, who tries to talk and go to know him a bit, but Jo basically tells him to shut up. Tim tentatively raises the idea of seeing each other again, and Jo tells him he'd rather kill himself.
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Then he leaves. What a charmer.
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He forgets his pen though, and Olli decides that it must be returned.
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He asks Bella to give him Jo's number so that he can call him and tell him about the the pen, but Bella is all "I have totally forgotten what the number is - I have definitely not copied it out in triplicate and saved it in three separate places around the house and on my person so as to ensure I never lose it - and he is far too straight for you anyway, bro, lol, you loser" and Olli calls her a bitch and shoves the pen into her eye.
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But it bounces right off because her eyes are made of as thick stone as her heart. (Tim and Olli need to commiserate about how their siblings are douches.)

Olli was left so miserable by the whole exchange that he even missed most of Caro and Thore's party. So at least some good came of it.
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Unfortunately they managed to hunt him down anyway. But Thore is able to reassure him that all doctors are bisexual (I assume he found that out during his months of physiotherapy with Dr Mendes?) and Olli should make a move.
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Olli shares one final touching hug with Caro.
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And a brief awkward one with Thore.
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To celebrate Caro and Thore being finally gone, Olli heads off to the hospital to return Jo's pen, and inspired by the adorable receptionist who blatantly ships it, he asks life's most important question.
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"Wanna get a drink sometime?"
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You can watch this ep with English subtitles on this Youtube playlist here.

There's plenty to celebrate this week on VL, because Caro and Thore are leaving for Paris soon.
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Olli is all "please, take me with you, I can't stand this terrible place where every man I meet is straight or ugly or both, but I hear French men are hot and will shag anyone" and Caro's like "sorry, but I'm sure you won't have to hang around here for too much longer either [/what fourth wall?]".
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Then Caro's mum turns up and orders an Ayurvedish tea, and it turns out that there are actually some drinks that No Limits doesn't stock, because Olli has to fob her off with a chai latte.
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Giselle tries to order one with normal milk, but her mum tells her that her karma is already bad enough without stealing milk from baby cows, so she'd better have soya. Burn.
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To redeem her conscience, Giselle decides to secretly organise a wedding party for Thore and Caro, at the exact same time Thore and Caro decide they don't want one. At this point they're just being difficult tbh. GET LOST ALREADY.

Also in this episode, some things are revealed: Dr Helmke is called Jo. He is Policeman Frank's half-brother. And therefore Olli and Bella's uncle (by marriage). There is also a younger Helmke brother, called Tim.
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Their dad just died. They don't get on. Tim is hot.
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I ship Jo/Tim.
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And also Frank/Tim.
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Frank/Jo I am not sure about yet. Partly because their whole backstory is stolen word for word from Ludo/Janine/Stefano's backstory on Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden. Frank got injured at work and became paralysed, so he got depressed/grumpy and pushed everyone around him away. Including his then-wife, Saskia, who bonded with his brother Jo during the tough time. Then Jo and Saskia slept together. (On GTST, Ludo got injured at work and became paralysed, so he became depressed/grumpy and pushed everyone around him away. Including his then-wife, Janine, who bonded with his brother Stefano during the tough time. Then Stefano and Janine slept together.) I mean, I ship Ludo/Stefano like burning, so it should be my ideal ship, but on the other hand Stefano is really hot and Jo is really not and I am really shallow, so there are a lot of factors at play here.
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And Charlie forces them all to have an awkward family meal anyway. Because that's the Schneider way.
You can watch this ep with English subtitles on this Youtube playlist here.

In the gap between episodes, Andi's heart has broken.
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And Olli tries to send Sascha telepathic messages, that if Sascha were to propose to him, then he wouldn't turn him down like that, but I think Sascha has been completely put off the idea now.
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(No but seriously, why is their a candle between them? Stop teasing me, show!)
Bella tries to explain she was just surprised by the proposal, and she only said "no" out of a toddler/creationist-like reflex to deny everything immediately without thinking, but even Andi doesn't buy that so he storms off and Olli and Bella go upstairs to chat.
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She tells him that while Andi was proposing, all she could think about was the guy she met (Dr Helmke).
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You know that alien sex-spray stuff that Owen on Torchwood had, to make everyone he squirted with it become infatuated with him? Now I'm not saying that Dr Helmke has been using the same stuff, but I really have no other explanation.

Bella tries to make up with Andi though (who had a bit of a paddy and through the engagement ring in the river), and he's happy that she still wants to be in a relationship with him.
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Except then he proposes again, and she says she's still not ready, and Andi is all "either you want me completely, you want all of me, you want to be devoted only to me for the rest of our lives, OR you're a commitmentless hussy" and Bella's like "well, that's kind of a false dichotomy" and Andi storms off.
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Bella goes to talk with Olli again, and he's all like "you turned him down AGAIN?? but you didn't even let me watch, you're no fun :( ...I have to call Sascha".
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Olli takes this chance for a prime spuddling opportunity, and suggests maybe Bella should just call the sexy guy who's distracting her. Sucks to be you, Olli, accidentally recommending your sister hook up with the guy you fancy... Or are you hoping she does get together with him, so you can make a move on Andi?
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Don't try your poker face on me, babe. I know you better than that.
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Anyway, Andi and Bella make up and decide not to get married, and Olli is ecstatic.
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And so is Bella, or at least she is a better actor.

So to take their mind's of their impending futures with or without Andi, they go for a walk, where who do they spot? Only mystery doctor post box man!
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And then they both realise that they've been lusting after the same guy for all this time, and finally, for the first time all episode they both genuinely smile.
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Or at least Olli tries. (I think it's because he's more genre-aware and realises that they're about to get locked into a love triangle of doom. Whereas Bella's just excited about the prospect of a threeway.)

And then they get run over by a dog. Who Bella immediately falls in love with, just like how she met Dr Helmke. Since Christian left to live with his horse, there really hasn't been enough properly forbidden love on Forbidden Love. We don't find out the dog's name yet, but I shall call him Poirot for now.
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So with Bella happy to pursue Poirot, she offers Olli the opportunity to take his chance with Andi. Or the doctor guy, if he prefers.
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Well, this is a little late, but I'll catch up. You can watch this ep with English subtitles on this Youtube playlist here.

So as you may remember, last recap we met Olli's new crush, Dr Helmke.
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And now Bella has also had the pleasure. She is just as enchanted by the guy as Olli, which is a bit weird as Olli at least met him at a time of mental vulnerability. If you think you're dying of Dengue fever, then a half-attractive doctor being nice and smiling at you probably is enough to tip you over the edge into "OMG, lurve!". But Bella has no excuse, she has no idea he's a doctor, and in fact he nearly runs her over. In some ways I sympathise with her position, because going out with Andi for any length of time will probably affect your ability to think reasonably and critically just by association, but still.
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I mean, she acts like she thinks Dr Helmke is aesthetically more attractive. Andi's influence on her mental faculties can't be so strong that he's sent her blind, can it?
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Anyway, Dr Helmke gives her his number (in case she feels any ill effects following him nearly running her over), and also reveals that the car he's driving isn't his, so the baby on board isn't his, so the baby isn't his, and so Olli might still have a chance!! Happy days!!!! Or whatever.
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...Usually I don't like to criticise any aspect of the physical appearance of women on this show. (Obviously the men are fair game, but that's because as a society we don't ascribe the same worth to male standards of beauty, and male actors are freer to gain value and credit for their abilities outside of perceived attractiveness, and...etc, etc, etc.) But, what is it with Bella and standing so pigeon-toed all the time? Genuinely, when I try and stand like that, my leg starts to hurt...although, in fairness, I did recently tear several ligaments in my leg... I don't know. Looks weird though.

Later, Andi picks this day to ask Bella Something Romantic in No Limits.
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I know they don't have much money, but could he not have taken her to the beach or a park or something? Still cheap, but more romantic than her brother's bar with red cardboard stuck up everywhere.
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Then Sascha and Olli turn up, and have a little silent couple-y conversation about WTF Andi's up to, which does actually make it seem more romantic in there.
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Neither of them know, so they decide to settle down with drinks and watch the show.
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Then Charlie arrives as well... (Charlie/Sascha OTP, it's gonna happen).
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And they all quickly finish their drinks and take their places to ensure the best view of the imminent drama.
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Andi gets down on his knees, and not in the fun way.
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Charlie: "Not sure that's a good idea, Andi, maybe-...Well, you know best."
Olli: "Oh, this won't end well."
Sascha: "Would it be a bit much if I proposed to Olli?"
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Andi: "Will you marry me?"
Bella: "I would literally rather gnaw off my own face."
Watch this episode with English subtitles here.

Today, Olli is home from another date that went wrong. I'd like the show more if we got to see all Olli's fail-dates rather than just his recounts of them later, but whatever. He goes home to be comforted by Captain Mixed-Signals.
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(I will go down with this ship... [/Dido])

Anyway, the actual reason Sascha was so interested in Olli's back is because he has some sort of terrible skin eruption which is so gross that Sascha has to flee the bathroom, leaving Olli alone to self-diagnose. Being the rational, level-headed guy that he is, he will obviously conclude that he has developed mild eczema, or heat rash, or contact dermatitis, or something else innocuous and treatable...
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Oh, or Dengue fever. So he takes himself off to the hospital.
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Because of his highly contagious potentially fatal tropical disease, he gets put in a quarantine room and is attended to by Logar, the Trion god of fire Dr Helmke in a hazmat suit.
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Dr Helmke teases Olli a little about his impending death, and his fear of needles, and general scaredy cat nature. So Olli tells him about how actually he is a very daring, un-anxious chappy who is never normally panicked about anything, except having an itchy back. They chat about their recent travels - Dr Helmke rode his motorbike through Asia, and Olli shares some more info about his Africa trip. In Botswana he went on a water safari, camped in the Kalahari, and then got the bus down into South Africa. He also says he went travelled through 6 countries. So Cameroon, Botswana, South Africa...any bets on the other three? If he went direct, that would have to be a Cameroon>Congo>DRC>Zambia>Botswana>South Africa route. Which is not the safest, so maybe he flew over Central Africa and went to Namibia and Zambia and somewhere else nice and friendly...Mozambique, say. He got back in one piece anyhow.
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Olli tells Dr Helmke that he's actually the first person who's heard the stories from his trip, because all of his friends are terrible people who only want to talk about themselves and don't give a shit what's going on his life. Dr Helmke shows off how much he's been paying attention and tells Olli he has a hot body.
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Then the test results come back, and it turns out Olli's fine and probably just had an allergic reaction to Justus. In celebration, Dr Helmke takes off his helmet.
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Eh, not bad.
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Olli is much more whelmed than I am about Dr Helmke's face, and in under 24 hours has broken his pledge to Sascha not to fall in love with anyone else. (What did you expect, Sascha? You can't play doggy in the manger for ever.) So he does the only thing a German in love can do, and shakes Dr Helmke's hand twice in under a minute and invites him for a drink.

Later, Olli realises that he doesn't actually know Dr Helmke's name (...can't you look on the prescription he gave you? or do German prescriptions not have the doctor's name on?), so he runs back to the hospital to find out.
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And literally runs into him. He pretends he left his deodorant in the hospital so he came back to fetch it, and then there's teasing, and smiling, and flirting, and adorableness, and aww.
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Olli looks so cute when he's in love.
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And...sullen might be a better look for Dr Helmke.
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But then when Dr Helmke drives away, Olli notices the Baby on Board sticker on his car, and knows that yet again he's got the hots for a straighty :(
You can watch these episodes with English subtitles here, here and here.

If you like Olli acting as shoulder to cry on, a sounding board for queries, and a selfless comfort in times of need for all of his friends and even people of whom he is not too fond really, then this last weeks worth of episodes are unmissable Verbotene Liebe classics. For the rest of us...well, we'll muddle on through.
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First, Emilio. Sweet, moronic Emilio is very upset that Evil Per Mertens had his hand on Kim's arse. I mean, I know he's only young, and I know Evil Per Mertens is trying to have it off with Kim, but Kim and Emilio being constantly jealous and possessive to the max is so tiresome at this point. Rehashing it all almost looks like it will be worth it when Emilio offers to demonstrate Evil Per's actions on Olli...
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But Emilio remembers he's a homophobe and rescinds the offer. Even though he doesn't get a grope out of it, Olli is still happy to provide advice, and reminds Emilio that sabotaging Kim's career just because he's a jealous jelly bear is not a very husbandly thing to do so don't be like Christian. Emilio agrees, and there's some back and forth where Emilio tries to take an important DVD that Kim needs for work to the important event where she needs it, but the doormen won't let him in. Rather than handing the DVD to someone else to hand to Kim, he decides it isn't her success that is actually important here but instead his own macho self-image as her saviour, so he goes back to Olli who is selflessly minding the burrito wagon to help formulate a plan.
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I mean, what's the point of having an erasable blackboard sign if you're going to leave the same 'BURRITO MANIA' message up there for months and months? Anyway, Emilio decides the way to show off what an awesome, clever, wise, dependable husband and businessman he is by spending the money for the next instalment of his expansion plan on a suit so he can sneak into the party and impress Kim.
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Which all goes horribly wrong, so now he's involved with a loanshark.

Speaking of morons in debt, your man Andi also needs Olli's help. He's got himself in some trouble again, none of which is his fault, obviously, because it never is, hence much exclaiming of "it's not fair" and bawwwing all over the shop.
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Bella has found out about Andi helping Alexa hide in their loft while she was fleeing from the police and that he kissed her, and Alexa is claiming they slept together. Because of that, she's decided she needs time to think about whether she and Andi should be together any more. Andi wants advice from Olli about how to convince Bella that he's not a dishonest, gibbering, cheating, lying, incompetent imbecile after all.
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Olli thinks that's probably not possible without lobotomising Bella, but treats Andi to a hot chocolate in No Limits because bros before hoes sisses, man.
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Bella forgives Andi anyway, and even inexplicably decides to take some of the blame (a mistake to concede the high-ground, she could have saved up her 'One kiss with someone else' and 'Harbouring a fugitive' IOUs for use in later storylines, might've come in handy).
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And they let Olli know, who manages to very convincingly hide his disappointment that his glimmer of a chance of getting with Andi has evaporated again. Then he accidentally overcompensates by giving them a bottle of champagne.

But good news, everyone! Olli has found someone new. I mean, not a new partner, obviously, the way the soap has been going we will obviously have to wait ages and ages for that to happen *wink*, but a new person who wants to pour their problems on him in exchange for...I think clothes in this instance.
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Pleasingly for love-triangle completionists, it's Thore. See, Giselle tried to actually commit suicide, and then Caro dumped Thore because she felt so guilty about it, and now Thore is all sad panda.
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Olli is also sad, because he can't believe this storyline isn't over yet Thore makes him re-live that traumatic time when he walked in on Giselle covered in red paint and he was so flustered that he completely forgot himself and did something useful in the face of panic.
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Olli takes Thore back to No Limits, because he figures if he's going to have to sit through endless lovesick whinging then he might as well sell some coffee at the same time. And then Thore realises Giselle was never really suicidal, she just pretended to try and break Caro and Thore up (...VL, socially responsible as ever, playing up the "she was just doing it for attention"-trope).

This week's Advice Seeker Number 4: Caro.
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Seen here being patted on the head while her pretending-to-be-suicidal sister orders a coffee. Though actually this isn't the source of her problems, she's really worried because she can't work out any designs for her Femme Fatale project for her fashion school application.
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Olli suggests she just send in more naked pictures of Sascha, and helpfully draws some possible poses for her to consider. Then Caro's all like "wait, how did you know about his tattoo down there?" and Olli is all "no reason...wait, how do you know about it?" and then Caro's like "no reason" and then they side-eye each other awwardly until Marlene turns up.
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She's moving to America (specifically New Haven - I assume for the tennis tournament), so she needs some muffins and coffee, which she orders from Olli. First the muffins...
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Then the coffee.
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Someone needs to retake their "pretending empty cups actually have drink in them"-class at acting school, I fear. I mean, I'd check inside that muffin box too Marlene, I think Olli's trying to fob you off. ("Check inside that muffin box, Marlene" also being the original storyline pitch for the Rebecca/Marlene romance. #funfact)
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Somehow, this solves all of Caro's problems though, hooray.
Watch these episodes with English subtitles here, here and here. Btw, I'm moving to Austria on Monday, so both subtitles and episode recaps will probably be slow next week. Sorry about that.

Today, half of the cast are leaving the show. Well, not quite half, but Jessica, Dana, Hagen and baby Max are all off to the North Sea, and Ricardo plans to go back to Majorca.
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Jessica is sad about this. Ricardo is sad about it too, because he is in love with Jessie and Jessie is in love with him, and obviously he's not really going to go to Majorca, but we have to sit through a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with lost phones and unhelpful hospital receptionists who seem to be more focussed on arranging treatments for patients than playing cupid before we actually see them properly reunite on screen.
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Ricardo has the bright idea of going to Olli for help though, and so we get a lot of ~last moments~. The last time Olli will call Ricardo his "Tiger".
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The last time Olli will pull this face at Ricardo's awful romance ideas.
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And the last time Olli will stare in disbelief at Ricardo's retreating back. Memories.
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Naturally it all works out in the end, and as they prepare to leave, Jessie, Ricardo and Dana reflect on all the wisdom Olli has brought them through sharing stories of his own failed love life. What are friends for.
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Another of my favourite couples in the show also reconciled in this episode: Hagen and Sebastian love each other again.
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Here you see Hagen leaving Sebastian to get dressed after they've had epic make-up sex... Alright, no that's not quite what happened. What did happen was Hagen tried to be a bit amiable, which isn't easy for him because he's a massive arsehole and a bit of a nutjob.
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Sebastian wasn't willing to forgive or forget however, so Hagen shoved him into a pillar which cut his eyebrow open.
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But later they met at their father's grave and shared some of their feelings about how difficult it is to say goodbye, but incest just isn't socially acceptable in modern Germany and it's too hard to be around each other all day without giving into temptation, so it will be better if Hagen leaves so that they can both try to get over each other and come to terms with the situation. At least, I think that's what they said, my aural comprehension of German isn't always 100% accurate.
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So Hagen cleaned Sebastian's wound.
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And drank some scotch.
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And then they hugged each other one last time before Hagen departed to be with Dana and Maxi.

Thursday and Friday
Olli is again being thrown into the Caro/Thore mess, but this time from a completely new angle! *exciting*

Giselle has found out about Caro and Thore being together, and has decided to drown her sorrows in No Limits.
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Here you can see her drinking behind Olli and Leni.
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And here you can see Olli looking concerned.
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I can't seem to get a good screenshot of it, but does Jo have a coldsore...? Something near the centre of his top lip, just on (his) right-hand side? ...Frustrated by the lack of attention I'm showing her in this recap, Giselle decides to go home where, as she'll be in a scene without Olli, I might even post a pic of her in focus.
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She also trashes Caro's flat with some paint.
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But then Olli turns up there too, because he's all worried about her.
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Okay, now the dialogue suggests that Olli initially mistook the red paint for blood. Fair enough, easy error to make. But on mistaking the paint for blood, Olli's first reaction is to run in and check if she's alright which is basically the most out of character thing to happen since Andi solved that crossword puzzle. Philipp hit by a car: Olli stands very still for ages and watches while Charlie has to do everything like phoning for an ambulance and helping Philipp. Christian has a heart-attack: Olli runs away and dumps his boyfriend. Charlie tells him Bella is her daughter: Olli throws everyone out of No Limits and flings himself into the pool. But Giselle potentially having committed suicide: Olli is suddenly cool and capable, checks she's conscious and gets her some water when he realises she is.
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Anyway, then Olli's all like "omg, Caro is gonna be so pissed off when she sees this mess, what were you thinking" and leaves, and Giselle thinks "hmm, suicide, now there's an idea" and overdoses.
Watch this episode with English subtitles here.

Bella decides to go and investigate the odd noises emanating from Andi's bedroom, but Olli is all like "Andi wouldn't cheat on you, and even if he did, he wouldn't be stupid enough to do it here at home where you would overhear it!".
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He says that Bella's evidence (Andi having bought a second phone, and Charlie thinking she saw Andi with another woman) is nothing to go on, and that Andi is a grown up now. You know, I'm beginning to fear that Olli has contracted some sort of exotic disease that causes delirium...
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Bella seems comforted by it though, and goes off to forgive Andi who has since pushed Alexa off him and hidden her in a wardrobe. Bella tells him she's sorry for thinking he would cheat, and Andi says he's sorry too but wisely doesn't really specify what for.
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Bella's convinced though, so there's make up kissage.
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Until Olli bursts in and is annoyed that he's only been back 5 minutes, but he's not getting any attention and is just having to stitch together other people's relationships.
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That's the third person Andi's been ~intimate with in as many minutes, what a slag. Olli wants to talk about how great Africa was, and how tall Lilly has got, and so on, but Andi hurries them all out of the room away from the incriminating criminal.
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In the living room, they prepare Dana and Jessica's going away present - autographed photocards of their favourite soap actors. Olli takes this opportunity to try and tell a story about a failed date on the Table Mountain. Now you might be thinking "didn't Olli go to Cameroon? isn't the Table Mountain in Cape Town 3000 miles away? and didn't Olli promise he wouldn't be driving off on any long trips while he's there? didn't the show establish that London to Düsseldorf was a basically untraversable distance and that's only about 300 miles?", and...well, I have no answers for you on that front, and was actually fairly sure I'd drastically misheard something... Quick, Sascha, come in and distract everyone from this completely nonsensical geography.
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Thanks, babe. Sorry to fluster you like that.
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Sascha's almost as happy as I am that Olli is back and they have some banter about how Olli wasn't eaten by crocodiles or trampled by rhinos or captured by Boko Haram. Then they have a cuddle.
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No groin contact, but there's a cute little backrub from Sascha. [/important observations]

Later, Olli tries to tell Ricardo about his fail-date on the mountain...
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And then Jessica too...
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But they are both hardcore Scholli shippers and don't give a toss.

Meanwhile, Sascha is telling Emilio how happy he is to have Olli back home and in his arms.
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Mate, it's only been a day since Caro dumped you, don't get all reboundy. ...Actually no, do. But Emilio's happy too, because earlier he got very close to a wet Evil Per Mertens.
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And then Per gave him a pressie afterwards.
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And we all know how nuts make Emilio smoulder.
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I feel a bit bad for him, because Per is being all manipulative and giving him allegedly sentimental presents to lure him into loving him, while also making the exact same move on his wife. But if the commemorative nut Per gave him was really the first one Per ever nutted and he carries it everywhere, wouldn't it be tarnished and/or a bit battered and worn? If it's meant to be years old, it wouldn't look brand new. But Kim fell for it too. And it's weird that Per assumed the two of them will never compare nuts... Occasionally this show doesn't really stand up to close scrutiny...
Watch this episode with English subtitles here.

You might have noticed my absence and lack of episode recaps lately. I can but apologise, first the show was off air, and then I was in Spain without much internet, and then after some mistranslated googling I got stuck listening to this awful song Verboden Liefde on a loop because it was more enjoyable than watching the show, and then I was much too lazy to catch up with the bits I'd missed (though I have done subtitles for the Sascha bits if you're interested, see my Youtube channel). But I'm back! And Olli's back! (Which of those are you more happy about? Be honest, after all you won't hurt his feelings because he's fictional.)
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But let me provide a quick update of what's happened lately: Caro is going out with Thore now, and Sascha has taken solice with some guy who has a chain necklace and a mohican agreed that he and Caro should just be friends.
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It's a quick turn around from his "she's mine, not yours, na-nuh-na-nuh-na-nah!"-attitude from before, but I'll take it. In other news, Jessica, Dana, Hagen and Ricardo are all moving to the North Sea with Max, and Elisabeth chucked Ansgar out of the castle while he was in his dressing gown.

But more relevantly, Andi is helping a fleeing criminal who lives in their loft now. Well, technically it's her loft since she bought the building from Olli, but whatever.
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He's been bringing Alexa food and clothes and bought her a new mobile phone, and all of this has made Bella very suspicious. Andi's badness at lying has led her to believe he might be having an affair, so she turns to Olli for support and advice.
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I'm just so glad he's back.
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Anyway, Bella decides on balance that although Andi is behaving oddly, he probably isn't having an affair. Good deduction, because even Andi wouldn't be that stupi-
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Or, you know, he would. I am surprised he's cheating with Alexa of all people. Given he's gone out with Olivia and now Bella and neither has sufficed, I was expecting Charlie to be the next target of his "substitute Olli with his female relatives"-method of selecting a date.
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Anyway, at that moment, Olli and Bella in the living room overhear a weird noise created by Andi and Alexa's passion, and wonder what on earth it could be. Dun-dun-duh.
Watch this episode with English subtitles here.

Today, Caro is unconscious.
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Now, I don't want to get all sanctimonious on you, but as I recall from my Brownie First Aid badge if someone gets knocked out, you need to be seeking some sort of medical assistance from someone actually qualified to tell you how severe the injury to the brain may be. In the absence of that you need to at least keep an eye on the person, and to check that they're responding normally to stimuli such as light and pain.
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So what Sascha and Thore do is first have a spat about who should go and fetch ice, who should drive Caro where, whether Thore is good at punching... All the important issues.
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And then Sascha takes her home and falls straight asleep. I mean, I could forgive Thore maybe not knowing what to do, at least he didn't just and leave her lying there and drive off - this is real progress for him. But Sascha? He should know how this goes, because Olli showed him the exact right way when he had his own head injury. And if Olli "oh no, there's been a traumatic event, I'd better stand very still and watch unresponsively or run away and hide somewhere or throw everyone out of No Limits" Sabel can manage it, then Sascha has no excuse for being a big heap of fail.

The next morning, Caro comes into work wearing a scarf whose pattern I will describe diplomatically as "brave". I can't say Olli would have made a better choice, because if someone emails him a pic of this one he would probably fly back immediately from Cameroon just to steal it. First his man, then his cakes, now his scarves... Low blow, Caro. (Sort of reminds me of She Wants To Be Me by Busted, though obviously that's a slightly different angle.)
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But I think even Olli would have realised that if he's trying to deflect attention away from part of his body, then surrounding that one part of your body with a garish carnival flag while keeping the rest of your outfit very drab is not going to have the desired effect. Could you not have tried a heavy-coverage foundation? The only thing keeping anyone's eyes off your neck/chin area is the childish stand-off going on between your two love interests.
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Yeah, Thore, shut the fuck up. I mean, you're not speaking, you're just moving your eyebrows, but what you're doing with them, stop it. You have no business feeling put out right now.
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Sascha, you can grow up too.
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Caro and Giselle go to have a conversation in private, and without Ike and Wyatt there to distract her, Giselle quickly spots Caro's bruise. She assumes that Sascha hit her, and the Thore knew which is why they were they were facing off like Ennis and Jack Clint and...the Sheriff (okay, I've basically only ever seen two Westerns...). Caro tells her that of course Sascha didn't hit her, she got the bruise while she was having sex with her bedside table and she wants to keep it secret because she doesn't want anyone to know about her furniture fetish.
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Giselle buys it, even though that's the German equivalent of "I walked into a door". Also in the office, Thore has realised that there's someone who has done a serious wrong to, and he should go and apologise, immediately and sincerely for his conduct:
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You know when you punch a woman in the face and you apologise to her boyfriend for it? Mate, this isn't like you scratched his car... Anyway, Sascha's like "probably not me you should be having this convo with". Taking this advice on board, Thore tries to apologise to Caro, but she doesn't want to talk, so he respectfully grabs her...
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...and slings her over his shoulder.
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Because nothing says "I'm sorry for hitting you in the face" like physically manhandling someone into a storage closet, am I right? Does LCL even have a human resources department? I feel like it's a job no one would deserve. Anyway, then they have a long tedious conversation where Thore is a dick, and Caro tells him to just be honest about how he feels, and then Thore tries to do a suspenseful reality-show build up to how he really feels, but then Caro decides actually she doesn't give a shit and tells him to let her go already.

In other news, Jessica fancies Ricardo again but has stopped trying to pursue anything with him, because Bella called her "cheap". Maxi has, like, terminal asthma that he means he has to move to the seaside or else he's going to stop breathing altogether or something, but with some sea air he will be perfectly fine apparently. I'm beginning to think Ricardo qualified as a doctor in the 19th century. So Maxi, Dana, Jessica and Hagen are all moving to the North Sea. Sebastian and Per Mertens' plan has all come together wonderfully, except Sebastian dropped the ball at the final moment by letting Ansgar listen to him have sex. (I find the name "Per Mertens" very satisfying to say - it has a rhythm to it, like Fin Bartels, which I enjoy.) In response to this, Hagen is actually staying to run the Lahnstein Empire and as Dana has promised both Jessica and Dana that she won't leave either of them, I guess Maxi's lungs will just have to man up for now. Plus Per has dumped Sebastian for Kim, which is a bit of a step down imo, but I am biased.
Watch this episode with English subtitles here.

Today, Caro is nervous. She got a letter from the Paris fashion school, but she's worried she's failed and won't be accepted and will have to forever stay being an accountant for an elite fashion label who keep trying to lure her to be a designer and constantly offer her jobs to do designing, meaning she will never get to be a designer and do designing (the logic is strong with this one). Which is her biggest dream. (I had a slight flashback to the "My second biggest dream"-clip, that awkward moment when Christian looks comparatively romantic.)
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Sascha gets her to finally open the letter, and all her troubles were for nothing anyway, because she's through to the next round and hasn't been evicted to the Jury House. (...I have literally no idea what that last sentence means by the way - I recently started watching the US Big Brother because Zach and Frankie ("Zankie") have a slashtastic bromance, but it's so different from the UK version that I'm constantly confused. They're allowed to discuss nominations! There's no public vote to evict! They have an upstairs! Total mind-fuck.)
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I am getting so bloody sick of the pounce-jump-cling pose, I can't even tell you. Does it really have to happen in every episode? Caro used to be restrained and now she leaps into a man's arms at a moment's notice, and that's meant to be progress, or what? Calm the fuck down, gal. Hooray, good for her! She does have a new task to complete though, 'Underwear As Your Second Skin' it's called. But before she can worry about that, Thore drags her off to a meeting.
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Someone somewhere seems to have overruled Thore's "young, female accountants surrounded by sweaty, naked janitors" design proposal, and so the new fashion collection is being marketed with international music stars wearing the clothes under the name 'LCL Goes Pop', which is possibly the only time in VL history where I have found something vaguely amusing that was actually meant to deliberately be a pun. Usually them trying to be funny and what I find funny don't synch up nearly so well.
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The meeting is going well, except Caro is distracted trying to design Underwear As Your Second Skin, and Thore is distracted by Sascha suddenly turning up. So much so that he can barely speak. Being distracted by Sascha is a bit of a running theme this ep, it happens to Caro as well during the meeting, then later when Giselle's trying to talk to her about wedding decorations and so on (she sorts out that conversation by assuring Giselle that she definitely won't be at the wedding alone, Sascha will be coming with her just like he does in bed). It's weird that people find him so irresistible, because Sascha's one of those guys who tries to wink even though they can't wink so it just looks like a very emphatic, odd blink:
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Anyway, part of the reason Caro is finding him so sexy is because actually she has the idea of using him for her design project. His tattoos are his second skin after all. So she wants to do a photoshoot with him after work using the company's camera and lighting equipment.
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Meanwhile, Thore in the next room, having to listen to their incessant giggling. (Seriously, if someone was laughing that much at me undressing, I think I'd develop some kind of a complex. Sascha must have more self-confidence than Sepp Blatter.)
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Yeah, so whatever. Here's some pictures of Sascha getting naked, because when Olli, Andi and Ricardo stripped for when Christian was meant to come back and then didn't, Sascha couldn't take part because he had a poorly hand. So this makes the tally even. (Don't actually know if these will last or if they'll fall foul of Photobucket's no-nudity rule. I know fronts aren't allowed, not sure about bums. Anyway, if they've been taken down, then drop a comment and I'll upload them somewhere else.)
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And then Thore walks in and is all like "omg, I can't believe you're defiling company property with his nakedness" and Caro's like "dude, is there anything in this building you haven't defiled" and Sascha's like "it's actually work because she's going to Paris" and Thore's like "...wat?" and Sascha's like "lol, you didn't even know" and Thore's like "you're both bitches" and Sascha's like "better a bitch than a cock with no balls" and Thore punches him but misses him and accidentally hits Caro.
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Good job, Show. You made Thore semi-likable for an episode and a half and then had him hit a woman? Isn't that your code for 'irredeemable'? Like why you had Hagen never go that far when he lost in temper in front of Dana and he merely grabbed her arm a bit, got a bit more feisty with ersatz-woman Olli, but only properly violent with a proper man like Ricardo? Or is there a new code and thumping woman is fine if it's by accident? If I was going to line up all the VL characters in the order I would like to punch them in the face, then Caro would not be top of the list. But nor would she be bottom. She has middling-punchability, imo. But the dread of all the sympathy she'll probably get in coming episodes mean this is not a development I approve of.
Watch this episode with English subtitles here.

There are three reasons I continue to do recaps of Sascha's storyline with Caro, even though I don't like it: a) I've started so I'll finish, b) I can't switch to commenting more on Sebastian's storylines with Hagen and Per that I do actually enjoy because I haven't got to the Blackmail module in my Duolingo German course yet so I don't know any of the vocabulary, and c) [ profile] chrollianne is a sweetheart. With all that in mind, I have decided to embrace the Caro/Sascha development just as Sascha and Caro embrace each other - i.e., awkwardly and unconvincingly. I resolve to stop whinging about Olli being gone, and I will focus on seeing the positive in Sascha and Caro, and their feelings for each other.
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Oh Lord, I can't take it. Olli, please, I miss you! No. Be strong... Yes, so we start off where we left off. With...that. This positivity lark isn't as easy as I imagined. But Caro and Sascha are definitely enjoying themselves, with much snoggage going on until Sascha puts his hand down the back of Caro's trousers and she puts a halt to proceedings. Because she's a woman of quality [/Jack McFarland] and is hungry.
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They sit down and eat, and Sascha tells her she's weird for still not having slept with him yet. It sounds like arrogance, but in fairness he has had basically every girl or Olli that he's wanted. The only logical explanation he can think of is that Caro is still in love with Thore, so at least he's genre-savvy. Caro tells him she just wants to take things slowly.
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How...cute. (I'm trying my best, okay?)

Meanwhile, Giselle is still thrilled that Caro has found someone to bring to the wedding. Thore less so. He doesn't think they should invite Sascha, after all Caro definitely doesn't want anything serious with him. Definitely.
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Giselle tells Caro to come round, to try and find out more details and also for her to choose a bridesmaid's dress.
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Caro says there's nothing going on, she and Sascha are just good friends, and also she doesn't want to get her baps out. She wants to be mysterious and enticing, not a ho. Giselle says actually being a ho and getting your baps out it is loads of fun and Caro should have a go. At least then she won't be alone at the wedding.
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Caro decides he sister is right. She would like to have some fun with Sascha, so that's what she'll do.

Since Caro turned him down earlier, Sascha finds something to screw at LCL instead.
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*badoom tshh*
Nah, he's just working. Even though he took the time off to run No Limits. Even though he hasn't actually been in No Limits during any of the scenes which don't directly involve him flirting with Caro, leaving the job to non-speaking extras. None of this makes any bloody sense... By which, I mean that it's incredibly sweet of Sascha to disrupt his entire work schedule just to accommodate his devotion to Caro <333
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Thore is unimpressed. He's all like "why did your lunch take so long?", "shouldn't Caro be working?", "jealousy, what jealousy?", etc. And Sascha decides to be a smug git who flaunts having gained a girl's interest by announcing his ~conquest to other men to make himself feel socially superior adorably territorial and tells Thore that Caro's a great kisser.
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At which point Thore's brain melts.
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Caro is looking for Sascha to help her pursue her new-found dream of having casual sex, but only finds Jessica. (Later in the show, Caro looks for an apple to sate her desperate hunger but can unfortunately only get a luxury four-course meal, and wants for €5 to put in her holiday fund but keeps finding €1000 notes on the street.)
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Jessica seems a bit confused by the whole situation, but doesn't mention the Olli/Sascha situation and lends Caro a lipstick to make her sexy. I don't know what's sexy about possibly transmitting cold sores or other oral infections, but whatever (seriously, sterilise your lipsticks if you're sharing).
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Caro then frightens poor little Andi, by saying the S-word in front of him.
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Please Caro, it's only been two weeks since he learnt how babies are made.

Sascha is eventually located, and immediately spots that Caro's lips are different. Which isn't a very heterosexual thing to do to be honest, I mean what straight guy notices a slight change in lip shade, it's not like she suddenly went for bright red or purple or something is a testament to his feelings, that he observes every detail about her.
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Caro's not really fussed about ~feelings right now though.
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These past few episodes, in which Caro and Sascha's interaction has basically been a 45 minute montage of them making out has made me feel a bit hard done by as an Olli fan. All the scenes where Sascha/Olli got some action faded to black pretty quick and in isolation that's okay because, you know, it's a soap not a porno, and I have internet access so I can watch men get it on whenever I like. But compared with Sascha/Caro, when we're shown constant extended sequences of them...rutting, it all feels a bit unfair/problematic/homophobic/displeasing. I am however reassured that at least there weren't Sascha/Olli moments shot from an angle as unflattering as this:
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So you win some you lose some. (...It's even worse when you put them the right way up. I feel like I owe Katja Sieder an apology for even linking to it.)
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Oh God, they're at it again. ....Sorry, not "Oh God", I meant "Oh good". Because I am thrilled. Such a gorgeous couple, what would I do without them. You know, if I start saying this often enough, it will become true. [/informal fallacy]

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Back at Giselle's, Thore is very, very troubled to find out that Caro has decided to "enjoy herself" with Sascha. He tries to dress it up as being concerned about Sascha using her, because she's so sensitive.
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Giselle doesn't notice however. She's still just happy that Caro won't be coming to the wedding alone. PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO BE SINGLE, GISELLE.

If you watch the preview for Monday's episode, you will learn secret reason number (d) for my sticking with Sascha. Not for the spoilerphobic, obviously.
Watch this episode with English subtitles here.

Day I-have-lost-track-because-it's-all-just-a-river-of-pain Without Olli, and the good bad news is that Sascha's sleeveless denim jacket has been stolen by a teenage girl from Liverpool, seen here regretting her crime.
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(If you've not been keeping up with Hollyoaks lately, then yes, that is Tony Hutchinson having an affair with his stepdaughter Sinead, who is still grieving over the death of her own baby, Katy. It's pretty icky, but actually playing out vaguely okayer than I thought it would on screen.)
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To take his mind off his thieved clothes, Sascha turns up on Caro's doorstep first thing in the morning with more pains au chocolat and the accounts for No Limits which apparently Caro "promised she would help with". Now, I'm going to need a native German speaker to step in here because I am majorly confused. I thought the exchange Caro and Sascha had in their previous episode was "Sag mal, könntest du mir bei der Abrechnung vom No Limits helfen?" "Du machst gar keine Buchhaltung. Die macht Olli, wenn er wieder da ist." which I believed to mean "Say, could you help me with the accounts for No Limits?" "You're not even doing any of the bookkeeping, Olli is doing it when he gets back.". But clearly I have seriously misunderstood something pretty drastically if Sascha turns up all "you promised!" and Caro is all "oh yeah, so I did, even though I have loads of other stuff to do today, I will definitely help you".
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But whatever, what do I know. They head over the office to get the accounts done there, which is bit of a challenge because Sascha's filing system leaves a little to be desired (it reminds me of my parents' address book, wherein I often fail to find the contact numbers for, for example, a Jane Smith because it's located neither under S nor J, but under M for "mum's friend" or some such).
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Also turns out Sascha has failed to file a tax return, and they've been sent a final summons, and he's brought rubbish Aldi pastries again.
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But it's a good job that Caro's so "stunning" (Sascha's words), because she manages to sort everything out with her pal at the tax office, teaches Sascha to use Excel spreadsheets (thankfully VL cut out most of those scenes, because I assume it started off at the "two beans plus two more beans equals some beans" point), and even uses the opportunity of having a sexy guy in her office to make Thore a bit jealous.
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Caro is worried though that while Sascha is running No Limits, he's having to use up his holiday time from LCL (if you're thinking "erm, but he still spends like 12 hours a day there" then Thore shares your concerns). Sascha says that Olli is his best friend, so of course he's giving up his time off, that's what friends do for each other. And then he says he would so exactly the same thing for Caro.

Sascha, seven weeks ago Caro was weeping in the foetal position, alone at LCL, with no one who would trust or believe her, because you wanted to see some boobs. And then you couldn't even be honest about it! I know I keep coming back to that one event, and I do know part of watching soaps is that everything that happened prior to the current storyline becomes irrelevant. E.g., if you watch Charlie's involvement with the Chrolli fostering Lilly plot, then it doesn't really make a lot of sense given what is later revealed about Charlie giving her own daughter up for adoption. Soaps don't have long memories. But this wasn't years ago, or even months. It was the 19th of June (and part of the current storyline in my opinion, because 13th June is when Sascha stared at Caro's arse, which I count as the beginning of this shit love fairytale whatever thing). And I'm meant to buy Sascha as this lovely guy who'd sacrifice just as much for Caro as he would for Olli who's allegedly "so much than a best friend", "like a brother" and not a bad shag. And that Caro would automatically forgive him for what he did, does she have no self-respect? I mean, why is VL determined to make every character in this bloody show so unlikeable?
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Though in an interesting change of pace, Thore gets to be the adorable relatable one in this episode as he's driven to distraction by his jealousy and accidentally proposes that the firm's new fashion campaign should be focussed on "young, goal-orientated accountants, surrounded by wet, sweaty janitors". Bless. Rebecca tells him to get a grip.
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Closest we'll probably get to the third side of this love-triangle completing itself sadly thankfully.

As a token of his gratitude for her help, Sascha offers to have sex with Caro and then pretends actually he only meant he'd cook her lunch. Those of us who remember the burrito contest Sascha had with Andi desperately tried to send her telepathic messages to decline, but Caro doesn't have the same strength of aura as her mother and sister so she arranges to meet Sascha at 1. And then she does this...
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...and this...
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Anyway. Meanwhile at Schneiders, Thore is still troubled by the idea of Sascha/Caro, but Giselle is thrilled primarily because she thought it would be awkward if Caro didn't have a guest to bring to the wedding. All heart, that one. But between the pics I had of Thore earlier and those two of Carascha (I don't know if that's actually their shipname, it's just what sprung to mind...mostly because I'm craving milkshake) I think that's enough ewwness for one day.
Watch these episodes with subtitles here and here.

Day Eight Without Olli, and I am increasingly confused about whether the scenes Sascha is having in No Limits were originally written with Olli in mind, or whether this is meant to be a genuine reflection of the character of Sascha as we've seen him so far. Because either way, it doesn't make a lot of sense. First of all today we have Sascha offering his congratulations to Giselle re: her upcoming nuptials, and his thoughts on pre-wedding crash diets.
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Forgive me because typically I don't pay much attention to the bollocks that happens at LCL, but other than him deleting CCTV footage in exchange for seeing her boobs and then helping her with a bag one time, have Sascha and Giselle really interacted? Enough for him to be all "yay, you're getting married!"? (Yet, Olli wouldn't do that either because he thinks Giselle is evil. Also, not typically the sort of man to comment on a woman's need to lose weight.)
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Caro comes in and she and Giselle have a barney about...everything, while Sascha watches. He then tries to make them reconcile and be friends again with a special cocktail he invented.
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Which is admittedly back into Olli-territory...
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Except that the cocktails are gross. (But successful, because Caro and Giselle are back on good terms and go off to look at Giselle's wedding dress which Caro then accidentally puts on and gets stuck inside of, but none of that is for here.)

Day Nine Without Olli, and I know I've made jokes about losing the will to live before, but really. This is the point at which if you are only here for Olli then you definitely need to turn the telly off until September because nothing good can come of this. (Maybe use the interim to find yourself another soap? Sadly my go-to recommendation of Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden is on its summer break, but I hear Unter Uns has a gay storyline now, or there's Hollyoaks which is terrible but often in the same ways that VL is terrible, so it might feel familiar. Oh, or Pobol y Cwm! I've enjoyed that lately, and Iolo is so adorable, though to be honest his lovelife makes Olli's look fulfilling and exciting. If you're in the UK, you can watch Pobol y Cwm on iPlayer with subtitles, and if you're elsewhere then Langford on Soaps uploads some clips on The Backlot... Anything. Just find any other show to watch.)
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Caro turns up in No Limits seeking booze and consolation because she's not all that happy about Giselle marrying Thore. In an Olli-esque tribute, this is the fourth episode in a row that Sascha has worn that shirt - given it was in the high 20°s (...celsius) in NRW during this past week, it must be pretty rancid. Speaking of rancid Sascha's form of comfort is just an un-Olli-esque campaign to get into her pants. First he says he likes a woman who knows what she wants. Then he prepares another self-formulated cocktail.
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At least learn to get the basics right first before poisoning everyone in Düsseldorf, Sascha. Try a Margarita or a Screwdriver before inventing all your "Happy Cocktails". He asks Caro to guess what the ingredients he used were, and she says it's really hard to tell because it just tastes of STDs.
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Sascha says he'll try again.
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He brings her another cocktail, and she points out that he might want to try actually selling drinks if he wants to keep No Limits afloat for Olli. (I feel like this is a repeat of the plot where Joey on Friends started working at Central Perk and then gave free stuff to every hot woman. Except worse, because Gunther wasn't in love with Joey, and the hot women weren't Gunther's friends who had constantly been coming to him with advice on their lovelife.) Caro asks if Sascha's trying to get her drunk, and he asks if that would help. Caro says she's busy with her drawing. Sascha asks if she's heard back about her fashion school application. Caro asks how's he knows about that. Sascha says he's ~interested in her.
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Caro points out he's interested in anything that looks vaguely female ("Thanks," says Olli.), and Andi asks them to come and play table football.
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Caro doesn't want to, but Sascha manipulates her into it by slagging off the drawings she's doing. This is after already commenting that her work looked jumbled and unpleasurable. I mean, designing stuff is her job and her hobby, it's what her life revolves around, and Sascha belittles it twice in the space of a minute. How is this an attractive quality? And then, having got her over to the game he uses it as an opportunity for this...
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I think the Gentleman Points scoring system was unprepared for this level of brazenness.
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They chest bump à la the Bryan Brothers (sometimes I wish my boobs were small enough to make that feasible...everyone would just end up injured...), they drink some more, play some more, and start dancing.
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It's all horrible. And repetitive, because we had the "Caro, under the influence, lets her hair down and has a great time" ages ago when she accidentally got high with Thore.

The next morning, Sascha brings Caro home. They've been out all night (the first time Caro's done that ever, gosh), they had chips for breakfast, they saw the sun rise, and Sascha wants to come in for coffee so the night ~doesn't have to be over~. Caro says actually she has work to get to.
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She gives him a kiss on the cheek, and he smiles as if for some baffling reason he's actually invested in this. Behave, Sascha! We all know plot devices shouldn't have feelings.
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At work, Caro has had a really productive morning. she already has all her work done, and got to tip coffee all over Thore. Good times. And then Sascha comes in and brings her a pain au chocolat (which the Germans call "Schokocroissants" in their worst assault on French pastry nomenclature since they decided "le croissant" should be neuter) and a fresh coffee.
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Then there's a massage.
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And an arse slap.
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And Sascha unsubtly propositioning her, he suggests spending the night together doing the accounts for No Limits except Caro knows that Olli's going to do all that when he gets back (wait, let's talk about that, he's left Andi, Sascha and Bella to look after his bar but they're paying no attention to the financial situation? sensible plan). And then there's another arse slap and some vomit-inducingly cutesy goodbyes and then all of the viewers were sick all over everything, and I come back to the point I was making at beginning: No matter how bad this all seems, it is only the start...
Watch this episode with subtitles here.

Day Seven Without Olli, and I don't wish to be rude, but y'all know "answers on a postcard" is sarcastic, right? I mean, I welcome feedback and opinions on every topic, but if I follow a question with "answers on a postcard" I'm kinda assuming the answer is obvious... Maybe I will retire that phrase, though I seem to recall it led to people sharing theories about Olli's jizz last time, so maybe I won't. Anyway, consensus among you lot seems to be that of the Elite Three, Bella would be the best person to run No Limits. Good choice, what with her having two brain cells to rub together and all. (Well in fairness, Andi and Sascha have that too, just only if you consider the pair of them collectively.) But bafflingly, Andi thinks that Sascha would be the best leader.
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Bella's not sure whether to be offended or worried. I sincerely hope that she's at least moved back into the "I do not want to have a baby with this man"-camp. She says that they promised Olli they would look after No Limits, and that's what they'll do, and that means definitely not letting a moron like Sascha be in charge.
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Also, Sascha tells them to get stuffed when Andi suggests he should tidy up No Limits on his own. (He looks so good with his little stitches. That needs to be a permanent thing... Am I revealing too much?) So they head on downstairs together.
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I hope the Das Erste Mediathek is "in deinem land nicht verfügbar" in Cameroon, otherwise Olli is going to cry when he sees this. They'd better fix it up fast. That doesn't happen though, because the three of them can't decide whose responsibility it should be, and argue about who has a "proper job" to get to, and Andi has fallen back on his "But it's all Sascha's fault!"-explanation for everything and kicking pineapples, which doesn't lend itself well to compromise.
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Rawr. You know, Sascha's being an arsehole throughout most of this episode, but I'm really shallow so I basically forgive him everything due to him looking magnificent. He storms off to work, leaving Andi and Bella to deal with the mess. They can't find a solution either, except to put up the "Closed"-sign and go to their other jobs.
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They break the news to Charlie, that No Limits will stay shut. And she is yet again in fine form, as she tells them what lousy friends they are.
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She asks how they're going to break it Olli that his bar is shut and they've broken their promise. That they're unreliable and rubbish and Olli deserves to have so much better people in his life. People who would care for him, and love him, and cherish his bar in the exact same way he would cherish it if he were here to cherish it, but he's not here. He's gone. For weeks and weeks to Africa, and just because none of us know how we're going to get through this awful time in our lives, that is no excuse to let Olli down! *sob* (...Okay, only the first sentence of that was Charlie, but the rest was implied.)

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Over in LCL, Caro informs Sascha that No Limits is still shut, which surprises him because he thought Bella and Andi would have sorted it out by now. If he were in charge it would already all be sorted, apparently. #notsure Then he receives an email from Olli, as do Bella and Andi.
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I will reproduce the content of these emails here, so you can fully appreciate the extent to which Olli is laying it on with a trowel:
Hello Sascha,
I know that you don't want to hear it yet again, but it's important to me: Again, thanks a million that you made it possible for me to have this holiday in Cameroon. Thank you that you, Andi and Bella are looking after No Limits. Thank you for being my brother - also that you put up with my bitchiness. I know that it's not always easy with me... Thanks!
Thanks most of all that I know I can completely and fully rely on you. I know that you don't have any great desire to run No Limits and you have your other job. But exactly because of that, I give you so much credit for this act of friendship.
Cameroon is a dream. The landscapes, the people, the culture - a brilliant experience, that I can only have thanks to my friends. I hope I can do the same for you sometime. I'll be in contact again soon.
Look after yourself!

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Dear Bella,
Thank you for giving me the chance to take this time-out and travel here. It's a dream and is doing me so much good. If you hadn't have said that I didn't have to worry at all about No Limits, then I would never have left. But now I'm totally relaxed.
There are so many sensations here, that I've almost already forgotten Sascha. Lilly and her father have received me so warmly. Lilly has grown up so much, she's already become a proper little lady.
I should tell you 'hello' from her (of course I've told her about my sister Bella), and she says next time you should come too. And you should! The landscapes here are breathtaking, the people are totally welcoming, and the food tastes great. I know I'm repeating myself: Thank you, that I can experience all this, because you're running No Limits,
Talk soon,
Hugs, Olli

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That is a spectacularly thorough guilt trip. And he didn't even know he was doing it! That takes skill. We don't get to see his email to Andi, but the bit Andi reads aloud is "If you and Sascha hadn't worked together to get me to take on the new No Limits and given me a new perspective after my separation from Christian, I don't think I'd have ever got out of the hole I was in. You really saved my arse, and I can never thank you enough. You're a true friend, who I can always rely on. I know how much that's worth."
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Shockingly, they all turn up in No Limits. This time they're a little more motivated to actually clear up. Sascha says his promise to Olli is more important than his work.
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And Andi appears with a very loud playlist of various remixes of one of Olli's favourite songs, to encourage them to work as fast as they can so they can turn it off as soon as possible. (I'm not sure what the song in question is, because it's been replaced in the online version, but I'd guess from the playlist on the website that it's Unbreak My Heart? If someone who saw the broadcast version can confirm what it was, then that'd be helpful... My favourite version of that song is the Il Divo one...)
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Charlie pops downstairs to call Andi and Bella to task, but sees they've already reopened.
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She also puts her arm around Sascha. Is that new? Since when are they up to that level of physical affection? I can understand wanting to get one's hands all over him obviously, and I suppose Policeman Frank has been awfully busy trying to catch Alexa, but sharing a man with Olli didn't work very well last time, Charlie. Be careful.
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Oh Jesus, now it's them both... I'm having flashbacks to "if you were a woman, I'd marry you immediately". His aunt is not an appropriate replacement, Sascha!
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Anyway, they've all agreed that they'll take it in turns to be the boss for a week and see how it goes. So they toast to Olli, and the fact that he might come back to a half-functioning business.
Watch with English subtitles here.

Day Six Without Olli, and Charlie wants to know how everything's going. It's pretty terrible if we're honest, my depression is such that I can't even be bothered to recap Day Five Without Olli, even though Sebastian and Per had loads of cute moments. It all feels so empty without him, I can't believe we have to wait until the middle of September before he gets back. Some days this is all too much for me. But thank you for your concern at least, Charlie.
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...Oh, actually she was just asking Bella how things are getting on at No Limits with Andi and Sascha. Whoops. Bella doesn't share my pain, she says everything's fine. Because communication is everything, and they've all completely got the hang of this communication lark, so nothing can go wrong because of all of this great communicating, and they even bothered to teach Andi to read in case verbal communication isn't an option. They've thought of everything. The three of them are all sharing the shifts at the bar, and it's a bit stressful but it shouldn't be too bad because at least she's cancelled the massive Afterwork Party extravaganza that was planned, so she has time to stay for a coffee.
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Over in No Limits, Andi is enthusiastically preparing for the cancelled Afterwork Party. Fancy that. It's almost like he doesn't know it's been cancelled. That would be a turn up for the books, given Bella was just talking about how great their communication is. Once again this show is about as subtle as a rhinoceros horn up the backside [/Blackadder] Anyway, Andi says everything's going to be great, because he's the man, he's bought a metric fuck-tonne of prosecco (but no beer), and nothing ever goes wrong when he's around.

Upstairs, Sascha's moving on quickly, and his new boyfriend Zlatko has bought him a present. (I use 'bought' in the sense of 'probably not bought'.)
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(Is it weird that I find that little patch of untattooed skin near his underarm really cute?)
Sascha invites Zlatko out to 'his' bar this evening. And Zlatko eventually accepts, making his agreement known in the dorkiest way possible that I really don't know how to summarise in text.
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But it makes Sascha smile adorably, so who can argue with that.

In No Limits, Bella has started her shift and is confused by the mountains of prosecco everywhere. The situation is not helped by the fact that Zlatko has turned up with some friends and is being all gross and objectionable and sexist, and given they later get drunk and start a brawl, some might say this show doesn't really work hard enough to dispel offensive racial stereotypes of Eastern Europeans...
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Anyway, Andi appears again and is a bit confused because Zlatko's mob aren't really what he was expecting for an Afterwork Party. Bella is aghast that he didn't realise that the party was cancelled because they are so good at communication even though she never communicated it to him. Well, she told Sascha to tell him, but Andi ignored him when he thought he heard him mumble something about "getting farty with Hansel" so the message never got through. Nevertheless, Andi decides this is nothing that a little impromptu matadoring won't solve.
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Sascha arrives for a cuddle with his new man.
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And suddenly everything falls into place for Bella and Andi. Problem is, they've now run out of beer, and Sascha's attempt to convince the mob that they might prefer a nice sparkling wine instead fails completely.
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In order to avoid a bust up, Bella and Sascha go to get whatever booze they can find upstairs. Bella thinks this is all Sascha's fault. Sascha thinks Bella should've told Andi about the party being cancelled. Bella thinks Sascha should have told him. Sascha asks if it's him or her that's going out with Andi. And I just vomited in my mouth a little bit. The only acceptable sexual scenario involving Andi and Sascha is them both at opposite ends of Olli. ...I will compromise as far as DPing, but they're not allowed any closer.
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Sascha tells Bella it's all fine because they're making lots of sales. Bella says that's great because they'll probably have to spend that profit on fixing the place up after Zlatko's troop smash everything to pieces. You know, Show, there's foreshadowing, and then there's just explicitly telling us what is about to happen. One is a valid literary device, the other is simply a waste of everybody's time.
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Back downstairs they've already run out of booze again. Sascha says it's fine, he will calmly tell Zlatko and co that they have to leave, and because he is such a good new boyfriend, Zlatko will happily do as he's told.
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Which...yeah... Not so much.

The next day, Andi and Bella are trying to tidy up everything, but they have a row, and Andi gets left on his own. And then Charlie turns up.
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Now, I'm not convinced Charlie is always the best aunt to Olli. She didn't buy a present for him when he went to Africa, she constantly lied about him not having a sister, when Christian was unfaithful her first reaction was not to support Olli but to reassure Christian that he shouldn't give up... I mean, that mounts up. But right here, in this episode, she's not taking any shit. Andi tries his old "it was all Sascha's fault, I'm so innocent and naïve, what can I do in the face of such a bad influence, oh and, btw, Bella's sodded off too, poor me, I am such a victim here"-routine. And Charlie is having none of it. So she gets the three of them together to find out what the hell is going on.
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They're initially reticent to talk but she gets it out of them eventually after Bella tries the "I told you so"-gambit, and then tells them they're all morons. Olli is relying on them. He's trusted them to look after his bar while he's away, and as his friends they need to be there for him, not run No Limits into the ground while he's gone ( last time). She has a suggestion, that they need a command structure. One of them will be in charge, and the others will respect their decisions.
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So, which would you pick? Answers on a postcard. Olli, ich bitte dich...komm zurück...

I think I need a VL-related sad!face icon for while Olli is away. I can't have smiley Judith in these tragic times...