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There is no Next Episode of Tomorrow When the War Began planned.
Country girl Ellie Linton (Molly Daniels) is at a turning point in her life as she finishes high school and looks to an exciting, unknown future. Instead of celebrating at the annual Wirrawee Show, Ellie takes her friends on a trip they will never forget, to a remote wilderness destination called `Hell'.
A looming shadow of cyber attacks and military preparedness is just white noise for Ellie as traditional teenage angst takes charge. Her relationship with best friend Corrie (Madeleine Madden) is unravelling as Corrie abandons plans for a gap year together in favour of her own dreams and boyfriend Kevin (Andrew Creer). Though musician Lee (Jon Prasida) shows an interest in Ellie, it's the aspiring social worker Robyn (Fantine Banulski) who pines for him. Homer (Narek Arman), the resident jokester and troublemaker, has his eyes set on the newly arrived Fi (Madeleine Clunies-Ross) but she has her own troubles with a family divided.
The overhead passing of unknown jets unnerves Ellie, but it doesn't sway the group from continuing their adventure. Back in town, Fi's troublesome brother Chris (Keith Purcell) watches as the same jets scream overhead and violently explode into Wirrawee.
As they arrive back at their homes, Ellie and her friends find their parents are missing, the phone network down, homes ransacked
and farm animals dead. Ellie leads the group to town in search of answers though only one rings true. They are at war. Invading soldiers roam the streets, rounding people up. Despite Ellie's protests the group split apart, checking their homes and searching for their families with a plan to reunite.
Ellie, Corrie and Kevin brave the searchlights and heavily armed guards at the showgrounds to try and find their parents. It seems all of Wirrawee's residents are being held captive. A revolt breaks out inside the camp, just as Ellie's own mother Liz (Alison Bell), spots Ellie outside the barbwire fence. Liz screams at her to escape. The soldiers give chase and a desperate attempt to survive ensues with Ellie making a decision that will change her life forever.
War has begun. In the aftermath of Ellie's escape, the invading army swarms through the streets of Wirrawee. Lee is shot in the leg and Robyn is forced to carry him to the momentary safety of his house. On the other side of town and with Homer at her side, Fi returns home. Though she is briefly reunited with her brother Chris, a convoy holding their father arrives and Chris marches right into their waiting arms.
Meanwhile inside the prison camp, the families of the rebel teenagers try to band together. Nurse Kath, Corrie's mother (Deborah Mailman), is singled out by the soldiers and drafted into service at the local hospital, where civilian and soldier casualties are barricaded together.
Ellie's father, Jack (Richard Young) and mother, Liz, decide the only way to keep their kids safe is to lie about their existence. They spread the word to the other parents, including Fi's mother Rachel (Sibylla Budd). Still separated from Rachel and unaware of the plan, Rachel's husband Daniel Maxwell (Spencer McLaren) discusses his family tree under the watchful eye of the mysterious Colonel (James Stewart).
As she is questioned, Rachel draws the Colonel's attention. Noting the discrepancies between her story and that of her husband, he threatens her family and demands she point out her daughter's accomplices from the local high school yearbook.
Robyn returns to her friends, without Lee, who remains critically injured in town. Ellie, Homer and a reluctant Kevin agree to rescue Lee. The plan is to meet up at Corrie's house then proceed to the only safe destination they can think of - Hell.
The hunt is on. As Ellie and her friends try to get some rest, a squad of soldiers close in around them. Surrounded by artillery fire that destroys Corrie's home, the kids run for their lives, back to Hell.
In the wake of information from Rachel regarding the rebel teenagers, the Colonel marshals everyone inside the prison camp together. He offers the prisoners a second chance. Co-operate or suffer the consequences. Work groups are hastily organised and the families are split up. Rachel finds herself gaining the Colonel's attention, he has set himself up in her old home and invites her to work there as his maid.
He offers Rachel a deal, if she informs him about any prisoners planning an escape, he'll agree to keep her family from harm. Aerial searches continue over Hell, but for now, the group is able to survive. As Kevin and Corrie's relationship teeters, Fi and Homer find themselves growing close. After hearing about his mother, Lee heads back to Wirrawee, full of rage. With Lee and their only means of transport gone, Ellie and the others are forced to make a difficult decision. Leave Hell for more supplies or wait for Lee to possibly return.
In town, Lee is briefly reunited with his father Umar (Alfred Nicdao), who has been forced to cook for the enemy that murdered his wife. But Umar is also cultivating his own plans for revenge.
Having taken the opportunity to scavenge Homer's farm, the group take advantage of two unprepared soldiers freeing one of the work camps. Homer's father George (Damien Fotiou), begs the kids to leave so that no one back at the prison will be hurt in retaliation. The truth settles in as the kids are once more forced to abandon their families
Though he struggles with wanting revenge for his mother's death, a conflicted Lee sneaks out of Wirrawee and returns to his friends in Hell.
Work inside the prison camp is getting harder every day. Tension within the Maxwell family reaches breaking point as Chris and father Daniel face unspoken issues of abandonment. Umar continues to press Rachel to help him poison the Colonel.
The teens are besieged with leaflets demanding their surrender. Both Homer and Corrie want to know where the chasing soldiers are. Kevin and Fi follow them, leaving Robyn, Lee and Ellie alone.
Robyn hurt by the noticeable relationship developing between Ellie and Lee, decides to surrender to the enemy. But before she can, she befriends a soldier who has deserted and offers to help him.
Meanwhile at the camp the Colonel forces the prisoners to construct an actual prison and Rachel, who now knows the truth about the Colonel, finally agrees to help Umar. It's not long before the opportunity to carry out their plan arises, will they succeed in killing the Colonel?
Homer and Corrie sneak into an enemy outpost and are almost caught stealing supplies. Kevin initially saves them but in a violent chase they barely escape with their lives. Their relief is short lived when the deserting solider who has been abandoned by Robyn spots them returning to Hell. He takes aim and fires with devastating consequences.
Corrie clings to life in the Wirrawee hospital, with a distraught Kath by her side. With Kevin now in their custody, the enemy has one goal: find and destroy the remaining rebels.
Meanwhile Ellie enlists the help of the remaining group and puts a plan into action to rescue Corrie.
Jack believes escape from the prison might be possible and has identified a weakness in the fencing. Despite Rachel's protests, everyone else is on board with his plan.
In order to gain his trust, Rachel offers the Colonel a deal. Give Corrie the medical treatment she needs and Rachel will inform him of an escape attempt. An immediate crackdown on security at the prison reveals Jack's weak spot. Though at first the others are furious about her apparent betrayal, Rachel gives Kath her daughter's medical chart. Corrie is going to be ok.
In light of the escape attempt, the Colonel addresses the prison crowd, accusing them of being uncooperative. Wounded and barely able to stand, Kevin is dragged out before them. If the prisoners don't provide information on the rebels, the Colonel will punish Kevin.
Ellie and Lee sneak into the hospital and find Corrie. She is alive, speaking, but her mind is slow and she is heavily drugged. To their horror, Corrie flatlines and as the doctors rush in to try and save her, Ellie and Lee are forced to run. The soldiers at the hospital give chase. The plan is falling apart.
Despite begging the doctors for medicine and even the chance to see her daughter, Kath is refused on every count.
As he syphons supplies from the edge of town, Homer follows a convoy back to the showgrounds. He watches as the Maxwell and Linton families are locked inside the same cage as Kevin, destined to be relocated.
After all they have suffered and lost, Homer returns to the rebel group, determined to take the fight back to the enemy. He plans to destroy Cobblers Bay Bridge, which is not only the key to the enemy's supply chain in Wirrawee, but the only pass they can use to relocate their families. Ellie watches as Homer and a changed, determined and stronger Fi, leave to investigate a potential fuel source.
Umar is determined to kill the Colonel one way or another. In a moment of solitude, he steals an antenna from a nearby vehicle outside his restaurant; he has a plan. Meanwhile the Colonel has discovered the location of Hell.
Having narrowly escaped capture, the group set out their plan to destroy Cobblers Bay Bridge. There is no time to waste. If they wait any longer, their families will be out of their reach for good.