Queer TV

Wentworth Recap 5.4 Twist My Arm, Why Doncha?

Hello and welcome back. As I said last week, we are in the middle of righting the good ship Wentworth after the sort of accident that would sink most other shows. In this episode we continue that process, with characters taking position for their big seasonal arcs–Joan putting herself at the center of the drug trade, Franky plotting her escape–and I think next episode we’ll see those storylines bear fruit in the dramatic fashion we all know and love/hate. This week gives its fullest attention to Sonia, which may not be the most inspired choice ever, since Sonia’s story is still pretty tangential to everyone else’s, but it is nevertheless very salacious and (partly because we are less invested in her and therefore less traumatized by her misfortunes) actually quite fun.

So Sonia is back at home after being cleared of her murder charges, and when we catch up with her, she’s indulging in a leisurely glass of wine and a spot of flash-backing.

I MEAN BASICALLY.

Now I don’t know about y’all, but I totally believed it last week when we thought Sonia was innocent of murdering her friend. But within seconds, this episode disabuses us of that notion. We go back in time to the day when Sonia and her friend were enjoying some Gal Pal time over wine and lesbian haircuts.

I’M TELLING YOU, SWEETIE, IF YOU WANT TO GO GAY, YOU EITHER GET THIS HAIRCUT OR YOU GO TO WOMEN’S PRISON.

OOF, MAYBE I SHOULD GO TO WOMEN’S PRISON AFTER ALL.

NO DARLING, THAT’S MY THING.

 

Sonia’s friend tried to blackmail her about that time she murdered her husband. But Sonia WAS (clap emoji) NOT (clap emoji) HAVING (clap emoji) IT, so with very little preamble, she clobbered her to death with a wine bottle, washed her hands (none of that “out damn spot” angst for Sonia) and called her good friend on the police force. And that turned out to be none other than Detective Chinstrap.

I KNEW YOU WERE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, YOU CROISSANT-MUNCHING BASTARD.

Chinstrap shows up at Sonia’s house after her release and they kiss passionately and you think “Ohhhhh! They’re in loooooove! That explains it.” And suddenly it all makes sense, that Chinstrap wasn’t being incompetent, he was deliberately tanking the investigation when he “forgot to check his messages,”, and when picked Liz in the first place, given that she was the witness most likely to start crying and chugging toilet vodka on the stand. (I love you Liz, but you know it’s true.) So he was in love with Sonia the whole time, you think.

BUT THEN, Chinstrap breaks off from sexxing Sonia to be like “bitch where’s my money?” Turns out his plan was to get Sonia off (in both senses, obvs), quit the police force, and open a bar at which he will be the primary customer. Regarding the money, Sonia tells him to come back tomorrow and they’ll make a romantic evening of champagne and illicit payoffs. My main reaction to this whole dynamic is: straight people are complicated. There are so many shades of gray like: “we’re roommates and we have sex sometimes but it’s not ‘a thing’” or “I’ll risk my career to get you off a murder charge, but you mean nothing to me.” Lesbian relationships are much simpler. You just meet, have sex twice, move in together, pretend to break up, cry, adopt a shelter dog, and die of old age. It might not be as exciting, but you know where you stand.

Anyway, when Chinstrap comes over the next day, there’s a suitcase of cash (unserious, colorful, foreign cash, not the real stuff we have in America) waiting for him.

OOH LOOK I’M AUSTRALIAN MONEY! I’M PRETTY COLORS AND DONALD TRUMP PROBABLY HASN’T EJACULATED ON ME!

But instead of just taking the money and running, Chinstrap can’t resist asking Sonia if she really did murder her husband all those years ago. Sonia (whose feelings on being blackmailed were established at the beginning of the episode) is like “SURE I WILL TELL YOU THAT! JUST DRINK UP YOUR WINE AND CLOSE YOUR EYES AND GET INTO MY CAR! ROAD TRIP!”

So it’s obvious where this is headed, right? Sonia drives Chinstrap out to the spot where she stashed her husband while he complains of getting woozy. As soon as they arrive at the spot, Sonia lays out a tarp and whistles her cheery little murder ditty. But the second she turns her back, Chinny turns the tables, and knocks her out, abandoning her miles from home. She walks all the way back barefoot, and when she gets back home she finds her suitcase full of money has gone (as suitcases full of money are wont to do). Sonia has a hunch that she ought to do the same, so she grabs her passport and flees her house, never to return again. JUST KIDDING THAT IS WHAT A SANE PERSON WOULD DO. What Sonia does is spend twenty minutes packing all her ugliest poly-blend blazers in a suitcase, by which time the police have arrived to arrest her for the murder of her husband.

GIRL LEAVE THAT SHIT! I GUARANTEE THEY HAVE ANN TAYLOR OUTLET STORES IN ARGENTINA.

So now Chinstrap is gone, Sonia is headed back to prison, and Liz is fuuuuuuuucked. Like, Liz spends the entire episode being like “Soooo my boyfriend isn’t calling me back and Sonia definitely knows I narced on her, but at least I’m safe in here.” Kiss that feeling goodbye next week, Liz my love.

Now don’t get me wrong, Sonia is welcome to come back and try to wreak some well-manicured havoc, but as villains go, she’ll never be able to compete with Joan Ferguson.

JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT, I PULL ME BACK IN.

As we’ve seen, Joan has gone out of her way to cut off the drug pipeline into the prison, so she can create one of her own. She continues that noble pursuit this week, calling together a board meeting of Tina, Juice, and Officer Jake, who agree to let her take power, because they have learned nothing since season two.

And then there’s Franky. You know, I really resented the way that in this episode’s “previously on,” Franky’s threatened sexual assault of Bridget was reduced to a light shove. It drives me crazy when shows want shock us with violence but they don’t want to live with its consequences. (See: Jaime Lannister.) Nevertheless, in the wake of their altercation, Bridget and Franky have decided to take a break, which is probably for the best, because none of us want to see Bridget fired, nor do we particularly need a rehash of the forbidden love storyline from the last time Franky was behind bars.

Anyway, Franky is pretty busy trying to prove her innocence and figure out who really did kill Mike Parcheesi. That is proving to be quite a challenge, since the police have stopped looking for suspects and she fired her fancy lawyer. She suggests that her new lawyer make a phone call to find out who might have financially benefitted from Parcheesi’s death, but her lawyer is like “ugh that sounds hard and I don’t want to.” You know who Franky really needs in this situation is a tireless attorney, committed to finding the truth and devoted to the cause of lesbianism.

I KNOW SHE’S A PROSECUTOR AND HER SHOW AIRS ON A DIFFERENT NETWORK BUT I DON’T CARE. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Left to track down the killer herself, Franky embarks on an escape mission with a complexity to rival Joan’s most intricate games of mousetrap.

STEP 1: CAUSE A GAS LEAK.

And you’re like: cool. She’s gonna start a fire AND ESCAPE!

But no.

STEP 2: COMPLAIN ABOUT THE POOR FOOD QUALITY AS A RESULT OF THE GAS LEAK.

And you’re like: cool. She’s gonna start a riot AND ESCAPE!

Still no.

STEP 3: STEAL THE GAS LEAK REPAIRMAN’S TOOL, COUNTING ON THE FACT THAT IT WILL BE SITTING OUT, UNGUARDED AT THE EXACT MOMENT YOU START THE FOOD RIOT.

At this point you’re like: so she’s gonna beat everyone over the head with the spanner AND ESCAPE, right???

Wait for it.

STEP 4: HIDE THE SPANNER ON ALLIE’S BODY, SINCE SHE HAS AN INJURED ARM AND WILL AVOID DETECTION.

STEP 5: TICKLEFIGHT? IDK THIS SEEMS UNRELATED TO THE ESCAPE PLAN.

So how did we end up here? Well, Allie is fine with helping Franky out, but she wants to know what the fuck it’s for and why it requires a monkey wrench. She refuses to give the wrench back until Franky tells her, so Franky wrestles her to the bed in a scene that changes moods so fast it makes your head spin. One second it’s the perilously violent Franky we saw last week, the next it’s two friends laughing, and one breath later, there is a palpable sexual frisson in the air.

So I have a lot of feelings about this. Starting with: I said last week that the show could make no worse mistake than trying to force Allie and Franky together in any romantic sense. And I meant it because it seemed perfectly true. Franky has a girlfriend and Allie just lost the love of her life; on paper, they have no business being together. The trouble is: we don’t live on paper. And, AGAINST MY WILL, I reacted to this scene with my own little shiver of excitement. Possibly because it is actually believable that these two women, both of whom have a powerful self-destructive streak, would be drawn to each other. Possibly just because Nicole da Silva and Kate Jenkinson are immensely talented actors who can make even a clumsily-written pairing seem plausible. And possibly because I am WEAK and I am SORRY.

I fully expect y’all’s reactions to this to be very mixed, and that’s okay. I think there is room for a lot of opinions here.

After that fraught interaction, Franky and Allie do hang out again with a more platonic energy. Allie figures out that Franky is trying to escape, and tries both to help her and dissuade her, since Bea brought them together for a reason.

LOOK, AS REBOUND MATERIAL GOES, IT’S YOU OR JUICE.

Anyway, Franky’s next step in her interminable escape plan is to get a job on garden duty, so look out next week, when she will plant a beanstalk which she will eventually climb over the wall.

See you then.

6 Comments

  1. My God, Elaine. You just can’t drop a suggestion of a WW / Janet King crossover in the middle of a recap WITHOUT WARNING. My rainbow heart just about had a heart attack at the prospect. Also. This is genius and I want it to happen SO.MUCH

    As for the moment of #frallie weakness… until you said it, I was denying my reaction. But. Same. *hangs head in shame* . I, likewise, don’t know if it’s down to the skill of the actors or if, after years of queer baiting, I am programmed to respond to even a hint of lady loving action against my will… But, either way, *sings* youuuu are not aloooneeee :-/ . Ugh. I need a shower after admitting that.

    In other thoughts — I feel like they’re setting it up so that one of our psychos (Joan or Sonia) will die at the end of the series. I’m just not sure which. Thoughts?

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