Queer TV

Wentworth Recap 5.8 Disgrace and Franky

Hello and welcome back to Wentworth for an episode with more lesbian drama than a drunken women’s rugby team after losing a match.  Even the parts that weren’t strictly “gay” centered around gardening and welding, so the whole episode felt a little like being in a fight with my girlfriend at a hardware store (HOW CAN WE FIX OUR RELATIONSHIP IF WE CAN’T EVEN FIX THE CABINETS).

Last week, Allie attempted to hotshot Joan, which failed as horrifically and predictably as the Dirty Dancing reboot. But Franky came to her in the depths of her despair and promised that they would both escape, and get the ultimate revenge on Ferguson by leading happy, teal-free lives outside the bars. Unfortunately, Franky’s antics were putting serious strain on her relationship with Bridget, who signed up for crazy, but not “crawling through the vents crazy.” The other big story was that Sonia started mass-producing window boxes in the classic manner of a confined workaholic. She enlisted Boomer to be her right hand, because (surprise!) Booms is a master welder. Lastly, Will finally started to believe Kaz’s assertion that a guard has been sneaking in drugs, which is hopefully leading us to a reckoning that will destroy both Jake and Joan.

So remember the older prisoner who once assured Allie that Bea’s ghost was looking down on her? (Her name is either Marge or Madge; this is one of those times when I am just utterly defeated by the Australian accent.) Well, she’s dead.

ALAS POOR MAEGE! I LITERALLY DID NOT KNOW HER AT ALL.

She seems to have existed for no other purpose than to give Allie and Franky the opportunity to wonder aloud if the only way out of Wentworth is in a box. (Which is not only clumsy foreshadowing, it’s also exactly what Franky said before her release in season three.)

Vera half-heartedly suggests that the prisoners avail themselves of grief counseling to help cope with Midge’s death, which no one takes her up on. And that’s a good thing, because Bridget is not really in a position to help anybody right now. She shows up at work looking like someone who has tried to drown her sorrows in a lethal combination of booze, cake, and L Word reruns.

YOU’RE LOOKING VERY “ALICE AFTER BREAKING UP WITH DANA” TODAY.

STILL WORKING THOSE PANTS THOUGH.

You can’t really blame Bridget for imploding, because she’s losing Franky on multiple levels all at once. Not only has she had to suffer through the agony of having the woman she loves placed just out of her reach, she’s lost the trust that functioned as their last, tenuous bond (because Franky has been written with jarring inconsistency this season). And now, she is confronted with the most hurtful betrayal of all: the arrival of a blonder woman.

FUCKING PRISONERS HAVE ALL THE FUN.

Bridget sees Franky and Allie huddled together and naturally assumes they’re romantically entangled, when in fact all the two of them are doing are innocently planning a prison break! But the jealousy is doing a number on Bridget’s head, so she offers Allie some free advice about allowing herself time to properly grieve.

I’M JUST SAYING, BEA WAS THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE! DON’T DISRESPECT HER MEMORY BY USING FRANKY AS A REBOUND.

BUT BEA WOULDN’T WANT ME TO GO ON MOURNING FOREVER, WOULD SHE?

ACTUALLY SHE WOULD! SHE TOLD ME. IN THERAPY.

Even by Bridget’s, shall we say, “flexible” ethical standards, counseling Allie to stay away from Franky is pretty shady. And Bridget knows it, and feels terrible, which in turn sends her for another ride on the Unhealthy Coping Mechanism Express.

When Franky hears of Bridget’s suspicions, she goes to her, and with the maturity that’s really been missing from her interactions with Bridget this season, tells her simply and cleanly that she is not fucking Allie, because she would never do that to Bridget.

I MEAN SURE, WE’VE DEVELOPED SOME INSIDE JOKES, AND SOMETIMES WE MAKE EXTENDED EYE CONTACT, BUT THAT’S JUST NORMAL FRIEND STUFF! TWO LESBIANS CAN JUST BE FRIENDS, YOU KNOW?

IN THEORY.

In their quest for an escape route, Allie just happens to notice a previously invisible(?) conveyor belt in the laundry, and is like “I wonder where that leads.” She and Franky bribe Ms. Myles to let them in the laundry alone to explore it, under the cover of wanting some private time to make out. (As if either of them has ever had any compunctions about having sex in the showers, cells, yard, kitchen, and on one memorable occasion, directly in front of a security camera for the erotic benefit of the governor.)

YOU’VE GOT TEN MINUTES, SO DO WHATEVER IT IS LESBIANS DO QUICK.

IN TEN MINUTES WE WILL HAVE BOTH HAD THREE ORGASMS, GOTTEN INTO A HUGE FIGHT, AND THEN MADE UP BECAUSE WE REALIZED WE WERE JUST HUNGRY. THAT’S WHAT LESBIANS DO.

They don’t really discover anything about the mysterious conveyor belt before Joan comes sweeping in like Darth Vader to see what they’re up to. So even though Franky knows Bridget is already suspicious of her and Joan is worse at keeping secrets than Donald Trump, this is how they choose to handle the situation.

WHY DOES NO ONE EVER INVITE ME TO SECRET MAKEOUT PARTIES?

Allie and Franky break apart, both looking a little ashamed and not entirely certain if they just made out because it was the best move for their escape plan, or because they’d been wanting to for a while and this was a good excuse.

Honestly, I’m not sure either. Pushing Allie and Franky together was always a risky proposition, but doing it through an elaborate series of misunderstandings seems like a good example of forcing plot devices to do the work that should be handled by character development. (Case in point: lazily inserting Joan in a place she has no reason to be, and continuing to lean way too hard on her creepiness/omniscience to drive events.)

Nevertheless, this is what goes down, and of course Joan’s next move is to run straight to Bridget, like the irritating tattletale she truly is at heart.

ALLIE AND FRANKY, SITTING IN A TREE, S-C-I-S-S-O-R-I-Z-…OH FUCK IT, THEY WERE MAKING OUT.

That’s not the extent of the fallout from Allie and Franky’s little escapade. When Kaz sees Allie bribing Ms. Myles, she assumes she’s buying drugs from her. But Allie tells Kaz that it was Officer Jake dealing drugs all along. (Honestly I’m not sure why she didn’t tell someone that before now.) Kaz passes the information on to Will, who goes after Jake with all the subtlety of a freight train.

I KNOW IT WAS YOU. AND I’M LETTING YOU KNOW THAT I KNOW, SO YOU CAN TAKE ALL NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS TO FIGHT ME.

Look, I’m not saying Jake doesn’t deserve to be drenched in urinal water, just that it might not be the best long term solution. Will should really be worrying about how he’s going to break the news to Vera, who is going to be DEVASTATED.

Meanwhile, Sonia Stevens has thrown herself into the window box project with the maniacal enthusiasm of someone convinced they can turn Halloween to Christmas through sheer force of will.

PROVE TO ME THAT THIS ISN’T SONIA. YOU CAN’T.

As we predicted last week, Joan rolls up to the workshop in gratuitous slow motion and tries to intimidate Sonia into engaging in a spot of drug smuggling. But as Sonia’s ex-husband, best friend, Juice, and god knows how many other murder victims she’s got buried throughout Australia have learned: SONIA DON’T TAKE WELL TO BEING INTIMIDATED.

GREEN THUMB AND IRON FIST.

I have such mixed feelings about Sonia, because on the one hand she is a multiple murderer who is probably just waiting to add Liz to her list of victims, but on the other hand, she’s a plucky older woman bucking the system and chasing her dreams! I end up rooting for her about half the time.

This week, Mr. Channing comes to inspect the workshop’s progress, an event whose success unfortunately hinges on Boomer’s ability to behave professionally under pressure. Let’s see how that went, shall we?

Man, this scene makes me sigh so hard. Because I root for Boomer 100% of the time, but her “violent rage played for laughs” schtick is getting really old. It’s been five seasons. It’s time to grow.

Channing, predictably, howls with rage and shuts the entire workshop down. You know I despise Channing beyond anything, but…he kind of has a point? These women have managed to turn a steam press into the primary mechanism of meting out prison justice, so trusting them with FLAMETHROWERS seems dangerously optimistic. Sonia, meanwhile, reacts to the news by blaming Liz for the entire incident, which strikes everyone as a bit odd.

Channing goes to Nurse Rachet for his poor injured hand, and his skeeviness manages to creep even her out.

MY HEAD LOOKS LIKE A SHAVED TESTICLE.

While he’s in there, Allie walks by and happens to recognize him from her days as a sex worker. With a twinkle in her eye, she walks right up to him.

‘MEMBER HOW YOU USED TO LIKE ALL THE GIRLS TO PEE ON YOU? IN THAT BROTHEL? THAT YOU OWN?

(Raise your hand if you had completely forgotten that Channing is a brothel impresario.)

But just like that, the workshop is open again! Allie and Franky join the team, and prepare to smuggle themselves out in conveniently person-sized crates.

GONNA BE PRETTY CRAMPED IN THERE. WE MIGHT HAVE TO CUDDLE.

After getting yelled at by Sonia, Liz goes to Bridget to share her fears that Sonia has figured out that she was Witness X.

LIZ, YOU HAVE GOT TO STOP IT WITH THE WHOLE WITNESS X THING. YOU’RE LIKE DOREEN WITH CONJUGALS. LET IT GO.

ARE YOU DRUNK RIGHT NOW?

YES. BUT. THE POINT REMAINS.

Bridget leaves work, and then shows up at Vera’s house SUPER DRUNK to apologize for being drunk at work.

WHO DO YOU THINK IS HOTTER: ME OR ALLIE? DON’T ANSWER THAT.

While she’s visiting, Jake shows up (so at least someone knows about Vera’s conflict of interest) and Bridget leaves.

The next day, Frankie finally gets an appointment with her, hoping to patch things up. But when she arrives, Bridget is packing up. For very understandable reasons (which are only a little bit about Allie), Bridget is finally calling it quits at Wentworth. Franky is like “But I love you.” And Bridget is like “Hey, I love you too. I love you so much that I think about you all day every day, and I’ve succumbed to messy teenage heartbreak over you, and isn’t it amazing that we are capable of loving that hard? But I’m just torturing you and me and a lot of other people by staying here, and that’s not right.”

And painful as it is to watch two people who really love each other break up like this, it kind of seems like the right call. This situation would have been all but untenable even had Franky been on her best behavior, which she certainly was not.

After Bridget leaves, Frankie runs to Allie, regressing to the old school Frankie behavior of confirming everyone’s worst ideas about her.

THERE’S NO WAY I’M GOING TO BE IN TROUBLE FOR FUCKING YOU WITHOUT ACTUALLY FUCKING YOU.

MY BODY’S SAYING LET’S GO, BUT MY HEART IS SAYING NO.

#TEAMBODY

Before it can progress beyond frantic fumbling, Allie puts a stop to it, on the grounds that it’s too soon, especially if Mag was right and Bea’s ghost really is watching. Of course, Frankie knows that too, so she runs off and cries in her cell, about the many ways she has failed the women in her life.

I’M SO SAD AND ANGRY AND HORNY.

So. I find it really hard to write about #Frallie because it puts my loyalty to Bea and outrage at the notion of making queer couples out of whatever characters are lying around at odds with my acknowledgement of the RAGING CHEMISTRY between these two. It’s especially rough because I feel like I have to choose between supporting them and supporting Fridget, a pairing to which I have devoted thousands of adoring words. Picking one is like asking which makes for a better fire: matches and newspaper, or gasoline and a fireworks factory. It all depends on your definition of “better.”

I can plausibly see scenarios in which Frankie escapes and reunites with Bridget, or Allie escapes alone, or the two of them just decide not to pursue a relationship for a thousand very good reasons. I don’t think it would be the right move to have them “end up together.” But I might need them to make out a few more times, just to be really, really sure.

See you next week!

One last thing! Starting next week, Dart subscribers will have exclusive access to these recaps for the first 24 hours of publication, after which I’ll open them up to everyone. I hope you understand that it’s a measure designed to encourage more people to subscribe, so I can afford to keep devoting the time these recaps take. Thanks!

2 Comments

  1. I have similar mixed feelings about the whole #frallie thing. I think my feelings were nicely summed up by the scene dialogue

    “…this is so wrong”
    “You sure about that?”
    (Charged pause)
    “…no.”

    I sat there and rewatched that scene about 5 times — while I felt my heart breaking for #fridget (side note: Libby Tanner has been outstanding this season) and immediately followed it up by rewatching the ‘Jodie Spiteri’ thumb on lip library scene from s3 about 5 times as well. I’m a lezbean and have lots of complex emotions #dontjudeme #totallyjudgemeidessrvdit

    I want to should put a couple of scenes:

    I thought the way Libby Tanner and Kate Atkinson played the Bridget at Vera’s house scene was brilliant. So many little gestures or tones that gave the scene depth. Wentworth really does play out the impact and power of friendship so powerfully (think Bea/Franky from s4)

    I also loved every scene Pamela Rabe and Sigrid Thornton were in together. Australian acting royalty bouncing off each other and playing villains — delicious.

    Having said all that, this episode as a whole still left me cold and I’m … disappointed… by this season to date. The whole escape attempt seems so clumsy compared to the intricate nuances of Bea’s Brayden Holt plans of s2. Lots of familiar faces have left (and it feels like more are on the cards) and they’ve broken down the remaining lesbian couple. Where is my hope? Where is my something I can cling to in the darkness of Wentworth?? I’m just. Not. Feeling. It. And after two seasons where I felt every single moment… that has left me somewhat bereft.

    Hope things change up in the last 3 episodes…

    Am going to shut up now as this was meant to be a ‘quick’ comment 🙄

    (Outstanding recap as usual BTW 🙂 )

  2. I honestly might have died slightly at Sonia’s doppelganger. How did you find such an unflattering photo of her? I never once thought of her as looking like anybody/thing, but oh my god I can’t picture her any other way.

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