Guys! I am sorry this is so late! Half of being a writer is apologizing for either tardiness or inadequacy, but I really am sorry this recap is overdue. I had intended to write a combined recap for episodes five and six, but all my formerly-trusty sources for watching Australian television have failed me, so I have been unable to obtain the two most recent episodes. (Any Janet King writers who want to remedy that situation are free to send me screeners, since I can only imagine how anxiously you must pine for my criticism.)
At any rate, I do think it’s worth travelling back in time to revisit some crucial moments from this episode, so let’s dive in.
Previously on Sportscrimes, everyone was hunting for the mysterious medicine that was responsible for Tyler Perati’s death. It wound up in the hands of his sister, Pearl, who planned to sell it for enough money to buy herself a decent future. Unfortunately, her foolhardy friend just had to take a big gulp from the bottle, after which she began vomiting blood and not being discernibly better at rugby. Dr. Eddie Cook, the quack responsible for administering the drug, had his car run off the road by persons unknown, Nate Baldwin went to prison, and Maxine Reynolds kept popping up to pester everyone like a giant, blonde mosquito.
Predictably, it’s another plot-heavy midseason episode, and I don’t need to walk you down every winding alleyway of tapped phones and red herrings (especially since you’re already two weeks ahead of me), so let’s stick with the big emotional moments.
First up is Richard, who I am beginning to suspect suffers from a rare condition which makes him exclusively sexually attracted to women he is ethically forbidden to date.
THAT’S NOT TRUE. I AM ALSO SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO JANET.
Right off the bat, Nate Baldwin fires Richard as his barrister, which seems fair, given Richard’s brilliant plan led to Nate being accused of gay locker room shenanigans and imprisoned. Richard is mostly relieved to be sacked since it means that he no longer has to work against Janet or hide his massive crush on Nate’s girlfriend, Lucy. Lucy is not dealing very well with Nate’s incarceration, because Nate controlled all of their finances, and even she has to eat sometimes. Richard, ever the gentleman, goes over to Nate’s palatial home to help her sort it out, and it isn’t long before Lucy is tearfully confiding that Richard is the only man who ever listens to her (which, in this context, means “Unlike my pretty boyfriend, you’ve never been able to coast on your looks, which makes me hopeful that you will go down on me for more than thirty seconds.”) In no time, she’s serenading him with Chopin, the WASP equivalent of a lap-dance.
GOOD THING HER BOYFRIEND ISN’T KNOWN FOR PUNCHING DUDES TO DEATH OR ANYTHING.
Best of luck with that, Richard. (ACTUALLY, NO. I CAN’T EVEN JOKE ABOUT IT. SHE IS TOTALLY WRONG FOR YOU, RICHARD.)
I am used to being disappointed in Richard’s behavior, but for practically the first time ever, this episode also made me disappointed in Janet! This week, Janet uses her frankly terrifying surveillance capabilities to track Pearl down at the hospital. (As a sidebar, if there are any future seasons of this show, I would like one of the themes to be a critique of the surveillance state, given the fact that you apparently can’t sneeze in Australia without it being recorded by the police.) Pearl’s friend suffered a burst ulcer from chugging the drugs, but will live, and Janet finally persuades Pearl to hand over the rest of the bottle. Janet also convinces Pearl to testify against the skeezy teddy bear who’s been coercing her into sex, so that is two big wins. But when Pearl asks where she’s supposed to live after sending Bad Teddy to jail, Janet can’t give us all the answer we want, which is that Pearl should live with her as like a surrogate daughter/youth advisor. And I get why Janet is reluctant to open her home to this relative stranger, but it’s heartbreaking to see Pearl actually say the words “can I come live with you” and be shot down.
Janet isn’t immune to guilt, and neither is she one of those upper middle class liberals who is all talk and no action, so she gives Pearl the next best thing to a loving home: a fully furnished apartment!
CAPITALISM MADE YOU AN ORPHAN, BUT IT ALSO BOUGHT YOU ALL THIS STUFF!
Pearl is a tough and mature fifteen year-old, but she is still, you know, a fifteen year-old, so naturally within two hours she’s calling Janet with questions like “how do you make popcorn” and “how do you put out a popcorn fire.”
Miffed as I am with Janet for not taking Pearl into her home, I feel profound satisfaction at the other woman soon to be taking up residence there.
Bianca has been waiting for Janet to ask her to move in for a while now, and frankly she is tired of waiting. This week, she’s steeled herself for the big confrontation and she has a great speech prepared. Here it is, in its unabridged entirety:
“Look, Janet. You’re a powerful woman. But the thing you need to understand is that I am too. I shot a gun last season, and I don’t want to brag, but I’ve been told that I have a quiet intensity that women respond to. Plenty of women. But sometimes, in our relationship, I feel like I have ceded a lot of that power to you, and it’s getting a little frustrating. It started because you were still grieving, and we needed to take things at your pace, but it’s turned into our whole dynamic, and that needs to change. For me, that means that I get to move in, assume partial disciplinary duties with the kids, and pick where we get dinner at least once every fifth time. Our love is a dance, Janet. It’s passionate and it’s difficult, and some of it takes place in bathtubs, and sometimes I want to take the lead.”
It’s a great speech. Unfortunately, Bianca never gets to deliver it because as soon as she even mentions that her lease is about to expire, Janet is like “Oh yeah, you should totally move in!”
GOSH I LOVE HOW EASY THINGS ARE WITH YOU. NO NEED FOR BIG SPEECHES OR ANYTHING.
YEAH. IT’S GREAT.
The thing with speeches like that, is that once you’ve written them, it’s difficult to put them away unused, so Janet should look forward to hearing some version of that diatribe the next time she buys the wrong flavor of ice cream.
The episode ends with the coach of Tyler and Nate’s team confessing that it was he who forced Dr. Cook’s car of the road, but no one treats this attempted vehicular manslaughter as a very big deal. Much more momentous is the discovery that Maxine Reynolds is almost certainly the second-in-command of the whole gambling/drugging/suicide-forcing operation. After realizing this, the team rushes to Maxine’s house, but it’s too late. She has either staged her own kidnapping or has actually been kidnapped by the head honcho (who I seriously pray is Janet’s dad because otherwise what’s the point).
WHY DID YOU HAVE TO HURT AN INNOCENT BOTTLE OF WINE???
I think I finally have a line on the next episode, so I will watch it and opinionate about it as quickly as possible, but also it’s my birthday on Thursday, so I won’t promise anything now, and save myself from having to apologize later.