(This recap was originally published on August 6, 2014.)
HOLY SHIT THAT WAS AWESOME. After a season of dreary disappointment, the Season 2 finale reminded me why I went from writing a one-off review of this obscure Australian drama to emailing Karman Kregloe to say, “This is the best show I’ve ever seen and I am doing full recaps.” It had twists, action, drama, AND EVEN JOY (what a concept). Now my greatest hope is that Wentworth can maintain this energy and dynamism for its third season.
The stage for the finale was set last week when Bea staged a fight with Frankie, with the goal of being injured badly enough to escape from the hospital and kill Brayden Holt. (An interesting question: Do you think Bea cared whether she or Frankie won that fight? Was it a two birds, one stone scenario or did Bea even want to be Top Dog?) Bea’s plan hinged upon the correct dosage of hemophilia medication, a stolen boxcutter, and the guards’ adherence to proper handcuff technique, so to say Bea got lucky is putting it mildly. But she was so sure of her success that she had a handgun sent to Liz, so she could finally take her revenge on the boy who murdered her daughter. The other main storyline belonged to Fletch, who was fired just as he began to unravel the truth of Joan’s history of forbidden lesbian prison love.
This episode begins with Bea waking up at Debbie’s grave, where she spent the night vowing revenge. I’m glad Season 1 Debbie was so fully realized and her death so painful, because it brings immediacy and relatability to Bea’s continued bereavement. I also appreciate the way Danielle Cormack plays Bea’s scenes outside the prison; she doesn’t take one minute to breathe the free air or get a beer or anything a normal person would do if they’d just broken out of a penitentiary. Her intensity and focus on the mission remind you that until Brayden Holt is dead, Bea can never really be free. Plus also, she is dressed like a Sith Lord.
Back at the prison, Joan tries to figure out who helped Bea escape. What no one has realized yet is that they all aided and abetted Bea, even if they weren’t aware of it. Doreen called Toni to secure the gun, the crazy cook lady gave her the magic pills, crazy Jess seduced Fletch, and Frankie gave her a plausible reason to go to the hospital. Of course, Joan wants a scapegoat and Fletch is the perfect candidate since it was his swiped keycard that got Bea her boxcutter. She orders him off the premises with the promise that he’ll never set foot in a prison again (a fate worse than death, I’m sure).
And what of Frankie, whose stint as Top Dog tested the love of even her most ardent fans? (If Nicole da Silva didn’t have the hardest face to stay mad at in the whole wide world, I would have jumped ship a long time ago.) Personally, I think if she can manage to survive it, then getting knocked off the throne will be the best thing that could happen to Franky, forcing her to rely once more on her charm and her wits, rather than raw brutality. She learns that lesson the hard way when she goes out to the yard to order Boomer form a posse to beat up Maxine for her treachery. Boomer responds by saying “no,” possibly for the first time in their relationship. Frankie no longer has the power to command a crew, which means she no longer has the means to protect herself.
In her cell/Fortress of Queer Iconography, Franky feels good and sorry for herself until Kim comes in to comfort her. And suddenly, now that Frankie needs Kim for something more than sexual release, we see a whole new side to their relationship. They kiss and nuzzle and whisper pet names in each other’s ears.
Another thing you can say for Nicole da Silva: She knows her way around a lesbian love scene. She does all the little kisses in the right places in a way that feels natural, as opposed to the stiff-as-a-board, “You look like you’re trying to sew a hole in her trousers” performance of some actresses one could name.
But this moment of unexpected tenderness is cut short when Kim breaks the news that she’s about to be released. She promises that she and Franky will be together again once Franky makes parole, but Franky doesn’t trust her enough to believe it. She also cruelly tells Kim to go back to her boyfriend, as if anyone could return to Some Dude after tasting the charms of Detective Doyle. Erica, wherever she is, is no doubt ruined forever just from that one kiss.