(This recap was originally published on April 27, 2015.)
Holy chicken anus, Batman, that was a really good episode! Which, frankly, comes as a huge relief, because there is no one who wants to love Wentworth more than me. Not even the love notes I wrote to my first girlfriend can compare to my Season 1 recaps for sheer slavish devotion. And I wish I could go back to those days, because there is no emotion more delightful than dizzy, uncomplicated love. But it’s important not to let that love blind you, or else you end up getting asked to leave so your girlfriend can hang out with her ex-boyfriend, but just, like, as friends. The best way of loving something is with your eyes wide open, seeing the flaws and choosing to keep right on loving in spite of them. And with this episode, Wentworth made that a lot easier for me.
Previously on Wentworth, Bea was sentenced to life without parole, which pretty much took away any incentive she had to exhibit good behavior, Fletch (barely) survived his scrape with Joan’s Vengeance Van, Boomer gave Liz a punch for every year she added on to her sentence, and Franky and her new girlfriend had a pretty good thing going, just making out, dealing drugs, and fisting chickens, like how everyone does when they’re in love. The episode culminated with Bea leading the women in a mattress barbecue until Joan agreed to give Bea collective bargaining rights.
We pick up a few hours after the riot/bonfire, with Joan and Vera (I totally missed granny gravel-voice calling Vera “Vinegar Tits” last episode, but am glad to hear that old gem making another appearance) attempting to regroup in the wake of Bea’s coup. Vera seems to be waiting on an apology from Joan for almost letting her be stabbed to death, but she’s going to be waiting until kangaroos get Velcro flaps. (Also, lest we forget, Vera and Fletch are still the only people who know about Joan’s long lost love and vendetta against Will.) But even The Freak can only run so many absurdly complex revenge schemes at once, and she’s focusing on Bea for the moment. She orders Vera to fetch her so they can meet in private.
The two of them agree to trade favors. Joan, pretending to be weaker than she actually is, asks only that the inmates clean up after their bonfire and promise never to do it again. Bea, on the other hand, drives a harder bargain. She demands that the women’s privileges be restored, that the smoking ban be phased in gradually, and, as a true master in the art of war, a pizza party.
There is just no faster way to win the loyalty of a group of people than this. I guarantee you, whoever finally does claim the Iron Throne of Westeros, they will ascend on a pile of mangled corpses and empty pizza boxes.
But not everyone partakes of Bea’s largesse. Franky foregoes the pleasure out of her always-simmering bitterness toward Bea as well as anxiousness over the fate of her embargoed chicken-drugs. And Liz politely states that it would be hard to eat pizza with a broken face.
Liz: Was it worth it, killing Brayden? Does it make you feel better?
Bea: Yeah, it does. But I didn’t want to involve you, Liz.
Liz: What did they call me? Collateral damage.
Bea: I didn’t see it like that.
Liz: No, you didn’t. You fucked up any chance I had of a life with my kids.
That’s some very real talk, and you should keep it in your pocket, because it comes back into play later.
For now let’s go the the kitchen, where Franky is dealing with a nasty situation. You see, while poultry can do a great many things (hide your drugs, let your girlfriend practice her fisting technique) one thing it cannot do is sit outside for hours in the Australian heat. Vera notices the chicken has gone off and orders Franky. to dispose of them.
With the chicken and its precious cargo gone, Franky is is dire straits with her drug-hungry clients.
One of the things I love about this episode is its ability to contain multiple varieties of drama, as opposed to constant betrayal and backstabbing. Joan and Bea are using Franky as a pawn, which is tense, yes, but also unavoidably comedic since their intrigue centers around the body cavities of deceased hens. It’s Liz and Boomer who bring the real tragedy this week.
When Liz is released from protective custody, Boomer shoots her a guilt-stricken look in the hallway, and I have never been so relieved to see so much pain. Because for a while now, Booms has been stripped of that sweetness so at odds with her violence that has always made her a character worth cheering for. To see her express something more than enthusiasm about all the heads she’s busting is a welcome change of pace.
Liz, on the other hand, had her heart on her sleeve all last season, and was one of the few things that I really liked. Remember how she used to stalk her daughter’s dates with a steak knife like Batman? I loved that Liz. Well, it must have made an impression, because Liz’s daughter has asked to be put on her visitor list. Liz initially balks, not wanting her daughter to see her in her current state.
But while Bea accepts the blame for Liz’s condition, she refuses to allow any mother-daughter estrangement under her watch, and rightfully accuses Liz of being an avoider who will always find another excuse to avoid facing up to her children and her mistakes.