The other party offering Boomer help is Maxine, who has mercifully been rewritten as a nurturer and adviser this season. When Maxine finds Doreen in the showers, getting her ass kicked by her own bra strap, she feels compelled by basic human decency to offer her assistance. Boomer doesn’t want to let anyone help bathe her, much less someone for whom she holds some predictably transphobic views, but Maxine has her imagine that it’s her beefcake pinup doing the caressing.
It is very nice to see someone operating from genuinely altruistic motives for once.
Back to Franky and her no good, very bad day. With her time up, the Lou-Whos start waiting for her around every corner, and we all know that being cornered does not bring out the best in Franky Doyle.
But here’s the thing about Franky: she thinks it’s her ruthlessness and cunning that keep her alive, but really it’s her charm, her vulnerability, and her hidden reservoir of sweetness. That’s what kept her with a circle of friends for so long. That was what Erica saw in her, and that is what makes the new counselor take notice of her.
Here’s what I think about Bridget Westfall so far: She’s a Heineken. When I’m drinking, I like a fiercely hoppy IPA or a rich, dense porter. But sometimes you find yourself at a place where the standards are lower and none of your favorite beers are around. (And by favorite beer, I mean that other blonde counselor who took a special interest in Franky.) It’s hard not to get the impression that Bridget was written in as an Erica replacement. Which on the one hand I don’t mind. I like relationships with messed-up power dynamics (you better believe I’m a Cophine shipper) and I want to see Franky care about someone again. But Bridget ain’t Erica; she lacks the leonine grace. I hope she fills out more; it’s early days for her character yet. But until that happens, I’ll take the Heineken. It beats being sober.
Bridget first reaches out to Franky when the Lou-Whos are closing in, and all she can think about is escape. So rather than engage in some sexually charged talk therapy, she tears apart the library.
Her book terrorism has the desired affect of getting her thrown in the slot, where at least she is safe from everyone who wants her dead. She is not, however safe from Joan. But I’m increasingly unconvinced that she wants Franky dead or even out of her hair. What she wants is to play an endless series of mind games with everyone, like rats in a maze designed by M.C. Escher. Like, if she wanted Will dead she could have sent her vengeance van after him ages ago. If she wanted Franky gone she could fast-track her release. Instead, she takes the inexplicable move of pulling Jodie out of solitary and beating her. Or possibly raping her, which is much darker. What do you guys think happened in that closet?
The next day, Bridget thinks she is doing Franky the favor of getting her out of solitary in exchange for therapy. Franky isn’t exactly grateful to be back in gen pop, but all the attention from the comely blonde isn’t lost on her. She uses the same shocking flirtations she used to try on Erica, although they lack some of the old conviction. Apparently Franky and I are on the same page about Heineken.
Look, next episode is a Bea episode and I promise to devote a lot of time and thought to her evolution as a character. I might even watch an episode of Prisoner if I can find time. But I’m just not invested yet in the Will-getting-framed-for-Harry’s-murder storyline. The tl;dr version is that the police suspect Will and with good reason because he did threaten Harry with an axe and he was there the night of Harry’s murder. But it’s really only interesting insofar as it advances the romantic tension between Will and Bea, which let’s face it, is pretty hot.
Back to therapy, Franky is so worried she can’t even muster the energy to flirt. Bridget decides this is because she has no hope of ever being released but Franky is like “I’ll be released alright. I have a nice little apartment lined up six feet underground.”
I read a thing on Tumblr recently (which should really be renamed The Digital Church of Orphan Black) in which Tatiana Maslany was discussing her process for physically embodying her many roles. She said she tried to find the animals in each of them, and that Allison was a bird what Sarah was a rat or a lion. I feel like Nic Da Silva must have a similar process for Franky because there is something so animalistic about the way she paces her cage. I’d say Franky’s spirit animal is the weasel, which I actually mean as a compliment, since weasels are scrappy little fighters. Sitting in the yard, Franky watches as the Lou-Whos smuggle weights under their sweatshirts for the clear purpose of killing her later. And like any animal, she decides to bite off her own foot to escape the trap. Except in this case, her foot is her dignity.
With no options left, she trades sex for Billie’s protection. We don’t see that scene, thank goodness. We cut straight to the aftermath: Franky is crying in the shower, trying to wash every part of her that was violated, looking like the abused child she still carries around inside her heart, the one she tries never to let anyone else see.
Afterwards Cindy Lou and company corner Franky in the kitchen and very nearly crush her skull until Billie intercedes. Franky escapes with her life, but she’s clearly damaged by the sacrifice she had to make to keep it.
But she still hasn’t been humbled enough to accept help from Bea. Even after Bea clears her debt with the Lou-Whos (who were secretly controlled by Goth Tina this entire time). Bea open-handedly offers Franky her protection, failing to understand that what terrifies Franky most of all is depending on another person. So like always, Franky lashes out and makes a jab about how Bea failed to protect Debbie.
She saves the worst punishment for herself, though. We’ve never seen Franky self-harm before (at least this not directly), but it make sense that she would be a believer in the clarifying power of pain. She inflicts it by giving herself a tattoo, in the ominous shape of spiral. (Death spiral, spiraling out of control. Nothing good ever spirals.)
But at the very last, Franky does find a reason to hope. That reason is Bridget Westfall, who persuades Vera to give Franky another shot at parole (it was briefly yanked away when Franky called her “vinegar tits”). Parole is all very well and good, but it hasn’t got Franky half so optimistic as the counselor she has now officially renamed “gidget.”
Next week: Bea gets stabbed in the back and Vera hopefully learns to stand up against Joan.