(This recap was originally published on June 2, 2016.)
Hello, loves. Much like Game of Thrones (which also concerns the machinations of violent people striving to rule an empire of mud and death) Wentworth has its “action” episodes and its “setup” episodes, and this week’s entry falls into the latter category. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t excellent; every episode so far this season has stood with the best work the show has ever done. But nevertheless, we’re moving the chess pieces into place, and the most action-oriented moment is Mr. Jackson getting Windex in his eye, which is decidedly un-harrowing compared to last week’s trauma. (And everyone claiming to be distraught by the sad fate of Hodor needs to come visit the prison showers sometime, where we deal with REAL SHIT.)
We begin in Joan’s cell, where she is still recovering from the shower gang rape. The physical trauma is substantial, with what I can only assume is devastating internal bleeding, and it’s just KILLING ME that she hasn’t even been to see a doctor yet. But Joan is equally scarred by the memories of what happened to her at the hands of Juice’s gang. And I’m glad we open with that, because I want to address some of the comments last week asserting that Joan knew what was going to happen to her and was in control of it the whole time.
I think that theory is wrong. I normally wouldn’t go out of my way to say such a thing, since I think a diversity of opinions surrounding a show is healthy, but “Joan was cool with being gang raped” is actually quite damaging. These PTSD flashbacks (which I also think were what she was experiencing last week when she recalled her therapist’s abuse) reveal that Joan’s psyche is far from able to shrug this off. And while I know you all read my personal take on the situation last week, I think it bears repeating: the fact that Joan is able to use this to her advantage is not evidence that she wanted it to happen. That kind of thinking is the same argument used by people who insist that Amber Heard could not be the victim of domestic violence since she was recently seen SMILING in the SUNSHINE.
At any rate, one person who does not suspect Joan of ulterior motives is Kaz Proctor, who stays by her side, digging her claws into Joan’s body like an intensely loyal ferret. (I think Kaz Proctor has ferret claws, but when Tammy MacIntosh gets out of character, they go back to being normal human hands.)
The greatest thing about their scenes together is that even while Kaz is being her best self—standing up for battered women—her unswerving fervor is still terrifying. And that terror is only slightly diminished by the fact that she is now The Freak’s instrument. Joan initially refrains from disclosing who raped her, and even she can’t bring herself to blame it on Bea. But she settles for the next best thing and points the finger at Will Jackson. Of course, Kaz is already predisposed to believe that, since she equates all men with rapists. (They’ve skirted the line so far, but I still get very nervous when Kaz is made to represent feminism.) Joan convinces Kaz that Will and Bea are lovers, ruling Wentworth from all sides, like Cersei and Jaime Lannister (oh if you thought I was done with the GoT comparisons, you were very mistaken). So Kaz throws the Red Right Hand into action to exact revenge on Will.
Will, eager to protect his reputation (and his currently uncontested hold of the Competitive Male Decency title) loudly informs her that standing up for Joan is an insult to Real Victims everywhere.
Bea, meanwhile, is as eager as anyone to get to the bottom of The Freak’s attack, before an innocent party gets hurt. She orders Maxine to investigate, but she has no leads since everyone (including Juice) was at breakfast. Now, there was a comment last week that suggested that Joan may have done this to herself, and Bridget mentions it as a possibility too. Juice’s presence at breakfast is certainly interesting, as is the fact that Ms. Myles didn’t see anyone else go into the showers. But on the flipside, Juice does seem to know that she’s due for some comeuppance and also has the most damnably evil comportment I have ever seen in a human woman.