“Bad Girls” Recaps: Episode 1.7 “Playing With Fire”


A hall at Larkhall — There’s a big banner on the wall. It says, "You may lock me up, you may throw away the key, but you can never take away the greatest freedom of all — my imagination." But someone has crossed out "imagination" and replaced it with "Valium." This reminds me of the time someone in my college dorm defaced a poster that said "beauty is inside" — she crossed out "inside" and wrote in "pain."

At the end of the hallway is a door with a sign on it: Adult Literacy Class. And guess who’s inside? Yes, Denny. She’s got something to read now that her mum is writing her letters. She’s cute when she’s eager.

The bell rings, so Denny exits the classroom and walks right into the arms of that snake, Shell. Denny tells Shell she’s ready to try to write a letter to her mother, but Shell says they have more important "business" to take care of. Sigh. Denny, next time see if you can sign up for a class in Avoiding Diabolical Machinations.

Monica and Nikki are also leaving a class — theirs is a bit more advanced. Monica’s excited about the upcoming visiting hour; her son will be stopping by. Nikki says she’s jealous.

Monica: You never hear from Trisha?
Nikki: Well, I’ve had a couple letters, but they’ve stopped now.
Monica: You don’t keep in touch with your parents?
Nikki: I left home when I was 16. They didn’t like my lifestyle, if you know what I mean.
Monica: Do they know you’re in here?
Nikki: [shrugging] It was in the papers. It would just have confirmed everything they thought about me.
Monica: You’re a lovely girl, Nikki. Why don’t you write, try and make contact with them?
Nikki: What, like, play happy families? Not like you and Spencer.

My, that was an interesting peek at Nikki’s history. Interesting, but insufficient. Also, I agree that she’s a lovely girl, but her hair is a little helmet-like today.

The four-bed dorm — Shell tells Crystal to scram; she says she and Denny want to search the cell for the jellies (tranquilizers) Zandra’s been taking even though she’s pregnant. Crystal doubts that Shell has ever had such a selfless impulse in her life. Then she starts to yell about how much it hurts her to see Zandra like this. Shell once again pretends to be on a mission to confiscate Zandra’s drugs.

Crystal: I ain’t stupid, sister, but right now I don’t care what you do with them as long as you take them far away from her.

Crystal stomps out, and the scene ends before we can learn what Denny and Shell are really up to. These little mini-cliffhangers — scenes ending abruptly just when things are getting good — are the hallmark of soap operas, but I’m not used to them because I don’t really watch soaps. So I keep sighing and frowning.

Avoiding the question — Sean is sighing and frowning too. Helen has gone back inside and is about to leave for work, but he wants an answer to his question first.

Sean: Look, if you really don’t fancy it, that’s OK. I’m not gonna bulldoze you into anything.
Helen: Sounds like you are.
Sean: [grabbing her] OK, I am. Are you trying to give me a complex? Hmm?
Helen: [giggling] Oh, I love you.
Sean: So marry me.
Helen: Can we talk about this later? I’ve really, really got to go.

And with one last little kiss, she leaves. I don’t know, Sean: You probably should have a complex. And you should pack your things. Do it for me.

Visiting — Monica’s son doesn’t look very happy to see his mother. He’s not feeling well — he has a bad cough. And he doesn’t understand why his mother can’t come home (he has Down syndrome). Monica gets very concerned and begins to yell at anyone who will listen.

Water torture — Denny and Shell are pouring water on Zandra. Shell asks her about her deal with Lorna Rose, the guard Zandra’s blackmailing (and getting drugs from). Zandra denies everything, so Denny and Shell pull her off her bunk and throw her to the floor. They find the jellies in a hole in the mattress. Actually, they’re in a lipstick case in the mattress.

Shell: Never had Miss Rose down as a lipstick lezza.

Why does everything sound extra offensive when Shell says it?

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