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

Delivering the boyfriend — Helen is taking Sean to Larkhall to do his little talk.

Sean: So do you think they’ll like me?
Helen: [smirking] A posh git banging on about plants?

She tells him to push the panic button on the classroom door if things do get nasty. Sean freezes in his tracks.

Helen: For God’s sake. Joke!

For God’s sake, indeed, Helen — he doesn’t even get your sense of humor! That is step one in finding a mate. Well, maybe step two. Good spelling and grammar are first.

Lorna’s locker — Lorna is stuffing jellies into a tube of Smarties (side note: In the U.K., Smarties are like M&Ms). Fenner shows up and peeks over her shoulder.

Fenner: Come on, I want a sweetie!

Ick. I will never eat sweets again. Lorna nervously digs out a Smartie and hands it to him. She looks like she’ll never eat sweets again either.

Sean’s class — Sean is teaching the girls a thing or two about gardening. He shows them some bulbs. Shell immediately pipes up, "They look like a pair of hairy balls." She continues to crack jokes until Nikki tells her to shut it.

Nikki: Some of us are interested in this.
Shell: Yeah? And some of us are interested in hairy balls. I know you’re not.

Denny, why are you touching Shell and giggling with her? I don’t know why I keep trying to like you.

Sean tries to continue the lesson, but Shell and Denny interrupt again. Denny says she has to go to the toilet, and she and Shell joke about asking permission for toilet paper and whether Denny should be allowed to take four squares instead of two.

Nikki: [to Shell] You wanna go give Denny a hand? It’d be a first, ’cause usually Denny wipes your ass.

Everyone laughs. Sean smiles nervously. I dunno, Nikki: I think you should be quiet and let Shell attack Sean. He’d scream like a little girl.

More Shell games — Lorna finds Shell in her cell. This episode is just rife with Shell scenes. Infested, even.

Shell’s not happy with Lorna’s delivery: There simply aren’t enough "sweeties." She tells Lorna to get more, even if it means going to the doctor herself to get them. After all, says Shell, Lorna’s looking kind of stressed. You could say that. Other words that might apply are frantic, haunted and falling apart.

A harsher lesson — The class is over, but Nikki is hanging out in the classroom, chatting with Sean about gardening. He says he owes Nikki "a few hours weeding" whenever she gets out and gets a garden of her own. He admits he was dead nervous. Nikki tells him he was great.

Guess who else is great? Helen. She has just walked in.

Helen: Hi, Nikki.
Nikki: Hiya.
Helen: [to Sean] So how did it go?
Sean: It was hell. I thought about using that panic button you mentioned. Anyway, home time. And you’re doing the cooking.
Nikki: [stunned expression]
Helen: Sorry. Didn’t Sean tell you? He’s my partner.
Sean: Well, you won’t be calling me that for much longer. [to Nikki] She just asked me to marry her. Forced me to say yes.
Helen: So, how did you enjoy the class, Nikki?
Nikki: Well. You learn something new every day.

Helen looks like she’s being pulled in several different directions. At least two.

First, let me just say that I enjoy the British use of the word "partner" with respect to straight couples. When I studied in England during college, I quickly developed a crush on a woman I was sure was gay. When she referred to her "partner," I thought, oh, she’s taken. But it was quite a while before I realized her partner was male. By then I had moved on to a girl with a nose piercing and a penchant for public displays of affection.

Anyway. Where does Sean get off announcing an engagement he and Helen haven’t even really discussed? Sure, he only announced it to Nikki, but he doesn’t realize what a big audience that is for Helen.

And finally, I can’t believe Nikki is still wearing those flip-flops. When she leaves a room, it sounds like someone’s popping gum or smacking their lips. Only louder and more foot-oriented.

Suspicion — Dominic asks Lorna to help him "give Shell Dockley’s cell a spin"; he wants to search it for drugs because he thinks she’s been selling them to other inmates. Lorna wants to wait until after lunch (read: until after she’s had a chance to warn Shell), but Dominic’s keen to begin, and he needs Lorna to do the strip search.

Lorna tries to seem like she’s cooperating. She suggests they start with the strip search, knowing this requires that Dominic leave the cell — thus giving Shell time to hide the evidence.

You’re just doomed, Lorna. You get in deeper with every step, and you’re too dim to see it.

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