“Bad Girls” Recaps: Episode 1.8 “Falling Apart”

A morning meeting — Helen and Monica are chatting about Monica’s "home visit," which will allow her to spend a day with her son. It turns out she’ll have to wait three and a half weeks. Helen says she’ll try to speed up the process, but there’s not much she can do. Monica’s just glad to have something to look forward to.

Monica: It’ll give me a bit longer to finish his jumper.

And even that innocuous little comment gets a warm smile from Helen. See that tongue (again)? They’re sheer torment, these smiles! (A jumper, by the way, is a pullover sweater to us Yanks.)

Spelling lessons — Denny is writing a letter to her mum. It starts out the way every good kid’s letter starts: "How are you? I am OK." But, as is the case with most things at Larkhall, the innocence is short-lived.

Denny: Is "arseholes" all one word?
Shell: How should I know?
Denny: Just asking.
Shell: What’s it like being as thick as pigs—, Denny?
Denny: Shut it, Shell. I’m thinking.

Apparently Shell would rather demonstrate the word than spell it. She stubs her cigarette out on the letter. Denny asks her why she did it, but Shell can only say, "Dunno, just happened." I suspect that’s what Shell said when the police asked her about the murder that landed her in the clink.

Monica passes by, so Denny sees her opportunity:

Denny: Oy. Posh bitch. Is "arseholes" one word?
Monica: No, it’s, um, hyphenated. As in arse-licker.

Denny gives Monica a thumbs-up, but then realizes that being "posh" doesn’t preclude being a smartass. Er, smartarse.

A letter from another kid — Julie Saunders — hey, we haven’t seen much of the two Julies lately — is reading a birthday card from her son, David.

Julie J.: Isn’t he a bit previous? Well, I mean, it ain’t your birthday till next month, is it?

Julie S. tries to comfort herself by saying that kids just get eager sometimes, but Julie J. worries that kids just forget their locked-up mum sometimes.

Julie S.: He is clever, though, isn’t he? I mean, I don’t remember doing nothin’ about fermentation in biology when I was at school.
Julie J.: I don’t remember doing nothin’ about biology.
Julie S.: [having a think] Here, hang on a minute, Ju. Read us that bit again. Bit about fermentation.

Hmm. It seems David wasn’t being "previous" at all; he’s giving them some tips about fermentation four weeks ahead of his mum’s birthday because that’s about how long fermentation takes. Oh, my. I sense a project for the two Julies.

The loo — Fenner and Shell are making out. I don’t know how I can sully the phrase "making out" like this. That’s disgusting — they’re in that dirty stall, and Fenner’s kisses are about as appealing as the scuzzy floor.

Shell tells Fenner he can’t have any more kisses until she’s back on G-3. But Fenner pushes back, never one to fold first. He says he doesn’t want to hear "that crap" from her. Especially not in the crapper. Hee. Yeah, the last bit was mine.

Shell: But Jim, you don’t know how upset I get. That bitch Wade queenin’ about on my landing, and I’m stuck down here with these s—.

Well, nobody said you had to hang out by the toilets!

Jim encourages her to behave herself and "be a good little girl guide." I think I’m the one who needs to be near a toilet, in case I hurl.

Getting some details — Julie S. is on the phone with her son, trying to get the skinny on fermentation. Well, that was one of the shortest scenes I’ve ever seen. But there’s not much point in belaboring the two Julies, is there? Get them in, let them crack a few jokes and get them back off the stage. It’s like vaudeville behind bars.

Visiting time — Monica tells Spencer it’s going to be awhile before she can visit him. He accepts this. He still has a cold, which worries Monica, but she’s maintaining her optimism somehow, which is no small feat in this place.

The library — The two Julies are embarking on their project. Monica shows up just in time to lend a hand.

Julie J.: Monica, are we warm?
Monica: [blankly looking from one Julie to the next] Sorry?
Julie S.: Winemaking.
Julie J.: Books on.
Monica: Oh.
Julie J.: Only we can’t see nothing.

Monica doesn’t suppose the prison authorities are eager to stock the shelves with books on winemaking. So she asks whether she can help. The two Julies, in that funny way they have of trading off parts of each sentence so that everything’s in stereo, tell Monica they just want to help Julie S.’s son do his homework on fermentation.

Monica says she doesn’t know anything about fermentation. She starts to walk away, then says it’s really too bad; when they said "winemaking," she could have been useful. She used to make quite a bit of wine.

Monica: You know, you can make wine from anything, really. Rice. Potatoes. It doesn’t have to be fruit. Although that’s ideal, because it probably breaks down quicker.
Julie S.: Oh, so maybe four pounds of apples, say.

Monica nods sweetly, then begins to recite ingredients as if she’s just reminiscing about her winemaking days. She’s a crafty one, this posh bitch. Julie S. takes notes as quickly as she can. But then there’s the matter of sterilization and heat and an airing cupboard.

Monica: You weren’t actually thinking of trying to make some in here, were you?

Oh. Maybe she’s not as smart as I thought. Julie S. just gives her a weak look of admission. How funny is it that they’re right under the "religion" shelf sign as they scheme to break the prison commandments?

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