THIS WEEK’S RAP SHEET:
The loony: Shell’s marbles go rolling all over the floor of group therapy.
The lap-runner: Sylvia works out.
The lesbian: Nikki scares Barbara, thanks to Fenner.
An aside — The title of this episode makes me chuckle. As you may know, it’s also the title of an ’80s teen sex comedy. OK, technically that was Losin’ It, but you get the drift. Somehow I doubt this episode will be quite so frothy.
A dressing down — "Deadeye" Karen Betts doesn’t understand how Sylvia "Bodybag" Hollamby managed to confuse "Mad" Tessa Spall and Barbara "Let me out of here!" Hunt last week. The preceding sentence was brought to you by Dorky Nicknames R Us.
Bodybag stands her ground, blaming the other prison for not sending Mad Tessa’s paperwork in a timely fashion. When you’re Hollamby, there’s always somebody else to blame.
Karen: It’s not good enough, Sylvia. Because of you, there was a major lapse in security. Anyway, it’s not just yesterday.
Sylvia: What isn’t?
Karen: Well, your attitude generally. Cutting corners. Offhand with inmates and officers alike. Always complaining. I get the impression you don’t really care about this job.
Sylvia: Oh, ma’am, that’s really unfair.
Karen asks her point-blank if she’s committed, so Sylvia blames the painkillers and sleeping pills she’s been on since injuring her neck.
Karen: Well, maybe we need to help you back into shape.
Karen: Well, you’re obviously not in the peak of condition. Do you exercise?
Karen: Maybe that’s the answer. I’ll put you on a course of training, see if that helps.
I love the look on Karen’s face as she says this. That is sheer delight. And Hollamby’s face is twisted into something like utter fear combined with how-can-I-get-out-of-this? Sort of like when someone tells me I’m invited to a baby shower.
Dr. No-no — Dr. Nicholson tells Zandra she has low blood pressure. He blames it on her past drug use and recent pregnancy. I would think those would cause high blood pressure, but what do I know? Clearly "Pasty Doughboy" Nicholson is the picture of health and knows what he’s talking about.
Then the doc tests Zandra’s eyes. They’re not so good: She needs glasses. The doc decides her poor vision is the cause of her headaches. But this guy has such terrible bedside manner, he might as well be saying, "It’s lupus, plus Parkinson’s and the clap. You have three minutes to live."
Nikki’s cell — Nikki is greeting the day. She’s washing up a little at the sink while her new roomie, Barbara (aka not-Tessa), looks on. Anyone within a square mile is also looking on, because Nikki looks mighty fine in a tank top. Er, what are they called in the U.K.? Vests?
As they both proceed with their ablutions, Nikki asks Barbara that crucial question:
Nikki: So, what’re you in for?
I suppose people must really say that in prisons. But somehow it sounds so cliché. Anyway, Barbara is reluctant to divulge at first but finally ‘fesses up: She’s in for manslaughter. But in a good way.
Barbara: My husband, Peter, was dying of cancer. He was in terrible pain. In the end, he couldn’t stand it any longer, and he asked me to help him along. Begged me, in fact.
Fenner stops by to pretend to be Barbara’s friend and to tell her not to "worry" about Wade.
Barbara: Why’d he say that?
Nikki: ‘Cause he hates my guts.
Yeah, especially the gay ones.
As they get ready to go down to breakfast, Barbara asks Nikki what she’s in for.
Nikki: Same as you. Manslaughter. Only with me, it was for real.
I thought Nikki was in for murder, but what do I know? I also didn’t think you could get life for manslaughter, so I attempted to look it up. According to this HM Prison Service page (which looks somewhat stale), you can get a "discretionary" life sentence for manslaughter. So then I read these sentencing guidelines, and it seems that Nikki’s circumstances might have constituted a "low degree of provocation." Never mind that four out of five mitigating factors also appear to have been present. I think this probably all just means that Nikki has every right to feel she’s been treated unjustly.