Just like me, Nikki stares at Helen intently. And that brings us one of the best Bad Girls scenes ever. As Helen gives her little speech about the lifers’ program, she suddenly glances at Nikki and sees the heat in her gaze:
And Helen completely loses her train of thought. She “ums” and gasps and tries to collect herself, but she is utterly flustered. Nikki enjoys this reaction, of course.
Shell does her usual bratty thing, which prompts a different reaction from Nikki:
Nikki: Stupid tart. Shut it, will you?
Helen: [flatly] Why don’t you do the same, Nikki?
Aw. Here again is the essence of their relationship, such as it is: They can’t seem to resist each other, but the power dynamic — not to mention the big blinking sign that says "you’re still in jail" — keeps interfering. Helen’s next line seems to say it all, even though it is directed at the group rather than at Nikki:
Helen: Can we move on from here, please?
Helen passes around some questionnaires for them to feel out. Er, fill out. Where is my mind? Even Shell acknowledges it would be nice if someone would actually listen to what they have to say. A bell rings, bringing an end to the meeting.
Nikki stays behind, just like the teacher’s pet after class.
Nikki: I’m gonna phone my lawyer now, about my appeal.
Helen: Are you still in touch with Trisha?
Helen: Because you’re gonna need friends on the outside if this goes ahead. Publicity, lobbying, that kind of thing.
Nikki: She still runs our club, so … we keep in touch.
Nikki: [teasing] Hard to believe I’m a businesswoman, i’n't it?
Helen: [grinning] Sometimes.
Nikki: We’re doing well, apparently. [pausing] I’m gonna show you a good time when I get out.
Helen: [softly] I hope so.
And then they lean in and make googly eyes at each other and it’s both sexy and sweet — until the door opens. It’s Dominic, and he can see that he’s interrupting something.
Helen: Dominic. Is there something that you want?
Dominic: I was just gonna lock up in here.
Helen: Fine. Yeah, we’re just leaving.
Helen snapped so quickly back into professional mode, I have whiplash. Damn this intractable incarceration!