“Bad Girls” Recaps: Episode 3.01 “Back From the Brink”

Helen just smiles and gets back in the car, knowing better than to look a gift dyke in the mouth. She and Nikki wait until the police car pulls away, then get back to disagreeing.

Nikki: [bitterly] Why don’t you turn me in?
Helen: Shut up.

Woo! Nikki rips off her bad wig in disgust. Helen reminds her that the plan is for her to turn herself in at the prison. Her phone rings before she can say more: It’s Karen, asking Helen to come to Larkhall to help them with the “major incident” that is Fenner’s exploding innards.

Helen pulls away ultra-carefully, checking her mirrors about 18 times and rolling on in her geriatric way. It’s almost like Simone Lahbib had to learn to drive just in order to do this scene.

Helen: This is a perfect cover to get you back inside.
Nikki: What?
Helen: I thought I was gonna have to drive around till morning. It’ll be mayhem now.
Nikki: Just a second.
Helen: Look, no one knows that you’ve escaped. I didn’t call the police. I still can, and will if you try and make a run for it.
Nikki: What do you mean, you didn’t call the police?
Helen: I dialed 999 but I couldn’t go through with it. I just want to get you safely back to your cell. With any luck.

Nikki just sighs and fumes. Helen tries to comfort her, stroking her cheek, but Nikki pulls away.

Helen: Nikki, if we want a future, the only chance we’ve got is to keep fighting for your appeal.

More silent steaming from Nikki. That is one tense, glacial-paced Peugeot.

Hollamby’s house — Bodybag looks like her moniker; she’s passed out on the couch in her party dress. But the phone is ringing, and she eventually identifies the source of the sound. It’s Larkhall, of course, summoning her to duty.

Even higher tension — Karen is still barking orders and trying to figure out how to get Fenner some help and Shell some restraints. The cool-as-a-cucumber Wing Governor holds out her own hand and watches it tremble. It’s OK, Miss Betts: I’d be shaking too, with Shell in full psycho mode like this. Unhinged has taken on new meaning.

Karen peers through the peephole of Shell’s cell and sees Jim at death’s door. She calmly entreats Shell to use her brain, but all she gets in return is bluster. Shell calls her a "two-faced slag" for getting involved with Fenner. Fair point.

Shell stuffs a rag in the peephole. You’d think they’d have encased that somehow, wouldn’t you, so that couldn’t happen?

Outside, Sylvia and Di check in for crisis duty. So does Helen, pulling up to the gate and asking for "number two keys" without missing a beat.

In what would appear to be full view of the gatehouse and every other guard anywhere nearby, Helen opens the passenger door so Nikki (who has been lying low in the back seat) can calmly make her way back into Larkhall.

They just walk in slowly, passing flashing lights and a gaggle of guards — and even Sylvia and Di. This is crazy suspense. But you know why they’re able to just stroll in? Because Helen is wearing her death-defying, heartbreaking leather jacket! And a low-cut red shirt underneath. Submit! Obey the power of the leather-cradled cleavage!

Helen finally directs Nikki to a “staff loo,” where she is to wait 10 minutes before going to her cell. As Helen goes through a gate, putting bars between herself and her beloved once again, Nikki seems to panic. She grabs the bars, pleading with Helen with her eyes. Helen just says, “Nikki,” and the con with the heart of gold silently turns and goes about getting herself back into prison.

Scaring the life out of Barbara, Helen unlocks Nikki’s cell without a word and then steadily walks away. This scheme is so harebrained, it just might work.

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