THIS WEEK’S RAP SHEET:
The spy: Helen catches Fenner in the act. So he catches her, after the fact.
The swooner: Thomas is head over heels in love.
The stoic: Nikki knows she must go on without Miss Stewart.
A damsel in distress — It’s another day at Larkhall, just outside the big door. And there’s Helen, getting out of her impish red Peugeot and juggling all her papers and important governor-y things. Do you need help carrying your books, Helen? I know a con who’s pretty buff from all the gardening she does. We haven’t seen her around lately, but I bet she’d come running if she knew you were in need of assistance.
Mark and Di are arriving for work too. Di inquires about Gina’s health, and Mark sarcastically replies that Gina’s just fine now that she has lost the baby.
Di: Oh, Mark, I’m really sorry.
Mark: Save it.
Di: Look, I know you’re angry, but it was her who attacked me.
Mark: You had it coming to you!
Di reminds him that they have to find a way to work together. He recommends that she stay away from him. That’s a good start, Mark; you might also try knocking her down or poisoning her tea.
Sleepless — Inside, Helen is still dropping papers and binders. A voice calls out, scolding, “Helen. I thought you were gonna take the morning off.” It’s Dr. Waugh, and I don’t like the way he talks to her — as if she’s 12. And also as if he’s spent the last several hours boinking her and thus isn’t sure she’ll be able to function today.
But that’s just my cynicism talking; apparently they didn’t spend the night together. Or if they did, he was passed out while she tossed and turned.
Helen: I couldn’t sleep. I’ll be fine once I get some caffeine.
Thomas: I’ll bring you up a dose of vitamins.
And then he kisses her and she grins and I’m back to being gloomy and cynical.
Naturally, Fenner is around the corner, pondering how to use their flirtations against them. For the first time in my life, I’d rather hang out with Fenner than Helen. That kiss and the accompanying flirty, girly behavior made my stomach turn.
The wing office — Karen is going over the day’s duties. It seems Crystal is off to court again. Oh, and a lifer named Nikki Wade — who’s that? — will be taking her Open University exam this morning (remember the good old days, when Helen still cared and convinced Nikki to sign up for the English course?). After the exam, Nikki will need an escort to the lifers group.
Fenner: Leave it with me.
Such seemingly innocuous words never sounded so ominous. The music gets ominous too, as Josh stays behind to check the mail. Yes, he’s checking the mail! Duck and cover!
Surprise, surprise: There’s a package for him. It’s marked “PRIVAT.” The handwriting is no better than the spelling — you might even say it looks like package was addressed by someone who barely knows how to write. And those stamps … they’re not U.K. stamps. Who could the sender be?
Josh rips open the package. It’s a videotape. The label on it reads “For Crystal.” Oh boy.
(BTW, if you’ve ever wondered where Larkhall is, apparently it’s on Battery Road, London, SW9 6KM.)
Morning calisthenics — Virginia is doing some stretches. With her legs. You know, the ones that supposedly don’t work. In the hallway, a screw warns, “Unlocking,” so Virginia hustles back into her wheelchair.
The unlocking screw is Fenner. He assures Virginia that he’s taking good care of her businesses.
Virginia: I hear everything’s running as smoothly as a bishop up a verger‘s arse.
Whoa. Sometimes it becomes very clear that this is not an American show.
Also taking care of business — In her luxe office, Helen is yawning and perusing the list of brothels, compliments of Yvonne. Thomas interrupts with those vitamins he promised. Helen downs them easily, sorta like I do. It amazes my girlfriend when I swallow five giant pills at once. Is this the only common ground I can find with Helen these days — the lack of a gag reflex?
Thomas: Do you ever wonder if Yvonne Atkins might just be jerking your chain with all this?
Helen: [sharply] She’s not.
Dude, she just used her governor voice on you! Sit in that chair!
Thomas: OK, only asking … for my own selfish reasons, thinking, you know, it might be nice to spend the odd evening in, instead of parked in a car outside a massage parlor. But call me conventional.
Helen: [still in governor mode] I’m gonna nail him, Tom. Even if I have to sit outside one of those dumps every night for a year. For two years. By the law of averages, he’s gotta show up sometime.
Thomas: The law of averages says we’ll probably all get wiped out by a meteorite. But I don’t see anyone running for cover.
Helen: [turning away, moping] You don’t have to go with me.
Thomas: [leaning close] Helen. I wanna go everywhere wth you. And I wanna help you lynch Jim bloody Fenner. I just … I don’t know if this is the way.
Helen says it’s the only way she has, so Thomas suggests confronting Virginia and threatening to bring in the police. But Helen knows Virginia would only cover Fenner’s tracks.
Helen: [seething] She’d know if I had any evidence, I woulda gone to the police already, wouldn’t I?
Thomas doesn’t like her spitfire tone — he much prefers her giggly and girly. So he stomps out, muttering, “Forget it.” Just this once, Helen, I’d advise you to do as he asks.