“Bad Girls” Recaps: Episode 3.07 “The Great Escape”

The victim: Helen grapples with the aftermath of the assault.

The vengeful: Nikki wants to make Fenner pay.

The viewers: Everyone’s watching something, thanks to the annoying presence of a documentary film crew.

Morning at Larkhall — Another day, another shrine to steal for. Di is rummaging around in Josh’s locker. She sniffs his electric razor. Yes, you read that right, and yes, it squicked me too. If only she would use her scavenging powers for something more productive, like voodoo.

Fenner arrives and almost catches her in the act. She pretends to be looking for Gina’s sweater. Because obviously that would be hiding in Josh’s locker. If it’s so chock-full of goodies, could you maybe look for Nikki’s “get out of jail free” card, too?

Beauty surrounded by ominous music — There’s Helen! And there’s Helen’s keychain, or maybe a chain wallet — do we really know for sure? And she’s wearing that leather jacket again too.

Never mind: There’s that slimeball Fenner. In case you missed it, last week he slammed Helen up against the filing cabinet in the wing office and grabbed her crotch. It was vile.

Fenner: Helen.

Helen: Don’t you talk to me.

Yeah, talk about cheeky: He actually thinks they’re on speaking terms after that?!

Fenner: What, not even to apologize? Look, I shouldn’t have blown up like that.

Helen: You assaulted me.

Fenner: Oh, cut the textbook politics, will you?

Helen: Well, what would you call it, Jim? A friendly grope between colleagues?

Fenner: [bristling] Apology accepted, then?

Helen: You’re a s—, Fenner. And if I thought I had an iota of a chance of anyone believing what happened, I’d get you sacked in a second.

Fenner: Finished?

Helen: Yeah. I am for now.

But he’s not. As she tries to leave, he blocks her with his arm, grabbing her shoulder.

Fenner: Look, things have been a little tough on me lately. Or had you forgotten?

Helen: [pushing his arm away] Just get out my way!

Fenner: I wake up dripping with sweat every night.

Helen: Oh, my heart bleeds.

Fenner: I have panic attacks every time I walk through those gates.

Helen: It’s nothing you didn’t bring on yourself.

Fenner: Ah, but you see, I blame you, Helen. ‘Cause every time I walk in here, I have to face the evil cow who came that far away from killing me.

Helen: Well, let’s hope the next time she’s that much luckier.

First of all, Fenner, you repel me. Second, it’s remarkable how much sheer hatred you inspire in Helen — she’s usually the textbook bleeding-heart liberal, but in your case she’d probably be all in favor of the electric chair. Maybe that’s just me.

The wing office — Karen announces that a documentary film crew is on its way to Larkhall to do some filming. The company is called Kickin’ Productions, which to me rhymes with jumping the shark. Their footage will air on TV in the form of a series called “Lady Lags.” (Lag is British slang for convict; don’t ask me why.)

Hollamby complains about the idea of someone filming her — I know you’re shocked by the idea that she would complain about something — but she softens (and even preens) a little when Gina teases that this could be her big break.

Helen interrupts and pretty much breaks up the meeting, insisting that she speak to Karen immediately about “a private matter.” Karen looks surprised. Fenner looks ill. I know it’s hard to tell, what with all his natural bile, but he really does look like he’s going to throw up.

Karen’s office — Helen dispenses with the preliminaries.

Helen: So how are you and Jim gettin’ on?

Yet another thing I love about Helen: Though she prefers not to play politics herself, she’s never unaware of them.

Helen asks Karen whether it’s “serrrious” and is dismayed to learn that the two screws in love have progressed to the point of considering cohabitation. That’s enough for her to bite her tongue rather than telling Karen about the assault.

Sigh. I guess that was the right decision for now, though I’d like to think Karen would have risen above her personal dramas in order to defend Helen. But Helen did put Karen on the defensive right away. I think the whole exchange was just proof that even smart, confident women are undone by harassment and assault, which is why (a) It’s so very wrong to blame the victim for any kind of seemingly irrational behavior afterward, and (b) I’d be first in line to kick Fenner into unconsciousness, if I were a lady lag.

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