“Wentworth” recap (4.5): Kween Bea and Allie Cat

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Too often, television dramas labor under the delusion that to keep our interest, they must constantly be going darker: destroying relationships, turning characters evil, and upping the ante on graphic violence. Of course, all these can be effective strategies when used sparingly, but over time, we simply harden our defenses and brace for the worst. (Ramsay Bolton, with his increasingly rote sadism, is the perfect avatar for this phenomenon.)

But this was the most shocking episode of Wentworth I have ever seen, precisely because it was, of all things, heartwarming. Characters connected, took great risks in the service of goodness, and exposed deep vulnerabilities. And on the very top of the cake was a separate, other cake called Ballie. But we’ll get to that.

As you’ll recall, last week’s episode involved Bea trying her goddamn hardest to be a good guy and protect Will from Joan’s false rape accusations. She successfully saved him from the Red Right Hand (thanks to a tip-off from Allie), but was then forced to attack will herself, lest she earn the reputation as a screw-lover and nerd. That got her thrown into the slot, thus leaving the prison without a Top Dog to keep everyone in line.

In Bea’s absence, it’s like cats and dogs (or cats and slightly more feral cats) inside Wentworth. Fights break out over everything, including who gets the last slice of bacon, which Boomer mediates by eating it herself.

wentworth6.1PEACE IN OUR TIME.

Eager to capitalize on all the pent-up energy is Joan, who eagerly suggests to Allie that Bea’s absence is good for the women. But Allie isn’t having it and refuses to sway in her loyalty to either Bea or Kaz. (Obviously, that can’t last, but at least we learn more about her motivations for it.)

Meanwhile, Maxine is exploring her options for cancer treatment. They boil down to

  1.   Stop her estrogen therapy to starve the cancerous cells.
  2.   Sign up for an experimental treatment that will let her keep taking estrogen, but the deadline for which is TODAY.

wentworth6.2OH SURE, BALLIE IS A SLOW BURN, BUT YOU CAN FAST TRACK THE FUCK OUT OF CANCER.

Maxine takes for option B and prepares to leave for the hospital. But of course, Wentworth won’t let her out of its clutches that easily.

A couple of you pointed out that “transperson robbed of their hormones” has already been covered on several other shows (including OITNB! I know it irritates some of you when I compare them, but it irritates me more when one show pretends like the other one doesn’t exist!). And aside from being a little unoriginal, I’m just confused about what that storyline hopes to accomplish. I mean, I’m all for de-essentializing gender, but Maxine is dealing with enough challenges to her womanhood from the Red Right Hand.

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