And then Franky pushes Erica up against a wall. BUT LET THE RECORD SHOW that it is Erica who initiates the kiss.
It’s not nice. It’s hard and it’s rough and it’s fighting against itself the whole time, but it is hot, in that particular way that forbidden has the market cornered on hot. And when Erica finally gives in, and lets it be soft, then Franky walks away.
The next day, Fletch and Will are searching Jacs’ room when Will finds Meg’s long-missing bracelet.
In short order, Jacs is arrested and charged with Meg’s murder, and Erica and Franky each run a victory lap. Erica organizes a press conference, and Franky goes around the prison yard drafting Jacs’ former squad to Team Fanny Bandit. The only thing left for Franky to gain absolute power is for Jacs to actually die, and Franky thinks she can accomplish that by substituting “Jacs killed your kid” for “Hello” every time she bumps into Bea.
When Jacs returns to Wentworth, she finally knows she has lost. Her last move was to kill Debbie, and that only made Bea a more formidable foe. And her last bluff was to dangle knowledge of Meg over Will’s head, and that seems to have backfired considerably. Her husband has abandoned her and the women who once feared her now literally spit in her face. With no one left to defend her, she accepts Erica’s offer to go into protection. But Vera tells her that it could take weeks for a bed to open up, and in the meantime she will be subjected to torture, not only from the prisoners, but from the guards.
In Franky’s cell (where she is oh-so-appropriately reading A Streetcar Named Desire, a classic tale of sex, power, and violence) Liz shows up to tell her to stop using Bea a a weapon. Franky is baffled as to where this woman gets the nerve to tell her what to do, but then Liz surprises everyone by revealing that she has been hiding the ultimate trump card up her sleeve all season.
She takes us back to the season premiere riot, when she followed Franky down a deserted hall. Franky, who thought she was alone, picked up a handmade knife off the floor, then wheeled around when she felt a hand on her shoulder, unintentionally slamming the weapon into the abdomen of Meg Jackson.
In the flashback, Franky ran away, while Liz seized the moment and grabbed Meg’s bracelet, for use in future blackmailing. And I love this twist so much. I love that Meg’s death wasn’t the result of a vendetta against her, but a stupid, tragic accident that happened because prison is a stupid, violent place. And even more than that, I love that it is Liz–harmless, clucking Liz, who always stands on the outside of the action, waving her arms ineffectually and begging everyone to stop fighting–who ultimately played the checkmate against Jacqueline Holt.
But this finale isn’t done yet. Not by a long shot.
In the final scene, Bea goes to Jacs’ cell–now a ruined mess of its former glory–to find out what happened to Debbie once and for all. The second she walks into the room, Jac’s eyes light up, sensing that she might be able to cause one last bit of trouble. She goads Bea masterfully, telling her that a childhood watching Bea get beaten up turned Debbie into a copy of her: a weak, pathetic victim who would let a man do anything he liked to her. And for Bea, this isn’t just a confession of murder, or a cruel insult to her daughter’s memory, it’s a negation of Bea’s entire raison d’être. So life has given her the motive for killing Jacs, and a ballpoint pen that Vera misplaced gives her the means. She slams it into Jacs’ carotid artery and then panics and pulls it out again. Blood starts spraying like it’s Wednesday and Pugsley’s Hamlet scene from The Addams Family. Bea tries to stop the bleeding but Jacs won’t let her. This is exactly how she wanted to die.
I have to say, I am really going to miss Kris McQuade in this role. She brought charisma and deep feeling to Jacs, without ever making her any less of a monster. And with her gone, it means Franky and Bea’s alliance is bound to crumble.
So, as excited as I am for season two (which is currently filming), this finale feels like a goodbye to many of my favorite elements of the show. But when next season does come along I’ll be there and so will you, and so, presumably, will Franky’s little rattail braid of which we are all so fond.
See you next season, by which time our hearts should have stopped racing from this finale. Probably.