The next day is visitor’s day, which means that Bea can see her daughter for the first time since her incarceration. I’ll admit, my first impression of Debbie wasn’t very good, what with her saving her dad and everything, but as we watch her approach the prison like a wide-eyed baby deer, it’s impossible not to feel for her. Outside, she meets Brayden, a smirk-monster who sprang from Jaqs’ loins like all the evil of the world sprang from Pandora’s box.
He is also exactly the kind of boy you fall for if you are a severely damaged teenager, like Debbie. Once inside the prison, she is taken to a private room because the prison dogs smelled all the innocence on her. Vera comes in and informs her that she must submit to a strip search or risk losing visitation privileges. And from Vera’s perspective, it’s a procedure in place for a very good reason. But when you watch the body of this scared, helpless kid invaded by the state, you start to see the collateral damage inflicted by an unfeeling bureaucracy. Anyway, after being poked and prodded and humiliated and scarred for life, Debbie finally gets in to see Bea, and only really has time to lie and tell her that everything is fine.
Also living out her private hell is Franky. Erica summons her to her office again, and again she wants to talk business. Franky says that the new job has changed Erica and she wishes she was just a social worker again, which is the closest she can come to saying “I miss you. I miss us.” And the closest Erica can come to saying “I’m still here” is to give Franky a cup of coffee. But it’s enough. They smile. They breathe. But then Erica drops a bomb, which is that Franky’s dad is waiting to see her right at this moment. And even if we assume Erica is doing this because she wants to see Franky healed and whole, that is still a very emotionally manipulative move.
Franky goes to her father. They are (wisely) separated by a pane of glass. And Franky tells her dad a little of what happened after he walked out. A childhood spent being burned and blamed by her addict mother. A childhood spent waiting at the window for her father to return, which gradually melted into an adolescence spent plotting her revenge against that father. But now “you even took that away from me.” Because the man sitting in front of her isn’t the savior or the monster she’d dreamed about for years, but a sad, middle-aged stranger. And Nic da Silva, guys, just combusts in this scene. Like an incandescent lightbulb being fed too much power. It is goddamn heroic, is what it is.
While this going down, Erica visits Toni, who has emerged from the worst of her withdrawal. At first, she’s all Glinda the Good, but, like Glinda, she has an agenda of her own. She asks Toni where she got her drugs and, in a genuine effort to turn over a new leaf, Toni replies “that pervy English teacher you hired.” And Erica is like, “See, but the thing is, no you didn’t. You found them under your pillow, most likely.” And Toni, thoroughly disillusioned, goes along with it. Afterwards, Erica looks regretful and hopes that her good and bad deeds cancelled each other out today.
That night, Jaqs gets all buddy-buddy with Bea, which makes her as uncomfortable as a crocodile trying to nuzzle her neck. But Jaqs’ reveals her real game when she causally blurts “42 Wallaby Way, right?” And Bea is like “Um how do you know my address?” Of course she knows it because stupid Brayden told her, and now she uses the information to threaten Debbie. Specifically, she says she’s gonna make sure Debbie gets run under by a car unless Bea joins forces with her against Franky.
So the next day, Jaqs has Boomer transferred away from the laundry, leaving Franky unprotected. She then orders Bea to burn Franky’s hand in the steam press (which if you’ve done your Wikipedia research, you know is a nod at the original Prisoner series).
Bea tries to resist, but Jaqs puts her hand down, and together they burn Franky, forcing her to relive the very trauma her mother used to inflict.
When Franky goes to the hospital wing to recover, she surprises everybody by asking for her dad. He arrives and promises to take care of her, promises that she never has to be alone again. And for a moment, Franky’s eyes shine and she allows herself to be loved and rescued. But the child that was Francesca is gone, and Franky relies on her scars like they are her armor. So she sends her father away and tells him never to return.
That night, she shreds the photograph of him, but I can’t help but notice that with or without the picture, she still dresses exactly like he did.
So, what are your thoughts on Franky now that you know at least part of her story?