“Wentworth” recap (1.6): Who Framed Fanny Bandit?

That night, we finally meet Vera’s mom, who is every bit the passive aggressive nightmare Vera’s memories have led us to believe.

wentworth6.4The devil wears carpet.

The second Vera announces her plans to go out with Linda, her mom is like “help! I think I’m coming down with the itis!”  Vera glumly agrees to stay home and keep her company.

But after mom has fallen asleep and Vera has fortified herself with a glass of pinot, she creeps along the hallway. She sneaks into her mother’s room and holds a pillow over her sleeping form, until, with a start, her mother wakes up and stares at her. And it’s moments like this that make Wentworth such a great show, because neither Vera, her mother, nor the audience know if she is capable of murder.

Vera: Mum, I’m going out.  I’m going to drink brightly colored shots and use the expression “You go girl.”  There may be a mechanical bull involved,  I’m not really sure. But I’m going.

Mum: That’s fine.  Just put down the pillow like a good girl.

And she does.

Meanwhile, at Wentworth, Bea finally manages to call home (facilitated by Will) and demands that her husband bring Debbie in for a visit the next day.

The next day, Jaqs tells Doreen that Toni got her drugs from Franky, a.k.a. “the fanny bandit.” (BTW if you all wanted to start calling me the fanny bandit, that would be fine and cool.) Doreen refuses to believe it, until Toni blames Franky herself. But turning Doreen against Franky wasn’t enough for Jaqs.  She next forces Toni to confess to Erica and Vera. Erica, of course, knows this is a lie, but has no choice but to put Franky in the slot.  Well actually, she does have a choice; she could come clean about the whole business, but we all know Erica’s ambition too well to believe that she will. The great thing about this story, that makes it so true to life, is how many people are to blame: the teacher for selling the drugs, Toni for taking them, Erica for covering up the truth, and Jaqs for being a psychopath. The only person, for once, who isn’t in the wrong is Franky. And her face when Erica sells her out, is so broken. Erica’s boss calls Franky “worthless,” and that finally pushes Erica too far. She stands up for Franky, which is brace, but also draws one more pair of suspicious eyes to their relationship. But it does no good, and Franky is dragged off, leaving Jaqs free to take over.

Over at the visitors’ center, Bea finally sees Debbie, whose eyeliner indicates her newfound angst. She pouts and shrugs and speaks in monosyllables, and does a bunch of other stuff out of the teenage playbook. Bea implores her shithead husband to take better care of her, but he pouts and shrugs and does a bunch of stuff definitely not in the grownup parent playbook. He also says that if Debbie continues to get on his nerves, she’ll get the same treatment as Bea. And with absolutely no ceremony, Bea leaps over the table and tries to strangle him. Given that her husband’s abuse of her included punching and rape, I think this is a pretty healthy reaction.


The guards drag Bea away, and Fletch threatens to turn her in, which would seriously pad her sentence. Will, however, preaches mercy, and they let her go with a warning.

As revenge for Vera never coming home last night, her mother shows up at the prison with some fresh underwear and a bagged lunch. Linda makes the mistake of asking about Adam, to which her mother cackles “Oh, you mean her invisible boyfriend? Yes, he’s been her imaginary friend since I scared away all the real ones.” Vera and Fletch both overhear this, and at some point in human evolution, we will be able to melt into floor when something like this happens, but until that day, all we can do is run to the nearest staircase so no one can see us crying. That’s where Fletch finds Vera, claiming she’s just there for some peace and quiet. He leans over and says, in what may be the funniest line of the series so far, “Rumor has it you’re a bit of a bullshitter.” And then they kiss, and even though  his skull is roughly eight times the size of hers, it is The Sweetest Thing.

wentworth6.6 Fly free, little sparrow.

So, I’ve heard a bunch of rumors about how Leeanna Walsman won’t be returning to play Erica Davidson next season, and those rumors are looking more and more true. I also know that Lara Radulovich, the show’s creator and Frerica’s greatest champion, is no longer associated with the show. I don’t know and won’t speculate as to the reasons why two people so central to the greatness of Wentworth are leaving, but it breaks my heart to see such a powerful story cut off just as it was beginning to blossom.

What about you? Will you give next season a chance now that you know this news?

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