“Wentworth” recap (3.11): Australian Horror Story

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Hello, Wentworthies! I am writing this from the passenger seat of a truck speeding along a deep south highway, but the plot of this episode may actually be outracing me. A lot goes down this week, but it’s still going to have to be a brief recap on account of the fact that I place a high emotional significance in actually doing the driving in the important journeys of one’s life.

Previously on Wentworth, Will Jackson finally learned that Franky killed his wife, but he mustered the strength to forgive her, which The Freak found disappointing in the extreme. Lest we forget, Will is also in the middle of being framed for the murder of Harry Smith, because Joan Ferguson is not the kind of lady who puts all her vengeance eggs in a single basket. No, with her it’s more like an Easter egg hunt, and some of the eggs are poisoned, and some of the eggs have chicks in them, and she has forgotten where she put half of them, BUT THEY ARE LYING IN WAIT FOR YOU. Yet, as unhinged as Joan revealed herself to be, she still wasn’t as blood-chilling a villain as sweet-faced little Jess, who pocketed a bag of heroin for the chance to steal Doreen’s baby.

This week is one of the few Bea-centric episodes we’ve had all season, and her character is a loss I have felt even though I’ve appreciated the focus on Frankie’s evolution. In a way, Bea’s heroism has worked against her development. She has been so firm, so single-mindedly driven by her righteous mission, that she hasn’t had the dents in her armor necessary for viewers to get a satisfying grip on her. However, I can see where it’s heading, as she becomes more and more comfortable manipulating people, and her methods come to resemble those of the very enemy she is fighting. Her first pawn (or perhaps “knight” is a more apt metaphor) is Fletch, whom she sends into Joan’s office to find out more about Jianna. Because, you see, Bea has been catching up on her Pretty Little Liars, and has learned a thing or two from A about psychological warfare. Specifically, the power of plastering someone’s entire room with the most triggering face possible.

wentworth11.1 ACT NORMAL, BITCH.

Joan is shaken by this brazen attack and immediately starts trying to find the culprit. Even the desperation with which she does this indicates that her grip on the prison is failing: Joan at peak Freakiness would calmly absorb this blow and devise a forty-nine step plan to punish anyone even tangentially responsible. But this Joan is reactive, shadowboxing with a hundred imaginary threats and missing the one right under her nose. She initially suspects Fletch, but he just cocks his head at her like a dim but good-intentioned dog and she concludes he has neither the fine motor skills nor the sophisticated grasp of vengeance to pull this off.

wentworth11.2 I AM NOT GOOD BOY?

Two prisoners return to Wentworth today: Jodie, who is transferred back to psych, and Lucy, who is wheelchair-bound after shower time with Bea and Maxine. Vera is quite pleased to see Lucy and have a little discussion about the riot and the syringe.

wentworth11.3 OOPS FORGOT THE LUBE.

Unfortunately, vaginal penetration is not quite as effective an intimidation strategy on Lucy as Vera hoped, but mercifully the scene cuts away from witnessing the actual event.

Vera isn’t the only one with an agenda for Lucy. Bea and Maxine pay her a friendly visit to discuss the serious issue of prison violence. They want to Lucy to come forward and tell the world that is was Joan who put her in that wheelchair. Of course, Lucy is reluctant to inform on an even more formidable dyke than herself, but Bea assures that life in Wentworth will be very unpleasant until she does.

And then there’s Doreen. Poor, poor Doreen. Jess has taken to slipping her a little heroin in her morning tea, making her sick and drugging her breast milk. Joshua now screams incessantly, Doreen is frantic, and Jess keeps smiling that little smile she has.

wentworth11.4I JUST FEEL REALLY WEIRD AND OUT OF IT AND ALSO STRANGELY LIKE LISTENING TO JAZZ.

We’ve seen a lot of shit go down on this show, but I’ve never hated a character the way I hate Jess right now. Not even Brayden Holt. I think it’s partly because she’s such an effective wolf in sheep’s clothing, whereas every other villain proudly owns their evil. But mostly it’s Georgia Chara’s performance, which combines tenderness and ruthlessness in a way I’ve never seen before. WAIT. Yes I have. Jess is like that bunny rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, that no one has the good sense to be afraid of because it looks so cute and sweet and innocent.

rabbit gif

Joan’s next suspect after Fletch is Vera, and that’s because Bea bribed Ms. Miles to make it look as though it was her access card that got into Joan’s office. Joan calls her into the office and accuses her of taping up the pictures in the hopes of finally ascending to the governorship. (Why anyone wants to be Wentworth’s governor at all is beyond me, since people have a worse chance of surviving that job than professors of Defense Against the Dark Arts.) Vera denies the accusations, but does agree that the two of them have reached a parting of the ways. Joan responds by slapping her across the face and then spending the rest of the day soaking her slapping hand in hydrogen peroxide.

wentworth11.5 HOLY SHIT I THINK YOU JUST LITERALLY KNOCKED SOME SENSE INTO ME.

After this confrontation, Joan calls a staff meeting for the express purpose of telling everyone that Vera has Hep-C and is being demoted from deputy governor to officer. It’s cruel and it’s even shocking but again, it’s far too blunt a move for Joan. Her hands are getting dirtier by the minute.

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