Wentworth S05E02 The Bitch is Back Recap
Rolling along at break neck speed, Episode 2 of Wentworth sees Franky back inside, Ferguson ready to up the ante in her manipulation games, and some bloody fine acting by Katrina Milosevic – a.k.a the one and only Boomer.
It’s always hard to narrow it down to ‘who was best’ in any one episode of Wentworth, and it’s a pointless exercise anyway, given the number of Logies, AACTAs and ASTRAs the cast has won over the past 4 years – not to mention the awards the show itself has landed. But at the start of this recap I want to pay tribute to Sue “Boomer” Jenkins and the under-recognised, yet insanely talented, woman who has given us so much joy in watching her week in and week out – Katrina Milosevic. Despite everything else happening around her, this week’s episode, with its stab-you-in-the-heart emotions, belonged to Booms.
Boomer has never been blessed with the biggest of brains or the largest of intellect, but it would be hard to argue there are many that understand the concept of ‘loyalty to ya mates’ better than she does. In the earlier seasons, she was under-utilised in my opinion, simply there as Franky’s hench, and some comic relief, throwing in a few one liners to keep us all from running belly first into a screw-driver wielded by the Freak. But she’s come into her own as a character these past couple of years. She’s not pretty, she’s not sexy, she’s not smart – but once she’s your mate, she’ll love you till she drops and she’ll always have your back. Pretty good qualities in a person.
So who wasn’t getting all the feels with her and for her when Franky returns and Booms doesn’t understand why Franky isn’t sharing her excitement about “getting the family back together”? And her decorating of Franky’s cell with some “hot bitches cos you’re a lezzo and all and you can lie back and look at them while you tickle the taco”? [N.B. And thank you, thank you, thank you to the writers who still give us these lighter Boomer moments, delivered by Milosevic with perfect comic timing – a welcome antidote to Wentworth’s darkness!] Her heart-breaking goodbye when Maxy’s transfer to Barnhurst comes through, and the devastating plea to Franky that she just wants everything to go back to how it once was, saw a few tears escape from my usually steadfastly dry eyes (#notesarcasm). The mood was deftly lightened by the beautiful chemistry between Nicole da Silva and Milosevic as Franky jumped on top of her and they “bed-danced” together. Booms and Franky – it seems the more things change, the more they go back to how they were.
(I must add in a special thank you to Socratis Otto, for being such a beautiful carer for a wonderfully multi-dimensional character who has grown exponentially throughout the past three seasons – we all love you, Maxy. Despite the decision to not cast a transwoman in a trans role, Socratis has shown extreme love and respect towards the trans community in his portrayal of Maxine, and we will miss them both terribly. Please come back!)
We open on a shot of Franky arriving in the back of the van, greeted by smirking Smiles and an obviously disappointed Mr J. Oh so symbolically she holds onto her ‘freedom kite’ hanging around her neck, as the expression on her face is one of both resignation, and fear of judgement. It wasn’t that long ago she strode out of there yelling “fuck this place”, while joyfully giving it the bird with both hands.
But now she’s walking the familiar corridors. She’s submitting to a humiliating strip search. She’s charged with a murder she didn’t commit, knowing most people will think she did it and she’s nothing but a violent criminal unable to make it on the outside. And it’s almost immediate that Ferguson goes to work on her. Franky quickly tells her to “go mind-fuck someone else”, but I don’t think it’s going to be quite that easy with Joan, do you?
Despite Franky “going clean” (I won’t say “straight” because she’s anything but…), she is still the wise-cracking smart-arse that we all love. To Mr J she says she’s “one of a kind”, before assuring Kaz she’d “rather suck dick than be Top Dog again”, (I’m guessing she’s REALLY NOT INTERESTED in being Top Dog), so Kaz doesn’t need to “cock her leg and spray in the corner” to mark her territory.
As Top Dog, Kaz is still on her anti-violence crusade. Despite this, Allie remains determined to kill Ferguson as retribution for Bea’s death. Kaz’s warning to stay away from Joan elicits a rebellious response from Allie, “What are you going to do? Bash me?” as she tries to get Franky in on her plan. Franky refuses, firmly believing that Ferguson knows who set her up and she needs “the fucker alive”. She also offers Allie the very sage advice that nobody wins against Ferguson – you end up in Wentworth for life, or dead like Bea. Allie is unconvinced.
Onto some Fridget! Funny how they keep ‘bumping into one another’! Personally I would have thought in a large prison with so many locked gates that it wouldn’t be so easy, but like the star cross’d lovers they are, their fates seem determined that they find one another here, there and everywhere. Of course, Vera warns/instructs Bridget to “STAY AWAY – I can’t protect your career if word gets out about your relationship”. So what does Bridget do? She ignores her of course, duh! (Just like Franky ignored Bridget’s warning about going to Pennisi’s house, and it seems Allie is going to ignore Franky’s warning about going after the Freak. Lotsa people with good advice, lotsa people ignoring it…).
Bridget arranges an after hours ‘psych session’ - through Jake of all people – and sweetly, in a stolen moment, they kiss, reaffirm their adoration of one another and that Franky needs to “hold tight for both of us”. I’m gonna ask here - any chance the lesbians on this show might get a happy ending? Just curious, because, you know, it looked for a while like these ones might, and that would be kinda nice.
[Can I also just mention the less-than-thrilling direction and editing in this scene? Not sure if they put the work experience kid in charge, or they’re trying to go a bit experimental with their film-making, but the horrendous glare from the window from one angle, the difference in the sound levels and the glitch in the editing were a little off-putting, especially as it was only in this one scene where it occurred. The normally slick production values felt a little compromised here... But - lesbian action, so let’s not complain too much!]
But, another “chance meeting” sees a Fridget happy ending looking less likely, as Franky confesses to Bridget that the murder weapon has been found and it has her DNA on it. Bridget isn’t happy! Not so much that her girlfriend might be about to get 25 years for murder, but that she lied to her – “I lied to protect ya!” Bridget storms off, leaving Franky abandoned again, this time by the one person who she felt truly loved and believed in her. Will the Freak be right about Franky? Will she return to her old self? Angry, violent, self-destructive. Please no – you’ve come so far Francesca!
Now, something is definitely brewing for Mr J. First there was his episode 1 graveyard argument with Franky about whether or not the “system is fucked”. Upon Franky’s return she tells him he had the chance to get away but “the system dragged you back in. It’s got you by the balls.” Kaz – anti-Will since he rocked up to her doorstep in season 3 telling her he knew she was the leader of the Red Right Hand – mocks him that he can’t leave Wentworth because “you haven’t got anything else.” In the psych session with Bridget he needs to clear him to resume his duties as Deputy Governor, she suggests he “must really believe in what he does to have been here for so long.” Finally, Franky says again, “You shoulda got outta here when you had the chance.” Four hints, one episode – I believe they call that ‘foreshadowing’. It’s coming for you Mr J.
The shit-truck that is Jake Stewart’s life is gaining on him, quickly. He’s fast losing the plot, now that Franky has Vera onto checking Joan’s phone records to see what they can find out about the murder of Nils Jesper – that one where Jake shot him multiple times then blew up the truck, and ended with Joan off the hook and almost set free at the end of season 4. Not bad for a first time hitman. Joan has Jake well and truly tied in knots – he just wasn’t clever enough to look beyond the hit and the money he needed, to see that she now pretty much owns him. So he doubles down on the amount of drugs he’s smuggling into the prison in the hope of raising the cash as fast as he can to get as far away as he can. But Jake – come on – you know, I know, we all know… Joan is WAY too clever for that.
So Miss Fancy-Pants Sonia has found out an anonymous person has come forward who’s going to testify that she has confessed to them about the murder of her best friend. This is, of course, because Don the bent cop has sweet-talked Liz into lying for the prosecution case. Liz is at once flattered by Don’s attention, and also convinced Sonia is guilty. She wants to a) see her pay for it, and b) get paroled in return. Sonia is sure it’s a woman who is going to take the stand as “women generally don’t like me because they think I’m going to take their husbands.” In another wonderful Boomer moment, she asks if you can “be a slag when you’re rich”? Apparently not, Susan. When you’re rich you’re “a mistress”. Liz confesses to Doreen that she’s the mystery witness, and Dors tells her not to be bloody mad, it’s not up to her to decide if Sonia is guilty, and besides, if Sonia finds out, who knows what she’ll do. Strangled neck, shaved head, shallow grave… Liz starts to question her decision.
Getting to the nitty gritty of episode 2 and we come back to the DNA on the murder weapon that killed Mike Pennisi. Yep, Franky is a 99% match. Apparently when you hold a gun you sweat and leave skin cells in the grooves on the grip. Impossible to wipe off. Wait – which gun? The one Franky grabbed from Joan’s godson Shayne at the end of season 4 and then dropped in a dumpster. The one he got from a “hole in the wall at Aunty Joan’s house.” (“Everything leads back to Joan fucken Ferguson!”). The one someone has clearly fished out of the dumpster and then used to kill Mike Pennisi (but whyyyyy???). The one that has made Franky positive it was the same person who killed Nils Jesper. The one that, by association, has Jake Stewart ready to pee his pants again. Franky’s DNA on the murder weapon, and under the victim’s fingernails from their struggle in the car last episode. Things look very, very bad for Franky. She goes back to her cell and slowly, with resignation, dons the teal tracksuit. But only after fashioning a red paper kite on her pin-up board. Does the teal symbolise the old Franky has returned, or do we hold out hope that the kite says she will go free?
Meanwhile, Vera’s been to the board meeting where they accept the story that poor old officer Murphy accidently let Bea out with her lost swipe card, so Ferguson’s collusion and conspiracy theory won’t stack up. Vera smugly hands Joan a box with her teals in it. Joan knows she’s lost this battle, but she’s preparing for a war. There’ll be many battles in this war, as Joan imagines herself dressing once again in her Governor’s uniform and shiny black leather gloves. She pledges to destroy Vera as Vera has destroyed her, and in an almost Jesus-on-the-cross pose, wills herself on. “From the ashes I am rising.” It makes Vera’s pledge by Bea’s plaque to see Ferguson punished pale in comparison.
Franky and the Freak both back in teal…
Hooo – weeee… can’t wait for next week!