On the back of last week’s drama, Wentworth continues to up its game on all fronts. Titled “Love and Hate”, this week’s episode dealt beautifully with the belief that it is ok to both love and hate at the same time. That sometimes they aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, most often, one is often preceded or followed by the other. However simple or complex love and hate may be, Wentworth delivered a layered illustration of just the dilemma such feelings pose for our beloved Team Teal. The episode opens on a young girl enjoying a ride of a merry-go-round, soon revealed as a flashback to younger, presumably happier days for Kaz Proctor (Tammy Macintosh). We land back in present time on Kaz, she’s lying on her bed, huddling close with a jewelry box of sorts. Her moment is interrupted when she is informed that a visitor is here for her. This introduction is definitely a set up to learn more about our fiery “red right hand” leader.
Elsewhere, Vera (Kate Atkinson) is seen talking to someone who we soon learn is a new guard – played by none other than Bernard Curry – and his character seems super perky, and a little overly confident. Immediately somewhat taking Vera a little by surprise. Meanwhile, Maxine (Socratis Otto) has another check up with her doctor regarding her diagnosis; this time discussing treatment options going forward. She refuses to stop taking her hormones, a fact the doctor stresses needs to be reconsidered due to the hormone sensitive nature of the cancer. But Maxine, with all the fortitude she can muster, remains stoic in her position. Fortunately, the doctor mentions the possibility of being included in a medical trial for a new therapy, Maxine jumps at this option and is now again waiting for a response. Socratis Otto as Maxine, with minimal dialogue, portrays the weight of this discovery through subtle facial expression and emotive eye contact. He has utilized the physicality and inner turmoil of this cancer in a way words have not been needed for the audience to feel Maxine’s pain.
Back with Kaz, the visitor she finds is her mother. The reunion between the two is anything but positive, with attitude and coldness almost instantaneous from Proctor. She’s there to inform Kaz that her father has passed away; emphysema. Tammy Macintosh, in one shot displays heartbreak and relief so elegantly that it’s hard to know which is stronger. But as her mother presses the issue of her attending his funeral, we learn that the feelings Kaz holds for her mother and father are ones of utter anger. Remind me never to get Kaz off-side, oh and Tammy Macintosh. Also, seen in the visitor lounge is a sweet reunion between Nash and Doreen (Shareena Clanton) where we learn that her conjugals have in fact been signed off. Seems as though Vera heeded her threat last week and gave in. Gosh Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) knows how to play the game. Speaking of Ferguson, evidently recovered from her attack, is attempting to rally the troops now that top dog Bea (Danielle Cormack) is in the slot. She’s well and truly an opportunist.
After finishing the introduction, Will (Robbie Magisava) is tasked with showing the new guy around, his bubbly personality once again rubbing people up the wrong way. Back in H block, Ferguson makes her first move; she’s encouraging Kaz to be proactive in her plight for top-dog but with the recent family news Kaz seems completely off-centre. But we all know Ferguson won’t stop until she gets her own way. Even a little bit of a push back from Ali (Kate Jenkinson) doesn’t seem to do the trick, but more so spurs her on. So much so, that when she confronts Kaz again, Kaz pushes Ferguson against the wall, warning her to drop her little crusade. On the topic of crusades, Liz (Celia Ireland) and the “Bea faithful” are doing their own rallying; with Bea in the slot Maxine, her 2IC is now in charge. Dear god, can Maxine catch a break? The pull Maxine must be feeling, between her family and her health, has got to be unbearable. Specifically, when she regretfully turns down the opportunity for the clinical trial to remain at Wentworth in the Top Dog position. Talk about loyalty, sacrifice and putting yourself on the line. Maxine’s selflessness cannot go unnoticed, and the despair I’m sure her H block family will feel when this all comes to light, will be heartbreaking.
With no progress being made in regards to Kaz, Ferguson seems to resort to extreme measures. And by extreme measures I mean, planting drugs in Ali’s cell. It wouldn’t have been a problem had the the new guard not recommended Vera do a spontaneous search while Bea is out of commission. And with the discovery of the drugs, Ali is taken to the slot, kicking and screaming with a shocked Kaz standing by doing nothing. Coincidently, she’s placed in the cell next to Bea’s and makes for one of the most vulnerable Queen Bea scenes to date. We’ve watched Danielle Cormack inhabit “green” inmate Bea and fierce, protective motherly Bea; strong, determined, moral Bea and vengeful, grieving, broken-hearted Bea. We’ve watched her evolve into one of the most formidable Top Dogs, with a family, a community, an order. But it has been rare, possibly never to have happened, that we see a shy, innocent, somewhat-school girl like Bea. A Bea whose feelings aren’t what she’s used to, she can’t control them and she can’t name them. Such feelings bought on by one, Ali Novak. As Ali offers her testimony to Bridget (Libby Tanner) – she’s clean, the drugs weren’t hers – she continues on to say how much of an inspiration Bea has been. Being able to hear this, Bea uses this as conversation starter when the two are left alone. From there, we learn, it is Bea’s strength that Ali admires. We discover that Kaz saved Ali from the depths of addiction. We see Bea unapologetically carefree as she rap battles Ali. For the first time in seasons, we see the tightly wound, close to the vest Bea Smith laid bare. She talks about Debbie, as Ali is nothing but genuine and intrigued. Danielle Cormack has excelled since the beginning, and this new turn for Bea is sure to be just as good if not greater. Add to that the dynamic with Kate Jenkinson, and this story is sure to grab us, move us and change us. This is what evolutionary storytelling looks like.
Elsewhere, Ferguson has orchestrated an attack on Tasha (the young new inmate) at the hands of Juice. As this begins to take place, Tasha alone and scared, she looks at the panic button – something she was told never to touch. But in her situation, you can’t blame her. She lunges for it, and presses it just as Doreen walks in. Uh-oh. This can’t be good. And it isn’t. Soon after, Maxine is copping it from every angle – being the new top dog it falls on her to punish Tasha for going against the rules. Again, Socratis Otto illustrates Maxine’s continued inner struggle along the fine line of right and wrong with such force. And when push comes to shove, as Maxine stands at the iron press, she asks Tasha if she knows why she’s here. Beautifully unaware, Tasha has no idea what’s about to happen, making it all the more worse. As we watch, hearts in our throat, as Tasha is wrestled closer, hands about to be burnt, Maxine is the one whose tormented the most. But long behold, Maxine and her moral code stand strong. Going against the pressure of the inmates and taking the higher ground earns her some surprising brownie points with the other prisoners offering their desserts as a sign of allegiance. It seems Maxine’s mercy is being better received than Ferguson first thought. Yet, could this have been the plan all along? Could this see the ranks of Bea faithful’s divided?
In the closing moments of the episode, we witness Kaz physically overcome with the pain of her past (sexually abused my her father, and a mother who knew but did nothing); emotionally breaking down and wondering how it is she can still love her father after everything he did to her. And whose there to comfort her? None other then Joan Ferguson. Mirroring the scene from earlier this season, it is now Joan stroking Kaz’s forehead, kissing it and offering sage and somewhat sane advice. It is gut-wrenching but to get an insight into the almost, always strong-willed Kaz Proctor was fantastic. Meanwhile, after returning from Psych for a mandated check up, Ali attempts to pick up where she left off with Bea. Unfortunately, she’s unaware that Juice has now joined them and with an abrupt, angry remark from Bea, it seems the honeymoon may be over. Bea looks disappointed, and remorseful following this, possibly due to her newfound connection with Ali. Juice however, seems to show a little bit of pride – maybe she’s cottoned on to something that’ll lead to the downfall of Bea that was teased next week. Whatever may occur, it seems as though next week’s episode is another game-changer.
Other key plots points:
– Is the new guard gay? Or just super duper friendly to everyone?
– Vera and Miss Miles both take a liking to the new guard