As the end draws closer, I’m finding it increasingly harder to form coherent sentences when it comes to reviewing Wentworth. And this my friends, is a good thing. It floors me still that Wentworth has the ability to elicit such profound personal responses; it is through the storytelling and the commitment of this ensemble, that we as an audience are lucky enough to sit back and feel represented. That we can tune in every Tuesday and know, without a doubt, that the episode of television we’re about to watch will affect us in some way or another. And Team Teal, that my friends, is what art is all about. We want to be moved, shocked, saddened and filled with joy. We want to champion the characters and at times, not like them very much. The balance, that fine line between bad and good is constantly changing within the Wentworth landscape and let’s be honest, that’s just how humanity is. People make mistakes, they rise; people cross the line, they fall in love, they betray, they support. Wentworth, again this week, delivers another real-to-life portrayal of what it means to be human. The episode, titled “Smitten”, opens on a drug-addled Allie (Kate Jenkinson), disoriented and abrasive in the exercise yard. She’s getting in everyone’s face, with no care in the world. So much that when she runs into the Asian gang, and gets defensive, she finds herself in the middle of an all-out brawl. Rushing to her rescue, Kaz (Tammy Macintosh) and Bea (Danielle Cormack) break up the inmates to then decide whose problem she is. Bea, as hard as it may be for her to say, places Allie back in the care of Kaz.
After witnessing the mess in the yard, Jake (Bernard Curry) enters the locker room to an on edge, understandably embarrassed Will (Robbie Magasiva). Trying to be supportive, Jake is shocked to find out that Kaz was in possession of a phone when she assaulted Will. Unfortunately, just as Jake begins to brainstorm ideas of how to retrieve the phone Vera (Kate Atkinson) summons him to her office. Oh Vera, you flirty little thing, you. We learn from their brief exchange that they both enjoyed “last night”, but does anyone else stop before being happy for Vera? She has such terrible taste in men. Elsewhere, Franky (Nicole Da Silva) is still hot on the case of Shane Butler and this week uses her position at Legal Relief to try and break ground. And by break ground I mean, take over his case and represent him. Once again, is anyone else quick to warn Franky about how dangerous this could be? Nonetheless, she convinces her boss to take the case and she looks super proud of herself. Nicole continues to bring a new lightness to Franky this season as she endeavours to find her footing in the big, wide, world.
Back at Wentworth and Maxine (Socratis Otto) arrives home to the warmest of welcomes, from everyone including Sonia (Sigrid Thornton). Without wasting anytime, Boomer (Katrina Milosevic) announces that she’s ovulating in the most Boomer-esque of ways; she’s got the “horn” and a “slip and slide” situation going on down there. Oh Wentworth writers, you’re absolutely killing the game this season. And Katrina, well my friend, you’re an endearing force of nature as our beloved Boomer Jenkins. Upon this announcement, the entire group get to working on a plan to make it happen. Within the halls, Bea again runs into Allie, who seems to be falling deeper and deeper, and when asking Kaz about her safety finds the blame once again placed on her. I’ve got to say, the rivalry between Bea and Kaz has been such a slow burn this season, at times overshadowed by the big bad of “The Freak” but this week, with Allie in the middle, the tension definitely started to build.
Back on the outside, Franky has been successful in meeting with Shane and after breaking the ice by revealing her tattoos it seems as though she may just get the information about “Aunty Joan” that she needs. This exchange, hauntingly, is cut with scenes of Jake and Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) enjoying a humorous conversation. I can’t seem to read Jake, at times he’s genuine and seems like a good guy and then other’s he’s as slimy as they come. Admitting he finds Ferguson interesting may be the key “slime” indicator, but when she insults Vera there is a little bit of wariness in his eyes. Meanwhile in H Block, Maxine rushes to Bea’s cell with news that Allie has been taken by Juice and her gang, that can’t be good. Jumping into action, Bea breaks up the assault and moves Juice along. It has to be noted Juice’s snarky little comment about “it must be love” and the most subtle of reactions from Bea. With Allie now safe, even able to offer a sassy little comeback, Bea tells her to be on her way. But Allie isn’t moving. Instead, she starts to cry; the tears roll down her face, as the heart-breaking pain that has her crippled rises to the surface. Kate Jenkinson continues to be fluid in her ability to portray such gripping emotion; and when Allie states how much she misses Bea, Maxine is dismissed. Pleading with Bea, Allie knows what it was, and so does Bea but unfortunately it seems a little too late. As “I love you” falls from her lips, as close up on both Kate and Danielle reveal a stark contrast in emotion; Allie, broken but still hopeful and Bea, heart-shattered and cold.
Doreen (Shareena Clanton) this week, has a tough run of things. After visiting with Nash, his ex-girlfriend/roommate and Joshie, her concerns become greater. She’s worried that Josh won’t know who she is, that Miranda is pushing in on her territory. Admitting this to Bridget (Libby Tanner) doesn’t get her very far with Bridget unable to make any arrangements to have Joshie placed back at Wentworth with her. Doreen isn’t happy, and as she storms out leaves Bridget breathless when stating “you don’t understand, you’re not a mother”. Ouch. Back with #Baxine and the H block crew are still trying to work out how they are going to get Boomer pregnant. Luckily for them Sonia (Sigrid Thornton) has an idea; while Maxine visits with Martin (Gary’s brother) and retrieves her sperm, Boomer is tasked with apprehending a syringe from medical. Simple right? No, not at all. Unfortunately, Boomer doesn’t have those stealthy robber skills and gets caught out and slotted, leaving Maxine and the others concerned about the short time window they have. Can we stop and pause for another piece of writing brilliance; when Maxine returns from the visitor centre to this news, Liz states “You have your sperm in your own snatch” with the smallest bit of disbelief in her voice. If the breast cancer storyline for Maxine wasn’t enough, Wentworth continues to deliver socially poignant stories needing representation and with Socratis Otto driving it home, Maxine’s journey continues to inspire us all.
Sonia continues to be a jack of all trades this week, solving the “Boomer in the slot problem” by paying off the Asian crew. As Boomer continues to wail and rant in the slot, her dinner arrives and after reluctantly accepting, discovers a syringe strategically placed in the hot dog. Oh the genius of these inmates never ceases to amaze me. And with that, the process is complete; Boomer lays on her back, legs in the air, smiling so gleefully. Katrina Milosevic is a breath of fresh air, and her work as Boomer continues to be a beacon of hope in the starkness of Wentworth. Back with Franky, she’s in a hurry to move Shane’s court appeal up so much so she goes behind her boss’ back to do so. She’s treading a fine line with this whole endeavour; let’s just hope she keeps her wits about her. Back at Wentworth, Bea continues to struggle with Allie and her downward spiral, not wanting to witness it any longer. Interestingly, as Allie is out of luck with her drug flow, Jake approaches her with an offer – get the phone from Kaz, and he’ll help her out. As we all scream don’t do it, Allie can’t help herself and when she approaches Kaz we witness just how manipulative she can be when she wants something. Assuring Kaz she’ll get clean, she uses this as an in, retrieving the phone and scoring drugs.
Shareen Clanton brings her A-game in this episode, communicating Doreen’s struggle with becoming a mother in prison and being separated from her child. It’s heartbreaking, and Kaz thinks so too, offering to help Doreen out with the whole situation. We all know what Kaz means when she offers “help” but stupidly Doreen does not. When she finds out the truth – which is that Kaz has sent some of her cronies to rough Nash up – Doreen is shocked and appalled. Fortunately, she warns Nash just in time. Franky meets with Shane one more time to let him know what he must do in order to secure a lesser sentence. He needs a job and a place to live, and with all the work Franky is doing, Shane is extremely thankful. So much so, when he visits Ferguson next he catches her up on all the new developments. Back at Wentworth, after successfully getting the phone from Allie, Jake returns it to Will who can barely hide his relief. He immediately embraces his fellow officer unable to really express his gratitude. Instead, they decide it’s definitely cause for celebration so drinks are scheduled for that night.
The episode explored the nature of all relationships within Wentworth but none more so than Bea and Allie. After scoring the drugs off Jake, Allie and Bea cross paths again in the halls and this time Allie isn’t going to stand for Bea’s avoidance techniques. Kate Jenkinson communicates Allie’s deep, relentless pain when she unapologetically states “I saved your life. You were gone, lying in a puddle but I never gave up on you. Never”, and Danielle Cormack is as nuanced as ever when Bea realises the ultimate truth. The ultimate depth of Allie’s love for her. The eyes say it all, and it is this skill that sets Danielle Cormack apart. With this new information, she quickly asks Mr. Jackson for proof; is Allie telling the truth? Yes Bea, she is. Grappling with this information, Maxine asks if she’s okay and for the first time Bea simply states that she isn’t. She has no idea what she’s supposed to do, but Maxine does. Maxine knows exactly what she has to do, and it’s simple. Go help her, and if you get a second chance, don’t let it go. Socratis Otto and Danielle Cormack continue to explore the dynamic of these two characters in such an intelligent way; the roles now reversed from earlier on, with Maxine now the wise and forthright one and Bea, vulnerable and unknowing.
Bea meets with Vera to inform her that a prisoner may be in harm’s way and that it would be best for her to be moved to her unit. The prisoner? Allie. Bea’s crew is understandably confused, but the audience knows just what this means. It’s a second chance. A last chance. Elsewhere, Franky was successful in getting Shane a lesser sentence but soon discovers just how deep Ferguson’s grip reaches – Shane’s new apartment is Ferguson’s house. Meanwhile, Jake and Will celebrate by partying it up, drinking and taking drugs – again, I have no idea what the game plan is for Jake. Nonetheless, this scene is interestingly cut with scenes of Allie’s withdrawal. Bea is there with her, inside the cell, every step of the way. Those cells can’t be more than 5 metres by 2 metres, with that in mind, watch the scene again. Kate Jenkinson becomes unrecognisable as symptoms of withdrawal plague Allie one by one; vomiting, the sweats, itching, aggression. The physicality was dynamic and frightening, Danielle as an actor being as supportive and as committed to Kate in that scene, as Bea was to Allie. And as the withdrawals start to subside, and Bea gets control, she cradles Allie and rocks her back and forth. The tenderness and love shown in this moment, I believe, is at the core of who Bea is. First and foremost, she’s a mother, a protector; continually driven by justice and an indescribable commitment to keep those she loves safe. She’s fallen for Allie, out of nowhere in a rapid firestorm of new and intoxicating emotions. This scene, as much as it is Allie’s withdrawal, demonstrates Bea’s letting go of control. Letting go of the unknown, and be there in the moment, with someone who she has come to love. As Allie finally falls asleep, Bea places a blanket over her and turns out the light. She goes to leave, but with a look back there is no question where she wants to be. She climbs into bed next to Allie, places an arm across her and the episode ends.
Other Key Notes:
- Nash is taking Josh to Perth
- Liz found herself caught in a BIG LIE
- Sonia is becoming so, so scary and Sigrid Thornton is absolutely phenomenal. I’d be worried if I were Liz.
- Vera and Jake are a thing, in the boiler room specifically, even though she may be “vanilla” – but did you notice her jealously showing when he said he had plans?
- Jake and Will partying, and taking drugs – that could be bad?
- Ferguson seems to all knowing; note the subtle smirk when Franky is inside her house with Shane.