With a titled like “Eleventh Hour” every member of Team Teal knew not to expect any happy endings. But instead, we were holding our breaths waiting to see what the penultimate episode of Wentworth Season 4 would have in store for us. Opening on images of Ferguson’s (Pamela Rabe) house, we hear her telling Shane what he must do if he wants to know the truth. She directs him to a box – which we see him find – that has inside all the information he needs to understand. It will tell him who Joan is, who Will is and all there is to know about his mother. Oh goodness, The Freak is most certainly making her move. Meanwhile, within the walls of Wentworth, Bea (Danielle Cormack) and Allie (Kate Jenkinson) are officially out and proud as a couple, first seen holding hands and walking through the corridors in their bath robes. As they pass by Kaz (Tammy Macintosh), the irritation at this new developmental is palpable.
Soon after witnessing this Kaz wastes no time in formulating a plan to take Bea down, once and for all. She approaches Tina, who only seems on board with the plan if Kaz protects the drugs. Really? I shouldn’t be surprised by the lengths these prisoners go to, but still, I am. Elsewhere, in the privacy of the bathroom, Bea and Allie are flirting, so innocently, I bet you can’t help but smile like a little school girl. Bea is doing Allie’s hair as it is her sentencing today, but more specifically the two are making our, unable to keep their hands off one another. Unfortunately though, they are interrupted by Miss Miles when Ferguson is needing a shower. Cue the haunting glare from the Freak as she observes the love birds.
On the topic of love birds, Jake (Bernard Curry) continues to try his luck with Vera (Kate Atkinson) at work, but of course he sees no success. Instead, this week, he attempts to ask for a salary advance – um, excuse me? He’s wanting to start up a micro brewery and needs $10,000. As much as Vera wants to, the professional in her wins out and she denies Jake’s request. Back with the inmates, Doreen (Shareena Clanton) is welcomed back into Bea’s team when she sits with them at breakfast. Doesn’t take too long for the conversation to turn to Bea and Allie (who are still being all cute holding hands) – they seem to be the hot news going around the prison. The ladies share a comedic moment, both Sonia (Sigrid Thorton) and Boomer (Katrina Milosevic) offering witty remarks in regards to Bea’s “vagitarian” status (I, myself, am definitely a Bea-sexual) before Allie leaves for her sentencing.
Kaz stops her before she can leave, asking whether Allie is trying to humiliate her. Tammy Macintosh is as confronting and upfront as Kaz Proctor, we know she means business, but regardless Bea still goes toe to toe with her. Stepping in and ending the confrontation, Bea threatens if Kaz lays one more finger on Allie that she’ll break her arm. I can’t get enough of Danielle and Tammy in these scenes; viscerally volatile but oh so intoxicating. Kaz has had enough and immediately returns to the kitchen where she gives in to the Asians demands. It’s official, they are taking down Top Dog. Speaking of taking people down, Franky (Nicole Da Silva) visits Bea to update her on the “Shane” of it all. Bea is still operating on fear and anxiety when it comes to this situation, but Franky in her newfound outsider pants, ensures Red that she has it under control. If Danielle and Tammy are volatile as their respective characters, Danielle and Nicole are light and humour. Nothing gets past Franky, and when she picks up on something “different” Bea admits the new status of her relationship with Allie. Of course Franky is over the moon, more so she’s just excited to take the piss and joke – asking Bea if she’s tasted the “McMuff” may be one of the greatest Franky lines to date.
In the meantime, Vera has decided (stupidly) to loan Jake the 10K which not surprisingly he uses to purchases a big load of drugs from some shady looking gang members that he snuggles into the prison. Ferguson also had a visitor this week; Shane returns to inform his Aunty that he found the box. His reaction, however is not what she’s expecting. He’s upset and angry that she watched him for all those years and did nothing. It has to be said that this scene is unbelievably shocking, with The Freak, for the first time ever rendered speechless and unable to defend herself. He leaves, refusing to play any part in her plan. And with that, Joan devolves into ramblings unable to fully deal with the loss of control. Allie has since returned from her sentencing win the news of 10 years. Kate Jenkinson plays this scene interestingly; she arrives, eyes tearful and a little shocked, but when Bea offers an apology, she responds by saying she couldn’t care less if it was 20. This my friends, was her way of telling Bea that she’s committed to this. To them.
After hiding the drugs, Jake returns to find Ferguson flipping out. They both don’t have time the for the usual witty banter, instead, she needs his help. She needs to make a phone call. This call? Is to Shane, who has seemingly made himself at home in Joan’s house – smoking, drugs, drinking and video games. Oh goodness, the OCD tendencies in Joan just aren’t having a nice time this week. Elsewhere, Allie witnesses the Asians and the new drug stash and when offered a bag, she takes it. The audience initially gasps and questions why, but when she hurriedly return to H block, we know she’s just trying to inform Bea. Unfortunately, Miss Miles intercepts her and Allie must hide the drugs – which she doesn’t do too well. Bea arrives later to find the bad of ice on the ground momentarily concerned that Allie is using again. But when Allie assures her that she didn’t have any intention of using by flushing them, Bea is a mixture of proud and agitated. Confronting the Asians in her Top Dog capacity gets her nowhere, as the moves are in motion to have her dethroned. And with Maxine (Socratis Otto) out of action and Boomer being cautious about her possible pregnancy, Bea is on her own.
Franky makes an unscheduled visit to check in on Shane, where she finds him and his friends high and misbehaving. She kicks them out and throws him in the shower. Back at Wentworth, with nowhere else to turn, Bea has met with Vera to inform her about the drugs. Vera, knowing full well that Bea won’t give up a name, is understandably irritated. Bea, however grapples with what to do, again challenged by the pull and push of being Top Dog. And when she decides to lag, implicating Tina, Vera’s shock is subtle yet telling. This must be serious if Bea Smith is lagging. This admission sets of a fireball of tension; they recover the drugs in Tina’s cell, she is slotted, and the dominoes start to fall. Jake is on edge, and rumors start to stir about a lagger in their midst. The prisoners start to fire up, and when Kaz informs them all it was Allie who lagged, the rivalry hit an all new level.
Tammy Macintosh continues to be an artistic force this season, her physicality when portraying Kaz so unparalleled. She does crazy so well. With Allie freaking out about the repercussions of lagging, Bea ensures her that they’re in this together. Meanwhile, Jake continues to devolve into a pool of nerves and anxiety as the gang waits for him to cough up $90K. Okay Jake, what have you done? It seems everyone is hitting obstacles at this point in the episode as Will (Robbie Magasive) is confronted by Shane at the club. He returns to visit Ferguson with this information and tells her she was right. Cut with this scene, Franky has arrived at Shane’s to find all the box contents strewn across the floor. When Shane goes to leave and mentions Franky’s name, the audience screams. And when he arrives to find her at the house, what follows is a worrying exchange. He’s aggressive and hurt; feeling used and betrayed. Not letting Franky get a word in edge ways, he throws her out.
As we return to Wentworth, Jake had pulled some strings to get Tina out of the slot but only so she can call her guy. Tell him to make the payment, Jake says but Tina refuses. That is until Jake tells her who lagged. Oh goodness. And to add salt to the wound, Ferguson has witnessed Jake’s downfall firsthand. How can he be surprised that she knows exactly what’s going on? She sees and hears everything. In an exchange full of disdain and words I’d rather not repeat, Ferguson offers to help Jake fix his situation. But in return, he must do something for her. Bernard Curry and Pamela Rabe are a new acting dynamic I can’t seem to get enough of.
As Bea and Allie continue to enjoy the innocence and purity of their honeymoon period — as peaceful as it can be in prison — they are interrupted by an announcement from Kaz. Along with Tina and her crew, they’ve discovered who the lagger was. As the audience gasps, Kaz wastes no time in revealing that Bea, was in fact, the one that lagged directly to the Governor. The rivalry between Bea and Kaz has been so intoxicating; Tammy Macintosh continues to be such a domineering outward presence, while Danielle Cormack inhabits the inner world of Bea. Urging Bea to tell them; To own up or deny it. She voices that she isn’t going to deny it, she did lag. The whispers are quiet, but more so, it’s the look on the faces of her fellow inmates.
With a speech, layered in relief, pain, and tiredness Bea explains her decision – she’s sick of the drugs, plain and simple. Do we blame her? Not at all. Having a daughter die from a drug overdose, to being prisoner in a place where drugs are peddled continually, this statement is as true as ever. Kaz doesn’t care though, she just wants to know what Bea is – a lagger or Top Dog? Bea takes a moment. She turns to those she loves, those she protects, supports and champions. Searching for a sign maybe, or just taking the chance to see them one last time before she makes a decision. As she gets looks of pride – Maxine of course, standing tall and stoic in her position as Bea’s right hand – and confusion, Boomer and Doreen just don’t understand. And Allie, shocked and taken aback by the inadvertent show of love and devotion Bea has to their relationship. A choice. In a Season that has dived deep into psychology, self-harm, drug addiction and many more, the moment Bea Smith decides that she is “done” represents a moment of healing. Relief. Required selfishness to ensure one’s own well-being and happiness. A discovery. As an audience we’ve known all season the demons Bea has battled in silence; alone in her cell, at night. The pain she’s inflicted on herself, just to feel. In that moment, Bea Smith made a choice. She chose hope. She chose love. She chose to once and for all free herself of the shackles that being Top Dog had held her in. She chose to believe in something bigger than herself and the walls of Wentworth prison. In that moment, although still physically in prison, Bea Smith was no longer a prisoner. She was free. What Danielle Cormack and the creative team have done with Bea this season has been evolutionary. The light and shade that has been explored, the sensuality and sexuality; all moments of such raw and real emotion, beautifully and accurately delivered to audiences all over the world.
As she walks away, the lighting, the look, the entire production communicates such a level of freedom and hope, it’d surprise if you told me you weren’t moved. Back in her cell, she sits on her bed, staring out the bars as the light beams in. It is like she’s seen the world for the first time ever; the wonder in her eyes, the realization. When Liz enters to check on Bea, her answer is almost instant – I don’t have the energy for it anymore. And when she continues on to say “things are changing for me” the meaning of the decision she’s just made is deeply inspiring. She’s relieved. Happy. Interrupted quietly by Allie, Liz leaves the two alone. Allie tells Bea she could have came to her, told her but we all know why Bea didn’t. She has the innate desire to protect the things she loves. The following exchange goes as so…
And sounds like what some most describe as vows. They’re simple yet full of honesty and commitment. With the light still beaming in, making these two women look somewhat angelic, Wentworth gives us one of the most deeply tender, subtly passionate scenes of their entire 4 season run. We watch (for minutes might I add, possibly the longest f/f sex scene on Australia television. Let me research that), as Allie and Bea consummate their relationship, their love story. Danielle Cormack and Kate Jenkinson have really delivered such a soul-reaching season as Ballie, and in this moment go above and beyond to beautifully craft the culmination. The sheer joy written across Bea’s face as she reaches that moment says it all. The release means so much more. A scene illustrating what happens when we dare to love and be loved in return. Bravo Danielle Cormack, for continued game-changing performances, week in and week out.
So you’d think after the beauty of that scene, the episode would end, right? Not right. Let’s just say it was the figurative calm before the freaky storm. Allie wakes, attempting to coax Bea to the showers before everyone else rises but Bea remains peaceful and asleep in her bed. Allie is showering, alone, when she hears the door open and close. No one seems to have come in and she goes about her business, brushing her teeth, an after morning glow surrounding the loved up inmate. But when she stands, she sees her. The Freak. Talk about jumping out of your seat type of stuff. They struggle, a physical piece of acting both Rabe and Jenkinson have proven time and time again that they can deliver. As the Freak subdues her (kind of), she reveals a needle, in it we can only assume is some type of drug. Allie continues to fight, and scream even when gagged but has no chance of stopping the needle Joan fiercely jabs into her neck. And then, as we watch The Freak hold Allie so similarly to how she did with Bea, we see our beloved red-head still peacefully asleep. Wake up Bea, Wake up. Meanwhile, The Freak continues to whisper in Allie’s ear not to fight it as the audience grips their seats and prays with every last Ballie-loving fiber that she pulls through. The last shot, the emptiness in Allie’s eyes, is enough to make what preceded this horror so much more heartbreaking. Pamela Rabe, as much as I’m waiting and hoping for the Freak’s demise, your work is something so other-worldly and psychological. As the credits roll and the promo for next week plays, it is no joke that the Season 4 Finale of Wentworth will be history making. World-shaking.
Other key notes:
– Maxine has had two rounds of chemo
– Will is back on the drugs
– Vera is attempting to spice up her sex life
– Bea and Allie were as cute as ever in the quieter moments of this week’s episode. Such innocence.