Janet King S03E02 Recap: Blindsided
Years estranged from her father has not endeared him to her, how will a reunion go?
This episode opens with our hero(ine) giving her initial statement to police about the death of Clay Nelson. Shaken and slightly teary-eyed, Janet claims she saw no bus, but that Clay was looking at her as he stepped out onto the road. Later on it’s revealed that someone on the bus has given evidence to the police that the bus driver was distracted as he argued with a passenger, and Janet seems to be the only one convinced that Clay’s act was deliberate. The thing she can’t work out is why.
That step onto the road was not a walk in the park.
She has a lovely moment with Richard, and it’s almost like the old days when they were on the same side – they discuss possibilities and Richard shares that Clay called him last night, but their call was interrupted by a knock on the door, and he didn’t call back. They both want answers to the same questions. Janet talks to the state cops - with permission from her Chief Investigator, one Inspector Grieve - and finds out there was a box of oxycodone (heavy shit!) pills, unopened, at Clay’s house. Andy says he’ll trace the batch number, to see where they came from, with all hoping that might tell them who visited Clay during Richard’s call.
Ah, the good ol’ days…
Typical Janet, however; she sees that she’s had a hand in someone’s death and so it looks like her path is fixed, as she will undoubtedly set about righting the wrong that hurts her so deeply. How can Reed, Clay’s son, ever get over the death of his father? Had she not ‘dragged him in front of the commission, none of this would have happened.’ It opens up old wounds for Janet - her children lost a parent, and she shares with Bianca, in a voice breaking with emotion, “They were two. I had to try to explain what ‘never’ meant? Mummy’s never coming home.” Janet’s greatest flaw is one of her greatest strengths – her infallible sense of justice and desire to see that the “right thing” is done.
I have to fix this for the kid.
And Richard – well, he might have had a moment, just a teeny tiny brief one, where he and Janet may have ‘reconnected’, but one text from Maxine and he’s scurrying off. She shoves him in front of the cameras to do a press conference regarding Clay’s death, and he handles it with grace and aplomb – much befitting an officer of the court who has to think on their feet when speaking. His TV appearance, however, draws comments from adversaries Owen (“the problem with being flavour of the month is duration”) and Tony (“celebrity lawyer – doesn’t it make your heart swell with pride?”), plus a healthy eye roll from Janet, although I’m not sure if that was aimed at Richard, or Tony himself.
A little bit of cop / lawyer / analyst talk and they draw a bunch of conclusions about someone placing bets for a bigger fish; maybe that fish being Shannon Hinksman who’s a dirty crook and was seen hanging out with the Firecrackers in Melbourne on the same night as that scene (you know… the one in the bath…); Nate Baldwin’s betting agency closing his accounts because he was winning too much and Lucy Brooks, his WAG having her own betting account. Hmmm… So, who to talk to first? Nate? Shannon? No – let’s get Maxine in, says Janet. “She might know where the buried treasure is hidden.”
The Dream Team + 2.
Maxine is sat in the witness box and tries to sass Janet – but uh-uh girlfriend! – don’t even bother! She is out-sassed by Janet immediately in return and learns her place very quickly. Brilliant! God I love her! #MarryMeJanet [I think that would look great in a rainbow tattoo…]
Back and forth – Maxine defending Clay and Nate as “good boys” and “role models”; Janet, Bianca and Tony all saying, well they cheated on their taxes and were involved in match fixing so really… not such good boys… and someone was set to benefit from the Northern Devils meteoric rise up the ladder, so you must know who it was. Maxine – very readily mind you, so I’m thinking we’ve got a bit of a red herring here – gives up the name of Pax Car Rentals, the Devils’ major sponsor, in financial trouble, and possibly the ones in the know. Right, we follow that lead.
I shall try and out-sass thee and I shall fail!
Janet orders Bonnie to do a full check on everything to do with Pax, and she’s like, “woah, you just asked me to do Lucy Baldwin.” Deep breath Janet, “And now I’m asking you to do this…” Oh Bonnie, don’t, really, you shouldn’t, but then you’re going to say it, aren’t you? ‘”You know we’d get more work done if you just stayed in the office.” TO JANET. She said it TO JANET. But she softens the blow with, ‘Nice pants, but.’ Janet doesn’t know quite where to put her indignation.
Do you ever do any work, woman?
Tell me I did not just hear what I think that I just heard.
Cross to the first training session of the pre-season for the Northern Devils. A fight breaks out when young Tyler Perati sees the video of the girl being assaulted in the pub from last episode. Repeatedly yelling at the two guys laughingly showing the video around, “that’s my fucking sister”, he goes at them in anger, only to have Nate Baldwin step in to ‘calm’ the situation, and with one punch knock him to the ground where he smacks his head on the concrete and is killed. Of course, they all feel pretty bad that it was Ty’s sister, but shit – who knew it was his sister, they thought it was just ‘some random chick’. So that makes it okay does it you overblown entitled dicks? (Answer to the question is obviously no).
Clearly this is going to be BIG in the whole scheme of this series, remembering of course two things – firstly, Richard is Nate’s lawyer, and secondly, Richard witnessed the attack and chose not to step in. As Nate says later, ‘if only someone had’ve stopped the dickheads in the first place, none of this would’ve happened.’ Richard looks appropriately chagrined. Nate refuses to answer any questions from Andy down at the cop shop, replying along the lines that Stirlo has advised – no comment, no comment, no comment. No decision from the DPP as to what they will charge Nate with, but Nate being the big adorable footy boofhead that he is, is convinced 100% that he’s untouchable and that Stirlo will get him off anyway.
Oh noes – I thought it was these footy boofers who were supposed to be the dickheads. Me? The one with less testosterone and better words. I’m the dickhead!
Janet goes fishing with Owen, trying to get some info on a possible charge to use as leverage to get Nate to talk at the NCC, but Owen says he can’t say anything until the autopsy report is back. He also drops in that he shouldn’t be talking to her as she might be a prosecution witness in an upcoming case– against the poor bloke driving the bus that Clay stepped in front of, which Janet says is craziness, but Owen lets her know who’s in charge there, and hint, hint Janet – it’s not you. Bonnie rocks up to very same bar in which they are enjoying a very adult glass of wine, and declares, ‘hey Jaz didn’t think this was your vibe.’ Two things – it’s JANET, and JANET is ‘a woman of many parts’. Exit stage left Jaz.
You’re not my mum, you can’t tell me what to do anymore.
Lovely family moment with our favourite couple. *sigh* Watching the kids at Little Athletics, sharing a glass of wine on the couch, watching the video of Tyler Perati’s sister and all the hate she’s receiving… oh wait, that’s another example of the gross rape culture we live in, and how misogynistic arses think it’s cool and funny to blame the woman when she’s assaulted by men who choose to assault her. But the little bubble of happiness is broken when Emma shows Janet a picture of 4 unicorns (such a sweet gayby!) – Mum, Liam, Emma and Uncle Tony. No room for Bianca in this little lady’s heart. And here we see a common problem – where does a new partner fit in, and how soon is too soon to be making lifelong plans together when there are kids involved? No wonder they’ve been very unlesbianlike and not u-hauled it just yet. Fingers crossed that Emma gets to love the super-talented gaming champ (lesbian stereotype alert!) ‘Bibi’ as much as Liam does. His innocent question, ‘are you staying tonight?’ warmed my heart (and boosted my hopes).
Aren’t we just the most adorable lesbians watching the kids train together?
Aren’t we just the most adorable lesbians drinking wine together on the couch?
The sleepover was neither confirmed nor denied, but next morning Janet is striding into the NCC firstly to be castigated by Bonnie for being late – “see that’s why I don’t want children”, and then handed the file on Pax and its chairman. Janet quickly shushes Bonnie (no mean feat)…
For one second… just one precious second.
…and turns to walk into the examination room. Lots of long meaningful stares, shady looks, averted eye contact, the older fellow in the witness box denying any wrong doing, Janet refusing to ask any questions, confused looks from Bianca and Tony as they wait for Janet to say something, anything, and the old bloke staring Janet down as he says, “If you’re not on top, you’re failing.” Sounds meaningful, and ominous.
No words for them, but many WTFs from Tony and Bianca.
Bah-bah-bahm… It’s Janet’s long lost father, and Janet is one pissed off Madame Examiner. Tony’s a little concerned that this may be a conflict of interest, but Janet insists it’s not because she’s “not interested in him.” But in typical Janet style, when she’s pissed off she goes even harder than usual, even cutting Tony off during a later line of questioning – something which displeases Tony immensely, and we see him flexing his ‘I am your boss’ muscles at Janet, which she doesn’t take too well. I sense the whole thing might not necessarily be a conflict of interest, but despite her best denials, it might cloud her judgement just ever so slightly.
Wait, what? You were borne of man? You’re not some perfect cyborg in human form?
Meanwhile, Owen calls Janet to let her know the results of Tyler Perati’s autopsy. Tyler had a “bruise the size of Tasmania on his face… Baldwin just tapped him my arse,” and suddenly Stirlo is defending a manslaughter charge. Straight out of court and in front of the NCC, Nate plays dumb (or maybe he really is that dumb), and says he knows nothing, checking with Stirlo if he should say, ‘No comment.’ Stirlo advises him he has to speak at the NCC, so he goes down the line of, ‘I just play footy.’ Tony suggests ‘fessing up some useful info in return for them telling the DPP he was cooperative to maybe get a reduced sentence if he goes down for manslaughter, but Nate’s adamant that Stirlo’s the man and he will get off.
Bloods have come back from Tyler’s post-mortem. He had all sorts of shit in his system, but nothing that ASADA or WADA can pin down. This now blows the lid on another aspect of this story – doping. As fast as the anti-doping associations can clamp down on existing PEDs, different and new ones become available. Tony’s look as he’s staring down Janet with a ‘WTF does this have to do with the reference?’ expression is met – or rather NOT met – by Janet, who avoids eye contact, knowing that she’s barking up an anti-Pax Car Rentals tree, rather than strictly following the letter of the reference. She must really dislike her father! (I will never use the term ‘daddy-issues’ to describe their relationship – how reductive is that to describe what is clearly a complicated relationship between two very strong individuals? I might say he’s an arsehole, but it will never be that Janet has ‘daddy-issues’ as I read in some other publication the other day. Ugh.)
Tony airs his beef with Janet about doping not being part of their brief, rather it’s corruption in sport – she draws the link between the two, and in a heated argument tells him, ‘thanks Tony but I don’t need two fathers in my life.’ Hmmm… methinks the claim ‘I’m not interested in him’ is not quite true. You might not be interested Janet, but he has got right under your skin. Bianca’s quip of ‘who knew you even had one’, is a little relationship reveal… That Janet has never spoken of her estranged father – and Bianca has never asked – suggests that maybe they’re not quite as close as it would have seemed in ep1. SO WHAT HAVE THEY BEEN DOING FOR FOUR YEARS?? #DyingToKnow
I hate it when Mum and Dad fight.
So do I kids, so do I…
Janet decides to ignore Bianca – quite coldly, even though Bianca is trying to rearrange her schedule to suit her… why Janet, why? I’m not a happy camper when there’s no peace in the love nest – and she barks at Wayne to follow her as they go off to talk to Tyler’s coach about the possibility of him doping. After much posturing about how the club follows the WADA and ASADA codes to a T, the coach agrees it could be possible that Tyler may have been using PEDs to get that edge to make it into the first grade team. They follow up with a visit to the club’s biochemist, who is as shady as fuck as far as I can see, although Wayne thinks he’s pretty cooperative, with Janet adding ‘with a whiff of snake oil.’ Yes – same page Janet (clearly we are meant to be together. Sorry Bianca – I know I’m being hypocritical, but really if I had to choose between the two of us… I’d pick me. But given I’m already the Australian version of married – i.e. we would be but we can’t, and you’re both perfect fictional characters, I will concede for now. May I also say that you look rather delightfully fetching with your hair down – even more so than usual).
It’s then off to see Tyler’s family to see if they know anything about what he might have been taking and the scene they find there is both shocking and ugly. A screaming fight between Pearl, Tyler’s young sister from the video, and her mum and stepfather out the front of the house. So much victim blaming as they push and shove her around, telling her none of this would have happened if she “hadn’t flashed her tits all over the internet. You’re a fuckin’ disgrace.” There it is again: the highlighting of the misogynistic rape culture we live in – thank you show for not being too scared to go there. More agro ensues – Tyler was a good kid, never did drugs, all he did was train… we’re all struggling, aren’t we Pearly… gonna have to ask yous to leave. So Tyler was desperate to get into the first grade team to earn more money to get his sister out of ‘that hellhole’, and who could blame him?
Classy guy that Kevin dude.
Back to the office [can’t be upsetting Bonnie now can we Jaz?], and Janet stops out the front of the building, ushering Wayne inside saying she’ll see him inside later. Now at this point, I was – oh yay, Bibi is there, she’s partially obstructed behind a pole, waiting for her grumpy gf to return so they can take 5 minutes from their busy day to do what lesbian couples do best, and ‘process’ why Janet was so mean earlier. And Janet will say – it was seeing my father, it got to me, I’m sorry, but come over later and we can snuggle and all will be happy in my world again. And of course, Bianca would say – it’s okay, I understand it must’ve been a shock, thanks for sharing, and I’ll pick up some noodles on the way for us to share after the kids have gone to bed. But that wouldn’t really make for great drama now, would it, so of course it isn’t Janet’s lovely girlfriend waiting for her, but her father. The one that had texted last night about meeting for a coffee today, and whose text Janet had deleted. “It’s good to see you too, sweetheart.” [Can’t you just hear Janet’s thoughts screaming out from inside her skull – DON’T YOU SWEETHEART ME!]
The interaction between Janet and her father is gold - key to understanding Janet and her approach to her work, to parenthood, even perhaps to her relationship with Bianca. Her father’s comment that the twins are a good age to begin to mould, is met with an icy, “They’re children, dad, not play doh,” and suggests quite clearly that her father tried his very best to mould Janet into the person he wanted her to be. Janet is refusing to do the same to her kids, obviously the reason she won’t push them to go to ‘zone’. She offers little to her father – she doesn’t tell them their age, she refuses to agree to a meeting, she clearly doesn’t want him to be a part of their lives, to push them as he once pushed her.
Can I just say AGAIN, how much I LOVE this character? Fed up with playing polite games, she just can’t hold it back, and blurts out – “What do you want?” [Watch out Bonnie, that’s coming for you too if you keep pushing!]. Graham suggests ‘just a catch up’, but the following exchange demonstrates the dynamic between them, and personally, I can see why Janet avoids him. “NCC, hey? I thought you’d be judge of the Supreme Court by now. Unlike you to take a backward step. That Royal Commission you did – now that had some teeth.” So, no matter how powerful, how successful she is, it’s never quite enough. So now she’s even more pissed off, because suddenly she’s that young kid who’s always trying to live up to her father’s unrealistic expectations, and never quite getting there. But now she has a way to get ‘pay back’, and the human mind is a funny thing. Consciously she’s ‘doing her job’, but subconsciously she’s making up for all the times he made her feel like crap when she was a kid. Love the line (kudos to the writer!), “That’s the thing about coercive powers. The NCC has teeth and a very wide jaw, you just don’t know if you’ve been bitten.” BURN!
Shortly after, she convinces Tony to trace her father’s phone records, while also showing him that Tyler Perati had a PED in his system that was not available in Australia, so Tony is chuffed that she’s now “singing the team song” as they’re looking at illegal importation, and Janet has ‘Bouncy’ (“I believe her name’s Bonnie”) going through the records from ‘Continuum Therapies’ – the mob who supply all the biochemical needs to the Devils.
So, Owen is putting the hard word on Andy to make a case against the busdriver who ran down Clay (seriously, is Andy the only cop in Sydney? He’s one busy boy!), but Andy is holding him at bay because there’s still so much to investigate to build any kind of case at all. He tells Janet and Bianca that the box of pills that was found in Clay’s house was stolen, so they reach the conclusion that whoever came around to Clay’s house the night before he died must’ve brought them with them. Andy leaves to go and question Clay’s son… and NOW it’s lesbian process-your-feelings time. Surely. A quick coffee break – ‘let’s sort this out, so we can both concentrate on the work at hand, and have a mighty sleepover full of torrid make up sex to let all the lesbians know we’re still good’. But no… Janet glances at Bianca, then quickly looks down avoiding eye contact. WTF is going on here?? LOVE HER JANET!
WHY IS BIANCA FROZEN INTO THE BACKGROUND??
But we’re reaching the denouement of this episode, so fingers crossed they process before next week. My lesbian heart can’t handle bath scene one week, brush off the next… Andy questions Clay’s kid, who goes through the events of the night in question, and basically blames himself for the fight they had, and is struggling under the guilt that he had a hand in his dad’s death. There’s a picture of the box of tablets, used as evidence, and next to it, the headphones used for the video game Clay and his son were playing. Cue ominous music; Janet’s voice drifting off, a deep and cogitative look crossing her face as she recognises those headphones. [Ha! See Bonny, having kids is good for something!] Those headphones record!
This is not going to end well.
But what they find out is devastating. Clay was in deeper than he was letting on, and he was planning to say something just to get them off his tail, and protect the ones higher up the chain. But this visitor – the mystery man – lets him know that that ain’t gunna cut it. ‘Here’s a box of pills mate, accidental overdose, people will think you cracked a bit under the pressure’. Basically shit happens, and you’re the shit. Clay politely tells him to ‘fuck off, or I’ll bring you all down with me if you ask me to do that’, until the mystery man says, ‘well it’s you or your kid. You have to decide who you love more – yourself or your son.’
He was telling me it was murder.
And deeper we go!