Wentworth S05E03 Recap: Nothing But the Truth
Liz gets caught in her own web of lies as Sonia has charges dropped and Joan knows she's playing the long game to bring down Vera.
First up: TRIGGER WARNING! Franky – has she really slid so far so quickly? Have the producers, in an attempt to demonstrate that the show can remain dramatic and shocking post-Bea, gone too far this time? Was it really necessary, to have Franky use her superior strength to overpower Bridget and sexually assault her, to make a point? Was it not merely a show of male/female patriarchal roles where one person uses their physical strength to dominate and control a weaker party? You know how much Franky is my #1 – but we’ve all been asked to ‘overlook’ her killing Governor Jackson in Season 1 (okay so that was an accident); are we now to ‘overlook’ a violent sexual assault against Bridget (no ‘accident’ here)?
To me, the show has strayed into very problematic territory. The horrifying rape of Joan in Season 4 was by a crew of hardened and violent criminals who know no other way of dealing with their enemies. While I do not condone the sexual assault of anyone for any reason – let me make that clear – that event fit the narrative at the time, and the shock value and drama it provided suited the characters involved. I’m saddened and disappointed, however, that the writers and producers have chosen to take Franky – someone who has reformed and is fighting for her freedom – down that particular path, especially against the woman she loves.
This episode, however, centres mainly on Liz and asks the question – when is it ever a good thing to lie for your own gains? Liz, of course, is about to take the stand as the prosecution’s key, their ‘Witness X’, the one to whom Sonia supposedly confessed the crime of killing her best friend Helen. Sweet, simple Liz – the one who sees good in everyone, and who is the Mother Hen watching over all of her chicks in Wentworth, is always there to offer a shoulder to cry on, or an ear and a word of advice – has the carrot of immediate parole dangling, as well as the romantic attention of a cop hell-bent on getting a conviction, to stand up in court and testify that Sonia is guilty of the crime for which she is charged.
I’m looking for Bitch X.
But this testimony is haunting her in her sleep as she wakes in a cold sweat, having dreamt that Sonia has crept into her cell and shaved her head – apparently a key point to the ritual Sonia performed when she ‘murdered’ Helen. Her fear and nerves grow when Sonia strides into the dining room after her first day in court, demanding to know, “Which one of you bitches is Witness X?” after finding out ‘Witness X’ is a Wentworth inmate. Liz, wisely, doesn’t dob herself in, despite Boomer suggesting that it was probably her “cos she loves a good lag, eh!”
Not me, no, no, no.
Liz had, up until now, had Doreen on her side, but Dors realises that Liz has fabricated the whole story and isn’t so sure now that Liz is doing this for the purest of reasons. When Sonia lays the blame on Maxine, putting 2+2 together and getting ‘transfer to easy-going Barnhurst = 5’, Liz needs a kiss and a promise of ‘can’t wait till you’re out’ from crooked Sgt Don to get her back on track and ready to testify.
Red Flag: If Crooked Sgt Don didn’t set off all your alarms before, then he should now. Liz is being mercilessly manipulated for him to get the outcome he’s after, and the outcome he’s after is not a life with Liz outside Wentworth. Poor Liz, the things we do to feel loved, wanted and appreciated.
So Liz doesn’t get to say goodbye to her mates as she gets dressed in her civvies to head off to court. Only what’s this? The show’s grossest character, Juice, who’s always out to get one up on anyone, spies her on her way out. I’m sure we’ve all filed that one away for later, because you can bet sure as shit Juice has. There’s a close call as Liz almost bumps into Sonia at the courthouse before she takes the stand and promises to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” But you’re not going to do that, are you Liz? And silly Sgt Don has got some key points in the case completely mucked up and it’s not long before you’re in tears, having your testimony torn apart and you’re admitting you made it all up… And Liz – (almost) pure of heart Liz – has the opportunity to drag Sgt Don down with her but says, no, she wasn’t coerced into making this statement, she did it all herself.
Liars always gets what’s coming.
Boom! Charges against Sonia dropped, Liz to be charged with perjury and facing a possible 15 more years inside Wentworth. If only Don the Dickhead had checked his voice messages to see the Defence had found that crucial piece of evidence to discredit his witness, things could have been so different. *sigh*
But I’m just SUCH a good person.
So the drugs war is hotting up with Dirty Jake bringing them in and Tina Mercado supplying and half the prison population walking around off their faces. Boomer promises she hasn’t bought any as she’s “spent all me money on Monte Carlos anyway”. After she’s slashed with a shiv trying to break up a fight between one of Juice’s boys and Kim Tran over a drug deal gone wrong, Allie begs Kaz to do something because “you hate drugs as much as Bea did”. Kaz finally admits she made a deal with Tina to turn a blind eye to the drugs in return for Tina’s support to take over as Top Dog. But three O/Ds in the space of a week and Allie convinces Kaz she’s not protecting the women with this agreement she has with Tina. Kaz also knows she has to make her moves very carefully, or else there’s someone like Tina or Juice (or Joan!) ready to step into her shoes and run the joint. What a complete shit-storm that would be.
Kim Tran - fighting outside her weight division.
Speaking of Joan. (It always comes back to Joan fucken Ferguson!). She has some intel for Kaz that the drugs are coming in through the kitchen. While still ghosting Joan, Kaz takes the info on board, and after asking Tina politely to pull back on the gear for a while, and getting a resoundingly impolite “no way”, she and Boomer storm the kitchen and wash Tina’s stash down the sink. Joan will, of course, use this to her advantage with Tina and her crew when the time is right; and they will, of course, be none the wiser that it was in fact Joan who dobbed them in to Kaz in the first place. I see a Top Dog show down looming!
So, Bridget and Franky. Bridget is doing everything in her power to find some stolen moments to be with Franky and Franky is doing everything in her power to push her away. And then there’s Joan – again. She knows they’re together and brings in the Ombudsman in another push to bring down Vera, claiming she knows all about the clandestine relationship and is doing nothing to stop it. Despite Bridget offering to resign, they manage to convince the Ombudsman that everything is above board, saving both their careers and leaving Vera to gleefully tell Joan she’s “managed to discredit herself further with these claims”. Ominously, Joan’s reaction is merely “ok” as she leaves Vera’s office, no doubt seething within.
Meanwhile, Franky feels Bridget doesn’t believe her that Ferguson is behind her reincarceration, and this apparent lack of belief is hurting Franky deeply. She tells Bridget that until everything is sorted she doesn’t want to see or hear from her any more, “just stay away”. Franky tells her their relationship is over, and she “doesn’t give a fuck” that Bridget won’t accept this. Bridget promises she’ll “get another bloody job, I’ll visit, I’ll wait forever. Nothing you say can change my mind.” Franky’s response is short and sweet, “Well then you’re an idiot,” as she turns on her heels and storms away.
The things we do for love.
Bridget, however, doesn’t give up. After going to Franky to tell her that Vera has authorised a counselling session (memories of episode 2 and their desperate and loving embrace, anyone?), Franky loses it and attacks Bridget, accusing her of only being turned on by a bit of ‘rough trade’. Maybe she ‘belongs in here, locked up like a fucken animal,’ and ‘yeah, I’m your big fucken prison fantasy’.
While Bridget is begging, ‘don’t you do this’; Franky is relentless, ‘let’s go, let’s fuck,’ as she pushes Bridget up against the wall, ripping her shirt off and grabbing at her breasts and between her legs. Bridget’s voice is small as she desperately asks, ‘what do you want?’, to which Franky replies, “I’m trying to get you off like a fucken crim.” Bridget finally summons the strength to shove her off, telling Franky that while she hasn’t succeeded in pushing her away, she has well and truly succeeded in hurting her.
Only one explanation for Bridget’s pain…
It’s raw and confronting and the glazed look in Bridget’s eyes must be one that many sexual assault victims have when they know they are being over-powered and the inevitable is about to happen. Bridget walks out in tears, and at least Franky has the decency to break down also, knowing what she has just done has crossed an uncrossable line. The pair are seen crying on either side of Franky’s cell door, as Bridget zips up her jacket to hide the shirt torn in the attack. The ensuing conversation she has with Vera is possibly Libby Tanner’s finest acting moment in her three seasons on Wentworth.
Dirt soup would be clearer than the mess Franky’s in.
So, who did frame Franky? The answer to that is still as clear as mud, although Franky now knows it wasn’t Joan. After asking Shayne to go to the cops to ‘fess up that the gun with Franky’s DNA on it came from Joan’s place, via him, Franky receives mail – a drawing of a kite with a red tail stuck in barbed wire with the work “Freedom” written below it. CRAP! Pennisi was the only one who knew about that, so whoever killed him was someone he told – ergo, he knew his killer! Therefore it couldn’t have been Joan, but Shayne – an indigenous youth with a record from the foster system – is about to implicate himself and possibly cop a charge of possessing a firearm, ending him in Walford. It’s a race against time as Franky belts off to the phones to call Shayne who’s one foot in the door at the cop shop. She gets to him just in time, then begs Vera for help. Of course Vera says that only the lawyers can help her but in the meantime, looking proud as punch, Vera informs Franky she’s arranged a counselling session with Bridget – nudge, nudge, wink, wink… Nice try Vera, your intentions are pure.
Shayne is safe… for now.
In the yard, Franky looks up to the piece of red ribbon that has been caught in the wire throughout most of the episode. Most likely some that has come loose from Bea’s memorial, it is now symbolic of Franky striving for freedom, her being caught up in the system, unable to get free. The cold blue hues of the shots in the yard are juxtaposed by the bright red of the ribbon, which, as Franky watches it, comes loose from the wire and takes flight on a gust of wind.
Oh set me free symbolic red ribbon.
Franky’s smile as she sees this suggests that she still has hope – hope that she will be set free and get back to her life outside of Wentworth. But will she ever really be free of the demons that plague her? How will she deal with what she has done to Bridget? How will she solve the mystery of who put her back in Wentworth to start with?
Is it too much to hope for hope?
Join the conversation below for any comments / thoughts / ideas on this week’s episode!