Nate gets done; what’s Maxine’s involvement; and how much cuter can Janet and Bianca get?

Ok, so I’m wondering when they’ll get back to Oliver Pittman / Clay Nelson / Ravi Hasan and the Firecrackers. All of that led to what we’re now seeing with the Devil’s PED programme and Nate’s trial, but we seem to have gone off in quite divergent directions these past couple of episodes. No doubt they will bring it all back together, but it does seem like a lot to hold in your head until they do… But to start with, let’s deal with what we have, shall we?

This week’s breakneck speed episode starts off with Graham King making a statement to the media along the lines of Pax Car Rentals having no clue about the salary cap cheating the Northern Devils undertook to secure Nate Baldwin, when in fact, he was the mastermind behind it. Bonnie is a little surprised how he can say all that, as is Janet, although she’s trying to cover up her surprise by throwing it to Tony who would have done the report to the APL.

Janet is clear she doesn’t want Graham getting any favours on the way out of the room, but Tony reminds her he’s still her father. Bonnie wants Janet to call Richard to do a deal, but Janet is all like, “What? No!” like she’s swatting away a fly.

But when Bonnie tells her that she went to a breakfast where Owen Mitchell was speaking and he claims to have single-handedly raised the number of women at the DPP, Janet is a little, well, gobsmacked, and Bonnie is pretty chuffed that she managed to catch her attention. She then tells Janet there’s a new prosecutor for the Baldwin trial… (mini cliffhanger!).

Maxine storms Richard’s office, mad as a cut snake at Richard for not getting Nate off (last ep), but saying precious little about Graham King dropping Nate and the club in it when Richard asks. Richard takes a call from Janet and goes to meet her hoping she’s found the drug Tyler was taking, because if they can prove that it affected his blood and they can prove that’s what killed him, then the charges against Nate will have to be dropped.

Janet wants an agreement that Nate will talk about the match-fixing, but Richard wants assurance Nate will stay out of prison. Janet’s dripping sarcasm is totally delicious when she asks Richard, “I take it you’ve heard about the new Crown you’ll be opposing.” Richard’s discomfort is palpable!

He dashes off to the DPP and interrupts a conversation between Owen and Lina, where Owen is commending her for ‘the excellent job she’s done preparing the brief’, and ‘when the time comes he’ll make sure she gets due credit’ (liar, liar pants on fire!). Before Owen can tell Richard who the Crown is, down the steps bounces Ben McMahon – one of the original “Crownies”; the boy with the silver spoon, now married to the Premier’s daughter and father of a two-year-old son.

He does what he always did, and stirs Richard up about his rise, and how Nate’s inability to stay out of trouble must be a real ‘cash cow’ for him. Uncomfortable talking to his opposition, Richard leaves.

Bonnie and Wayne are discussing tracking down the arsonist and using a whole bunch of statistical and probability number-crunching about what is most likely to get the best outcome for the NCC. Once upon a time, I was really good at Maths – I even won a prize at the end of high school – but Bonnie gabs so fast it was all gobbledegook to me.

Bonnie decides that the arsonist lead is more likely to give a favourite outcome than finding the drug, and Wayne’s like, ‘yeah, whatever, you should pitch it to Janet’. Which we all know Bonnie is not going to do, being that she’s now shit-scared of her.

Richard and Janet meet for another off-the-record discussion about how they can get the best outcome for Richard’s client AND the NCC. If Janet can find the drug to get Nate off the hook, Nate will talk to the NCC. But they’re interrupted by Ben and Lina – there at Ben’s behest as Lina “deserves a champers for the great work she’s done on the brief.”

Janet and Ben haven’t seen one another for ‘5 or 6 years, and when Janet’s quip that Ben marrying the Premier’s daughter suggests ‘she’s settled down, you’ve settled up’ elicits a moment of VERY AWKWARD silence, Janet (previously known as The Ice Queen and still pretty much a ball-breaker when she needs to be) has to assure Ben she was only joking.

Cue forced laughter. Ben sticks his foot in it, once again reminding Lina that she’s ‘stuck’ by highlighting the heights to which the others have risen, and Lina’s response, “future Nobel Laureate, currently mother,” sees an empathetic comment from Janet before she leaves, “Toughest job you’ll ever have.” (I concur). Ben tries to get Richard to stay for a drink, but he refuses and follows Janet out after receiving solid sledging from Ben about the weakness of his case.

The DreamTeam (now consisting almost exclusively of Janet, Bianca and Bonnie with cameos from Tony and Wayne… GIRL POWER!) is listening in on a convo between Nate, Lucy, Richard and Maxine – all discussing how to find the drug so that Nate doesn’t have to face court. Maxine blurts, “What if I got it?”; Janet goes, “Shit!” and the DreamTeam all glance at each other like WTF?? Bonnie tries to remind them about the arsonist, and Janet just about rips her head off, “Not now! Just track Maxine, ok?” Haha, it made me laugh when Janet asks Bianca if she thinks she can get it, and Bibi responds,

“Hard to tell. Could just be Maxine’s shit talk.” And Janet says, “That is her job.” Janet realises Maxine is about to head to Continuum to talk to Eddie Cook, and they figure they have to get their hands on it before Maxine does in order to be able to use it as a bargaining tool for the NCC.

But, they’re going to need someone to go undercover, someone to pose as an elite athlete, someone he’ll believe – Eddie’s hardly going to hand it over to them just like that. He’s going to want assurances of anonymity and a complete dissociation with the Devils and all the drama that’s in the news right now.

Maxine confronts Eddie who says he doesn’t know anything, but Maxine calls bullshit – she knows the sports world, she has 42 clients including 5 Devils, Tyler would have taken whatever he was told to take, so give it to me NOW! Eddie replies, “I. Don’t. Have. Any. Left.” To which Maxine replies, “Well. Get. Some. More.” Eddies agree to contact his supplier.

*CUTE LESBIAN MOMENT ALERT* Oh these two! How adorable are they? (Very!) Bibi has obviously collected the kids from school and is standing with their bags full of their athletics gear when Janet sneaks up behind her to surprise her with a kiss and a gorgeous little caress… their mutual looks of adoration are melt worthy! Please, please, please let them have a happy ending!

So, cuteness completed, it’s down to business, as Janet goes to talk to Zoe, who mentions that the cyclist she’s coaching has torn a quad muscle. Janet files this away, and says she was hoping to ‘pick her brains’ about this ‘sports thing I’m involved in in a funny roundabout way.’

Onto the trial. Richard is arguing that there’s too much publicity, too many people know Nate, too hard to get an unbiased jury. Judge / Ben say ‘can’t use social media anymore, the judge commits Nate to trial tomorrow morning. Richard pulls a Swifty and asks for a judge-only trial; the judge agrees to hear arguments in the morning.

Richard feels like he’s had a win, Ben and Lina are a little pissed off at the thought of an all-nighter to prepare the submissions. As the two barristers leave the courthouse, Lina is left standing, watching the revolving doors  – an oft-used symbol throughout the series so far; demonstrating that life is never linear, but rather a series of revolving events, and the decisions you make at any one time can and does influence where you get out at different points in your life.

Back at the office, Wayne is beside himself that Janet has met Zoe DaCosta and describes her gold medal-winning ride in great detail. The glazed look in Janet’s eyes is telling! He talks about PEDs as only providing that 1% extra, but you need the 99% hard work first. Janet has a similar grunt, he says, but dry as a bone she replies…

“Oh, I wasn’t aware I grunted.” Wayne shrinks before the famous King stare…  Oh. My. God. It’s GLORIOUS! “Oh it’s a good thing, like ticker… or hunger… pluck?” The stare turns into a ‘you’re-digging-yourself-a-deeper-hole-but-I-am-slightly-amused-at-your-efforts glare’, before he’s let off the hook by Zoe’s arrival.

Bianca leads the questioning, “what would an undercover cop have to do to look like they are genuinely from the world of elite sport, and then how would you ask for this substance?” Discussion back and forth – we believe it speeds up recovery, aids endurance… if it’s not on the banned list I’d be queuing up for it now…

Zoe uses all this sporty jargon, which clearly none of the original DreamTeam has the slightest clue what she’s saying, but Janet and Bianca are throwing ‘knowing’ looks at one another (and not just the “I know what you did last night” … or the “I know what I plan to do to you later tonight” kinds of looks either), and Tony is getting suss at the unnatural banter between J&B as Janet leads Zoe down the track and gets her right where she wants her.

Before Zoe knows it there’s no undercover cop going to Continuum to ask for the substance, but she’s doing it (happily) for them. Tony’s not happy but well played Janet and Bianca.

Best. Line. Ever. Eddie tells Maxine there’s no more of the PED she’s after – he got it from the supplier, he and Flynn (yuck – this slime ball will feature again shortly) administered it, and now it’s gone. “You’re as useless as a shit-flavoured lollipop Eddie!” Maxine is on point with her verbal barb, and you can bet that one is not on the list of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.

Eddie looks hurt. Untiiiillll… in walks one Zoe DaCosta – he’s a little starstruck, and while at first, he denies knowledge of any substance like the one she’s describing, with some deft ego-stroking from Zoe, he eventually gives in and says he’ll see what he can do. While the DreamTeam is on listening duties, Bonnie is still on her personal crusade to find the arsonist and like a naughty school kid, she goes back to checking her Instagram when the teacher’s not looking… oh I mean, trying to solve her little mystery while Janet’s not looking.

Janet reminds her to get back on Maxine, which she does. But given she’s now very wary of the sting in the tongue and the ice in the glare from Janet when a phone call pops up on her screen from Maxine to Nate asking about Flynn, she doesn’t interrupt to ask what she should do. So she doesn’t flag it. ROOKIE MISTAKE BONNIE! Never make your own decisions when Janet is in charge!

Maxine rocks up to the slimeball’s place, and he too says, ‘Nah it’s all gone. When Tyler died and his blood was all weird we got rid of it all.’ Some verbal sparring (where Maxine reminds him the sports stars only let him hang out with them because he supplies their drugs), and Flynn agrees to sell ‘the last bottle’ to her for twenty grand.

She tells him, “You’re a fuckin’ little shit, you’re gonna regret this.” And I’m inclined to believe her. Pearl, overhears the deal being done and asks for $1000 to help her friend, but Flynn, who’s basically keeping the ‘15-year-old-sex-for-a-bed-sister-of-dead-Tyler’ for his sex slave denies her the cash, and the right to leave the house.

Maxine heads back to Nate’s house, and the Not-So-Fab-Four talks about how they’re going to raise $20K to pay Flynn for the stuff – all the while our DreamTeam is listening in. Janet is flabbergasted that with a track on Maxine’s phone, they didn’t know that she was going to see Flynn.

Here’s where the Ice Queen turns into Zeus, throwing bolts of pure fury at Bonnie, who admits to not having told them. Janet orders Flynn’s place to be bugged, and ‘the warrant comes when it comes’, and Bonnie walks right into it, saying to Janet, “anything we record without a warrant is not…” Janet gives her the full “thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening me” treatment; “You just need to shut up.

The one time you should have opened your mouth is the one time in the last six weeks you’ve kept it closed. In case it escaped your attention, which for an analyst there is absolutely no excuse… you are not running your own reference here, I am the one who dictates the direction of it – not you! Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re the smartest person in the room; you’re not”. BURN!! Oh my lord, I LOVE Angry Janet. Actually come to think of it, I just love Janet, but holy shitballs, when she’s angry… wowee!

So, the recording stuff is all set up in Flynn’s house, and what they hear chills the DreamTeam to the bone. The sexual assault of a minor – none of which they can use because the warrant isn’t in place yet. Flynn makes it clear that if Pearl leaves the house, she can’t come back. Pearl knows her options are the streets or back home, the last place she wants to be, so she does as she’s told and stays.

The law crew pull all-nighters trying to get the submissions ready, but it’s late and Ben sends Lina home to see Andy and her daughter. You can just see how much Lina’s ambitions in her career are clashing with her desperation to be a good mother to Amal.

The next morning, Richard’s submission for a judge-only trial is the big winner, and he’s feeling pretty good about himself. Ben’s unwavering self-confidence that he will win this is not surprising.

Meanwhile, Janet’s feeling buoyant. Eddie is heading to Flynn’s to get the drug – presumably for Zoe – while Maxine is still trying to get the cash together. She leaves the office as Bianca promises to keep her updated if they hear anything significant.

Janet’s double-dealings as she heads to the court raise questions of ethics/integrity. She knows Nate is guilty of a one-punch death, and thus should probably be found guilty of manslaughter, BUT she’s willing to let a guilty man walk free to get the outcome she wants for the NCC.

AND she’s racing against Richard’s own people to get the drug, while also pretending to work with him to find it, PLUS she’s befriending Pearl and trying to help her, all the while plotting to have her brother’s killer walk free. Helping Pearl is the only thing that’s really ethical here – even though Pearl tells her to piss off and mind her own business – but that’s the beauty of a character like Janet.

You forgive her, because she’s always looking at the bigger picture, and as I’ve said in an earlier recap – her biggest flaw is her largest strength: she’ll do whatever it takes to make things right. [Even though Oliver and Clay – and Clay’s son – haven’t been mentioned for a while, you can bet your bottom dollar she still has them front and centre as she’s trying to find out who’s supplying the PED so she can make the link to the match-fixing syndicate. And now Pearl too].

Bonnie is going just a little OTT to prove herself to the team again – asking permission, cross-referencing everything, being “meticulous, on–task 24/7 analysing data.” Bianca is giving her the old side-eye, like, ‘yeah, alright girl, it’s all good,’ and “You should probably be explaining all this to Janet.”

Bonnie’s like, “I think it helps if the Chief Investigator also appreciate the particular demands of an analyst” (and reading between the lines, Bibi, next time you’re giving her a foot rub on the couch after a tough day on the job, if you could just let her know, that’d be cool…). Bianca ain’t no dumbo, “So I can put in a good word for you, you mean?” But it turns out Bonnie is worried she’s getting fired, poor love, but Bianca tells her she stuffed up, we all do move on.

So pragmatic. Wayne follows Eddie to Flynn’s place where they hear him talking about the drug. Eddie wants it back, Flynn says he’s got an offer. Bonnie offers her opinion, which is immediately withdrawn. Janet’s little wry smile says she knows she’s put Bonnie back in her place right at the bottom of the pecking order.

At the judge-only trial, witnesses testify that Nate is just about ‘everyone’s best mate’ and ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly, but the witness messes his own story up. Richard is running out of solid options and decides to put Nate on the stand. Lina tells Ben they need to get Nate angry to undo whatever positive image Richard builds up.

In a race against time, Maxine turns up at Flynn’s with the $20K to pick up the drug, but Flynn tells her he sold it to someone else. Maxine looks him in the eye and whispers, “You’re fuckin’ dead, Mr Pearce. You’re dead.” Oh, 10/10 to you Susie Porter – I was shaking in my fucking boots! I’d be checking under the bed each night from now on Flynny-boy, you piece of shit.

Zoe goes back to Eddie to collect the drug, and the DreamTeam get the recording of him selling her the drug PLUS, of course now they have the drug and can start to unravel the mystery, by using it as the bargaining chip to get Nate to give them all the info on who organised the match-fixing and gambling syndicates.

Win-Win for Nate and the NCC. Except not for Tyler who’s dead, and his family who want justice; and then there are those sporting clubs who are injecting their players with unknown substances, which in turn kill them, and they’re getting off scot-free… Off goes the substance to the lab to check exactly what it is. No, friggen way. Bianca and Bonnie are both like WTF?? It was WATER! Eddie sold Zoe WATER! So where’s the real stuff?

Oh Pearl… you silly, silly little girl. And Cindy, you took a swig of that shit? You STUPID, STUPID little girl.

Nate’s on the stand and Ben suggest that the nature of team sports is ‘homoerotic’ and Nate goes ballistic, losing his temper (how homophobic is it in these toxic masculinity dominated sports environments??) and the judge finds him guilty. ‘The prisoner’ is led away, and Richard is left standing alone just inside the ‘revolving doors of life’ while Maxine and Lucy walk out giving him the evil eye.

Outside Owen speaks to the press and congratulates the ‘team led by Ben McMahon’ for getting the conviction, and Lina is left standing behind, unacknowledged YET AGAIN. Okay, I think we’re all getting this theme here – Lina feels left behind, unsatisfied, not good enough… so where are we going with this Lina storyline? It needs something soon.

Back at the office, the DreamTeam is debating who switched the bottles and gave Zoe water. Not Flynn – he’s been pissed off all day because he thought he’d just lost twenty grand… it must be Eddie. Janet wonders, “Was Eddie Cook playing us? And if he was – how involved is he in the whole thing?” But it’s right about that moment, that Eddie is being tailed in his car… and then run off the road. And Pearl is screaming desperately for someone to help as Cindy is vomiting blood from the drug she’s just ingested…

Talk about cliffhangers!