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  • #46
    vampmogs, Bea’s inability to sexually fulfill herself feels very early 70s. When you read feminist classics from the 60s or 70s like The Women’s Room, they feature a lot of women like Bea who are sadly socially frigid due to their religious and social upbringing. As someone who grew up in a different time and place, it’s hard to imagine being so unfamiliar with one’s body and sexuality that self-pleasure is a mystery. It’s almost like a woman from another planet to me and reminds me of a similar scene in the novel Ragtime that takes place at the turn of the century. Yet I know how novel it was in the 50s, 60s and 70s for women to discover that they could orgasm without heterosexual sex in which a woman has vaginal intercourse - I think there were plenty of male doctors claiming that was impossible, believe it or not. The shock of the Kinsey report was the first big step towards dispelling that myth.

    It’s just so removed from my reality that I find it hard to imagine. But in some ways, Bea’s sexual blossoming in prison also reminds me of early gay novels by writers such as Gore Vidal (The Pillar and the City) in which repressed sexuality hangs heavily over the characters, their forbidden desires only released when most other moral trappings fall away. Bea doesn’t have to put up the false front of “good girl” that Erica is forced to do in order to keep her impending marriage intact. She can stretch herself and open up to all kinds of new experiences and maybe explore long-hidden desires within.

    It’s one of the reasons that I have a problem with season six of Buffy. Buffy’s retreat to fantastic, exciting sex with Spike who seems to give her intense pleasure over and over again is one of the more normal things about her and the puritanical clucking of the writers over the good girl gone bad still annoys me (Faith gets the same treatment), especially the balcony scene. It’s so - milquetoast - compared to any real sexual transgression (We never see Spike seriously hurt her during sex play or draw blood or do anything shocking - there are few visible marks on Buffy - only Spike - and no signs of any real abuse) and I always roll my eyes when I read how “horrifying’ that scene was and how the writers have Buffy so ashamed at what she allows Spike to do to her as if it’s all out of her control. Oh, please. She’s playing the same game he is, alllowing him to take control.

    Yeah, I know that it’s also about the moral dimension of soulless vampires and Buffy’s real trauma isn’t the sex, but the partner and his moral ambiguity which eventually leads to the AR, but that gets lost in the weird sexist slant of pretty white blond Buffy supposedly degrading herself by having kinky sex with punk rock vampire Spike as if his morally ambiguous evil extends to his d**k which apparently defiles her and her delicate constitution even as she cries out and closes her eyes in intense pleasure. I don’t like the association at all.
    Last edited by American Aurora; 19-09-20, 02:33 PM.

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    • #47
      I have to say I'm really impressed so far that we're five episodes in and they've all felt really strong. I wonder how long they can keep going with individual character explorations/flashbacks as a format, if it will end up feeling frustrating. I'm not sure if I would care if all of the first season was like this if it was consistently this strong. But I would also quite like an episode that really focuses on the 'now'. There are definitely plenty of characters that feature heavily enough in the main story that I really hope they do pad more out like they have been so far.

      Originally posted by American Aurora View Post
      But it also seems to have a lot to do with the unresolved feelings that Doreen has about her relationship with the white women in the prison.
      Do you feel that Doreen has felt marginalised already, or just that she is painfully conscious of the potential racism around her? As you later say, Liz's awful line to her implies that everyone does look down on her because she is black, but I don't think we've had any evidence of a background racism amongst the women. Is there anything that you've seen which you think supports what Liz implied?

      Do you think the fact that not all the guards are white would make Doreen feel more confident that racism wouldn't be shrugged off? I suppose the message to Bea in the first episode was to not call for the guards to sort out problems amongst themselves, so perhaps not.

      I laughed when Liz drinks out of a can of industrial cleaner – I couldn’t tell if she was actually drinking it or whether it was just water – or even homemade hooch that she put in there to play with everyone’s minds. No matter what it is, it’s sad to see her figuratively trying to scrub herself from the inside out.
      It did strike me as a cry for help and attention as it was far from subtle and she does behave very distinctly different when she's drunk. Something the actress plays well in this episode. As Liz must know she is a mean drunk, pushing herself like this feels like a bit of a deliberate continued disruption and self destruction. Of course her lack of any attempt to keep it behind closed doors could just be indicative of how low and desperate she is feeling, that she can't resist the urge even in very risky moments.

      In return, Jacs lashes out at Franky with a pathetic homophobic jab that feels pretty toothless.
      Yes it was a really weak retort and made her just look petty.

      And we finally get to the actual velvet curtain behind which Erica sees some heavy kink with whips and burning candles and electrical shocks.
      I was really amused to read this after I'd written, "So her interest and arousal despite the façade are clear and as she pauses to literally push back a velvet curtain and look into some mild S&M as she's leaving..." but in fairness to me I hadn't noticed the electric shocks. But I suppose the idea the activities in that room were sectioned off from the rest of the club did suggest it was supposed to be a bit 'more'.

      I love your observation about the different tone between the scenes of Liz and Bea chatting and the atmosphere in Erica's flat.

      Looking forward to the next episode - I think it's halfway through the first season now.
      Oh I hadn't noticed how many episodes there were, and I suppose the first season might have fewer than subsequent ones too.

      Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
      Whilst most people would find some of those scenarios confronting and uncomfortable, I think Dannielle Cormack played Bea in particular as having some underlying issues when it came to sexuality. As the episode progressed we later learnt that she had been raped by Harry which would certainly explain a lot but I actually had Episode 5 in mind as I was watching the pilot. It really comes as no surprise to me that Bea has never masturbated before. She has come across as repressed to me throughout the show thus far and I loved hearing more of her backstory and how she was married incredibly young into what was a constraining, abusive and stifling relationship.
      Great point that this has been a repeated aspect we've seen with Bea. The disclosure of how far back the abuse started and how it linked both to sex and started at a time when she probably felt very vulnerable too gave a significant new layer to her history. To have married so young when she was more naive and vulnerable in itself would have made it harder for her to know how to respond, before you even factor in the pregnancy. I can picture her confusion and hurt at his anger and that she could have really struggled to know what to do when they were about to have a child together. You could argue that it should have made her run for the hills with the baby, but I believe people can feel trapped by wanting to fix it and hoping it will work out, that it'll just be a bad phase caused because of the pressure of the pregnancy etc. In truth it was just the situation exposed what he was like and was the start of years of violence and abuse. If it hadn't been that, something else would have brought it out eventually.

      There is definitely a sense as you say that Bea is gaining emotionally from getting away from the prison she was in before in Wentworth. The repeated references to rehabilitation, the programmes looking to educate and structures to support the women, although we see have their own problems and corruption, can still prove to be beneficial for them.

      The Doreen/Liz scenes were excellent throughout this episode. The major scene, as already mentioned, where Liz delivers an awfully low racist blow was so hard to watch but brilliantly acted by both women.
      The direction of it was so well done from seeing the moment they both take in what was just said in their closer expressions to having the wider shot in there of them stood on opposite sides at their own doors. The impact of the words meaning they both turned even further apart.

      I also love the scene of Jacs telling Liz she no longer has protected status as a peer worker anymore and must hop off the fence. It's an interesting insight into the rules all these women live by, even the Top Dog, when it comes to how their world operates. It was also of course ominous and threatening like only Jacs can be.
      Definitely and suggests it isn't necessarily a done deal that Liz will fall to Franky's side, where in truth she has appeared to sit so far.

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      • #48

        Originally posted by Stoney View Post
        Do you feel that Doreen has felt marginalised already, or just that she is painfully conscious of the potential racism around her? As you later say, Liz's awful line to her implies that everyone does look down on her because she is black, but I don't think we've had any evidence of a background racism amongst the women. Is there anything that you've seen which you think supports what Liz implied?
        I may be spoiling here as I honestly can't recall if this has already happened or not but if I am I think it's so minor in terms of plot that it won't have any impact, but there is a LOT of casual racism between the women throughout the show. Terms like "Ching chong" are used often between rival factions etc. It's not pretty but I think it's very realistic to how these women would behave given their characters/backgrounds/education etc. I'd actually be a bit surprised if the terms haven't been used already but I guess we are only 5 episodes in. But yeah, I think casual racism in the prison is as prevalent as casual homophobia like Jacs has displayed twice now with Franky. Nothing is off limits for these women.

        As for the episode count each season. From memory, seasons alternate between 10-12 episodes

        American Aurora I can see why Bea's storyline in this episode felt a bit dated. Although, the other women's amazement that she had never before did make it feel a bit more realistic to me. That, accompanied with the revelation she married Harry straight out of high school and we know he sexually abused her, makes it understandable to me why she'd have had been put off by sex in general.


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        • #49
          Stoney: Do you feel that Doreen has felt marginalised already, or just that she is painfully conscious of the potential racism around her? As you later say, Liz's awful line to her implies that everyone does look down on her because she is black, but I don't think we've had any evidence of a background racism amongst the women. Is there anything that you've seen which you think supports what Liz implied? Do you think the fact that not all the guards are white would make Doreen feel more confident that racism wouldn't be shrugged off? I suppose the message to Bea in the first episode was to not call for the guards to sort out problems amongst themselves, so perhaps not.
          Stoney, I can only attest to black friends who say they are always aware of the currents of racism around them when in a crowd that's majority white. Not from everyone, but there are obvious stand-outs. The group that Doreen's closest to is very white in comparison to the flashbacks of her former life and I think that there is a sense that if there is casual racism in the group, it's silent to keep the peace. So Liz's statement wouldn't so much shock her as confirm fears that she's always had - forced to live in close quarters with people who may secretly be harboring racist thoughts. It's just something you have to live with in a society that's dominant white.

          vampmogs: I may be spoiling here as I honestly can't recall if this has already happened or not but if I am I think it's so minor in terms of plot that it won't have any impact, but there is a LOT of casual racism between the women throughout the show. Terms like "Ching chong" are used often between rival factions etc. It's not pretty but I think it's very realistic to how these women would behave given their characters/backgrounds/education etc. I'd actually be a bit surprised if the terms haven't been used already but I guess we are only 5 episodes in. But yeah, I think casual racism in the prison is as prevalent as casual homophobia like Jacs has displayed twice now with Franky. Nothing is off limits for these women.
          Yes, vampmogs, that was the kind of casual racism that I was thinking of. Even though Doreen may suspect it from some of the women, it's still devastating to hear it directly from someone that you trusted. I think it's easier for Franky to brush off Jacs' homophobia because the taunts are so toothless and she doesn't respect Jacs whereas Liz telling Doreen that she's inherently untrustworthy because of her race isn't something you can just blow off.

          vampmogs: I can see why Bea's storyline in this episode felt a bit dated. Although, the other women's amazement that she had never before did make it feel a bit more realistic to me. That, accompanied with the revelation she married Harry straight out of high school and we know he sexually abused her, makes it understandable to me why she'd have had been put off by sex in general.
          Oh, I didn't think it was dated - just really tragic that someone would be so behind the times in terms of sexual enlightenment. Obviously, there are still a lot of people who are miserable and closeted and repressed and terrified to deal with sex because they've had a very strict religious upbringing or a traumatic home life in which they've been taught that their sexuality was a bad thing or repeated beatings/rapes like Bea and to be honest, I don't know what I would be like if I'd been as sheltered and trapped as Bea was. It's possible that Bea even suffers from vaginismus, a physical condition that makes sex very painful unless treated and drives a lot of women to shun sex.

          Sexual freedom and the zipless f**k was a huge theme in the early feminist movement from all the books I've read, but I acknowledge that there are many people who are isolated and unfamiliar with modern ideas of sexuality or even embrace older puritanical ideals or even a kind of asexual freedom from sex that might be liberating or sadly turn into weird misanthropy like those in the incel movement. I was just curious as to what might lurk in Bea's background that might explain why she's so ashamed of her own sexuality. If she really didn't believe in masturbation, that would be one thing. But her conversation with Liz radiates self-hatred and fear.
          Last edited by American Aurora; 20-09-20, 01:23 AM.

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          • #50
            vampmogs American Aurora Thanks for your responses. It feels horrible to think that I might have been missing examples of previous racial comments and slurs, but the point that feeling conscious of undercurrents if you are in the minority which is victimised makes absolute perfect sense. Great points that we see prejudice and disregard shown in other ways between the inmates too, such as the homophobia, and a lot of the impact of the moment between Doreen and Liz comes from the hurt of who is saying it to her.

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            • #51
              Stoney no it's entirely possible you haven't missed anything. I'm trying to think back on the previous 5 episodes and so far I think the majority of characters have been white. It's likely we haven't really seen much of it yet.

              Really looking forward to your thoughts on the next couple of episodes

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              • Stoney
                Stoney commented
                Editing a comment
                Being in a position of not viewing from a minority perspective can definitely mean missing these things though, so I appreciate having it in mind more for rewatches and heading onwards.

            • #52
              1.06 Captive

              Another very strong episode. This show is just scarily consistent!

              My overall feeling at the end of this one was how throughout we were seeing how characters use others and manipulate them. What made it really incredibly interesting was that we weren't just seeing current day incidents of people trying to use and control each other, but also repercussions of such dynamics. Most clearly as the episode's main focus, in Vera's attempt to push back against her mum. But also from others we'd seen happen before in Erica hiding the truth about Tony's supplier and between Tony and Doreen.

              Franky is totally correct that returning Tony to a different cell block made her vulnerable as Tony is quickly used by Jacs to unsettle the 'family' of inmates around Franky. Tony starts a fight openly with Franky to back up the lie she is encouraged to tell Doreen, all to presumably use her to sow seeds of discontent about being under Franky's protection. It's all power games and manipulation. Reporting Franky to Erica could have been done alone but isolation would only be temporary and Jacs wants to maximise damage, not just to achieve a temporary removal. And so Franky is also made vulnerable by events and ends the episode in isolation. The brutality of Jacs in this episode is really clear, and with her smug smile at the end it's impossible to believe it isn't something she actually enjoys.

              So that element of 'captive' echoes alongside this throughout the episode. People are captive by circumstance as the prisoners clearly are and Bea's inability to contact Debbie easily underlining the outside/inside split of being an inmate. And this of course reflects Vera's situation. We learn, through the usual clever interplay of flashbacks with current times, how Vera was raised in an abusive environment with a mother that smothered, undermined and controlled her. When Vera has been coming to work at the prison she has been escaping her captivity (as Bea did going from the outside to the inside). But, whilst not an inmate in Wentworth, Vera isn't totally free there either.

              Vera's sense of social awkwardness, brilliantly emphasised with the mix of the humiliating memory of her teenage kiss interrupted by her mother and her bumbled attempt to get a date with Fletch, also holds her back in her dynamics at work. Needing to keep everyone unaware of her home life and to mask her inability to join in work gatherings. The truth of this now, that it is not a cloyingly intense romantic relationship with boyfriend 'Adam' but an intensely suffocating relationship with her mum, finally becomes understood. The flashbacks as always were excellently used and the cleverness in such small details adds such depth to what they are showing. We infer so much about her childhood and ensuing insecurities from Vera using a guide book to try to apply makeup before work and it marrying with her spoilt attempt to explore that growing sense of self as a teen. She's been held back significantly through her upbringing.

              As Vera dares to push her independence and right to happiness and a social life by joining the other guard on a night out, she is rapidly punished by her mum. After all her defiance wasn't just in going out but the realisation of that threatening moment of standing over her mum, the pillow which she could suffocate her with in hand. Perhaps Vera, like Bea, could eventually be pushed too far by her abuser. But her mum is confident of the hold she can have over her daughter after so many years. The first flashback scene showed how brutally she has attempted to make her feel worthless on a basic level to destroy her confidence and confine her, restrict her. So she chooses the perfect punishment by invading where Vera is daring to try to be her own person. By going there and revealing some truths her mum really pulls the rug out from under Vera's illusion of who else she might be. This is another complicated officer/inmate relationship after all.

              So Vera is humiliated again. The truth she has been lying to them in quite an embarrassingly childish way and presenting a fantasy life exposed. But surely the restriction on her social and emotional development through being held back all those years plays its part here. Her immaturity in how to draw the lines and handle her work relationships in the first place. And this is so brilliantly reflected in her withdrawal to sit away from everyone on the stairs. Hiding in quite a childish fashion.

              When Vera returns home and her mum tries to guilt her further with kindness, making her food and trying to draw back the walls around her/them, she doesn't know that her attempt to pull Vera down and back under her control by going to her work actually resulted in creating a new opening for her. As we saw, Fletch correctly judged Vera's interest in him earlier and took the opportunity to track her down after her mum exposed her lies. He calls her on it and gets the confession of her emotional vulnerability. When he kissed her though, I couldn't help but wonder if this is yet another example of someone being used and Vera bouncing from the manipulations and control of one to being the victim of another.

              As always the lyrics are interesting in the soundtrack as Vera and Fletch kiss, and continues over into the scene at the end between Vera and her mum. Not much is used, I've bolded what was played in the spoilered lyrics below. I'd be interested in what others make of it, but it seems to me to be considering the damage that can be lying under the surface and how isolating it can be when you're hiding it. The falseness in the calm and quiet exterior of Vera in response to the deliberate emotional blackmail of her mum telling her Vera's all she's got at the end, deliberately ignoring the needs of her daughter in that attempt to close her back in, seemed to fit that.

              The Trouble with Templeton - Bleeders
              Spoiler:
              I'm not this kind emotion, no
              But sunny skies bound to break my eyes
              And you've got this kind of blueprint, yeah
              But broken hearts bound to make you smart

              And I don't know your face anymore
              'Cause you are so far gone

              But all my rage and scorn
              Let it off
              'Cause we're undone
              And fathers tell their sons
              Run along
              'Cause we're all lovers and bleeders
              As all lonely ones have to be


              Fever's raging beneath those bones
              But those tales you tell seem to hide you well
              And I can still see some fire there
              But lullabies bound to make you cry

              And I don't feel your heart anymore
              'Cause you are so far gone

              But all my rage and scorn
              Let it off
              'Cause we're undone
              And fathers tell their sons
              Run along

              'Cause we're all lovers and bleeders
              As all lonely ones have to be

              Along the lines of using people, manipulation and control again, I really enjoyed the continuation of Bea's story in this episode and how well they have been connecting her with the weekly episodes without her playing a very dominant part most of the time. Her desperation to get through to Debbie, the underlying fear that things are out of her control and could be going badly, are pretty much confirmed to her when Harry and Debbie visit. We see the visual change with Debbie, from a pretty gentle looking girl to more of a stroppy, scruffy, rebellious teen. Surely the influence not only of her father's neglect but that of Jacs' son. As Harry implies that he might hurt Debbie, Bea's fierce defence of her daughter and the flaring of the side within her which was brought out in the end by the abuse she suffered, what got her locked up in the first place, again lashes out. And as everyone is separated we see Debbie's true focus on her mum's wellbeing and clear distancing from her father.

              And why does Will keep helping Bea? As Liz points out, the chance it is just out of kindness is unlikely. Everyone has an angle when they are looking to use others and knowing how to press the right buttons is something Jacs could give lessons on. People are held captive in many ways and can be contained and trapped by their emotions. Tony is manipulated that way as she's caught in fear and the drive for self-preservation. We've seen Jacs' look to use the fear of Debbie being harmed against Bea in the past too, but the power dynamics between Will and Bea aren't the same. By being the gatekeeper to Debbie, to support and understanding, he wields a different weapon. But still potentially one that relies on manipulating the same emotional ties that can be used against her.

              I really liked the complexity of the situation that Erica has managed to weave around herself, trapping her into immobility in this episode. This has been so cleverly built up. I think it worked so well alongside a hint of some genuine emotions layered in the exchanges between Franky and Erica. I don't think Jacs necessarily knows that she has managed to out manoeuvre the Governor here but has seen the opportunity in Tony's return to trap Franky in a deceit that disrupts the clear favouritism and connection to the Governor she has been enjoying. Erica of course knows Tony is lying but can't expose this without bringing out her own corrupt use of her position and power. So she's caught watching Franky be punished and unable to intervene and her own boss, Channing(?), makes it clear he's noticed her attachment to Franky, suggesting very accurately that she's in a position of choosing between her career and her interest in an inmate.

              The obsession on showing examples of surveillance and degrees that the events of the prison are monitored and watched was on overload in this episode. Constant switches to the CCTV views on inmates, corridors and events. Or just literal shots of the cameras positioned around the prison. I was actually thinking about this factor before putting the episode on yesterday and wondering if it is going to build up to some footage that reveals a clue about Meg's murder(er). It has astounded me that there isn't some revealing footage in an environment that has such a prevalence of surveillance.

              Where the idea of surveillance is heading was something that had occurred to me as I was having a 'who dun it' ponder. Assuming they aren't going to pull a totally random person into it out of the blue, which wouldn't feel very in keeping with the show. We've seen several people have hidden sides to themselves in this show now and it has been a constant theme. So a further reveal of some history that triggered a scene between Meg and an existing character you wouldn't have expected it of could be done very believably. We are getting flashes of the potential in people, and learning about different influences on them all the time. Vera's moment of standing over her mum felt like a final button had been pushed, but of course it could have been feeding from a previous act of asserting herself violently that changed her tolerance lines. Hiding the truth about herself has been a main feature of her life for so long, and we even saw her doing it on an unrelated topic when hiding the disclosure she'd obviously made (possibly unknowingly) to the reporter in this episode too.

              I don't see her as the murderer I hasten to add, just another possibility. Fletch is far more likely out of the guards I think, but my point is that we are seeing these revealed layers in people all the time. It's very difficult to rule anyone out. Except possibly Jacs, who would have little to gain. Maybe.

              There was some really excellent acting in this episode. Kudos especially to both actresses playing Bea and Franky.

              So these are my immediate thoughts on the episode. I may well have more churn and pop up, but I'll be interested to hear what others think. I'm really hoping that I'm going to be able to get to the next episode without as big a gap next time.

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              • #53
                Great review Stoney!

                I must say that I have a real soft spot for Vera. Her mother is just so awful towards her and it always breaks my heart whenever I rewatch this episode and the truth about "Adam" is revealed. I refuse to even accept her mother did that unknowingly or by mistake. Given how wretched she is I suspect she cottoned on immediately that Vera had lied about having a boyfriend but decided to spill the beans anyway. The constant belittling, abuse and manipulation is absolutely painful to watch and I think it adds extra layers to the way that both Ms Jackson and Erica sometimes speak to her as well.

                In the original Prisoner Vera also known as "Vinegar Tits" is the polar opposite to the Vera in Wentworth. Her hair is pulled back as tight as it possibly can be, she's by-the-book, cold, nasty and an early adversary to Bea Smith and the other women. This Vera is very different; warm, sympathetic and kind to the women even to a fault if you believed Ms Jackson. As much as it pains me I do love the revelations about her home life and her loneliness. I personally don't think Fletch is trying to manipulate Vera here. I think he's a little amused by her awkwardness and it can come teeter on the edge of being condescending or playing with her but I also get the sense of genuine affection and sympathy as well.

                I think the episode does a particularly good job of portraying the 'office dynamics' in this episode as Vera struggles with wanting to socialise with her co-workers. It particularly struck a cord with me when she told her mother that if she keeps turning her coworkers down then eventually they'll simply stop asking her. In my occupation I manage a team of 25 staff and this is something that's drilled into us as we go through what constitutes bullying etc. The mantra is to invite everybody to out-of-office events even if they repeatedly turn them down. It's easier said then done though and not realistic to how dynamics are formed and people act. By removing herself from all outside social activities Vera is ostracised not just from the fun going on outside of the prison walls but also the relationships forming between coworkers in a more relaxed environment, alliances inevitably forming, private jokes and other manners of things that inevitably will impact what's happening at work eventually. I thought they did a wonderful job of Vera standing back from a distance in the lunch room and overhearing the conversations taking place and secretly yearning to be a part of them.

                I agree that the Bea scenes were also great. I particularly loved the nuance in Debbie's portrayal and how even though she has outwardly changed a fair bit (as you say her change in appearance is very noticeable) and she's stroppy and closed off from Bea, the second Bea attacks Harry she is immediately concerned for her mother's wellbeing. And once again we see the fire in Bea as she launches herself at Harry when he even dares hint at abusing Debbie. As you mentioned, we've already seen a similar fire before which is how she ended up in Wentworth in the first place. However, I think Harry was even startled by Bea's confidence here and the confronting violence of the attack. I think it's a sign of how Bea is continuing to grow away from him.

                This is a great episode and it's leading to some fantastic episodes coming up. I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on the remainder of the season as we head into the last 4. I agree that the episode quality/strength is very consistent and remains so, IMO, for the rest of S1.




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                • #54
                  Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                  I must say that I have a real soft spot for Vera. Her mother is just so awful towards her and it always breaks my heart whenever I rewatch this episode and the truth about "Adam" is revealed. I refuse to even accept her mother did that unknowingly or by mistake. Given how wretched she is I suspect she cottoned on immediately that Vera had lied about having a boyfriend but decided to spill the beans anyway. The constant belittling, abuse and manipulation is absolutely painful to watch and I think it adds extra layers to the way that both Ms Jackson and Erica sometimes speak to her as well.
                  Vera's mum definitely went to her work to try to damage whatever was making her feel secure enough to start pushing back. It is the place Vera exists outside of her influence so is easy to identify as the contribution to Vera's sense of self which was shifting and that she wanted to quell. She may not have known what Vera had lied about or how she had presented herself to her colleagues, but she was aiming to disrupt the image others had of her and make Vera feel small and ashamed. It's even possible that her mum has caught her in similar lies before or assumed that Vera was hiding that she lived with her mum and might have claimed to have a partner. How much she knew for sure or not, the desire to spoil it was her clear motivation and it was a malicious and very deliberate punishment.

                  In that sense it is interesting to consider it against Harry's attempt to try to assert control over Bea again by implying he could hurt Debbie. The attempt to control her backfires though as Bea has already broken free of him to some degree. I agree with you he was shocked by her confidence and attack. But that fear for Debbie and sense of being unable to protect her can still be played, he'll just learn to do it from a distance perhaps. He's abusive and probably enjoys a sense of power over her which can still be somewhat satisfied, even if she isn't physically submissive anymore as she's still a literal captive and unable to be there for Debbie.

                  I really like your point about learning of Vera's background adding layers into her other interactions. I can really see how the earlier episodes will be viewed very differently when you know the characters and their backgrounds too.

                  As much as it pains me I do love the revelations about her home life and her loneliness. I personally don't think Fletch is trying to manipulate Vera here. I think he's a little amused by her awkwardness and it can come teeter on the edge of being condescending or playing with her but I also get the sense of genuine affection and sympathy as well.
                  Yes, even if the truth of her situation isn't a pleasant one and we can feel for the character, it makes her really intriguing to watch.

                  I can definitely see the idea of some genuine affection from Fletch. Thinking back, he did look amused in quite an affectionate way by her obvious hangover. He could definitely have gone for a kiss because he knows she likes him, he likes her, and he's trying to reassure her. I wasn't really thinking of it as consciously manipulative, even if my initial reaction leaned more to thinking that it was taking advantage of her vulnerability. The issue is that I feel there will be a degree to which Vera would have been grateful that he came to speak to her, in and of itself. To have the start of a relationship, at any level, tied with a sense of gratitude is potentially not the best situation.

                  Although to be honest, Vera is likely to be on the back foot in any romantic relationship. I definitely could see it not turning out to have any negative repercussions from how this (if it becomes anything) started. But Vera as a product of her upbringing could position him as the replacement dominant figure, where she's trying to fit to what she believes he'll want and the risk of that becoming a part of their dynamic too. She's default vulnerable to me, even if there is nothing deliberate at play.

                  Great thoughts about the office dynamics and Vera's sense of isolation from her colleagues and the difficulty of constantly trying to include everyone. Being the outsider would become inevitable if everyone else is doing things you aren't involved in. The little exchange between her and the other guard after their night out was quite lovely and they clearly had had a great time together. It is horrible to think that her mum's appearance could have damaged that, but that guard had seemed very amused by the revelations Vera's mum made, so it may well have disrupted her interest in spending time with Vera. Which is of course exactly what her mum wanted. We'll see.

                  This is a great episode and it's leading to some fantastic episodes coming up. I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on the remainder of the season as we head into the last 4. I agree that the episode quality/strength is very consistent and remains so, IMO, for the rest of S1.
                  Really genuinely looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

                  EDIT: Also, very interesting how different they have opted to make the character from the original show. Do you feel that they are making changes that look to present more complex characters, and/or ones that viewers will engage with differently because of the more modern production years?

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                  • #55
                    Sorry, sorry for the delay. Been so busy and then sick. Will try to catch up to the next few episodes very soon!

                    I really do love this show, vampmogs. I think it’s one of the most exciting shows I’ve seen in a while! Going to hopefully watch the next two episodes tomorrow night.

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                    • vampmogs
                      vampmogs commented
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                      Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

                  • #56
                    Disappointed I haven't managed to fit in watching another episode yet this week. I'll definitely look to fit in episode 7 this weekend. Can't wait to see what comes next. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts too Aurora.

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                    • #57
                      Ugh later than I wanted again, but here are my initial thoughts on episode 7...

                      1.07 Something Dies*

                      (*I think. Amazon lists it as 'Something Does', which makes far less sense.)

                      This was a really intense episode. The flashbacks had a different tone and were used in a bit of a different way this time. It felt slightly different to me anyway. But very fitting to the odd combination of avoidance and review that Will was applying to his past I think. And the fact that he was under the influence for a great deal of the episode. It worked really well. And I loved the way that it felt like Will's downwards spiral ran alongside Jacs' build up to trying to take Franky down. We find out it has been five months since we'd left Franky in isolation, falsely accused of giving Tony drugs. We see the responses of the other inmates to Jacs and her confident top dog manipulations from the start. The hold Jacs had been trying to get in Franky's absence and over Franky's group is instantly clear. One is trying to get tighter control as the other is actively losing it.

                      Control is such a key feature of the episode again. Control and power. And how how you treat people affects their responses to you and impacts on your success. There were so many examples of how people interact and impact each other. Vera/Fletch, Fletch/Will, Erica/Franky, Will/Bea, Jacs/Bea, Doreen/Liz, Bea/Franky and on and on. In some cases people were trying to empower others and in other cases using others and manipulation were the goals.

                      We gather that Will has, whilst packing up Meg's belongings, found confirmation that she had an abortion just three weeks before her death. They had been trying for a baby so surely this is because she knew it was Fletch's child? I'm still going with the assumption they were having an affair. It is understandable that this trigger pushes Will into a whole different area of grief and anger. But he's struggling to reign himself in at all. The scene where he is taking line after line of drugs and drinking excessively, leading to him passing out as Fletch arrives, was just so beautifully shot. The camera work and movement really did convey the spiral and loss of barriers, the struggle and inability to keep himself together. His literal lack of stability and the constant movement were so well considered. And it contrasts so well to the forceful angry focus he had when we started the episode and saw him having sex with some random woman in his apartment, his eyes fixed furiously on a picture of him and Meg.

                      The flashbacks, as I said, whilst excellently used again didn't quite feel the same. The small snippets of insight into Will's relationship with Meg had a sense of reflection and review to them. That he was thinking back on specific moments as he reconsidered his relationship in light of her betrayal. 'Something dies' perfectly covers the process of the episode for Will and the focus on his need to reconsider what he thought he knew. And sadly, the person most fixed in finding out the answer to Meg's murder has, for the time being, washed his hands of caring.

                      His seeming shutdown of emotion was contrasted so well by Bea's sacrifice at the end of the episode. We saw her trying to stay true to herself in being loyal to Franky and also approaching Jacs. Trying to point out that violence wasn't a positive approach. And she was punished for it and put in a position where she had to choose. Having chosen to stop Jacs violently abusing Franky, something we understand Bea would feel especially passionate about. She then has to accept that she can't always be the person she wants to be in this place. As she is offered the opportunity of seeing Debbie she has to reject it, something that goes against her heart and personal wants and sees her breaking down in grief. Sadly, we know that Jacs has a hold on Debbie that Bea isn't even aware of, we've now seen Brayden giving her drugs. As 'something dies' also seems to fit Jacs' attempt to rule the prisoners in Franky's absence, the possibility of Jacs' wish for revenge on Bea now has a horribly ominous feel to it for Debbie.

                      Debbie is clearly being led astray by Jacs' son and is so deeply linked to pulling Bea's strings in every direction. Jacs uses the constant threat of hurting Debbie to try to keep Bea in line. I wonder if Will even registered Debbie, and if he did at the time, if he'll even remember. As much as he does try to influence and manipulate at points, is rude to the inmates, is so horrible to Vera in rejection of her care, I don't get the impression that he is inherently a cruel person. But still, there is an element to Will using the offers to help Bea access Debbie to try to gain a friend amongst the inmates and Liz's warning nothing is for nothing seems confirmed by his drug withdrawal induced spiteful comment about waiting for payback from his last favour. And then there's power hungry Erica even withholding the comfort of a visit from Debbie to try to force Bea's hand in giving her the name of her attacker. There is surely some disaster coming here.

                      We had the theme of betrayal running over several of the dynamics that fed those which were featuring control and power. Doreen's sense of betrayal from her belief that Franky would give Tony drugs leads her to be caught on Jacs' side for a time, Jacs' sense of betrayal that Vinnie is cheating on her and humiliating her feeds into her need to be top dog and respected, Will's sense of betrayal feeds into his rejection of the memories of his marriage.

                      With so many other betrayals shown, we have to wonder where they will lead, what their fallout will be. There's Franky's reaction to Erica's engagement ring and Erica's continued acceptance of her unfair isolation. Erica warns Franky that things have changed, but I don't think she wants to face that isn't a one-way situation. Then there is the consideration of what will come from Fletch's hurt at Meg aborting his (I assume) child. And we also have to wonder what effect Debbie's sense of betrayal in Bea sending her away is going to have. How much further it will turn her towards the danger that Brayden represents. What will be the fallout of Jac's humiliation? Betrayal, power, control act as such destructive forces when people are under such constant emotional pressures.

                      But to give some breadth and depth we also have Doreen and Liz making peace. With Doreen struggling in her role as peer worker, Liz is watching over her and repeatedly offering her a link back into the group; showing forgiveness and care with constancy, until Doreen is finally able to turn to her. And this is a really impactful scene between them, showing real emotional sentiment, especially when it follows such threat and violence.

                      This display of loyalty is reflected elsewhere against the betrayals too. Bea's initial attempt to smooth things over is a supportive act and her determination to take on the personal risk of insisting she speaks to Franky to warn her. And after Will's cruelty towards Vera we saw not only her wish to still be sympathetic and encourage Fletch to help him, which he does, but Fletch's loyalty to Vera in his initial reaction to Will's abysmal behaviour (I can't help but wonder though if a hidden relationship with Meg drove some of his response there).

                      But Fletch does seem genuinely gentle towards Vera in the episode and caring. His attempt to see if she wanted to go out fell by the wayside as hinting isn't going to work easily with someone as ill experienced to getting interest/attention as Vera. I really hope that he is being genuine. His willingness to follow her suggestion to visit Will may have saved his life, although he has now helped him multiple times in hiding his addictive behaviour. Behaviour it was interesting to see is an old habit returned and one that he shared with Meg when they first met. The scene of his uniforming implying that she had been instrumental perhaps in him taking a different route and cleaning up and his descent back into such destructive behaviour makes more sense. Both as a coping mechanism that is familiar to him and as a rejection of Meg's part in his life.

                      The grasp for power by Jacs really drives this episode alongside Will's discovery and grief. As with all the actors she conveys so much so often from just the littlest expressions. Her reaction to mention of Vinnie's disloyalty is swift and hard. As she slaps Simmo we see her pain and anger, her humiliation. But she isn't alone. We see her violence responded to in kind by Franky who gets some payback for the steampress to her hand of x episodes ago. As much as we are led to see layers and understand Jacs, she is presented as someone who welcomes violence and force. Bea learned the hard way that she doesn't want to be reached and reasoned with.

                      So Franky's violent response in retaliation for what was done to Bea, for all the manipulations and cruelty endured in her absence, for the threat made to her and intention Jacs had to violently rape her just to humiliate and hurt her, seems milder in comparison. Still wrong, still about power and control, but on a different level. Whilst both seem to bring them satisfaction, there is a high level of sadistic pleasure with the rage and displaced retaliation Jacs seems to operate by. Franky appears to have an underlying drive of 'family' and loyalty through protection, whereas Jacs rules by fear.

                      Violent reactions driven by emotions again are dotted through the episode. Will's sexually aggressive behaviour, Jacs' slap, the ordered attack on Bea, Franky's punch to the door, her responsive attack on Jacs. In an episode which yet again featured cctv as Erica watches Franky, the lack of any that can be utilised at any point something violent happens within the prison seems astounding. I'm still hoping this is going to tie in to the murder somehow.

                      The lack of supervision that plays a part in how these things unfold is emphasised by Will's exiting at crucial parts being critical to the attacks that happen. As he confiscates the happysack and leaves, Kim is attacked and as he exits the cell area Bea is attacked. Bea's absence, the lack of parental supervision, is leading to Debbie getting involved with someone dangerous. And then we have active supervision in Erica watching Franky and Jacs asking Doreen to watch Franky too, to report when she is vulnerable and alone. Tension runs over so much and these examples of watching are joined by the idea of false images as Will hallucinates Meg too. That works so well against him revisiting their relationship after his revelation possible fuels a belief his life had all been an illusion anyway. Yet more themes that repeat in an episode that is yet again crammed full of meaning and insight into the prisoners and prison guards of Wentworth.

                      I look forward to hearing what anyone else thought of this one.

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                      • #58
                        Great post Stoney !

                        I've been waiting for you to get to this episode. I think it's a big shift for the season and the moment when a lot of the rivalries and power plays come to head.

                        We knew from the very first episode that these women could resort to brutal violence when they felt it was necessary but for the majority of the season Jacs and Franky have been engaging in psychological warfare. I think this episode acts as a reminder of how dangerous their world can be as the gloves come off and Jacs has Bea brutally bashed and then Franky attacks her in retaliation. And of course the horrific plan to gang rape Franky is beyond the pale and a sign of how truly heinous and evil Jacs really is. Say what you will about Franky but that's a line she'd never cross.

                        I love the actress who plays Simmo and she does such a wonderful job of bringing that character to life. I don't know how much it resonates with overseas viewers but, my god, she is so authentic and real to a certain type of person in Australia and I find it kind of mesmerising because it feels so genuine. The moment Jacs slaps her is just great and one of my favourite minor scenes. I think Jacs comes across as really threatening and dangerous throughout this entire episode, whether she's inflicting violence upon the women herself or having her crew do it for her.

                        I like that you point out the difference between Franky and Jacs here and what motivates them. They're both vying for power but Franky attacks Jacs not just to exact revenge on her for the planned rape (and honestly Jacs is lucky Franky stopped where she did as if someone planned that attack on me... I don't think I would stop at their hand) but as retribution for Bea. Franky is protecting her family and she now considers Bea part of that family. On the other hand, Jac's crew desert her to save their own skin and I'd wager this is because their loyalty to Jacs is born out of fear/intimidation then it is genuine feeling or loyalty. Simmo is probably the closest we've seen to Jacs having a genuine friendship with someone and even that ends with a hard backhand to the face and an order to move on. This isn't to say I don't think Franky's desire for power could never cause conflict between her and her "family" but there's absolutely genuine feeling/love there that is reciprocal between her and her girls.

                        Bea once again shows her determination and grit when she confronts Jacs about her plan. And then, even amidst the beating, she warns Doreen from pushing the panic button and still manages to warn Franky about Jac's plan. To be honest, I've always kind of seen this beating as something Bea was simply going to have to go through eventually. She's been poking the bear all season and it was inevitably going to happen the more confident and brazen Bea become. As horrific and awful as it was I never got the sense for a minute that the beating would cause Bea to withdraw into herself or have the desired effect Jacs wanted. If anything, I've always believed this would inevitably make her stronger.

                        I've watched this episode numerous times and I had completely missed that they said Franky had been in isolation for 5 months I mean, that certainly explains how different the dynamics were in the prison and the control Jacs had over H-Block but for some reason I thought it had been a few weeks at most. That's a really long time to be locked up so long.

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                        • #59
                          vampmogs I completely agree about Bea. Jacs is misjudging her to a great extent and it reminds me of that first meeting they had when Jacs came back and Bea stood up to her over making her drink and told her what she was in for. Finally turning on her abusive husband strengthened Bea against succumbing to bullying. To some degree. She doesn't, at this point, want to be on the frontline in the power plays and will try to smooth things over, but she won't just be pushed around and beaten down. Figuratively, even if it is done literally. We're reminded in her motivation for going to speak to Jacs that suffering physical violence is something that Bea sadly has a hell of a lot of experience of at Harry's hands. It doesn't feel surprising that being beaten, even so horribly, isn't going to tear down her resolve. As awful as it is, she probably developed psychological mechanisms to try to mentally shield herself against what was being done to her physically years before she ever even met Jacs. I think this episode really shows that Bea is potentially a leader that can draw people together. Debbie is her weak spot though and sadly Jacs knows this and she is sadistic.

                          I love the callback to pressing the button they did as Bea is attacked. It is so well filmed and her stunned response when she is first smacked against the sink and starts to comprehend what is happening is so very well acted. Logically for someone on the outside there is no doubt that you should press the button and report those that attacked you. But it isn't that simple when you aren't on the outside and have to survive within the social structures inside afterwards too.

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                          • #60
                            Yeah Bea was very much protecting Doreen in that scene. Had Doreen pressed it she would have soon faced Jac's wrath herself so Bea was pretty selfless in withstanding the attack to ensure she doesn't suffer the same fate. Considering that she was being beaten in the first place because she was standing up for Franky, it's evident that Bea has the wellbeing of the other women at heart - unlike Jacs who only cares about control.

                            This is pretty much Jac's downfall and why she's so threatened by Bea. Whilst she rules with fear, Bea has the respect and care of the women because they actually like her. I don't think a Top Dog can just rule on likability because that would be naive in such a dangerous environment. Many of these women are just not good people, after all. But it certainly gives you an advantage over someone who's rule will breed nothing but animosity and enemies of those under your control. The second someone like Bea enters the prison control of the women becomes tenuous because the women understandably take a liking to them over someone who does nothing but control, threaten and abuse them. Franky currently has this advantage over Jacs as well.

                            But yes, Jacs still has a card up her sleeve with Debbie and that's disconcerting to say the least.


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                            • Stoney
                              Stoney commented
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                              Especially with Debbie feeling rejected by her mum now too.
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