Wentworth has wasted no time in ramping up the tension in season five and in episode two, we see Franky Doyle back behind bars.
But she’s showing no signs of wanting to slip back into her old role as the prison’s ‘top dog’. Far from it. She’s so far refused to get back into her prison blues.
Franky has been accused of murder, but is protesting her innocence. And it seems her old sparring partner, Joan “The Freak” Fergusson, may have a hand in seeing her return to Wentworth Correctional Facility.
(And seriously, can Pamela Rabe get ANY freakin’ better in playing the chillingly sociopathic Joan?)
As Frankie is led through the prison gates, the women of Wentworth are rejoicing – especially Boomer – who hope she’ll restore the natural order of things.
“Look out, Frankie’s back. Now you’ll see what a real Top Dog is like”.
Of course, that has Kaz more than a little worried. Her main concern: that Frankie will be after her and looking to run the show again.
“Hi. I’m Kaz. Apparently you’re going to give me lessons on how to be a top dog”.
“Oh, so this is the bit where you cock your leg and spray in the corner”.
“You’re funny. No, this is a courtesy call to see if you and I are going to have any problems”.
What everyone has failed to realise is that Frankie doesn’t plan on staying behind bars. She’s not planning a breakout, but has faith in the justice system to realise that she didn’t kill Mike Penissi.
However, she soon realises that ‘other forces’ are working against her. Police have found the murder weapon and guess what? It has her DNA all over it.
It’s the same weapon she’d taken off the young guy, a client, who’d been planning to kill Jasper. Frankie had wiped it and dumped it, but someone followed her and used it to kill Penissi.
Of course, the Homicide Detectives don’t believe her. They have her DNA on the gun, she didn’t report that Penissi was stalking her and there were no calls for help. It looks bad and she knows it.
Her only ‘hope’ of finding out who set her up is The Freak and, ironically, she may be the only one, who can stop the other women from going after her.
It’s certainly not Kaz, who’s angered the other inmates by declaring her ‘untouchable’. After paying a visit to Frankie, she drops in on Allie and ‘explains’ she wasn’t protecting Fergusson. She was actually protecting the other women.
That line of argument doesn’t work on Allie. She’s hell bent on revenge and tries to enlist Frankie in her plans, admitting she was unprepared in her first attempt at jailhouse justice.
Frankie’s advice: “Don’t try it. You’ll never win”.
It’s at this point that Frankie hits rock bottom. She’s sacked her lawyer after he advised her to cop a plea and even her lover, Bridget, doesn’t believe that she’s been set up.
After rebuffing Boomer’s efforts at a welcome home, Frankie loses it and realises she could be facing years behind bars for a crime she didn’t commit.
In a confrontation with the Freak, she accuses her of having Jasper killed and using the same person to set her up. With a fork held to Joan’s throat she says:
“You’re ‘f***ing lucky that I’m not the old me”.
And that’s what episode two revolves around. Frankie’s back and she’s not the ‘old’ Frankie. She was guilty of the first crime, but not of the second. She rejected that life but that life has come back for her.
The closing scenes are of Frankie pulling on her prison clothes, while the Freak addresses herself in the mirror. She doesn’t see the prison garb, but her prison uniform as Governor of Wentworth.
And it’s Vera who looks to be her next victim. She’s again told Joan that there was no plot to help Bea ‘get her’.
And in one of the scariest scenes of the series, Joan stretches out her arms with a beatific smile on her face as she utters.
“Watch out Vera, from the ashes I’m rising’.
As for the other plot lines, it’s further revealed that Lizzie has returned to her lagging ways and is the mysterious ‘witness x’ who will be giving evidence against Sonia Stevens (Sigrid Thornton).
Early release is being offered in return for her turning snitch. But at what cost to her? Will she be found out? Or worse, will she be thrown to the wolves once she steps foot in the witness box.
Vera’s lover, Jake Stewart, has realised that there is no escaping The Freak, even if he offers to pay back the money she loaned him. Instead, he turns to drugs. Again.
Maxine leaves Wentworth to undergo treatment for breast cancer, leaving Boomer totally bereft.
And it’s ONLY episode two.
Nikole Gunn has been a watcher of TV since the 70s. A writer of words since the 80s. A reader of the news since the 90s; mostly on Triple M, Nova and Gold.
Twitter - @NikoleGunn