Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Battle Lines, S3.11

As the sun comes up on the prison, Sylvia and Gina arrive at work. Sylvia still hasn't recovered from the Denny/Shell storm of "Uninvited Guests," but says she feels a "sense of duty" - hence, the early return to her beloved cons of Larkhall.

But she’s a little less generous when she hears that Helen’s been made Acting Number One. As Sylvia grouses over this bit of news, Helen walks up behind them.

Helen: “Sylvia? You feeling better?”
Sylvia: “As well as can be expected, mum.”
Helen: “Enough to be Acting Principal Officer when Jim’s away?”

Why, yes! Sylvia’s well enough for that.

Helen warns her she has her work cut out: Fenner and Betts are away, and Di’s in a straitjacket out on “compassionate leave” - compassionately caring for her sick old mother.

Sylvia: "Don't worry, mum - I'll be running a tight ship."

Would that be like a ship named 'Titanic...?'

G-Wing. New inmate, Femi, wants breakfast.

Well, I can only guess she wants breakfast, since she doesn’t speak a word of English.

The 2 Julies, bless their wacky conjoined heart, try to help. They give Femi eggs and toast, and say they'll make her something she can eat for dinner - something delicious-sounding, called “smash”.

Nikki: “Why don’t they give her some sodding English classes? She hasn’t got a clue what’s happening to her.”

The Julies sympathize - they hear her crying all night long. Nikki says she’s got 6 kids on the outside.

Just then, the noisy entrance of Larkhall’s newest inmates – the Peckham Boot Gang - shatters the early morning calm of the wing.

Sylvia brings them to their cells: "Right. Purvis sisters in here. McKenzie, you'll have to wait till I have a bed ready."

Al McKenzie on the right. Tina Purvis, younger sister of Maxine, on the left:

And Maxi Purvis, head of the PBG:

Nikki spots Helen strolling across the wing.

Nikki (calls out): "Miss Stewart?"
Helen: “Hiya, Nikki. No more news, I'm afraid.”
Nikki: “No, it's not about me - it's the new Nigerian woman, Femi. I'm really worried about her.”
Helen: “Why? What's the problem?”
Nikki: “The problem is, she doesn't understand a bloody word anyone says to her. Look, some of us are trying, but we're just not getting through.”

Helen: “If she's got specific problems, she has got access to the language line.”
Nikki: “How does she know that? She needs a translator on hand, at least until she gets her routine sorted."

But Helen just stares at her.

Nikki: "Come on Helen, I thought you were meant to be all powerful these days.”
Helen (dismissively): “I'll look into it.”

And... she walks away.

Nikki (calls after her): “Is it right that she got eight years?”
Helen: “The judge said he wanted to set an example.”
Nikki: “So some bastard drugs trafficker pays her a pittance to swallow smack and she gets hung out to dry?”
Helen: (annoyed): “I don't make the bloody law, Nikki!”

Well, in here you do, Helen. And you could get Femi some help. Ya know, with a little effort.

Purvis cell. Al comes in, annoyed she still doesn't have a bed. Or maybe she's just annoyed because no one understands her.

Al: "Pessinmeabootoutthairr,goodnproprr! D'they want me tuhwtrehsumthinorwha??"

Tina jokes that no one wants to share a cell with her, but Maxi shuts her down.

Maxi: "If we're gonna clean up in here, we gotta stick together, alright? First we gotta suss things out. See who calls the shots in this dump."

Al: "Aye. Finethetoppwagandthennwesmackerrr, right?"
Maxi: "We watch her first. We see how she operates, who's close to her. Then we work our way in. Wait till she least expects it."

Cut to Helen walking in the yard. The good doctor Waugh runs up behind her. And asks if she wants to attend a conference on drug abuse and mental illness.

Helen: "Oh god, another dry academics. I haven't worked in the field for decades. No thanks."

Helen don't need no stinkin' research! Drugs and mental illness? Why, that's just crazy talk. *cough PamJolly *cough cough DST*. Besides, it's not like there'd be MICAs (Mentally Ill Chemically Addicted) in a place like Larkhall.

Thomas is presenting a paper tho and wants Helen to go with him.

But Helen has other things on her mind - she's suddenly concerned about Femi. She tells Thomas that Femi doesn't speak English, "but it's not just the language - she's got dietary issues, religious issues...."

Thomas the Miracle Worker doesn't speak Nigerian, but "there's a few things he can try."

Helen is incredibly grateful. She reaches out and grabs his arm. "You'd be doing me such a favor."

So wait.... Helen's grateful for any help Thomas can offer, but when Nikki tries to help she gets rebuffed??

Dr Waugh-the-Fuck says she can return the favor "by going to the conference."

The dorm. Yvonne walks in as Charlotte Myddleton's packing to move to an open prison.

Yvonne notices Charlotte's not wearing her ring. Charlotte says she 'lost it' (translation: she smoked it). Yvonne goes to Buki's bed, lifts up the mattress, and gives Charlotte back the ring.

Yvonne: "This hit's on me."

(ok, bye Charlotte! You've been boring and predictable in your short time here).

Yvonne walks out of the cell and.... right into a bodycheck by Al McKenzie.

Yvonne: "Oi!"
Al: "Aye? What's yer problem?"
Yvonne: "Well, when you barge into someone like that, it's usual to apologize."
Al (smirks): "Must've been my mistake.... hen."
Yvonne (glares): "Oh, very nearly was. Cock."

Thomas's office. He's sitting with Femi, trying to break down the language barrier. It's like a game of Charades. Charades AND Pictionary: Thomas shows her pictures of his family and gets Femi to draw one of her own.

Back in the dorm, Shaz and Crystal find Al is their new cellmate. They introduce themselves.

Al: "Look like I give a shit, do I?"
Shaz (mocks her accent): "Okay! Where've they shipped you in from, then?"

Al doesn't find that funny. In fact, she finds it the very opposite of funny, and shoves Shaz up against the wall.

Al: "Think mesumthin talks funny, do ya?"
Shaz: "No. I was just havin' a laugh."
Al: "Do ya know what happened to the last wee shite who had a laugh at me, do ya? (Shaz shakes her head). Aye. And she can't tell ya, neither. Cuz I sliced her tongue in two with a razor blade."

(btw - I had to rewind that like, 6 times to figure out what she was saying....)

On the wing, Femi shows the women the drawing of her kids. Buki makes a crack about the picture, and Yvonne responds with a fierce, "piss off, Buki!"

Near tears, Femi points to the drawing and tells them the names of her children.

Babs: "Can't you phone them, Femi?" She mimes holding a phone. "Telephone?"
Yvonne: "What's she supposed to phone with? Fresh air?"

So Nikki collects phone cards from them and takes Femi to call her family.

Crystal and Shaz walk by just as Buki comes back.

Buki: "Oi! What thievin' little tit's been helpin' themselves, then?"
Crystal: "What you on about?"
Buki: "My ring! Some bastard nicked it!"
Yvonne: "This bastard. That a problem?"
Buki: "I was savin' it, weren't I?"
Yvonne: "But it wasn't yours to save. Don't worry - it's back with its rightful owner."

Buki (looks at Shaz): "Yeah, well, some tit must've told her where to look."
Yvonne: "They didn't have to. I thought, 'now, where would a halfwit like Buki stash her gear?' And bingo! there it was."
Buki: "Well, anymore of my gear goes missing, and someone's gonna pay, big time."
Yvonne (angry): "Piss off, Buki! We're busy."

Buki stomps away.

Someone needs to seriously kick Buki's ass.

The PBG has been watching all of this. Al mutters.... something about Shaz the "gob shite," and Maxi gives the okay for an ass kicking.

On the phone, Femi gets increasingly agitated.

She hangs up crying and runs up to her cell. Nikki follows.

Nikki: "What is it? What's happened?"
Femi (crying): "Agawaohtimama! Mimumamishashalemamma shufumiladyshashacoo!"
Nikki: "I'm sorry, doll, I don't understand!"

Femi: "Wellatsheffusshucoomeofeckshinafulatsdidjacoo!"

(seriously - between Femi and Al, I have NO idea what the fuck's going on. Maybe Femi and Al should've been cellmates?)

Enter Sylvia. "Alright, what's going on here?"
Nikki: "I don't know. Look at the state she's in."
Sylvia: "Jungle telegraph, was it? I didn't hear any drumming."
Nikki: "Oh, piss off, Hollamby!"
Sylvia: "Watch your mouth, Wade! And as for her, she understands far more than she's letting on. Now get to work, before I put you both on report."

Nikki walks out of the cell, but Femi doesn't move fast enough for Sylvia. She's all, "come on, hurry up! Move it! Hurry up!"

Back in the dorm, Crystal waits while Shaz fixes her hair, carefully cultivating her platinum spikes. "Ya can't rush it, Crystal. This is art, this is."

But Crystal can't appreciate art, so she leaves.

Shaz bends down to rinse her hands, but when she looks up:

Al punches Shaz in the face and shoves her to the ground.

Al: "That's fer taking the piss."

Then she flings Shaz around the cell. "That's cuz you annoy me, gobshite."

Then she gives her a kick to the gut. "And that? That's just cuz I felt like it."

She grabs Shaz and pulls out a fork.

"Think yerself lucky. The last girl I attacked with one of these found she couldn't have babies. Make myself clear, do I?"

Incredibly, yes. I understood every word you said, Al. Enunciation is a good thing.

On the wing, Yvonne and Nikki watch from the landing as Femi tries to make another call.

Nikki: "She didn't eat a thing tonite."
Yvonne: "She's not your problem, Nikki."
Nikki: "She's a human being, innit she?"

Yvonne: "No, a mum whose missing her kids. Like most of the women in here."
Nikki: "I'm just sick of sitting back and watching all the shit that goes on in here."
Yvonne: "Survival. That's what goes on in here, Nikki."

talk about it, Yvonne....

Femi's still trying to call out, slipping phone cards in the slot. But Buki, on line behind her, can't wait anymore. She grabs the cards from Femi. "They're no good. Finished! Used up!"

She throws the phone cards down and yanks the receiver away from Femi.

Yvonne strolls to her cell, picks up a mag, and starts perusing the latest London fashions. Until she hears a noise.

She grabs the Larkhall weapon of choice - plastic cutlery - and walks to her bed. And pulls back the covers:

The Julies' cell. Julie J's all excited for their release. She's got plans - big plans - for the two of them.

But they're interrupted by the sound of Femi crying in her cell.

Julie S (calls out from the window): "Don't cry, love!"
Julie J: "It'll be alright!"
Julie S: "We're all here for ya!"
Julie J: "And it gets easier, with time!"

Julie S (to Julie J): "She don't understand."
Julie J: "Maybe it's just as well. Cuz it don't get any easier, do it?"

Oh, this scene makes me incredibly sad. Nights are so fucking hard in places like that. During the day, you're busy with, whatever...work, school, rec. Staying away from screws, dealing with other inmates. But come nighttime, when you're in bed, everything just....stops. There's nothing BUT you and your thoughts.

In Yvonne's cell, she checks out Shaz's injuries and the bruises all over her body.

Yvonne: "Now we know where they got their name from."
Shaz: "And she threatened all sorts."
Yvonne: "And you swear you didn't wind her up?"

Shaz says she didn't. And that Al's only picking on her cuz she's little.

Yvonne: "So, you give some of it back. You know the score in here."
Shaz: "How can I when there's three of 'em?"

How, indeed?

Shaz says she's afraid to go back to her cell.

Yvonne: "Ya can't let her see she's got to ya. She'll never get off your back."
Shaz: "I wish Denny were here. She'd look after me."

Josh interrupts - it's lockdown and he takes Shaz to her cell.

Femi sees Sylvia on the phone in the screw's.... command center or whatever it is, and knocks on the window.

Sylvia: "No inmates in here. Can't you read the sign?"

Ummm... no, she can't.

Sylvia tells her to speak to her personal officer "if she's got something to say."

But Femi does have something to say - just not in English. She wants to use the phone. She tries to pull it away from Sylvia, Sylvia pushes her away. Femi tries again, and a shoving match ensues. Well, more like a jostling match. Either way, Sylvia ends up on the floor and Femi ends up with the phone.

Not for long, though. The screws come a-running, grab Femi and punch her in the stomach.

Nikki, watching from the landing, yells, "Oi! Leave her alone, you bastards! She's scared enough as it is!"

They drag Femi across the wing, pausing periodically to pummel her some more.

Nikki: "What are you doing? She can't understand what you're saying!"

So they turn to the universal language of Beatdown, and slam her headfirst into the bars.

No translation required.

Next morning. Gina unlocks Nikki's cell.

Nikki: "What have you done with her? Femi, where is she?"
Gina: "Down the block where she bloody belongs."
Nikki: "She should be in the hospital wing, the battering she got last night."
Gina: "Yeah, well, that's what happens when you manhandle officers."

Nikki says Femi's not a troublemaker, she's just scared. "The poor woman's going thru hell in here and all you lot do is kick the shit out of her!"

Gina: "You gonna shut it, Wade, or what?"
Nikki: "I wanna see her!"

But Gina's all, "tough shit."

Down the block. Helen comes to see Femi. To Gina, "how did she get those bruises?"

Gina: "She was out of control and they had to restrain her."
Helen: "What with? Size nines?"

She turns to Femi. "Femi? I'm Helen Stewart. I'm the Governor. I just want to talk to you. It's okay, I'm not gonna hurt you. No one is gonna hurt you, I promise."

Which to Femi, sounds like "FėmĪ? þgrxΔickЭ Ĥelen ŠŧёwǽЯt. Őβla đęě Θβla đåĦ.”

Back on the wing, Shaz gets cornered by the PBG.

Maxi: "It's not that I like violence, Shaz, cuz I don't. But I gotta get me point across. Now, did I get me point across?"

Shaz: "I suppose."
Maxi: "Good. Cuz it'd be a whole lot easier if we were all friends, don't ya think? So whaddya say? Wanna join us? Ya wanna be part of the Peckham Boot Gang?"

Shaz looks over and sees:

Shaz (to Maxi): "No, I don't. No offense, but I just like being on me own, really."

And she extricates herself from their huddle and walks over to Yvonne.

Al: "Whaddyawannmetuhdoo?"
Maxi: "Take her out."

Helen's office. She's FINALLY seen fit to speak to Femi in her office, all formal and shit. They're both on the phone with a Nigerian translator.

Long story short: the drug dealer Femi muled for has taken a few of her daughters, since Femi "owes" him. And there's no one to look after her younger kids.

Helen (to translator): "I need you to ask Femi if she's suffered any violence or bad treatment while she's been here at Larkhall."

Even Femi, who's been there a hot minute and doesn't speak English, knows snitches get stitches - the translator says that Femi doesn't want trouble, "she just wants to see her children."

Out in the yard. Buki's got a plan and she presents her business model to Maxi: she'll steal dope from the dealers on the wing, Maxi can sell it back to them, and they can split the profits.

(which might work once or twice, until they figured it out and killed Buki. Which I think would be a good S4 story line).

Maxi: "Us Peckham girls are gonna be running this place soon, Buki. Very soon. And you wanna be on our side - I like that. But there's a few of 'em in here who still need a bit more.... persuading. So you help me out with a little problem I got, then we talk business. How about that for a deal?"

Buki's like, 'cool.' Maxi wants her to get Shaz in the laundry room before lock-up. Buki asks if they're gonna kick her ass.

Suddenly Maxi's all, "watch it" - here comes Yvonne and her crew. And by 'crew,' I mean:

Oh, Yvonne - THAT'S who you run with now?? I gotta say, I'm cryin' a little on the inside.  And on the outside, too.

And here comes Miss Stewart, out in the yard, taking some fresh air. Why, coincidentally, so is Nikki.

Nikki: "Miss Stewart?"
Helen (unenthusiastically): "Hi, Nikki."
Nikki: "What the hell is happening to Femi? No one will tell me anything."
Helen: "It's been dealt with."
Nikki: "Yeah? Like it was dealt with last night?"
Helen: "If she wants to make a complaint about my officers...."

Nikki: "Your officers kicked the shit out of her. Now, I want to know exactly how badly hurt she is. And what, if any, treatment she is getting. And when she's getting off the block!"

Helen: "It may come as a huge surprise to you, but I'm the one running this prison, not you."
Nikki: "Look, I'm worried about that woman! I have a right to know how she is, haven't I?"
Helen: "Actually, Nikki, no you haven't."

And.... yep, she walks away.

Ok, technically Helen's correct: Nikki doesn't have a "right" to know Femi's status, but still... if Helen were any more apathetic, well, she'd be Karen Fucking Betts.

Mealtime. G-Wing. Yvonne and her posse are gathered.

Shaz says there's a party in the laundry room after lock-up. Someone got some vodka.

Yvonne: "Who told you that, then?"
Shaz: "Buki. She's alright there, once you get to know her."

Yvonne turns her steely gaze upon one crackheaded Buki.

Later, in the laundry room. Al waits inside for the "wee gob shite." Just then, the door opens.

Yvonne: "Surprise, surprise."

Al tries to punch her, but Yvonne grabs her arm, spins her around, and pushes her against the dryer.

Yvonne: "I'm not too early, am I? I'm not very good at party etiquette."
Al: "This isn't yer fight, Atkins."
Yvonne: "No, but I feel like a work out."

Al: "I get it. Shaz's wee sugar mommy, are ya?"
Yvonne: "No. I just think it's about time you picked on someone your own size. So what's it gonna be, Al? The easy way or the hard way?"
Al: "Suck...my...."

BAM!! Yvonne cuts her off with a blistering head butt. Then throws her down and slams the door shut.

Yvonne: "Hard way it is then."

And STOMPS on Al's stomach.

Back on the wing, the Julies, Babs, Crystal, and Nikki discuss the Femi sitch.

The Julies feel bad she was taken from her kids. Babs is upset she's bruised and down the block. And Crystal thinks they should protest.

Babs (to Nikki): "What do you think?"
Nikki: "I think we've all got too much to lose and the screws know that."

But Babs thinks it's "an outrage." So do Crystal and the Julies.

Babs (to Nikki. Again): "How about you, Nikki?"

Dammit, Babs! Can't you see Nikki's just trying to keep her head down and stay out of trouble?  You've become a bad influence on the wing, Barbara.

Laundry room. Round 2 - Battle in the Barnyard, the Cock & the Hen.

Al's still gettin' her ass kicked. BADLY.

Yvonne (in between kicks and grunts): "Just say 'when,' darling. Cuz whatever you can take, more of it to give!"

Al (finally): "Alright! Okay! Enough, ey?"

Yvonne stops and puts her foot on Al's throat. "There. You were slow, but you got there in the end, didn't ya?"

Just then, Shaz and Buki walk in. Yvonne makes Al apologize to Shaz. Then gives her another kick to the side: "now piss off back to your cell! And take your messenger with ya!"

Buki barely waits for Al before she turns tail and runs. Shaz just stands there with her mouth open.

Shaz: "Respect." She gives her a hug. "I won't forget this, Yvonne. Ever."
Yvonne: "Yeah, yeah. Just go on."

Shaz leaves and Yvonne slumps against the shelves, breathing heavily.

Back in Mad Maxi's cell, Al comes in all beat and bloody. Tina's surprised she got her ass kicked by the "poison dwarf" (hee!)

Al: "Got set up, dint I? Friggin' Atkins!"
Maxi (shocked): "What? The old lady?"
Al: "She's no pushover, Maxi. I swear to ya."
Maxi: "Maybe it's time I had a little chat with Atkins."

Out on the wing, the inmates have gathered and are talking loudly. Nikki stands on a chair.

Nikki (calls out): "Listen up everyone! Can I have your attention, please? (the inmates quiet down). Right. We all know Femi's been put down the block."

The inmates respond loudly. "Yeah!"

Nikki: "That's right - another woman gets solitary because she's depressed and lonely and makes herself heard the only way she can."
Sylvia: "That's enough politicizing, Wade!"
Nikki: "Meanwhile, Charlotte 'Middle Class' Myddleton got transferred to an open yesterday! (cries go up among the inmates). We all know why that is, don't we?"
Julie S: "Yeah! Because it's one rule for them..."
Both Julies: "...and another for the rest of us!"
Nikki: "I saw them give Femi a bloody good kicking yesterday. And I want reassurance here and now that she's alright!"

The inmates roar their approval.

Sylvia: "Reassurance, my eye! All you'll be getting from me is extra days. The lot of you!"
Nikki: "Right! Then I suggest that we all sit out here until we hear different!"

So the women sit, lock arms, and start chanting: "We shall not/we shall not be moved! We shall not/we shall not be moved!"

Sylvia yells to no avail. Then she radios for help. In a minute, there's a wall of screws standing outside the wing.

The inmates fall silent.

Nikki (to everyone): "They're just trying to psych us out. Keep still and they've no reason to attack!"

Sylvia: "Now, I suggest you ALL move. Before there's some real trouble."
Maxi: "She's right - stay here and we're gonna get stamped on. I say we take the 3's: we get above 'em and we take the advantage!"

Maxi and the PBG take off for G3, with some of the inmates following. Nikki and the others stay seated, but before long, they're rushed by the screws.

Mayhem, natch, ensues. Women run and yell; screws grab, push, pull, slap.

Some inmates fight back - Yvonne punches one officer, another con drop kicks a screw from the pool table, and the alarm just blares away.

Nikki and the others are forced to flee to the 3s, while the screws are forced to retreat.

Cut to.... a little while later. The wing has calmed down and the cons are lined up on G3, awaiting a visit from the Gov.

Who does not disappoint.

Helen: "Can someone please explain to me what the problem is?!"

Immediately, the inmates start yelling.

Nikki: (calls out over the noise) "This is a peaceful protest! All we wanna know is, what's happening to Femi, what state is she in, and is someone prepared to review her case?!"

Helen: "I understand your concern, but as acting prison Governor, it's not in my power to move Femi or influence how the courts have treated her!"

(Really, Helen? It's not "in your power to move Femi?"  I call boolshit.)

Nikki: "Well, what about the way she's been treated in here? Surely you've got some influence over that?!"

(Surely, she does....)

Helen: "I talked to Femi myself this morning and I can assure you, she's perfectly fine!"

Inmates: Roar!

Helen (yells): "I asked her if she'd experienced any sort of violence here at Larkhall, and specifically, if she wanted to make any sort of complaint - she declined!"
Nikki (yells back): "That's not good enough! We want the officers who assaulted her disciplined!"
Helen (yells even louder): "You wanted reassurance about Femi and I have given you that reassurance! Now I am not prepared to discuss this matter any further until you are all back in your cells!"

Inmates: Shout!

And just then, Maxi pours a cup of water down on Helen.

.... which is all the inmates need. A couple of them jump down on the safety net and just go buck wild.

Helen (yells): "This is a Governor's order! Get back to your cells NOW!!"

Too late! The women throw toilet paper, chairs, even a sink... down onto the safety net.

The screws slowly back up. When the closets and lockers start tumbling down the stairs, they beat a hasty retreat off the wing, locking the gate behind them.

Nikki tries in vain to calm the women. "Pack it in!" But Maxi has other ideas. "Who's coming down to the servery, then?!"

The women whoop and holler and run after Maxi.

Nikki: "You've ruined any chance of helping Femi! Can't you see that?"

Thus the Wing Elders look on, powerless to stop the other inmates.

Babs (anxiously): "Oh my god, what have we started?"
Nikki (morosely): "There isn't a chance in hell they'll listen to us now."
Yvonne (sagely): "Ya might as well sit back and enjoy the ride, girls. It's about time those bloody screws had a good scare. And that prat Stewart and all!"

Downstairs, the women break into the servery.

...and hand out the knives. A satisfied Maxi looks on.

Library. Helen and the screws regroup. (oh, of all the places you could go, Helen - you sully the library with your raggedy tag, motley screws)??

Helen: "Ok, everyone, our main focus is to contain the prisoners on G-Wing - make sure the trouble doesn't spread to other parts of the prison."

Sylvia objects to "giving them the run of the place." Helen thinks they'll give up once they're hungry.

Sylvia (scoffs): "Well, if you don't mind me saying, mum, it's not much of a strategy, is it?"
Helen: "It is important that we don't overreact too soon. Which doesn't mean to say that I intend to give in to any of their demands."
Sylvia: "I should hope not!"

Helen: "And I certainly don't expect a cavalier attitude from anyone. We are professionals doing a professional job and while this incident continues, I'll thank you all to remember that."

"Professionals?!" Bwahahahaaa! Oh, wait - Helen's serious. Which is even funnier. In a sad kinda way.

Back on the wing, Nikki and Yvonne watch as Al shows the other inmates how to use a knife.

Nikki: "You've gotta help me stop this. Now."
Yvonne (shakes her head): Not me, Nikki."
Nikki: "Someone's gonna get stabbed at this rate, Yvonne."
Yvonne: "Yeah, hopefully it'll be a screw and I ain't gonna lose any sleep over that."

Nikki: "What about Femi? How the hell is this supposed to help her?"
Yvonne: "Look, she didn't deserve what she got, but I ain't taking a beating for no one!"
Nikki: "So you're just gonna walk away."
Yvonne: "It's like I said, Nikki...survival."

Yvonne walks away. Nikki decides to confront the PBG on her own and goes downstairs.

Nikki: "Listen, you stupid bitches, why don't you stop messing about before someone gets killed?"
Maxi: "Watch out everyone, it's the head bloody prefect."
Nikki: "We started this because we wanted Femi off the block. Which means, like it or not, that we've got to negotiate with the screws. They're not gonna listen to us if we're tooled up to the eyeballs!"

Maxi: "Yeah, well this ain't about her no more - this is about us!"

Then, a voice from the sidelines: "Any of you used a knife before?"

Everyone turns to look. Al holds up a knife. "I just showed 'em, din't I?"

Blondie smiles and walks over to Al. With one quick move, she twists her wrist, and the knife falls to the floor.

All eyes on Blondie now as she picks up the knife:

"First rule of self-defense - never use a weapon an assailant can turn back on you. And, of course, if one of you does stick a screw - you think it's worth the extra stretch? (she glances up at Nikki). And be sure of a long stay in solitary, where no one can hear you scream. (long pause. She hands Al back the knife). Just telling you how it is, girls."

And just as quickly as she appeared, Blondie strolls off into the night. Well, off into the wing.

Maxi rethinks her master plan. "Yeah, alright - she's got a point. Dump the knives."

Nikki turns to Babs, "where the hell did she come from?"

Good question, Nikki....

Hallway. Helen and Sylvia are discussing the sitch.

Helen: "My main priority is to avoid a violent confrontation."
Sylvia: "But that's exactly what we need! Go in hard, show 'em whose boss!"
Helen: "We sit tight! No officer goes near that wing until I say!"

Sylvia, of course, disagrees. And thinks "it'll just put the smell of victory up their noses."

Helen: "We pull back and we identify the ringleaders. And that is from the top, Sylvia!"
Sylvia: "Hmmph! We know who the ringleader is. Nikki Wade."

Why, you bleedin' grass, Bodybag...

Back on the wing, Nikki's going upstairs, and.... there goes Blondie, right ahead of her (ok, her name is Caroline - I don't know when they finally reference it).

Nikki: "Self-defense your thing, is it?"
Caroline: "Never stuck it. I've only got the one move. (smiles at Nikki). You won't tell anyone, will you?"
Nikki (smiles back): "Your secret's safe. You got me out of a tight spot there. Thanks."

Caroline: "It's my pleasure." (Pause. Starts to walk away).
Nikki (following her): "Have you been on G-Wing long?"
Caroline: "A couple of weeks."
Nikki: "Only I've not noticed you before."
Caroline: "Oh, pity. I've.... definitely noticed you."

Rawwwwrrrrr.... What with Helen being a TOTAL prat, I say, 'get yer swerve on, Nik!'

The PBG returns to Maxi's Pad, happy and hyped from their night. They collapse on the beds.

Tina: "Brilliant night, Max!"
Al: "Friggin' excellent!"
Tina: "You're top dog now, Maxi, NO mistake!"
Maxi: "Well not quite. There's still one small problem needs dealin' with. Yvonne Bleedin' Atkins."

Tina says Yvonne's all that and a bag of chips. Maxi says they'll "teach her different."

Al: "Why? Whotwegoonnadooo?"
Maxi: "We're gonna waste her!"

Cue suspenseful music. To be continued next week...

Will Helen embrace 'dry academics' and accompany Dr Waugh-the-Fuck to the conference?

Will Shaz procure her own plastic cutlery and go all Ginzu on Al's ass?

Will Yvonne thwart Maxi's Merry Morons and retain her top dog status? More importantly, will she recruit a respectable gang for herself?

Will Nikki shag Caroline in a) her cell; b) the potting shed; c) the library; d) all of the above?

Will Femi learn some English? (or at least get a change of clothes)?

Stay tuned, gentle readers...