Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Bad Girls Drinking Game

This? This is good. This is very, very good. And found here, on Alternative Bad Girls:

Alex, aka The Phantom of Larkhall, you are one funny motherfucker:

Okay you all know the rules. Get a bottle of your favourite drink in, pour yourself a glass and whack in a video of Bad Girls. When one of the following things happen - take a swig - see how long you can last before you get pissed!

1 drink for every time someone says 'innit?'
1 drink for every time Denny says 'man'
1 drink whenever anyone mentions 'jellies'
1 drink for when the Julies say a word or phrase at the same time
1 drink for whenever Nikki flirts with Helen
1 drink for a P.O. breaking a rule
1 drink whenever anyone mentions an appeal

2 drinks if someone gets injured - a full glass if someone dies
2 drinks for whenever there's a P.O within earshot of a personal Helen and Nikki conversation
2 drinks whenever Fenner tells a lie
2 drinks for any scenes held in the garden
2 drinks every time Shell threatens someone
2 drinks whenever Crystal refers to 'them sinners'
2 drinks whenever Yvonne refers to 'my Charlie'
2 drinks whenever Bodybag says 'Well excuse me..'

3 drinks whenever Nikki says 'Piss off Dockley'
3 drinks whenever someone refers to Fenner as a 'bastard'
3 drinks whenever Zandra says 'Twat'
3 drinks for a version of Kumbayah
3 drinks whenever Fenner gets away with something evil

4 drinks for any scenes held in the potting shed
4 drinks for Fenner shagging someone (not attractive)
4 drinks for someone getting beaten up
4 drinks for someone leaving/escaping from Larkhall
4 drinks for a publicity disaster at Larkhall

5 drinks for any Nikki/Helen kisses
AN ENTIRE GLASS When Helen tells Nikki she loves her - Hoorah!

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Set Up, S2.7

We open with a meeting in the Screws Lounge. Jim walks in late and Karen starts, "now that we’re all here, I know there’s no need for introductions. You all know Helen...”

Fenner freezes and looks up...

to see Helen glaring right back at him.

That's right, bitch...she's BACK.

Karen says Helen is working on a project for women lifers, who are now her primary responsibility.

Helen adds, “although I’m here as part of Area Management, I’m not here to get involved in the running of Larkhall in any way. Nor am I responsible to the prison governor. Just think of me as a civilian worker.”

A civilian worker with very nice cleavage. Who's NOT responsible to the governor.

And who has very nice cleavage. Did I mention that already?

Karen says that Shell is under observation on the hospital wing "where I hope she'll get the treatment to help sort out her problems."

Let's hope so, Karen. After all, it's not like you could've gotten her the treatment she needed, right?

Meeting over, Fenner heads to Yvonne's cell.

(what the fuck with that shirt?)

Eager to continue their scheme, Fenner asks if she's sent Charlie a VO. Of course she has - it's Yvonne!

But Jim's been doing some thinking.  "I'm the one with my balls on the block if you get caught."
Yvonne: "We pay you. That should soften the blow."

Apparently, not enough.  Jim whines that he's risking his job and pension. He tells Yvonne to "think of it as an introductory offer. You can smile at each other across a table in the Visitor's Room if you like. But I bet it don't feel the same."

Nikki's cell. Morning unlock. Bodybag opens the door: "Alright, let's have you."

Nikki: "In your dreams, love."

In my nightmares.

Sylvia tells Barbara's to report to the Screw's Lounge - she has a new job as a cleaner.

Yvonne's on the phone: "No surprises, Charlie. Fenner's getting greedy again. He reckons he's taking all the risks when we're getting all the action. (laughs) He's not wrong, is he? So whaddya reckon we should do about him then?"

Breakfast line. Nikki's on the lookout for Helen, who does not disappoint. Upon her arrival, Nikki steps out, on cue: "Do you want to come back to my place?"

Why, yes Nikki. Yes, she does.

Nikki's cell. Helen closes the door behind them.

Helen: "So, come on, how come you're still on Basic? Have you not worked out yet how to be a good girl?"

Oh....the many, naughty replies that spring to mind.  I bite my tongue...hard.

She sits down next to Nikki.

Nikki: "You know me, Helen. As long as my gob's open, I'm getting into trouble."
Helen: "Fenner." (Nikki nods). "Nikki, just keep out of his way."
Nikki: "Yeah, I'll try. Look Helen, don't think I don't appreciate what you're trying to do for me. I've got more reason to get out of here than I've ever had. But the reality is, it's going to be 9 years before they let me out."

Helen: "Look, this job gives me access to the files on all the lifers here. That means your files - trial details, directions by the judge, updates on parole, everything."

Nikki: "So?"
Helen: "So maybe I can find something that will get you out of here."
Nikki: "Like a magic key?"

Helen: "Come on, Nikki. I'm serious."
Nikki: "Helen, I know what I'm missing. And I am not prepared to spend the next 9 years living in false hope, expecting to get out early."

Helen: "It won't be false hope if we make it happen."
Nikki: "Maybe I think I'm lucky."

Helen: "Lucky?"
Nikki: "I'm locked up in here and I can still touch you." (reaches out to touch Helen's hair)
Helen: "No, Nikki" (she stands). "Look, I know that I'm not the governor anymore, but you're still a prisoner - we still have to be careful."

Nikki: "Yeah, I know. I understand that."
Helen: "Look, if there's anything in those files - a witness that wasn't brought forward, evidence that was left out, I'll find it."
Nikki: "Thank you."
Helen: "I've got to go. I'll see you."
Nikki: "See you."

Helen leaves the wing and runs shit smack into Fenner.

Fenner: "Helen? Glad to be back?"
Helen: "Not entirely. But then there's no reason I should have anything to do with you at all, is there, Jim?"

He asks about her "reunion."

Fenner:  "You and Wade. I have to admit, I didn't realize you were that way inclined. But the signs were there, I suppose."

Ha, I can't help it! I giggle for a good 5 minutes. Then I curse Fenner out. Then I giggle some more.

But Helen's had enough of this conversation. Fenner warns her that "no one wants to make any embarrassing discoveries." He asks if Simon's aware of the situation - Helen says (not that it's any of his business) that yes, Simon knows she's written and visited Nikki.

Screws' Lounge. Sylvia instructs Barbara on the finer points of dusting. When Babs says she knows how to clean, Sylvia gives her detailed instructions on the finer points of tea brewing.

Barbara: "Miss? I was wondering about joining the church."

Sylvia makes a snarky comment about jailhouse conversions (a Brit-specific reference that goes over this Yank's head).

Barbara (offended): "I'm not a convert, I was brought up a Christian."
Sylvia: "A Christian, ey? Shame ya had to murder your husband then. Should've known better."

So if I kill Bodybag now, can I claim I didn't know better, not being a Christian and all?

On the wing, Zandra's trying to read her horoscope in a magazine, but the page is all blurry. Frustrated, she flings her new glasses to the ground.

Shit, does that mean you can't tell me what it says for Pisces, Zandra??

Di Barker tries to calm her down, but Zandra's too upset.

Ok, I'll read Zandra's horoscope for her: "Beware of incompetent authority figures. Stay away from H, and stick with Dominick."

In the bathroom.  Zandra collapses in a stall and starts seizing. The door's locked so it's Di Barker to the rescue! She climbs over the top but Zandra's nonresponsive.

Yvonne cell. She calls to Fenner who comes in smiling.

Fenner: "Have you got some news for me?"
Yvonne: "Well, there's been a development. Four of them, actually."

She gestures to 4 pics of Fenner taped to her wall: him taking money from her Charlie on the golf course. He rips them down. And turns to hit Yvonne but she blocks his arm.

Yvonne: "Oh, no you don't! You're not dealing with some shithead little tart now, Fenner! One bruise on me and Charlie will feed your bollocks to his dogs! And he knows where you live. Where your wife goes shopping. And where your kids go to school."

Oh, I am SO loving Yvonne right now! Fenner's shitting a brick thru a teeny tiny hole in his icy cold sphincter. See, Jim? That's what happens when ya play with the big boys.  And girls.

Back on the wing, the women sit Zandra down. Babs asks what happened, but no one knows. Except for Sylvia, who's sure it's drugs ("drooogs"). That even annoys Di, who snaps "oh, so you're a doctor now, are ya?"

Well, why not? Dr. NoNo calls himself one!

Crystal insists, "It's not drugs, she's off them." To which Sylvia replies, "That's right, and I'm off chocolate fingers."

Not by the looks of it you ain't... (that one's for Yvonne).

That inspires a whole "you're-gonna-burn-in-hell" speech from Sister Christian. YAWN. They take Zandra to Medical while Sylvia and Di toss her cell.

Yvonne's cell. A chastened Fenner concedes: "Maybe I overplayed my hand."
Yvonne: "Ya never had one, mate."

Fenner now wants to keep their arrangement as agreed. But it's too late for that.

Yvonne: "You're not listening, Mr. Fenner. Now, you may be carrying the keys but you're not calling the shots. Not anymore." She still has the negatives for the photos.

Fenner: "Alright. What do you want?"
Yvonne: "Out of here. Out of Larkhall. For good."

Nikki's cell. Barbara's busy scribbling in her diary. When she gets out, she wants to use her notes to write a book so that "people know what really goes on in here." Babs laments that she's got nothing else waiting for her out there - "no one and nothing."

She explains she left her first husband for Peter. "Do you believe in soulmates, Nikki?"
Nikki: "Yeah, I think so."

(you think so? You damn sure better believe, Wade!)

Barbara goes on about Peter and his cancer: "It wasn't murder. I knew God wouldn't see it as murder. But what I did do, was kill the only man I could ever love. My soulmate."

She says that writing gives her a purpose and keeps her sane.

Nikki: "You tell it like it is. Just make sure the screws don't get a sneak preview. And that there's nothing in there about me."

See? Smart. That's why she's my girl.  Are you listening, Babs??

Fenner storms out of Yvonne's cell and into the Screws Lounge where he literally just freaks the fuck out.

Lunchtime. Nikki and Yvonne are on line when Yvonne spots Fenner. She's holding a small photo album.

In a loud voice so Jim can hear, Yvonne asks if Nikki's seen pics of her Charlie.

Yvonne: "'Ere, look. He sent me these pictures of himself playing golf. He loves his golf, does my Charlie. (she calls out) You play golf, don't you, Mr. Fenner? 'Ere, have a look - maybe you two bumped into each other."

Fenner pulls her to the side and says he can't break her out.

Yvonne: "What, a resourceful bloke like you can't come up with a yarn to get us thru those gates?"
Fenner: "What do you mean, 'us'?"
Yvonne: "Well you can escort me."

Fenner claims he can't, but if it's not him, Yvonne won't be responsible for what happens to the screw who does escort her - after all, "Charlie's not the sentimental type."

The Library. Helen sits with Nikki's file, as Nikki's voiceover reads her confession:

"...I stuck what was left of the broken bottle in his neck. He fell to his knees. He was trying to hold the blood in with his hands. I could tell straightaway that he didn’t stand a chance. There was a hell of a lot of blood – I didn’t regret a single drop of it. He tried asking me to help him, stupid bastard. We phoned the police, then. While we waited, I told him why I stabbed him. He knew anyway, course he did, but I told him anyway. He tried to rape Trisha. And you lot were never gonna do anything about it, were ya? He was one of yours, a copper. And I’m glad the bastard’s dead."

So Helen's rather perturbed, to say the least. Then she sees a note from the judge: Nikki has to serve 10 years before she's even considered for parole.

Just then, Karen walks in and asks Helen if she wants a drink. Of course she does! They go to Karen's office and have some wine. And talk about Fenner.

Helen: "Just watch him, Karen. He's a sly bastard."
Karen: "Oh, I know."

I hope you do, Karen. I really hope you do...

Cut to the yard.  Zan's out of Medical and the first thing Crystal asks is if they found drugs. Cuz after all, Bodybag said it was drugs. And so did the brilliant doctors at Larkhall -  Zan's headaches are chalked up to "withdrawal" (since when are crippling headaches and blurry vision symptoms of withdrawal??)

Jim's still brooding in the Officer's Lounge when Karen comes in. She says she had a drink with Helen: "You're not her favorite person, are you Jim? In fact, I'd say you're getting a reputation for upsetting wing governors. Well, female governors, at any rate."

She starts to leave, but Jim says it has nothing to do with, ya know, hating women or anything. Helen's problem was that "she tried too hard."

So Karen asks what his problem with her is.  Fenner says he'd been looking forward to working with Karen when she got there. But then she "backed Dockley."

Clearly Fenner's rattled by the whole Yvonne situation, and he apologizes to Karen.

Oh Karen, please use your head - you can't possibly believe Fenner's bullshit, can you?

Zan's headaches and vision are getting worse. She collapses again on the wing. Barbara's concerned and tells Di that "something has to be done. Now!"

The next morning. Jim unlocks Yvonne's cell: "Morning, Mr. Fenner. I hope you don't suffer from stage fright. Today's the day."

He pushes her back in her cell. He's not prepared for the great escape today, but as Yvonne says if she waits till next week, he might try and double-cross her again.

So Yvonne has a plan: Lauren the moll will visit with bad news about her Charlie. Then, Fenner escorts Yvonne to see him in the hospital. Somewhere between Larkhall and the hospital, Yvonne steps off.

Back in the library. Helen comes looking for Nikki

Helen: "I need to talk to you."
Nikki (with big smile): "Anytime."
Helen: "Do you know how long you're gonna be in here, before anyone even thinks about reviewing your case?"
Nikki: "What you talking about?"
Helen: "Ten years - that's the judge's decision. That's 9 more years, not until they set you free, but before anyone even considers it."
Nikki: "Can't be!"
Helen: "Believe me, I've seen your files. And with your attitude in here, they could keep you in here for another 15 to 20 years."
Nikki: "What?!"
Helen: "That's not the worst of it. Letting you go is up to the Home Secretary. Now, you killed a police officer - it means that they might never let you out of here."

Nikki: "Jesus, I said I was a hopeless case."
Helen: "You're not a hopeless case, Nikki. It's just going to be difficult forming an appeal. I saw the statement you made to the police - you didn't do yourself any favors. The judge said it was cold-blooded murder. Is he right? Is that what you are, a cold-blooded killer?"
Nikki: "No, of course I'm not."

Enter Di Barker. So Helen pretends to work and Nikki pretends to read (I was hoping she'd hold the book upside down).

Finally Di leaves and Nikki gets up, motioning for Helen to follow. Which she does. Right into the art room. And Nikki's lips.

Ha, Nikki even tries to cop a feel...

Until Helen stops her.

Nikki: "It's alright, we're safe here, don't worry."
Helen: "It's not that."
Nikki: "What is it? You gone off me, then?"
Helen: ”Nikki, sit down. I need to talk to you."
Nikki (reaching for her again): “Talking's what you do afterwards."
Helen: "Please!"
Nikki: "Okay."

Now, not to interrupt the delicious flow of....deliciousity, but what the hell just happened? Two seconds ago, Nikki was freaking out that she'd be in prison for life, and earlier, Helen jumped away when Nikki tried to stroke her hair. So how did we go from all making out in the art room?? Mind you, I am SO not complaining, just wondering. I mean, damn - I thought I was moody...

They sit down.

Nikki: "So, what do you want to talk about?"
Helen: "Us. What we're doing."
Nikki: "What we're not doing, you mean."
Helen: "Nikki, I need you to understand. You've turned my life inside out. I thought I knew which way I was going, I was doing the job I wanted to do, I was committed to the man I loved. There's no signposts anymore. I don't know what to expect, except that it won't be normal."
Nikki: "So, what's normal? A husband, a job, 2.4 kids?"

Helen: "I wanted kids one day."
Nikki: "You can still have them. There are ways. Oh look, Helen, you're not abnormal, you're not normal, you're just you. You do what you want to do, what you feel."
Helen: "I wanna do what's best for both of us."
Nikki: "And this is. But Helen, relationships need both people involved in them. Sometimes I feel like I'm on my own. I need to know that you're not just going through the motions."
Helen: "Don't worry, I'm not. Nikki, if I didn't feel the way I feel... I wouldn't be talking like this."

Visiting Room. Lauren the moll comes in crying, as planned. But when she sits down with Yvonne, she tells her it's for real: "the coppers - they nicked Dad early this morning."

Someone ratted Charlie out and it looks like he's locked up for good.

Back in the art room. Nikki and Helen are cuddling and Helen kisses her cheek.

Awwww! This is seriously so sweet, I almost can't stand it. How Helen doesn't sneak her out of Larkhall, I'll never understand. At least, prop a chair under the doorknob and shag her brains out.

Helen: "I've gotta go."
Nikki: "Yeah, sure."
Helen: "What is it, what's the matter?"
Nikki: "You - trying to get me out of here."
Helen: "I will get you out of here."
Nikki: "It's great, Helen, but you can't make it your job description."
Helen: "Can't I? Watch me."
Nikki: "I don't want you ruining your career over me."
Helen: "So what’re you gonna do, tell the governor I'm helping you formulate an appeal? That's a new one!" (they laugh).
Nikki: "I don't want you getting into trouble."
Helen: "Look, I'll make a deal with you - I won't get into trouble if you don't."
Nikki: "You don't give up, do you?"

By way of response:

I think we can safely say Helen does NOT give up.

Di's walking back to the wing when Crystal asks what happened to Zandra. Di says that she was transferred to hospital and they're "doing tests." And she'll be back soon.

Crystal complains it was Dr. NoNo's fault for just giving her glasses. "“There was something else wrong, wasn’t there? It wasn’t her eyes he should’ve been looking at!”

Hmmm... intriguing theory, Crystal.

Outside Larkhall. Fenner's handcuffed to Yvonne in the car, with Bodybag along for the ride.

After a few minutes, Yvonne insists her stomach's bad. She's got the runs and needs a bathroom. They pull over and take her into a pub.

Inside, Jim uncuffs her and Sylvia takes her into the loo: "Alright. Come on, and don't make a meal of it."

Eww, that is so wrong... What the fuck does that even mean? Never mind, I don't wanna know.

Yvonne pushes open the stall but Sylvia stops her. And directs her to the other stall: "No window," she says, proud of herself. "Do ya think I was born yesterday?"

Yvonne: "Not by the look of you, no."

Sylvia gives her two minutes. Yvonne looks around and sees the crawl space between the stalls. All catlike and shit, she writhes her way under the partition.

While Jim waits, he notices a newspaper at the bar. And a big picture of Charlie on the front with the story of his arrest.

He comes running into the loo to find....Yvonne halfway out the window.

Grrrr! damn you, Fenner, damn you to hell!

He pulls her back in, kicking and shrieking. "Time to go back inside!"

Yvonne: "My Charlie's gonna kill you for this!"

Fenner chuckles. And shows her the paper: "I think your Charlie's the one who's dead."

Karen's Office. She gets a phone call from a doctor about Zandra. She's all, "oh, I see." (which is never a good sign).

Yvonne's cell. Fenner comes in to gloat.

Jim: "I wonder if Charlie's got a taste for prison food yet. Breakfast on remand is nothing much."

Yvonne: "You can smirk, Fenner but those negatives still exist, you know."

Jim says Charlie wouldn't want to add 'corrupting an officer' to his charges.

Yvonne: "You thought you were the dog's bollocks once before, Fenner. But I had you hanging by them."
Jim: "And now, Charlie's hanging by his. So where does that leave you? In deep, deep shit." (turns to leave)
Yvonne: "Watch your step. You can slip on shit and break your neck."

Fucking right, Yvonne. He can also slip on polish at the top of the stairs.

Outside.  Zandra comes back from hospital and is met by Karen. Zandra seems to be feeling better and Karen doesn't mention the call.

In Yvonne's cell, she lies on her bed crying and holding a picture of her Charlie.

Some office.  Helen sneaks into a room and starts xeroxing Nikki's file.

Back on the wing, Zandra's greeted by Crystal and Nikki. Who asks how she's feeling. Zandra seems just fine and says, "the doctors gave me some painkillers. They seem to have done the trick!"

Yes, I'm sure they have!

Di and Karen watch her go off to the dorm. Di's got that big ol' goofy grin that she reserves for such occasions. And Karen - well, Karen just looks grim.

They watch Zandra giggle and laugh with her friends.

Di: "It's good to see Zandra back to her old self again."
Karen (forced smile): "Yeah."

Oh, Zandra - you know I love you. And I truly fear for your health. But you're okay for the moment, all doped up and happy.

Yvonne – WAH! Foiled by fucking Fenner... if it helps at all, Lauren the moll will be just fine. And your Charlie? Well, that’ll work itself out, too.

And now I must revel and bask in the magnificence of Helen and Nikki.


Exorcise Room - E

So I've said that my ex reminds me a lot of Helen, and I didn’t know if I was going to talk about her when I started this blog. I didn’t really want to, but it’s the second big parallel between my life and Bad Girls. My time upstate and my time with the ex were years apart, but both storylines resonate really strongly. I assumed if the tale were to be told here, it'd come out when it was ready. So I guess it’s ready.

Obviously, it was sparked by this epi, The Set Up. Helen returns and she & Nikki are like a real couple (well, as much as they can be). It’s the first time they sneak off to share little kisses and talk. Helen’s really trying to make the relationship work.

My ex was so much like Helen. Not just physically, but personality-wise. And our whole relationship was pretty damn forbidden:  not only was she my boss, she was married.

I’ll call her E (not her real initial), and without getting too detailed, we worked in media. E was my boss for 4 years in a very busy, high profile, high pressure job. Long hours, working closely in a job we both loved. It was clear almost immediately that there was something between us:  I could always make her laugh. And blush. I spent those first 2 years flirting madly with her every chance I got.  And when we weren't flirting, we were fighting.  Not only could I make her laugh, I could also make her really mad.

There were other complications, aside from being my boss: like her unhappy marriage. And her kids. And the fact that she was straight. Like Helen, she was a good girl all her life - always did what she was supposed to and always played by the rules.

To make matters worse (or better, depending on your point of view), there was a bar 2 doors down from the office. Lots of us worked late and people were always going there after work. We’d often end up there together at night.

And the physical resemblances between Helen and my ex... similar hair styles, though E was blond. Similar body types.  And the business suits. No, E didn’t always wear one, but she wore them often enough. God, I love a woman in a suit. And when she found out how much I liked them, well, she wore them even more.

Obviously, the most delicious part of S1 was all the flirting and fighting between Helen and Nikki. All that bottled up frustration. It reminded me so much of the first 2 years with E. As we got closer and the sexual tension between us grew, so did our little spats - the natural outgrowth of such repression.  At least that's my theory.

The first 2 years working with her were like constant, maddening foreplay. Long nights on the phone late - she’d call under the pretense of work and before long, we’d be talking about everything but. Long nights working late at the office - deadlines and rewrites. Out for drinks after. Long nights IMing if we were both online.

For 2 years, I was perpetually horny. Like, nonstop horny. Like, a 16 year old boy kind of horny. So I dated a lot – even had 2 serious GFs during that time. What was I supposed to do? We’d never discussed our feelings for each other, though I was sure she was interested. And she knew I was gay. But she was my boss. And she was married.

In the art room, Helen tells Nikki, “you've turned my life inside out. I thought I knew which way I was going, I was doing the job I wanted to do, I was committed to the man I loved. There's no signposts anymore. I don't know what to expect...”

Which is a really familiar refrain for anyone whose dated straight women. I know E struggled with her feelings for me for awhile, but pretty much reconciled with them after the 1st year. And it was a full year after that before anything physical happened between us. By that time, she was separated from her husband.

Once E and I actually started sleeping together, the tumult of our personal life spilled over to the workplace and, despite our best efforts, spontaneous and shushed arguments occasionally broke out. And her office, natch, was the scene of more than a few of our fights.

Those 2 scenes - Nikki and Helen's heart-wrenching drama in the library and their sweet reconciliation in the art room. E and I had our moments of high drama in the office, not that it compares to N&H’s drama, of course. We'd start fighting in her office, running to the bathrooms or outside the building if the argument escalated. Make up later, huddled in the stairwell or in whispered tones in her office. Knowing the repercussions were serious if we were caught. Possibly one, maybe both, of our jobs.

Nikki and Helen sneaking off in this epi to kiss and cuddle was bloody fantastic. For me and E, keeping our hands off each other in the office was challenging at times, but we were well-behaved (for the most part). On more than a few nights tho, we'd leave the bar late and wind up in the shadows of some looming office building, completely concealed from the street, groping each other in the dark.

Yes, it was all very, very hot.

And....I think that's enough exorcise for now. Time for a cold shower.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Losing It, S2.6

We open in Karen's office, where's Sylvia's getting a bollocking for the Mad Tessa mix-up. As usual, she's got a million and one excuses for why it’s not her fault.

But Karen’s sick of Sylvia’s attitude: “cutting corners, offhand with inmates and officers alike, always complaining.”

She sentences Sylvia to an exercise regiment. Heh. Sylvia's mortified.

Zandra's on the medical wing with the incomparably incompetent Dr. NoNo. He tells her she has low blood-pressure, but says "it doesn't even mean a lot. It's when it's high that you have to worry."

Zandra: "Well, it must mean something."
Dr. NoNo: "Really? I'll get you a second opinion, shall I?"

Why, you arrogant, pasty-faced, motherfucking quack. The epi's just started and already I'm getting angry. In fact, MY blood pressure's starting to climb. So is Zandra's.

Dr. NoNo gives Zandra an eye exam and concludes she needs glasses; that's why she's suffering those crippling headaches.

Nikki's getting used to her new cellmate, Barbara. Seems Barbara's in for manslaughter.

Barbara: "My husband, Peter, was dying of cancer. He was in terrible pain. In the end, he couldn't stand it any longer and he asked me to help him along. Begged me, in fact."

In walks Fenner. He generously offers to escort Barbara to breakfast. Glancing at Nikki, he tells her, "don't worry about Wade - we'll get you out of here as soon as we can."

Too bad, Barbara, cuz Nikki looks HOT today:

You sure you still want out of her cell??

Barbara asks why Nikki's there.
Nikki: "Same as you. Manslaughter. Only with me, it was for real."

Dominick brings Zandra back to the wing. He asks what the doctor said. Zan explains that...well, he said nothing: "They just tell you to 'piss off' if you ask anything. It's like we deserve to be ill."

Talk about it, Zandra!

Dom wants to go back and talk to NoNo but Zan tells him not to. She confesses, "I need specs, don't I?" Dominick's relieved and just laughs. But Zandra's unhappy.

Dominick: "If it's your looks you're worried about, stay off the smack."
Zandra says she is. "You asked me to, didn't you? Well, I'm doing it. For you."

Ok, they make a very cute couple. I have a good feeling about the two of them.

Breakfast. Nikki and Barbara are sitting together, and Shell just can't resist:

Shell: "New girlfriend, Wade? Who goes on top, you or her?"
Nikki: "Shut it, Dockley" (walks away).
Shell (to Barbara): "You ain't got a clue what's going on, have ya?"
Barbara: "I'm sorry, I don't understand."
Shell: "Well, if you can't work it out for yourself, darlin', just keep your knickers on after dark, that's all."
Barbara (alarmed): "What?"
Shell (makes hysterically rude and universal gesture with her tongue): "Lesbo, inn't she?"

Scared. To. Death.

And GAH! It's Josh and Sister Christian. In the kitchen. With the bible. (now if only he'd bludgeon her with it - THAT would be worth recapping. But until/unless he does, there will be no more wasting of blog space on them).

Karen's Office. For his role in stopping Mad Tessa, Jim was eligible for a medal. He magnanimously declined it, however:

Fenner: "It's nothing special, what I did. I said you should get it, instead."
Karen: "That's very noble of you, Jim."

Fenner: "Why do you have to say it like that?"
Karen: "You did very well the other day, you know. It's just, you don't have to overdo it."
Fenner: I'm not a complete shit, you know."

So just a 95% shit, then?

Group therapy. Zandra says she's going back into detox. She wants to kick for good - she's tired of letting people down. Especially Dominick. The shrink warns her that "doing it to please others will only get you so far."

Shell (interrupts): "Girls are always doing that, though. Pleasing men. That's what they're born for."
Shrink: "Why do you say that?"
Shell: "Well it's like men can do what they want. No one cares what women think, it's just men. Bastardy men!"

Couldn't that just mean Shell's a feminist? Or a lesbian? Yes, a sociopathic feminist or lesbian, but still...

Shell (now far, far away): "I hear 'em at night. Laughing. When I'm asleep. Dreamin'. Men come into my room, stinkin' of beer."

She goes on and on about the "bad man" and how she wakes up in cold sweats. The shrink probes a little more - "do you know him? can you describe him?" - but the bell rings, signaling the end of group.

Shrink: "Ok, we'll pick this up tomorrow, shall we?"

Er, 'scuse me Shrink Lady, but aren't you forgetting something? Like that emotionally raw and open inmate in front of you?? The one in a fucked up fugue state of memories? Maybe you wanna spend five minutes after group talking to her?

Nope! There should be NO problem letting Shell walk around like that!

Jesus, between the medical staff and the psych staff there, I'd just keep my fucking mouth shut. And hope like hell I didn't catch a brain tumor or something.

Nighttime. Nikki's cell. A very nervous Barbara putters about, trying to ignore a very naked Nikki undressing (with her back modestly turned). After a very quick peek in the mirror at Nikki's very nice ass, Barbara crawls into bed with her bathrobe clasped very tightly 'round her neck. And lies very, very still.

'Night, Babs! Sleep tight! Don't let the lesbians bedbugs bite!

The Julies' cell. Julie J looks out the window and sees Bodybag, in a track suit from 1985, running laps. Well, not really 'running' so much as...shuffling. Laughing in delight, the women whoop and holler down at Sylvia.Who is not amused.

The sight of Bodybag's track suit gives Zan another painful headache.

The women tease her about Dominick. And having to wear glasses. Zandra, near tears, runs out.

Barbara knocks on the Officer's Lounge. She needs to talk to someone about Nikki. Lucky for her, Fenner's all ears.

Group therapy. Zandra's talking when Shell suddenly walks in.

Shell: "Sorry I'm late, miss. Not interrupting anything, am I? Oh well, not to worry. I'm gonna be a good little girl from now on, and that's a promise."

She looks like the spawn of Ronald McDonald and Raggedy Ann - if they'd been smoking crack and fucking all night. Now she's completely over the edge - toys in the attic, truly gone fishing kinda crazy.

Oh Shell - I much prefer you campy and trampy than all regressing and confessing.

What follows is a bizarre show & tell that reveals Shell's sexual abuse. Finally, the Shrink says, "I think it might be a good idea if you and I talked on our own for a bit at the end of the session."

Grrrrrr.... ya think??!

Cut to Nikki's cell. Where she's taking a piss. Literally. She's sitting on the toilet while Barbara does her best to not look (but she sneaks a peek anyway). Nikki finishes and Fenner walks in.

Fenner: "Well, well, Wade. I might've known you couldn't keep yourself under control."
Nikki: "What are you talking about?"

Fenner: "You've been flaunting your bits and pieces apparently. Poor Barbara's got enough on her plate without you coming on strong to her. Show a bit of modesty, if you know what that means."

He tells Barbara not to worry: "We'll get you out of here as soon as we can." To Nikki: "Meantime, Wade, keep your dykey fingers to yourself."

"Bits and pieces??" My new favorite expression! It sounds like a brand of cat food - so, kinda appropriate if you like pussy!

Shell and the Shrink are still talking about men. Shell tells her "they want sex off me. And if they don't get it, they take it anyway." And apparently it's been going on her whole life.

In Nikki's cell, she's upset with Barbara for talking to Fenner.

Barbara: "I didn't say any of those things he said!"
Nikki: "Well, what did you say, Barbara?"
Barbara: "I just said I was nervous about sharing a cell with a...."
Nikki: "A dyke?"
Barbara: "I never mentioned that word. He had no right to say those things to you. I feel terrible now."

Nikki: "Good. Then you know how I feel. I hope you get your move. Maybe you'll get put in with Dockley. Or how does a junkie sound, jacking up every night in the bunk opposite? That make you feel safer?"
Barbara: "I'm really sorry, Nikki."
Nikki: "I don't care, darling! I'll be happy to be alone again. Oh, and as for fancying you, get real. Even if I was available, I wouldn't touch you with a cattle prod!" (walks out).
Karen's Office. She's meeting with the Shrink and says, "so you are getting somewhere with Dockley?"
Shrink: "Faster than I thought. Scary, though."
Karen: "Well, we are doing the right thing, aren't we?"
Shrink: "It's not an exact science, Karen."

Gah! I HATE this fucking shrink! Karen didn't ask about the Periodic Chart, you goddamned twit.

She tells Karen that Shell needs support: reward her good behavior, go easy on the bad. "It's the only way. Right now, she's a powder keg."

But since the Shrink missed the "diffusing powder kegs" class in shrink school, Karen's on her own with Shell.

Gym. The Julies and Denny look on as Bodybag struggles to do sit-ups. That room should've been packed with cons, by the way. I can't imagine any inmate there missing this. Predictably and hilariously, Sylvia twists her neck.

Bedtime and lockdown. Jim and Dom hustle women to their cells, but when Dom innocently touches Shell's arm, a bitch starts to break.

Shell: "Get your hands off me! What you tryin' to do, rape me?"

Hapless Dom is stunned.

Shell: "I'm sick of men touching me up in this place. That's all you ever do! You spy on us through the peep holes, you watch us on the bog."

Denny and the other women start yelling and cheering her on.

Shell: "What kind of man works in a women's prison, anyway? A sick perv, that's what! Can't pull on the outside so you come here for easy pickins!"

Karen comes thru and breaks it up, taking Shell to her cell. In the dorm, Crystal thinks Shell's gone mad, Denny thinks Shell's on the money, and Zan says Shell was "practically friggin' herself" in the group. Besides, Zandra points out that Dominick's not a perv, and he's better than most of the women screws.

Zandra: "Some of us like men, anyway. We're not all dykes like you, Denny."

Which just inspires another round of "Dominick and Zandra sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g" from Denny (well, that's a loose, American reading of the text).

Zan starts to protest, but is felled by another headache.

When Crystal gives her some water, Zan can't even hold the cup and drops it on the floor. Wow, I guess her eyes really are bad.

Karen's talking to Shell in her cell. Shell insists Dom was "trying it on."

Shell: "You don't see! I can't walk down the landing without them all having a grope. I was gangbanged this morning!"
Karen (sighs): "Look, if you can just toe the line over the next week or so, I might see about getting your job back in the kitchen, now how does that sound?"

It sounds like she needs some fucking help, Karen, not a job in the kitchen.

It sounds good to Shell, tho. She gets all excited but Karen tells her, "it's not a promise. And don't do anything silly."

Shell: "No, no! I could get a knife from the kitchen and kill Mr. Fenner!"

Now didn't Karen just tell you not do anything silly?? Tho I suppose the silly part was just you telling her - shoulda kept that under your hat till you got back in the kitchen, Shell.

The next morning, the women are still griping about pervy screws. Fenner walks into the dorm as Denny's washing up, and she gets all pissy with him. And the Julies give Dominick a hard time.

Screws Lounge. The officers are complaining to Karen. Sylvia says, "it's the sexual abuse nonsense. They've all got it now." Jim and Dominick chime in, but Karen tells them, "it's just a few people playing up. It won't last."

Sylvia: "Shell Dockley's not just playing up. That group therapy's deranged her!"
Karen: "Yeah, well she was deranged a long time ago. And it's our job to find out why."

Well, I'm not exactly sure that was your job, Karen. But as long as you started...

In the showers, Shell grabs Barbara and insists she steal a magic marker. When Barbara protests, Shell threatens her: "do you want me to cut your tits off and make curry out of 'em?"

Um, apparently not. Since Barbara goes and gets Shell that marker.

After the screws' meeting, Karen asks Sylvia why she's wearing the neck brace again. Sylvia explains she's been having "spasms down her neck from all that jogging." Karen looks skeptical, especially when Sylvia calls Dr NoNo 'Malcolm'.

In the hallway, Barbara gives Shell the marker. Let the arts & crafts begin!

She makes Barbara write, "Fenner is a rapist" on the wall. But Shell has to do the illustration herself: a stick figure getting an arrow "right in the goolies."

She walks away just as Nikki turns the corner. And sees the drawing.

Barbara (near tears): "It was Shell!"
Nikki: "Try telling your friend Fenner that."

Oh Babs - you're in the Big House, now. You need to pick your friends a little more carefully.

Sylvia walks onto the wing to all kinds of friendly greetings from the inmates. And is immediately suspicious. But Denny and the Julies insist they're genuinely concerned. Denny explains, "we'd rather have you in charge than any fellow, miss. You're a woman, innit?"

But Sylvia doesn't look so sure. Which makes two of us.

Finally! The goddamned Visiting Room. At long fucking last. Sylvia walks in and stops dead in her tracks. Then grabs her radio: "Jim? Get down to the visitor's room. You've got to see this."

And by 'this', she means this:

"Hiya Nikki."

Ok, I'm officially weak in the knees. Those 2 little words, that one little smile...

Nikki: "I wasn't sure you'd come."

Helen: "I said I would."
Nikki: "Yeah, but it wasn't that long ago I thought I'd never see you again. You still looking for work?"
Helen: "I've got one or two irons in the fire."
Nikki: "Yeah?"
Helen (sighs): "I missed you, Nikki."

Much praise has been given that last line, all of it well-deserved. So much conveyed in Helen's eyes, the way she looks at Nikki. And the way she just breathes out those words.

Nikki: "Missed you. Since you left..."
Helen: "Well, I'm here now."
Nikki: "Till you get bored of coming. Or till you meet someone else, like Trish did."
Helen: "Listen. You never know what's gonna happen."
Nikki: "Yeah, right. Still got nine years to do, remember?"
Helen: "I wanna talk to you about that. I think you should appeal."

And I think you should be showing more cleavage, Helen...

Karen walks into Shell's cell asking about the graffiti. Shell points to her moustache and says Babs drew it on her. And threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

Back in the Visiting Room. By now, Fenner's there with Bodybag, gaping at Helen and Nikki. Sylvia is thoroughly scandalized: "I thought I'd seen it all. But an ex-officer, visiting a con!"

Nikki: "I don't want to be getting my hopes up, just to have 'em dashed."
Helen: Honestly, Nikki, there's been a lot of cases a lot more serious than yours that have had a successful appeal."
Nikki: "Waste of time, innit?"
Helen: "Look, let me put it another way. Will you do it for me?"

Those are the magic words, Helen.

Nikki: "I'd do anything for you. You know that."
Helen: "Good. Well that's it settled."

And....visiting time is over.

Helen: "I'd better go.
Nikki: "I'll see you soon."
Helen: "Yes, you will. Be good. And remember, we're gonna make this work. I promise."

Must you leave so soon, Helen? Can't you just gaze meaningfully into each other's eyes for a few more minutes??

Nikki's cell. Karen's questioning Barbara: "You took the pen from the art room and wrote the graffiti on the wall? And no one told you to do it?"

Barbara: "No, miss."
Nikki (interrupts): "Oh, for Christ's sake. Dockley did it."
Karen: "How do you know?"
Nikki: "I saw it." (nods at Barbara) "You don't really think she did it, do you?"

Now don't you feel stupid, Karen?

After Karen and Dom leave, Barbara thanks Nikki. Who says, "I hate Dockley more than I hate you, darling, that's all."

Speaking of Dockley, she's being put down the block. With the moustache still on her face.

Cut to...some time later. Karen and the Shrink stand outside, listening to Shell call out. The Shrink says they can't keep her there forever.

Nikki's shooting pool when Fenner slithers over. He tells her a letter came for her and they had to open it.

Nikki: "Fenner, if you read my mail, I swear I'll..."
Fenner: "You'll what?"

He says he's only doing his job. "Very affectionate girl, that Helen. Nice turn of phrase." He leans closer to Nikki. "She likes you."

Nikki: "Bastard."

Jim smiles and walks away. Well-played, Fenner, well-played. As much as I hate you(and don't ever doubt I do), I'll admit that was smooth. You might've even caught me out there with that.

Karen's Office. Karen sits with Shell:

Karen: "I'm sorry. There it is. I thought the sessions were helping. I thought you in particular got something from them. Especially as regards to your violent past."
Shell: "He was never violent!"
Karen: "Who wasn't? Shell, who wasn't violent?"

And with that, Karen magically unlocks the key to Shell's past. Somehow, she starts channeling Oprah and Shell spills all: her father abused her, her mother abused her, on and on. And now she's worried about her mother looking after her kids.

Wow, that was easy, Karen! Who needs the Shrink??

Nikki storms into her cell, muttering about Fenner. When Barbara asks, she says Fenner's been opening her letters from Helen and reading them (when and why did Nikki tell Barbara about Helen)??

Barbara's outraged at the affront on their privacy. And Bodybag comes in when Nikki starts kicking things.

Sylvia: "Hey, hey, what's going on?"
Nikki: "Where's my mail?"
Sylvia: "What makes you think you've got any?"
Nikki: "There was a letter for me this morning!"

Sylvia: "No, there wasn't."
Nikki (yelling): "Yes, there was! Fenner's got it!"
Sylvia: "He had nothing to do with the mail this morning. I did it. Why? Expecting something from someone, were you? Looks like she's forgotten you."

And she leaves. Nikki realizes Fenner was winding her up.

Barbara asks if they read everyone's mail. When Nikki says Barbara's mail is safe, she offers to play intermediary, sending letters for Helen and Nikki.

And so Barbara starts on the path to redemption.

In the dorm, Zan's trying on her new glasses. Dominick watches from the doorway. He asks how she's feeling, but her head still hurts.

Dominick: "Let me know if it doesn't get any better, yeah? See you later, Groucho!"
Zandra (smiling broadly): "Piss off!"

Karen and Jim are in her office. She tells him she has to stop the group therapy.

Fenner: "I just don't think prisons are ready for it."
Karen: "That's my reservation, as well."

Wait, so what about Shell? You crack her head open like a coconut, poke and prod while all that crazy comes pouring out, and...what? Just leave her like that? Isn't that what they call "a breakthrough" in therapy?

Bah, Karen! You're starting to piss me off now, too.... Before Jim leaves, he gives her a newspaper clipping: "Glad to see she's on the mend."

The library (yay)! Nikki's reading. And who should come tiptoeing in behind her?

Helen (checks out the book): "That's a bit heavy going for a no-hoper like you."
Nikki: "What are you doing here?"
Helen: "One of those irons in the fire I was telling you about."
Nikki: "You ... you got a job here?"

Helen: "Prison Service Professional."
Nikki: "What?!"
Helen: "I'm working for Area Management - special program for women lifers. I'm back on your case. Literally."

They giggle and laugh and flirt. And OMG, just KISS her already!! Your tongue is halfway there, Helen - just lean in an inch or so!

Shell is being let back onto the wing. Dominick says that it's nice to have her back.

Shell: "Do you really mean that, sir?"
Dominick: "Yeah, of course I do."
Shell: "I'm gonna try really hard this time, sir. I don't wanna go down the block again. Ever. I wanna be here with my friends."

Aw, she looks so fucking earnest when she says it, I almost believe she'll be fine. And she does look relieved to be back.

Karen calls Sylvia to her office. Karen asks about her neck - Bodybag says she's "soldiering on." Her Bobby doesn't want her working, but what's a girl to do?

Karen asks about Bobby, her 'partner' - and shows Sylvia the clipping Jim gave her: apparently Sylvia's been dancing in competitions. Bad neck and all. Sylvia starts to lie, but Karen interrupts.

Karen: "Don't dig yourself in deeper, Sylvia. I don't like liars, and I don't like skivers. One more slip. I did think four weeks training would be enough - I'm extending it to three months now. And if I see you in that neck brace again, I'm gonna rip it off and stick it where the sun don't shine!"

Oh, SNAP! I take back whatever I said about you earlier, Karen!

The Julies are on the wing with Zandra - they wanna give her a makeover. Karen and Dom come strolling thru, and Karen asks how Shell seemed. "A lot better," Dominick assures her.

Suddenly, Denny gives out a shriek and all eyes follow hers to...

Yep, right out of an old B-movie: "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy's...Deranged, Suicidal Sister."

Shell: "Come on, Mr. Fenner! Why don't you string me up like Rachel Hicks? It's what you want, innit?"

And since I miss it when they don’t have them, here are my Nightcalls:

“Denny – you scream like a girl!”
“Zandra – your new specs are sexy!”
“Yvonne – where the fuck ya been?!”
“Karen – please shove that brace up Bodybag’s ass!”
“Shrink – piss off, ya goddamn twat!"
“Helen – just...YUM.”
“Nikki - my girl. Keep the faith!”

“Shell - ...sigh...