Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Great Escape, S3.7

We open in the screw’s locker room. Where Di's rifling through Josh’s locker, presumably for more relics to add to her altar. And then.... she sniffs his razor?! What, no dirty socks, Di??

Hallway. Helen’s making her way to the wing when Jim sees her.

Fenner: “Helen!”
Helen: “Don't you talk to me.”

She tries to close the gate between them but Fenner worms his way in.

Fenner: “What, not even to apologize? Look, I’m sorry. I shouldn't have blown up like that.”
Helen: “You assaulted me.”

Fenner: “Oh, cut the textbook politics, will you?”
Helen: “Well, what would you call it, Jim? A friendly grope between colleagues?”
Fenner: (drily) “Apology accepted, then?”
Helen: “You're a shit, Fenner. And if I thought I had an iota of a chance of anyone believing what happened, I'd get you sacked in a second.”

Fenner: “Finished?”
Helen: “Yeah. I am for now.”

But he's not. As she tries to leave, he grabs her arm.

Fenner: “Look, things have been a little tough on me lately. Or had you forgotten?”
Helen: (pushes him away) “Just get out my way!”
Fenner: “I wake up dripping with sweat every night.”
Helen: “Oh, my heart bleeds. “

Fenner: “I have panic attacks every time I walk through those gates!”
Helen: “It is nothing you didn't bring on yourself.”
Fenner: “Ah, but you see, I blame YOU, Helen!"

Fenner: "'Cause every time I walk in here, I have to face the evil cow who came that far away from killing me!”
Helen: “Well, let's hope the next time she's that much luckier!”

Fuckin' right, Helen. Fingers crossed.

Officers Lounge.

Karen: “The company’s called ‘Kickin’ Productions. And they’re coming here to shoot a fly-on-the-wall documentary here in Larkhall. (Opens a folder and reads aloud) And it says they hope to present a ‘compassionate portrayal of life inside a women’s prison.’ Other than that, they arrive next week and the show is called “Lady Lags.”

Mixed reaction from the screws. Sylvia seems pleased at the thought of being on film, but Di? Not so much.

Di: "I don't like the thought of people I don’t know watching me.”

Oh, I hear ya, Di. I don’t like the thought of people sniffing other people's razors. Or stalking them outside their homes. Or building crazy shrines from crazy shit they crazy stole.

Karen: “Nobody gets filmed unless they give their consent. And I’ll be making that clear to all officers and inmates alike.”

She explains that Simon sees this as a PR opportunity for the prison. Just then, Helen interrupts the meeting.

Helen (to Karen): “Can I have a word?”
Karen: “Yeah, we’re almost finished here.”
Helen: “No, now. Please. It’s a private matter.”

Jim looks ready to hurl.

Karen’s office.

Helen: “So how are you and Jim gettin’ on?”
Karen: “I assumed this was about you.”
Helen: “I take it you’re still seeing him.”

Karen: “Yes. Although I don’t see what it’s got to do with you.”
Helen: “Is it serious?”
Karen (snippy): “It’s going very well. So well, we’re thinking of moving in together.”

Now Helen looks ready to hurl.

The garden. Nikki’s pushing a wheelbarrow when she sees Helen at the gate.

Nikki: “Hey! Missed you. You don't write, you don't phone... (sees the look on Helen’s face) Helen?”

Helen: “It's ... nothing.”
Nikki: “Don't look like nothing.”
Helen: (opens the gate) “I'll sort it out myself.”
Nikki: “Might've known I couldn't be of any use.”

Long pause while Helen tries to collect herself. I have to say, I’ve never seen Helen so completely wrung out. The stress is just etched on every inch of her face.

Helen: “Nikki, if I tell you, you've gotta promise me it'll go no further. I mean it.”

Nikki: “Hand on heart. What's happened?”
Helen: (struggles) "It's Jim Fenner.”
Nikki: “Might've guessed.”
Helen: “The other night I was in the office, and he was havin' a go as usual. I... really didn't expect what happened after that.”
Nikki: “Like what?”
Helen (pause, then whispers): “He assaulted me.”
Nikki: “What?!”
Helen: “Between my legs. He said that he knew what I needed to sort me out.”
Nikki: “I'll kill him.”

Helen: I really don't think that's gonna help right now.
Nikki: “He sexually assaulted you!”
Helen: “Calm down. I don't know what to do. Other than lockin' him in a cell with Shell Dockley.”
Nikki: “Have you told Stubberfield?”
Helen: “No, I can't.”
Nikki: “Why not?! Get the bastard sacked! It's time someone did.”

Helen looks at Nikki with such... helplessness, that it just breaks my heart.

On the wing, Gina posts a notice about the film shoot. And explains, “they’re coming in to do a documentary about us. Like the ones they make about airports and hotels.”

A documentary about airports?? Really?? That must be like 2 hours of watching grass grow. Or baggage going round and round.

Gina sees Di leaning against the wall, staring dreamily into space.

Gina: "What's up with you? Missing your toy boy already?"
Di: "Who?"
Gina: "Who? Josh! I see the way you grope him with your eyes."
Di: "I think you'll find it's the other way around."

Di claims he's always following her around. "He seems dead keen."

Gina: "What you waiting for then? Believe me, there's plenty in here who'll break him in if you won't."

Oh, good, Gina - way to add crazy-fuel to the crazy-fire....

Karen's office. Fenner comes in asking if she's ready for Simon's meeting.

Karen: "You know, Helen Stewart was a bit odd this morning."
Fenner (nonchalantly): "Yeah?"

Karen says she was asking about her and Fenner: "practically demanded to know how our relationship was going."

Fenner: "Well, maybe she disapproves."
Karen: "Well, I don't think she has the right! Well, how would she feel if I started demanding details about her personal life."

(Well, I feel it'd make for an interesting episode....)

Fenner: "She just doesn't know where to draw the line sometimes."
Karen: "Ah, well, I drew it for her. Firmly."

Karen (gets up from desk): "I told her we were getting on very well."
Fenner (creepy smile): "Did you, now?"
Karen: "So well, that we're thinking of moving in together."

Fenner and Lady Slag share a cringetastic kiss. Now *I'm* ready to hurl.

Simon's office. Key prison personnel are gathered for the meeting.

Simple Simon: "I understand you all have reservations, but this kind of publicity could really do Larkhall a lot of good."

Fenner: "How do we know it's not gonna be a stitch-up? These things usually are."

Simple Simon: "Because I've negotiated which inmates they want to interview and all subjects they want to discuss have to be cleared in advance. We effectively have editorial control."

Simon looks mighty pleased with himself. PR hawk that he is, I'm sure he's carefully vetted their questions. And arranged for the crew to be closely supervised.

Simon says the crew will shoot at the prison for 10 weeks. Starting on G-Wing. To Karen, "thought I'd send them to the prettiest Governor first. Win 'em over for us, ey, Miss Betts?"

Ironically, Simon's sexism doesn't offend only Karen and Helen. Even Fenner has the nerve to look uncomfortable.

Outside Larkhall. As the film crew unloads their van, they marvel at the lax security: "I've had a harder time getting through a supermarket checkout."

(just wait til the phones and drugs come flyin' over the wall, dude).

Simon's office. He's meeting with the film crew.

Simple Simon: "....well, as long as my staff get a fair hearing. These girls aren't here for pinching apples, you know."
Director Chick: "That's what good documentary making is all about, Mr. Stubberfield. Balance."

Simple Simon: "My point exactly. Now, your researcher mentioned you wanted an interview. What kind of questions would you be asking? I've prepared some areas you might..."
Director Chick: "Uh, can we get back to you on that one? After we got our bearings on, um, G-Wing, wasn't it?"

Oops! So much for "editorial control," Simon!

Simon warns her, "prisons can be pretty routine-led, unexciting places. Can't promise you a jailbreak. Or a riot."

Awww... well, how about a suicide, then? A stabbing? At least a good, old-fashioned beatdown??

Simple Simon: "Now, what about a shot of me on the wing? Saying 'hello' to the girls?"

Helen and Karen stroll onto G-Wing with the film crew in tow.

Karen: "Can I have your attention please? As you can see, this is the documentary team who will be with us for the next few weeks."

She says no one being forced to participate, and to "think very carefully before discussing your individual crimes on camera."

Karen: "And remember - the actual program won't be televised for another 6 months or so. So what might seem like a laugh now, might not be so funny when it's being broadcast to 4 million viewers."

Director Chick (scoffs): "I'm hoping for slightly higher figures than that."
Karen: "This is Fiona, the annoying and pretentious director and producer. So, unless there are any questions... (to Fiona) over to you."

Fiona: "Okay guys, first thing I want you to do is just pretend we're not here."

Cue Simon on the stairs, ready for his onscreen debut. Fiona's all, "Action!"

Simon begins his clumsy descent. "Morning, ladies!"

They're all like "what?" "whose that?" "Stubby something, I dunno."

Fiona: "Cut!"

Hee. "Lady Lags," take two!

G-3. Fenner's making his rounds when he hears voices in Shell's cell.

Fiona: "...tell me how you ended up here in Larkhall."

Shell begins by proclaiming her innocence. And explains, "there was this girl. Got herself tortured to death. But it weren't me! It was them other slags!"

Fiona: "You didn't actually hurt her?"
Shell: "No! I tried to help!"

Shell: "But they cut her up bad. Said they were going to do it to me and all. So I had to watch, didn't I? She was pretty, too. Lovely long red hair. Didn't look so pretty when they set a match to it."
Fiona: "Must've been awful for you."
Shell: "It was! Smelled rotten. Never been able to curl my eyelashes since."

(I know it's wrong, but I can never watch this without laughing my ass off).

Shell (continues): "And all the time, she's screaming at me, begging me... but what could I have done?"

Fiona (enthralled): "Then what happened?"
Shell: "She died, didn't she? Just as well - no man would ever have looked at her after that."

Shell says she took all the blame cuz she was scared. "Them girls was nasty!"

Fiona: "Nastier than the girls in here?"
Shell (scoffs): "In here?! Eh - it's not the girls ya gotta worry about in here."
Fiona: "Oh?"
Shell: "Well, we're all locked up in here, aren't we? Poor, defenseless women! It's the screws that get away with it all."

Shell elaborates: "Bangin' women up for a living - says it all, dunnit? They can get into our cells anytime of the day or night. Ask Jim Fenner."

Cue Fenner barging in.

"Right, that's it. Interview over."

Fiona objects but Fenner ain't hearin' it: "sorry, love - only doing my job."

Fiona wants to interview him, but he walks out.
Shell (calls after him): "You can run, Mr. Fenner, but you can't hide!"

Then she giggles maniacally. And flirts shamelessly with the boom guy.

On the wing, Sylvia's prepped for her cameo. She walks, nay, she GLIDES across the wing. "This is what we call free flow..."

"... where the prisoners move between their place of work or education and the wing...."

But her 15 seconds of fame are interrupted when Denny and Shaz start mackin' behind her. Sylvia's annoyed but Fiona's pleased. "We can use that," she tells the crew.

Then Fiona runs into Buki, and asks "what do you think of the activities they offer here at Larkhall?"

Buki's response?

As Di drags her off, Buki yells out, "tits and arse! That's all they're interested in, coming in here, goldfishing! Fancy a bit, do you, love?!"

Goldfishing, indeed....

Chris, the boom operator, is sitting at a table when Shell walks over. And flirts with him some more.

Screw's Lounge. Fenner's making tea when Nikki walks in.

Fenner: "What do you want, Wade?"
Nikki: "An R and C form."

And shuts the door behind her.

Nikki: "I wanna complain about the tv crew."
Fenner: "Don't waste my time."
Nikki: "Know what you are, Fenner? A first-class bastard."

Fenner: "Yeah? Well, women like that sort of thing. Real women, anyway."
Nikki: "Dockley didn't, did she? Not in the end."

Nikki slowly moves her hand next to the empty milk bottle. "She had a way with a bottle. Just like me."

And Fenner shits a stainless steel brick.

Fenner: "Get out of here, Wade."
Nikki: "And there's me... All I want is one little form. It's enough to really piss me off."
Fenner: Gulp. "I said that's enough. Back off."

Nikki: "You know, if I wasn't getting out of here...(moves her hand to the bottle again) it'd almost be worth it."
Fenner (nervous): "All I've got to do is shout."
Nikki: "I could replace that sneer of yours (draws a finger across her throat) with a lovely, big smile."

Just then, Helen bursts in. "Nikki! What is going on?"

Nikki: "Thanks for listening, Mr. Fenner. I feel much better now."

You and me both, Nik...

Cut to Nikki's cell.

Helen: “Are you out of your stupid mind?!”

Nikki: “Sorry.”
Helen: “There's your appeal out the window. I've been working my arse off to get you out of here, or hadn't you noticed? All I ask is for you to keep your head down and your nose clean!”
Nikki: “You didn't really expect me to say nothing — I have got feelings, you know!”

Helen: “Yeah, but what kind, Nikki?! Anger, jealousy, violence? Those aren't the qualities that I generally look for in a person! Just remember what got you in here in the first place.”
Nikki: “I didn't touch him!”
Helen: “No, but you wanted to!”
Nikki: “What, and you don't?”
Helen: “I am not the one in here serving life for sticking a bottle in a policeman's neck!”

Exasperated, Helen walks out.

(I'll cut Helen some slack here, being as freaked out and stressed as she is. Though I'll point out that *wanting* to kill someone is not the same as actually *trying* to kill someone. And that wanting to kill Fenner after he assaulted her seems a perfectly rational response to me. I'm just saying....)

Screw's Lounge. Sylvia's interview continues.

Sylvia: "I like to think of the girls as friends, really. I see myself as an older sister, offering help and advice."
Fiona: "Do the inmates respond to that approach?"
Sylvia: "Some do. But they can still turn very nasty. But as my Bobby says, 'a kind word costs no more than a cruel one.' You only hope someone, someday, will appreciate it."

Gina and Di drink their tea and snigger. Until the alarm suddenly blares. The screws rush out, with Fiona & Gang hot on their heels.

In the dorm, Buki's bleeding out from her overly enthusiastic self-cutting. Gina, natch, runs in and takes control.

Shaz: "Is she gonna die, miss?"
Gina: "She'll be wishin' she had by the time I finish with her."

Di herds the women out of the cell as Gina orders the film crew out. Buki lays lifeless, her open eyes glazed over.

It looks serious except, ya know, it's not. It's just a minor cut. From a Plastic. Fucking. Knife.

Shell's cell. Fenner comes in. "I don't want you around here anymore, Shell."

He says it like a pouty 8-year old, stomping his foot in the playground.

Shell: "Well that's a shame cuz I ain't going nowhere."

Fenner: "Yeah, well that's where you could be wrong. You and that Chris seem to be getting nice and friendly."
Shell: "So?"
Fenner: "So, I could get you his van keys. You could be out of Larkhall for good."

Shell thinks Jim's just stitching her up.

Fenner: "If I could've had you transferred, don't you think I'd have done it by now?"

But he can't. "Bloody Stewart runs the show around here these days." He assures her he can spring her, though.

Thus begins Shell/Fenner Scheme MXVII. Long story short: Helen has the lifers keeping diaries. Except for Shell, who doesn't wanna "write down her privates."

Fenner wants her to start one now and back date it, describing all the meetings. "Only lay it on. Say how friendly it all is...relaxed. In fact, sometimes you're surprised just how relaxed Miss Stewart is with you."

Shell: "You plannin' to dump her in it?"
Fenner: "Yeah, with any luck."

Back on the wing, Nikki calls Helen over.

Nikki: "You were right. Again."
Helen: "There are ways of going about things other than violence, Nikki."
Nikki: "Yeah? You just haven't thought of one yet."

Helen starts to walk away.

Nikki: "Sorry! Sorry."
Helen: "I understand how you feel, but this is my battle. Why don't you concentrate on fighting your own?"

And... she walks away again.

(I know much has been made of the fact Helen told Nikki about the assault. Given all we know about them, I'm firmly of the school that, consciously or not, Helen knew/hoped Nikki would be spurred to some kind of action. Also? I have no problem with that).

Down the block. Simple Simon brings the film crew along while he "counsels" Buki.

Simon: “Now then - what's this nonsense all about, Buki? It's just attention-seeking isn't it?”
Buki: “Piss off!”

But Simple Simon's full of self-help bromides: "Look at yourself - not very pretty, is it?" and "nobody's bad unless they choose to be bad."

Buki says she's got all this bad stuff inside her that just builds up.

Buki: "It's like a storm, this rage, this anger. I've gotta get it out somehow. I've got to.”
Simon: “Why are you angry? Hmmmm??"

Buki: “You really wanna know?”

But no, he really doesn’t. He’ll just keep her down the block until she “promises” to stop mutilating herself.

Too late, though. Buki’s on a roll: “The first time I got shafted, I was 5 years old.”

And....that’s Too Much Information for Simon. He quickly stops the cameras and hustles everyone out of the cell.

Alone, Buki remembers being raped as a child. “Want me to tell ya the details, do ya? Dirty ol' pervert! Pervert! PERVERT!”

Officer's lounge. Fenner makes a copy of Chris's van keys. The old-fashioned way - by pressing the keys into a bar of soap. Heh.

On the wing, Shell's simply too excited to keep the plans to herself. She pulls Denny away from Shaz.

Shell: "I'm goin' over the wall, innit I?"

Shell says she's got it all planned out - does Denny wanna come with?

Denny looks over at Shaz. "I dunno, man." Which doesn't please Shell.

Library. Lifer's Meeting. Fiona & Gang are setting up to shoot.

Helen: “I'm sorry, but you can't film here.”
Fiona: “This is the Lifers Group, isn't it?”
Helen: “Yeah, but it's a closed session.”
Fiona: “Oh, he hasn't told you, has he?”
Helen: “Who?”
Fiona: “Mr. Stubberfield. He particularly wants us to film what goes on here - thinks the Lifers Group shows Larkhall at its most progressive.”
Helen: “Well, Mr. Stubberfield doesn't run this group, I do. And I don't want you here.”

Fiona (annoyed): “Uh, you don't seem to understand. We’ve negotiated an access-all-areas policy throughout the whole prison.”
Helen: “Not with me you haven't. So, you can just pack up your things and leave. Now.”
Fiona: “I am only doing my job.”
Helen: “Not historically a great excuse, is it Fiona?”

No, not historically... Bye, Fiona!

Screw's lounge. Fenner's still slinking around, playing with keys, putting money in an envelope, all sneaky, sneaky, sneaky.

The dorm. Shaz tricks Denny into revealing Shell's escape plan (you KNOW you're a dumbass when even Shaz gets over on you).

Denny doesn't wanna leave Shaz behind, but Shaz has an idea - she'll just come along!

Yay - road trip!

Up on G3, Fenner tells Shell the rest of the plan: she'll go to chapel and sit in the back row, right-hand side, aisle seat. Gate and door keys will be taped under the chair. She should crutch them, and then slip away when the service breaks up. Then sneak out, walk along the chapel corridor to exterior door. The film crew's van will be parked in the yard. Money and van key behind the front wheel. Oh, and she should wear a hippie-scarf, ala Fiona, to get past the front gate.

I'm thinkin' Shell should've written that all down.

Back on the wing, she recruits the Julies to create a diversion in the chapel. They agree to help her because.... well, I don't know why.

Chapel. Shell makes her way to.... last row, right-hand side, whatever. But someone's already sitting there. Shell says, "that's my seat, dickhead."

Dickhead gets up, Shell sits down, and feels around under the chair.

Meanwhile, up in her cell, Fenner plants Shell's diary, Chris's business card, and the bar of soap with the key impressions.

Back in the chapel, Shell can't find the keys. Until she glances over at Dickhead, now seated across the aisle.

Shell's all, 'oh, THAT back row right-hand aisle seat.' But the minister's already started the service - how to unobtrusively shove Dickhead out of her other seat?

She comes up with a not half-bad plan: she rises, hands clasped in prayer like she's caught the Holy Spirit, and walks towards the minister. Then opens her mouth for communion. When the minister says it's not time, she walks back to Dickhead, and shoves her out of THAT seat.

And reaches under the chair. This time, she finds the keys right where Fenner said they'd be and she crutches them.

As they burst into hymnal song, the Julies start their diversion - by ripping the cover off the boom mike and throwing it around. All the inmates get in on the action, and before long, the entire chapel is in havoc.

In the confusion, Shell slips away, grabbing Fiona's jacket as she leaves. She gets to the gate, and reaches for the keys:

Just then, Shaz and Denny come tearing around the corner. Shell is NOT happy to see Shaz, but there's no time to argue.

They get through the gate, down the stairs, and to the outside door. And then run like hell thru the parking lot. Shell checks the front tire and finds the keys and money Fenner left.

Once in the van, Shell starts the engine. But her driving skills are a little rusty - Shaz has to tell her to release the parking brake.

With Fiona's coat and hippie scarf, Shell drives to the outer gate of the prison, an excited Denny and Shaz in the back.

The guards wave the van through the gate with nary a second glance, and... freedom!!

Shell: "Hey girls! We've only bloody done it! We're free!"

Back in the chapel, the women are still yelling and carrying on. Fenner comes in and starts hollering and threatening. The women quiet down and take their seats.

Fenner asks Sylvia what happened, but she has no idea.

Fenner: "Anyone missing?"
Sylvia: "I don't know."
Fenner: "Well, go and check their names. Then we'll get this lot back in their cells."

Cut to the van driving down a quiet, tree-lined street.

Shell: "Told ya it'd work, dinnit I, Den?"
Denny: "Like a dream, Shell!"
Shell: "And I made it all up meself. Clever, or what?"
Shaz: "I'd give anything to see Old Bodybag's face!"
Shell: "I reckon we owe Hollamby a visit - for old time's sake."

Back in the chapel, Sylvia looks ready to hurl. Quietly, to Fenner, "they're not all here."

Fenner: "Are you sure?"
Sylvia: "I've checked twice. There's 3 of them gone."
Fenner (surprised): "Three?! Who, for christ's sake?"
Sylvia: "Shell Dockley, Denny Blood, and Shaz Wiley."

Fenner orders her to get the prison searched while he herds the other inmates back to their cells.

Back in the van, Shell wants to go to King's Cross and Denny wants some gear.

Just then, a slow-moving car cuts in front of them. Shell hits the brakes and the horn.

Shell: "Spazzer!"
Shaz: "Oi, Grandad! We're on the run 'ere!"

Fueled by good old-fashioned road rage, Shell speeds up and hits the other car - which drives slooowly away while the van stalls on the side of the road.

Shell tries frantically to restart the van, but the engine's dead.

Denny: "What do we do now?"
Shell: "Run like hell!"

So Shell jumps out one side:

Denny jumps out the other:

And Shaz falls out the back:

...twisting her ankle.

Back on the wing, Sylvia starts to panic.

Sylvia: "We've searched all the cells. They're nowhere to be seen!"
Fenner: "I want the whole place turned upside down. Cupboards, slop buckets, bins, everywhere! Then when you're finished, do it again!"

On the street, Denny tries to help Shaz up. But Shaz is in too much pain.

Shell: "We gotta go, Den! We got to leg it, now!"
Denny: "Look, I ain't leaving without her!"
Shaz (to Denny): "Go on, I'll be alright."

Just then, a taxi pulls up. Shell wants to leave. NOW.

Shaz: "This is your chance, Den. Go for it!"

Shell says they'll come back for her (heh). Shaz tells Denny to go, and "have a pint for me."

Denny promises she'll come back. As Shell and Denny run for the taxi, Shaz calls out, "I love you, Den!"

Denny (turns around): "I love you, Shaz!"

Shell pulls some Dickhead out of the cab - "Oi, you! Piss off!" - and she and Denny jump in. Then, all politely, Shell says, "Kings Cross, please. Quick as you can, doll."

So Shaz is left wounded on the street....

...a forlorn Denny watching as the cab pulls away.