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Wentworth’s Last Sentence: Eighth Episode

Rita and Detective, via Foxtel.

Pregnancy, secret advantages, shivs, and undercover cops — it’s just another episode of Wentworth

Rita uses her detective skills to sniff out Judy and Lou’s plan. While Allie and the crew are watching the news in their block, the investigation of U.S. Defence Secretary Martin Schwartz’s death appears. Allie remembers his death occurring on the day Judy stabbed her, after stealing Reb’s surgery funds, because it was on the television while she was in hospital. Once they find out Boomer’s pregnant (!!!), Allie and the crew have other things on their mind.

Will and Vera freak out over the picture of them burying Ferguson being sent to Vera’s printer. They interrogate the psychologist, Dr. Miller, to see if he knew anything about it. Following the intimidation from the guards, Miller asks Joan what she did. “My sleeve, my ace,” she says. This kind of advantage must be kept secret.

Dr. Miller, via Foxtel

Lou prepares to destroy Marie’s hand in the steam press for betraying her as top dog and lover. Marie, anticipating the attack, has brought in a shiv. She immediately starts slashing any “critters” who try to restrain her. It buys her enough time for the guards to put her in the slot before she gets assaulted. 

Vera tells Joan Ferguson that she’s willing for the evidence of her involvement in Joan’s attempted murder to go to court. She thinks — or bluffs — that she has a good chance of being let off easy. Joan says the court will make an example out of Vera and Vera has a baby to think about. Smart move, Freaky. Vera knows Joan’s right and speaks to Will about it. Will summons Joan to his office and offers himself and Jake up to Joan’s wrath, but not Vera. Obviously Will hasn’t been witness to the way Joan resists hurting Vera at all costs anyway. 

Vera and Joan Ferguson, via Foxtel

Rita approaches Judy about her involvement in Schwartz’s murder and Lou’s plan, which rattles her. Judy reminds Lou that if Rita succeeds in using information on Judy’s terrorist activity then their “grand plan” is over. Lou, who’s clearly intimidated, finally stands off with Rita. The pair are too set on their own objectives to come to an agreement.

Rita’s objectives change when she’s charged with murder. Lou and Judy pay a guard to find out what Rita’s in for. Judy, knowing Rita can leverage information on Schwartz’s murder to lessen her own sentence, offers her the option to escape with them, instead. Judy still doesn’t know Lou ordered much more of each explosive ingredient than what is needed for a simple escape. Does Lou want to kill everybody? Will she succeed? 

Lou and Judy, via Foxtel

While listening to the recordings Marie had made on the phone, Lou hears the conversation between cop Jones and Marie. Marie, when summoned to speak to the police, recorded Jones saying that Rita was an undercover cop. Lou brings all the inmates together to bash Rita in the yard. It was heartbreaking to watch Ruby see her sister being piled on like that. Hopefully Rita’s still alive.

Joan is interviewed by the police when they find her passport and the passport of Vera’s baby alongside it. Vera, who’s walking past at the time of the interview, sees her daughter’s passport through the window. She busts through the door with a level of rage nobody knew she was capable of and rips the passport off the table. This is the first time Joan sees Vera as a proper threat. 

People in the prison aren’t too scared of Vera. She has a long fuse and at least pretends to appear incorruptible. But Joan’s aware meddling with the safety of Vera’s baby is going to unleash her murderous side. While Joan’s kills are usually quick and without a ton of remorse, we see her battling herself over the growing necessity to kill Vera. “It’s kill or be killed,” she tells herself, holding her belly as if she’s going to be sick, saying some affirmations. How cute.

While planning Joan’s death, Vera isn’t as concerned about what’s right or wrong. The roles are reversed. Vera enters Joan’s cell block when everyone is out to methodically look for ideas for the murder plan. She finds an almond milk in the fridge that says “Kath” on it, takes it to her office, and puts poison in it. At least, unlike Nanny Eve, she knows she can’t take on Joan in a physical contest! 

Jake almost drinks the poisoned milk when he enters Vera’s office. While they’re chatting about Ann coming onto him, and Vera’s trying to remove him so she can continue with her plan, she gets a call from Ann who’s very distressed. She enters a more private room to speak and, as she does, Jake takes the almond milk to the staff room. Vera catches him just before he finishes making a coffee. 

The most interesting part of this episode is Joan’s plan to murder Vera. First of all, she knows somebody took her milk. She’s a mass-murderer. She knows what that means. She also knows that Vera has a good enough reason to actually muster up the courage to kill her now, too. I honestly believe Joan only truly entertains the idea of murdering Vera when she realises her milk’s gone. She’s drinking a coffee when she’s playing with the electrical cord she intends to strangle Vera with, so she’s noticed.

Secondly, an electrical cord? Really? That just shows how much Joan cares for Vera, considering the way she murders others. She convinces people to take their own eyeballs out for crying out loud. The electrical cord signifies that Joan can only murder Vera from behind, without looking at her face, and in the least gruesome way she’s murdered anyone. Despite Vera being an accessory to Joan’s attempted murder, Joan can never imagine murdering her. This is simply a death for Joan’s survival. That’s the only way she can convince herself to do it.

Joan, via Foxtel

Vera enters the library. We see Joan lurking behind shelves, electrical cord in hand. Joan comes forward, about to pounce on Vera, when Ann storms in. Ann yells at Vera about not being there for her the night she called. Vera admits she has a lot on her plate right now. The more Ann yells and Vera gets overwhelmed, the more empathy we see in Joan’s eyes, who’s looking from the background. When Ann leaves, Joan can’t bring herself to kill Vera. 

Ann, via Foxtel

Joan saw herself in Ann. We already know she has “regret” about how she’s treated Vera before because she told Dr. Miller. Back when Joan was governor, she overpowered Vera, didn’t protect her when she should have, and expected way too much of her. I’m beginning to see Vera and Joan’s relationship as a metaphor for love, despite Vera not being into Joan: Joan can bring the teeth right to Vera’s neck, she can snarl, but she can never bite down. 

I believe Joan would let Vera kill her. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened before the season’s over. It would be the only death, for Joan, that makes sense to me. Vera’s been the only person who causes Joan to lose focus and focus is her thing. Joan’s made errors in her usual, diligent processes because of the way she cares for Vera. I wouldn’t mind Joan dying if it was Vera’s blade!

AJ Kelly

Contact AJ at [email protected] or view the rest of her work on aj-kelly.tumblr.com

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