As the episode begins, the girls at Wentworth mourn the death of Bea Smith. Franky (Nicole da Silva) visits Allie (Kate Jenkinson) at the hospital and tells her about the murder. After a quick funeral, Vera (Kate Atkinson) speaks with Will (Robbie Magasiva). She ends his suspension and invites him back to the prison. Seconds later, Joan Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) speaks with her attorney. She remains adamant that she acted in self defense. She also claims that there was a conspiracy against her. Jake (Bernard Curry) visits Vera, who is under heavy pressure to explain the situation. Vera reveals she has until Friday to find out who let Smith outside of the prison. It is revealed that Jake will become acting governor, if Vera fails to do so. Jake suggests creating a scapegoat.
Vera also reveals that Joan will remain at Wentworth and will likely be released into general population once again. In a flashback, we see Vera discovering a cellphone and hidden storage compartment in Bea’s room. Seconds later, Maxine (Socratis Otto) and the others argue with the guards, who want to strip Bea’s cell. Sonia Stevens (Sigrid Thornton) steps in and successfully negotiates for a little extra time. Maxine blames himself for the murder, but Liz (Celia Ireland) tries to convince her otherwise. Franky returns to work and is praised for her efforts on Higgins’ case. She is also offered a permanent position with the group. A little later, Franky runs into Mike Pennisi (Felix Williamson). Despite breaking her parole, she sits down and shares a coffee with the man. Franky apologizes for throwing hot oil on Mike’s face and he apologizes for being so mean. Back at the prison, Joan tells Jake that she believes Vera set her up.
Joan is escorted to Vera’s office. There, Vera asks Joan, if she knows what she is doing. Joan insists nobody will touch her at this point. That night, Franky and Bridget (Libby Tanner) celebrate the good news. Bridget also learns about Franky’s encounter with Mike. While Joan is released into population, Allie is returned to the prison. She is comforted by Doreen (Shareena Clanton) and the others, before isolating herself in her cell. At work, Franky receives a call from Mike. She tells him forcibly that she cannot speak with him any longer, due to her parole. Outside, Franky finds an envelope on her vehicle. Inside, she discovers pictures of herself and Bridget. The pictures could potentially ruin Bridget and end Franky’s parole. Back at the prison, Joan enters the laundry room. Kaz Proctor (Tammy Macintosh) quickly takes over the situation. She demands that the girls keep their hands to themselves and insists the fighting must stop.
During the recreational period, Boomer (Katrina Milosevic) exclaims that someone should kill Joan. The other women quickly talk her out of doing something stupid. Nevertheless, Allie tries to attack Joan. After Allie is quickly knocked to the ground, several other women join in. Joan whips them all. Vera speaks with Joan in private. With backup from Officer Murphy (Katerina Kotsonis), Ferguson is able to prove she was acting in self defense once again. During lunch, Kaz is told playing favorites could be dangerous. She insists the days of bashing women to remain in control are over. When Boomer returns to her cell, she finds Sonia preparing for her case. Sonia admits she believes the case against her is weak. Maxine returns seconds later. Boomer becomes distraught when she learns Maxine is going to be transferred to Barnhurst for chemo purposes. Sonia is forced to step in and call Boomer. Vera speaks with Allie. Vera explains that avenging Bea will only lead to a life sentence.
Seconds later, Vera asks Allie about the hotshot. The governor admits she didn’t believe it at the time. Allie admits it was true. Back at home, Bridget comforts Franky. While Franky burns the pictures, we see that Mike has a whole wall full of pictures of Franky. He also has a doll resembling her. Later, Vera confronts Jake, who was supposed to be watching Ferguson when she gave Allie the hot shot. Jake denies it and insists Officer Murphy was in charge at the time. Vera finds Linda Murphy outside smoking. She is reprimanded for smoking, before being asked about the hot shot. Murphy admits she took several smoke breaks that morning. Mike again tracks down Franky. He insists she owes him a little bit of her time. A brief conflict occurs, before Franky heads into work. Franky tries to tell her boss, but doesn’t. She receives a call from Mike. He threatens to get her and Bridget in trouble. Franky visits Mike’s place and tries to apologize.
Mike doesn’t answer. However, when Franky gets in her vehicle, she is attacked. Franky manages to force Mike out of the vehicle, before speeding away. That night, Franky says nothing to Bridget. Vera fabricates evidence against Murphy. Then, she confronts her and forces her to sign a written statement admitting to letting Ferguson out of her cell. Vera gives Jake the duty of monitoring Ferguson, after Murphy is ousted. Jake speaks with Joan and tells her Vera wasn’t involved. Vera immediately gets rid of the evidence. Back at work, Franky tries to speak with her boss again. Before she can, detectives enter and arrest her for the murder of Mike.
So, the episode confirms that Bea Smith is indeed dead. To fill in the gaps, it appears the writers will create a power struggle between Allie, Kaz, Franky and Joan Ferguson. Maxine is apparently out of the picture, as she will be heading to Barnhurst for a few months. That will prove to be problematic for Kaz and her allies, since Joan Ferguson has seemingly gained superhuman strength over night. While the episode had some good moments, a lot of it was very cheesy. The fighting scene was definitely over the top.
Also, the Mike character wasn’t at all realistic. In order to enjoy the episode, the viewer must suspend reality and embrace the cartoonish nature of Mike and Ferguson. I’d prefer to see The Freak as a brilliant manipulator rather than a superhuman monster straight out of a comic book. Hopefully the upcoming episodes will be more grounded in reality. The opening episode of season 5 scores a 6 out of 10. Catch up with previous recaps of Wentworth now.