Season 3, Episode 15: Cat & Mouse
Recap by Filbertfox


Questions for this week...

1. Will anyone discover Virginia's secret before her face falls apart?
2. Is Fenner finally going to get his comeuppance?
3. Does Nikki's absence mean that she'll be returning with a new haircut?
4. Will Barbara suddenly realise that she's supposed to have claustrophobia?

Okay, let's get started...

Mark arrives for work and is most pissed off when Di catches up with him, frantic for news about Gina who we find out has lost the baby...Mark, as you might imagine is more than a little pissed off with Di who tries for the 'she hit me first' defence...Mark isn't listening though, as far as he's concerned Di is 100% to blame...too right!!!

Di : Look, we've got to work together, can we not put it behind us...please?
Mark : Just stay away from me and we'll get along fine!

Just have to say here...have just rewound this bit and just before the Di and Mark bit, Helen can be seen arriving with an armful of it just me or does she look more and more like she's walking around with a shinty stick shoved up her rear end with every episode??

Inside the prison, Helen is struggling with her files as she unlocks a gate...dizzy mare drops one just as she steps through which gives dashing Dr Yes Yes the opportunity to run along to help...he asks if she's okay and she tells him that she's tired and that she'll be fine after a dose of caffeine...he's got other ideas though and tells her that he'll be along to her office later with a dose of vitamin pills...the two check the corridor and kiss quickly before each heading their separate ways...unfortunately, they didn't notice Fenner standing just around the corner...he saw the whole exchange through a mirror and is left smirking like a pantomime villain...he's behind you Helen!!

In the officers' room, it's time for the daily meeting and Mark thanks the others for the flowers they've sent to Gina...Karen sympathises and welcomes him onto the wing - he's either covering for Gina in her absence or has been transferred - anyway, Karen also informs the others that Crystal will need an escort for her court case that day and Bodybag is assigned the task...

Bodybag : (Swells up self-importantly) It'll be my pleasure.

Also, it turns out that Nikki is sitting an OU exam that morning. After her exam, she needs to be escorted to the lifer's meeting...a duty Fenner volunteers for immediately...he's obviously relishing the opportunity to stick the boot in about Helen and Dr Yes Yes.

When the others go about their duties, Josh is left alone to sort through the mail...amongst the pile on the desk he comes across a package addressed to him...inside, he finds a video tape with the words 'For Crystal'...hmmmm, the envelope is covered in Spanish stamps...could this be more aggro from Shell or something that could help Crystal's case???

In her cell, Virginia is stretching her legs, sitting in a wheelchair all day must be starting to take its toll...the door is knocked and she manages to get back into her chair in the nick of time, just as Fenner pokes his ugly mug around the door...he's surprised that she's managed to get herself into her chair on her own, but the smug look on his face suggests that he thought she was swinging the lead anyway...

Fenner : No need to strain yourself.
Virginia : You just concentrate on getting my money into the bank darling.
Fenner : Don't've got no troubles on the business front. (Smiles)
Virginia : (Wheeling herself out of the cell) I hear that everything's going as smoothly as a bishop up a verger's arse!

Josh toddles off to the library and sticks the video he's received into the tape player...he switches it on and we see Denny...

Denny : Y'alright Josh? Didn't expect to see me again did ya?

Up in Helen's office...she's massaging her shoulders with a painful look on her face as she reads the list of brothel addresses Yvonne gave her. Dr Yes Yes arrives bearing vitamin pills and Helen downs them in one. He sits down opposite and starts to throw doubt on 'Operation Fenner', wondering if Yvonne might be 'jerking Helen's chain'...Helen protests and he changes direction, saying that he's sick of spending his nights parked up outside massage parlours and that he wants for them to spend time alone...Helen's adamant though, she'll catch Fenner even if it means she's got to spend the rest of her life doing it. Yes Yes suggests that maybe she should go to Virginia and tell her that unless she gives Fenner up, she'll call the police, Helen points out the obvious flaw which is her lack of evidence and that it would just give Virginia an opportunity to warn Fenner off...Yes Yes has had enough of this and pulls a Nikki by storming out of the office in a strop...two things to notice here - 1) He doesn't pull it off half as well as Nikki does. 2) Helen tugs on his jacket and tries to apologise...oh, so it's okay if he sulks is it?? Anyway, he pisses off and Helen is left alone.

Back in the library...

Denny : I want to set things straight by Crystal...Shell shouldn'ta done what she did and I don't want Crystal gettin' in no trouble...Crystal didn't even wanna help us - don't blame her really...she didn't want us messin' things up for 'er...Shell didn't see it that way and she planted the drugs and made the phone call, stitched 'er up good and proper! I didn't know what she'd done, not at the time...anyway, I just wanted to let you know...that's it really...(Takes a drag of her cigarette and shrugs)...tell Bodybag - thanks for putting us up...and tell Shaz Wiley...tell you mate.

Out on the wing, a frantically protesting Crystal is being led off to court...

Bodybag : If you weren't in league with those two monsters...why didn't you call the police in the first place?

Crystal has no answer for this and is taken away.

Meanwhile, Al catches up with seems that she heard Shaz's shouted challenge and is prepared to take her up on it...Shaz tries to talk her way out of it but Al's on a mission now, and, detecting the presence of Maxi in the background tries to lean on Shaz...Yvonne spots what's going on and decides that she's not going to walk away this time and backs Shaz up by telling Al and Maxi about Dionne's training...

Yvonne : Turned into a right little scrapper since she started her new hobby.
Al : What?
Yvonne : Come on Shaz...let's give 'em a demo!

Yvonne tells Julie J to pass her a tray and tells her to hold the other end...Shaz winds up and kicks the tray, snapping it in's very impressive, but incredibly unbelievable, but anyway, it puts the wind up Maxi and Al who return to the Boot Gang HQ in silence...Shaz is left looking very pleased with herself...amazing that isn't it? Weedy pigeon to Black belt in the space of an episode.

Yvonne returns to her cell...and someone should tell her, she looks a lot better when she lets her shirts hang out!! Anyway, Helen's not far behind her...

Yvonne : Are you okay? You look knackered Miss.
Helen : (Wearily and more than a little pissed off) I've been spending far too many nights outside those addresses you gave me.
Yvonne : And?
Helen : (Through gritted teeth) And sod all!
Yvonne : Don't give up now...Fenner's in with her, I promise you.
Helen : Promises aren't enough Yvonne!
Yvonne : Listen to me...(Walks towards Helen)...Lauren says that O'Kane's business is going great...makes no difference she's in here, someone's gotta be helping her.
Helen : Doesn't have to be Fenner though does it?
Yvonne : (Showing annoyance) She's taking the perks from him I'm telling you! He's in and out her cell like a candle in a convent!

Break here for quick nun joke...

Two nuns in a bath, one says to the other - "Where's the soap" and the other nun replies - "Yes, it does, doesn't it?"

Anyway, back to the action...

Helen : I need something more specific a time and a place! Can't you get O'Kane to open up to you? (Pronounced 'open oop ter yer', coz she's Scottish, innit?)
Yvonne : What's she gonna tell me?
Helen : Then scare something outta her! And quick!

Helen exits the cell and leaves Yvonne speechless.

In a classroom, Nikki is beavering away on her OU exam...glancing up at the clock in a panic before returning to her frantic's too late though because the alarm sounds...

Invigilator : The exam is at an end...finish your sentences please.

Ooooh dear!! Nikki obviously didn't take the opportunity to get her barnet sorted out!! It's not so much of a blatant Billy the Fish mullet now but it's still greasy enough for 'Harry Ramsden's' to want to take a franchise out on her head and she's sort of swept it all to one never know, maybe this is a Bobby Charlton type attempt at hiding rampant alopecia!!!

There's worse in store for Nikki though, she's about to be escorted to the lifer's meeting by the Hooded Claw...

Fenner : (Smarmy grin) Spell your name wrong did you?
Nikki : Take the piss...probably the only thing you could pass an exam in!
Fenner : Actually, I'm a firm believer in education...especially for no-hopers like you Wade!
Nikki : Shove it Fenner!
Fenner : No, I mean it...the more you can learn the better...for instance, did you know that your girlfriend - Miss Stewart - is shagging the new SMO?

Nikki responds in her normal way...murderous glare at Fenner before stalking off, leaving him smiling smugly in her wake.

Outside in the exercise yard, Maxine catches up with Tina...

Maxine : Oi Teen! Did you get them batteries off old no-legs?

Turns out that Maxine has ordered Tina to take advantage of her friendship with Virginia to nick batteries for the radio in their cell...Tina tells her sister that it 'doesn't feel right nicking off Virginia' before proudly pointing out the hair bobble that Virginia has given her...Maxine, as you might expect, isn't that impressed...

Maxine : Bitch is turning you as soft as her knee-caps! If you can't do nuffing useful with 'er then I don't want you going near 'er! (Watches Tina turn away and fold her arms in a huff) Did you 'ear me?

Tina makes an attempt to storm off but Maxine pulls her back and is obviously about to stick the boot in...well, until she sees Yvonne emerging from the door to the courtyard...the two stare each other out for a moment before Yvonne returns inside and it's clear from the look on Maxine's face that she's won this particular battle of wills, so, Maxine turns back to Tina...

Maxine : We've got a job to do in this nick...scratch Atkins' name off and put ours on it...right? You gonna let our name down after all dad's done to give it yer?
Tina : Dad named me Tina Purvis, not Tina Peckham Boot Gang!
Maxine : If you i'nt wiv the gang you ain't a proper fink about that!

Tina storms off...obviously Maxine's going to have to come up with something a little more drastic to pull her back into the fold!

Up in the lifer's meeting...Shaz is displaying her new high-kicking skills, the others, apart from Nikki who is pulling a Kevin the Teenager, applaud when she sits down...Helen is quick to congratulate her on her new skills but tells Shaz that she would've preferred it if she'd learnt something that might help her get a new job on the outside...

Shaz : I'm gonna be a world champion kick-boxer!
Nikki : (Arms folded, heavy on the sarcasm) Yeah! Shaz Van Damme!
Shaz : Yeah...well I'll get work in it somehow and I'm going for it!
Helen : (Smiling supportively) Then I wish you lots of luck Shaz!
Nikki : (Turning on Helen) What I wish is that the bloody Home Office would make up its mind what prison's for! 'Cause if they really wanted us to improve ourselves they'd stop paying us less for education than for shitty prison jobs wouldn't they?
Other inmates : (Rumble of approval)
Helen : Is there anyone who thinks that I don't agree? (Pause to look around the table) You see, that's why I want more of you to prove what a difference education can make. (Pause to see Nikki rolling her eyes like a sulky adolescent) So...that's where we'll pick up next time!

The others leave the room then, Nikki goes to follow but is stopped by a concerned looking Helen...

Helen : How did your exam go? Not good?
Nikki : (Sulkily) It went great.
Helen : (Frowning) So why are you being so lippy?
Nikki : Is it true you're shagging the new SMO? (Sees cornered rat expression on Helen's face) Just thought you might've told me yourself rather than letting Fenner do it for you!

Nikki storms out, Helen's left with a wistful look on her face and all the while, the soppy music is playing in the background.

Out on the wing, Yvonne strolls over to see Virginia who has just wheeled herself out of her cell...

Yvonne : Virginia! I think you and me need to have a word.
Virginia : (Dismissive) I don't think that you and I have one word in common!
Yvonne : (Looks around shiftily) Oh yes we do...darling...(Leans over wheelchair menacingly)!

End of Part One...


Part Two...

In Virginia's cell...

Virginia : This better be worth keeping me from my lunch!
Yvonne : My Lauren knows all about your little empire...reckons you're being ripped off...big time.
Virginia : (Shakes head dismissively) I don't think so.
Yvonne : By this fella...John Farmer I think she said his name was...ring a bell? (Wanders over to sit down on the bunk by Virginia's chair) Sounds like a real mean bastard!
Virginia : John and I go back a long way...he's my right hand man.
Yvonne : Yeah? Well word's out he's squeezing your girls for an extra ten percent.
Virginia : He better not be!
Yvonne : It ain't exactly hard is it - taking advantage of you, being banged up in here, in that thing.
Virginia : I'm not helpless...look, what are you angling for?
Yvonne : Business...I reckon my Lauren would do a better job of running your massage parlours, least she wouldn't do the dirty like your Mr Farmer.
Virginia : If he is.
Yvonne : Fine! As long as you're happy. (Gets up to leave) It's your choice.
Virginia : Wait! (Waits until Yvonne turns round from the door) There's a pick-up tonight in Fellows Lane...maybe Lauren would like to make herself known to my receptionist.

Yvonne leaves the cell and Virginia at last knows that she has Fenner off her back...better watch out for low flying bullets Fenner if Lauren's getting involved!!

Up on G3, Helen turns up to speak to Nikki and we know that we're in for a tough time because the soppy music is playing in the background again!!!

Helen : (Pokes head around cell door to find Nikki sitting on her book reading) Can I come in?
Nikki : (Puts book down) I'm sorry about what I said to you...whoever you're with it's none of my business.
Helen : No, I'm sorry that you found out from Fenner...I owe you more than that.
Nikki : Yeah, well...(Looks up and smiles) Trust him not to miss a good kick eh?
Helen : (Angrily) I don't want him scoring anything over you Nikki...ever.
Nikki : (Smiles as if to say - who whistled up your kilt?) So, you managed to find the one nice guy in this dump eh? (Plain to see that she's holding back tears here) A doctor.
Helen : (Smiles, although doesn't seem that happy) Yeah...he is.
Nikki : Is it serious?
Helen : Early days...maybe.
Nikki : Well don't feel bad for me...I've got a new life waiting outside for me once this appeal's out of the way.
Helen : (Looks upset for a moment and then smiles) you're talking!
Nikki : (Tears in eyes) So...good luck I guess.
Helen : Yeah...thanks.

Helen leaves the cell and Nikki leans back against the wall, taking her frantically wobbling bottom lip with her...note, the George Eliot postcard is still pinned to her notice board...good signs to note here for H&N fans...the conversation was on several different levels and more was said silently with the tearful look in Nikki's eye and the wistful look in Helen's than in most of this series...there's still feelings running deep on it!! Don't forget, it ain't over until the fat lady sings and we've only seen Felicity once so far this series!!!

Down on the landing, Maxine is most pissed off to see that Tina is sitting with Virginia again, and not just that...Virginia is applying make-up for her...but, the action shifts quickly and we see Crystal arriving back on the wing...the judge has adjourned her case until the following day, the Julies are sympathetic, guess who isn't...

Bodybag : She'll get's what coming to her!

The Julies protest, but Bodybag's in full flow now...

Bodybag : Shell Dockley and Denny Blood were going to roast my Bobby alive and she gave them refuge!

Bodybag flounces away then giving Yvonne the chance for another classic put down...

Yvonne : Being married to that old cow he probably needed warming up!

Crystal mopes back to her cell then just as Nikki walks down the stairs, she stares after Crystal concerned for a moment before ambling over to speak to Barbara who has also noticed Crystal's arrival...

Barbara : Poor Girl! This trial must be torture for her.
Nikki : (Crouches down and leans against the table) Yeah...makes me wonder what my turn is going to be like.
Barbara : You should be looking forward to your appeal...being with Helen.
Nikki : Helen's got someone else, dashing Dr Waugh.
Barbara : (Puts hand on Nikki's arm) Oh Nikki!
Nikki : Still...gotta look forward I suppose!

Nikki leaves and Barbara returns to scribbling in her diary.

Yvonne's leaning against the gate to the wing when she sees Helen walking out of the officers' room...she calls her over and delivers the good news...

Yvonne : Fenner's collecting tonight...Fellows Lane.
Helen : Brilliant! Thank you.
Yvonne : Anything to see that bastard go down!

Crystal's crying in her cell when Josh finally manages to get away to give her the good news about the video...she doesn't think that she can take much more but her face is a picture when Josh tells her about the video and that it's now sitting on her lawyer's desk...let's hope that Denny's last minute intervention does the trick for our Crystal!!

In the Boot Gang HQ, Tina's putting make-up on, watched by a very pissed off looking Maxine...

Maxine : Virginia O'Kane teach you that? (Smiles reassuringly when Tina looks away, scared) I'm only asking!
Tina : So what? She's going to teach me how to cleanse and tone at association!
Maxine : So I'm gonna have to teach you summink too...Tina! (Grabs Tina's hair and pulls her head back, taking Tina's lipstick and drawing on her face) You'll do what I tell you to do! (Camera pans around and we see Tina's face covered in lipstick) That's pretty innit? I catch you with O'Kane again and I'll do it with a blade!

That night, a very tired looking Helen is staking out the massage parlour in Fellows Lane and swigging water out of a bottle...yeah right! Pull the other one, I bet it's really got vodka in it! Anyway, she's yawning like a drain so let's hope that Fenner turns up soon!!!

Back on the wing, Maxi decides to put the boot in with Virginia...

Maxine : Listen witch! You stop treating my sister like a pissing slave right?
Virginia : The only person who treats Tina like a slave is you!

Maxine grabs the magazine that Virginia is reading and throws it onto the ground, she's prevented from doing any more menacing by a lurking Mark, she returns the magazine but is hit by an idea when a passing Bodybag shouts up to the Julies who are mopping up on G2...the other inmates are queuing up for their flasks and Bodybag wants to know why they aren't on schedule...the Julies reply that someone's thrown up in the toilets...Maxine announces that it's Al's sick and that they will clear it up...Bodybag's astounded, and so's Al, she has no intention of cleaning up anyone's sick, well, until Maxine tips her the nod, a gesture that's not missing by Yvonne and Babs who are standing nearby.

It all becomes clear when Al picks up the mop bucket and tips a bit of water off the lands on Virginia's magazine and she looks up to see Al drop the bucket off the lands on the wheelchair but Virginia, showing amazing dexterity for someone who's lost the use of her legs, manages to jump away in the nick of time...almost immediately, she realises what she's done and tries to appease the inmates who are now crowding around her menacingly...

Virginia : Oh my God! I can walk...I can walk! It's a miracle!

A passing Bodybag gives voice to the frantic chuntering amongst the other inmates...

Bodybag : A miracle my eye!

The Julies aren't slow in showing their displeasure either...

Julie J : You cow!
Julie S : You cow! You 'ad us running round like bleedin' skivvies!

And as the other inmates start to shout and make threatening noises, a petrified looking Virginia is herded back into her cell. The taunts and the threats continue after lock up and she is left crying pathetically...brought it on yourself!! No sympathy!!

Back on the outside...Helen finally hits the jackpot when Fenner's car turns up outside the massage parlour...she sits there and watches him walk in with a face like she's just crapped herself she going to be able to confront him on her own???

End of Part Two...

Part Three...

Fenner leaves the massage parlour and is about to climb into his car when he receives a nasty surprise...

Fenner : Helen...what are you doing here?
Helen : I'd heard you'd got a new interest.
Fenner : (Hides his surprise extremely well) I'm sorry Helen, you've lost me.
Helen : This place is owned by Virginia O'Kane, you're running things while she's inside.
Fenner : You're in fantasy land love. (Gestures to car) Here, hop in...I'll give you a lift home, it's not safe out here on your own.
Helen : Oh I can look after myself, it's you who should be shitting it!
Fenner : (Loses temper and slams car door shut...walking around the front of the car to confront Helen) You think you scare me? (Pushes Helen up against the wall threateningly) You saw me coming out of a knocking shop...big bloody deal! A man has needs...even you understand that don't you.
Helen : (Obviously bricking it and having a severe wobbly moment but looks Fenner straight in the eye and refuses to be intimidated) That's right, you get as close as you can...(Glances towards the end of the street)...I've got a friend across the road and he's got a camera...he's already caught you coming out of O'Kane's and now he's getting this. (Laughs) You're so predictable Jim!
Fenner : (Backs away and looks towards car parked at the end of the street) You can't prove a thing.
Helen : (Takes a step towards Fenner) You know, it's Karen I feel sorry for - when she finds out that she's been sharing you with a gang of massage parlour tarts!
Fenner : (Now extremely wobbly) There's no need to bring Karen into this.
Helen : (Realises she's got Fenner on the ropes and steps close to him) I don't have long as I get your resignation.
Fenner : (Shocked) What?
Helen : You heard...think about it, but don't take too long, I'm getting my photos developed tomorrow morning!

Fenner watches Helen walk away...he's a man up to his neck in shit now and we can only wonder whether he has any of his nine lives the hell is he going to get himself out of this one??

The following day, Fenner goes straight to speak to Virginia, but alas, Helen's got there first and he's caught on the hop again...

Helen : Mr Fenner! What a surprise! Have you come to gawp at the miracle?
Virginia : (Shrugs) These things happen.
Helen : I'm sure...especially when a bucket's been dropped on your head! (Turns back to Fenner) Was there anything else Mr Fenner?
Fenner : (Thinks for a moment and then turns to leave the cell) No.
Helen : Don't want to discuss last night's takings with Virginia?

There's a bit of a triangle moment here which I'm sure made Ms O'Mara feel right at home...'Triangle'...geddit?? Anyway...Helen favours Fenner with a smug smile, Virginia gawps over at Fenner in complete shock and Fenner looks at both of them, face twitching madly as he tries to keep it expressionless...he leaves then and Virginia frantically tries to protest her innocence, Helen's not stupid though and lays it all on the line - she knows that Fenner's been collecting from her massage parlours for her...still, Virginia doesn't roll over that easily...

Virginia : Me trust a screw? I was crippled, not stupid!

Helen tells Virginia that she saw Fenner coming out of the massage parlour last night, but still, Virginia keeps her cool and denies everything...we'd just better hope that Fenner carries on believing the bluff about the photographs because Helen's got flop-all else in the way of evidence.

Helen leaves Virginia then and catches up with Fenner in the officers' room...she continues to bluff and tells him that Virginia's told him everything and that as well as the non-existent photographs, she has records of bank deposits...she makes another demand for Fenner's resignation...he agrees but tells her that he needs time to explain things to Karen...

Fenner : You'll have my resignation on your desk by the end of the day.

Cheers are heard up and down the country as Helen leaves the officers' would take Houdini to get out of this one!!!

Later...Karen's doling out the duties for the day and instructs Bodybag that she'll be escorting Crystal back to court...she also informs the POs that she'll be appearing as a character witness and hopes that Crystal will get always, Bodybag finds something to moan about...

Bodybag : Hmm! Getting off on the say so of another con, and one on the run at that! If that's what passes for British justice then I've half a mind to emigrate!
Josh : That's if anywhere'd have you!

Just then, as if by magic...Helen appears...she tells Karen and the assembled POs that she wants Virginia kept in her cell for her own protection and that she doesn't want any contact between her and the other inmates and officers except Mark who she assigns the duty of keeping an eye on Virginia...and, as if by magic...she disappears.

Bodybag : Ooooh! What's all that about? Anyone would think that she didn't trust us!

Fenner's face is a picture in the background here!! Trust old Bodybag to knock the nail right on the head...albeit unintentionally. And again, she gets the chance to shine again when the POs leave the meeting...

Bodybag : Pity...I was dreaming up a few things to say to Miss O'Kane last night!

Just when we were beginning to fear that Fenner was about to take the whole thing lying down, he collars Di on her way out of the door and asks her a favour...

Fenner : I can trust you to be discreet can't I?
Di : You know you can...what's wrong?
Fenner : I've had information...there's something going on between Nikki Wade and the number one.
Di : Something going on?
Fenner : Oh come on Di! I don't have to spell it out do I?
Di : (Laughs incredulously) That's ridiculous! Miss Stewart's seeing the new doctor isn't she? She's not...
Fenner : I know it's hard to believe but my source is a suit, not a con.
Di : Have you told Miss Betts?
Fenner : They said that the less people we involve, the more chance we've got of sorting this out under wraps...that's why I need your help.
Di : What do they want us to do?
Fenner : (Glances over his shoulder shiftily) First they need hard proof and i'll lay money that we'll find it in that diary that Barbara Hunt's been keeping.
Di : She's certainly very close to Nikki.
Fenner : Exactly! So while the women are at work I want you to search Hunt's cell.
Di : What? Unofficially?
Fenner : gonna help me or not?

Di nods...shit!!!!

Mark's on sentry duty outside Virginia's cell...the Julies and Shaz pass, slagging Virginia off and are overheard by the Boot Gang who are hovering on the other side of the landing...Maxi doesn't waste an opportunity to put the boot in...

Maxine : (To Tina) You 'ear what they're saying about your mate?
Al : Took you for a right spazzer didn't she?

Just a bit further down the landing, Barbara is also making her displeasure known to a very ambivalent looking Nikki...

Barbara : Imagine pretending you're disabled!
Nikki : To be honest I don't really care! I just want to tune into life, you know? Music, films... basic bollocks so I don't sound like some kind of freak when I get out of here.
Barbara : So you are looking forward then?
Nikki : Phoned Trish last night.
Barbara : And?
Nikki : (Big dopey grin) Good to talk to her. (Leans towards Barbara conspiratorially) She's on her own again.

This conversation is interrupted by a PO with a letter for Barbara...just before I go on with that I have to comment on the possible resurrection of Nikki and Trish...could this be the one thing that spurs Helen into action and forces her to drop the smarmy doc??? But who cares?? If I was Nikki I'd prefer going back to someone who left me for another woman rather than someone who seems to have had a heart and brain transplant!! And plus...given the choice, would you chose Yes Yes's sloppy seconds???

Anyway...on with the action...

The letter is obviously important because Barbara regards it like it's an unexploded bomb and looks over at Nikki nervously...

Nikki : Do you want me?
Barbara : Would you?
Nikki : Yeah. (Takes the letter, opens it and reads it) The Crown Prosecution Service has decided that there is no case to answer! (Notices that Barbara looks like Nikki's just told her that she's got six months to live) Did you hear me Babs? (Brandishes the letter) They've dropped the murder charge!

Nikki and Barbara first impression of Barbara's stunned reaction is relief, but then the cynical side of me begins to kick in and wonders whether it might be she a woman who knows that she's gotten away with murder??? Nah!! No chance...forget I said it.

Yvonne walks down the stairs at this point...and thank God, she's back in the black shirt!! She spots Helen walking across the wing, Helen turns and gives Yvonne a discreet thumbs up and Yvonne responds by smiling triumphantly. Hey girls...let's not count our chickens yet eh???

Karen's in her office when she receives a visit from a PO...he places a brown paper bag on her desk...

PO : I think you'll want to see this.

Hmmmm...wonder what that's about???

Dr Yes Yes has a chance to show off his bedside manner again, this time with Virginia who continues to maintain that her recovery is a miracle...Yes Yes agrees that there is a precedent for this - spontaneous remission - but chooses to believe the worst and insinuates that Virginia made the condition up because she thought it would make life easier for her inside...she protests and tells him that her medical records will prove that she does have the illness...he's not as green as he's cabbage looking though and correctly surmises that the doctor who diagnosed her illness was also one of her clients...we can see by the look on Virginia's face that this was not a wild stab in the dark.

In a repeat of S2Ep13...Crystal heads off to court, the other inmates are so confident of her release that they line up to greet her as she prepares to leave the wing...hopefully for the last time...

Julie S : Carry on putting in a good word for us upstairs eh?
Bodybag : She's a tea-leaf not flaming Mother Teresa!

Bodybag receives a call on her radio seems that Karen wants to see Crystal before she, Crystal is taken up to Karen's office and receives the shock of her life when the contents of the paper bag are revealed...she's not the only one either...

Bodybag : (Aghast) My clock!

Karen reveals that the officer who brought the clock along to her earlier found it in a charity shop...he asked questions and the assistant remembered the woman who had taken it to the shop...

Karen : It was you...wasn't it Crystal?

Ecky thump!

End of Part Three...

Off to make a brew...back soon!!

Part Four...

Back in Karen's office, Bodybag's quick to get stuck in...

Bodybag : You stole my wedding anniversary present before I'd even had chance to set eyes on it! You spiteful little...
Karen : That's enough Sylvia!
Crystal : I don't know why I did it!
Bodybag : I do! Because you're a born criminal!
Karen : Sylvia! Leave it!

Despite Crystal's protests that she gave the clock to a charity shop and didn't sell it, Karen's totally unswayed...Crystal's broken the terms of her parole and there's no way she's going to be able to give her a favourable character reference...

Karen : I'm going to have to tell them that you're untrustworthy and that you're a thief!

Meanwhile, back on the wing...Di's spinning Babs' cell but she can't find the diary...Fenner pops in to see how she's getting on and doesn't receive the bad news very well...he's getting desperate by the moment and tells Di that she's going to have to search Helen's office while he carries on looking for the diary...

Di : (Totally aghast) I'm not rooting round the number one's office! Sorry Jim, but I don't care who's trying to prove what she did with Nikki Wade! (Turns to leave the cell)
Fenner : (Strides over to the door and closes it, pinning Di against the wall) What if people find out about you eh?
Di : What?
Fenner : About how you left your mum to die in her own piss!
Di : You wouldn't!
Fenner : I dug you out the shit Di, now it's your turn to help me out...alright?

Fenner leaves the cell then...Di has no choice but to help him now and she knows it.

Outside, Tina makes a break for Virginia's cell door while Mark is distracted and shouts that she doesn't care what anyone else says, as far as she's concerned, Virginia's innocent...this scene is witnessed by Maxine who looks like she might be on the verge of killing her sister...

Maxine : How many times do I have to friggin' tell 'er Al?
Al : That's your Tina...wants to be up everyone else's arse!
Maxine : (Homicidal glare over at Virginia's cell) Yeah, well that old bastard wants to watch 'ers 'cause when they let her out...(Shakes head and inhales deeply from her cigarette)

Anyone else get the feeling that we might be in for another Renee Williams whodunnit?? Bet it coincides with the end of season cliffhanger too!!!

Di arrives in Helen's's plain to see that she's crapping herself but she proceeds to have a good old root through the papers on Helen's desk.

The other inmates are shocked when Crystal is led back onto the wing...she's been found guilty of harbouring dangerous criminals and Bodybag takes great delight in informing all and sundry that Karen discovered 'little Miss Innocent's true character before she took the stand' and gave her a crappy character reference...Crystal mopes back to her cell, obviously heartbroken while Josh watches, concerned from the door of the officers' room...shit! It's only a matter of time before he finds out about the clock!!

Meanwhile, Di has progressed from Helen's desk to her filing cabinet...and in it, she just so happens to find a nurse's uniform with the name 'Mary Ford' on the nametag...viewers will appreciate the significance here, it's the same uniform that Nikki wore for her escape in S2Ep13...but what the blinking flip is it doing in Helen's filing cabinet??? First of all, how come Helen ended up with it in the first place?? Last time we saw it Barbara and Nikki were bundling it into a carrier bag...and, if you were in Helen's place, wouldn't you have disposed of the bloody thing? She can't have kept it for sentimental reasons, Fenner's been nicer to Nikki this series!! As it happens, Di is interrupted by Karen before she can search any further...she makes some excuse about leaving a file for Helen before making her excuses and fleeing back down to the officers' room where Fenner is pacing up and down and smoking frantically like an expectant father...he's more than a little disappointed when Di reports back that she didn't find anything and decides that it's time they 'gave Wade's cell a spin'...shit...the copy of 'Sophie's World'!!

Crystal's weeping on her bunk when Josh arrives to see her...he's got a face like a pit-bull chewing a wasp which suggests that he's already heard the full story about the clock...he asks Crystal why she did it but she can't come up with a reason - the clock was there and she took it - which leaves Josh to deduce that she's 'sick in the head'...

Josh : You're a thief and you're a liar and I didn't even see it!

He storms off then and Crystal collapses in tears...Crystal and Josh RIP!! Shell Dockley, you have a lot to answer for!!! I hope you choke on your friggin' Sangria!!!

Di's spinning Nikki's cell while she stands outside with Fenner...

Nikki : So what am I supposed to be hiding in there, then? Illegal immigrants? Lord Lucan?
Fenner : Find out...won't we?
Nikki : (Shouts through cell door) Have a good check in my magic wardrobe Miss!

Di doesn't have to check the magic wardrobe though, she's found the copy of 'Sophie's World' complete with the inscription...

'Until we meet on the outside H x'

Di sees the significance and sticks the book up her jumper before leaving the cell to join Nikki and Fenner who are still trading banter...

Nikki : All I think about in here is why I want to stick bottles in men in uniform!
Fenner : Glad to see you've still got your sense of humour Wade!
Nikki : About the only thing you can't get your hands on innit?

Di tells Fenner that the cell is clean and then pulls him to one side...Nikki can't resist a parting riposte though...

Nikki : It's you sick bastards who should be locked up! You're the ones who want to be in this shit-house!

Di shows Fenner the book but it doesn't impress him...but then she shows him something else, a bus ticket...

Di : Have a look at the date on it.
Fenner : Shit!
Di : It's the date Shell Dockley stabbed you!

Bollocks!!! Nikki you complete spanner!!

But it gets worse...

Fenner : I've got to get my hands on that diary! Where the bastard hell is it?
Di : God knows!

Fenner looks like he's just received a dose of divine intervention and smiles...obviously with some idea about where to look next for the diary!!!

Meanwhile, Yes Yes is in a jubilant mood...he seems to think that the lid has been nailed down on Fenner's coffin but Helen knows him better than most and refuses to get carried away until she sees his letter of resignation...

Helen : I'll save the victory lap until I've got his letter right there...(Holds hand out)...And then I'll drive a stake through his heart!

Yes Yes looks pleased with this idea, and even more pleased with the prospect of things getting back to normal once the whole business is behind them...this leads on to a flirty bit of banter about whether Helen is abnormal or not, I won't insult your intelligence by providing the dialogue but it certainly had me reaching for the sick bucket...especially when Helen takes the opportunity to grab him for a snog...this puts Yes Yes in a romantic mood...

Dr Yes Yes : I am totally in love with you.

And guess what??? Helen doesn't reciprocate!! What a surprise eh?? But she does grin a bit and pull him in for another snog before favouring him with another grin - this time a cheesy and distinctly cross-eyed effort that is cringeworthy to the extreme.

Babs and Nikki come across each other on the notes and realise that both of their cells have been spun...Babs is outraged, but outrage turns to pant-filling terror when a flip remark from Nikki about her diary hits home and she goes of in search of it...when she arrives in the chapel, the Julies are comforting Crystal...

Crystal : Josh has left me...I might as well have been sent down for life!
Julie S : You've still got him. (Looks up to the ceiling)
Julie J : Yeah, you still got 'im.
Crystal : Him who?

Oh my God!! All this intrigue, corruption, heart-break and now a crisis of faith, all in the same episode...will we be able to cope with the drama??

Barbara sprints over to the piano stool like a whippet on amphetamines...she lifts the lid and scrabbles through her sheet music, coming to a terrifying conclusion...

Barbara : My diary! It's gone!

Meanwhile, out by the bins...Velma and Shaggy are perusing the diary and trying to crack Babs' code...

Fenner : (Reading from diary) Half the screws are at the party, the rest of them wish they were so everything's problem for Nikki to ascend...the screws think she's an angel...surprised to find her back next day.
Di : Surprised to find her back? (Shocked) She got out?
Fenner : Looks like it.
Di : That bus ticket!
Fenner : (Screwing up forehead in concentration) The screws think she's an angel.
Di : What does that mean?
Fenner : I don't know.

Scratch the comparison to 'Scooby Doo'...this is more like 'Treasure Hunt' almost expect to see Annika Rice descending in a helicopter on the hospital wing roof!! looks like Di's making the connection...

Di : Wait a minute! She means a nurse!
Fenner : What?
Di : There used to be a programme about nurses on the was called 'Angels'!
Fenner : Wade was a nurse?
Di : She disguised herself as a nurse to get out! There was a nurse's coat stuffed in Miss Stewart's cupboard!
Fenner : (Smiling like all of his Christmases have come at once) You're kidding!

On his way to relay the good news to Helen, Fenner is stopped in the corridor by Yvonne who has just finished making a telephone call...she crows about the fact that he was caught picking up money from the massage parlours and he realises that she's been in on the whole thing all along...

Fenner : You're up to your eyes in this!
Yvonne : Piss off Fenner! And remember to hand in your uniform and your keys at the gate!
Fenner : (Grinning) You're gonna regret this!
Yvonne : Watching you fall on your bastarding face? I don't think so!
Fenner : There's been a change of plan...I'm staying right here, just to rub your snout in it!

Fenner goes off on his merry way and leaves Yvonne with a face like a bag of spanners...oh shit!! If he's buddying up with Maxi he could make life extremely difficult for Yvonne...well, let's just keep our fingers crossed that Helen manages to pull a rabbit out of the hat...hopefully one that's going to lie convincingly for her and not make her look like a High Court Judge court with his kecks round his knees in one of Virginia's brothels!!!

Helen's behind her desk when Fenner knocks on the door...she looks up with ill-concealed delight when he walks into the office and holds her hand out...

Helen : Just give me the letter...the sooner you're out of my sight the happier i'll be!
Fenner : (Walks towards desk holding something behind his back) Ah...there's a problem...there is no resignation.
Helen : We had a deal!
Fenner : We did...(Reaches behind his back and produces diary)...but now I have this...Barbara Hunt's diary!
Helen : So?
Fenner : Quite a thriller...especially the part where Nikki Wade breaks out of prison on the night of Sylvia's party and spends the night in bed with you.
Helen : (Face wavers a bit but she braves a smile) That's nonsense!
Fenner : Why would Hunt lie?
Helen : I don't know.
Fenner : Then there's this bus ticket...(Holds up ticket)...found in Wade's locker.
Helen : (Still smiling like she's talking to the village idiot) A bus ticket?
Fenner : Dated the night Dockley attacked me.
Helen : And who planted that there?
Fenner : Well, if you've got no skeletons in your closet you won't mind if I take a look.

Fenner walks over to the filing cabinet but Helen shoots out of her chair and blocks him before he can get there...but she's starting to realise that she can't bluff this out anymore and starts to panic...

Fenner : I thought you had nothing to hide...apart from that nurse's coat you've got bundled up in there!

Helen gets that look on her face know, that one that suggests that she doesn't know whether to throw up or burst into tears...the same one she had when he assaulted her...

Fenner : I think we both know who's in deep shit now love! (Reaches behind him and picks up a pen from the desk, holding it in front of Helen's face) Do you want to start writing, or shall I take this to area?

Helen knocks the pen out of Fenner's hand and flees the room leaving him grinning after her like the smug bastard he is.


Awards (by Coops and Filbertfox)

Top Dog of the Week
Total respect to Nikki for being so dignified and gracious with Helen, not a hint of Kevin the Teenager about her. And a possible rapprochement with Trish on the horizon... maybe Helen's not the only one with decisions to make next week.

Helen was superb in her confrontation of Jim; bringing Karen up was a masterstroke. But she gave him too long to produce his resignation and he's squirmed out of trouble again.

Twatting Twat of the Week
Babs - not the toughest code to crack, was it? Honestly. We always feared that her little book would give our girls away.

Karen for refusing to give Crystal a character reference...okay, okay, so she swiped Beezlebag's clock but is that any reason to ruin the rest of her life?? Guess not...she obviously only gives vicious, manipulative adulterers the benefit of the doubt!!

Weedy Pigeon of the Week
Looks like it's all over for Crystal and Josh's happy ending.

Tina, bless her tiny brain.

Spin Doctor of the Week
Jimbo hasn't lost his touch. He called in the favour he did for Di and then twisted the knife when she developed a conscience. Briefly at Helen's mercy, he's now holding all the cards and looks set to end her career. And the prospect of him teaming up with Maxi doesn't bode well for Yvonne.

Best Line of the Week
Virginia: I hear everything's running as smoothly as a bishop up a verger's arse.

Yvonne: He's in and out her cell like a candle in a convent.

Invigilator: The examination is now at an end. Finish your sentences please.

Yvonne: Being married to that old cow, he probably needed warming up.

Bodybag: If that's what passes for British justice, I've half a mind to emigrate.
Josh: That's if anywhere'd have you.

Bodybag: She's a tea-leaf, not flaming Mother Theresa.

Nikki: So what am I supposed to be hiding in there, then? Illegal immigrants? Lord Lucan?

Helen: Then I'll drive a stake through his heart.
[*roflmao* - Helen the Fenner Slayer]

Nikki: Yeah...Shaz Van Damme! [Nikki just does bruising sarcasm so well!]

Helen: You know...its Karen I feel sorry for - when she finds out that she's been sharing you with a gang of massage parlour tarts! [Brilliant! Struck right to the heart of Fenner, one could only imagine what Karen would do if she ever found out...Fenner's balls on a skewer anyone??]

Fenner: You'll have my resignation on your desk by the end of the day. [Well, it was good while it lasted!]

Worst line of the Week
Maxi: Catch you with O'Kane again, I'll do it with a blade. [oooh happy families]

Virginia: Oh my god! I can walk again! I can walk! It's a miracle! [*lmao*]

Waugh: I am totally in love with you. [lmao - where have we heard that before; once again Helen nimbly manages to evade answering]

Warring Faction of the Week
Jim & Helen.

Yvonne & Maxi. You wouldn't want to be in the vicinity when they inevitably come to blows.

Best Performance by an Extra
The irony-free invigilator.

The lifers - dire!

Sight of the Week
Al's shirt - which looked like someone had vomited copiously all down the front.

Bless her, Nikki's still hanging onto the George Eliot postcards.

Virginia shooting out of that wheelchair...must've been tough on the face lift situation, one false move and the whole lot could crumble!!!

Larkhall Miracles and Mysteries
Di Barker doesn't bruise easily; not a mark on her from Gina's uppercut.

Mark definitely says, "Problem, Purlis?" and not Purvis.

Some months after an item was brought in, a charity shop worker recalls who brought it and can describe her well enough to point the finger at one woman out of a wing of 60+... just when we'd all forgotten the sodding clock! It's not just that though...what are the chances of a PO from Larkhall just so happening to come across the clock in a charity shop in the first place??? How many charity shops are there in London anyway??

So Nikki is still doing her Open University course then? First mention of it all season I think.

Shaz gets a week's training and suddenly she's Cynthia Rothrock... as I suspected, Dionne's G-Wing career was short-lived.

Still no follow-up to or even mention of:
The shooting of Charlie Atkins.
Nikki's brief relationship with Caroline.
Babs' claustrophobia.

I think I remember raising this point at the end of series I right in thinking that inmates are searched when they leave the prison?? If so, how the bloody hell did Crystal manage to get the clock out??? I hope she didn't crutch it for Josh's about throwing a sausage down an alleyway!!!

Again, more mentions of Lauren than you can shake a stick at but do we get to see her? Nope!!

If we're to assume that Babs' diary is full of references to Helen and Nikki, why didn't Shell jump to any conclusions when she stole the diary and read it last series? 

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