Season 3, Episode 16: Coming Out
Recap by Filbertfox

Synopsis

Questions for this week...

1. Will Helen ditch the fashion disaster Doc for Wonder Wade?
2. Will we ever find out what happened to Shell and Denny?
3. Will we get to see Lauren before the end of the series?
4. Will Josh and Crystal get back together?
5. Will Larkhall be besieged with religious fanatics after the miracle that cured Virginia?
6. What am I gonna do with my early mornings now that BG has finished for another year?

Okay, so, the final episode of the series and possibly the last appearance by Simone and Mandana on British TV for the forseeable future if the rumours are true…

Episode starts with the Julies walking down the steps to G1...they spot Josh looking over the G2 landing and give him the evil eye...he returns it before he notices Crystal standing in the door to her cell - she's looking up at him like a puppy with its tail caught in a car door and it's more than he can stand, so he gives her the cold shoulder and turns away...Crystal returns to her cell, completely bereft, and again, this is noticed by the Julies...

Julie J : That Josh has got a lot to answer for you know.
Julie S : Hardly touched 'er breakfast!
Julie J : I know.


This conversation is interrupted by a hail of cat-calls and whistles as Virginia emerges from her cell, closely followed by the ever present Tina...as the other inmates, including Al, continue to laugh and jeer, she braves the homicidal glare sister Maxine is directing at her and tries her best to appease the mob...

Tina : You should be pleased for 'er! It's not every day God decides to pay a visit!

This is greeted with howls of derision from the other inmates, but before they get a chance to get stuck in with more catcalls, the crowd is dispersed by Mark who is immediately pounced on by Tina...it appears that she doesn't want to share a cell with Maxine anymore and formally asks Mark for a transfer to another cell...he says that he'll give her a chance to sort out her differences with Maxine, and if she's still determined, she should ask him again and he'll do his best...unfortunately, this conversation is held within ear-shot of Maxine who's looking more and more homicidal with every passing moment...

Al : She is well tekkin' the piss...are you gonna let her get away wi' that?

From the look on Maxine's face as she turns to watch Tina's departure from the wing I would think not!!!

In the corridor, an extremely pissed off looking Helen runs into an extremely smug looking Fenner...

Fenner : Decided to brazen it out have you?
Helen : (Confidently) I'm hardly going to resign over a prisoner's jottings and a couple of planted clues am I?
Fenner : Fine...well...let's go and ask Barbara Hunt ourselves shall we? Get her to tell us what she knows about that night. (Pause to see Helen smile dismissively before making an attempt to leave) Unless you want her to lie for you! (Pause again to see Helen's face drop like a lead balloon, Fenner senses that he has her on the ropes and moves closer) You better make your mind up Helen because if the appeals court finds out about Wade's escape I'll have the both of you!


Fenner smiles in that oily, arrogant manner that makes you want to take a set of hedge trimmers to the contents of his underwear before leaving Helen reeling in the corridor...shit!! Don't tell me he's going to throw a spanner in the court case!!!

Al and Maxine are obviously preparing for action because they are seen placing a bar of soap into a sock...the next thing we see is Tina covering herself in face cream when Al and Maxine appear in the cell...Maxine's got the sock in her hand and whizzs it around as she steps menacingly towards her sister...

Maxine : I did try warning you Teen! (Whacks Tina on the leg with the soap filled sock and produces a horrible sound that brought tears to my eyes! Tina collapses on the bunk and tries to shield herself as Maxine continues the sock treatment) Turn your back on your family for that bitch O'Kane!

Maxine stands back and hands the sock to Al who grins as she continues to lay into Tina who is whimpering on her bunk...there's a close-up on Maxine's face here and it's clear that a big part of her wants to stop Al from hurting her sister any further, but, family pride is at stake so she simply stands there and watches.

Up in the library...

Nikki : Barbara will lie for us! (Walks over to Helen and turns her round to face her) Say I put her up to it - the fantasies of a sex-starved con!
Helen : The only reason I came into this job was because I believed that I had principles.
Nikki : You have! That's why you can't leave!
Helen : No...that's why I can't ask an inmate to lie for me!
Nikki : (Voice travelling so high in protest that only the dogs can hear her) That's the least she can bloody well do!
Helen : No Nikki, it's no good! (Pronouced 'Nooo Neekki, it's no gooood!', coz she's Scottish, innit?) Fenner has got too much over me!
Nikki : (Backs away from Helen, voice beginning to choke with emotion) Why does his luck hold out every bastard time?
Helen : (Walks towards Nikki) Hey! (Smiles) Pretty soon you're gonna be out of all of this too.
Nikki : That still leaves everyone else stuck in here with Fenner dunnit?
Helen : The best way you can get him is by winning your appeal.
Nikki : What if I don't? (Turns to look at Helen) What if they send me right back here?
Helen : You mustn't think like that!
Nikki : Knowing I'll never see you again. (The soppy music starts in the background again and tears appear in her eyes) I know we're only friends...I know that but you were always more than someone I just fancied...you were my hope.
Helen : Ssssh...(Moves closer) Nikki.
Nikki : How can I face another ten years in this place with no hope? I can't help thinking that this is all my fault...if you'd never met me...if we'd never got involved...I keep letting you down!
Helen : (Close to tears herself) Listen...you've gotta forget about me and focus on your future...come on...promise me.


Both women are emotional at this point and Simone and Mandana are acting out of their skins, all of the feelings are so obviously still there and just when we think that they might get closer than they have done since the start of the series, a knock is heard at the door and BG fans around the country are heard screaming in frustration and anger when Dr Yes Yes, who by the way is looking ridiculous wearing a T-shirt under the ever present corduroy jacket, erupts into the room...it's obvious that he's clocked that something's going on but he allows Helen time to finish the conversation by ducking back out of the door.

Helen : Goodbye Nikki.

Helen exits the room and leaves Nikki distraught.

Outside, we notice that Helen has her rent-a-tent trousers on and they're flapping in the breeze and on the verge of carrying her away as Yes Yes pursues her down the corridor...

Dr Yes Yes : What was all that about?
Helen : I'm leaving Larkhall!


SHOCK!! HORROR!! But I suppose we kinda saw it coming...well, those naughty spoiler whores like me did anyway...

Helen tells Yes Yes that she's 'had enough of this place and of Fenner' and has decided that it's time for her to go...he gets all protective and assumes that Fenner's been crotch-grabbing again but she tells him that this isn't the case leading him to go all shrinky...

Dr Yes Yes : Well there's something you're not telling me, I can read that.
Helen : Don't psychoanalyse me! I'm not one of your bloody patients!
Dr Yes Yes : I don't know why you're lying to me.
Helen : Because I don't know how you'd react to the truth.
Dr Yes Yes : Try me.
Helen : I can't...not yet...but I've made the right decision, you're just gonna have to trust me.


Helen leaves Yes Yes looking all sulky in the corridor...ooh err, so this means that she's not sure how he'd react to hearing the truth about her and Nikki...let's hope that someone else doesn't tell him first...well, yes, let's hope, at least it'll wipe the understanding smile of the silly git's face!!

Back on the wing, Nice Di's back and makes a point of apologising to Crystal for her behaviour re the Josh and piss-test situations...she more or less begs for Crystal's forgiveness but to no avail...

Di : I do care.
Crystal : You're a screw and I'm a con, that's all I know...Miss!


Helen pays a visit to Karen to tell her that she's handing in her resignation...Karen is shocked and wants to know why...funny that Helen just so happens to chose a moment when Fenner is lurking in Karen's office...anyway, Helen lays all of her troubles at the feet of Mr Oily but Karen's still in completely friggin' blind as a bat mode and refuses to take Helen's accusations seriously so Helen tries harder...

Helen : He's been playing you since day one Karen! He's a misogynous bastard and I am sick to the bloody back teeth trying to get you to see it! So I'm done...(Contemptuous look in Fenner's direction)...he's all yours!

Helen flicks her hair about a bit like she's in a shampoo advert and storms out of the office, leaving Karen looking over at Fenner for reassurance...he's looking back at her like butter wouldn't melt and again manages to convince her that Helen's victimising him...oh, he also has something else up his sleeve...

Fenner : Karen...I want to marry you.

PASS ME THE RAZOR BLADES!

Anyway, Karen umms and ahhs but she can't give Fenner a proper reply because Josh interrupts and asks for an urgent word with Karen...

Karen : Is it important?
Josh : Yeah...I need a transfer off G-Wing.


Up in Helen's office, Yes Yes is helping her pack her stuff into boxes...he's still surprised that she's taking things lying down and tries the old 'you can't let him win' routine...Helen gets quite pissed off at this and insists that she's doing the right thing...he's too 'sensitive' to carry the row on and instead shows that he knows the way to Helen's heart...

Dr Yes Yes : Let's go for a drink...yeah?
Helen : Yeah...a big bevvy load!


Yes Yes leaves the office, as he closes the door behind him, Helen picks up an orange coloured 'internal' type envelope and looks at it with a rather determined look on her face...wonder what that is.

Down on G-Wing, Barbara is frantically trying to apologise to Nikki about the starring role that she and Helen played in the diary...

Barbara : (Hurrying after Nikki who is storming towards the stairs in full-on Kevin the Teenager mode) Oh Nikki! I'm so sorry...I hid the diary so carefully, I thought it was safe!
Nikki : (Reaches the stairs and then rounds furiously on Babs) This is prison darlin', nothing's safe in here!


A passing Yvonne is curious...

Yvonne : What's up?
Nikki : Stewart's resigned!


Nikki storms up the stairs and Yvonne is left stunned.

Helen and Yes Yes are on their way out of the prison when they run into a incredibly smug looking Fenner...he twigs immediately that Yes Yes is looking at him like a malnourished rottweiler faced with a juicy marrowbone, Helen realises this too and sends Yes Yes off to get the car...when he's departed, Helen turns to Fenner...

Helen : You know one of the best things about walking away from a job? All of a sudden you realise you've got nothing left to lose...I may be on my way out Jim...(Moves closer to Fenner)...but I am gonna drag you all the way down with me! (Pauses and smiles slightly) Enjoy it while it lasts!

The action then moves to Nikki's cell...she's staring out of her window hoping to catch sight of the departing Helen...she appears, turns and looks up at Nikki's cell window and as the soppy music starts playing in the background, Nikki bursts into tears...a few seconds later and Helen walks through the prison gates for the last time...

Ladies and gentlemen, Helen Stewart has left the building.

End of Part One...

Part Two...

Nikki's looking rather suave in a black suit as she prepares for her appeal...pity she didn't think to do something about her hair though, she still looks like she's got the contents of a 'MacDonald's' chip-basket on her head!! She is greeted by Di when she walks down the stairs and is told that she and Fenner will be escorting her to court...Nikki's over the moon at this news as you might expect!! Anyway, Di disappears and Barbara takes the opportunity to wish Nikki good luck...our Nik can't bear a grudge for long and she responds by giving Babsy a hug.

Virginia's reading a magazine in her cell when her door is opened, she makes a quick grab for a bible but breathes again when she realises that it's only Fenner...he's turned up to present her with the latest bank-receipt from his collections...Virginia tells Fenner that Yvonne's been trying to put the frighteners on her but he tells her that Helen was putting her up to it and that now she's resigned there's no need to worry...but he decides to err on the side of caution and leans over Virginia in an extremely threatening manner...

Fenner : Don't ever underestimate me Virginia!

The next we see of Fenner, he's climbing into the very swish people carrier that's been provided to transport Nikki to the appeals court...Nikki's in the middle with Di on one side and Fenner on the other, she's already handcuffed to Di but Fenner decides that's not enough and snaps the cuffs on the other hand too...of course, he can't resist putting the boot in...

Fenner : (Leans over Nikki towards Di) Scrubs up nice for a dyke, doesn't she Di?

He then moves his hand so that Nikki's hand touches his thigh and Nikki very nearly goes into orbit...Di intervenes and warns Nikki that she'll have to behave herself or she'll be taken back inside...Nikki settles down with a martyred sigh, Fenner smiles smugly and the car departs for the appeals court.

In the courtroom, Nikki's barrister (who sharp-eyed viewers will recognise from 'Casualty' and who in my opinion has the most gorgeous pair of eyes on British TV) is putting her case to the panel of judges...

Defence : My Lords...the appellant - Nicola Wade - appeals against her conviction for murder on three grounds...that the defence of provocation was never put to the original trial jury...that His Honour, Judge Jackson, failed to direct the original trial jury to that defence and at that original trial, there was a clear failure by the police to disclose material evidence...counsel therefore submits the original verdict of murder to be unsafe.

But Fenner's obviously not impressed by Nikki's barrister...

Fenner : Don't fancy yours much!
Nikki : Piss off Fenner!


YAY!! Go Nikki, go Nikki, go Nikki!!!

Back to the action...

Defence : May it please your Lordships, in respect of the first ground, counsel would like to call an ex-colleague of the victim - DC Gossard - Miss Sally Ann Howe.

The panel start to confer and Fenner takes it upon himself to be the voice of impending doom...

Fenner : Course...I've seen these things thrown out before they've even started.

BASTARD!!

But the smug grin is wiped off his face when the head judge agrees to hear the evidence...also at this point, Trish...who has obviously been given time off for good behaviour from all of those crappy adverts she's been making...leans over the spectator's gallery and smiles down at Nikki.

In the exercise yard, Tina, despite her earlier beating, makes a beeline for Virginia again...Virginia guesses that she's been beaten up and, for someone who makes a living off the contents of women's knickers, is truly disgusted by Maxine's actions...Maxine takes this opportunity to warn Virginia off again...

Maxine : Oi crip! Why don't you leave my sister alone?
Virginia : You ought to be ashamed of yourself!
Maxine : Fancy life back in your wheelie-bin do ya?
Virginia : You know what they say about cowards don't you? They're nothing but angry little cowards inside!


Virginia walks away with Tina in tow, leaving Maxine quivering her lip like Elvis...Yvonne, who has been watching this little scene in the background, turns up with a few words of advice for Maxine...

Yvonne : Your sister's gonna end up in a brothel if you don't keep her away from O'Kane!
Maxine : Mind your business!
Yvonne : It is my business seeing as she's doing deals with Fenner! So you better get your gang in order quick...or I'll do it for you!


Yvonne stalks away and Al decides to put her two-penneth in...

Al : Do you want me to smash the old crip's knee-caps?
Maxine : We can do better than that Al!


Back in the courtroom, Sally Ann Howe is giving her evidence...

Sally Ann : And I kept thinking...this can't be happening...he's a police officer...then I came to my senses, I started screaming, trying to fight him off, but he was so strong...(Emotional pause)...he raped me!

There are shots of Nikki and Trish at this point, both reacting to what Sally Ann is saying.

Nikki's barrister concludes her questioning and it's the turn of the prosecution, he's a fat old geezer who looks disturbingly like the Fat Controller and has one of those arrogant faces you just want to slap...we just know that Sally Ann's not in for an easy ride here and he starts in by asking why she withdrew her original charges against Gossard...she remains calm and tells the court that he threatened her, and that she was told by her other colleagues that if she went ahead with the complaint that they would force her out of her job. The pompous old git then tells the court that there is no record of the complaint ever being filed and that there is no evidence that the attack ever took place...

Sally Ann : That man raped me!
Prosecution : We only have your word for that Miss Howe...we cannot ask the man in question – DC Gossard to defend himself, can we because that man's dead!


Nikki drops her head at this point...doesn't look good for her does it???

It's lunchtime at Larkhall and the Julies are concerned because Crystal's refusing to eat properly...

Crystal : I'll just have a slice of bread.

But their protests fall on deaf ears, Crystal's obviously still too broken-up about Josh. We shift down the queue to Maxine and Al...Maxine decides to do a complete about-turn and apologises to Virginia before her and Al sit down at the same table to eat their lunch...there's a very significant eye-meet between Yvonne and Maxine at this point...Yvonne realises that Maxine's decided to side with Fenner and decides that enough is enough...

Yvonne : (Stands up and walks over to the table the Boot Gang are sharing with Virginia) Well, well...joining the side of the bionic woman!
Maxine : The old fake's had 'er punishment so why don't you just let 'er alone?
Yvonne : You don't know half of what she's up to.
Maxine : (Raising her voice so the rest of the inmates can hear) Atkins is jealous! Thinks she could do with a new pair of pins herself! (Laughs)
Yvonne : Just so you all know...Jim Fenner's got St bloody Virginia here in his pocket! (Pause to hear rumbles of disapproval from the other inmates) She's been paying him to run her knocking shops while she does her bird!


Of course, this sermon from Yvonne attracts the attention of Fenner's chief defender...

Bodybag : That's enough Atkins!
Yvonne : He pimps her girls...while she pimps off him! (Leans over table and pins Virginia down with a menacing glare) Got a right cosy little arrangement going!
Bodybag : (Trundling over to confront Yvonne) That's it! You're on rule 47 - slanderizing an officer! (Grabs Yvonne's arm but it is pulled away so she directs another screw to grab hold of Yvonne)
Yvonne : (Struggling against officer but still leaning towards Virginia) It'll take more than a bloody miracle to fool me O'Kane!


Yvonne is dragged away to furious protests from the other inmates...it doesn't last long though...

Bodybag : SHUT IT! Anyone else want banging up?

Bodybag wanders back to the officers' room, but not before a quick-witted Maxine takes the opportunity she's been waiting for...

Maxine : You wanna watch your back there Virginia...Atkins has got it in for you!

Back in the court room...

Defence : If I could refer your Lordships to the forensic report given at the time of the original allegation...it is clearly proven that Gossard did indeed penetrate Miss Howe on the night in question.
Prosecution : (Jumps to his feet) Mi Lords! I hesitate to interrupt my learned friend but I must stress my earlier point that this act DC Gossard claimed was consensual. (Sits down)
Defence : Then why did DC Gossard sign a police statement saying that he didn't even know who Sally Ann Howe was? It was only when the forensic results came through...proving that to be a downright lie...that he changed his statement, claiming that they were in a consensual relationship...I ask your Lordships...was that the action of an honest man?


The judges confer at this point and Claire, Nikki's solicitor, turns a triumphant smile on her client, but Nikki still looks like she's bricking it...she's not going to allow herself to believe that things are going well until she hears the verdict.

Virginia's sitting in the chapel filing her nails...the door opens and she quickly reaches for her bible again...the intruder is Crystal this time...she wanders over to sit by Virginia and tells her that she believes that God has cured her, obviously her middle name is 'gullible' then...but just when we're on the verge of sending Crystal away to get her head tested, she comes up with a very good reason for her belief...

Crystal : A miracle's just happened to me.
Virginia : Really?
Crystal : Yeah! I've been praying and praying...prayer's a very powerful thing...and it worked!
Virginia : Would you like to share it?
Crystal : (Grinning like a loony) I'm pregnant!
Virginia : That's marvellous news! (Crumples face to show her fake joy...let's hope the facial scaffolding holds up eh??) The miracle of life!
Crystal : (Suddenly serious) Oh no! You don't get it! I'm a virgin!


Crystal giggles excitedly and Virginia looks at her like she's just grown a second head...you can't blame her really can you???

Back in the court room...

Defence : Nicola Wade reacted...overreacted...and as a consequence, a man died, but in my submission, DC Gossard's actions clearly amounted to provocation...in the face of this evidence, counsel for the appellant implores your Lordships to uphold this appeal...(Pause to look over at Nikki)...and let Nicola Wade go free.
Prosecution : (Stands) Mi Lords...the question remains...did Nicola Wade unlawfully assault DC Gossard with the intention of killing him? Counsel for the Crown maintains that she did, indeed, in her own pre-trial statement Miss Wade concedes that...(Reads from statement)..."There was a hell of a lot of blood and I didn't regret one drop of it!"


Pause here for gasps of shock from the spectators and worried looks on the faces of Nikki and her barrister.

Prosecution : My Lordships...it is the Crown's belief that by Nicola Wade's own admission, intent was proven at the original trial...we say accordingly that the conviction is safe and that this appeal should be dismissed.

The judges go into another huddle affording Nikki time to exchange a worried look with Trish...

Judge : The court will rise to consider its decision and is adjourned until ten-thirty tomorrow morning.

The court stands and Fenner turns to Nikki...

Fenner : Right! Let's get you back where you belong.

Ooh eck!! Is that Nikki's appeal dead in the water?? What will the verdict be?? The tension, the suspense...

End of Part Two...

Part Three...

Nikki arrives back on the wing to be greeted by Barbara who does that 'about to give birth to a litter of kittens' expression rather well...she's over to that gate like a whippet...

Barbara : Well?

But Nikki doesn't need to say a word...it's clear from her expression that things didn't go at all well and she is led away for her tea in silence.

Meanwhile, Yvonne decides to get the latest gossip from Crystal and the Julies...

Yvonne : Hear we missed another miracle?
Julie S : Yeah...Crystal here's...
Julie J : ...pregnant! But...still a virgin!
Yvonne : 'Ere, you couldn't arrange it for the Holy Spirit to pay a visit to my cell after dark could ya? Only you know...it's been a while!


This conversation is interrupted by Mark who has been instructed to take Crystal up to see Karen...I have the sneakiest of suspicions that Karen's not going to be measuring her up for a manger!!

Yvonne decides to return to her cell but is stopped on her way up the stairs by a very agitated Fenner...

Fenner : You been shouting your mouth off Atkins?
Yvonne : (Smiling) Just saying it like it is Mr Fenner.
Fenner : Trouble is...no one's going to take your accusations seriously, not now soppy Stewart's gone!
Yvonne : (Looks over at Virginia) Oooh, I wouldn't trust Miss O'Kane as far as I could wheel her...who do you think told me about the pick-up on Fellows Lane? Singing like a canary she was...and she'll sing again!


Yvonne walks up the stairs leaving Fenner staring menacingly over in Virginia's direction...I spy another Renee Williams type whodunnit coming on!!

Up in Karen's office...

Karen : So Crystal, I want to know - who's responsible?
Crystal : (Smiling serenely) God Miss!
Karen : Well...God has been busy in Larkhall of late hasn't he? But I can't help thinking that in this instance he had a little helper!


Brilliant!! You have to hand it to the gorgeous one...she's still the master when it comes to the sarcastic riposte...and again, we get that wonderful eyebrow shuffle again…oh Karen, why did you have to go and pick Fenner over me?

Anyway, Karen insists on knowing the name of the officer responsible because he's in deep, deep trouble...Crystal's face drops here...will she be forced to confess that it's Josh's???

In the corridor, Fenner's still spreading his evil bastard dust around liberally, this time all over Dr Yes Yes...

Fenner : Doc! We should meet up for a drink sometime, although under the circumstances, it's you who should be asking me.
Dr Yes Yes : (Fronts up to Fenner) For the record...I believe every word Helen said about you.
Fenner : Very commendable...I know I couldn't stand by a woman who's shagging around behind my back!
Dr Yes Yes : (Laughs disbelievingly) You just don't know when to stop do you? (Starts to walk away but is followed by Fenner)
Fenner : She has told you then? About her and Nikki Wade? Been screwing each other for months apparently, that's why she had to resign, because it all threatened to 'come out' so to speak!


WALLOP!!!!
Dr Yes Yes bops Fenner right on the nose and the cheers can be heard around the country...Fenner falls on his arse with blood trickling from his nose, yet still, he's unrepentant...

Fenner : Strike a chord Doctor?

Yes Yes walks away leaving Fenner with a bloody nose and another smug smile...obviously smacking it off him isn't going to work...I wonder, is he allergic to peanuts???

Later that night, Helen and Yes Yes are sitting in a restaurant...she's quite excited and tells him that she's already got a couple of interviews lined up...he questions her reasons for leaving again and she tells him that she left, not only because of Fenner, but because she now has more choices, including who she wants to be with...she puts a hand over his then but he pulls it away immediately and reaches for his glass of wine...Helen can obviously spot trouble ahead but she decides to stick her head in the sand and gabbles on about the salmon looking nice...he's not having any of this and asks her if there's someone else, again, she avoids the issue, but he won't be deflected...

Dr Yes Yes : I've had an inkling that something's not been right for a while...like there's something you've not been telling me.
Helen : I don't know where this is going or what you're talking about.
Dr Yes Yes : I'm talking about Nikki Wade.


Oh shit!! Looks like Helen's got some fast talking to do if she wants to get herself out of this one!

Back at Larkhall...Maxine's digging deep into the washing machine for her smalls, this of course gives us a shot of her bum and who should chose that exact moment to appear?? Yup, you guessed it...the evil that is Jim Fenner...the two flirt mercilessly for a while before Fenner reveals what's really on his mind - he wants someone to 'knock Atkins off her perch'...Maxine seems agreeable and wanders over to him, and there's a bit of a wobbly moment for Fenner when she places something in his trouser pocket...

Fenner : What you doing?
Maxine : Foreplay Mr Fenner.


Maxine saunters out of the laundry room and Fenner reaches into his pocket to discover a lacy, red G-string...he lifts them up and rubs them across his bottom lip like a dirty old man...but, you have the feeling that he might've bitten off more than he can chew with Maxine.

Back at the restaurant, Helen's trying to convince Yes Yes that her relationship with Nikki is over, but he's not having any of this and points out the fact that she left her career for her which suggests that it's more serious than Helen's letting on...Helen confesses that she does care about Nikki but that it's him she's with now...like a true psychologist, he's convinced that Helen's floating down that Egyptian river - de Nile and stands up to leave...

Dr Yes Yes : I've been hurt before because someone wasn't being honest with me, but you Helen, you're not even being honest with yourself!

I guess that's curtains for Helen and Yes Yes then...you can hear the fireworks going off and the champagne corks popping around the country as he storms out of the restaurant leaving a rather embarrassed Helen looking a complete wally...brought it on yourself love!!!

Fenner's determined to foil Nikki's appeal and catches up with Di on the G3 landing...he takes a scalpel out of his pocket and tells Di to slip it into Nikki's hand when she's doing the 'pat down' before she leaves for court...Di refuses so he tells her that if she doesn't do that, he's going to make her stand up in the witness box and tell the court how she found out about Nikki's escape...

Fenner : You owe me!
Di : I think I've paid you back enough for that favour!


YAY DI!!!! Well done to her for proving that even the looniest of loonies have a conscience.

Talking about Nikki, she's sitting on her bunk and we get what we hope is the last ever look at that hideous dressing-gown!! If the rumours are true and Mandana is leaving, let's hope that she was allowed to build a bonfire out of all the hideous clothes she's been forced to wear over the past three years...if there's any justice in the world, the wardrobe mistress will be playing the role of the 'guy'!!!

Anyway, the Julies decide to shout up from their cell?

Both Julies : Nik! You there?
Nikki : Still here!
Julie S : We just wanted to say Nik...
Both Julies : Sweet dreams!
Nikki : You too Julies!


The following morning, Nikki arrives downstairs to a loud reception from the other inmates...she is greeted at the foot of the stairs by Karen...

Karen : I just wanted to wish you all the best.
Nikki : Thanks.
Karen : You've a lot to offer Nikki...I hope you get to prove it.


The two shake hands and Nikki sets off to say her goodbyes...First in line is Crystal who gets a hug...

Nikki : Take care Crystal.
Crystal : You tell them judges girl!


Next up is Shaz...

Shaz : So if you get out like...can you send us a cake with a big file in the middle?
Nikki : (Laughs) How about I send you some letters? Will that do?
Shaz : Promise?
Nikki : Promise.


The two hug before Nikki continues on her way...the Julies are up next and they give her a little red horse-shoe they've made to bring her luck...

Julie S : Look after yourself yeah?
Julie J : (In tears) And if you can't be legal...
Julie S : (Also in tears) ...be lucky!


The emotion is obviously getting to Nikki too as she hugs the Julies...but trust Bodybag to put a dampener on it...

Bodybag : Hurry it up Wade, this isn't a flaming Oscar ceremony!
Nikki : I'll miss Bodybag...taking the piss out of her anyway!


Nikki reaches the stairs where Yvonne is waiting...she's struggling to hold back the tears as she places her hands on Nikki's arms...

Yvonne : Just don't dare come back here or you'll have me to deal with!

Yvonne and Nikki embrace and both are failing to hold back the tears...

Yvonne : Keep your head down!

Nikki nods, they pull away from each other and Yvonne makes a hasty retreat.

Barbara is the last in line...

Barbara : (Reaches out to pull a stray thread from Nikki's jacket) Ready?
Nikki : As I'll ever be.
Barbara : Oh Nikki...I've got so much to thank you for.


Barbara's getting quite tearful at this point and becomes the latest inmate to experience the Nikki hug-fest...

Nikki : Sshh! No speeches.
Barbara : (In tears) I'll never forget you.


Nikki pulls away and walks over to the gate...she's in tears as she takes a last look around the wing before holding up her hand in a 'black power' salute before being led away by Di and Bodybag...

End of Part Three...

Yikes!!! We've got about 10 minutes left and more loose ends than a knitting convention...how are they gonna cram everything in??? Well...there's only one way to find out I suppose...

Part Four...

We're straight into the court room and Claire has a last minute piece of advice for Nikki...

Claire : No matter what they say, keep it shut...okay?

Well...I hope you've all got your fingers crossed because here it is...the verdict...

Judge : My fellow judges and I have found this to be a difficult, worrying and complex case...there is no doubt that the appellant - Nicola Wade was indeed responsible for the taking of DC Gossard's life in a most vicious manner...nothing we have heard during this appeal has disputed that fact.

Oooh the drama, the tension...there are worried faces aplenty as the judge continues...

Please let there be a however...please??

Judge : However...we have been convinced that Miss Wade's actions were the result of provocation by DC Gossard...this court rules that the original conviction be substituted with that of manslaughter...we impose a reduced sentence of three years imprisonment...time that has already been served.

Nikki's staring at the judge as if she can't quite believe her ears...does this mean...

Judge : Nicola Wade...(Huge dramatic pause)...you are free to go.

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
FANBLOOMINTASTIC!!!
Cheers and screams are heard up and down the country...Nikki fans faint all over the land from the sheer delight of it...WOW!!!

The court room erupts...Fenner has a face like a forty shilling piss-pot...Trish hugs Sally Ann and yet Nikki continues to stare at the judge as if he's just sentenced her to hang by the neck until she's dead.

Di congratulates her just as Trish arrives...she and Nikki embrace while Fenner looks on in disgust, Claire's not far behind either...

Claire : Result!

And she gets a hug too...

Claire : I can't wait to call Helen...she's going to be so pleased!
Trish : Not half as pleased as I am!


Trish pulls Nikki into her arms...could a reconciliation be on the cards?? Has Helen left it too late??

Back on G-Wing, the inmates are crowded around the TV...

Shaz : You could get on the news Crystal.
Julie S : Virgin mum gets nine months!
Crystal : You should be careful about taking the Lord's name in vain!
Bodybag : Miracle my foot!
Julie S : How else d'ya explain it? Locked up in 'ere 24/7?
Bodybag : Give over! Do I look like I was born yesterday?
Yvonne : Not unless you age at the speed of light!


The wing falls silent as the verdict is announced on the TV and then erupts when they hear that Nikki has been released...oh shit!! We ain't gonna be treated to 'I Will Survive' again are we???

Nikki emerges from the court with Trish on her arm to greet the waiting reporters...

Nikki : (Tearfully) It goes without saying that I'm delighted to be set free...prison's a terrible place...(Spots Fenner on the steps)...people don't know half of what goes on...there are male officers employed on female residential wings, abusing vulnerable women...(Defiant look at Fenner who walks away, disgusted)...anyway, I was one of the lucky few inside to get access to some real education and there's one woman I've got to thank for all that because she always belived in me...

Pause at this point because the scene has switched to a pub...Helen is sitting at the bar, watching Nikki on TV with tears in her eyes...

Nikki : ...no matter how tough things got...I owe that woman, not only my freedom, but also my life.

Nikki leaves the court and Helen is left not knowing whether to smile or break down in tears.

Back at the prison, Josh finally catches up with Crystal...he says that he'll stand by her now that she's pregnant but she's got to tell Karen that the baby is his...Crystal protests because it will mean that he will be sacked but Josh is adamant...his father walked out on him when he was 3 years old and he isn't making the same mistake.

The wing is oddly subdued compared to the near hysteria after Monica's appeal...Di is not quite in full Barking mode and is playing a game of pool with Shaz when Yvonne asks if she can take a bath...Di agrees which prompts Virginia to ask if she can have one too...again, Di agrees and Virginia sets off to the bathroom with Yvonne...

Virginia : We need to talk.
Yvonne : It's gonna take more than a bath to wash the dirt off you O'Kane!


Note here...Maxine looks up and watches Virginia return to her cell for her things.

Nikki's entourage has moved onto the nightclub that she and Trish own...the champagne is flowing but Nikki doesn't seem to be in the mood to celebrate and escapes to the bar in order to light a cigarette...Trish isn't far behind...

Trish : All a bit too much too soon?
Nikki : I keep expecting someone to come along and tell me it's time for lock-up.
Trish : Anyone in particular?
Nikki : Trisha...
Trish : I know you Nikki...you don't make speeches like that for all the girls...she must've really got to you.
Nikki : Helen was there for me when most people would've run a mile!
Trish : You mean like I did?
Nikki : Hey! (Turns round and puts her hand on Trish's arm) I didn't expect you to take a vow of celibacy!
Trish : I've missed you Nik.
Nikki : (Shifts uncomfortably and picks up champagne glass) Well here's to new beginnings!


Trish smiles, obviously believing that her luck's in but the look in Nikki's eyes suggests that she wishes she was beginning with a certain Scottish woman.

Back at the prison, Fenner presents Karen with the sort of engagement ring that nightmares are made of - a huge sapphire surrounded by diamonds...she comments on how expensive it must've been before saying yes to his proposal...Fenner is over the moon and runs off to fetch the bottle of champagne he brought in 'just in case'...when he's gone, Karen returns to her desk and begins looking through her mail...she finds an orange envelope, frowns, opens it and pulls out a folder...

STATEMENT OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
COMMITTED BY JIM FENNER
AGAINST HELEN STEWART

And from the look on her face, it's obvious that Karen doesn't know what to do next.

Virginia and Yvonne are on their way to the bathroom...Virginia deduces that Lauren hasn't been able to find any evidence against 'Mr Farmer' and tells Yvonne that her scare tactics won't work...this doesn't worry Yvonne though...

Yvonne : I'll do anything to sink Fenner...and if you want to stay afloat you'd better drop him in it! (Notices a screw approaching) Bath now, talk later!

Yvonne heads off for her bath after pulling her headphones on...as the two women enter the bathroom, Fenner emerges around the corner, he's holding a bottle of champagne but he doesn't look in the mood to celebrate.

In the officers' room, Bodybag receives a phone call from 'mail-order customer services'...it doesn't ring a bell with Bodybag but viewers who watched S2Ep1 will probably know what's coming next...

Bodybag : (Takes phone) Yes?

Scene switches to a yacht in Spain...Shell emerges onto the deck with a mobile phone in her hand...

Shell : Is that Mrs Sylvia Hollamby?
Bodybag : Yes...what do you want?
Shell : I'm doing a customer satisfaction survey on the deluxe double-bed you ordered...(Takes a giggling Denny by the hand)...Mrs Hollamby!
Bodybag : (Agitated) Look! I've told you...I don't want anything more to do with your flaming catalogue!
Shell : I'll only take a moment of your time Mrs Hollamby...on a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your husband's performance on this mattress? (Puts on menacing voice) Or is he still more comfy in a coffin?
Bodybag : (Realisation striking) What?
Shell : Ten out of ten is that madam? Very well...cheery bye! (Ends the call and she and Denny collapse in fits of laughter)


Bodybag's face is an absolute picture here...talk about total pant-filling terror!! Brilliant, brilliant scene that reminded me of a similar scene in 'Serial Mom', anyone who's seen it will know what I'm talking about...superb comic timing from Debra again...I don't think I'm the only one who's going to miss her next series.

Meanwhile...Virginia's relaxing in her bath, eyes closed as someone enters her cubicle...we see a brief flash of a pair of black trousers before she is grabbed by the legs and forced underwater...she struggles but her attacker is too strong and before long, the bubbles dissipate and she is still.

Back at the club...Nikki's still celebrating when out of the corner of her eye, Trish spots a familiar face...Nikki looks up to see Helen waving at her and runs over to greet her...

Nikki : Hey!
Helen : Hey!
Nikki : How did you find out I was here?
Helen : (Taps the side of her nose) Bit of detective work...(Huge grin)...I had to see you...tell you how happy I am for you.
Nikki : It's all a bit of a dream right now.
Helen : You'll get used to it.
Nikki : (Serious) I'd never have done it without you Helen...do you know that? (Voice breaking) You stood by me when nobody else gave a damn...if you knew how much that meant...
Helen : I wouldn't have missed it for the world! (Pauses and all around the country women are holding their breath...could this be it??) Nikki...(Spots Trish watching them from the bar)...Look, I'd better go.
Nikki : Someone waiting for you?
Helen : Have a wonderful night!


Nikki's face is full of emotion and just when it looks like Helen might say something, she looks over at Trish again, flashes a fake smile that would make Miss World jealous and then leaves the club.

DAMMIT!!!

Back in the bathroom...Di arrives to take Yvonne and Virginia back to the wing...she sees water on the floor of Virginia's cubicle and heads off to investigate, stopping in her tracks when all she sees of Virginia is a solitary leg sticking out of the bath...the door opens slightly to reveal Yvonne standing by the side of the bath...she looks like she's on the verge of throwing up and is shaking like a leaf. Di reaches for her walkie-talkie with a shaky hand and is unable to keep the panic out of her voice...

Di : Bravo to control...we have an urgent situation in the G-Wing bathrooms!

Meanwhile, an unseen hand lifts Yvonne's pillow and plants Virginia's diary underneath it.

Karen and Fenner have arrived in the bathroom and Di updates them on the situation, telling them that Yvonne discovered the body...Fenner tells Karen that when he went to get the champagne earlier, he heard Yvonne shouting...

Fenner : You should know, there's been trouble between Atkins and O'Kane.

Oh shit!! Looks like Yvonne's about to take a fall...you slimy git Fenner!!!

Karen instructs Di and Fenner to lock the bathroom before taking Yvonne down the block.

Back at the club, 'its Not Unusual' is playing in the background as Nikki takes a huge swallow from a bottle of beer...

Nikki : Let's get plastered!
Trish : (Laughs) Don't get too pissed!
Nikki : What? (Realises that Trish might've been referring to 'brewer's droop' and drapes her arm around Trish's shoulders in a disturbingly blokey gesture) Love you babes!
Trish : (Removes Nikki's arm) If you run you can still catch her.
Nikki : She's not interested in me. (Turns back to bar in full sulk)
Trish : Of course she's bloody interested! Just go!


Oh dear...it's so like a scene in a trashy 'Mills & Boon' but it's brilliant...Nikki looks at Trish, considers for a second, squeezes her shoulder and then runs out of the bar like Speedy Gonzales on steroids...Trish watches her leave and picks up the champagne bottle before taking a gigantic swig from it.

Outside, Nikki looks up and down the road with no success, she's crestfallen until a voice shouts out...

Helen : You looking for someone?

It's unfortunate that she's wearing that ghastly red leather jacket and is still standing like she's got a sharp stick stuck up her bum...but Nikki doesn't care about this...her face flares up with sudden hope as she turns to face Helen...

Nikki : (Walks towards Helen) I thought it was a bit rude not asking you to stay for a drink.
Helen : Well...I figured if I waited out here long enough...
Nikki : So...do you want to come back in?
Helen : I could stay for one I suppose.
Nikki : That is unless there's somewhere else you've got to be.
Helen : (Pause) Thomas and I split up...I've been such an idiot Nikki!
Nikki : (Looks away) I know what you're saying.
Helen : No...let me say it! (Looks up into Nikki's eyes) Thomas is gorgeous, he's everything you would want in a man...but I want a woman.
Nikki : (Tears appearing in her eyes as she struggles to allow what Helen just told her to sink in) We'll take things slowly.
Helen : (Nods and smiles and seemingly on the verge of tears) Yeah...dead slow.


They kiss...a proper one and again I salute Mandana's acting, she's just so brilliant when it comes to the 'pash' scenes...by the look on her face and the way she reaches up to tangle her fingers in Helen's hair you can see emotion leaking out of every part of her...the kiss ends...Helen looks around, realising that she's kissing another woman in the middle of a street in broad daylight...Nikki laughs and pulls her into the doorway of the club and they continue to kiss.

There you go...happy ending...happy now?????

Back at the prison, it doesn't look like there's much of a happy ending in store for Yvonne...she's without make-up and looking like shit when the door to her cell opens and Mark, Di and another officer walk in...

Yvonne : What?
Mark : Don't make this hard on us!
Yvonne : You better back off now!


Mark and Di forcibly grab Yvonne...

Yvonne : (Struggling) What's going on?
Di : Virginia's dead Yvonne and you were the last person to be seen with her.
Yvonne : I never touched her...I swear!


Yvonne is dragged out onto the landing kicking and screaming only to run smack into an extremely smug looking Fenner...

Yvonne : It's Fenner! He did it! (Spits in Fenner's face)

Fenner looks on smiling as Yvonne is carried down the stairs...her eyes never leave his once...better watch out next time you order a pizza Jim!!!

Another trip to Spain...Shell and Denny are crashed out sunbathing on the deck of the yacht when a stranger walks aboard...he signals his presence by kicking Denny in the leg...

Spanish bloke : You are senoritas Michelle Dockley and Daniella Blood?
Shell : (Sits up and takes off her sunglasses) Who wants to know?
Spanish bloke : Produces police badge and then starts to gabble away in Spanish.
Shell : (Exchanges worried look with Denny) What's that mean in English nob'ead?
Spanish bloke : You are under arrest!
Shell : Leg it!


The policemen panic, the 'Duty Free' type music starts up and Shell and Denny flee to the rear of the boat...they clasp hands like Thelma and Louise before jumping into the sea.

Meanwhile...Helen and Nikki are still snogging in the doorway...the screen fades to black apart from a circly bit around them and the words...To be continued...appear on the screen...
 

Awards (by Coops and Filbertfox)

Top Dog of the Week
Nikki. She was the darling of the wing again, and got her rightful send-off...Caroline who? Then to be freed and have two lush women throwing themselves at you - could the day get any better?!

Trish. Gorgeous and gracious, she wasn't about to stand in the way of true love, even though she clearly had hopes for a future with Nikki herself. Still, she's got a nice Honda for consolation *lol*. (Not to mention OnDigital and a lifetime's supply of 'Snack a Jacks', hmmmm, although that could be just another reason to feel sorry for her!!!!)

Di apologised to Crystal and finally stood up to Fenner. When her head's not going pop, she's really nice - for a screw. Even when Yvonne nearly kicked her down the stairs she seemed to take it in good part.

Helen came through another moral crisis, finally realising that her principles were incompatible with the job, that her ethics didn't really mesh with HM Prison Service. Despite her best efforts, it looks like Fenner lives to shag another day. But all that aside, she chose Nikki - and Nikki chose her. Yep, I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

Sally-Ann Howell. Big respect for coming forward and testifying as to Gossard's record of sexual violence.

Dr Tom Waugh has to get a mention for punching Fenner. *cheer*

Twatting Twat of the Week
Karen. Even Helen's strong words couldn't convince her - will her written report do any better? Either that or a poke up the nose with an ice-pick!!! Unruhe or what?? (X-Files fans will understand!!)

Weedy Pigeon of the Week
Crystal "I'll just have a slice of bread" Gordon.

Virginia "dead as a parrot" O'Kane.

Tina...beaten up by her sister wielding a bar of soap in a sock and yet still sticks her neck on the block by trailing after Virginia like a twelve-year-old in the midst of her first crush...poor deluded soul, you can't help but feel sorry for her.

Spin Doctor of the Week
Yvonne can stir the mix beautifully when the occasion calls for it.

But she's an amateur where Fenner's concerned. Why indeed does his luck hold out every bastard time? Murder might be a crime too far, though he's set Yvonne up beautifully.

Worst Girl of the Week
Toss-up (if you'll excuse the expression) between Fenner and Maxi. Purvis did beat up her own sister, but Fenner schemed and slimed for the whole epi and he's Prime Suspect (*lmao* sorry, couldn't resist) for Virginia's murder.

Best Line of the Week
Fenner: Don't fancy yours much.
Nikki: Piss off Fenner.
[just like old times!]

Bodybag: SHUT IT!

Yvonne: Here, you couldn't fix it for the Holy Spirit to visit my cell after dark, could you? Only it's been a while.
[not seen any dodgy lawyers lately then!]

Tom: But you Helen, you're not even being honest with yourself. [oh, do you think?]

Judge: Nicola Wade - you are free to go. *fireworks, street parties*

Bodybag: Do I look like I was born yesterday?
Yvonne: Not unless you age at the speed of light.

Shell: How would you rate your husband's performance on this mattress? Or is he still more comfy in a coffin?

Helen: I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
[bless]

Helen: Thomas is gorgeous, he's everything you would want in a man. But I want a woman. *fireworks, street parties, choirs of angels*

Worst Line of the Week
Fenner: Scrubs up quite nice for a dyke, doesn't she, Di?

Jim: Nothing's too expensive for you

Karen: Yes, that's a "yes".


Warring Faction of the Week
Helen & Fenner; Nikki & Fenner
Yvonne & Maxi; Yvonne & Virginia; Yvonne & Fenner

Best Performance by an Extra
The whole wing queuing up to say farewell to Wonder Wade.

Dawn has to get a mention here...I lost count of the number of times she managed to flit across the screen...guess someone bought her a new pair of 'Dunlop Green Flashes' as an end of series pressie!!

The clerk in the court who told Nikki to rise just before the verdict...its grim ooop North or what??? Bet his last job was on 'Corrie'!!

Sight of the Week
Helen's departing look up to Nikki's cell. *Sob*.

Trish has thankfully lost the 80s hairdo and was looking fine. Same shirt on two days running though.

At last - someone decked Jim Fenner. But eeeeeeew - Maxi's drawers! How pervy did he look?

Nikki's dressing gown made a final appearance.

It was so clearly water and not champagne that Nikki and Trish were quaffing!

Snogging in the street and Nikki pressed up against the wall... *swoon*

Larkhall Miracles and Mysteries
Luxury transport to the Royal Courts of Justice for Nikki - no skanky old meat wagon in her posh suit!

Now, if you wanted to drown someone in the bath, wouldn't holding their head underwater be rather more efficient than pulling their legs?!!

So, whodunnit? Motive might point to Maxi & Al, but Fenner had reason and opportunity galore. Then again, it could have been an act of God, Virginia smote down for claiming miracles.

So who was the woman sitting next to Trish in the public gallery, who seemed so central in last week's teaser?

Gossard was named as a Detective Sergeant last series, but in court he was referenced as a lowly DC.

Will Karen ever wake up and smell the slime that is Jim Fenner?
Will Helen take him down at long last? Or just walk off into the sunset with her ex-con?
Will Nikki write to Shaz as promised?
Will Denny be returned to Larkhall? Will Shaz welcome her with open arms?
Who will Di fixate on next or will she get some therapy?
Will Josh & Crystal confess all or will Josh get his transfer off the wing?
Will Charlie's shooting ever be mentioned and when will we see the lovely Lauren again?

So how come Helen hasn't taken her knowledge of Fenner's moonlighting at the brothels to the Police or Area??? All they have to do is stake out the addresses and catch him at it...and even so, if Lauren's not going to think twice about putting a hit out on her Dad, what's to stop Yvonne getting her to put one out on Fenner???

How come none of this provocation business was mentioned at Nikki's original trial?? Who was her barrister?? Tinky Winky???  

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