Whatever It Takes
Boys in the Yard
The Danger Within
Twist the Knife
The Pink Dragon
Sins of the Mother
Into The Night
With Jacs (Kris McQuade) dead and Franky (Nicole da Silva) seizing the lucrative position of top dog in the prison, season 2 picks up three months after the events during last year’s finale. With a more complicated plot line and various subplots running through the 12 episodes, it would be easy for Wentworth to lose the drama that made it such a gripping watch during its first season. Thankfully, the introduction of Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) helps anchor the show with an absorbing, scene stealing performance as the no-nonsense prison warden. The inevitable paranoia and mental instability that cripples Franky because of Joan’s incessant need to monopolise every part of the prison makes her one of the most endearing characters this year as she reaches breaking point and clashes with Ferguson.
With a basic premise and mood to the show already established last year, season 2 peppers in a little bit of humour that does a good job of alleviating the suffocating tension present in most of this season. It’s certainly welcome too, considering this year sees a much darker tone gripping the show. The various subplots work harmoniously together and the new faces to the show, including inmate Maxine (Socratis Otto) and Ferguson, do a good job of blending with the established cast. The various flashbacks depicting the different inmates before they wind up in prison help in this respect too, with much more emphasis on building up the supporting characters whilst emphasising Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack), Ferguson and Franky as the focal points of the show.
As the season progresses, the initial dynamic of Franky wrestling for dominance against Ferguson changes and particularly during the latter period of this 12 episode season, there’s some incredibly tense and exciting episodes. Season 2 manages to exceed the first with a much more intricate and delicately shifted power struggle between the different women in the prison. Its tense, brutal and oftentimes violent and because of this Wentworth isn’t for the faint heart. Much like last year, the show is shot well, with a good use of colour and an ever-present tense atmosphere hanging over every episode.
Its hard not to admire what Wentworth Prison manages to achieve this year. Not only is it a step up in quality from last year, the story line is more absorbing and the characters explored much more intricately than before. The shifting power struggle between the women is depicted well and the various skirmishes that sporadically break out in the prison help to elevate the tension present in much of this season. The climactic finale is the proverbial cherry on the cake and tops off another great season of entertainment. With a third season green-lit, it’ll be interesting to see if Wentworth continues its excellent run but based on this showing, it’s certainly an exciting prospect.
Verdict - 8.5/10