The Governor’s Pleasure
The Long Game
A Higher Court
The Living and the Dead
Blood and Fire
Following the explosive end to season 2, Wentworth Prison returns for its best season of entertainment yet. With a continuation of key plots from last year and some excellent additions to the regular cast, Wentworth solidifies itself as the definitive prison drama series on TV. Its brutal, violent and incredibly gripping but its unfortunate that it doesn’t garner as much popularity as some of the other shows in this genre. Bea Smith’s (Danielle Cormack) character development is excellent this year and her confrontation with Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) is explosive, ugly and well written. With more screen time for key characters and a lot more emphasis on the drama inside the prison rather than out, season 3 is as enthralling as its ever been.
With Bea now jailed for life without parole following the murder of Brandon, she re-adopts the role of top dog in the prison and finds herself in a bitter rivalry with Ferguson. This confrontation results in a prison riot and most of the season sees the aftermath of this explored whilst Bea struggles to keep her mental strength and juggles the responsibility of being top dog. To give away much more of the story would be to do this season a disservice and this season but the more intense and focused approach to the story line certainly helps elevate this season a lot. Its relentless too; numerous episodes feature tense, violent confrontations between characters and the psychotic mind games adopted by Ferguson makes her a worthy antagonist for much of the season. It’s nicely juxtaposed against some intimate scenes too and this year sees a lot of the key characters at their most vulnerable. Bea, Franky (Nicole da Silva) and Ferguson all have moments of weakness and this helps to really flesh the characters out. It’s also worth mentioning the role devious inmate Lucy (Sally-Anne Upton) plays this year. Although her presence within the prison is a small one, her thuggish, cold demeanour fills her scenes with uneasy dread and she slots in perfectly among the other inmates. That’s not to take away from the other characters who all do a very good job with the scripts they’re given, but there are a few stand outs this year.
If you’ve seen previous seasons, the general tone and direction of each episode is largely unchanged. The overarching plot line runs through the series and mainly gravitates around the three key characters vying for control of the prison. What sets Wentworth apart is the way it gives each of the supporting cast their own plot line and its good to see this is as strong as its ever been. Liz deals with her alcoholism, Fletcher grapples with his involvement with Bea and all these story lines and more work concurrently and never feel forced or out-of-place. Season 3 is all about raw emotion and this is some of the reason the season works so well. The high intensity that runs through the series is typified by the prison riot scenes which are up there with some of the most intense drama depicted on TV. The cliffhanger ending sets it up nicely for the inevitable fourth season with yet another strong finale to top off a very strong season of drama.
Season 3 of Wentworth is simply outstanding drama. The plot line is gripping, the acting is sublime and the intensity that runs through the season is unmatched. Wentworth is simply one of the best prison dramas on TV and its such a shame it’s not more popular. It’s hard to find faults with season 3 and although Wentworth doesn’t do anything particularly innovative or different to other shows, the driven focus on the main plot line and the excellent characterisation drive the series to lofty heights. Wentworth might not be perfect, but the third season features 12 confident, well written episodes that ooze drama and tension through every scene. If there’s one prison drama that’s defying expectations right now its Wentworth but its a pity too few people are watching it to really sing its praises.
Verdict - 9/10