It’s fair to say last week’s seven year old drug mules and out of date confectionary put a lot of people off life as a PWAG. But never fear, this week is a full blown recruitment campaign.
These girls are having fun! Look, there’s Gemma, laughing it up playing maracas for her school choir. Fran’s back at her best, having top banter with her dad and obnoxious kids. Lou’s been released on conditional bail and gets to house share with Harriet, staying up late to sit in bed together and gossip. And Harriet’s just so excited to talk to someone who isn’t a dog she’s got the beef mincer out to celebrate.
What a lovely week all round.
If that wasn’t enough, it turns out the prison are throwing a Family Day. I’m glad you asked: “You get longer visits and different rules apply”, explains Gemma. She doesn’t know the half of it.
Elsewhere, Paul’s on the phone telling Fran “We’re gonna do it. We’re gonna have sex, on Family Day. Phwoar.” He’s got a secret map and everything. It’s like Prison Break in no way.
The blokes are all excited. Sean’s painted a ‘Welcome to Family Day’ sign (leaving space to scribble ‘top secret football stadium’ underneath, if the Mason lie is still on.) Paul’s binned his Lynx and is desperately trying to sexy up his regulation netball vest. Gavin’s baked a cake. The sun is shining, there’s face painting, puppets and a huge buffet. Elbow’s Lippy Kids plays throughout. Family Day genuinely seems like the most fun thing ever.
I did wonder who all these happy shouty kids belonged to. Visiting hour is normally just Mason wittering about Sheffield United and eating crisps. Maybe it’s Gemma’s school choir who’ve been shipped in to sing Any Dream Will Do to the troops?
One of the official HMP notices we see every week reads: Embracing is only permitted once at the start and end of your visit. But, as Gem said, Family Day is a veritable free-for-all, like the last day of term right down to the discarded pile of board games. The guards are too busy having their faces painted to care that Paul is grinding against Fran while she makes obscene gestures with a cocktail sausage.
Or that the prison chaplain just tapped Harriet’s shoulder to compliment her “very jolly blouse”.
Similarly, no one seems to mind that over in the corner Steve is swinging Gemma round by the throat because he suspects she might have grassed him up in “confusion” (he would’ve blamed her ‘pregnancy brain’ but she hasn’t rubbed her belly for 15 minutes, so he’s likely forgotten).
Lou tries her best to put a dampener on things, turning up without Mason but with a new electronic ankle tag. Surprise! Sean is understandably annoyed, telling her “do not hurt this family any more than you already have”. I’m not sure how she could at this point, Sean. Mason’s been taken away and Lou’s off to prison. That would generally be considered a low point by most.
Maybe he’s worried she’s going to switch allegiance to Sheffield Wednesday?
Still, enough of that. Who cares about a kid being taken into care? It’s Family Day! Operation Conjugal Visit is on! Fran and Paul make a run for it, swiftly pursued by some drunk on fun prison officers. Yet Paul manages to give them the slip, barricading the door with a nearby highchair. It’s mildly concerning that the successful detainment of our country’s criminals hinges on their proximity to plastic baby equipment, but we’ll gloss over that and watch Paul get his end away. All 23 uncomfortable seconds of it.
In case you wisely decided to burn your eyes out at that point, the rest of the episode played out as follows: Harriet became a temporary foster carer to Mason (despite, I expect, knowing sod all about football). Gavin got a bit angsty, smashed some shit up and converted to Islam. And Steve somehow managed to work out that Gemma is the mole.
Possibly because whenever someone tells her to act natural, she immediately stops blinking and stares so hard her eyeballs occasionally pop out.
It’s all set up for an explosive series finale next week. Well, possibly explosive. More likely they’ll just throw together a few loose ends and Fran will totter around in high heels while in the background a baby is born.
I’ll bring the crisps.
Mason deception of the week:
He was absent until the last couple of minutes and we didn’t even get to see his poor confused little face. However I’m confident the pretence was maintained during his brief stint in the care system. It’s a shame really, he would’ve loved Family Day.
Fran (post-coital) banter of the week:
Paul: Sorry it were a bit quick.
Fran: Usain Bolt, speed not style.
Fran: Gold medal.
Unexpected slapstick of the week:
Fran’s dad falling off the exercise ball. All hopes now rest on him getting a spin off series.
Prisoners’ Wives is on BBC1, Tuesdays at 9pm. You can catch up on iPlayer here