I can safely say I feel I’ve been on a journey with the Prisoner’s Wives, who in one way or another have progressed; or in the case of Fran reached deplorable levels. While the likes of Gemma has transformed from the weak and naive wife to a strong and courageous fighter as we reach the series finale.
The wives seem to be stepping closer to becoming the inmates at every turn. Lou we already knew was going to prison (she gets 6 months), but now Fran’s in on the criminal act and Harriet has turned to getting high with that nice young student next door. Hypocritical did I hear you say?
But the star of this episode has to be Emma Rigby’s performance as Gemma, who waddled with the best of them, hid in a fabric stall in the market and then gave birth in the ladies toilet! As Gemma frantically tried to escape Andy from shooting her in the witness protection safe house and then in a shopping centre why didn’t she shout for help?! (Lesson 1. If you’re put in a safe house in a TV drama, its anything but safe, you’d have more chance on the lottery). My heart was literally in my mouth, and what a harrowing way to give birth while Andy looms over ready to kill while she panting on the floor with no escape. But blimey she recovered well! Single parent with new born baby and looks that well groomed and polished on her visit to the prison. Gemma may be naturally pretty but I was expecting the new mum to look a bit well…harassed!
I was disappointed we didn’t get to see more on Lou this week. I know we’ve had a couple of weeks focused on her, but her scenes felt like they were rushed and pigeon-holed this week to make way, which I felt was undeserved considering we had spent time getting to know and sympathise with the character largely thanks to Natalie Gavin’s portrayal. Her scene with Mason though was very sweet, when he asked if she will be back for his birthday and Christmas. The men of the series got little to do in this episode, only Jonas Armstrong got anything of merit, but what he had he did well, but was upstaged by Emma Rigby in this episode.
As for Fran, I lost any respect I had for her. Proving that the lure of money really is more important to her. Paul offers the chance for her to collect illegal money from the airport, ignoring her dad she puts her family at risk. But she soon realised the levels she has sunk too when thugs trashed her dads house and roughed him up to boot! But what did Fran do when she arrived home? Run to check if her dad is alright? Call the police? No she ran to check the money was still there! “Gangster’s Moll” indeed!
And then were left with Harriet and her son. Gavin has found religion and wants to convert to be a Muslim, but I’m pretty sure he’s still giving evils to the chaplain who’s taken an interest in his mum. With a gentle push from Lou, Harriet gets in a state fairly reminiscent of Gavin’s outburst last episode after kissing the chaplain; I say kissed what I mean is she launched herself to suck the life out of his body, so much so the shock made her run and him not know what had hit him.
I really enjoyed Prisoner’s Wives and thought it grew each week as did its characters. I would love for it to get a second series, and think it deserves one. However the lacklustre ratings of the last couple of weeks thanks to the scheduling competition, and maybe even the preconceptions with the name has meant many have overlooked this wonderful series; a case which may prove its demise. Lets hope the BBC give it a chance.