‘Wentworth’ Season 9 Episode 1 ‘Rogue’ Review

Following last season’s grisly finale, Allie (Kate Jenkinson) returns to the prison grounds wheelchair bound and desolate. All eyes turn to vindictive Lou Kelly (Kate Box), who is content to accept the blame over bashing the top dog. Meanwhile, Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) – now with her memory regained – is thirsty for revenge, setting her sights on Jake (Bernard Curry) and Will (Robbie Magasiva).

The episode opens with Ferguson fantasising about the murders of Jake Stewart and Will Jackson. By this point, should we really be surprised if the show was willing to kill off two of its key players in the last season? Probably not and yet, seeing Ferguson is full rage mode pounce of Mr Jackson still set my heart racing. A showdown between the two is inevitable; a highly anticipated aspect of the series has been building around a final confrontation between two longstanding rivals.

As Vera (Kate Atkinson) remains unconvinced of Ferguson’s act, we get a direct nod back at the latter’s tyrannical reign as governor; “Black leather ones”, Vera taunts, reminiscent of the infamous gloves used to torture and murder inmates. She is prodding a dangerous bear, but for reasons currently unknown, Ferguson is more receptive to her than she is others. An enigma is set in place. How long until the villainous brute makes her move? What are her intentions for Vera, and has Dr. Miller become a pawn in her long game?

It wouldn’t be Wentworth without angst and this opener is filled to the brim. Devastation rocks Allie’s world, now confined to a wheelchair after being violently shanked; Judy is desperate to throw the scent off of herself; Sheila and Marie team up to take down Lou and a mediator becomes collateral damage to teach another prisoner a lesson. Action packed and shocking for the first episode back, this is exactly what the show needed following last season’s slower pace.

Breaking the tension comes in the form of regular comic relief, Boomer, and surprisingly, Jake. Lines and quips are dropped nonchalantly that you can’t help but snort. Boomer’s vulgar but blunt attitude is always enjoyable so it was inevitable to be laughing along with her but seeing Jake channel a similar matter-of-fact energy was a nice change to his character. He has gradually grown extremely likeable compared to how he was 4 seasons ago.

Everything that the show has been leading towards for the last few seasons is now starting to come into fruition. There’s absolutely no telling how the story will conclude, which is all part of the fun. The risks taken by the writers are paying off and filming during COVID doesn’t seem to have made a noticeable impact on the overall aesthetic. It’s only fault is that the likes of Rita and Ruby are merely filling airtime. They’re both great characters but their story together has dissolved and we need to focus on wrapping the integral arcs.

Nerve-wracking, mind-boggling and tragic all at once, ‘Rogue’ is a fantastic welcome back for the series; a reminder that very few get their happy ending at Wentworth Prison.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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