“Back behind bars, but brilliant as before.”
Somewhere around the middle of the series, I realised that this is soap-opera, pure and simple. As someone who’d never be seen dead watching a soap, this was disturbing. Fortunately, moments later, Jim Fenner did something else truly rotten to the core, and my attention went back to H.M. Prison Larkhall. Such is the joy of the show: it defies categorization.
All our favourites return, though both good and bad show more character development than previously. Evil guard Fenner (Ellis) in particular demonstrates amazing depth, and we find out why resident bitch Dockley is that way. Top plot-arc this season was a through-the-bars romance between lifer Niki Wade and former governor Helen Stewart, that sprouted wings, flew, then crashed-and-burned (apparently) in the final ep.
Of the new characters, gangster’s wife Yvonne Atkins made the biggest impression – a nemesis for her arrived too, but was offed after only a couple of episodes, in a disappointing second case of “sudden fatal illness as plot device”. While there wasn’t perhaps anything as heartrending as we saw in the first series, the breadth and depth of storylines remains a joy to watch. Soap opera or not, we’ll start season 3 sooner rather than later.
Star: Mandana Jones, Simone Lahbib, Debra Stephenson, Jack Ellis