Wentworth (in some locales Wentworth Prison), season 8, is available on Netflix US now. In this season, a rash of new characters entered the prison to create trouble and chaos. Seasons 8 and 9, already set, are supposed to be the final seasons for this long running Australian women’s prison series.
The situation in Wentworth Prison at the start of the season is unsettled. There was ‘the siege’ at the end of season 7. The writing technique that pits women against women, thrives on rumors and false information, and keeps everyone stirred up remains the same, no matter the season. There’s always someone believing bad advice from someone with an ulterior motive.
A new administrator Ann Reynolds (Jane Hall) is there to make money by bringing in high risk prisoners and cutting back on expenses at the same time. She micromanages the new governor Will Jackson (Robbie Magasiva) so badly the place almost grinds to a halt.
Vera Bennett (Kate Atkinson) is home with her baby when the season starts. She comes back because Ann promises to keep Will on as governor. Vera becomes head of the new money-making phone bank operation.
Jake Stewart (Bernard Curry), the father of Vera’s baby is turning into a pretty good dad. He’s still a guard. Linda Miles (Jacqueline Brennan) is a guard as well, although she’s turned mean.
The first newcomers to the prison population are Lou (Kate Box) and Reb (Zoe Terakes). They are a couple. Lou takes care of Reb, who is a transgender man. Zoe Terakes describes themselves on Instagram as a trans masc prince. This is an improvement over the cis man who played the part of Maxine for years. Weirdly, Boomer (Katrina Milosevic) goes off on Reb and acts like she never had a trans best friend. Lou and Reb do just about anything to raise money for Reb’s top surgery.
A woman arrested for hacking and releasing sensitive government secrets is in Wentworth waiting for the Americans to pick her up. She’s Judy (Vivienne Awosoga). Boy, is she trouble. Allie (Kate Jenkinson), the top dog, likes her and trusts her. Big mistake.
Pamela Rabe is back. For most of the season she’s a meek and mild amnesiac who doesn’t answer to Joan Ferguson. Vera, Will and Jake are all terrified she’ll remember who buried her alive a couple of seasons ago.
Speaking of past seasons, I really like the constant references and reminders of past seasons and former prisoners. (Except for Boomer’s transgender blip.) This series stays consistent from season to season. If the characters change it is for reasons that make sense. If there’s a reference to something like a former top dog, it fits into the story perfectly.
Late in the season, when we think we have the new characters and situations all figured out, Marta Dusseldorp as Sheila shows up. She is connected to a cult where a mass murder and fire killed everyone. And the cult is connected to people inside the prison who aren’t happy to see Sheila at all.
The season ends abruptly on two big cliffhangers. Ready for season 9?
The women who directed in season 8 include Fiona Banks, Beck Cole, and Corrie Chen.
Here’s the season 8 poster if you feel like pinning something on Pinterest. Nicole da Silva is on the poster but does not appear in this season. Other faces you see like Leah Purcell, Rarriwuy Hick, and Susie Porter are definitely part of the action in season 8.
Here’s the season 8 preview.
Have you stuck with Wentworth over the years, as I have? What did you think of season 8?