Janet King S03E03 Recap: Warmth In The Love Nest Again

Janet King

Janet’s father’s involvement is uncovered as she tries to keep him at arms length personally.

Things start off with a very pissed off Owen fronting the press with news that the charges against the bus driver have been dropped due to new evidence coming to light. On the one hand Janet is smirking knowing that ‘he’d be hating this’, while Owen says to Andy, “Janet must’ve loved every minute of watching me eat her dog shit sandwich.”

Andy of course, can’t tell Owen what the new evidence is because it’s come from within the NCC, and Owen is preparing for a fight.

How’s the shit sandwich tasting?

The team is trying to find out who ‘mystery man’ is that visited Clay the night before he suicided, and who ‘the boss’ is – the person that ordered Clay’s suicide. The tower dump, Tony informs Janet, found that ‘mystery man’s’ phone is a burner, but it revealed that the phone that called it belonged to her father.

At this point, there’s a woozy sound, Tony’s voice is muffled, Janet looked shell-shocked… her father is now ‘our major person of interest.’ Janet pulls herself together and says she can still play a part, behind an ethical wall where she’ll focus on other aspects of the reference, and Tony instructs her to build it very high and stay right behind it by not seeing him at all, and concentrating on dirty crook Shannon Hinksman. I can already see some cracks in the foundations!

Wayne goes out to following Hinksman, taking photos and doing general under-covery stuff, including providing a running commentary back to Janet, Bianca and Bonnie in the office. Eddie Cook, the shady guy from Continuum Therapies meets him and leaves a package with him – presumably the same PEDs that Tyler had in his system, and as Hinksman goes off – presumably to deliver the package to someone from the Northern Devils; Wayne follows in hot pursuit.

He sees Hinksman make a deal, and rushes in to bust the guy who just bought the juice, while Hinksman leaves the scene. Meanwhile, Janet leaves to go to Nate Baldwin’s committal hearing, thinking that if Richard has found that substance – which could be the key to getting Nate off the charge – she might be able to find out what it is and where it’s coming from.

Janet arrives at the courthouse to see her father also walking in. She a bit shaken, as she seems to be every time he turns up. She’s definitely ‘not happy Jan(et).’ He is quickly swarmed by the media and is very cool and states that he will continue to sponsor the Devils despite the charge.

Awesome to see Lina as Madam Crown, going up against Richard, who to me oscillates between smarmy bastard and the Richard we grew to love from way back in his ‘sleep under his desk I’m just a poor solicitor working for the DPP’ Crownies days. Lina argues his butt off (go Lina!), and Nate is committed to stand trial.

Janet’s little nod as Lina ‘wins’ is also a big win for Lina – if you’ve won over Janet as a prosecutor, you must be doing something right!  Janet’s wistful look as Lina, Andy and Richard walk out together suggested to me that she may like a place inside the ‘old crew’, but instead she’s stuck in the shit-storm that her father is creating in her life, as she turns her head to see the arrival of another ambush from him.

Crook or no crook?

I’m going to say here that there are few superlatives to describe the exceptional acting skills of Marta Dusseldorp… As Janet, she strides through life, climbing the career ladder, single-parenting, getting what she wants when she wants because of her steely inner-resolve.

Slowly, bit-by-bit, we are seeing that crumbling in the presence of her father, perhaps the only person who can probe at a soft underbelly she keeps very deeply hidden. He makes her feel weak.

When confronted by him she is once again the girl for whom nothing she did ever quite lived up to his expectations, the one who constantly strived for some sort of acknowledgement that she ‘did well’ and that he was proud of her. The vulnerability that Marta portrays – the softening around her mouth, the almost soulful look in her eyes – is exquisite, as we see a side of Janet that we haven’t seen before.

Yes, there was vulnerability last season surrounding the death of Ash, but she was still adult in her vulnerability – this season I see a hurt child who is asking the father she both despises, fears and loves to see her and acknowledge her achievements without prejudice or judgement. Bravo Marta – you are a master of your craft!

Simply sublime.

Anyway, she coldly watches him approach and they have another exchange where he pokes about looking for info on the NCC, then turns it to asking about meeting the kids – the first of which she reminds him she can’t say anything, and the second of which she promises nothing. He claims to send cards for birthdays and Christmas, and her response of, “Yes you’re secretary is very efficient,” is classic and shows very clearly what she thinks of his attempts to get all warm and fuzzy with her.

His comment that the kids didn’t get their sporting prowess from Janet, is another in a long line of small, most likely unconscious, jabs that undermine Janet’s self-confidence and push her to revert to the child that both reveres and loathes her father. The revolving door as he leaves appears to be highly symbolic of the nature of their relationship over the years.

Next thing, the coach and CEO (I’m guessing) are in Richard’s office, doing their nuts at him that he was supposed to get Nate off. Richard claims that without knowledge of what he might have been taking, it’s going to be hard, they claim the Devils have never failed a drug test, but the coach says what if we knew ‘hypothetically’ that he’d been talking something, and the other guy – quick as a flash – says, let’s not talk about what’s ifs… Richard says he wants to talk to Pearl.

That doesn’t go down well. When he finally locates her, she knows she’s seen him somewhere before, but only has little flashes of the night when the two gross rapey footy guys assaulted her, but when he says he’s Nate Baldwin’s barrister, she chucks her drink all over him and refuses to talk. Go Pearl.

So, Pearl’s story. From the crap-hole she lived in with her mother and step-father, into what would have to be close to the worst share house – all provided by Youth Services. Nice. When was the last time they sent a social worker to check in to see how all the drugged up, wasted, unfortunate kids were getting along?

And Pearl as a newbie learns the really hard way that everything you own is fair game as Tyler’s footy jumper is stolen from her on the first night and sold by the others to buy meth. She’s not happy (who would be?) and knocks the meth to the floor in rage, but this kind of means that she’s pretty much outstayed her welcome after one night, because you don’t be messing with an addict’s drugs… especially when you’ve been there for less than 12 hours.

Pearl ends up on the streets, and gets onto a ‘casual sex’ app, scrolling through till she finds Flynn Pearce, the guy who hangs out with the Devils and supplies them with their party drugs. In a mutual arrangement of ‘sex for a bed’, she goes to stay with Pearce… let’s remember here the kid is 15.

*Cute lesbian moment alert* It’s late, and it’s back at the office, and Bianca comes in and makes some comment about the stuff Wayne busted from the footy player wasn’t the same as what Tyler was taking… but Janet doesn’t want to talk about that, she wants to talk to her gf about her father, and that she saw him today, and he wants to play happy families, and after 20 years wtf does he think this is?

Bianca tells her she shouldn’t have spoken to him, but Janet says, she needed to see if he was somebody who could order somebody’s death, and I obviously don’t know him like I thought I did. Bianca, who is very good at picking up the cues – even when Janet doesn’t realise she’s putting them out there – sneaks her arms around Janet’s waist, and says, ‘Maybe I should take you home and pour you a glass of wine.’

Then it becomes cuteness overload, but also more relationship reveal, as they have a little tête-à-tête about Janet thinking Bianca knows her well, and Bianca feeling she’s making progress but doesn’t have the full picture yet, while Janet claims to not being ‘that’ complicated (yeah sure!), and Bianca saying, ‘you’re not simple’, and Janet taking it as a compliment, and Bianca kissing her on the cheek and nuzzling her neck before leading her out of shot to go home and have that glass of wine. Oh how I adore these two!

Let me love you and care for you and pour you wine…

Janet has now found info that Pax Car Rental lost a SHIT load of money last year, to the tune of $12mil and with winning money on fixed matches, it could really ‘help the bottom line’ according to Bonnie. “He’s really starting to look like one of the big profit-takers. No offence, just joining the dots.”

The look Janet gives Bonnie shoots her down in flames, and I’m now starting to feel really sorry for Bonnie as rather than the eye-rolls of eps 1&2, she’s now looking like a child who’d been told one more misdemeanour and they have to go and sit on the time-out chair. “You’re the analyst, you analyse, leave drawing the conclusions to me,” Janet tells her. Ouch.

They decide to bring in Wasim Jandaphur – the guy who owned the house Ravi Hasan was living in when it burnt down – for questioning, but Janet has to sit out. He ‘had a good feeling’ about the wide ball, but has never spoken to Graham King about betting, only ever his charity sports foundation.

Graham King, however, calls the NCC to volunteer to come in on account that he has ‘new evidence’ and sets about explaining what a great guy Wasim is and how fantastic his charity sports clinics are, and just in case you’re looking that’s what all the phone calls between us were about.  He then drops Janet in it – quite deliberately because he’s a class-A arsehole – saying that he was left with the impression his phone records were being checked.

Tony pretty much accuses Janet of telling him, she says he asked, she said, I can’t say, and Tony says well he knows now – you’re ethical wall just came crashing right down. What was I meant to do Tony? (That’s Janet raising her voice quite significantly!) The eyes well up…

“He’s still my father and we haven’t had a proper conversation since I was 17”, but no sympathy from Tony as he insists she refrain from any contact with him till this is all over. The evidence is banking up, and Tony confines Janet to her office. She can feel the walls closing in.

I can’t help it if that giant douche is my father.

Wayne has gone off following Hinksman again, and ends up at a warehouse, registered in the name of his sister. He then drives to a pub, goes in, has a few drinks. But in a case of dramatic irony (i.e. where the audience knows what’s going on but the characters don’t), he passes ‘mystery man’ on his way out as he’s walking in.

Can’t be a coinky-dink. Wayne stays and waits for Hinksman to leave, and goes out to see that the car he arrived in – a Pax rental car they find out later, and again, this can’t be a coincidence – has gone, and he seems none too fussed about it as he gets into a taxi and leave.

Janet calls Bonnie away from her eavesdropping, and into the kitchen for a little chat. She’s making a cup of tea, which is quite interesting given that in a late night conversation with Bianca in season 2 she claimed, “not to be much of a tea person”… (wink, wink). Janet’s digging for what info Bonnie has linking Graham to the syndicate, besides the call to ‘mystery man’.

All the other stuff is just circumstantial. Bonnie is a little uncomfortable, but Janet sweet-talks her asking for her verdict – quite the opposite of having shut her down a few scenes earlier. Janet wants Lucy Baldwin brought before the commission, but as they are not supposed to be talking, and Bonnie’s not supposed to be telling Janet that Lucy has no accounts or credit cards in her name, then it has to be ‘Bonnie’s idea’.

She seems happy enough with that. Lucy is completely in the dark as to why there is a betting account in her name, linked to her birth certificate as ID. But every week like clockwork $5K goes into the account. She tells them that Nate wasn’t going to sign with the Devils, but Maxine negotiated a good deal that included a coaching gig after his playing days are done. Graham King might have had a hand in that. The idea of the contract suddenly dawns on Janet as being very important…

I know you think I don’t like you, and well… you’re right, but you might be useful right about now.

Bianca probes Tony about Janet’s relationship with her father, but he claims she’s only ever mentioned him. What will happen if the axe falls on him? How will she cope? She’ll internalise, says Tony. When in danger of looking vulnerable, internalise. Bianca wonders if it’s not better to talk about things. Only if she knows the truth, and if she doesn’t, maybe she never will. Poor Bianca.

Tell me how to crack this King nut… please!

Oh no, ‘zone’ carnival day. Mum, Bibi, Uncle Tony, injured Liam all there to cheer Emma on in her trials. But what’s this? An uninvited guest – and one who has the gall to condescendingly comment, “what supportive colleagues Janet has” (especially the one who’s banging your daughter… sorry couldn’t help myself).

Gift vouchers are produced to buy ‘top line runners’ as ‘you need the best to be the best’ and Tony (bless!) jumps in with a “they are the best” in terrific support of his colleague. And then, and then… Oh Bianca BURNS him! “Do you have children here?” Taking Liam’s hand, she replies, “Only the twins”.

His face as he puts two and two together with “oh riiiight, so that’s how it is” is priceless. When Emma slightly oversteps the mark in her long jump, Graham quickly points it out, telling Janet she should report it, as it’s cheating if she doesn’t. Janet later tells Bianca that Graham did that to her regularly, and never complimented or acknowledged anything she did as a kid. Poor Janet.

My happy family does not include you.

Later Bianca and Wayne go to raid the Hinksman warehouse expecting to find drugs, but all they find is wads and wads of cash. A Pax rental car is untraceable, but is being used to move cash from the warehouse around – to an exchange point where a new driver picks up the car and cash and then it’s dropped off at Nate Baldwin’s house.

Graham King is then brought in again where he finally ‘fesses up to something – that he’s involved in salary cap rorting, So who was ‘mystery man’ – we know you spoke to him? He claims not to know, he was given a number to call, no name. He spoke with him once but insists he has nothing to do with match fixing.

And Janet believes him. As she told Bianca earlier – he believes that to win fairly is the only way to win, and in a moment after he talks about the salary cap she says that when, “it comes to his principles my father is intractable.” Bianca’s reply of, “unlike his daughter” left me scratching my head a bit – was she saying, ‘you’re a lot more flexible’ and so Janet’s smile was ‘thanks I needed to hear that’; or was it a sarcastic comment saying ‘you’re more like him than you think’, and Janet’s smile was in wry agreement? I can’t decide.

What do you think?

Meanwhile, Bonnie has been doing some good work of her own, looking at all CCTV of a whole bunch of fuel stations to see if anyone was buying supplies that could potentially burn down a house – that house being Ravi Hasan’s.  BINGO! They find him… Bianca wonders aloud, “Who are you?” and that is the $64million dollar question!

Graham lurks (always lurking… yuck) outside the NCC and intercepts Janet on her way out. He hopes that the disclosure today won’t go beyond the NCC, as it’s outside her ‘frame of reference’. Janet tells him that it has to be reported to the Australian Power League or they could appear compromised.

He has the GUMPTION (what a great word!) to say, “well if there’s one thing I’ve done right is teach my daughter the meaning of ‘integrity’”. NO YOU GIANT NARCISSIST – she has that herself that. But then Janet gives the slightest of nods and conciliatory smiles as though she’s agreeing with him.

No Janet, no. He’s completely lacking in integrity – he might know the meaning of it, but he has none. You, however, have it in spades.

Truth? You can’t handle the thruth!

Then – then the bastard pulls out a burner phone and calls someone to update them. He told them about Nate – no, no, just the salary cap – just thought you should know. The plot thickens. It’s Maxine. “Of course I should know. SHIT!”