So where to begin to introduce Wentworth for new viewers? Well it’s a decent Australian prison drama which is also a contemporary reimagining of a similar show from the 1970s: Prisoner. Whilst the show initially followed one prisoner it eventually shifted to an ensemble cast focus. While the show may have dipped and dragged towards its end at points, Wentworth did produce some very good performances and characters across its 8 seasons. Well technically 9 cause the final season was split into 2 halves but never mind…. So before I get into the list properly, here is some history about the show.
Wentworth first debuted in 2013 on SoHo but concluded on Fox Showcase in 2021. As mentioned above, the show initially followed a single prisoner, Bea Smith, and her journey in the Wentworth Correctional Facility. Obviously it also followed the ensemble cast and their interactions with Bea on her journey to becoming prison top dog. While a lot of the ensemble cast are very good and put in great performances it was often Wentworth’s villains which stole the show. Any Wentworth viewer will be aware of the two best villains: Lou Kelly and Joan Ferguson. Oh, those are just my opinions on some of the best performances as the show does have a lot of good ones, like Frankie, Allie and Boomer to name but a few. So without further ado here are the best episodes of Wentworth.
10: The Enemy Within (S8, E10)
Kicking off the list of the best Wentworth episodes is The Enemy Within. So what makes this episode so good? Well firstly it concludes the first half of the final season which was called Redemption. Also the fact that it furthers Lou Kelly’s villain arc when she finds out the money for her transgender boyfriend, Reb, has been stolen. Now what was the money stolen for and who stole it? Well this might be a shot in the dark but maybe it was fellow inmate, British prisoner Judy. Oh and there are comparisons between Judy and a certain other famous hacker who hacked an army but I’m not going to make them. Anyway, all this gives more emotional weight to Lou who is furious that the money was stolen. ‘
9: Fear Her (S2, E12)
The question posed by the title is obviously who is the mystery woman we fear? Well to answer that question it’s Wentworth governor, Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson. Oh, by the way the Freak is the nickname given to her by the prisoners. While other villains struggled at times, Ferguson stopped at horrific lows to get what she wanted. Case in point the fact she starts physically assaulting inmates to keep them quiet. And then there’s the fact she transferred a prisoner away to keep the truth about her past hidden. Oh, if that’s not enough she starts trying to clean house amongst officers, starting with Fletcher and Will. But I’m sure that’s the last we’ll see of Ferguson on this list.
8: Rogue (S9, E1)
Who’s gone rogue I hear you asking? Well its former undercover detective turned actual prisoner: Rita. And don’t worry, it’s actually for a good reason she tries to see her ailing father. That’s actually kind of sweet really…. Anyway, other highlights of this episode include the return of the Freak as Ferguson desperately tries to keep her murderous impulses at bay with the help of prison psychiatrist: Dr Miller. And the worst part is he decides to go along with this idea in spite of what it could do for his career. Man, no wonder the show had a problem topping Ferguson as the best villain.
7: Showdown (S6, E12)
On the topic of Ferguson, this has more of a weird and disturbing twist. Which I appreciate is a mad statement when it comes to Ferguson but hear me out. The police are starting to close in on Vera, Will and Jake in an investigation to kill Ferguson by burying her alive. See what I was saying? Anyway, other episode highlights include Rita getting her arc for the next season set up, Rita stepping in to have a boiler room fight in place of her sister, Ruby and Vera’s mystery stalker revealing themselves. And no the stalker definitely isn’t Channing…..
6: Under Siege Part One (S7, E9)
Next up on the best Wentworth episodes is the first half of the Season 7 finale: Under Siege Part One. So who has Wentworth under siege? Well, ex pimp and Kaz Proctor’s favourite human being Marie Winter. In a bid to finally escape Wentworth, Marie cuts a deal with corrupt guard, Sean, to have him break her out of the prison. Oh and she also takes the rest of the prisoners hostage as an insurance policy. This leads to a wonderful cliff-hanger ending where Sean fires a shot from his gun leaving the fates of many characters in the balance. Don’t worry I’m sure there’s plot armour….
5: Plan Bea (S4, E8)
At the halfway point of the best Wentworth episodes is Plan Bea. Firstly that’s a great pin title right there. Secondly, this episode sees Ferguson’s plan to kill Bea go into action. Oh, and she’s also involved with future top dog and Marie Winter’s best friend, Kaz. So while Kaz thinks this is just going to be a humiliation, Ferguson decides to drug her and drown her. Goddamn Ferguson, there’s clearly no line she won’t cross to get what she wants. But don’t worry Ferguson ends up in some very hot water, or oil, in this case but that’s not the point. It’s always good to see Ferguson get her comeuppance….
4: Blood and Fire (S3, E12)
So what makes Blood and Fire such a good episode? Well for a start it’s the season 3 finale. And two if you want Ferguson to get even more comeuppance this is definitely the episode for you. Why do I say this? Well, after trying to save Doreen’s kidnapped baby from another prisoner, Jess, she decides to set the prison on fire. Now I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact she’s trying to cover up the fact she murdered Jess. Anyway, Ferguson does see justice when she’s arrested in front of the rest of the prisoners. Oh, and Doreen gets her baby back and Bea and Frankie have a great emotional moment. Also quite a literal title when you think about it….
3: Hell Bent (S5, E12)
Kicking off the top three best Wentworth episodes is Hell Bent. But who is hell bent in this episode? Well, a lot of people. Firstly there’s Frankie and Allie who have worked out a way to escape Wentworth. They plan to use flower bed boxes to get out for context. So who else is hell bent? Well, Liz. She’s hell bent on making sure Sonia, another British criminal (is this what the world thinks British people are like?), doesn’t reveal her secret so she poisons her. Oh and Ferguson gets out then gets buried alive by Will in a lovely poetic moment of justice.
2: Under Siege Part 2 (S7, E10)
Well I couldn’t go through the list without mentioning the second half of the season 7 finale could I? Now not only does this episode see some wonderful poetic justice but it also sees a wonderfully beautiful moment. What is this moment out of curiosity? During Marie and Sean’s attempt to escape Wentworth, Vera’s water breaks. This leads to Liz and Boomer helping to deliver Vera’s baby which is a great bit of development for both Liz and Boomer. Oh and Vera as well before I forget. This is just generally a great episode overall.
1: Seeing Red (S4, E12)
And the best Wentworth episode is….. Seeing Red. Now firstly I’ve got to applaud the unintentional pun title. But I hear you asking why this is the best episode? Well, Ferguson both literally and figuratively sees red when Bea confronts her as she looks like she’s going to walk free. That decision is really commendable and a great hook for Season 5. Other highlights include Maxine and Boomer’s friendship developing, Frankie and Shayne’s friendship developing and Ferguson nearly escaping justice before Bea changes that. Also that ending visual of the two seahorses is really poetic when you think about it…..
What are your favourite Wentworth episodes? Let me know in the comments below!