Wentworth’s Joan star says people will ‘suffer’ as villain’s memory returns
Wentworth star Pamela Rabe has promised some suffering for the other characters in the final season after her character Joan Ferguson finally remembered who she really was.
In the season eight finale, which aired on 5STAR on Wednesday night, Joan had a breakthrough with her memory after believing she was Kath Maxwell since her head injury, and glimpses of her past – including her time in prison and as the governor – all flooded back.
The Australian prison drama will return for its final season next year and, while she refused to give too many spoilers, Pamela made one thing clear: Joan's recovery will affect everyone.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Online, the 61-year-old said: "Now that you're carrying all those parts of yourself at the same time, which bits will win and, if they manifest, how will they? Who will recognise it and who will be affected by it?
"Who will suffer from it – or even benefit from it?
"That's really the crux of the dilemma she has now, if and when the old Joan will resurface."
During season eight, most of the other characters refused to believe that Joan really did have amnesia, instead thinking she was faking the memory loss and knew exactly who she was.
Pamela told us: "The intention of the writers was that once she suffered this severe head trauma when she was knocked unconscious and injured at the end of the second episode, that that head trauma caused a memory loss.
"I feel that so much of – and it's one of the characteristics of Joan that I held on to – her character and personality carries within it an ability to repress and block out and deny certain things, so there was a kind of logic that a head trauma should have created a blocking of part of herself that allowed another part of herself to bubble up to the surface.
"The interesting thing now is all of those parts of her are now present. Is there anything that can be denied now, now that so much has been brought to the surface?"
And it seems characters will continue to question her in the final 10 episodes, as Pamela mused about who would be Joan's allies.
Pamela told us: "Part of the joy is is she faking it, is she real? She's such a clever, clever woman.
"All I'm going to say is, I call it the little girl who cried wolf, she's such a good liar, if you're not lying how do you make people believe you're not?
"So there is this issue and I think certainly for Joan, whatever it is, she's intensely smart, she has no compunction of using things around her to get what she wants and she's learnt something about her capacity for certain things through the memory loss, so I think it's going to be really interesting to see this person now with what she's learnt moving forward."
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One of the turning points for Joan was when she realised that a small girl she was hallucinating was actually her, and that she'd witnessed her father drown her mother in the bath.
It gave viewers a glimpse into Joan's past and helped them understand the often villainous character a little more.
Pamela said: "It's always a real privilege, it's in part of the format of the series that from time to time you get a glimpse of people's backstory, the situation that presented themselves and brought them into Wentworth Prison or sometimes an opening up of a detail that gives you clues as to why they're the people they are.
"You always feel lucky when the writers devote some time to that in the storytelling, given that there are so many characters in the show. It means it's really hard to carve a little bit of extra time to explore some of those things, so I felt very lucky.
"Not only that they decided to go there and fill in some of those gaps about what made Joan Ferguson the person she is, but to give it to me in the context of that particular journey, that it was the actual accessing of those forgotten or denied experiences of her as a young person that really were responsible, using that to bring her together as a whole person by the end of this season."
But what will Joan be working towards, as she always appears to have a plan or purpose?
Pamela said: "One of the main things, obviously, is that she is on remand. She's got a trial where she hopes to walk free.
"I don't think Joan Ferguson ever wants to be locked into a prison cell for a particularly long time.
"If all her memories have come back – that's the question you're left with in the finale, there are a lot of things she remembers, not only her own actions but the actions of others – how will that impact on her ability to be exonerated and walk free?"
Wentworth Prison will return to 5Star for its final season in 2021
- Channel 5
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