[Header Image: Christina Hendricks as Beth Boland, Retta as Ruby Hill, Mae Whitman as Annie Marks, and Nicholas Alexander as Darren]
This episode shows yet another change in the dynamic between Beth and Rio. The former is adjusting to the changes in her life. It seems like she’s doing amazingly well at the dealership but Dean isn’t coping too well at home. She’s understandably angered by the fact that he can’t do what she’s been doing for the last decade or so. And that’s not the only thing going on. Once again Rio has delved into some new venture and while he wants to use Beth and the dealership, he doesn’t want to divulge any information. It makes sense from a business stand point but Beth isn’t having any of it.
Watching her find the drugs was honestly hilarious. The whole montage of her trying to get into the airbag was entertaining and although it wasn’t surprising that she crashed the car, it was way better than I was expecting. I also liked that she, Annie, and Ruby got Darren (a kid working at Fine and Frugal) involved to try and figure out what the drugs were (the three of them sorting through the drugs later was also another great montage). With the drugs being actual medication I feel like there’s got to be more to discover and with Rio and Beth having a 50/50 split, I’m sure we’ll find out much more about it as the season progresses.
This episode was clearly a turning point for Beth. It was a strong move to take Rio’s drugs and use them against her. The way she stands up to him was both reckless but also incredibly brave. She knows her value and she’s going to use it to her advantage. There’s clearly a mix of things directing her this week: jealousy over seeing Rio with Dylan (Adelfa Marr), being expected to help Rio with his new venture without question, and Dean (once again) disappointing her. Regardless of what drives her, she’s taking things into her own hands and it was glorious to see.
And on the flip side of this, we have Rio. Once again he’s incredibly secretive about everything going on and he’s clearly angry when Beth messes with his cars (this is the first time he’s pointed a gun at her since she asked him not to in 1×07), but he also realises that he underestimated her and fully accepts and even admires how capable she truly is. It’s really interesting because while they are a little at odds this episode, it just adds to how complex and layered their relationship is. While things are much better between them than they have been in recent times and they’re able to flirt and be playful with each other, there’s still a degree of separation between them. That being said, this is the first time in a while that we’ve seen Beth take charge and be the Boss we know she’s capable of being. The last we saw this confidence and drive was 1×05 through to 1×08 when she was laundering money and properly embracing the crime world for the first time. It’s nice to see that again with her and although there’s drama next week, hopefully, things continue to develop and pick up for her.
Something else to note is that scene with Dean in the kitchen. After everything that happened with Rio this episode it makes sense that Beth wants to try and keep things strictly business. However, it’s so much more than that now and it’s not going to be so easy. She’s obviously attracted to Rio and clearly feels something for him. He actually sees her and being around him clearly amplifies her confidence and capabilities. The way she turns away from Dean in the kitchen and leans against the sink mirrors her actions with Rio. This is her attempt to re-create what she had with him so that she can replace those particular parts of their connection and continue on with just a business relationship. It makes sense because then she can avoid feeling hurt or let down in the future if she can keep her emotions out of it. It also makes sense that she choose Dean. They’ve been married for 20 odd years, they have 4 kids, and they’re currently living together. It’s convenient if anything.
However, her plan doesn’t work. In fact, there are so many glaringly obvious parallels between her sex scene with Rio in 1×04 and this scene. For starters, with the Rio one the camera only ever shows Beth’s face. The whole thing is about her and her needs, whereas the other scene seems to be about the pair of them but ultimately becomes more about Dean just like usual. The way Rio holds her and kisses her neck is a little forceful but still intimate and enjoyable, whereas when Dean does it there is that same force only this time the whole encounter is a lot more distant and uncomfortable. Nothing matches up and it’s another clear indicator that Beth can’t simply walk away from Rio and her life of crime because everything has changed so much.
And that’s not where all the drama ends because things are closing in on Ruby and my heart broke several times over for her. After Mary Pat revealed that Stan was a cop last week, Turner is determined to get to them. He doesn’t relent and he makes it absolutely clear that he knows the truth about Ruby’s involvement with the robberies. It’s been established several times over that Ruby would do anything for her family and that she’s completely and utterly in love with Stan so it’s no surprise that she’s willing to hand herself in and go to prison just to protect them. What made the whole thing even better is that she didn’t go to Turner with the intention of handing Beth or Annie in. She was going to take on the blame herself to keep everyone safe.
Based on the ending, as well as the promo from next week, it seems that Ruby is going to be a spy for Turner but I doubt it’s going to last. She’s already had an opportunity this season to turn on Beth (and Annie) but she chose not to. She’s either going to start working for Turner and then abruptly change her mind or she’s going to work for him as a way to delay things while she thinks of something better. I understand her doing it, regardless of the why or how but no matter what, it’s going to lead to some drama and potentially more heartache for everyone.
While Annie is working towards helping Beth with taking Rio’s drugs and using it against him, she’s also dealing with more fallout from her affair with Gregg. After finding out the truth in last week’s episode, Sadie has been staying with Nancy and is clearly avoiding Annie at every chance she gets. Throughout the episode we see Annie trying to apologise and doing everything she can to get Sadie to at least talk to her properly. It wasn’t a surprise when Sadie brought up the fact that Annie has been keeping secrets and is suddenly rolling in unexplained cash when they’re normally struggling to stay above water. I am curious as to why Annie didn’t say she was working at the dealership with Beth. It would explain the extra cash and it’s not entirely untrue. Although she wants to be more honest with Sadie, keeping her away from Rio/the crime life is the perfect reason to continue lying and she’s going to have to tell Sadie something.
That being said, Annie does end putting her foot down. Throughout the episode, while they’re dealing with the whole Rio situation, Annie interacts more closely with Darren. During her interactions she starts to see how his relationship is with his parents and she grows concerned about her own relationship with Sadie. While I don’t like how hostile their relationship is right now, it was interesting and important to see Annie put her foot down and be that strict parent. She’s not normally like that but it’s only another step in seeing her grow and develop. Hopefully, as time goes on we’ll get a mixture. I would very much like to see that close relationship they’ve always had but with a little more of this strict side now and then to balance it out.
While I did say this episode was a turning point for Beth, it really was for everyone involved. It seems like we’re moving on plot wise. Although we’ve still got the FBI situation and the money laundering side, we’re now moving into other areas of crime and the stakes have certainly increased. On top of that, each character, especially our three leading ladies are going through things that is not only going to change their business lives but also their personal ones and I can’t wait to see what is in store next.