[Header Image: Retta as Ruby Hill, Mae Whitman as Annie Marks, and Christina Hendricks as Beth Boland | NBC]
We’re finally back with a new season of Good Girls and what a way to start. The show has definitely continued its streak of kicking things off with a bang and wasting no time in getting the ball rolling. I’m sure I’m only one of many who did not expect things to get so wild so soon. I’ll definitely be the first to admit that a lot of my theories/predictions (no matter how small) were either completely disproved or were shown in a way that I could never have predicted. Not to mention, there are still 15 more episodes left to air for this season.
All that being said, Find Your Beach really was a wonderful episode. It did a great job of giving us some idea as to how the events of the season two have affected a wide range of characters while still leaving room to explore it all in more detail as the season progresses. It also had a good balancing act in that it showed us which aspects of the previous seasons would be left behind and what new directions the series will go in without actually giving us too much all in one go.
The opening of this episode is an example of that balancing act. On the one hand, there’s Beth talking to a customer about how “it’s a shock when someone dies” and it’s clear as she keeps on talking that it’s about Rio and what happened between him and her at the end of season two but then, on the other hand, we have scenes of Annie and Ruby at work where we see the former getting paid with ones and the latter stealing chemicals. Through this opening, we’re shown that the events of last season are not forgotten and do still play some kind of role in these characters’ lives but we’re also shown where the girls are now through Ruby and Annie bringing what they’ve collected/stolen to Beth so they can make more counterfeit money.
It’s a push forward that relies on the events of the past but also brings just enough to the table to create a forward momentum that can eventually leave said events in the past. This can also be said for the episode as a whole. Of course, when it comes to events like Beth shooting Rio, we’re definitely nowhere near close to that being left behind but it still gives us, the audience, an idea as to the kind of trajectory we might expect to see this season.
Take, for example, Turner. He was a pretty big threat before, especially in season two when he really set to work on taking out not just Rio but Beth as well. Based on everything that happened, it’s no surprise that he popped back up in the first episode of season three nor is it a surprise that he was dropping in on Beth and leading up raids on criminals across the city. It ties in with (and continues on from) everything he’s been getting up to so far in Good Girls but the thing that gave the show its forward momentum was the absolutely wonderful twist that Rio was playing Turner the entire time. The latter’s death at the end of the episode, while being shocking and unexpected so early in the season, does mean that him and his determination to take down Beth and Rio no matter who he hurt in the process (i.e. Stan/the Hill family) will be left in the past (except a possible aftermath) and that the FBI investigation into Rio (and Beth) will at least be downsized. With the death of various agents/cops, it being closed completely, at least for now, doesn’t seem out of the realms of possibilities.
Rio did say way back in the fifth episode of season one, “In my line of work, If you don’t have the FBI on your back, you ain’t making noise.” Being watched and investigated was never the problem, Turner along with how messy things got generally was the issue. Now, Rio is at this point where his competition has been taken out (via the FBI raids and arrests) and, despite the fact they will end up working together in the future, at this point he most likely has no intention of working with Beth ever again. Depending on what Rio’s plans are, it’s technically a fresh start so the FBI being around still in some capacity wouldn’t necessarily be an issue but with Turner being gone, it allows for the show to either put less focus on that side of the story or to at least mix it up a little.
Backtracking a little, getting lost in thought like she did at the start of the episode, is not the only way in which we see that Beth is stuck in the past. It’s revealed pretty quickly that her decision to befriend Rhea (Jackie Cruz) and spend time with both her and Marcus, is out of guilt. It doesn’t take a genius (nor any spoilers or press) to figure out that it’s in no way going to make her feel any better and that it’s more likely to make everything a million times worse. Of course, Beth is doing this under the impression that Rio is dead. At the moment, it’s made pretty clear that she does regret taking away a father from his child but beyond that, she appears determined that she doesn’t regret shooting Rio. However, considering she’s buried her head in the sand on more than one occasion and she zoned out a little at the start of the episode (plus in the park with Rhea) while thinking about Rio, I’m sure there’s a lot of feelings in there that are yet to be explored.
There’s also the impending explosion of Rio’s return to her life. The ways in which he tricked Turner were so wonderful. It can be assumed (as I said before) that passing over information was to clear out the competition but based on the fact that Turner was gunned down and Rio fabricated his beach getaway using a billboard outside the hotel, it’s clear there’s definitely a plan in place. And while Rio most likely will want to cut ties with Beth, I can’t imagine that he won’t want to get revenge. Even if he doesn’t, the second Rio finds out that she’s been hanging around Marcus and Rhea, he’s going to go after her. Not to mention the fact that Rhea gave money to pay Beth’s late fees and penalties on her mortgage, money that technically (or at least in part), is Rio’s. Although, as I said at the start of this review, there’s so much about this first episode that I didn’t expect to happen so we’ll have to wait and see where specifically Rio goes from here and where his story takes us.
All that being said, I loved the introduction we got to Rhea. We might not have discovered too many details about her but we still got a really good look at her personality and I do think she’s going to be a ton of fun to watch this season. It was interesting to see her perspective of Rio (and Marcus) as well as the fact that she’s under the impression that he’s simply gone AWOL. There’s no way to know for sure right now if she’s aware of what Rio does (or at least the extent of what he does) or not but it was revealed that even he sometimes has to pick work over family and that him missing out on things and disappearing at the drop of a hat isn’t out of the norm. It makes him feel less like some untouchable criminal God and more like a real human just doing what he’s got to do to get by. The best thing about all of this is that we do get to know Rhea, she isn’t only in this episode to tell us more about Rio or to be a way for Beth to resolve her guilt. From what we saw of her she seems genuinely fun and nice and yet another (different) insight into being a mother just trying to get by.
This episode, we also meet two other characters who are new this season. First is Lucy (Charlyne Yi) who is being considered as the fourth good girl. I have to say, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect of her. Although Beth, Annie, and Ruby have a pretty wonderful dynamic going on in which they blend together really well, they’re all completely different to one another. Something that Good Girls does really well is that no two characters are the exact same. There’s always at least one thing that sets them apart. While Lucy is unique in her own ways, at the moment, I would still classify her as a mystery. Based on this episode, we know she’s really good at her job, she’s a perfectionist, she has a boyfriend, and she’s video chats with her bird to say good night. Still, even with the little we’ve been shown so far, it’s been fun to watch her and I’m intrigued to see what else she brings to the table later on.
The other new face is Krystal (Noureen DeWulf) who works at the strip club where Stan works as a bouncer. We probably find out the least amount about her. It’s revealed her real name is Diane and that she seemingly gets along with Stan really well. She also seems to be the kind of person who doesn’t really think before she speaks and her thoughts get away from her a little. That being said, she does appear to have the best intentions and really does seem like a sweet person. Based on posts on instagram, it seems like Noureen DeWulf is still filming for the show and has actually been in quite a few episodes sharing her scenes mostly with Reno Wilson (Stan). With this being the first of sixteen episodes, there’s plenty of room to get to know her better (as well as Rhea and Lucy). With her interactions with Stan being very simple, I’m curious to see how exactly things develop and whether she gets wrapped up in what Beth, Annie, and Ruby are doing.
Speaking of Stan, it’s quickly revealed that he’s working at the strip club because it provides a lot of money, something the Hill family still needs to maintain Sara’s medical care. Throughout the episode, Ruby is seen trying to sort out their insurance because, despite having some, they’re still having to pay for Sara’s medication to make sure her body doesn’t reject the new kidney. Seriously, they really deserve a break at this point, it’s ridiculous. The frustration Ruby has is clear as day and, for whatever personal reason that might be, she clearly isn’t all that comfortable with Stan’s new job. That being said, considering I don’t see them breaking up/getting divorced soon and that Krystal will be sharing more scenes with Stan, either Ruby continues to put up with it for the sake of Sara or she changes her viewpoint and becomes genuinely okay with it, which I’m sure will come hand in hand with getting to know Krystal/Diane more and/or the strip club becoming a part of the criminal side of Ruby’s life. Regardless, they do need the money so it doesn’t look like Stan will be quitting his job any time soon.
Then, of course, there’s our last good girl. Annie seems to be stuck in a bit of rut. Sadie wasn’t all that wrong with his llama comment, Annie does gravitate towards people who show her affection, it’s part of how Noah was able to get so close to her and why, way back in season one, she confessed to robbing Marion when she probably won’t have noticed. It is a very human quality and not always a bad one but in Annie’s case, it is often her biggest flaw/problem. She seems determined not to repeat mistakes of the past (like falling for men like Greg and Noah) but I’m sure it’s not going to be that easy. Besides money problems, I’m interested to see what else Annie will face throughout the rest of the season and where her current identity crisis will take her.
This really was a fantastic way to start off another season of Good Girls. It gave enough to showcase where things might go from here while still leaving a lot of unanswered questions. There are still some new faces to meet and really, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of storylines. With fifteen episodes left to air, there’s plenty of time to explore a whole lot more and if it continues on like episode one, then Good Girls has a good chance of really stepping up its game this season while still maintaining some great pacing and structure.
Some other things:
- The quick cash employee, JT, is back and it was so great to see him checking the girls’ fake cash for them. He was hilarious back in season two and I’m pleased that that hasn’t changed.
- Marcus and Jane being friends! If you’ve ever decided to delve into fanfiction for the show, you’ll know these two being friends is a pretty common factor so to see it in the actual show was really great! Naturally, the Rhea and Beth friendship is going to suffer once the truth about Rio comes out but I do wonder what will happen with the kids. They are completely innocent after all.
- While there isn’t too much to tell about them yet, it seems like Beth and Dean are working hard to get along and focus on keeping their heads above water. They seem like a united front now but in the past, it hasn’t taken much pressure for their relationship to implode. I’m sure the upcoming stressor (Rio’s return, Beth still wanting to be involved in crime, etc) will be more than enough to change things up again.