[Header Image: Christina Hendricks as Beth Boland | NBC]
Only two episodes in and this season is already refusing to let me breathe. In this one, we get to see the first look at a post-Turner world and while it is a little freeing, it’s not necessarily easy. If this season is anything like the previous ones then these first three episodes should help to establish the trajectory of the season. So far, we’ve seen where the characters have ended up since the end of season two and now we’re moving into discovering where they’ll go.
The opening of Not Just Cards saw Judith showing up unannounced and I have so say, I really enjoy how the show handled her presence. Back when we first met her, I got the impression that she and Beth got on well enough. We did discover that Judith put up with her husband’s cheating in order to have a family unit for Dean to grow up in so it was really no surprise then that she would have a few thoughts on Beth being out of the house so much and working. Still, while the advice Judith gave was a little misplaced and she did insert herself a little too much, even Beth could see that her intentions weren’t necessarily malicious. Even so, it allowed for a pretty hilarious dinner confrontation between the two of them that gave Beth even more reason to push herself into crime as well as some great payback as Beth orders in pizza and makes Judith sit on the small chair.
Whenever Beth is told she can’t do something, it usually leads to her proving them wrong (or at least trying to). It’ll be interesting to see how she pushes forward and things will change for her, Annie, and Ruby. The three of them were finally falling into somewhat of a successful plan which is bound to get some kind of disruption now that Rio is back.
That being said, something that I don’t see ever getting old this season, is the girls trying to get into crime and coming across a bunch of hurdles along the way. While their naivety and lack of experience does create a lot of mess, it also means we get to see the fun ways in which they navigate and overcome it. After the success of printing money that wouldn’t get them sent to prison, the next obvious step would be to do something with it especially with Turner being out of their lives. It was no surprise that Beth’s new business associates would double-cross them – it would be widely unbelievable if things did go right this early on – but once again, we got to see her way of handling things. The way she went all: “let me speak to your manager” in order to solve the problem was very fitting with her skillset and is yet another example of how differently she (as well as Annie and Ruby) are approaching this whole thing.
They do keep on proving that they’re adaptable though. While their methods aren’t always sound and they’re often the maker of their own problems, they do have a knack for figuring things out in their own, interesting way. Something they learnt this week is that all of that is not enough though. While it was a mixture of working for and with him, Rio had connections and unless they want to have another secret shopper incident, they’re sorely lacking. Still, they’re all trying and they’re not totally missing the mark.
There’s still a lot for Beth, Annie, and Ruby to learn and do before they’ll get a profitable business while being able to avoid the more common missteps but it’s definitely been entertaining to watch them try. Hopefully, even with Rio returning, we’ll still get to experience parts of that journey.
Now, Beth’s personal problems – dealing with Judith – links back to crime and Ruby’s kind of does a similar thing. Throughout the episode, we see her feeling like she (and Stan) are constantly being mistreated and treated more like an afterthought. Which, considering how things went with their medical insurance last week, is hardly surprising.
Eventually, her experiences plus having lied to Stan in the past (with less than desirable outcomes), leads Ruby to being honest and upfront this time around. From the scene where they try to figure out how to pay their bills and with the trouble they’re getting with their insurance, it’s clear the Hills still need a bit of help on the money front. While it’s made clear that Stan is still very much one of the only genuinely good people on the show and still has a desire to do the right thing, it does seem possible that he might be a little more open this season especially with how his sense of right and wrong came crumbling down after Turner turned on him last season.
Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see play out. Through various Instagram stories (particularly by Reno Wilson and Noureen DeWulf) it seems like Stan will continue to work at the strip club throughout the season. That does make a lot of sense especially with the girls not making that much money right now, Rio being back, and, even if the girls do end up making a lot of money, it can’t hurt for Stan to have a legal job to bring income in for the Hills. With everything that’s happened across the first two seasons, I don’t see anything really breaking Stan and Ruby apart, not even her getting back into crime so I’m not overly concerned about that, but Rio’s sudden return to their lives is bound to disrupt the girls’ plans to get back into business and I can’t imagine that Ruby will be able to make any solid promises to Stan about how her involvement will go from here on out.
Even though the problems Annie faces this episode don’t necessarily relate back to crime, similarly to Beth and Ruby, it does stand as a jumping-off point for her direction this season. Last week, there were those comments about her being a llama and now this week, Nancy reveals all of the things that her (and Greg’s) marriage counsellor had to say about Annie. She is hardly new to being judged but it definitely seems to have really hit a sore spot for her this time around and it leads to a very fun interaction with, and introduction to, Josh who I have to admit, I fell in love with immediately. One thing Good Girls is amazing at is creating characters that are entertaining to watch (especially considering they’re always incredibly well cast) so it’s hardly surprising but I do hope we get to see a lot more of Josh as the season goes on.
Anyway, while bursting into his office and mistaking him for someone else was a really great way for Annie to get some of what was bugging her off her chest, it hasn’t exactly solved anything meaning there’s still plenty of room to see how she actually deals with it. While I do think that Annie’s kind heart is often overlooked, she is prone to making mistakes and hurting people (intentionally or unintentionally) so her embarking on changing herself could be a good thing but I do have a feeling it’s bound to go wrong in some way, shape, or form.
Of course, as I’ve mentioned before in this review, Rio’s return is going to disrupt everything. How could it not? But despite what may or may not happen in that regard, the way he reveals himself to Beth was perfect.
Backtracking to his first scene in this episode, the reunion between Rio and Marcus was just as cute and wholesome as I hoped it would be. The way they talked about the model aeroplane and soccer was so good, especially when coupled with Rhea pointing out that Marcus missed him. While I would have loved to see what was going on inside the house after Rio goes in, it definitely made the whole episode a lot more tense wondering when specifically Beth (Mrs Boland) would be brought up and it worked so perfectly that the last line was Rhea saying, “a mom friend at the park” in regards to who got Marcus into soccer.
The closer the episode got to the end, the more likely it was that Rio had discovered Beth and Rhea’s newfound friendship. As time went on, it became more about when Rio would reveal himself and not if which created this level of tension that had me anxious for it just happen already. The second Beth made plans to meet up with Rhea, it was obvious that things were about to go down and, as I said before, the reveal was perfect. A scene I wanted this season was both the audience and Beth hearing his voice first and then have the camera move to him while she turns to look at him. What made it even better was the ringing in her ears the first time she hears his voice and realises that he is, in fact, alive.
No matter what happens, Rio is definitely going to wreak havoc as payback for Beth shooting him and I can’t wait to see how that plays out. Although this episode and last week’s one gave me so many things that I’ve asked for, they have also managed to take me by surprise. This season is going to be wild and unpredictable and I can’t wait to let it consume me (even more than it already has).
Some other things:
- While the girls do get double crossed, the conversation about how they’re going to handle it was really funny and I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of the three of them interacting like that.
- Using lemonade as an excuse to make business contacts is the most Beth Boland thing I’ve ever seen in my life and I love it.
- Annie pouring one out for Turner and Ruby’s facial expressions when Beth says they’re back in business is a great example of why I love them.
- The name change from Sadie to Ben. It was such a great scene that, similarly to his coming out, was simple but still had a good amount of emphasis on the importance of it.
- Annie being the manager at the gas station she works at. It’s clearly still not enough money for her but at least she’s somewhat in charge. Plus, that scene with her and Beth just chilling while they talk about Judith was really great.
- Speaking of, Annie and Ruby’s interactions with Judith while they’re wrapping up the grandfather clock was great and it makes me want more interactions across all the families even more than usual.
- Greg’s full name being Gregory. It was a blessing I didn’t know I needed.
- I’m not sure if we will find out but I would love to know what Rhea knows about Rio’s work and how involved she was with him going to meet Beth instead of her.
- We got to meet Gayle (Ione Skye) this episode and I’m so curious about her. Considering Dean has a habit of getting himself into trouble and he does seem intrigued by her, I’m wondering if he tries to make a move on her (like he has in the past with the likes of Amber) but instead, this time it backfires on him. Regardless, we haven’t really learnt all that much about Gayle yet but, just like all the other new characters, I’m interested to find out more.