[Header Image: Christina Hendricks as Beth Boland, Retta as Ruby Hill, and Mae Whitman as Annie Marks | NBC]
At the time of writing this, it’s been a couple of days since episode four aired but it’s still very much on my mind. While I’m reluctant to call it perfect, it was definitely the best episode we’ve seen so far this season and it’s up there as one of the best of the entire series. With several plots that were all interesting and/or entertaining to watch and paced so well, it really was good from start to finish.
That being said, I appreciate that we started the episode off with Beth looking out of her front window at Mick, who we saw from the end of last week’s episode, is babysitting her for Rio. Which, I quickly have to say, I loved the idea of her neighbour helping him out and the way Annie and Ruby are criticising those actions while spying through the window. But anyway, with the way Beth jumps so easily as the kids call for her, the fact that she calls the cops in an attempt to have Mick leave, and her lying down on the couch (while wrapped in a blanket and groaning like she’s in pain), it was really no surprise that she caved under the pressure so quickly. Good Girls has always done a great job at showing us how Beth is feeling and how she’s dealing (or rather, not dealing) with things going on and this episode was really no different.
I’m glad they didn’t draw it out too much. The idea of Mick babysitting her while she sits on her pregnancy lie is fun but, as previously mentioned in past posts, the lie was never going to last and so the plot needed to think about moving on. So, to that end, it worked really well that Beth switches tactics within the first ten minutes of the episode by going to meet with Rio. Which, I really do think we need to take a moment to appreciate these two in a bar setting and I, for one, think that scenes like that should be mandatory in every season. Maybe it’s the lighting, maybe it’s the general setting, maybe it’s the fact that one of them (usually Beth, let’s be honest) is at least a little tipsy and a little more open with their (her) thoughts and feelings, but it just works.
Regardless, the scene serves to not only squash the pregnancy lie and put that fully in the rearview mirror but it also gives Beth the opportunity to pay Rio and save her life that way instead. Even though he most likely believes she could never pay it, the fact he gives her a figure instead of killing her right there and then is an obvious indication that things have settled just a little. And it’s not just that, it’s also the fact that he just seems exhausted during that bar scene. He doesn’t seem angry or mocking, even when he tells her she can’t afford to save her life, he’s just stating facts based on the information he has at the time. We know Rio still has that drive in him. We see it from the way he talks to the tattooed mover who has been working for Beth. While questioning him, Rio is that usual mix of being chill and intimidating (and even a little funny) which only really emphasises the fact that he’s totally different around Beth during that bar scene.
The biggest shift with these two, however, is at the end of the episode while she makes money. He does have that mix of being chill and intimidating (and even funny) but you can actually see the way things change between the two of them. The way they keep making eye contact and the fact that at one point he puts his gun down and he keeps leaning forward or shifting positions as he grows more intrigued with what she’s doing and, perhaps, the fact she is the one doing it. He did say she could be something after all. And, even though he makes it clear that she’s safe – “I think I need you alive” – it’s already obvious through his body language and facial expressions in both that final scene and the bar one, that the desire to kill her has pretty much gone at this point. Of course, what hasn’t gone is the lack of trust and the fact that she’s still essentially in debt with him. Just because he doesn’t want her dead, doesn’t mean things are magically okay with them now so it’ll be interesting to see exactly where things go with them from here on out.
Also, in the past, there have been times where Rio should have killed Beth for doing certain things but didn’t. Now, if any moments like that happen during this season, I’m curious to know how differently they’ll play out.
Now, Beth doesn’t go through this journey to save her life from Rio alone, Annie and Ruby are obviously there as well. While peeking through Beth’s window at Mick and discussing the fact she needs to pay 100 grand to save her life were fun, the thing I loved the most was the sports bar. It really showed off their relationship and how the three of them interact with (and play off of) one another. It definitely brought some of that comedic factor to the episode and was actually a good mix of showing us that the girls can think on their feet, especially when they’re under pressure, but that sometimes those last-minute plans come to an end that provides them with a new set of problems. These ladies are by no means criminal masterminds so it’s always fun to watch them try and, quite often, fail.
It helps in this case that we know they do end up getting their hands on the money they need even if it does come at the cost of realising that Sara stole a really expensive pen from the family who hired her as a tutor. We saw Ruby’s fears that her daughter was following in her footsteps before now and also the fact that Sara’s view of right and wrong was tested with Stan’s arrest last season, so it was interesting that we went back to this. If any of the kids were going to realise that Beth, Annie, and Ruby were up to something shady, it was bound to be Sara (with Ben being a runner up). It is intriguing to see how she’s using the knowledge of something being up to almost justify her own actions. I’m not going to sit here and say Sara is a bad person because she’s not. She definitely comes across as a teenager (or pre-teen) who is figuring stuff out and trying to wrap her head around what’s going on with her parents when they’re deliberately keeping secrets. With her owing Ruby for covering about the pen she stole, I’m wondering just how much Sara will discover by the end of the season and how intertwined she will become.
And while Ruby’s dealing with all of that, Annie is still going to her therapy sessions with Josh. In a very predictable step (it was in the plot description after all but also, come on), she ends up with a bit of a crush, however, it does seem like things are changing for her. Through Josh’s observation of how she uses sex and sarcasm as a defence mechanism, the writers have assured us that they are aware of these qualities within Annie but have also made her aware of it, too within the canon of the show. In another life, under different circumstance, she perhaps could have had great relationships with Greg and Noah, however, neither of them were all that great for her and even outside of her love life, Annie had a lot she really had to come to terms with and deal with.
While it would have been a great show of character growth for Annie to recognise that her crush was inappropriate and stop herself before she hit on him, it actually worked better that she was knocked back by Josh. There’s still a lot more that Annie needs to unpack about herself and some changes that need to be made but it does make me hopeful that if, at a more appropriate time, she does end up in a romantic (or even sexual) relationship with Josh, it’ll be more sustainable and the audience (as well as Annie) will know that he is genuinely good for her and there’s no other ulterior motive.
That being said, the scenes between Annie and Josh are always very cute on top of being beneficial to her character as well as a genuinely good way to push the plot forward. It’s been fun to see how the two of them interact and I am curious to see where they, both separately and together, end up by the end of this season.
As I said at the beginning, this episode was pretty close to being perfect. There was never a point where I wanted to skip over a scene or it lost my attention. Every character was a joy to watch. Each moment showed off the writers’ abilities to toe certain lines and create specific blends of tone and emotion and, on top of all of that, everything was enhanced by an always superb music selection.
While I would love for the rest of the season to be even better, I couldn’t complain if this was the level of quality we got from here on out. It really feels like in the next episode (perhaps the next two considering it’s a longer season), we’ll begin to dive deeper into the bigger plot of the season. Things are definitely moving forward and so far, it’s moving at a really great speed.
Some other things:
- I understand that everyone and their dog is getting a little sick of Dean being around, in fact, I am also one of those people, however, if we are going to have more of him, please let it be in a similar fashion to how he was in this episode. He was genuinely hilarious throughout and Matthew Lillard does a perfect job at delivering lines in a way that gives the best comedic payoff. There was a little bit of a serious tone – one that could have even been a little more prominent – and I have to say, I genuinely enjoyed watching all of his scenes.
- Being a little more specific, the whole “now, this moose, he also has a thing for my wife” moment was particularly great but so were Annie and Ruby’s faces when Dean just casually strolled into the house with a shotgun.
- The use of comedy while Beth tried to get the stain out of the shirt and Ruby retold the (horrible) story of how she stole it in the first place. It never felt like the funny parts took away from the seriousness of what was actually happening, it just enhanced it which is a great blend that Good Girls is often really great at achieving.
- The fortune cookie scene – “well, mine doesn’t have one so that’s probably not good.” Not only did it speak to Beth’s state of mind and her lack of hope but it was also a genuinely funny and really great sister moment with Annie.
- The montage of Beth, Annie, and Ruby making fake cash and getting it washed was so beautifully done. It was edited really well and the music over top was the perfect touch. Good Girls has always been great at montages but this was definitely one of their best.
- That scene where they’re trying to sell the top Ruby stole and they end up talking about Annie being in therapy. It does come up again in the fortune cookie scene and I appreciate that we got the comedy side through Annie talking about hitting on Josh but also through her talking (vaguely) about it with Beth in a slightly more serious tone. With her opening up more in her sessions, I wonder if the ladies will discuss it again later in the season when Annie is more inclined to actually talk about what she’s dealing with and how she wants to change.