[Header Image: Mae Whitman as Annie Marks, Retta as Ruby Hill, and Christina Hendricks as Beth Boland | NBC]
As expected, this episode deals with the repercussions of last week and I have to say, I love the way the episode progressed and what specifically was explored. While at times it did feel like a bit of a filler, there was a lot of great moments in terms of character that showed not only how they’ve developed so far but where they may go from here. Alongside that, we get a great step into what might come next in this season of Good Girls.
Although it was made clear at the end of the previous episode, more indicators tell us the Beth, Annie, and Ruby are still trying to process what happened to Lucy. We know they feel bad about just standing there — although we discover that it was only Annie who actually saw the shooting — and in the end, they come to the conclusion that it could have been them. That being said, it doesn’t stop the guilt nor does it make them feel better. What happened to Lucy and how they feel about it, comes up throughout the episode and it doesn’t help that they have to jump right back into the thick of things to handle the aforementioned repercussions as Max calls the police.
Having to dig up Lucy’s body is exactly the kind of bizarre thing I would expect from this show and I appreciate the way it was all done and how the writers took full advantage of the situation. The entire time at the cemetery there was this great exploration, especially of Beth’s character, in that we see her literally and figuratively get her hands dirty. While she may have chosen over and over to get involved with crime, the end of season two was a really big turning point. Shooting anyone would have ramifications but it was Rio, someone who, despite their determination not to discuss it, she has some kind of connection with that went beyond just working together. There’s a lot to unpack there emotionally but it’s also something she can’t come back from nor change. Regardless of opinions on 2×13, after that, her hands are essentially already dirty but now she’s made the conscious effort to get them dirty again. Once she realises she needs to find a way to keep printing (to save Max’s life), she simply powers through and no longer debates or argues about it. There’s no pleading her case like she would have done in the past, once her options are completely narrowed and there’s no longer much of a choice, she just acts.
It doesn’t just end there either. We see her freaking out a little over the idea of Au Jus dying, declaring she won’t let it happen. In that scene, between the eruption and the way she allows herself to grasp at Dean’s embrace, we get to see the emotional impact that Lucy’s death is having on Beth. It tells us that although she was able to get down to business at the cemetery, she isn’t completely immune to what’s going on, she still isn’t used to those darker, more violent sides of being involved with crime. The blame and guilt she feels all spills over when faced with the idea that Au Jus might be seriously ill.
That’s not to say, we don’t see examples of it elsewhere either because we do. It’s in the discussions she has with Annie and Ruby in her bedroom at the start of the episode but also in the scene where she meets with Rio after the Paper Porcupine is put on lockdown.
There are so many wonderful things about that scene. The way they both sit side by side on the bench but face opposite directions and the added touch of the camera switching positions and for the most part, only focusing on one of them at a time. However, the detail I particularly loved was that Rio spends most of their interaction staring straight ahead and refusing to look at Beth. The only times he does is when he first sits down at the picnic bench, when Beth refuses to give him Max’s address and they begin to argue, and then when Beth finally concedes and says she’ll continue to print the money. After that last moment, he wastes no time in getting up and leaving. Rio might have let her live but it’s very clear that not all is forgiven. Once again, the fact she shot him is brought up and, not for the first time, he tries to make it clear that they’re only business. There are so many layers to their relationship and, regardless of whether or not there are (or ever were) feelings involved, it’s a lot more complicated than either of them seem ready or willing to admit.
It’s actually expanded on in their scene towards the end of the episode. While things seem a lot calmer, there’s the loaded conversation about how Max will get over being dumped by Lucy and Rio’s line, “they always do.” only serves to add to his own determination to get over what happened with Beth. While they might not be a couple, as I mentioned before, there is definitely something there, no matter what it might be categorised as. If Rio can’t kill her, he’s going to have to move on. He and Beth always seem to come back together and although there are indicators that this time it’ll be different and their conversation suggests that they’ll get over it, it’s never been that straight forward with them.
So far, they’ve both been predictable and unpredictable when they’re together. It definitely seems like we’re going to go on a bit of a journey with these two, one that has a lot of twists and turns, before we get somewhere more stable. There’s already a lot to unpack from before but with the way this season is progressing, chances are there’ll be even more to unpack before things really start to get back on track with them.
And talking about facing events of the past, it felt like it was only a matter of time before Stan’s career as a police officer came up again and while this episode doesn’t feel like the end of the conversation, it certainly is a big marker in the overall storyline. Regardless of how you feel about Sara’s recent behaviour, she does make a good point this episode by stating that Stan will have to arrest Ruby if he gets his badge back. Although he has broken the law to help her in the past, even Ruby can’t deny that. While she starts off in a way that’s more likely to keep Stan from getting his badge, she eventually tells the review board about how good he is and how his morals should never have been questioned in the first place. Ruby can’t help but sing his praises and help him get back the career he’s dreamt of his whole life and even she adds to the legitimacy of Sara’s point by noting that the desire of robbing banks (and other places) could never happen because Stan would arrest her.
It’s hard to deny that standing there while Lucy was killed and then digging part of her up, most likely influenced Ruby’s decision. We know from previous episodes that she already feels guilty about Stan losing his job and while I’m sure that (as well as her love for him) were big factors in standing up for him, it also makes sense that this is how the effects of what happened with Lucy decide to manifest in her. With Beth, it was crying after trying to hold it in or freaking out over Au Jus potentially dying. For Ruby, it was deciding that she’s done enough wrong and already ruined someone else’s life and realising that even though it could end badly for her, Stan deserves to live out his dreams.
There is this discussion that happens during the scenes in the cemetery. Ruby worries about what will happen if Stan ever has to cover for her again and while Annie tries to be positive, Beth points out (and rationally so) that it probably will happen again and how he can’t be a cop. It’s all valid. No matter how good Stan is, we’ve seen time and time again that the love he has with Ruby is strong and the likelihood of him breaking the law is more likely than not. Even though she is determined that the final straw will happen soon, in the end, he’s always put her (and the kids) first. Although Stan doesn’t feel right about wearing his uniform due to the events of season two, it’s also a pretty good indicator that even he knows that a time might come again for him to do something else that goes against the badge he wants to wear.
It’s a little devastating to hear him say he feels like a fraud and how that’ll never be fixed but, like many things in this show, if he really chooses not to pursue a career as a cop, this admittance might be the thing that helps him move on. Despite everything, he is a good person and he does deserve to have the career he’s dreamt of for so long but those morals of his are always going to stop him from feeling truly deserving so I would much rather see him find the capability to move on into something else. It’s shown that the likelihood of him not accepting being a cop again doesn’t sit well with Ruby and I’m interested to see whether or not her previous worries about him leaving her will get worse and how she might try to (over) compensate to make up for him turning the badge down.
Something I loved to see this episode, was Annie seeking out help and continuing to do so even when it didn’t go quite right. In my review for episode 5, I said that, “The show seems to be doubling down on Ben being the person who brings Annie to her senses and the one person who’s opinions matter most to her.” and we’ve definitely seen that displayed further in this episode.
To be fair to the two therapists that Annie goes to see, they don’t know the full details because she can’t exactly tell them the truth but they’re also not very welcoming and they are most certainly not a good match for Annie. Still, she does try and stick it out, even getting help from Ben to track down a new therapist. We know Annie needs help and with more recent events (like actually seeing Lucy get shot and then all that happened at the grave), as well as how she tries to talk about said events, she clearly needs some sort of help even more than before.
It’s no surprise that she does end up back with Josh and it does make a ton of sense that someone who predominantly works with children is the best suit for her when it comes to therapy. Josh is patient and actually seems to listen — something that is most likely a byproduct of working with kids — and he seems to genuinely care about Annie and her progress even though she mostly swanned into his office unannounced. We did see an element of irritation with him in this episode, which is understandable, but in the end — once he saw she was genuine — he instantly brushed that irritation aside and agreed to help her. Sure, there are all the recent events going on that Annie needs to deal with but she also still has to get a handle on the way she continuously dates/sleeps with men who aren’t good for her (something Ben considers an addiction and, as I said before, his opinion matters most to Annie).
Before things went wrong, Annie and Josh were making progress so, hopefully, they pick that back up with these new sessions. He’s already pointed out the way she uses sarcasm and sex to cover up the fact that she deliberately goes after things (the pointed example being unattainable men) so that she doesn’t have to go after things that’ll make her genuinely happy in an attempt to avoid being let down and hurt. It seems hopeful that he’ll even be able to help her tackle her recent thoughts and feelings over Lucy’s death even though she’ll have to lie about a lot of the details. Regardless of what specifically will happen, Annie and Josh do work, even in their slightly unprofessional way of not booking actual appointments and joking around a little. This time it probably is going to be more serious which is exactly what Annie needs but having seen their previous sessions where things were lighthearted but also made progress, I’m curious to see where things will go from here.
With everything that happened this episode, something I did appreciate is that although I found parts of it quite funny, it never felt like it overshadowed the seriousness of the episode. Despite the humour surrounding Mick wanting a hot tub, Beth declaring she has herpes, and even Annie and Ruby discussing the use of emojis, there was always this underlying feeling that what was going down was wrong. Whether it be hesitation in the girls from the moment they realise they could use Lucy’s face to unlock her phone, the fact Annie and Ruby try not to look in the grave while Beth tries not to throw up, or even the various mentions of what they did and that Lucy would still be alive if they did something different, there’s this constant reminder that, despite the humour, what happened to Lucy is sad and she was a good person who didn’t deserve what happened to her.
It’s not a “them or us” situation like it was with Eddie or Boomer. It’s not even the same as their issues with Mary Pat. This time around, it’s an “it could have been us and maybe it should have been” type of situation. A thought that the girls seem to continuously come back to throughout the episode, whether it be through dialogue or action.
It’s also never suggested that it’s easy for the girls. The decision to dig up Lucy’s body is made in an attempt to stop Max from looking for her and therefore, saving his life. Sure, it allows for Beth, Annie, and Ruby to start printing again but it’s made clear that it’s all about making sure that Rio (and Mick) don’t handle it instead. There’s even the fact that Beth takes the risk of inviting Max over to try and sell the lie after he uses the “find my iPhone” app (which was certainly something). The girls go all out in this episode to get things done and while every action they take does ensure their own freedom and safety, it also comes across as so much more than that.
And, like most things on Good Girls, it’s not over and done with yet. Who knew a visit to the vet could bring happy news as well as a sense of dread? While I am weirdly relieved that Au Jus is healthy, a part of me wishes she wasn’t after that elevator scene. I never knew that whistling Fere Jacques could be so tense but here we are. While there is a chance that Beth can convince Max that the bird was left in her care, it’s Dean that’s left holding Au Jus at the end of the episode and we all know just how easily he messes things up. If the slightest thing goes wrong then holding Max off is going to be even harder next time.
Also, let’s also not forget, Max and Au Jus singing is not the only potential problem. Beth has covered her tracks in convincing Rio that the price of ink has gone up but the fact she printed the full amount of fake money and kept some of it for herself can only lead to trouble. Often decisions — whether they be good or bad, well intended or not — lead to some sort of fallout. Nothing is ever easy on Good Girls. For all it’s ups and downs, I can’t say this season has been boring and it’s actually not been entirely predictable, so I’m interested to see what direction it goes in (and how much of a mess it’ll be for everyone involved) after the elevator scene as well as Beth keeping some of the money for herself.