[Header Image: Retta as Ruby Hill, Mae Whitman as Annie Marks, and Christina Hendricks as Beth Boland | NBC]
So, this episode kick starts with Beth revealing to Annie and Ruby that she skimmed off the top of the money they’re printing for Rio (something we saw last week) and I have to say, I loved that the whole episode started with them peering into the bag but all we could see was their faces and not what they were looking at. Beyond that, and the fact Beth thinks she can keep taking the money without Rio realising, another big thing to propel this episode forward, is Max finding out the truth about Lucy and wanting to get revenge. While it’s really no surprise that Beth’s plan didn’t last (or pan out) and Max didn’t follow through on what he wanted, there were still some gems along the way.
Rio shutting things down until the high prices of the ink can be figured out (and because he makes it obvious that he knows or feels something shady is going down), it means that Beth can’t keep skimming money off the top like she planned to and that the girls have to turn to an alternate solution in order to fulfil Max’s desire to get revenge which, after failing to get a loan, consists of robbing Annie’s store.
The fact that JT wanted to get involved at all was really great and led to some pretty hilarious moments. Between him getting way too into character, a delivery guy showing up when he shouldn’t have, Beth and Ruby turning people away by claiming they want to save abandoned babies, and Ruby getting shot, there was a lot of comedic content that had me laughing out loud more often than not. And, although it didn’t work out, it wasn’t a total loss. By the end of the episode, we see that Annie is now interested in becoming an EMT and I have to say, I really did enjoy watching her take the lead on caring for Ruby and patching her up.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m really loving Annie’s storyline this season, especially the balance that it has. It doesn’t feel like Annie is completely changing but through her therapy sessions with Josh and the way Ben has called her out, she’s finally facing everything that’s happened as well as how she deals with specific things. She’s trying to change while still being the same hilarious and unpredictable person we know and love.
I also appreciate how the show has managed to maintain some level of professionalism between her and Josh, even with the mild blip they had recently in which she tried to come on to him. I honestly wouldn’t be completely opposed to them ending up in a relationship but it’s certainly something that shouldn’t happen any time soon. Right now, they’ve got a really wonderful dynamic that is lighthearted and funny while not taking away from the seriousness of why they’re continuing to interact.
As I mentioned before, Annie is looking into how to become an EMT which is a direction in her life that’s a lot more serious than her usual decisions. We even see earlier in the episode that according to Annie, working in a bowling alley sounds like an ideal career which is wildly different. Also, real quick, I have to appreciate that, in true Annie fashion, she looked up how to be a certified EMT while sitting on the toilet. That being said, it is a logical next step considering her newfound skills/talent but it’s also a huge decision. I’m curious to see how this will shape her, her therapy sessions with Josh, and where it might lead (presuming she does actually take the route of becoming an EMT).
Now, although the initial idea to get some money so they can hire Max’s cousin, doesn’t pan out, it’s not the end of the road. In true Good Girls fashion, we see the girls take the less desirable option as they decide to let Max give it a go. I mean, at least Beth didn’t leave him entirely on his own. He may be a disastrous shot but at least he got some kind of shooting practice/lessons under his belt before he faced Rio.
Speaking of, that montage was great. Overall, it was hilarious but it also worked really well that it wasn’t drawn out and that alongside it getting more and more bizarre, you could see Beth slowly regretting her life choices. It’s yet another example of how well Good Girls slips in comedy that is effortless and genuine.
Although Max is still an awful shot after all of that, he is determined to kill Rio so they have to work with what they’ve got (which isn’t very much at all). As I said, it’s no surprise that Max didn’t follow through in the end. Even if you ignore the fact that the writers aren’t going to let Rio get shot (whether he’s killed or just injured) so quickly after the last time, it also just doesn’t fit with Max. From the little we know, it’s very likely that if he killed Rio, he wouldn’t have been able to handle the guilt afterwards and even though they drew Rio’s neck tattoo on the target, (which was hilarious and a great little touch,) it’s completely different from actually sitting across from him. Considering it appeared that Lucy didn’t have a bad bone in her body, I can imagine that Max really isn’t that different and that his grief is what drove him throughout the majority of this episode. Something that is highlighted in his crime board (which was amazing!) and how messy his surroundings were. To that end, it stopped the whole thing from feeling like a waste of time because, from the beginning, it was always fairly obvious that Max wouldn’t be able to go through with it.
Still, even though he couldn’t do it, it did give us that wonderful conversation between Beth and Max in her car. On the one hand, it’s more confirmation that he just doesn’t have it in him to kill someone but on the other hand, it also had Beth talking a little about how she felt when she shot Rio back in season two. She tells him that it doesn’t make anything better and it actually makes you feel nothing. It definitely fits in with how Beth has acted in the past post-shooting Rio (but before finding out he’s alive) and it was just a great little moment. It might not be much but it’s something and although things do have to move on eventually, it makes me excited to see if she’ll talk more about it in future.
Of course, helping Max to get at Rio, wasn’t the only thing Beth was involved in. She also skimmed money off the top so that she, Annie, and Ruby could get paid. While it is admirable and I don’t completely disagree with her, it’s hardly safe or smart (something that Ruby does point out). After Max doesn’t pull the trigger, it’s pretty clear that Rio doesn’t buy a word of what Beth’s been saying and we see that finally come to a head when the Boland’s arrive home at the end of the episode to find all of their things have been taken as a punishment. It’s certainly better than some kind of violent fallout but I don’t think I’ll ever get over the level of pettiness and how much I love it. I mean, he even took things like her family photos and her kids’ artwork. That being said, it was such a great way to end the episode because it is an extreme thing to do and I can only imagine that beyond the serious side to it, it’ll lead to some great comedic moments.
Now, while Ruby’s main takeaway from the robbery gone wrong was a bullet in the leg, the major shift in her life actually happens outside of the robbery and Max’s desire to get revenge. And listen, I’m a little sad to see Stan falling into his own side of crime but I am excited to see more of him and Krystal and where their new agreement will take them. Their storyline has been one I’ve been really looking forward to and while I am well aware their screen time will probably be limited, it does seem we’re finally stepping further into that.
It was so interesting to see Stan go from being shocked (and even upset) that the money he received wasn’t exactly obtained legally to actually wanting to be involved. It appears that he still got good priorities just like Ruby did when she first got involved in crime but now he’s actively choosing to get involved in something that’ll be ongoing and presumably quite regular. He does lay down some ground rules but we have seen a shift in Stan. Between the defeated way in which he admitted he felt like a fraud in his uniform in last week’s episode and deciding to keep Ruby out of the loop in this episode (like she normally does with him), I’m really interested to see how all of this plays out.
Lastly, let’s talk about Dean and his scenes at work with Gayle. I’ll be honest, these were probably the portions of the episode that worked the least. I mostly feel like we don’t see enough of them and haven’t really gotten to know Gayle or Dean’s new workplace well enough to care all that deeply about what’s going on and it did suck away a lot of the impact from their scene in her office.
Here’s the thing. While Dean taking some weird moral high ground and calling Gayle out on her behaviour is laughable, it does kind of work and fit with who he is as a character. There are a few examples throughout the show that tells us Dean is a pretty hypocritical character who will often be quite dismissive about certain things unless they negatively impact him. Think, for example, about how he often reduced Beth to just being a mother and a housewife but acted out when he was the one who had to stay at home with the kids and handle everything (and was essentially squashed into a box like she was). On top of that, Dean often thinks he just has to say sorry or do one good thing and everything bad will be forgotten about. So really, it’s not that much of a surprise that he talks to Gayle as if he hasn’t been in a similar position.
Whether it’s in his personal life or his professional life, Dean really can’t handle taking a back seat nor can he handle not getting attention and feeling like he’s not top priority. Think of when he couldn’t hold down a new job in season two because he wasn’t a team player, or when he took the kids from Beth at the end of 2×08 because she cared more about her money than him and was still planning to keep working with Rio, or even when, prior to the start of the show, he decided to cheat with Amber (and other women) because he didn’t feel like he was getting enough attention from Beth and hated that they weren’t having sex. Not to mention that Beth reveals she was dealing with postpartum during some of his cheating and yet, he still acted like he was wronged by not being able to be intimate with her and therefore, not getting his desired attention. At the end of the day, Dean’s way of thinking when he’s doing something wrong is completely different to when someone else is doing the exact same thing.
It means, as I said, that him calling Gayle out was laughable at best but that was also because we haven’t actually seen him turn a corner. Yes, he’s stepped up and seems to help out a lot more around the house and with the kids, however, based on his declaration in Gayle’s office about how he is going to make the workplace better, it feels like he’s going to go right back to who he used to be which is in tune with him. And that’s not to say, that we haven’t already seen examples of that in season three because we have. That scene in Gayle’s office just seems to be where all of those previous examples have finally come to clash together. Even if you can argue that throughout the entire show so far, Dean has taken steps forward and improved, those are often wiped away as he returns to being pretty hypocritical, selfish, and much worse and it genuinely seems like this episode is the start of him fully returning to that side of himself.
At the end of the day, this episode was a pretty decent watch and I did have a good time with it even if it’s not my favourite so far this season. It was genuinely funny to the point that I was laughing out loud several times and there were some pretty wonderful steps forward in regards to plot and character. It just didn’t quite hit the mark overall but I think that speaks to how great Good Girls is considering I still felt really great after watching this episode and it’s still got my hyped for what’s to come.
Some other things:
- Stan saying, “hey, criminals.” to Ruby, Beth, and Annie was such a great greeting and I love seeing how he’s adapting to being somewhat in the know.
- JT finding out what happened at the store after he ran away and saying, “Bunny got shot?” It was really quiet and soft and I appreciate him along with the dynamic he has with the girls.
- Speaking of, I like that Annie just cut right to the chase and admitted the money was for a hitman but that we also got the girls trying to play it off like it was a loan for something completely normal before that.
- Ruby’s little “oh no” when she sees that Annie is pleased about saving her life and how she jokes that she wishes Annie had just let her bleed out.
- “Your donation today, helps get a baby out of the trash.”
- Krystal throwing Stan’s soup container at the car and then apologising for it as well as the two of them (and the other women) hanging out in the breakroom together. Seriously, I love their interactions and I can’t wait for more.
- “Man pops up like a genie.”