[Retta as Ruby Hill, Christina Hendricks as Beth Boland, and Mae Whitman as Annie Marks | NBC]
After coming home to find everything in her house had been taken, this week, Beth arms herself with a list she wrote at four in the morning to help her tackle what to do next. The first is to gain back Rio’s trust and that is exactly how we find ourselves watching the girls deliver a package and the reintroduction of a character that nobody likes.
That’s right. Boomer returns this week which wasn’t necessarily a shock. Considering the episode is called ‘Nana’ (which is what he calls Marion) and with the episode description saying that Annie would get bad news about an old friend, it was safe to say that Boomer would most likely crawl out from underneath whatever rock he’d been hiding. Still, a surprise or not, Good Girls gave us a pretty wild ride and once again, we got to see David Hornsby shine in this horrid role in a way that he is so masterful at.
It appears that this is very likely the end of the line for Boomer and his whole appearance on the show has finally been closed off and it definitely needed to be. While it was pretty clear he would probably go to prison after handing himself in at the end of season two, he’s still essentially a loose end for Rio who originally wanted him dead. Not to mention Boomer was connected to Turner and after putting out that hit in 3×01, I can imagine Rio considers this even more of a loose end than he did before.
For the majority of this episode, we see the girls trying to deliver the package (Boomer) to Rio only, it’s not quite that straight forward (but then, what is for these women?) From start to finish the whole thing was hilarious with a lot of gross moments and surprisingly sad ones. At the very beginning of the episode, we’re reminded of just how unbearable and disgusting Boomer is through the conversation he has with Baby Tyler (a face I’m so happy to see again!) and the way Beth, Annie, and Ruby all talk about him to justify handing him over to Rio. It’s not like we need it though because he certainly has not changed by the time he crawls out of that sewer. Even the scenes where he shows genuine compassion for Marion and pleads that her ashes be taken care of, don’t cover up the fact that he is a horrible human being.
That being said, let’s backtrack a little first because while Boomer pleading from inside that bag before he was carried away was both hilarious and sad (mostly for Annie’s reaction), there were a lot of gems before that moment.
The first, by far, has to be when Boomer appears and says “Annie Bananie” to announce his presence. The way Beth, Annie, and Ruby all freeze and their faces change before they slowly turn to face him will always be funny. The fact that they quickly go from saying that they hope it’s not guns they’re picking up to wishing that it was guns or really anything else rather than Boomer, speaks volumes to just how much they don’t want to be around him ever again.
And then, of course, there is the scene that is so typically Good Girls and that’s Beth threatening to empty Marion’s ashes into a nearby dumpster. Every little part of this scene was perfect. There’s Boomer and Annie desperately banging on the windows as they plead, Beth describing what was in the dumpster as she refuses to back down, and Ruby looking so fed up as she says, “if we didn’t have enough reasons to go to hell”. It all blended perfectly to make such a great scene that was both horrifying when you really think about it but also hilarious.
It does also show yet another example of the girls (in this case, Beth) thinking on their feet to get out of a situation that could have been avoided in the first place (if they had gone straight to Rio instead of stopping to see Marion). It is still, no matter how you look at it, quite a dark turn though and one that Beth makes with little hesitation because she knows she has to. It’s also pretty clear that every decision Beth makes in regards to Boomer during this episode is for Annie — going to see Marion, hesitating before she takes Marion’s ashes to the dumpster, and suggesting that Rio doesn’t have to do it when they hand Boomer over — all of these things happen when Annie pleads or is upset. It’s actually a miracle Beth didn’t cave when threatening to dump Marion’s ashes and it shows she’s getting better at making the tougher decisions. Not to mention, there’s their morality at play. Not only did the girls justifying why Boomer deserves to be handed over give us an insight into what a horrible person he is but it also doubles down on their need to justify such an action to themselves. They can be in a position where they’re not one hundred percent okay with being a part Boomer’s death but still be okay with Boomer actually dying.
They’re definitely still pushing their way through everything and continuing to reach hurdles but we’ve been shown yet again, they can think quickly when it’s needed and they still manage to get things done in some way, shape, or form more often than not. While there are still plenty of things they won’t do (or are not comfortable with), through the scene with Marion’s ashes and even digging up Lucy’s body in a previous episode, they’ve already begun to cross even more lines and some pretty dark ones at that.
Now, for all the ways we hate Boomer (he is an awful person), David Hornsby plays him so well and I have to admit, I’ve missed his energy on screen. Not to mention, as I said before, this felt like a good way to close up his story. It didn’t feel complete when he got hit by Mary Pat’s van and not even when he handed himself in so Beth wouldn’t go to prison for his murder. While there is still room for him to come back after this episode, the implication that he’ll be killed by Rio is still there until proven otherwise. It finally feels like an ending because you know this time he’s going to be dealt with properly and all the unfinished business is going to be closed off (especially considering his only fan, Marion, is dead now and won’t be aggressively looking for him).
Of course, that wasn’t everything on Beth’s little list. Gaining back Rio’s trust was only part of it. The second was to start making money, which happens when he says they’ll get 12% off the top and then there’s the last thing on her list which is to hire a hitman to take Rio out (and properly this time).
Honestly, Beth’s plan to hire a hitman is hardly surprising for a few reasons. On a technical level, it makes sense because having fired a gun three times, Beth still didn’t kill Rio, and on an emotional level, it’s very likely that Beth can’t stomach the idea of shooting someone again so therefore can’t do it herself. Hiring a hitman will solve both of these problems and ensure she can separate herself from it emotionally and guarantee it’ll actually work.
From the start of the season, Beth would have put up walls considering Rio’s goal when he got back was to kill her (and with how things ended between them) plus those walls would have strengthed after Lucy was killed. However, there is a moment where you know those walls are pretty firm and that’s in 3×06 when Rio (once again) referred to what he and Beth had going on as being just business and it was clear something changed for her. We see that through the fact that she so easily (and arguably, recklessly) skimmed money off the top and how she, when other options failed, chose to help Max learn how to shoot in order to kill Rio. Basically, I find it unsurprising that, for now at least, she’s distanced herself enough to be able to consider having Rio killed.
It comes across more like a “kill or be killed” scenario and will that last? I doubt it. Considering having Rio killed or narrowly escaping with his life would be pointless (the writers could have written him out at the end of season two and the latter option would be too repetitive), it seems more likely that Beth will give up on her hitman idea or it’ll morph into something different. While it would be naive to assume that he trusts her again, giving her, Annie, and Ruby 12% is a pretty good turning point considering everything that has happened and especially when that’s close to what they originally got way back at the end of 1×04 (which is, they got 12.5%). Rio could have easily made them do more work to “earn this trust” before giving them a percentage of any kind. As I said, it doesn’t mean he trusts her, but it does feel like a turning point.
Don’t get me wrong, 12% is very small considering it was Beth, Annie, and Ruby’s operation in the first place and this is not a case of saying that they should settle down and just accept this because Rio is being such a good guy or anything like that. It is, however, a step forward. As an audience, we can debate all day, every day about who is right and who is wrong when it comes to any situation involving Beth and Rio. They’ve both done horrible things (in general and to one another) but regardless of your opinion, she, Annie, and Ruby getting any percentage is a change we need and it’ll help move things on as opposed to being stuck in a repetitive cycle of Beth VS Rio after the events of the season two finale.
In what was supposed to be a 16 episode season, this would be the halfway point and it certainly feels like a good time to shift the focus, even if only slightly. Regardless of what side you stand on, getting shot three times is a big thing, but it is also something that both Rio and Beth will have to overcome at some point to allow the show to progress forward. By changing up their work relationship slightly (through the girls getting 12%) and reintroduction of the FBI at the very end, we are finally turning corners in a way that feels right and natural. There is a chance we’ll get to experience familiar territory in a new way, especially in terms of how Beth, Annie, and Ruby work with Rio but also how they all handle the presence of the FBI. While, way back in season one, Rio might not have been too fussed about the FBI following him around, a lot has changed since then.
Also, and perhaps I’ll eat my words later in the season, it seems very plausible that having the FBI snooping around might be the thing that forces Beth and Rio to put their history behind them and finally work together properly. Of course, they could just throw each other under the bus, but that hasn’t necessarily worked in the past and it’ll most likely cause more problems. Plus, considering this season would be a great place to start diving deeper into crime in a way we never have before (and we’ve started to already), it would be more progressive to have Beth (plus Annie and Ruby) and Rio working together against a common enemy.
Still, at this point, anything can happen and, of course, with everything going on in the world right now, the season has been cut down so we’ll have to see exactly where it goes from here. It does definitely feel like things are shifting though and it’ll be exciting to find out specifically where this turning point will take us.
Also, let me take a quick minute to say how happy I was to see Lauren Lapkus at the end of this episode. It might have only been a very quick look but I’m curious to find out more about her character!
Now, while Annie and Josh blur lines yet again in this episode during their little study session, the whole sequence ended perfectly with a shot of Josh as he comes to the realisation that he messed up. Through his face journey, it’s clear how aware he is. While it doesn’t excuse how wrong their interactions might have been during that study session, it does show a continuity we’ve seen so far with them and shows there is an intention in the writing of their relationship and interactions. Between that realisation and Ben delivering some home truths (seriously, that scene with them outside Josh’s office was wonderful!), Josh puts up more boundaries by introducing Madeline Zima’s character Lila to get some degree of separation. Was it harsh? Possibly. Was it necessary? Absolutely.
Considering the ups and downs we’ve already seen, it doesn’t appear that it’ll be that simple, however, the fact that Josh has become quickly aware gives hope that all intentions are good. Plus, after that scene in his office with Lila and everything that happened with Boomer (and Marion’s ashes) throughout the episode, perhaps Annie will actually take this all to heart and put up her own barriers to keep things more appropriate. Not to mention, these are parts of her personality and behaviour that she’s actually in therapy to understand and work on.
She really did go through a lot during this episode and we see all of that summed up in the way she laughs and cries while scattering Marion’s ashes. In a scene that is a little gross, weirdly funny, and genuinely sad, it does seem to encompass just how bizarre everything was to lead Annie up to that point. While she has always been shown as a caring, emotional, and a passionate person, that’s really been highlighted so far this season and she’s actually been a lot more open in not only expressing those sides of herself but facing the bad qualities within herself as well. Her storyline continues to be one of the best this season and I’m curious to see where it goes from here.
The other big thing to happen this episode surrounds Stan. Both he and Ruby are celebrating their wedding anniversary and it sets up for an interesting fight between the two of them that gives us more insight (and confirmation) into Stan’s recent decisions.
As we saw in last week’s episode, he agreed to work with Krystal and the other girls to steal from rich clients and he certainly hasn’t backed down. There is something so fun and yet so heartbreaking about this storyline. It’s great to see Stan processing everything that has happened with his family, his career, and his life in a way that is interesting and new but it’s also sad to think it’s reached this point in the first place. Sure, Ruby getting involved in crime (starting way back with robbing Fine & Frugal) was the starting point for all of this but we find that it’s not just that. The way he explained why he couldn’t be the good one out of him and Ruby, was perfect. In a very short and to the point way, we learnt a whole lot about how Stan is feeling.
And he is changing. We see that during the scene where he puts the cop off the scent by bonding with him and talking down on the girls (a scene that was done amazingly by the way). This is a man whose leg shook whenever he was hiding something and now he’s involved in his own crime and tricking police officers. I’m prepared for this route he’s taking to go much deeper, however, he hasn’t changed entirely and let’s face it, despite his recent storyline, Stan is still a good guy in the grand scheme of things. Even during his fight with Ruby, we can see that it’s not going to break them apart and that, despite how he’s feeling, he still has good motivations like wanting to treat his wife for their anniversary or providing for his family.
We saw Sara act out during season two when Stan got arrested (and again this season when she realised Ruby was up to something shady) and so it fits that Stan is taking some extreme routes while processing everything that has happened over the course of the show. It’s definitely a new complexity to the life of the Hill family and I can already imagine the amount of heartbreak we’ll get amongst the happiness.
Some other things:
- Ruby coming in and out of frame as she rides around Beth’s house on her scooter might be one of my top moments of season three so far.
- Annie saying, “She even boned him for God’s sake!” and Beth responding with, “What does that have to do with anything?!” I appreciate the former bringing it back up and I love the idea of her never letting Beth live it down.
- The music playing over the scene(s) where Beth is getting ready to go and meet with Rio was perfect and really helped to pull the whole thing together.
- Beth and Rio just have the best scenes at bars and I appreciate the show has given us yet another one in this episode.
- Dean pointing out Beth’s dress as he once again calls out her and Rio’s relationship as being a lot more personal than they let on. (Confirming that it’s only Rio and Beth who don’t see, or won’t admit, how they are around each other half the time.)