[Header Image: Christina Hendricks as Beth Boland, Mae Whitman as Annie Marks, and Retta as Ruby Hill | NBC]
It’s been a couple of weeks since the last episode of Good Girls and oh boy, does it feel good to be back. This week seemed to strip back a little and primarily serve as a way to change things up slightly but it was still a fairly fun watch. While there wasn’t any particular grand moment, there were a lot of smaller ones that were all necessary to either push the story along or address ongoing plots.
There are two core things that happen in this episode. The first is the continuation of the hitman storyline and the second is the out of stock nail polish which comes as a result of last week’s episode, when we were first made aware of the FBI’s return.
The last we saw, the girls were considering hiring a hitman as an option but now they think they have the money to actually do it. Other than the fact that it would be boring and repetitive writing to have Rio shot and/or killed after he escaped death at the end of season two, there’s already some red flags popping up. Besides the girls, there are now three new people who know what they intend to do: Max, Max’s cousin, and the hitman, Mr Fitzpatrick. That’s a lot of people not to mention that the rate is going to be at least double the original price and the fact that the girls are clearly unsure/uncomfortable with how to properly proceed during their meetings with both Max’s cousin and Mr Fitzpatrick. There’s just a lot that could arguably go wrong and it would be unsurprising if it doesn’t pan out or even if Rio knows (or discovers) the plan to kill him.
Now, the process of finally meeting with and hiring Mr Fitzpatrick is filtered throughout the episode. I will say, the whole process, talking to him and previously to Max’s cousin, was really fun to watch. What they’re doing might be serious but in true Good Girls fashion, it was also hilarious. The best part, by far, has to be when Max’s cousin told them he needed to see their thumbs up, it was so ridiculous and so great. Now, while that’s going on, the girls have a different (but arguably connected) problem to solve when the nail polish they use is suddenly hard to get a hold of.
We, the audience, are aware that the nail polish has been recalled by the FBI, specifically Agent Phoebe, but there’s really no reason for any red flags to go up with Beth, Annie, and Ruby. All three of them have worked in retail and so they’ve probably experienced products either being totally recalled or just hard to get hold of for periods of time. Their counterfeit money is much better quality than the money they cleaned for Rio and they haven’t been doing it for very long. With Turner out of the picture, it makes sense that they might not consider the fact that they could be on the FBI’s radar and technically, they’re not. Their money is but Phoebe and the FBI don’t seem to know that it’s them behind it and because the money is different, they most likely don’t suspect Rio at this point either. Considering there was an investigation into all of them, those dots don’t seem to have been connected yet although I’m sure it won’t take long. It was also really great to watch Phoebe and the other Agent, Henry, doing their jobs while the girls go about solving their problems, both sides unconnected but still entangled. I can imagine it’ll be pretty satisfying and dramatic once the two sides collide properly.
All that being said, even if there was a reason to be suspicious, I think it speaks mostly to the girls’ slight naivety and amateur status in the crime world as opposed to any form of stupidity. Plus, the reason for the shortage isn’t really their problem this week, it’s more the issues that come as a result of not having it.
It seems unlikely that Rio would care about the shortage. Perhaps prior to 2×13, he might have offered to help with their supply but after everything that’s happened, it’s doubtful that would be the case now. Plus, they can still technically get the nail polish — we see that through Ruby robbing the salon and the girls discussing the overly expensive listings — so I doubt he would care very much and would instead push Beth to get on with it regardless of hurdles she might face. Besides that, it also appears that the nail polish is a part of their process that she’s deliberately not shared with Rio (the more he knows, the less he’ll need them) and trying to rebel is par for the course with Beth so it would just seem like another day at the office, one she can often wriggle out of which will still allow her to keep things ticking over until the hitman can take his shot.
Because really that’s all this is. She just needs to keep her working relationship with Rio alive long enough for him to be killed but also to not prematurely play all her hands before the job is actually done. She’s not entirely useless to him yet and so, there’s a good chance she’ll be able to get herself out of any confrontation long enough to buy her some time until he’s gone.
Of course, Beth had no reason to suspect that meeting Rio at the bar would involve her touching the gun that killed Lucy. It’s been made clear time and time again that putting a gun to her head simply won’t make much of a difference, she even mentioned back in 2×10 that she’s had a gun put to her head so many times that it doesn’t scare her anymore. So really, it’s about time that Rio found a new way to incentivise her and it works in more ways than one. Finding out about his plans for the gun probably would have stopped her from touching it but I still don’t think she would have told him anything about why she made a different batch of fake money. Even if it’s not about keeping part of the process from him, there’s nothing to stop him from closing production until she sorts herself out which means waiting longer to get the rest of the money and hiring Mr Fitzpatrick properly.
However, as I said, the gun gives her more incentive. It’s not just about pushing her (well, Ruby) to steal the nail polish so they can print more but it’s also yet another push for Beth to go through with her plan to hire a hitman. Holding that gun the way she did is another example of how uncomfortable they make her and more confirmation of the fact that she will never be able to pull the trigger on Rio herself (again). Whether it be emotions or skill, she needs someone else to do it for her and him having something so damning over her head, only seems to be confirming her course of action as the right thing. Will she be able to go through with it when push comes to shove? We’ll have to see. Regardless of whether she can or not, will it work? Will Rio find out? As I said, it would be boring and repetitive to have Rio shot and narrowly surviving so chances are, this whole hitman plot isn’t going to be completely straight forward.
The other major thing this episode is the shift in Sara which was definitely needed and done so well. I’ve said it time and time again but the way she’s been acting has made a ton of sense, especially the fact that it’s only increased this season as she becomes more aware of what’s going on with Ruby. However, it couldn’t last, especially considering she didn’t know the full picture. There was something so great about her being dragged into Ruby’s crime through that hilarious scene in the salon before Ruby’s real motivations came out. That whole conversation in the car was fantastic, specifically the way Ruby snapped and revealed the truth along with the look on Sara’s face and the way her body language changed throughout.
While the original Fine & Frugal robbery wasn’t for the kidney specifically, it was always (or primarily) about Sara’s health. A fact that made Stan come around when he first found out about Ruby’s crimes. Now, we know he’s still struggling with it to some degree so it seems unlikely that things are going to be magically okay with Sara but it’s a start. Instead of relying on the little crumbs that she’s found on her own, she has a much bigger insight. With a better understanding that things aren’t so black and white, perhaps this will allow Sara to move forward and for the Hill family to start healing just a little bit.
There is bound to be continued conflict. We know that Stan is still going through it and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to be giving up his side business any time soon. It would make sense if Sara would still continue to battle through her thoughts and feelings surrounding her parent’s “bad” behaviour as she, hopefully, comes to terms with it or at least finds a way to live with it. This is something we see the start of through her wanting to give the money they collected to the family of the girl whose kidney she got.
At the end of the day, the Hill family have always found strength in one another and have never completely broken apart. All of the fights and disruptions never felt unnecessary and more often than not, even though it might hurt to watch them fight, seeing them come together afterwards and sticking by each other no matter how often they fight, adds nothing but hope. This most likely is not the end of this part of their story, I’m interested to see where the Hill family will go now that Sara understands the basic and primary motivation of the things Ruby does. Not to mention all the ways Stan is handling things this season and how that only seems to be growing.
Elsewhere we have Annie’s disastrous self and Dean, well, being Dean. With the former, I think this episode really spoke to just how deep her problems go. Although we’ve seen Annie make progress in therapy this season, we’ve also seen the inappropriateness between her and Josh as well as the fact that she’s dealt with a loss very recently. Considering the parts of herself that she’s trying to improve date back as far as childhood and her upbringing with Beth, it makes sense that things aren’t going to magically improve overnight. There’s going to be a lot of steps back amongst all the steps forward. It’s also no surprise that after finding out about Marion and then handing Boomer to his death, that she might act out a little more than usual. While I don’t believe Annie is as selfish as others claim, she can be immature and it comes across even more with how she handles things in this episode. It’s clear from that scene with Greg (especially when she’s drinking on her couch afterward) and then her therapy session with Josh towards the end of the episode, that Annie generally isn’t coping very well.
We’ve also seen time and time again that Annie feels things quite deeply and it’s no surprise that she’s harbouring some pretty strong feelings for Josh. She went through a lot emotionally last week and then, she was confronted with Josh’s girlfriend, Lila, and her therapy sessions suddenly became more strict and professional than they ever have been. While Josh does seem to be more aware of the lines they’re crossing, it’s arguably too late because they’ve already set up a particular standard that’s come to be expected. Not to mention, it’s very clear that Annie (and perhaps his feelings for her) are really getting under his skin. Once again, we see him lose his patience. The way he speaks to her at the end of their session is just as unprofessional as the lines they’ve crossed. We saw him grow irritated in 3×06 when she tried to get an appointment with him again. Considering he normally works with kids and has relatively good ratings online, it seems unlikely that losing his cool is normal and that instead, it’s Annie having an effect on him. Things are definitely a mess with the two of them and it isn’t helped that for a while, nothing about their sessions was very conventional. They got off on completely the wrong foot and now it’s causing a lot of mess that will eventually bubble over.
To be fair to them, I still continue to enjoy their scenes. It never comes across like the writers are trying to cover up the unprofessionalism and treat it as if Annie or Josh are in the right. It’s clear that how these characters have handled things is wrong and has the potential to become more disastrous but honestly, it’s fun to watch their dynamic and I’m looking forward to more of it.
Then, of course, there’s Dean who was disastrous in a very different but recognisable way. For all the ways Dean is trying to change, he really hasn’t and he most certainly hasn’t earned proper forgiveness yet. This episode proved once again that there is a disconnect between him and Beth. He might not have been the one to initiate the kiss between him and Gayle but he certainly wasn’t arguing against it until later. While I’m sure he probably did push her away, really did quit his job because of it, and was genuine about leaving the house if Beth asked him to, it didn’t come across like it suddenly made everything he’s done in the past better. We’ve seen it before, Dean will often result to saying how sorry he is, and will even cry, in order to justify the things he’s done. While he has come to Beth with the truth instead of hiding it this time, it hasn’t wiped the slate clean and honestly, the damage has been done long before now.
The fact that Beth does ask questions but mostly remains calm and pours herself a drink, speaks volumes. When she found out about Amber, she trashed his office and when she found out there were more women, she took her anger out by aggressively using the tenderiser to hit the meat. There are other, more pressing things that Beth has to deal with, at first it was dealing with pulling the trigger at the end of season two and now it’s Rio being back but beyond that, she just seems tired and her lack of a passionate response this time around attests to that but also to the fact that she seems to be accepting that it’s just part of the package now.
It’s been made pretty clear so far this season that being with Dean is about convenience. They’re still not in the best place and are mostly there to co-parent. With everything that’s happened in the past with Rio (and what might happen in the future), Beth settling seems like the least unsurprising thing. It’s a sense of normality outside of her life of crime and it’s one thing that, even with Dean’s lies throughout the years, is familiar. Not to mention, that in the short period of time she was printing and washing fake cash (before Rio popped back up), she seemed to have a great routine going on, one that Dean was a part of. No matter how strong-willed and independent she might be, we’ve already seen Beth lean on him a few times (the most prominent ones being her breakdown at the end of 2×13 and more recently in 3×06). There’s also the fact that she almost seemed defeated when she told him she could stay during this episode and it did take her a minute to decide. There is absolutely no redemption for Dean in any of this and certainly no genuine or present love (beyond him being the father of her kids) from Beth.
At the end of the day, this episode seemed more about the calm before the storm. Regardless of how the hitman plot plays out, it’s not going to be good. On top of that, things with the Hill family are still intense but evolving and Annie’s progress is all over the place but still building to some sort of boiling point. We’ll have to wait and see but it appears all of that is only to get worse before it gets better, at least, it’s not going to be straightforward. With the season being cut short, it changes the game. There’s not nearly as much room to mess around and there’s a good chance that a lot of things are going to be left on unexpected cliffhangers which only really increases the tension of what might happen next.