[Header Image: Christina Hendricks as Beth Boland and Manny Montana as Rio | NBC]
It’s that time of year again where I get to talk about one of my favourite shows! Good Girls is back with the premiere of its fourth season and it went surprisingly well despite being cut short at the end of the previous season. For those who were unaware, season three was supposed to have 16 episodes instead of 11 and based on interviews we should be getting those missing episodes at the start of this current season. With that in mind, I still think they did a great job kicking things off.
Episode one — One Night in Bangkok — doesn’t quite hit the ground running in the same way as the previous season openers but all things considered, it still works. There’s still a very similar energy to season three due to the original ending being moved but it’s hardly the first time this has happened. Season two started pretty much where the first season finished off before shifting gears to create a slightly different energy/vibe. In this case, there are five episodes of content missing from the end of season three so I can imagine it’s probably going to take slightly longer for those gears to shift but it’s bound to happen.
And let’s face it, it doesn’t stop the show from being as entertaining as always. The pacing of this episode might be a little on the slower side — especially when compared to other first episodes in the show — but it still has a lot going for it and still does a fairly great job at establishing the overall direction things might be going in this season.
The last we saw of Beth, Annie, and Ruby they were at the park celebrating over the hit going through. As we pick up now, the hit hasn’t happened, in fact, the hitman — Ftizpatrick — has gone AWOL again. Let’s be honest, it’s always seemed pretty unlikely the hit would ever go through and even if it does, it seems more likely to fail, but I have to laugh at the fact that it’s taking forever to happen because the hitman is into Beth. Something while that is very relatable, it’s a route I thought would only be in my vague hopes for upcoming content and not something that would actually happen on the show. The fact he wants to go to dinner with her should bring about some very entertaining content but also, it feels very likely that his attraction to/interest in her might very well come back to bite her, especially if she continues to play into it in order to get the hit to go through because let’s face it, she won’t keep it up forever and who’s to say how he’ll react when she inevitably rejects her.
Now, while Fitzpatrick is dragging his feet, the girls are still making counterfeit money for Rio (printing seven days a week according to Beth). The two of them actually share a few scenes together in this episode and, understandably, they’re still very much at odds. There was something so satisfying to see them both in the back of Paper Porcupine while Beth prints money despite everything going on with them. The jab about understanding the concept of time when he asks for his cut and the reminder that he still has the gun with her fingerprints on it serves to remind us and Beth that she is still very much under his thumb at this point but the scene also acts as a kind of catalyst for things to change later on.
During the episode it’s revealed Lucy’s body has been found — thanks to a PTA mum but also due to a great opening sequence — which results in Beth panicking and temporarily losing her sight before spiralling down a “what-if” route that has her determined to get the gun back from Rio. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t go that easily and despite a very wonderful bar scene in which Rio visibly reacts to Beth asking for a drink with no caffeine or alcohol (one of two callbacks to the fake pregnancy last season), she doesn’t find success no matter how much she tries to be charming or argue her case. At least, not until near the end of the episode.
That aforementioned moment in the back of Paper Porcupine has Rio making a big mistake in unintentionally putting his fingerprint on a sheet of fake money resulting in a very satisfying scene in which Beth turns the tables, giving her some leverage. Considering both she and Rio were being looked into by the FBI (although for him, it started a lot earlier) and the severity of crimes attached to the gun and the counterfeit money (especially the former), it seems that regardless of any deals that could be made, both of them could face some kind of prison time which sets it up very nicely for things to shift between them. While there is an understandable divide between Beth and Rio after what happened at the end of season two, by giving them both some leverage against the other, it forces them to have to act carefully (or rather, not presume anything) and potentially help each other out when things inevitably close in around them allowing for some wonderful scenes brimming with that addictive chemistry they share while still very much exploring that divide.
Now, outside of them and the growing attention from the law, there are mostly three other major things that happened in this episode.
In the process of trying to keep Rio from telling the cops about the gun, Beth hurries through the opening of Boland Bubbles and even results in bribery — alongside Dean — in order to cut through some red tape. It seems to work but if found out, it’s only going to make things worse as the law closes in on Dean. Which, I have to say, I do love that the show went down this route. It makes sense considering his name is on both the dealership and Boland Bubbles. I think we can all agree that it won’t be long until someone (other than Phoebe) figures out he doesn’t have the smarts for it — or before he potentially cracks and spills the truth — so it doesn’t give Beth, Annie, Ruby, and Rio much time to figure something out but it does give some time. This is one of those occasions where Rio could be forced to help out or perhaps if Beth can figure out a way to do it without Rio knowing and using the gun against her, his fingerprint could be Dean’s ticket out of jail.
With just one episode, it’s hard to say right now exactly where it could go but the bribery, Dean being a person of interest, the letter Beth left in Boland Bubbles, and Rio’s fingerprint all change things up and at this point, really leaves it all open for things to go in a few different directions. It’ll definitely be fun to see which way the season goes and just how intense it’s all going to get as the characters try to keep the law off their backs and their ventures into crime worthwhile.
While all of that is happening, Annie is dealing with the fact that Ben is growing distant from her. Throughout season three, despite the very clear warning bells in regards to her therapy with Josh Cohen, she seemed to become more aware of herself and her actions. With everything that has happened since the start of the show, it’s not w wild idea that she and Ben wouldn’t be as close as they once were, especially when coupled with the fact that he’s a teenager and well, Annie does live outside the bubble of his life at school and with Greg and Nancy. It is a little heartbreaking to see that he’s lying to her and keeping things from her but already there are opportunities for Annie to be more involved in his life and while there’s probably going to be some resulting conflict (this is Good Girls after all and they do enjoy breaking our hearts), I’m also looking forward to the possibility of seeing more scenes between Annie and Ben this season as well as how their relationship might develop.
And perhaps as a resulting factor of feeling like she let Ben down, Annie chooses to also step up in regards to Beth as she meets up with Mick to ask for a favour. This scene might genuinely be one of my favourites of the episode — in fact, it might be my number one fullstop — because there was just something about the two of them sitting in the car together in the dark with no music (just ambient sounds) especially after she’d seen him kill Lucy in season three that really drove the scene home and made it one of the more captivating ones. I’ve wanted to see the two of them interact properly for the longest time and I know I’m not the only one. I hope we get more of them and regardless of whether he actually helps or not, he did seem to really take in what she had to say and considering how much he seems to love food, I’d say offering her a dumpling was probably a pretty big gesture coming from him.
One thing I am curious about though, is that Annie says it shouldn’t be Beth’s fingerprints on that gun but the way it’s said implies that maybe someone else’s prints will replace Beth’s instead of getting rid of the gun. It seems very unlikely that Mick would put his own on it or turn against Rio and put his there so it makes me wonder if Annie will put her fingerprints on the gun. More and more we’ve seen her step up and according to interviews, she’s supposedly going to continue to grow this season and while possibly a stupid decision, choosing to make the gun a threat to herself instead of Beth, would be an incredibly selfless act and fit with the journey she’s been on. Especially if she feels like she needs to make drastic changes.
Besides the scene between Annie and Mick, I think my other favourite thing to happen during this episode is the storyline the Hill family has. I’m certainly intrigued to see how this genius storyline goes. Already we know a school for him could be pricey which is yet another added pressure on the already struggling finances of the Hill family but it also opens to new territory, allowing for Harry to get more attention and I’m personally very interested in seeing where the writers go with this and how it affects the choices and overall dynamic of the family as things move forward.
Overall, we’ve got a good starting point across the board. Again, this episode isn’t as good as previous season openers, but with everything going on in the world and in the entertainment industry at the time of season three coming to a close, it’s hard not to forgive it. And even though things will probably continue to be a little shaky at first, there’s already so much to look forward to. Between personal things happening in the girls’ lives, their continuous dive into crime along with the pressures that can bring, and the growing attention from the law things are bound to get explosive and considering there’s going to be content that would normally go at the end of a season, there’s a high chance that when things really do explode, it’s going to be bigger than ever and I, for one, can’t wait for the journey Good Girls is going to take us on this time around.