[Header Image: Christina Hendricks and Beth Boland | NBC]

Unfortunately, due to some technical issues on my end, this review is incredibly late but alas, here we are.

With Dean in jail and the Secret Service aware of her crimes, Beth is working on figuring things out. Right off the bat, I want to say that I’m very intrigued by the whole witness protection thing. Even with promos and so on, I can’t fully decide whether I think it’ll actually happen or not but a big part of me is very into the idea of seeing Beth, Annie, and Ruby in protection.

[Retta as Ruby Hill, Mae Whitman as Annie Marks, and Christina Hendricks and Beth Boland | NBC]

Now, even if it does go ahead, right now it’s not a sure thing. This episode explored the first step which is to handle the hitman, Fitzpatrick. Of course, once again, he goes AWOL but this time, it’s because he’s finally going to do his job. The girls’ journey to track him down through Max’s cousin was a fun little moment, especially the fear that they’re possibly helping to make a bomb. Situations like these I like a lot. Beth, Annie, and Ruby spending time together, working on things that are relevant to the plot (in this case, helping them to get closer to Fitzpatrick) while giving us the chance to see their friendship and banter and general chemistry together.

Beth getting Rio to handle that particular situation for her was not quite the one I was expecting but it works well. Not only did we get to see more of Rio handling people himself (on-screen) — something I think is very needed — but this is also the first time that Beth has set out to kill someone where it’s succeeded. Well, if it has. There is, of course, a faint chance that Rio never actually took the kill shot at the end especially when he saw Fitzpatrick’s set-up and started to develop suspicions. Dead or alive, the hitman plot will change at least. No longer will it be about killing Rio but more about the aftermath of Beth’s decision if he does put two and two together properly.

I do have to say, if he is definitely dead and the plot is moving, I wish the writers had utilised him more. That whole storyline and his presence could have been used a lot more to help further the development of character, relationships, and other parts of the season (or seasons) plot.

With all of that and Beth needing to get incriminating evidence against Rio, it feels like things are going to get a lot tenser. Eventually, those two have to come to blows. There’s still a lot left unresolved and we’ve seen in the past how their lack of communication can lead to some bad ends.

[Christina Hendricks and Beth Boland and Manny Montana as Rio | NBC]

Outside of the whole Secret Service and hitman side of the episode, Annie and Ruby do have some other things going on.

The former’s is actually more to do with Stan. Recently, we met his boss and Stan was pulled down a pretty uneven path. In this episode, we get to see montages of him doing shady jobs and pulling crazy hours to do them. Not only have we been made more privy to the pressures of what he’s doing but also that it’s not so easy for him to get out of it. While witness protection (if they get it) might not go down well with the kids, due to his current predicament as well as the stresses of everything since he found out about Ruby’s crimes, I can see Stan being even more on board with it.

With Annie, things are a little different because she could go into witness protection alone. So far we’ve seen her grow a little distant from Ben and by the end of the episode, she seems to have come around to that fact. Ben’s spending more time with Greg and Nancy and seems very happy with his time there and his school life. That doesn’t necessarily mean she wants to leave him behind but if anything were to happen to her, if she had to go away, he wouldn’t be alone. In a way, her changing situation (and relationship) with Ben has made her more selfless but also a little more reckless. I say that because it’s not just witness protection that could take her out of Ben’s life (presuming he doesn’t go in with her).

Annie offering to put her prints on the gun that killed Lucy is a move that gives the very real possibility that she could go to prison. And if she has put her prints on it already, it seems unlikely that Beth or Ruby know and this could very much be a move that Rio uses against them if he finds out the truth about the Secret Service.

This season, Annie really is taking on a lot more and as I said, it’s all quite selfless but still, reckless. As she becomes more alone, she’s trying to protect those she cares about and take more responsibility by putting herself in the firing line more. With her decision about the gun and the fact she doesn’t seem to have told Beth and Ruby about it, along with her seemingly saying goodbye to Ben and even Josh during their therapy session, it makes me wonder if she’s gearing herself up not just for witness protection but to potentially take the fall if things go wrong.

Either way, a lot is going on in the lives of Beth, Annie, and Ruby and while there are big steps towards things changing, already things are pretty tense and it seems like the road is going to be a bumpy one and no doubt the stakes are only going to get higher.

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