[Header Image: Ignacio Serricchio as Nick | NBC]
There’s been a lot of mistakes and unwanted results for Beth, Annie, and Ruby lately but this time around, we see a pretty big one for Rio.
In this episode, we’re reintroduced to the cop who questioned Rio about Lucy’s murder. While he walked about from that, there was no definitive end to it. Thanks to Phoebe signing out an evidence box, that cop realises that yet another case involving Rio has hit a dead-end and it leads him to tracking down Nick to discuss the boxing ticket that was Rio’s alibi.
Now, while Nick seems to be a very charismatic guy who is quick to use anything and everything he can to his advantage and own progress, we actually see him struggle a little bit. While he may be able to play a specific role that helps him to remain under most people’s radar and he does a fairly good job at keeping the cop at bay, due to being blind-sided, he’s not as smooth as he probably could have been which doesn’t bode well for Rio. After what we’ve seen of Nick, it was hardly surprising to see him play dirty and have one of his men hold Rio against the ropes while Nick hit him in the face with a nearby stool resulting in a black eye.
We already know that their relationship is strained and that Rio even went to juvie because of Nick but this scene in the boxing ring adds even more layers to that. Not only was Nick willing to sacrifice his cousin/brother’s future and career goals when they were teenagers but it seems like he’s also not opposed to physically hurting Rio. The scene may end there but considering how blind-sided Nick was, there is always the possibility that he’s been brought more up to date. He didn’t know about Lucy’s murder until now so what else didn’t he know? And will Rio still keep any of it to himself?
Regardless, we finally get to see Mick again (seriously, his presence was missed!) and it’s his job to clear up the whole mess by getting rid of the cop. While the scene doesn’t show us much, there is clearly a struggle, however, the envelope addressed to Phoebe is covered in food and there’s a possibility that it could be missed by Mick. No doubt it’ll have something useful in it and if it isn’t recovered, it could give Phoebe (and the Secret Service) a move that may be hard for Rio and/or Nick to predict or perhaps, if Mick does recover it, it’ll just create more tension between the brothers/cousins.
While all of that is going down, the girls are realising the negatives of their actions in the previous episode. While Beth did give Rio over to the Secret Service, they haven’t got him anymore and so there’s no way to fight for the investigation to remain open. Without their deal, Dean specifically will go to prison again and thanks to setting Gene up, Stan is out of work. All of the negatives facing them, prompts the girls to try and sell the fake bags to raise money so they can flee.
Not only is selling the bags a bit of a rollercoaster but the tension between Stan and Beth is thick and the two come to blows. While it’s no secret that he doesn’t like her, he really doesn’t try to hide it this episode. There’s a ton of awkward moments as they come up with a way to sell the bags and it doesn’t help that Beth’s plan (the one they end up going with) leads them to trying to sell to a cop. Even though she does fix it by blackmailing him and getting him along with his friends to buy some of the bag, it doesn’t smooth things over between her and Stan. He still can’t forgive her for Ruby getting shot and dragging her into everything. He even goes as far as to say Beth is selfish and makes digs about her past (with Dean). There’s definitely a lot to unpack with what he said to her but for now, all I’ll say is that some of it seemed to really hit home with Beth. Even though it doesn’t stop her from completing her task in Phoebe’s hotel room later on, you can tell that her earlier conversation with Stan is still playing on her mind.
That being said, Stan wasn’t totally right. Due to the obvious tension, Ruby is clearly upset that her husband doesn’t like her best friend and while she doesn’t call them out on it per-se, Ruby does tell Stan that she didn’t do any of it for Beth but for herself. It’s a move that’s definitely needed and it gives her back some agency. She may not be the most eager to do the illegal things she, Beth, and Annie do but she’s definitely made a lot of her own decisions.
While all of this is happening, Beth is tasked by Rio to get the fake money back from the Secret Service. It seems like a pretty impossible task — something that’s not new to their dynamic — but Beth does manage to pull it off. The scenes in the hotel room with Phoebe were actually really great. There’s no indication that Beth is lying about what she says while she’s in there and so far, no two conversations between them have been the same. Considering Beth was able to find the money and drop it out of the window — a scene that was hilarious when coupled with Annie and Ruby’s reaction — there’s going to be an obvious shift in her relationship with Phoebe who will no doubt suspect her but with the variety we’ve had so far and how much the two have come to realise about one another, it feels like any shift in that dynamic will only serve to be an interesting once.
Stealing the money back also led to another wonderful scene which is the second park-bench scene with Beth and Rio. At this point, he’s already been in the ring with Nick and we see the result: a black eye. Beth asks him about it but he simply states that he was being himself (a response she uses when Rio asks her how she got the money.) It’s such a small moment but it does a fantastic job at capturing that even though they are unaware of the problems the other is facing, they’re both actually very much alike in a lot of ways. This scene also leads them towards their next crime journey. He jokes about buying her a present and by the end of it she finds a gift-wrapped box that contains plates so she, Annie, and Ruby can print Canadian money. Already it seems like that would be a much harder thing to do so I’m curious to see how it’s written into the show and how successful the girls are at doing it. Now while I am inclined to believe the gift is from Rio, it’s also been stated that Nick calls her “Elizabeth” too (the name on the gift). As I said before, there’s a possibility that Nick has been read in on more of Rio’s operation than he was before and it makes me wonder if he’s involved in this new change.
While the girls are already getting up to a lot during this episode, Annie is also having to deal with the fact that Ben may have to switch schools. To give him credit, he’s more willing to do it than I would have thought. Understandably, he’s scared of going back and any resistance would have been completely warranted but he seems to understand the financial problems — probably after years of dealing with them in other facets of his life — and even goes so far as to plan to sell his lacrosse gear. While he and Annie have been at odds over the most recent seasons, Ben has always been such a wonderful and selfless character and it really shows during his scenes in this episode. However, luckily enough, he doesn’t have to go back to his old school!
Due to minor details released about this episode, I knew Annie was going to try and get financial aid and that it wouldn’t be so easy for her so all of that was expected. What I didn’t expect was Kevin’s involvement. His appearances up to this point have been few in number but it’s all been enough screen time to not feel so out of the blue especially when all of that time is spent with Annie to some degree. For now, she definitely doesn’t need a relationship, none of them have been that good for her so far, so it feels promising that a romantic or even sexual relationship doesn’t seem to be on the cards here. Until his car is destroyed, Kevin makes a point of saying he doesn’t want to see her again. So, I think — or rather: hope — that them being forced to live together does more to help Annie develop a new platonic relationship and not be so alone when Ben is away. There’s potential here for a really great dynamic and there’s also the fact that Annie is going to have to be even more careful when it comes to hiding her crimes if she doesn’t want Kevin to be involved. (Of course, whether that dynamic develops back into a sexual or romantic relationship later is still a possibility and maybe even a good one depending on the timing).
Either way, Ben gets to stay at St Anne’s, so that’s plus at least!
The one last quick thing I want to mention is Dean. There’s not too much to say but the severity of his situation seems to have struck him. He’s been tasked with selling a year’s supply of men’s skincare and not only is he not good at it but there’s still the very real possibility he’ll go to prison and will be unable to sell them. Regardless of whether he’s paid for the product up front or has to pay for it later (if he’s unable to sell), he’s most likely going to lose a lot of money if he continues to struggle to sell which he most likely will. There’s really no plus side and he naively fell into all of this which is hilarious because he assumed Beth had naively fallen into working for Rio back during 1×06 and that she was just some poor lamb to slaughter. Only, she hadn’t but this time, he seems to have and sure, these men aren’t necessarily as dangerous as Rio and what Dean is doing isn’t a crime per se but it has its own set of consequences. It makes me wonder how this will change things moving forward, particularly in Dean’s relationship with Beth.