[Header Image: Christina Hendricks as Beth Boland, Mae Whitman as Annie Marks, and Retta as Ruby Hill | NBC]
This episode opens with Dean going about his day only to stumble upon Beth meeting with Rio in the back room of Paper Porcupine to discuss their latest business venture. Something I’ll say about this trio is that there aren’t nearly enough scenes of them together. Every time they have interacted — no matter how brief — have allowed for some pretty interesting and fun scenes. Still, this moment results in a reaction from Dean that isn’t as loud or as angry as he’s previously has been in regards to Rio (and his connection with Beth).
However, during the episode, there’s a moment where Dean helps Beth set up the printing press in the back of Sweet P’s, only to deliberately not finish the job for her, instead, calling her out on why she does the illegal things she does. Other than that, he seems to drop the matter entirely and accept that she’s going to do what she wants to do. It seems like a refreshing step forward and a change from Dean’s usual behaviour in which he normally fights against Beth’s activities, especially when it comes to Rio, however, later on, he does open up to his new friends about his cheating and Beth’s criminal activities. A declaration that can only cause more trouble and tension in the future.
Speaking of the printing press, at one point in the episode, Beth’s access to Paper Porcupine changes and the girls lose their space to print money. Of all the issues they might face as the show progressed, this wasn’t one I imagined. With Lucy gone, it seemed there’d be even more chance for Beth to use the building (and the press) but to find out her criminal activities and general busy schedule have had her dropping the ball in her day job was a new way to switch things up and keep it interesting. It also showed us how things are taking a toll on Beth’s life but the way she speaks to Dorothy suggests that she either doesn’t see a problem and believes she’s balancing things relatively well or that she’s simply okay with letting the quality of her performance slip at her day job, something that fits with this idea of Beth accepting her desire to commit crime even more and giving herself over more fully to it.
Eventually, the girls settle on taking the printing press and moving it elsewhere and as previously mentioned, Dean helps them rebuild the press at Sweet P’s. A location that they manage to get access to thanks to Stan which only creates yet another issue when Beth has to agree to stay out of Ruby’s life in exchange for said access. It’s a deal built from the tension we’ve had so far between Beth and Stan. A tension that will probably only grow and lead to more fallout especially considering Ruby has no idea about this deal and simply believes the two came to an understanding. I will say it has been fun watching this all play out, it is a little unfortunate though that we didn’t get more interactions between Beth and Stan prior to this (especially towards the start of the show) to really build on this tension more.
Troubles and hiccups aside, the Canadian money seems to be of a high enough quality, the only issue is at the end of the episode when Beth, Annie, and Ruby are tasked with dropping it to someone across the border. Considering they’ve crossed the border with counterfeit money before (back in season 1 episode 3) and Rio’s history of giving them (or specifically Beth) tricky tasks, it’s hardly surprising that he’s making them do this drop and that it has the added obstacle of crossing into a different country.
For the most part, this episode feels mostly like a transition. Not too many big things happen, just enough to move the story forward and shift us into the next part. Which at this stage, with 5 episodes left, it seems like a good time. Beyond the above mentioned moments, part of the story this episode revolves around Annie, Ben, and Kevin. Rules are set in place now that the latter is living in the apartment but still, his behaviour gets to the point where Annie wants him to move out. Their dynamic is definitely one that I’m enjoying, but then, I’ve enjoyed most of Annie’s interactions with her former — sometimes just potential — love interests. The problem here is, will it become too repetitive? By the end of this episode, thanks to Kevin and Ben’s interactions, Annie lets him stay after all so there’s definitely room for more to happen so we’ll have to see.