Good Girls recap: 'Taking Care of Business'
Tonight was all about the Girls taking care of business; whether it was hashing out family issues, working on their newfound job as suburban money launderers, or getting the FBI off their backs, no one can argue that our girls got it done and then some.
First up is the FBI. Thanks to Boomer, Agent Turner is now sniffing around the Boland house, asking Beth and Dean if they’ve “seen anything weird,” like “people who don’t quite belong.” For a second we think Dean is going to mention Rio crashing Kenny’s birthday party, but instead he brings up an inconsiderate neighbor who’s been putting his dog’s poop into their trash bins.
Beth and Annie convene in Ruby’s kitchen to debate their newfound business now that the FBI is complicating things. Desperate for funds to pay her custody attorney, Annie is gung-ho on moving forward, even with the heat rising in their kitchen: “I talk to her for 15 minutes and it costs me $800!” But Beth almost instantly shoots back, “You know how much a criminal lawyer costs?” Still-clueless Stan interrupts their project management meeting because he wants to show off his officer uniform. It’s his first day as an officer in training, and he’s adorably proud. Though I have to say that as Stan’s career as Detroit PD progresses at roughly the same time as Ruby’s criminal resume, it makes me think of that old math problem: If train A leaves the station traveling at 60 miles per hour and train B leaves one hour later going 85 miles per hour, how long before Stan finds himself having to arrest his wife?
The other problem plaguing Annie at least is that Sadie is going to Hawaii with her dad and Nancy. Knowing how well Annie functions when Sadie is home, you can imagine how well things will go with Sadie gone. Sadie makes sure her mom knows not to eat only mac and cheese and to set an alarm for work before they do their “love ya, never put no one above ya” hand slap and finally hug goodbye.
Beth’s loading her car when another parent stops her to ask her to volunteer for something. The mom sees the bullet holes in Beth’s minivan. “Oh my god, what happened to your car?” she asks. Just as Beth starts to lie to the mom and blame it on Kenny’s BB gun, one of Rio’s cronies walks up and starts helping Beth load grocery bags into the trunk. Beth manages to shake the nosy mom with empty promises of getting in touch before asking the gangster what he wants. Instead of answering, he puts a duffel bag filled with cash in her car.
After Ruby and Annie each find their own fake cheddar-filled “gift baskets” in their cars too, it seems like it’s a good time for another project management meeting, which — like most people invited to such gatherings — Rio is not happy to be invited to. Beth and Ruby express their concerns now that the Feds are in the mix, but Rio reminds them they asked for this. “This ain’t the Girls Scouts. You can’t give the cookies back,” he deadpans. He insists he’s not even worried about the FBI because there’s a distribution system, and since they’ve been “distributed to” they’re now on the hook for 100 grand.
Using Beth’s Black Friday map, she’s now changed her system so that the pushpins represent the various stores they’re going to hit with the biggest ticket items. Naturally it’s color-coded and the store radius has expanded since Black Friday because it’s too risky for them to shop locally. Ruby brings up the possibility of stores testing the bills to see if they’re counterfeit. “I once saw a guy at 7-Eleven get straight up tased,” she shares. Annie assures them that these counterfeit bills are “primo” because she tested them with the same security pen they use at work. Beth’s color-coding system goes even further: She’s brilliantly implementing red rubber bands to bundle the fake cash and green rubber bands to bundle the real Ben Franklins. “We can do this. We’re just normal women, shopping,” she assures everyone, especially herself. “With money to burn, baby,” Annie says eagerly.
In split scenes, we watch Beth buying many appliances in one store as Ruby is already making returns in another. When Beth’s total comes to over 4 grand, like a baller, she hands the Cloud 9 cashier a stack. The checkout girl then pulls out a massive machine as Beth nervously asks her what the contraption is. “We use this to check our large bills,” the woman explains. Apparently the “pen thingy” never really worked. Beth balks and tries to leave the store, but the cash is already being put through the machine as the cashier assures her it’ll just take a second. Ruby, meanwhile, is trying to distract the guy ringing up her insane number of returns with a made-up overly involved backstory about why she’s bringing back so many items. The guy calls his manager over so she can look at Ruby’s receipts and Ruby asks if there’s a problem. Before she can answer, however, we discover that Beth’s made it through her transaction successfully as the checkout girl asks her if she wants her receipt in the bag. “No, I’ll hold on to it,” Beth exhales. Ruby, too, finds success as all the manager ends up asking her is whether or not she wants it all back on a card. “Cash is fine,” she says with a smile. (Recap continues on next page)
Annie decides to go the electronics route, deciding to drop close to 20 Gs on 4K ultra high-def flat-screen TVs at Shop City, an electronics store. A sales associate named Brian shamelessly flirts with her, though it turns out, he’s not doing it just for the commission. After he offers her free in-home installation (which she rebuffs for obvious reasons), Brian writes a pathetic pick-up line involving the more banal, “in-home hook-up” on the back of her receipt. Seriously, Brian, in-home installation could’ve worked just as well.
Ruby is at home, trying to safely stash the green-banded stacks. She decides to put the money in a sewing box decorated with kittens right before Stan finds her. He asks her how her double shifts went and she asks for an update on Sara’s dance class. Stan decides to show Ruby some of his dance moves before, ace detective that he is, he realizes that she’s not wearing her diner uniform. “I left it at work,” she quickly answers. “It’s covered in ketchup and frustration.” Looks like those trains are still a safe distance apart…
Beth is smartly hiding her real cheddar in the healthy cereal boxes and dog food bags when Dean walks in, offering to help her with whatever it is that she’s doing. He tells her he wants to be useful, but she deflects by telling him he should be resting. She asks him what his doctors are saying, and he spirals deeper into his lie, telling her it’s “just gonna be chemotherapy or radiation or whatever.” I suspect that Dean is the type of man who would ask for his obit to be written when he gets a cold, so the fact that usually astute Beth doesn’t pick up on his uncharacteristic, complete off-handed reaction to his supposed cancer treatment is just another genius nod to the writing. She’s just too distracted, trying to keep Dean from finding the cash, which is literally under his nose in this very moment.
Surrounded by the TVs still in their boxes, Annie is enjoying ice cream but feeling lonely. At first she tries Sadie, but feeling guilty, she hangs up. As Salt-N-Pepa’s lesser-known-but-totally-my-’93-jam “None of Your Business” starts playing, Annie picks up the receipt with Brian’s number on the back. After booty texting him, we witness the aftermath as Brian scrambles to get up and out of Annie’s apartment. He insists he’s getting a glass of water, but he straight up ghosts. Unfortunately for Annie, he also makes off with the Shop City receipt.
Annie calls for a problem-solving meeting with the girls, insisting that the guy stole the receipt. Knowing her sister all too well, Beth laughingly asks Annie if she checked her pocket. The other problem Annie has is that she can’t even remember homeboy’s name, other than having a vague recollection of it starting with a B. Regardless of his name, the guy is off the grid and not answering Annie’s calls or texts. She then suggests that maybe they just give “Gang Friend” the TVs in lieu of actual cash, but Beth snaps, “Yeah, cause that went so well with the Hummels.” “Can we please stop calling him ‘Gang Friend’”? Ruby asks before she guesses Rio’s name is Ron. After a hilarious hypothetical scenario hashed out between Annie and Ruby, Beth frustratingly answers that his name is Rio. Ruby’s look and response make it clear she knows something is happening between Beth and Gang Friend.
The three march into Shop City, demanding to know if someone whose name starts with a B is in. As luck would have it, Brian is not only off for the day, but he also won’t be working until next week. After Brian’s co-worker understandably refuses to give them Brian’s address, Beth takes care of business by cleverly grabbing a clipboard and convincing another store associate that she’s with corporate and that “Mark” needs the current employee list with addresses because there’s going to be some layoffs. I feel like I’m watching A Beautiful Mind as Beth leads unwitting Rita into her web of deceit, weaving finely crafted thread after thread:
RITA: Who’s Mark?
BETH: Mark — Ted’s boss! [pause] Hired Bill. [pause] Overhauled the entire division with Ed!
RITA [visibly confused and struggling to catch up]: Ed Fielding?
BETH: What other Ed would I be talking about? How long have you worked here?
RITA: 15 years.
BETH: Wow, Rita. Just get me that list.
And, yet, this is actually the second best scene in the entire episode.
But before we get to the first, the girls go to confront Brian at his home. Not only has he thrown away the receipt, but it also turns out that he’s married with a kid. When his wife asks who’s at the door, Beth tells her that they have the wrong apartment.
In the best scene of the night, the girls are dumpster diving, looking for the receipt. Admittedly, when I realized the dumpster scene wasn’t going to be a quick layover on the way to Solution Town, I inwardly groaned a bit. I didn’t think I’d have the patience for the nuanced conversation this seemingly small moment would undoubtedly have, but I’m really glad I saw it through. Pretty quickly they think they’ve found it, but it turns out to be a Starbucks receipt. Annie tries to offer confirmation of it being from the coffeehouse by saying it has coffee grounds on it, but Ruby hisses: “That’s not coffee grouunnnds!” Annie’s laughing in response jumpstarts Beth’s anger at her sister’s laissez faire attitude over the fact that she’s slept with a married man. After Annie asks if her sister is slut-shaming her, Beth answers, “No, I’m just plain shaming you.” But things turn serious (and mean) when Annie hurts Beth in a way only a sister can: by invoking the truth. “You know, Beth, I’m really sorry, but it’s not my problem that you haven’t had sex since Emma was born, and it’s all dried up ass twigs up there,” she cuts. It’s Ruby’s long and low, “DAAAAAMN” that seals the scene, though, because this is right where this show shines the greatest: that incredible ability to walk the fine line between light and darkness thanks to the impeccable delivery of the witty writing. Annie twists her knife deeper as she calls out Beth for never calling out Dean. But Beth assures Annie that Brian’s wife (like Beth) knew exactly what is happening in their marriage. Ruby once again cuts the tension by finding a dirty diaper, and Annie reminds her that Brian and his wife do have a baby. “It’s adult,” Ruby answers, barely above a whisper, and for the umpteenth time in watching the show, I find myself possibly in need of one of those myself. Beth brings the scene to a close by coming in in the clutch after she finds the receipt underneath Brian’s daughter’s artwork. Bone-chilling dark to effervescent, warm light, and somewhere comfortably in the cold sweat, nebulous grey all in the span of minutes is what makes Good Girls great.
The next morning, as Beth is getting the kids in her minivan whose back end looks like Swiss cheese (which is conveniently backed into the driveway), Agent Turner approaches her in her driveway. He shows her a picture of Rio coming out of her house, and when she says that can’t be the case, he offers to swing by later to show it to Dean. Realizing she’s stuck, she tells Turner that she’ll come into his office tomorrow, but he answers, “Today’s better.”
Ruby is at Sara’s dance recital, but before the show can begin, Sara collapses and is having seizures. The doctor at the hospital says Sara’s kidney is non-functioning, which confounds her parents because as far as they know their daughter’s been taking the expensive miracle drug. Or has she? After going through her room like the cop Stan almost is, they find an empty mints tin with the pills under Sara’s mattress.
Sara confesses that she was feeling better so she was saving the expensive medicine until she needed it again, admitting that she knows they can’t afford the drug. Ruby and Stanley respond with a story about them being rich, but not wanting her to grow up spoiled. “This is like a bad movie,” Sara wittily responds.
Beth is giving Rio his 100K in real money and asking for his advice on how to handle the FBI. She is oddly nervous when she tells him the Feds have got a picture of him, and I laugh when he shoots back, “That ain’t special. I’m on Facebook, too,” before giving Beth their payday. I squirm, though, as Rio directs Beth to tell Turner that they’re having an affair. Beth’s face is as red as mine and I am completely unable to tell whether or not this is something that’s already happened or just so badly wanted from Beth. Before I can figure it out, though, Rio’s final direction is to make him sound good.
Back at the hospital, Beth and Annie surprise Ruby with a pink bakery box. “Those better be donuts. Those better not be whack-ass cheese Danish,” Ruby warns her friends. There is cheese, but it’s real cheddar (as indicated by the green bands), and the sisters are giving their entire cut to her to help pay for Sara’s hospital bill. When she asks them if they’ve made up, Annie says that she apologized, especially because it could’ve been way worse: She wanted to say “raisin cave” instead of “ass twigs.”
And then I died. Just kidding, but, dammmmn, Girls, you gotta give me a break here!
After Annie hilariously fills out a customer complaint card at Shop City about “Brian’s performance,” Beth goes to finish business with Agent Turner. She admits to him that they had an affair, but when she can’t answer basic questions about the night in question, Turner dismisses her. But then she becomes the Beth we’ve seen for a while now, so cunning in these very delicate situations, as she regroups. She sits back down across from the FBI agent, and spins a tale of a one night stand so specific and convincing I’m still not sure whether or not it’s the truth or the rich fantasy she’s dreamt of since she first met Rio.
Either way, something tells me Beth will continue to take care of business.