You know times are tough when even the thug life has layoffs.
Beth wakes up to discover all her hidden cash is gone, and after accusing Dean of stealing it, she quickly realizes it must’ve been her boss. “We’re shutting things down for a while. One of my boys got picked up, and when I feel the heat, I don’t mess around,” Rio tells her over a plate of fancy, crispy hash browns. After Beth complains that he even took their cut, which they “worked their asses off for,” an unapologetic Rio tells her that it’s “a company wide shutdown,” and because he has “closing costs, everyone feels the pain.” When Beth asks for how long, Rio grimly answers, “’til further notice.” That’s just cold; not only do they not get severance, but the money they’ve already earned is also taken. And, just out of curiosity, how would one file for unemployment when you’ve been laid off from a life of crime?
The news, unsurprisingly, does not go over well with Annie and Ruby, but after the initial shock wears off and Annie hilariously shares how long she thinks it’s going to be until they put a man on Mars, they decide to tell the secret shoppers that corporate is revamping the program. Now they just need to figure out how they’re going to get by. “We go back to working like dogs, barely scraping by,” Annie laments.
For Beth, her return to legit life means play dates and mom friends she had long forgotten. At one point she even mouths exactly what the other moms are saying as they’re saying it. Annie, meanwhile, is cleaning Fine & Frugal urinals much to Boomer’s loathsome glee while literally asking for more — she needs to pick up additional shifts in order to cover her mounting legal costs. Ruby gets a job at a Dandy Donuts drive-thru where her toddler of a boss yells at her for giving out free extra sugar, not moving fast enough, and forgetting to tell people to have a “Dandy” day.
But no matter how hard they work, they still aren’t able to cover the month’s blackmail they owe Dress Barn model, Mary Pat. In fact, our Girls are just about eight grand short, which Mary Pat brings up at Sara’s soccer game. Yes, everyone’s favorite PTA blackmailer actually hunts Ruby down in the stands at the game — she doesn’t even have a child playing — with her car-seat-bound infant and one of her many offspring in tow. Not only does she leverage her children in her charade, but once she finds out Stan is a cop (or, an “almost” cop), she lays it on even thicker, asking him for advice regarding someone stealing $8,000 from her. The entire scene is so uncomfortable I decide it’d be like Sally Struthers showing up to your home with a child, asking when you’re going to be able to just give 70 cents while also threatening to blow up your entire life.
As Beth and Annie are in Beth’s kitchen debating the taste distinctions of licensed character macaroni and cheese, Ruby runs in to tell them about Mary Pat’s drive-by. Naturally, Beth’s solution is for them to do another job because she’s bored out of her mind and needs her gangsta (yes, I mean with an “a”) fix. She admits she’s been thinking of having them do something low stress, “like a 7-Eleven,” but adds she doesn’t want them to hit the one on Linwood because she got them to sponsor the school. I almost do a spit-take when Ruby genuinely replies, “Good for you!” But Annie says she’s out because it’s just “not a good time for her to get back into crime.” When Ruby shoots back, “Well, can we sync up iCals so I know when is?” I really do projectile water from my mouth. Before Ruby and Beth can convince Annie to come back to the dark side, Ruby gets a text that causes her to rush home.
Ruby and Stan are standing in front of a mildly contrite Sara. Stan drops a box down on their dining room table filled with various things that her principal says she shoplifted and tried to sell at lunch. While Sara initially tries to insist she doesn’t know how it got in her locker, Ruby refuses to buy what her oldest is selling. When Sara finally admits that she “moves” fidget spinners, a dumbfounded Stan asks, “You stole fidget spinners?” But Ruby corrects him: “She moved them, Stan. Our child moves them. Our child speaks the language of the streets!” After digging deeper, the parents learn that the reason their otherwise intelligent child has decided to unknowingly follow her mother into a life of a crime is because now the kids no longer make fun of the “oxygen tank weirdo.” And this is what makes this show so perfect: Every single actor makes the most of their scenes — the youngest cast members being no exception. Lidya Jewett hasn’t had that many scenes, but she makes the most of every single line every time she appears on camera. After sending Sara to her room, Stan asks Ruby to dial it down a few notches because it’s just a phase, but Ruby’s convinced that phases become habits, habits become problems, and before you know it, “our little girl’s giving handies on the street for a fidget spinner.”
As Ruby spirals, Annie is inexplicably watching Love Actually (it’s not even near Christmas!) with Greg and Sadie at Greg’s house. Annie is making fun of the infamous cue card scene while chastising the “scumbag” for hitting on his best friend’s wife. Their guilt projection becomes apparent when Greg tries to assert that the wife isn’t entirely innocent in the scene either. Fed up with her parents’ film commentary, Sadie decides she’d rather do homework and retires to her room. But Greg and Annie don’t get a chance to get into the real reason they’re picking apart Love Actually because Nancy interrupts before heading out the door to work. “Is there a zit only you can pop?” Annie snidely inquires. Nancy doesn’t back down, and instead brags about how well the spa is doing (“we just opened a third location”), while casually bringing up both a divot in Annie’s forehead and hair oils that Annie’s apparently left on their couch pillows. Dayum.
Suddenly the Girls’ only holdout to resuming their OG mantle is no longer an obstacle. Annie is pissed and while frantically looking for Beth’s K-Cups (to which Beth replies, “Maybe it’s the universe telling you you’ve had enough”), she fills Beth and Annie in on her vengeful plan to rob all three of Nancy’s spas. After Annie finally finds the coffee, she does a “Daaaark magic” dance that inspires Ruby to call out, “YOU KNOW!” For once it seems like Annie’s thought everything through: Nancy won’t even be a concern because Annie signed her up to be a chaperone on one of Sadie’s field trips. When Ruby puts Annie on blast for being an eager thiever, Annie points out that if they don’t use guns, it’s like it’s not a crime. Beth takes it one step further and calls it a “gentle redistribution of wealth.”
After some mildly disjointed scenes that at first seem like a fun recon sequence but end up being a rickety bridge to the ultimate plan reveal, the girls end up stealing a ton of vials of what I can only assume is Botox serum, though it’s not specified. Ruby and Beth make it out of their heists successfully, but Annie ends up getting stopped by a parking garage ticket. I laugh out loud as I literally dealt with a similar situation earlier today, only unlike Annie, my solution wasn’t to hold up the car behind me using my fake gun and wearing a shopping bag over my head in order to steal their ticket. Oh, Annie. I so get the panic, but c’mon!
Once she finally makes it to the rendezvous point, the Girls await their buyer who turns out to be Darren, the Fine & Frugal drug dealer. But Darren misunderstood their conversation in the Frozen Foods section and thought Annie was going to be bringing him injectable heroin. Face palm.
Desperate to unload their score, Beth appeals to Rio to take it off her her hands, trying to sell it as “liquid money.” He quickly sees through her desperation, though, and realizes that the rotten egg he warned her about is clearly still stinking things up. When Beth insists she’s handling it, Rio responds, “You think you’re a boss now, huh? Your lily ass does two jobs, and all of a sudden you think you run the whole game?” He instructs her to get her house in order before warning her not to put their unsellable goods in her face because she “doesn’t need it.” Before I can cool down from the surface-of-the-sun-level heat between them, Dean swoops in to help Beth out by unloading the goods on his crooked doctor.
Ruby marches Sara down to Stan’s police station for their rendition of Scared Straight. Denise, the police officer who Ruby instructs to scare the spinners out of Sara, does her job well. So well, in fact, that it’s Ruby who winds up scared straight as Denise puts the two of them in a cell and tells them how they’re locked up with murderers and gang bangers. A shocked Ruby asks if there’s not a separate white collar cell, and falls deeper into despair when Denise turns up the heat further by telling them that the toilet doubles as a place to do their business and their kitchen. The realization of having to go to the bathroom in front of your cellmates fazes even Sara, who adorably asks, “Even number…?” When Denise interrupts with, “Aaaaaall the numbers,” it’s clear that Ruby is the one most scared straight.
Back at Greg’s, Annie is overhearing a devastated Nancy on the phone in disbelief that all three of the spas were hit. After she hangs up, Nancy confesses to Annie that she’s a hot mess because she’s on her fourth or fifth round of IVF, and the fertility hormones are understandably amplifying her reaction to things. Well, that proves to be just the motivation Annie needs to end things with Greg. She confronts him in the driveway, and in response he asks her, “What am I supposed to do? Leave her and marry you? We tried that and it didn’t work.”
Beth tries to handle the other thing in their lives not working, yet still collecting benefits. Thanks to Dean, Beth is able to deliver the eight grand to Mary Pat, but she points out that if they go down, Mary Pat does, too, as an accessory. At some point Mary Pat laughs off being ignored by her children with an off-handed, “It’s like I’m not even here,” to which Beth answers, “Imagine if you were prison.” But even that isn’t enough to deter the would-be Walmart greeter. “Hey, Beth, I’ll see you next month,” Mary Pat asserts.
At the station, Stan and Ruby are post-gaming Sara’s jail tour when Ruby sees the mugshot of Rio’s underling who had been shot and laid up in Emma’s bed. While she’s able to play off her curiosity with surprise in how young he is, she’s gut punched when she finds out that he’s the guy Stan arrested and that he’s working for the Feds now.
Beth asks Dean how he was able to get rid of all the vials, but when he refuses to tell her, she then tells him the entire truth, down to the percentage that the Girls get for doing their job. She even reveals that once they’re back up and running, she’s going to ask for a raise. The most honest moment of their marriage is interrupted, though, when the doorbell rings.
Annie stands devastated on Beth’s doorstep, but as they talk things through, Ruby busts in with the news about Rio’s snitch. As the information spills forth, she shares with the Girls the highlights of her own personal Scared Straight doc: “Jail wine is brewed in a toilet with ketchup and bread.” “BREAD?!” Annie shouts with Ruby countering, “Bread is where I threw you?” After Beth explains that the surprising ingredient is used for the yeast and fermenting, she informs the Girls that they have to tell Rio. “It’s that kid, or us.”
Gang layoffs give new meaning to severance packages, huh?