Good Girls premiere recap: I’d Rather Be Crafting
In reality it’s been 11 months since we’ve seen our Girls, but when the second season of Good Girls opens, it’s the morning after Beth had to make a Sophie’s Choice between shooting Dean, her cancer-free, lying, cheating, husband and father of her children, and Rio, her hoodie-wearing, smoldering hot, Worst Boss Ever who’s led her down a dangerous, yet titillating path of criminal activity. I mean, frankly, as the episode title suggests, at this moment, I’d rather be crafting, too.
But before the big reveal of Beth’s choice, we see her arriving home, anxious, with a trunkful of cleaning supplies. A nosy neighbor out for her morning fitness routine is both annoyed that a stop sign by Beth’s house has been stolen and curious as to which of Beth’s children made a mess this time. “Me,” Beth tells her without a trace of irony before heading inside to rid her dining room rug of a massive blood stain.* During a break from scrubbing, she casually takes a sip from her “I’d rather be crafting” mug, but when she returns it to the coaster (blood stains = meh, coffee rings = unacceptable), there are smudges of blood smeared on the white ceramic.
The episode cuts to 12 hours earlier with Annie and Greg making out like teenagers in a parked car with foggy windows. They’re speaking Spanish and slurring their words, presumably drunk on alcohol and the intoxication of their affair. You just know that like so many relationships born from the upholstered seat of a beater, this is going to be no bueno.
At Ruby and Stan’s house, Stan is making up the couch because there is no way he’s going to sleep in the same bed as his wife, the criminal. Ruby makes a valiant pitch for forgiveness and at least a small opening in the emotional wall her husband is building around himself, but Stan continues laying heavy bricks, instead. “What do you want here, Ruby?” he asks angrily. “You wanna act like nothing’s wrong? Wanna cuddle? You wanna watch reality TV? Well, guess what, baby? I’m living it. All those nights you slept like a baby right next to me with your shady, lying ass,” he seethes. Even after Ruby tries to defend herself, he doesn’t want to hear it. She watches, both exasperated and in shock as Stan pulls his gun out and cocks it before sliding it under his pillows. When she questions why he’s doing that, Stan tells her, “Because you and your girlfriends thought you could put a gang away. They made bail.”
Back at Beth’s house in the moment we last saw her at the end of the first season, we see the scene unfolding as though we’ve come in behind Beth. Framed pictures now lay shattered on the floor, things are knocked over, and Beth’s purse is on the floor, her phone spilling out as Ruby continues to call her to try and warn Beth of the danger that’s sitting at her dining room table.
As Rio cruelly asks her if she thinks she has what it takes, Dean tells her to shoot him. She doesn’t want to believe the gun is loaded, but Rio tells her she can tell that it is because of the weight of the clip — it adds a full pound. “Or you can just pull the trigger,” Dean urgently reminds her. With the gun still pointed in his direction, Rio gets up from the table and moves casually towards Beth, taking the gun away. He gently moves her hair to the side as he tells her she did her best. He caresses her chin and she looks both relieved and enamored. Their moment is interrupted by a sniffling Dean, who realizes in that instant that he’s lost his wife. And, then, in a flash, Rio turns and shoots him. “Now we’re good, darling,” Rio finishes.
The action cuts to a hospital waiting room where everyone is moving in fast-forward around Beth as she stays complete motionless in the middle of the couch. Finally, the silence is broken when Ruby notices Annie eating a fruit cup that she stole off a cart. Appalled that her friend would steal from the patients, the ridiculous argument is enough to bring Beth out of her state of shock in a fit of inappropriate laughter that spills forth like water through a dam. Her fit of hysterics continues as Annie asks if she’s laughing or crying and Ruby asks if she’s happy or sad. Before Beth can even figure out where she lands, the doctor comes in and I laugh out loud when Ruby offers, “She’s really upset” because clearly, she’s anything but. But she’s certainly about to be as the doctor tells her that though he has a long road ahead, Dean will be just fine. Beth doesn’t bother hiding her disappointment as the doctor leaves her to ruminate the fact that she didn’t, in fact, kill her husband. “Yaaaaay!” Annie offers with hilariously feigned enthusiasm. “He’s gonna kill me,” Beth says matter-of-factly.
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At the Fine & Frugal, there’s an aisle cordoned off like a crime scene as Boomer goes under the yellow tape low-budget-David-Caruso-on-CSI-style, demanding to know what if anything poor Tyler has found in the way of evidence. Tyler pulls out a pacifier from under the shelving as Boomer tells him to “bag it, tag it” before making sure Tyler knows that he knows Boomer sold out big time.
With his makeshift evidence bag in hand, Boomer is seen urgently knocking on FBI Agent Jimmy’s apartment door. While it’s apparent to everyone but Boomer, we discover that apparently, Jimmy is gay as Boomer cluelessly says he didn’t realize that Jimmy has a roommate. Beaming through his naivete, he tells Jimmy to round up his team “ASAP” as he pulls out a plastic Ziploc of random crap found by Tyler from his poop brown Members Only jacket. Rightfully angry that this crazy man has found his way to his home, Jimmy responds by shoving him against a wall, warning him not to show up again like this. Boomer indignantly tells Jimmy he’s being played as he’s tossed out of the agent’s apartment. But a quick glance through the folder that Beth had left for him at the grocery store clues Jim into something he hadn’t noticed before.
The next scenes unfold back and forth between Ruby and Stan’s house and Beth’s, with the former kicking it off as Stan arrives home to hear Sara (finally home from the hospital – yay!) asking Ruby how Uncle Dean got shot. Ruby is able to brush her off with Stan’s assist and I have the slightest sliver of hope in seeing what I think is a smile as we watch my parents…I mean, Sara and Harry’s folks work together again. Meanwhile, at Beth’s, the kids are asking her the same thing. Beth thinks she’s handling their questions well until she mistakenly leads them to believe that getting shot is something that happens all the time. Oops. They’re too afraid to even answer the door and Beth gently chides them saying, “Bad guys don’t ring doorbells.” She assumes it’s the pizza delivery person, but it turns out to be Jimmy there to deliver yet another blow to Beth’s already difficult week. He tells her forensics (ahem) found a pen cap in the store. When Beth asks what kind of pen, he explains it’s the kind that matches the ink on the envelope he knows she left for the Feds. Double oops. Still not giving into his line of questioning, Beth feigns innocence until Jimmy tells her there’s lipstick on the cap and he needs her DNA. She drops the L word (lawyer) before kicking him out. Back at Ruby and Stan’s, Stan tells her that she needs to turn herself in and tell the police everything because “the first in gets the best deal.” When she balks, reminding him that Beth was her maid of honor, Stan delivers my favorite line of the entire episode: “You made this bed, and you made it well. I mean it’s got pillows, it’s got throws, it’s got duvets on it!” before he asks her to get out of that bed – “for us.”
Beth brings the girls up to speed regarding the latest wrinkle in the aftermath of their last heist, and they ask Ruby what Stan said to do. It’s clear that Ruby has made the decision to roll on her friends so she’s uncharacteristically non-committal before announcing she has to leave. Unwittingly rubbing salt in their friend’s soon-to-be-a-snitch wound, Annie and Beth give her things for Sara to welcome her home: DVDs from Annie and a homemade quilt patched together with Sara’s old baby clothes (replete with handsewn quotes from Sara’s writers) from Beth. “It’s too much,” Ruby laments for many reasons. When Beth points out that it’s not a kidney, Annie adds, “But you know we would’ve done that, too.”
Ruby sits in her car outside the police station ready to go in, but a glance sideways at her passenger seat where the quilt is makes her hesitate. I laugh out loud as I realize that the visible quote stitched into it is the one from Shonda Rhimes: “Words have power. TV has power. My pen has power.” Clever Girls. Before she finds the nerve to go inside, she sees a van being loaded and thankfully, a stroke of brilliance hits her.
The van Ruby saw is a courier service that takes the evidence from the police station to the lab. Ruby wants the Girls to tail the van until it makes a stop, and then snag themselves a pen cap. But Beth smartly wonders if the pen cap has already been sent, which kicks off a hilarious exchange of the Girls’ only point of reference for such things: TV procedurals. When they start comparing what they do on CSI vs. SVU and how many seasons each has been on, I realize just how much I missed my Girls. Still, when Annie and Beth balk at the idea of Beth giving her DNA because Ruby is so confident in her plan, Ruby says, “Or, I could just go down to the station, throw y’all under the bus, and cut myself a sweet deal.” The resulting facial expression that Ruby delivers when Beth and Annie scoff at this is a gif that I’m going to need someone to make me ASAP.
After the Girls do the surveillance they need to nail down their mark’s schedule, Beth lets the Feds take her DNA sample. The night before they’re set to launch Operation: Pen Cap-er (see what I did there?), Annie and Greg almost get caught by Sadie after Greg tells Annie he wants to leave Nancy for her. And at the Hill homestead, Stan is annoyed that Ruby never showed up at the police station to turn herself in so he nicely reminds her that she’s looking at least 16 years of missed birthdays if she gets caught. “Their kids have birthdays, too,” Ruby solemnly replies.
The day of the Cap-er, Annie and Beth are in position, waiting for the delivery guy to make his daily stop at Starbucks. Ruby’s already inside, two people ahead of the courier. She begins unraveling an epic stall tactic by asking the barista to explain everything from dairy techniques to tea, but it’s the moment when, after FINALLY placing an order, she tries to pay with Apple Pay but doesn’t even have it downloaded that just about ends me. Meanwhile, Beth and Annie break into the van, but coming across rape kits ultimately stops them being successful in their heist.
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Despite their failed mission, Beth invites Jimmy over for what I hope is a yet to be revealed reason. As he drinks milk from her “I’d rather be crafting” mug and compliments her cake, she admonishes his pastry knowledge and explains that her marriage is going through it. And while she doesn’t explicitly admit to criminal activity, she does wind up apologizing. Jimmy smugly replies, “My mama used to say, ‘Sorry don’t cut it.’” Surprisingly, she asks him to “let this one go,” to which he tells her, “No can do.” For the second time this episode, Beth kicks Jimmy out of her house, but not before telling him that her mama used to say, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” I’m still slightly dumbfounded by this scene as I can’t believe that after all she’s seen herself through, Beth would ever put herself at the mercy of Jimmy. I have to believe something more calculated was happening.
At the Hill house, Ruby is on the phone with their insurance company, yelling to speak to a “REP-RE-SENT-A-TIVE” (I felt so heard in this moment), when Stan walks in and wordlessly drops an evidence bag with the pen cap in it on the table. Ruby is so stunned, she doesn’t even register when a representative finally answers.
Boomer, meanwhile, is sad drunk dancing with a stranger in a bar when Jimmy shows up. He tells Boomer he was right about it all and that they’re going to “take these women down.” Boomer starts crying, grateful to finally be believed. But when he tries to push his luck by asking for compensation, Jimmy lets Boomer know in no uncertain terms that he knows Boomer was on the take for the Fine & Frugal money laundering.
Reinvigorated by this conversation, Boomer takes his overinflated self over to Mary Pat’s to both impress upon her that he’s going to be a witness and to get him to spill any information she might have on the Girls’ operation. Eventually Mary Pat admits to taking money from them and starts groveling for Boomer not to say anything to the Feds about her. It’s almost too hard to watch because I’ve seen this look on Boomer before and I’m afraid of what he’ll make Mary Pat do. But, I’m dumbstruck when he gets down on one knee and proposes to her because “a husband can’t testify against his wife.”
Things seem to be going well at the Hill house with Stan making pancakes and everyone laughing like old times, even as they clown poor Stan’s mama and her resemblance to a snowman. But when Ruby thanks him after following him into the kitchen, he tells her, “I did it for them.”
Annie pulls up to Greg’s house to pick up Sadie, who is bubbling over with a secret: Nancy’s “pregs”! Annie just keeps saying “WOW!” and maniacally laughing. Even though I saw it coming, I can’t help but feel bad for Annie as she was just starting to think that something good was finally happening.
The Girls are at a park, watching Beth’s son be a selfish little prick (like father, like son) when Rio shows up like a sexy Whack-A-Mole they just can’t get rid of. He tells them that he knows they have a connection to Boomer (despite Annie’s ardent objections) and because Boomer is talking to the Feds, he needs the Girls to “take care of him.” In the season premiere’s final OMG moment, a little boy comes running up to Rio, soccer ball in his arms. Rio asks his son—yes, son—what he’s always telling him when he “makes a big ole mess,” and the boy dutifully replies, “That I gotta clean it up.” Rio scoops up the boy but leaves a fast food bag on the bench. “What is it?” both Annie and Ruby ask Beth. We are left hanging as the credits roll and I suddenly have an overwhelming urge for streusel and crafting.
*C’mon, Beth, I’m really disappointed that a homemaker extraordinaire like yourself who knows the difference between streusel and a buckle and who can find the time to stitch a quilt for your friend’s daughter while running a money laundering operation doesn’t know that hydrogen peroxide is the best and quickest way to remove blood. Martha would be so disappointed.