DVD review: “Good Girls: Season 1 – 4” (2018-2022)

“Good Girls: Season 1 – 4” (2018-2022)

Television/Drama

Fifty Episodes

Created by: Jenna Bans

Featuring: Christina Hendricks, Retta, Mae Whitman, Reno Wilson, Manny Montana, Lidya Jewett, Isaiah Stannard and Matthew Lillard

Jane Boland: [narrating] “Girls today can be anything. CEO, Olympic gold medalist, even a Supreme Court Justice. We’ve finally broken that glass ceiling. And, wow, sure looks good from the top.”

“Good Girls” (2018-2022) follows three suburban Michigan mothers, two of whom are sisters, who are having a hard time trying to make ends meet. They are tired of having everything taken away from them so they decide to pull off an unlikely heist by robbing a supermarket, only to discover that they’re in for more than they bargained. Their successful robbery attracts the attention of the store manager after he recognizes one of the women, but for a different reason altogether than just the money.

Generally network television doesn’t get much attention anymore as most of the trending and cool series are streaming, further from the pressures of supposed public decency, where TV is freer to be weird and dangerous. What a nice surprise it is, then, that there’s a show on network television that is daring and full of fun, that often feels as nervy as anything on HBO. That is there are precious few things but this new series is definitely worth a watch and is available now on DVD.

“Good Girls” definitely borrows from other series, but what it does with those revisited tropes feels fresh and exciting. The series, created by Jenna Bans, has a nice coil to it, tense enough that cliff-hanger endings land with a crack, but loose enough that there’s room for playfulness, for sweetness, for discursive ramble that the show’s three leads maneuver with natural charm.

Those performers are the major asset of Good Girls. Christina Hendricks takes the first-among-equals lead as Beth, a harried mother of four who realizes she maybe wouldst like to live deliciously as she takes a spin around the room with the devil. She’s the Walter White of the group, I guess, and Hendricks is great at communicating that dawning appetite for dark energy, the sudden conflict between Beth’s settled life and the one that until recently she never dared to imagine. Hendricks also has an irresistible chemistry with Manny Montana as a local gangster who becomes Beth’s main antagonizer and enticer. Their circling of one another, juggling threat and flirtation, is the stuff of perfect TV drama, sophisticated in its soapiness.WATCH NOW: 

As Ruby, mother to an ailing daughter and the moral compass of the three women, Retta richly expands on her Parks and Recreationappeal, deftly crafting a complicated marital bond with Reno Wilson and managing all of Ruby’s gnawing, mounting worry with sharp humor. It’s a thrill watching an actor prove their range, and Retta would be on Emmy shortlists were there any justice in this world.

Mae Whitman rounds out the trio as Beth’s scrappy sister, Annie, a single mom with an anarchic streak that is sometimes the teensiest bit cartoony, the show’s most frequent indulgence. Otherwise, though, Whitman is just as dialed-in as the other two; when the three of them are together, bickering and negotiating and consoling, the show hums along. They get able support from Wilson, Montana (swoon), Zach Gilford, David Hornsby, Matthew Lillard (yes!!), and especially this season, Allison Tolman as another exhausted mother hip to the crimes being perpetrated and wanting her cut for staying quiet. It’s a really well-curated group of actors, all reveling in the clever contours of the writing.

Episodes:

Season One

Pilot: A Fine & Frugal grocery store is robbed by three masked women. Flashbacks show Beth Boland is a mother of four and her husband Dean owns a car dealership. Her sister Annie works at the Fine & Frugal and is a single mother. Her ex-husband Gregg plans to sue for custody of their child, Sadie, which she can’t afford. Their friend, Ruby, works as a waitress and is the mother of two children, one of whom is ill and needs expensive medication. Beth finds out Dean is having an affair, took out several mortgages and is about to lose their house.

Mo Money, Mo Problems: Beth and Annie reveal to Ruby that they are holding Boomer captive in Beth’s backyard in the children’s tree-house. When the ladies meet at the diner to discuss how to pay the gang back, Rio tells them they have until the next day to pay them. Ruby comes up with a plan to ransom Boomer and get his wealthy grandmother Marion to pay. They attempt to break in, but discover that she is home. Pretending to be home helpers, they snoop around the apartment, but Beth refuses to steal. Rio and the gang show up the next day and the ladies try to appeal to him with antique figurines Annie stole from Marion.

Borderline: Beth explains to the ladies that Rio wants them to travel to Canada and bring a package back for him. In exchange, he will clear them of their debt. In need of a car, the ladies steal one from Dean’s dealership, unaware of Boomer following them. Once they get to Canada, the man who is supposed to give them the package refuses to do so. Ruby decides to scare him with Stan’s gun, but accidentally shoots him in the foot.

Atom Bomb: Beth discovers one of Rio’s associates wounded in her daughter’s bed. Rio tells the ladies he will pay them if they let his friend hide out there. But upon waking up, the confused man leaves in a frenzy. Beth’s son wants a lavish birthday party and Dean promises him one. Ruby deals with a rude customer and, when he burns his hand on a skillet, is accused of neglect. Refusing to apologize, Ruby is fired.

Taking Care of Business: FBI Agent Turner asks the Bolands if they have noticed any suspicious activity in the neighborhood and Beth says no. Shortly thereafter, bags of money that need to be cleaned show up in the trunks of the ladies’ cars. They meet with Rio and discuss their concerns about the FBI. He dismisses their worries and tells them they have to find a way to pay him back. The ladies execute their plan to buy a large amount of appliances with the fake cash. Annie meets an employee at the electronics store and has a one-night stand with him.

A View from the Top: The FBI finds the car that the ladies ditched after their trip to Canada. Ruby thinks the ladies should quit the money laundering business and explain to Rio that they want out. However, at the meeting, Beth instead asks for more money to launder. The ladies bring in help to clean the money faster, using the cover of a secret shopper ring. Agent Turner visits Dean and tells him that Beth was the one who stole the car from his dealership. Dean covers for his wife, but confronts her about it and merely assumes she was taken advantage of by Rio.

Special Sauce: Dean confronts Beth over her actual work, but she refuses to give him any information. The ladies expand the secret shopper cover so they can clean the money even faster. The FBI picks up the gang member that previously stayed at the Boland’s and coerce him into helping with their case against Rio. Rio and his crew unexpectedly show up at Beth’s and reveal how fake bills were slipped in with the real cash. The ladies confess their secret shopper scam and Rio demands the name of the person who cheated him so he can “handle it”.

Shutdown: Beth realizes all the fake money she has been storing is missing. She meets with Rio, who tells her that he is temporarily shutting down his operation due to pressure from the FBI. The ladies are forced to return to their “old” lives for income. One month later, the ladies are short of their next payment to Mary Pat. At Sarah’s soccer game, Mary Pat spots Ruby and Stan and hints she will go to the police if she does not get paid. The ladies decide to commit another robbery to get the cash. Ruby finds out Sarah has been shoplifting at school and takes her to the local police station so she can be “scared straight”.

Summer of the Shark: The ladies discuss telling Rio that his associate, Eddie, flipped on him to the FBI. When Rio asks them to pick up some trucks for him, the ladies are unsure. Ruby decides to get stoned with Stan and inquire if the cops know about the trucks. Assured that the police don’t know anything, the ladies go through with the plan and each drive off in a truck. However, Beth is pulled over and, believing she will be arrested, instructs the ladies to look after her kids. After seeing Mary Pat at the store and Annie paying for her groceries, Boomer gets more information on her. Later, he attends Mary Pat’s church and sparks a conversation with her, leading him back to her house. While alone, he sets up a recording device in her living room.

Remix: While the ladies ponder ways to turn Rio in without incriminating themselves, Rio meets with Agent Turner and threatens him. With a kidney available for Sara, Ruby and Stan intentionally write a bad check. Later, Annie devises a plan to rob the grocery store again as a means to get the money for Ruby while also leading the FBI to Rio’s illegal business. This time, Annie stays on duty to help Ruby secure the cash. Annie is caught by Tyler, but she tells everyone he heroically saved her in exchange for his silence.

Season Two

I’d Rather Be Crafting: Beth must live with the fallout after her plan to get Rio arrested fails. Meanwhile, the women’s crimes finally catch up with them when evidence surfaces that puts them on a collision course with Agent Turner.

Slow Down, Children at Play: Rio forces Beth, Annie, and Ruby to solve a problem with a possible witness, which challenges the women’s morality. Meanwhile, Annie is in an awkward position with Greg and Nancy.

You Have Reached the Voicemail of Leslie Peterson: Tensions between the women, Boomer and Mary Pat reach a boiling point. Beth must intervene when Kenny gets in trouble at school.

Pick Your Poison: Beth’s personal interactions with Rio lead to a fracture with her sister, Annie; the affair between Annie and Greg comes to a head; Ruby seizes an illegal opportunity to pay off a debt.

Everything Must Go: Beth has to rely on Dean as Turner gets closer to the truth but instead of comfort, she finds a troubling secret about Dean when a past familiar face returns.

Take Off Your Pants: Beth and Dean experience growing pains settling into their new roles at work and at home. The women realize Rio has flipped his game yet again, as Turner targets Ruby and Stan.

The Dubby: When Rio gives her an assignment, Beth is forced to take her kids with her. Under pressure from Turner, Ruby crosses a line there’s no coming back from. Annie meets her new manager at Fine and Frugal.

Thelma and Louise: Beth and Ruby’s friendship fractures just as Dean’s vendetta against Rio compromises the women’s business dealings. Nancy, on the verge of giving birth, needs Annie’s help.

One Last Time: Stan faces the consequences for his role in Ruby’s criminal dealings; Dean gives Beth an ultimatum. Greg clashes with Annie’s new boyfriend.

This Land Is Your Land: With Beth determined to lead a new crime-free life, a desperate Ruby and Annie go behind her back to strike a new deal with Rio.

Hunting Season: Rio uses a series of unnerving tactics to remind Beth that it’s not as easy to walk away from his criminal enterprise as she’d like it to be. Annie learns something new about Noah; Ruby makes a reckless decision to save Stan.

Jeff: Mary Pat resurfaces in the women’s lives as they try to make sense of a shocking discovery Beth has made. Beth and Dean have an important family talk with the kids. Annie and Noah try to work through their problems.

King: Turner has Beth in checkmate; the women must contend with a rotten egg from the past. Rio makes a grand gesture for Beth. A new business opportunity presents itself.

Season Three

Find Your Beach: A new season of scheming begins as the ladies work to perfect their craft. Beth grapples with guilt and grief – and faces an unexpected visitor.

Not Just Cards: Beth makes a choice that surprises those around her just as an old foe from the past returns; Annie finds a helpful outlet on her road to self improvement.

Egg Roll: A desperate Beth does everything she can to stay alive while dealing with the unexpected challenges of being a boss and finds help in the least likely of places.

The Eye in Survivor: Beth takes a gamble to strike a new business deal, but it has consequences that put the women in an unwelcome position; Ruby worries her lifestyle is rubbing off on her family; Annie realizes that she has a crush on her therapist.

Au Jus: Sick of working for Rio, the women take drastic measures to strongarm Lucy, their unwitting partner in crime, with gruesome results.

Frere Jacques: Max’s emotional search for Lucy creates a moral debacle for Beth, Ruby and Annie. Meanwhile, Stan receives an update regarding his suspension.

Vegas, Baby: The ladies consider their next move – with Max. Stan explores the risks and rewards of a new proposition. Dean stages a professional shake-up.

Nana: Beth meets the boss and he asks her to do one more assignment which turns out to be collecting Annie’s old boss Leslie “Boomer” but he wants to see his Nana before anything happens.

Incentive: Beth decides to find a solution to her Rio problem after he backs her into a corner; Ruby enlists Sara as reluctant help to replenish supplies after a key counterfeiting component dries up.

Opportunity: Beth puts her plan for Rio in motion. The Hills meet the family of Sara’s kidney donor. Annie gets overwhelmed as she studies for her GED test.

Synergy: Ruby and Stan seem to be at a crossroads; Beth and Dean make Gayle an offer she can’t refuse; FBI agent Finnegan tries to worm her way into the girls’ world.

Season Four

One Night in Bangkok: The pressure is on after Lucy’s body is discovered in a graveyard. Beth and Dean do everything they can to get Boland’s Bubbles up and running but encounter red tape. Harry gets in trouble and his teacher encourages Ruby and Stan to get him tested.

Big Kahuna: A huge client approaches Dean to sell his merchandise at Boland’s Bubbles, but Beth is hesitant. Stan and Ruby’s guilt reaches a breaking point when Sara’s donor family returns. Annie tries to prove to Ben that she can keep up with the rich parents at his school.

Fall Guy: Beth and Dean deal with the aftermath of his arrest. The ladies must find a fall guy to take Dean’s place. Ruby enlists Stan’s help in getting dollar bills to implicate the new fall guy. Annie feels a growing distance between herself and Ben. 

Dave: Phoebe inches closer to the trio’s entire operation, which allows the Secret Service to make an interesting deal with Beth. Stan’s boss forces dangerous errands. Ruby imagines a new life for them. Annie struggles with the possibility that her son no longer needs her.

The Banker: The Secret Service pushes Beth into hot water as the unexpected happens. Ruby catches Stan in a lie and begins to doubt his faithfulness. Annie volunteers to babysit for Nancy and finds help from a surprising source.

Grandma Loves Grisham: The women take matters into their own hands. Beth meets Rio’s boss, who is not what she expected. Annie secretly retakes the GED. Ruby encourages Stan to step up. Dean works through his trust issues.

Carolyn with a Y: Ruby and Annie get frustrated with Beth. Things change when Rio asks Beth to recruit a new team member. Stan is wary of involving Beth in new business. Annie is convinced to pull Ben from private school.

Broken Toys: Flashbacks reveal the road that led Rio to his present life. Beth gets a surprise visit from Nick, who warns her against a relationship with Rio. Dean is roped into a pyramid scheme by his biker gang.

Chef Boyardee: The Secret Service makes a sudden decision. Tensions begin to rise between Beth and Stan. Annie tackles Ben’s school financial aid problem. Dean is unsatisfied with his new role.

Strong Hearts Strong Sales: Things become more complicated for the women under Rio’s thumb. Stan offers the ladies an unconventional idea. Annie’s new living arrangement causes more problems than anticipated.

Put It All on Two: The trio must find a way to smuggle the fake cash, but things are further complicated when Stan gets involved. Annie reluctantly agrees to go to dinner with Kevin. Ruby discovers something horrifying. Beth and Dean reach a breaking point.

Family First: A frustrated Rio takes matters into his own hands. More complications arise as the strip club undertakes some trouble. Dean forges an unexpected alliance with Stan.

You: Rio inserts himself in the girls’ new business to Beth’s dismay. Phoebe discovers a bombshell in the case and returns to Detroit.

Thank You for Your Support: Beth runs for City Council as tensions rise between Nick and Rio. Nancy, down on her luck, offers Annie some unlikely relationship advice. Ruby becomes suspicious of Stan’s new venture.

We’re Even: The girls are forced into a heist by the Secret Service. Ruby tries to repair Beth and Stan’s relationship. Rio offers an unexpected proposal. Stan and Dean form an alliance.

Nevada: Beth and Rio form a surprise alliance, but don’t anticipate the shocking consequences. Beth realizes the women’s problems will never go away. Ruby makes a tough decision. Annie is ready to start anew when reality catches up to her.

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