DVD review: “Good Girls: Season Three” (2020)

“Good Girls: Season Three” (2020)

Television/Drama

Eleven 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-present) 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:

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.

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