Monday, April 30, 2018

REVIEW: 'Good Girls' - The Girls Return to Their First Crime in Order to Get Rio Arrested in 'Remix'

NBC's Good Girls - Episode 1.10 "Remix"

Fearing for their lives, the ladies scramble to try to take down Rio. A kidney becomes available for Sara but Ruby and Stan don't have the money to pay for it. The three women hatch a plan that will solve both problems - one that involves returning to the scene of their first crime.

"Remix" serves as a nice companion to "Pilot." It basically tells the exact same story. Beth, Ruby and Annie have financial difficulties and personal burdens in their lives that they believe can only be fixed by robbing a supermarket. It's a robbery that goes well for them until they deal with the various complications involved with that crime. The event in the premiere sent them into such a dangerous life of crime that put their lives and families at risk so many times over the course of the season. And now, the girls returning to the scene of the crime to rob it again comes with the hopeful intention of being able to get rid of Rio for good. That relationship has become so toxic because he has been looming over all of their lives. It was so brutal to watch the many times he invaded the personal lives of Beth, Ruby and Annie. Yes, it was a plot device that the show relied on too many times this season. As such, that kept Rio mostly a one-note character. He was just designed to be the intimidating presence who would introduce Beth, Ruby and Annie into a sustainable business as criminals. And now, that relationship is no longer viable. Rio knows when to get out of a dangerous situation before it comes back to hurt him. The girls just see that as a further declaration of war against them. As such, they believe they need to eliminate him before he kills them and takes them away from their families right when they need them the most. It just happens to mirror the story of the pilot. Now, the girls are fully aware of Rio's connection to the store. They are hoping to exploit it so that Agent Turner can finally arrest Rio for money laundering. It seems like a brilliant idea that will also keep them from having to murder their enemy. And yet, it's also a plan that doesn't account for new complications that arise in the immediate aftermath. Some of them are pertaining to Rio as he continues to make his presence known. But others come from the respective families creating new problems for the girls to have to deal with moving forward.

Annie sees it as so easy and unexpected for the girls to rob the supermarket again. She believes that no one would suspect the same group of criminals of hitting the same place twice. Of course, it comes with more risks to it. The supermarket has remained a key location over the course of the season. Mary Pat and Marion were both able to find Annie there and connect her to the various criminal dealings of this world. Boomer has remained a constant threat that the girls have always had to be aware of. Of course, none of them could have predicted his relationship with Mary Pat even though it inevitably ends in tragedy once the narrative reminds everyone that he tried to rape and extort Annie in the past. He has caused so many problems for the girls. As such, it feels like vindication for them to rob the supermarket once more. It's more vulnerable now because Boomer is once again distracted. He's not the manager standing guard. Instead, he is just relying on a newcomer as well as some new surveillance equipment. And yes, it does create more of a problem for the girls. There are panic buttons that mean the girls only have 10 minutes to rob the place before the cops arrive. They don't intend on stealing everything in the vault. They just want to leave enough to prove to the federal agents that something shady is going on with this business. Sure, they still take enough to pay for Sara's kidney transplant. But that's it. It still's a successful job for them. They pull it off just as well the second time. Rio goes to jail and everything seems happy for everyone once more.

Of course, there are still the complications that come while doing the job. Annie decides to stay behind as one of the hostages. She just wants to be the girl behind the cash register who leads the robbers to the vault. As such, no one would just assume that it was them who robbed the place once again. And yet, she's not content to just let all of that money stay behind. She wants to take some for herself as well. She has money problems as well. It's not as life-threatening as getting a kidney for her daughter. But she's still fighting for her family and trying to do what's best for Sadie. She is only allowed to keep that cash by lying to the police about how heroic Tyler was while it happened. He actually had a gun this time and was willing to negotiate his conditions with Annie. That was a surprising moment. But it was just as rewarding and devastating to see Annie realize that she probably doesn't always know what's best when it comes to her daughter. She always saw herself as the parent who understood Sadie completely. She wasn't asking her to change or be anything else. But now, she sees Sadie actually enjoying the private school that Gregg and Nancy send her to. It's an eye-opening moment for her as she has to realize and accept that Gregg is a capable co-parent. They are able to come to an agreement over this custody situation mostly by talking with each other. Sure, their dynamic is still always tense and playful. It could become romantic at a moment's notice. But now, they are at least recognizing that the other knows something about being a good parent. That's certainly one of the happier moments in the conclusion of the season.

Things take a much more destructive turn elsewhere. There's still happiness to be celebrated because Sara does get her kidney. Ruby is able to afford the operation. She is able to give a story to Stan about corporate coming through with a huge bonus to help her out during this strenuous time. She'll just have to work much harder to pay them back for that good will. It's a story she believes she is able to sell. She has been able to keep her criminal activities away from Stan this entire season. He has had his suspicions. She has been lying to him for awhile now. But he also enjoyed the spoils of this new life. It still didn't help when they needed to pay for this procedure. Ruby had to risk it all just to save her daughter's life. She really will do anything to protect her family. But it's also clear that it's going to be so destructive to her marriage. Ruby and Stan have always been presented as the happy and stable couple. Yes, that could only be believed for so long because of this change in Ruby's life. However, they are much better together than Beth and Annie's respective love stories. Their personal drama came from their sick child. And now, she's better and the marriage is in disarray. Stan finally proves that he is a capable police office who can piece together this crazy story and what's really going on with his wife. It's a huge betrayal to him. His wife broke so many laws even though she is married to a cop. That's a huge surprise. It makes him truly question whether or not he wants to be with her any more. He is now completely aware that the girls have robbed this store. Ruby believes she can justify it. But right now, it's left completely up in the air whether Stan will be able to forgive her and trust her again.

Forgiveness and trust became a huge part of Beth and Dean's story this season as well. He betrayed her at the start of the season but managed to work his way back into her life simply by faking cancer. Now, it's an actual question if they should celebrate their 20th anniversary. Early on, she wanted nothing to do with him because he destroyed their family. And now, she sees things as much more complicated and nuanced. She's the one actually making the decisions now. She is the one with her eyes open on how the world truly operates. She's the one putting the family into a compromised position. But that just makes it inevitable for her to discover the cancer was fake simply because he gets into a car accident. That moment proves that Dean hasn't changed at all. He's still not loyal to his family or sees Beth as the only woman for him. It confirms that Beth is absolutely right to walk away from this horrible marriage. They could be entering their own custody battle for the children shortly. And yet, it doesn't seem like Beth will be given that opportunity to stand up for herself and leave the man who has betrayed her time and time again. She's not afforded that because Rio makes his presence known once again. It's such a crazy twist to see him in the family's dining room once more. He's suppose to be in jail. That just proves how far-reaching his connections and influence really is. He can make this escape so easily despite his high-profile arrest. He can return to torment Beth about the mistakes she made in this business. But he twists the knife even further by presenting her with a choice. The only way to save her family is by killing him. That's the only choice she has at happiness. But in pulling that trigger she will only further connect herself to Dean as the only witness who knows what she's truly capable of. Or she could kill Dean in that moment. He has betrayed her trust too many times for her to feel bad about ending his life. That would send a message to Rio as well. But it's mostly presented as a grand cliffhanger for the season. It would be a lackluster ending should this be the final episode of the show. But it does create a number of new possibilities in the future should the show continue.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Remix" was written by Jenna Bans and directed by Sarah Pia Anderson.
  • Boomer and Mary Pat's relationship ends just as quickly as it began. That's not surprising at all. Boomer couldn't keep the truth about who he fundamentally was a secret for very long. It's fascinating that he's taken down from his recording device not having a full battery. And yet, this story also just seems like something that came up in the final two episodes of the season to give the two of them something to do so they were distracted while the girls robbed the supermarket again.
  • And yet, that scene between Boomer and Mary Pat where she is confronting him about trying to rape Annie is so powerful. At times, this season forgot just how despicable Boomer was. It then tried playing him as comic relief. But here, it's so important to see that Mary Pat isn't swayed by his argument that Annie was asking for it because of the way she was dressed. She's able to stand up and support women from this horrifying male gaze that thinks they can take whatever they want from a woman.
  • Both Mary Pat and Boomer make it out of the season alive too. That's a shock as well. There were various times this season where that didn't seem like the case. It felt like it would end more tragically for them. Of course, that also leaves the potential for them to become regular characters should the show continue. With Mary Pat, that's fine because Allison Tolman is a phenomenal actress who deserves a solid showcase. With Boomer, he's too annoying to be around for a very long time.
  • Just how foolish is it for Rio to give Beth a loaded weapon? It would be so silly of him to plot his escape from jail only to wind up dead because he gave his enemy a gun. It may not have any bullets in it. He just wants to test her conviction to eliminating him from her life. This cliffhanger really could resolve any number of ways. It just may not reflect well on Rio if he winds up dead because of it. It wouldn't be a great plan that way.
  • I really do hope that the show gets renewed for a second season. Right now, it is firmly on the bubble. It really could go either way. Of course, the audience won't have to wait very long for NBC to make its decision. It should be decided at some point in the next two weeks. I'm optimistic almost solely because it has performed better than most of the other midseason shows the network aired this year. And yes, the show should continue to cap its seasons at around 10 episodes each.