NBC’s crime-dramedy Good Girls defined itself as fun escapist entertainment in its first 2 seasons. The show’s grim satire and observations on society’s perceptions of women and the hardships of the working class elevated the main plot—three suburban women rob a grocery store to make ends meet but end up working for a wanted fugitive as their personal lives collapse.
Even though the latest episodes rehash identical arcs without much character growth, a middling third season couldn’t take the luster off the cast, and they continue to shine in season four.
Good Girls follows a familiar narrative template for the first few episodes. Beth is still working for Rio, and she and her partner, Dean (Matthew Lillard), are using their hot tub store as a front to launder money instead of their now-closed car dealership. In a storyline that is reminiscent of Leslie, a.k.a. Boomer, from season one, she is also confronted by Mr. Fitzpatrick (Andrew McCarthy), the hitman she previously hired to kill Rio.
As they assist their daughter Sarah’s kidney donor family, Ruby and Stan (Reno Wilson) face more financial difficulties. Even though her bosses don’t believe a soccer mom might be involved in such crimes, Agent Phoebe (Lauren Lapkus) has gone undercover with Beth instead of Ruby in the hopes of uncovering the specifics of her scheme.
Annie, on the other hand, gets the short end of the stick once more. Whitman delves deeply into Annie’s feelings, much as she did with her character in Parenthood, but the scripts don’t encourage Annie to develop. Unlike the third season, where she spent most of it attempting to connect with her therapist and failing her GED, this season focuses on her skills as a mother.
Annie’s relationship with her adolescent son Ben continues to deteriorate, and she simply refuses to grow up. It was nice to see Annie in earlier seasons when she was more carefree because it fit in with the storyline.
Jenna Bans’ previous series include Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and Scandal, among others. The former kept reinventing itself with new mysteries every season without losing its protagonists’ momentum, while the latter two are excellent examples of blowing up what viewers think about the plot and then rebuilding (see: Derek Shepherd’s arrival, Rowan Pope’s villainy, etc.).
Maybe this crime drama works best as a binge-watch, which is why it gained traction when it was released on Netflix almost a year after its NBC premiere. But, for the time being, Good Girls needs an imaginative boost