NBC’s crime drama Good Girls defined itself as fun escapist entertainment in its first two seasons. The show’s grim satire and observations about society’s perceptions of women and working-class hardships brought out the main plot: Three suburban women rob a supermarket to make ends meet, but end up working for a wanted fugitive while their personal life collapses.
While the latest episodes re-show identical arcs without much character growth, a mediocre third season couldn’t take the shine off the cast, and they continue to shine through season four.
Good Girls follows a well-known narrative template for the first few episodes. Beth still works for Rio, and she and her partner, Dean (Matthew Lillard), use their hot tub store as a cover to launder money in place of their now-closed car dealership. In a storyline reminiscent of Leslie, aka Boomer, from season one, she is also confronted by Mr. Fitzpatrick (Andrew McCarthy), the hit man she’d previously hired to kill Rio.
While helping their daughter Sarah’s kidney donor family, Ruby and Stan (Reno Wilson) have more financial problems. While her bosses don’t believe a soccer mom is involved in such crimes, Officer Phoebe (Lauren Lapkus) has gone undercover with Beth rather than Ruby in hopes of finding out the details of her plan.
Annie, on the other hand, gets the short end of the stick again. Whitman dives deep into Annie’s feelings, just 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 trying to connect with her therapist and failing her GED, this season focuses on her skills as a mother.
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Annie’s relationship with her teenage son Ben continues to deteriorate, and she simply refuses to grow up. It was nice to see Annie in previous seasons, when she was more carefree because it fit the storyline.
Jenna Bans’ previous series included Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. The former continued to reinvent itself each season with new mysteries without losing the momentum of the protagonists, while the latter two are excellent examples of blowing up what viewers think of the plot and then rebuilding it (see: Derek Shepherd’s arrival, Rowan Pope’s villain, etc.).
Perhaps 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 now, Good Girls needs an imaginative boost