Warning: This contains spoilers. Not caught up? Read our spoiler-free review of Season 1 here.
When we last saw our ‘good girls’ gone bad, Beth (Christina Hendricks), Annie (Mae Whitman) and Ruby (Retta) had robbed their local grocery store for a second time, with a dual purpose – to raise enough money for Ruby to afford her daughter’s life-saving kidney transplant, and to turn the gang controlling them in to the feds. However, as is often the case with Good Girls, things didn’t go as smoothly as they had hoped. Season 1 ended with Ruby’s police officer husband learning about her crimes and Beth arriving home to find gang leader Rio (Manny Montana) there, pointing a gun at her husband’s head.
After getting dragged into criminal activities like money laundering and smuggling, the women are now drawn even further into a life of crime. Season 2 sees them tasked with killing Annie’s boss, Boomer (David Hornsby), who has a vendetta against them and is therefore a threat to the gang. Combine this with the fact that the FBI are on their tail, led by Agent Turner (James Lesure), who’s determined to take Beth down in particular, and the stakes are unarguably higher this time round.
Of the three protagonists, Beth is still the most enamoured with their new criminal lifestyle, and this appears to be more related to the power than the money. At one point, for the sake of her family, she attempts to give up crime, but it isn’t long before she’s shoplifting for kicks and throwing caution to the wind by baking cakes that contain gluten and nuts – an action that is, of course, deemed too reckless by the other mums in her group, who politely refuse to serve the offending items.
Following the events of Season 1, which began with Beth discovering that her husband, Dean (Matthew Lillard), was cheating on her and ended with her realising that he had faked a cancer diagnosis for sympathy, the marriage continues to break down. Dean’s reluctance to praise his wife for anything more than her ability to make cute packed lunches for the kids, even after she outsells him at the car dealership, stands in striking contrast with Rio’s belief in her potential to be a master criminal. This comes to a head in a scene that will make you either gasp or punch the air (depending on your opinion of Beth and Rio’s relationship), as Beth ditches her oblivious husband in a bar and sneaks off to the bathroom with the assertive gang leader. A revelation that Rio has a young son also serves to humanise him a bit more than before, although it remains a flaw of the show that he doesn’t have much character beyond Sexy Criminal.
Meanwhile, Annie’s personal life is as chaotic as ever. She reluctantly ends an affair with her ex when his partner becomes pregnant and later becomes romantically involved with her new boss, who turns out to be hiding something huge. She feels an obligation to look after Boomer’s grandmother after his disappearance, and guilt similarly plays a big part in Ruby’s story when her good-hearted husband, Stan (Reno Wilson), steals evidence to cover for her and soon falls under suspicion for doing so. She spends much of the season feeling torn between her friends and her family, with Agent Turner telling her she needs to betray Beth and Annie, otherwise Stan will go to prison. To highlight how difficult a choice this is, we get to know just how long the women have been friends via a flashback to 1990, in which we see how they met.
There’s plenty of drama in Good Girls Season 2, with a plot which takes so many twists and turns that, if you choose to binge on Netflix (the show originally aired via weekly episodes on NBC in the US), it can feel a little overwhelming at times. There’s also a decent amount of comedy, which mostly comes from the women being fish out of water when it comes to crime. For instance, while formulating a plan to steal evidence before it reaches a lab, their only points of reference are CSI and Law & Order: SVU, and at one point, Annie suggests comparing their iCals so they can find a suitable date to kill Boomer. Retta, who was a frequent scene-stealer on Parks and Recreation, is able to get laughs from nothing but a well-timed facial expression, and she delivers one of the show’s funniest scenes when Ruby holds up a Starbucks queue to delay a courier.
It may not be perfect, but Good Girls is an entertaining watch with refreshingly well-rounded female protagonists. The show has been renewed for Season 3 and, because of the way Season 2 concludes, it will be interesting to see what direction Beth, Annie and Ruby will take next.