If season one was about bad choices resulting in the wrong actions, then season two is about inaction and it’s consequences.
Season one of Good Girls was marked by an ever deepening spiral of terrible choices followed by untenable consequences, solved by another horrific choice, resulting in an even worse consequence. The strength of the show was in making us empathize with the characters and their predicaments. This is also also its weakest point. That is, the more we felt for them, the worse decisions they’d make. The worse decisions they’d make, the less we would empathize, and yet the terrible outcomes would draw us back in.
By the end of the first season, it was a question of how bad could things get that we would stay with the moms. This branched out into their lives as well. In the final episode of season one, Ruby’s husband (the cop) found out about the robbery, and Beth’s husband was beaten and held hostage by Rio. The only ‘partner’ left in the dark was Annie’s once-and-again-ex.
Certainly not in the dark of the criminal on-goings is Leslie, the store manager and attempted rapist. And as we step into season two, his ulterior motives of being important and rich continue to make him not just unlikeable but downright repellant. Sadly, as the season continues, Leslie starts to feel a little more like an unnecessary friction. He’s not as physically terrifying as Rio, nor as emotionally fraught as the FBI agent, Jim Turner.
On the plus side, Rio becomes much more likeable in season two. The more we learn about him, the more is side of the story turns intriguing. And the tale is turned a little, where the moms stop making bad actions and start making bad non-actions. Instead of an action from a choice causing the terrible things, now it’s inaction that brings the bad outcomes for the good girls.
By episode three, the season picks up into high gear and they raise the stakes even more. Finally the threats become reality, and there’s a payoff for all that danger.
On the gayer side of things, Agent Turner brings us to another queer character on the show. Sadly, Sadie’s gender non-conformity is less of an issue for the start of season two. There’s a peculiarly uncomfortable gender-reveal party that makes me wonder if the show really understands what it’s trying to do with Sadie. Of course, the bizarre events of said party certainly is worth the watch.
Still, Good Girls continues to be a show I’m interested in and enjoy watching but, like Lost, I wonder how long it might keep my attention. It’s a compelling story, driven home by the real-world issues of medically induced poverty and the deflation of the American Dream, but there’s only so long you can ask people to watch a show where the characters spiral deeper and deeper into self-created misery.
Good Girls returns on March 3rd for a second season of choices and outcomes.