Multiple times throughout Good Girl’s season finale, we get hypothetical glimpses of these characters’ futures if they went in completely different directions. What would it be like if Annie and Greg reconnected for real? What would be like if Ruby decided to use a bad check for her daughter’s new kidney and just hoped for the best? What would it be like if Beth embraced her criminal capabilities and executed a coup on Rio’s empire?
In all cases, the answer is: The road not taken would be both much better and much worse than the road that is taken. For better or for worse, Ruby, Beth, and Annie have made the choices they’ve made, so all they can do is accept the outcome. Beth has been told by practically every person around her, friend and foe, that she can’t keep toeing the line between perfect suburban housewife and coiffed criminal mastermind. At some point, she’d have to choose. And this finale finally calls her on it, putting the gun in her hand and telling her to choose: Kill, or be killed?
In that same vein, “Remix” does something that I really appreciate from such a fast-paced, high-concept series: It holds itself accountable. Over and over again, small details pop back up as a reminder that the choices made along the way by Ruby, Beth, and Annie matter. And the decisions that they make in the finale are the highest stakes yet. Sara could die; Dean could really, super die. So much happens in this hour that it seems to fly and crawl by all at once. It bears weight until it can bear weight no more, and we’re left desperately wondering which way these good girls will break.
(One more time for the NBC execs in the back: Good Girls! Season Two! Please! Oh, please!)
The packed episode picks back up with Ruby, Beth, and Annie trying to figure out how they can get Rio put away before he, er, puts them away. Ruby rightfully points out that if it was easy to catch him in his criminal activity, the FBI would have done it already. Considering that Rio used to regularly come to Beth’s house, out of which they briefly ran a full-scale pyramid scheme with 30 soccer moms and counterfeit cash, I have to wonder if they didn’t miss a loose thread or two. But still, the point stands.
Surprisingly, it’s Annie who busts their brainstorm wide open. While Boomer introduces her to the new assistant manager (he’ll be delegating more responsibilities now that he’s Boot Scootin Boogyin’ with Mary Pat), Annie realizes that they actually do know something about Rio that the cops don’t: He launders money through the grocery store. As you’ll recall, that unknown detail is what got them involved with Rio in the first place. And there’s really only one foolproof way to get the cops to look inside the vault at Fine and Frugal …
And that is to rob it. Again! This plan would not only hand Rio to the FBI on a silver platter, but Ruby could also get the $87,500 she needs for Sara’s kidney transplant. Given that her current plan is to write a bad check, robbing the same grocery store twice is starting to seem like the obvious choice. That is, until Annie tells Beth and Ruby about the security updates Fine and Frugal made following the last time they robbed it: three new security cameras, a new high-tech vault, panic buttons at all the registers that promise cops in under ten minutes, and infrared motion sensors on the loading docks. That sounds … not ideal.
But the next thing we know, Ruby and Beth are storming Fine and Frugal in ski masks and asking who’s in charge. “It’s me, I’m in charge!” yells Annie, jumping out in front of the scared new assistant manager. “Don’t be a hero,” Annie tells her, “just give them what they want.” Ruby marches Annie back to the vault while Beth puts all the shoppers in the aisles, then goes to the registers and starts printing some very long receipts. After briefly losing the vault key (Ruby uses her “long sauce arms” — callback! — to get it back), Ruby comes out saying they’re good to go just as they hear the first sirens.
The cops storm the store, clearing out the hostages, including a very frightened-looking Beth and Ruby. In the back, Annie duct tapes the kidney transplant cash to her body to wear out underneath her uniform … and she’s about to make it out when Tyler the security guard comes in with his gun pointed. She pleads with him to let her go, but he doesn’t want any part in stealing the money or being Annie’s girlfriend (“I’m gay”). He only wants one thing …
“It was like his body just knew what to do,” Annie tells the impressed paramedics and cops outside as Tyler humbly shrugs off his heroics. “Like Van Damme meets Bruce Lee, but more lethal!” Tyler only regrets that the thieves got away after he was able to fight them away from the vault. Said vault is now lying open with a ton of cash inside, and an envelope full of receipts that won’t match the amount, labeled “JIM TURNER, FBI.” As Agent Turner looks through the vault, the camera pans out over the winter clothes drive box, containing two freshly donated ski masks.
While Ruby, Beth, and Annie wait for the news to break to find out if their plan worked, a number of things happen in quick succession. Ruby tells Stan that “corporate” finally came through with an $87,500 advance. Dean gets in a car accident and comes out with just a few bruises, but while Beth talks to the doctor about any complications this might have with his cancer radiation, she learns there won’t be any — because there is no cancer. Annie finds out that Sadie is actually happy in the new private school that Greg put her in. Mary Pat shows up at Beth’s house because she found a recording device in the hymnal her new boyfriend left in her book shelf, and once she sees a photo of said boyfriend, Beth tells Mary Pat she better sit down…
Finally, the news hits that a grocery store robbery led to the arrest of a local gang leader who’d been laundering money through a number of small businesses.
Soon after, Boomer shows up at Mary Pat’s house complaining about the robbery, saying that Annie is garbage. “Is that why you tried to rape her?” Mary Pat asks him. Yes! Mary! Pat! This man may have somehow charmed you over, but you never let him forget what did. Although, boy does he try.
“You know I’m a gentleman,” Boomer says, “but when a tease like that pushes my buttons, I’m apt to give her what she came looking for — it’s human nature.” Fuck him up, Mary Pat! In her way, she does. Mary Pat shows Boomer that she still has his recording device, including every vile thing he just said. She tells him to get out, and when he says he wants the recorder back, she tells him sadly, “Just because you want something doesn’t give you the right to take it.” Mary Pat is the complicated antagonist we need in season two; destroying season one’s most annoying obstacle to our beloved protagonists seems only appropriate.
Speaking of beloved, Ruby’s always-adorable family is extra adorable this episode as they geared up for Sara’s operation. We finally see Sara in her hospital bed post-op seeming happy and healthy, and Ruby says she’ll go get her some Jello.
Stan follows Ruby. He tells her: (1) His task force caught up with the gang they’ve been looking for, (2) it wouldn’t have happened if two women had robbed a grocery store and pointed them straight to them, (3) it happened on the same night Ruby told him she and Beth were going to pick up a check from “corporate,” and (4) it’s the same grocery store where Annie works. “Was she there?” asks Ruby. “That’s how you’re gonna play this?” Stan asks back. Ruby tells him that she did it for them, that she had no choice. “You asked me what it would take for me to walk out the door,” Stan reminds her. “You knew the answer — and you did it anyway.”
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! But’s it not just the adorable families that face the consequences of their actions in the final moments of this finale.
When Beth walks into her house, she’s greeted with, “Hey honey, I’m home!” But it’s not Dean calling out to her. It’s Rio, and he’s got his arm around an extremely beaten Dean.
The last time we saw Rio was on a TV screen, being taken away in handcuffs. But we should have known, and Beth should have known, that a figure who’s loomed so large wouldn’t just go away with an envelope full of receipts and a whole lotta gumption. Here he is, back in her house, teaching her one more lesson. Sitting with his arm around Dean, Rio tells Beth that she hasn’t thought through this plan to put him away. “It takes balls to do what I do,” he says. “You wanna be the king, you gotta kill the king. This stuff’s medieval, darling.” Darling?! Why you gotta do this to us now, Rio?
Beth begs Rio not to kill them, and he laugh and laughs. He won’t be killing anyone here. After all, he’s the king: He has nothing to prove and nothing to lose. Beth has both. Rio pulls out a gun, cocks it, and slides it across the table: “You are.” She scrambles for the gun, picks it up, and points it in the direction of Dean and Rio.
“So what do you think?” Rio asks. “You got what it takes?”