Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of Good Girls. Read at your own risk!
Good Girls Season 2 went out with a literal bang after Beth (Christina Hendricks) decided to shoot Rio (Manny Montana), instead of Det. Turner (James Lesure), ridding herself of an overbearing (though ridiculously sexy) boss and gaining herself an ally in the FBI — or so she thinks.
Unbeknownst to Beth, there's a chance Rio didn't die on that apartment floor. After Turner was freed from handcuffs and sent Beth back home, he offered Rio a deal to work with him (probably to bring Beth down) in exchange for Turner calling 9-1-1 to save him. We have to wait until Season 3 to see whether Rio actually took him up on that deal or not.
In the meantime, Beth believes she's figured out a way for the girls to create their own counterfeit money and start making bank on their own terms. However, Ruby (Retta) and Annie (Mae Whitman) only survived this season by the skin of their teeth, and deciding whether or not to go forward with a new scheme will be a large source of tension in the upcoming season.
TV Guide talked to executive producers Jenna Bans and Bill Krebs about the jaw-dropping Season 2 finale and what this all means for the next round of episodes.
What does this ending say about where Beth is right now and what her relationship with Rio has turned into?
Jenna Bans: I think Beth's relationship with Rio, just looking at all of Season 2, has really sort of run the gamut. In the beginning of the season, they acted on this attraction they had for each other and sort of kept acting on it. I think Beth is really torn, because she obviously has feelings for the guy and it's more than just sex to us because he's the first man that's really made her feel like she's worth something. She's talented and she's more than this, as Dean put it when they had dinner, more than someone "who can make a good kid's lunch for school." So there's that part of her, but then I think there's the other part, which is what you see in the finale, where she sort of realizes he's been playing her this entire time.
Bill Krebs: She feels used.
Bans: She feels used. Everything he sort of says she needs to do like you know, "You need to take care of Turner because Turner's got a thorn in your side. You need to figure out a way to wash this money, you need to do this. You need to do it through the dealership." If someone's going to take the fall it's gonna be her, not him.
Krebs: We started with her in the premiere of Season 2 where she's unable to pull the trigger. We go through the season where she actually starts to believe in herself more and more, and she thinks it's maybe from the encouragement of Rio. Then, towards the end all that rage builds up and she actually self-actualizes and is able to then pull the trigger in the most ironic moment, which is blowing away the one guy who helped her get all that power to begin with.
Rio is not dead, exactly, at the end of the finale. What are the chances that he and Turner have partnered up together?
Bans: The irony and the reason why we intercut those two scenes at the end where Beth has made this, albeit sort of messy, lame, dollar bill and attempt at making her own counterfeit money and she's showing it to the ladies and she's like, "You guys, we can completely do this without him. Now he doesn't have the hold over us, now we're free," — the reason why he showed that scene right against the scene where Turner is saying to him, "Listen bro, if you want me to save your life, you know what this means. This means I own you, this means you work for me, this means we're essentially partners," is to really play the cliffhanger of, "Oh Beth! Oh Beth, you might not be as free as you think you are."
Turner and Beth sort of have polar opposite views of who she is as a person. Where do you guys see her in that spectrum?
Bans: I think she is a good person at the end of the day. I think she does love her kids and she wants the best for them. And I think she's not a "murderous killer," but I do think she has this part inside her that is severely sort of dissatisfied with the safety of her life. I think when you have that part that's sort of getting louder and louder and eating away at you, it makes you dangerous. So, I would disagree with Turner in that I don't think she's a bad person or a monster, or morally completely bankrupt, but I would agree with him in the sense that I think she's dangerous.
Krebs: Which she's always trying to reconcile. And that's part of the fun of the tension of the show and that character, and all our characters for that matter...But to answer the Turner of it all, it's like in that moment, that walk home and falling in her husband's arms — it's like she realizes after she's shot someone she is, at the core, a good person, and a mom, and a family person first — not that, which is what she was pretending to be for the whole season or, sort of arriving at, at the end of the season.
The women decide that they're going to enter another counterfeit scene at the end of the episode. How is Ruby and Stan's marriage going to survive another scheme?
Bans: In that last scene, it's Beth sort of posing the idea of it, but Ruby and Annie haven't really agreed. Next season I don't think it's going to be so easy for either of them, Ruby or Annie. Annie's just been through a really harrowing experience too with Noah, who she was in love with, and then betrayed by. I think they're both a little gun-shy, and Beth is the one who is sort of rushing head first back into the fire.
Krebs: She's just assuming they'll follow her.
Bans: So expect to see some complicated tension between the three of them because of that...Ruby is really stuck between a rock and a hard place because the last thing Stan says to her when we see them in the finale is, "We are such lucky sons of b----es to be not behind bars right now, and be with our kids, and to have sort of escaped the consequences of everything we've been doing. I just ask you one thing, promise me never again." And you see on her face that it's going to be easier said than done. It's not going to be smooth sailing, really, for any of them coming into Season 3 which hopefully gives us a lot of fun things to write about.
Where does Annie and Noah's relationship stand at the end of this season and what are you hoping to explore with that in Season 3?
Bans: Annie and Noah are not in a good place at the end of the season...Bill and I both have really loved how Sam Huntington and Mae Whitman played that last scene. It was essentially a breakup. It was the beginning of the breakup. It's that moment where you would look at the person you're with and you go, "We both know this is going nowhere good, but it's probably not going to end tonight, but the end is ahead." And I think for Annie it's that moment of, she's looking at him going "God, forget the fact that you're an FBI agent, I know nothing else about you."
Krebs: Yeah. She doesn't even know who she finally fell in love with...She feels betrayed.
Does that leave room for Gregg to return in Season 3 and potentially start things up again?Bans: Always. We love the dynamic between Annie and Gregg, and I think they'll always be in love with each other, no matter who they're with. I think what makes it complicated for Annie is that, especially this season, she's grown pretty close to Nancy, played by Sally Pressman. I mean she helped her deliver her baby. So, it's complicated. There's a lot of baggage there, and a lot of hurt feelings, and strong feelings. So Gregg is never fully out of the picture for us. He's also the father of Annie's kid. By practical means he's going to be around but yeah, it definitely leaves the door open for Gregg to come back in a romantic way.
Krebs: He's also the person I think that's always in the background that the audience and I know us, we always wish "God, they would be great together. You know, they really are made for each other, it's just their lives are too complicated for it ever to work in the right way."
Someone that was a little MIA towards the end of the season is Mary Pat. I was very excited for Allison Tolman that her pilot got picked up, but at the same time was very sad, because does that mean that maybe we've seen the last of Mary Pat for the time being?
Bans: We've had the same discussion. The good news is that Allison Tolman's pilot was originally done for NBC and then picked up for ABC, so it's a little bit all in the family and there might be a way to work out a return for Mary Pat. We're hopeful we can make that work because we love her too, and she always brings a special spark to the show whenever she's on it. So, we've hopefully not seen the last of Mary Pat.
Do you guys have an overall story plan? Maybe this may be a four season story or a six season story, or are you riding the rollercoaster as it comes?
Bans: We sort of have an idea of where we want it to end. We're not exactly sure how many seasons that means, quite yet. But we have an idea of just in terms of the arcs of the characters.
Krebs: We look at it as character journeys really, for all of them and where they should get, you know for themselves. And you know, can we copy that out to multiple seasons or if we just have to just do it in one. You know, those are some of the discussions we have.
Bans: I think that we have endpoints for all of them, all of the women, that we eventually want to get to... It's a blessing when you get picked up early, as we did this year, but also when you know how long you're going to be on the air because then you can really plan for that. So we're hopeful when the time does come, for us to wrap up the run, that we'll have advance knowledge of it, and be able to wrap up the story in the way it deserves.
Krebs: When they're all cellmates.
What are you guys most excited to explore in this upcoming season?
Bans: For us [it] is the dynamic between the women and the complicated nature of their friendship. I think this season, despite all of the sort of plot moves that we covered, what always excited us the most was the idea that, "Wow, this season Beth and Ruby are really going to have a hard time of it in terms of their friendship and Annie's sort of going to be caught up in the middle." We have an interesting idea of taking that friendship dynamic even further in Season 3, because these women are really sisters in that they can hate each other one second and love each other the next. I think that's not something you always get to see a lot on TV, especially broadcast TV. That's sort of the element of the show that excites us the most, and I think what we're most excited about in Season 3.
Krebs: Even in the past seasons we've had dynamics where, which is stronger: blood or friendship? Between [Annie] and Beth versus Ruby and [Annie], and whatnot. And I think coming up, one of the cautions we've always had is like, is Beth's power and her sort of ascension to power going to be stronger than all of that? Is she going to pick her new career as a criminal over her family, or over her friendship? Or is she going to realize in that moment that those things are more important to her than any of that?
Good Girls returns next season on NBC.