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August 30, 2020

Comedy drama Good Girls doesn=t do anything particularly remarkable in its abbreviated third season.

Good Girls (season three)

Staring: Christina Hendricks, Retta, Mae Whitman, Reno Wilson, Manny Montana, Lidya Jewett, Isaiah Stannard, and Matthew Lillard

Created by: Jenna Bans

As productions ground to a halt earlier this year because of the menace that is COVID-19, several television series had to cut their ongoing seasons short and retool (partially or completely) filmed episodes into early finales.

Among those affected was the comedy drama Good Girls. Originally renewed for a 16 episode third season, the show only managed to make it to the eleventh instalment before the pandemic forced the crew to suspend production.

What we were left with, as a result, was a truncated outing that basically gave us the (very languid) build up without delivering the payoff.

The dramedy B the story of three suburban moms who venture into the world of crime after struggling to make ends meet B maintains its tension in its latest block of episodes but the story fails to make significant headway.

Still fearing for their lives, Beth (Christina Hendricks), her sister Annie (Mae Whitman), and best friend Ruby (Retta) continue trying to get out from under Rio=s (Manny Montana) thumb, but just keep digging a deeper hole with each attempt to one-up their nemesis. Their latest money laundering venture sees them printing counterfeit bills, and, as you would expect, their activities end up hurting those in their orbit. Meanwhile, law enforcement remains on the trio=s tail; this time, it is agent Phoebe Donnegan (Lauren Lapkus) who is closing in and seems determined to take the girls down.

But it often starts to feel like the story is going around in circles. Good Girls seems stuck in a cycle of repetition, constantly putting off the change, comeuppance, and upheaval that is much needed at this point.

Partially because of the stalling, certain elements of the proceedings are becoming increasingly unconvincing. Sure, the last five episodes that were supposedly meant to deliver some excitement are missing because of the shutdown, but that does not excuse how slow and repetitive the 11 aired episodes have been.

It isn=t just that the storyline is dragging, but that the characters aren=t getting the development they require. While a few supporting players B like Dean (Matthew Lillard) and Ben (Isaiah Stannard) B have made meaningful progress, others, including the leads, aren=t being handled as well as they should be. Annie, for instance, slides back to her old ways just when you think she is about to show growth. And Beth still lacks the courage and control (or even the smarts to outwit Rio) that she should have had by now.

That=s not to say that the season has been an irredeemable mess altogether. Its premise, despite being derivative, remains compelling. We are invested in the tale of these complicated women who seem to want to do what=s best but often choose to dive deeper into trouble. The drama is still dark and tense, and often makes for entertaining, if frustrating, viewing. Hendricks is still terrific as the ringleader, and Montana and his smirk are still perfect.

Good Girls, in short, has a lot going in its favour, which is why it=s easy to see how much better the series can be. We have had two solid seasons, but the dramedy now seems unwilling to take the risks that are necessary to move the story forward. The show has a good cast and setup; it just needs better writers to tap into its potential and shake things up. It=s time for the ladies to either face the music or call it a day.

Rating system:  ★ Not on your life ★ ½ If you really must waste your time ★ ★ ★ Hardly worth the bother ★ ★ ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only ★ ★ ★ Good enough for a look see ★ ★ ★ ½ Recommended viewing ★ ★ ★ ★ Don’t miss it ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Almost perfect ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Perfection

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