How Good Girls Portrayed Entitlement, Victimhood, and Selective Accountability

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"You wanna be the king you gotta kill the king. This stuff's medieval, darling."

At the end of Good Girls Season 1 Episode 10, Beth thought she could accomplish that, but as we suspected, she was unable to do it on Good Girls Season 2 Episode 1.

However, she took those words to heart and pumped three bullets into Rio's chest during Good Girls Season 2 Episode 13.

Locked In - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 13

She dethroned the king (or so she believes) and took her reign as queen. But did she earn it or even deserve it?

Good Girls is a fun, addictive series, but who says you can't engage in some critical analysis? I'll try to avoid using too many pesky buzzwords.

Related: Good Girls Season 2 Episode 13 Review: King

The second season finale brought the series full circle. The intention was to show how Beth evolved from a woman who got in over her head and couldn't pull the trigger to a "Boss Bitch" declaring her independence by killing the king to become him. It was an act of Beth exerting her agency and freeing herself.

Dazed & Confused - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 10

But did she though?

Because a "Boss Bitch" and a Queen at least owns her shit, and unfortunately, even as she smiled happily about Rio being "gone," and gleefully proposed another bout of crime to her exhausted and trepidatious sister and BFF, Beth never did.

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Instead, with a stunning lack of self-awareness, her final moments with Rio -- before she shot him multiple times -- had her laying all the blame on him for ruining her life. When for two seasons we saw that Beth Boland is her own worst enemy.

Beth Has a Gun

Beth somehow walked away this season convinced that she was Rio's victim. It's possible Rio played her, but the truth is they played one another. They were in a constant game of cat and mouse, and both of them got off on it.

Beth Boland is no victim. It's disturbing yet all too familiar to suggest otherwise.

Beth got a taste of the criminal life, and she liked it. She became addicted and didn't want to stop. Rio was done with the girls once they paid their debt. It was Beth who left a string of pearls as a calling card to gain his attention.

Beth Ponders - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 1

She wanted more opportunities to work for him. Beth wanted a role in his operation and proposed new methods of washing his cash. Beth bit off more than she could chew and dragged Ruby and Annie along with her.

Beth inserted herself into Rio's operation in search of a high. To his credit, he turned her away more than once. Rio doing so is what led to her orchestrating a plan to "get him before he could get her."

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How quickly Beth assumed the absolute worst of Rio from a "Go home, Elizabeth." She thought it was a veiled threat rather than a conclusion, and in a move that was laughable in its realism, she overreacted and sicced the authorities on him.

Picnic Table Meet Up - Tall - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 8

It was a turning point in their relationship, but it still worked out better for her than it should've. She escaped alive, and they renewed their business arrangement.

We're led to believe Rio set Beth up this entire time (despite his grooming her), and it wouldn't be a surprise if he was, but it doesn't make her a victim.

Beth: I did something.
Ruby: I literally get hives every time you say that.

If he did arrange it so that everything was in her name and she took the fall, wouldn't it be recompense? She betrayed him first when she arranged for his arrest. If he covered his bases, can you blame him? It's not as if Beth didn't prove to be a liability often.

Snack Time - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 7

She literally asked for the keys to the kingdom. He gave her what she asked for, and if she got bit after hurling herself into the lion's den over and over again, how does that make her a victim?

It's a classic tale of the scorpion and the swan where Beth gets upset at Rio for doing what he was designed to do. He was always upfront about who he was. "I trusted you," she said. "That's your fault."

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What was most interesting about the relationship between Beth and Rio was the control she did have. She initiated most of their interactions, opportunities, their sex, and their breakups.

Beth & Rio - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 6

When she wanted out, she got out, and then went back and forth between deciding if she was or wasn't in the game.

Her issue with Rio was she didn't feel he helped her enough. It wasn't that Rio saw more in her than her husband or recognized her talents. It wasn't enough that he encouraged her and groomed her abilities. It wasn't enough that he knew her better than most.

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Beth, who somewhere along the way decided after a few months of walking on the wild side that she deserved the title of Rio's equal, grew upset when he didn't bend over backward to clean her messes.

Angry Rio - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 6

She was tired of cleaning up after everyone else all the time. Fair enough, but how exactly did the onus of being a reliable caretaker to give her a break fall on her gang friend? Why was Rio expected to do something for Beth she didn't demand of others? And when he didn't do it to her liking, it was a betrayal.

Let's be real, Beth and the girls made a hell of a lot of messes. They cost him a lot too, but the implications that he never helped her were off base. He didn't help her as much as she would've liked or how she liked, but he has helped her.

Rio: So, listen, I wish I could help.
Beth: You could. You choose not to.
Rio: Ah, don't be like that, Elizabeth.

Beth's oversight when it came to Rio is that she mistook his silence for inaction. She often assumed he wasn't doing anything because of his lack of communication.

Rio saw she wanted to be a Boss, so he let her flail in the deep end to learn how to be one. If she wanted to be an equal or a queen she had to prove it; but when he said it as much, she shied away.

Leaning Back - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 13

Being the queen meant getting her hands dirty, and Beth still doesn't understand that part. He advised her to get rid of her rotten eggs; he tried to teach her how to resolve her problems.

Turner's investigation is a result of Beth's inability to solve her problems. She preferred to call Rio in search of help. Beth spent most of the season calling Rio to help her clean up her messes and getting upset when he didn't.

Beth didn't shoot Rio because she was some victim; she shot him because he was someone who held her accountable for her actions.

Stressed Beth - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 4

Beth claimed Rio, not Turner -- who despite being saved still intends to come after her -- was the problem. However, Beth is the problem.

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Beth wanted a criminal enterprise Rio built, but she wanted to skip the bloody, dirty work to get it. She was entitled to what he achieved despite barely getting her feet wet in the illicit activities.

Sizing Them Up - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 4

She wanted the keys to the kingdom, but none of the risks, work, or repercussions. It was an interesting having Beth assert herself as a victim and some cog in Rio's machine.

She used it as a cloak to justify her actions of taking him down, and then Columbused his empire she convinced herself she deserved. It wasn't that she was wrong about Rio manipulating her, but she was wrong for pretending she didn't do the same.

You put it on me. You put everything on me ... the money... You put it all on me, so it's never on you.

Beth made all of these boss moves to which everyone in her life she cared about suffered and then catered to the problematic narrative that she was some naive, Stepford wife manipulated by the gang leader.

Thinking Things Over - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 6

She hid behind victimhood comfortably because people like Dean felt all of her issues were of Rio's doing. And the finale leaned into that in a very frustrating manner. It's not about Brio 'shipping or delusions that Rio was some saint.

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We always knew who and what Rio was in this series. He's a charming, criminal mastermind and no amount of batting his bedroom eyes or tucking her hair out of her face changed that. Their relationship while intoxicating was also toxic.

Good Girls - Brio

However, his particular character -- who happened to be one of the most magnetic and dynamic, whose portrayal was nuanced and compelling despite the limited screentime in comparison to the others -- shifted to a one-dimensional trope in the twilight hour with inadequate build up to support it.

The problem with leaving too much open to interpretation is how it can be perceived differently than planned. Rio wasn't fleshed out more, so his motivations remain unclear.

Beth: I trusted you.
Rio: That's your fault.

They muddled the execution to make a character who was an antagonist/adversary/ally to Beth and the girls and locked him in as a one-dimensional villain. They discarded everything we saw beforehand that suggested he was far more complicated than that.

And then they stripped Beth of her agency by claiming Rio did everything, centered her as a victim, and made her shoot the person who had the gall to hold her accountable for her actions, missteps, feelings and more.

Beth couldn't pull the trigger to kill the man who attempted to rape her sister, assaulted and abused Mary Pat, and threatened them.

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She also couldn't pull the trigger on Mary Pat who manipulated and exploited them, nor her scummy husband who wronged her repeatedly, or the agent who tirelessly was and still is coming after her. However, she shot the man she chose to make her mentor three times.

Beth: You're right.
Dean: About what?
Beth: I can't quit.
Dean: Why?
Beth: It feels good to be really good at something.

She didn't want to take Boomer away from his casually racist grandmother he robbed. She didn't want to take an unstable Mary Pat away from her children. She didn't want to kill an agent doing his job nor the man she spent most of her life with because of their kids. However, she suddenly had no qualms about taking Rio away from his son.

Fully Loaded - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 3

And it's not to say Rio wasn't due his comeuppance. By no means is he a good guy.

Rio couldn't have done or said anything to make Beth abruptly blaming him less jarring. She "killed" him, and then she retreated to her suburban home to slip into the comforting arms of her louse of a husband when she decided she was done slumming it.

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Rio drowning in his blood after Beth absolved herself by blaming him was something else. That's before you factor in the law enforcement officer taunting and negotiating with him before calling for help.

Rio is Shocked

No, Rio wasn't a good guy, but he also didn't deserve the provocative and tone-deaf imagery of his "death." Rio's brutal and gruesome takedown (and abrupt character assassination for plot convenience) probably wouldn't have many fans outraged if any of the other characters faced repercussions for their actions.

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So far, he's the only one who has though, and when he played an antagonist more than a one-note villain, it's harder to swallow that he's the only one who faced this. His character was abruptly turned on a dime at the end of the season while we're told to believe he was this way the entire time, while Dean and Boomer got redemptive arcs.

Whether you 'shipped it or not, what was appealing about Beth and Rio versus her and Dean was Rio saw her for who she was and her potential. He treated her like an equal and in his way did respect and listen to her.

He viewed her as more than a housewife and saw how smart she was. Despite our impression from the ending, he relented and submitted to her power and control more than once.

Meanwhile, Dean received a redemption arc he never earned. They softened his edit to the doting, dedicated father he wasn't before, and the responsible adult and voice of reason.

Not Amused - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 5

Dean never answered for manipulating Beth in the most egregious way pretending he had cancer. It went unaddressed all season. Also, Beth discovered via his former mistress that Dean was a serial cheater.

He lied about the number of affairs he had and never owned up to them until after Beth confronted him. His infidelity was given nuance to make Dean sympathetic. He explained it away by claiming Beth made him feel inadequate and deprived him of intimacy when she was battling postpartum depression, which was gross.

The stupid thing is, I can't live without her.

Dean

He spent more time failing epically at providing for his family but blaming Beth for turning to a life a crime she only got into in the first place because of how he botched their finances.

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He implied the mother of four was a bad mom despite her spending a decade raising them with little help by him, and yet they somehow fell into a comfortable friendship and partnership that he never earned despite him refusing to acknowledge his shortcomings at least not without assigning blame.

Family Time - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 7

Of course, there is also Boomer who clocks in as the most despicable, loathsome, trashiest character of the series. He's an unapologetic misogynist, but it's often played up for comic relief.

He was aware and participated in the illegal activities at the store. He blackmailed the girls often. He almost raped Annie in exchange for his silence. He manipulated, emotionally, and sexually abused Mary Pat.

Beth: Am I the only one who doesn't want to do this?
Ruby: No.
Annie: He's a racist.
Beth: He's a person.
Annie: Who rapes.
Ruby: Oh God. I can't have this conversation, I'm going to be sick.

The worst part is Turner knew this, but he couldn't be bothered with those particulars as long as Boomer helped him take down Beth. Boomer was happy to ignore Mary Pat running him over with her car and leaving him for dead in favor of disappearing and having his murder pinned on Beth and the girls.

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Marion was happy to protect her grandson who stole from her, lied, cheated, abused and raped (all things she knew about) which was a lifelong pattern for him; but it's chilling to know if Marion didn't have a come to Jesus moment of guilt, Boomer would carry on with his disgusting life with zero consequences, again.

Donuts For One - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 2

And based on how things ended, he still may not face any. Mary Pat was also OK letting Boomer take off while the girls went down for his murder. She even set it up for them by having them dispose of her husband's body under the guise of it being Boomer.

Mary Pat became a victim; however, she had the privilege of being viewed as one before it was applicable. The girls used her, but she quickly turned the tables back on them. Instead of turning them in, she exploited them for her gain -- making her as guilty as they are.

Mary Pat

She showed multiple times through her manipulation, prowess, and a multitude of questionable actions and quick thinking that she isn't some moldable, naive single mom.

Once again, it's how Turner treated her. He treated her like an easily influenced, desperate single mom no matter what she did, and absolved her of her sins while making her a victim upon forcing her to stick with Boomer.

Ruby: She chopped up her husband into tiny little pieces and stored him like a tv dinner. Then ran over her boyfriend. She's a Dateline story. She is crazy. She's a ---
Annie: She's a victim. Boomer raped her.

She escaped the season with no real consequences or legal ramifications for the majority of her actions. She was sympathetic no matter what she did; Turner handled Mary Pat with kid gloves despite her proving how much she could handle.

Unimpressed Annie - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 5

It was almost as similar to the situation with Noah and Annie. Annie embraced their illicit activities with zeal. She was also the weakest link in regards to putting them in jeopardy. She was the least hesitant about jumping into a life of crime, and her moral code was the most skewed of them all.

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However, Noah exploited Annie's desperation for companionship and love, and it worked in her favor. Noah saw a struggling poor single mom who did what she did because of her sister and desperation.

Noah At Work - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 10

He saw a girl who deserved a pass and given the benefit of the doubt. In the meantime, Noah violated the rules by sleeping with and falling for Annie, tanked their investigation, tampered with evidence, and deceived Annie and the FBI.

In turn, he maybe earned a relocation to Arizona to be with the kid Annie didn't know he had. He dodged substantial consequences.

But while Annie did catch some emotional hell, her experience was a stark contrast to everything Ruby and the Hills endured. Annie confided in an undercover FBI agent mere days after meeting him, and it was a minor annoyance.

Hearty Laughter - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 13

Ruby and Stan were getting squeezed by Turner. Their life got upended, and they came the closest to prison time with Stan's dream of being a cop shattered as he was arrested and locked away for his minimal role in everything.

Every player in this web of criminal misdeeds and Stan whose connection was flimsy at best is only one hauled to jail.

Despite all of that and Turner's harassment of the Hills that went beyond standard procedure during an investigation, Beth was so betrayed by Ruby even considering putting her family first that she stopped speaking to her.

Ruby Thinks - Tall - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 9

Annie barely got an eye roll over telling an FBI agent she was sleeping with about what they were doing, but Beth reminded Ruby of how they're family when it's beneficial. Otherwise, she's more disposable than either of them if she considers making a mistake that hurts them.

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The sisterhood on this show is a highlight, but it also isn't without its flaws.

Compared to Annie's experience where she was barely viewed as a threat or legit contender to take down her sister, the Hills went through hell feeling real pressure for their actions and their lives and family irrevocably torn apart.

There For Each Other - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 8

Ruby and Stan barely survived the ordeal. How they got manipulated into turning on Beth was drastically different than Annie, Boomer, or Mary Pat.

Despite Turner reassuring them how he knew they were good people, his position was unmistakable. He would continue to ruin them, no sympathy if he could not get them to flip on Beth.

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He proved it all season that while his game with Beth was one of cat and mouse as he worked towards building an investigation against her, the Hills faced the brunt of the ugliness. They were not extended the kid gloves and coddling that Annie and Mary Pat received, nor did they get the wiggle room Boomer received.

Happy Couple - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 11

Turner was doing his job, albeit playing fast and loose in his dogged pursuit of Beth. But it was fascinating how by the end of the finale that he had something of substance to go on and reason to haul her in, but then spared her with a caveat.

He knows she won't stop, which is why he made an effort to get Rio under his thumb during the grotesque "death" scene.

And it's curious how the arrangement between the two men will unfold. Despite three bullets to the torso and Rio laughing and choking on his blood, it's still plausible he'll live.

Agent Turner Makes A Collar - Tall - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 8

It'll make for juicy drama, and it would be a shame to lose Manny Montana's spectacular performances. The man can work wonders with his limited screentime; it's why most of the fandom is in their feelings about the ending.

Rio remains a mystery and one with untapped potential. We were led to believe he had some pull in high places based on how he evaded racketeering charges and his country club tennis meetings with an esteemed attorney.

Why tease any of that if it's not relevant, right? Nevermind the limitless potential of a scorned king coming to reclaim the throne.

Stakeout - Tall - Good Girls Season 1 Episode 8

The funny thing is, now it's more muddled than ever in regards to who we're supposed to root for on the series. The series is titled Good Girls. We're meant to view these women as inherently good, and we're meant to root for them.

And maybe that's why Beth had to frame herself as Rio's victim in this narrative to maintain some semblance of "goodness," but what was meant to be an act of empowerment instead came across as one of entitlement and perpetual victimhood.

Beth: My daughter needed something in the car.
Rio: Who cares?
Beth: I do! I'm a mother!
Rio: You're a drug dealer! You move pills and you wash cash, that's what you do. That's who you are. And if you mess up at that, you go to jail or you die. Get your head straight.

She indulged in his life of crime and him-- she tried him on for size before casting him aside and taking the vestiges of what he taught her -- acquired it, hell, appropriated it as her own.

It's not that she turned on him. Rio chose this life too and knew the effects of it and the price he could pay. He knew it, owned it, and accepted it.

Afternoon Cocktail - Tall - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 9

It's that in a sea of characters ranging from morally gray to morally reprehensible, we're supposed to believe he is the only one who deserved his potential ending. He's the only one who faced consequences, and at the expense of Beth owning her actions.

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It would be much stronger if the series embraced that Beth is an anti-heroine. If she wanted to be queen so badly, then show us how ruthless she is and why she deserved it. Let her embrace her darkness as something of her own volition.

Good Girls - Rio

It would've been much better than rearranging the narrative during the witching hour. The series contradicted what we saw to suggest Rio was playing her the entire time.

The finale randomly made Rio kidnap her when he could've called her, and she would've come, and then made Beth snap by claiming he alone was her only problem and responsible for all the things wrong with her life.

We can totally do this without him.

Beth

The finale was ambiguous enough to leave some fans wondering if Beth shooting Rio was part of a plan they concocted. Their final conversation was cryptic, and it could've had a double meaning. What were we to make of "just like we practiced?"

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Are we supposed to forget there was a camera in the apartment where Beth shot Rio and saved Turner? Who taught or told Beth how to make the funny money? Rio moving was too coincidental. Is there a reason their final conversation was loaded and also had callbacks to previous conversations we saw and other things we didn't? 

Car Meeting - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 12

Yeah, there is enough there to make the wheels turn, but if none of that is the case and this is how it played out, it's interesting.

The second season finale was titled "King," so it was no surprise something like this would happen. Beth dethroning Rio was an inevitability, and no matter how appealing their toxic, unhealthy relationship was to most, there was never any longevity in it -- no happily ever after.

Their criminal game is medieval after all, but is Beth ready to be queen? Doubtful.

Striking A Pose - Good Girls Season 2 Episode 5

She barely kept it together being thrown into the deep end; she's still green, and her girls have been put through the wringer and likely want no parts or it. But Beth really, really wanted it, so here we are.

It was a controversial finale, but no doubt it set up for an interesting third season. I can't wait to see how it plays out. How about you?

What are your thoughts, theories, and sentiments about that shocking finale and the future of Good Girls? Hit the comments.

You can watch Good Girls online here via TV Fanatic!

Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Good Girls Quotes

You're like a Stepford mom without a pulse.

Annie [to Beth]

Ruby: So when you wanna do this?
Annie: Well I already bought three automatics and filed off the serial numbers. So, really, name a day.