There’s an interesting through line in this week’s Why Women Kill, and it can be summed up in Alma’s efforts to transform her home from a cozy but drab house into one worthy of envy: the gaping difference between who you are and who you yearn to be. It’s an important distinction not just for the characters here but honestly, for a lot of people—but a recognition between Rita and Alma that they’re both searching leads to a surprising connection between the pair.
Rita, after all, is on thin ice, as Vern points out: She not in love with her husband , and the guy she thought she was in love with didn’t really pan out. “The real thing can’t be bought,” Vern wisely notes, but what does that mean for someone like Rita, who feels that her looks have faded and money is all she has to offer? Meanwhile, she’s living with Catherine, who poses a threat to her financial security. I have no doubt that the tryst with Scooter will develop as planned—both to move the plot along and because he has no other options—but as she did on Once Upon A Time, Lana Parrilla has an effective way of drawing sympathy for even the most heinous surface characters. Jack Davenport’s narration did a nice job of explaining Rita’s fleeting envy of Alma’s simple little life—but what will she do about the recently uncovered Dee connection?
Alma, on the other hand, seems just about ready to toss that simple little life of hers. It’s noteworthy that her giant dreams don’t involve actual Paris but just the ladies’ garden club, where she quickly learns that the best way to fit in is not to go all catty, but just to give a chatty member out of earshot a light dusting. Allison Tolman is such a wonderful performer that we can actually spot signs of potential Alma diva-ness emerging from her dowdy housewife exterior.
Parrilla and Tolman are so exemplary, in fact, that the rest of the plot threads can’t help but fade by comparison. Dee establishing herself as Vern’s “girl” popped up way too quickly, and the only reason for them to be together seems to be proximity. I’m all for fleshing Vern out more as a character, spotting him on more stakeouts that don’t happen to involve Scooter, but Dee should also be known for more than whatever guy she’s hooked on at the moment. And I don’t know if it was the delivery or the clunky dialogue, but Dee’s “You were having fun; I was falling in love” comment to Scooter didn’t really land.
Slightly more effective is the way Bertram so immediately perked up when another possible victim wandered right into his orbit. Yes, what he’s doing is absolutely criminal, but it’s easy to spy why he feel compelled to do so, to put creatures he views as trapped in endless suffering out of their misery.
Next week marks the halfway point of the season, though, and we’re really not getting anywhere: Almost the entirety of this episode was taking up by a club meeting and a lunch date. Mrs. Yost’s body popping up in Alma’s garden will always be ghoulishly humorous. And, as predicted, because Alma and Bertram are amateur criminals, they’re going to miss vital clue-dropping, like Bertram’s footprint in the mud. But the plot seems to moving at a glacial pace, so that the possibly resolutions of Bertram’s crimes, Mrs. Yost’s disappearance, and Alma’s social climbing apparently still have a long way to go.
- I know Scooter is supposed to be a bad actor, but I feel like the guy playing him isn’t even a good actor.
- Help me: Dee already knew that Scooter was sleeping with another woman, right? So sure he lied about that one night, but I don’t know why she’s so pissed.
- Why wouldn’t Alma tell Bertram about the footprint reveal? Seems pretty damning for their plan.
- I don’t know, I thought the garden party ladies were pretty fun with their singalong. Would like to see some more backstory on Joan and Grace.
- What’s with all the menopause talk? And the “fat girl” comments stick out as offensive.
- Favorite frock: That green print dress Alma wore to the impromptu garden club meeting. With matching green necklace and shoes!
- Next week: Rita plots revenge, and Bertram tries to defeat his old habits.