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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Why Women Kill’s Rita gets what’s coming to her, while Alma evades detection (for now)

The plot thickens on Why Women Kill as Alma’s machinations land Rita in prison

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Photo: Nicole Wilder/ Paramount+

As things heat up on Why Women Kill, this week the fallout from Carlo’s death leads to a number of explosive revelations: Isabel on the lam, Alma and Bertram on the outs, and best of all, Rita in prison, where her glamorous loungewear is a now just a faint memory while she’s forced to sport prison blues.

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WWK’s tightly wound little cesspool of deceit pays off the longer the series goes on, as we get closer to what will (hopefully) be a climactic ending to season two. Alma’s transformation continues to dazzle, as Allison Tolman is so winning as the now-glamorous Alma, with mere glimmers of the dowdy housewife she used to be. She can fall back into her original persona easily enough with Grace, who still sees her as a paragon of virtue. But in Alma’s showdown with Bertram, when she tries to rationalize her nefarious deeds by claiming they’re on a similar level to his, Alma seems downright unhinged, so much so that even Bertram exclaims that she’s lost her mind.

It would have been nice to see more of what precipitated Alma’s dramatic change: Could all those evenings peering in from the outside at the garden club actually develop such a drastic shift in mindset? But Tolman’s performance is so off-the-wall enjoyable, I am willing to let it slide.

Along those same lines, Lana Parrilla is nailing the role of a woman who is guilty of many, many heinous acts, but not the main one she’s being accused of. Rita’s desperate pleas from prison only help to stoke the mystery inherent in Why Women Kill’s upcoming final three episodes: Will Vern uncover the truth? And if so, can anyone even fathom what Rita’s subsequent revenge on Alma would be?

After all, as predicted, Alma’s visage shows up in one of Vern’s blackmail photos, which have now fallen into the conniving hands of Isabel. Undoubtedly, she will do whatever it takes to prove that her cousin/employer is innocent, which puts Vern in an impossible position with his about-to-be in-laws. Although he is excessively crafty, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he winds up being Alma’s saving grace. On the other hand, while this show is no stranger to letting its heroines get away with murder, it seems like Alma (not to mention Bertram) are due for a major comeuppance?

Rita seems to get hers this episode, and the results are delicious, forced to try to get actual help from the clueless Scooter, abandoned by Isabel, stripped of all her power, with only Vern to turn to. Unsurprisingly, as a good detective, Vern knows when someone is telling the truth, which is bad news for Alma and Bertram. Even though this season lacks the multiple-decade intrigue of three separate timelines, you have to respect the compellingly twisty plot. Jack Davenport keeps dropping (intentionally vague) hints, but with only three episodes left to go, it’s anyone’s guess where Why Women Kill’s battling female titans will end up.

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Stray observations

  • Alma’s whole bathroom gossiping session with Mavis was an episodic standout. This got an actual LOL out of me: “Rita’s been arrested.” “For what? Drunk driving?” Also Tolman’s delivery on “She was just so… drunk” was epic.
  • Favorite frocks: These ladies are like an ad campaign for the ethereal effect of wearing jewel tones. Particularly Alma’s amethyst-toned suit (again with matching hat!) which stood out so nicely against the pink blooms in her garden, and Rita’s sumptuous sapphire robe, sadly probably the last glam outfit we’ll see her in for a while.
  • Catherine + Scooter = meh
  • Alma’s suggestions that Vern drive a taxi or work in a factory were pretty condescending, considering that the man currently runs his own business. Especially since he will be supporting her daughter and future grandchild, what kind of future would her daughter be subjected to if Vern wound up taking her advice?
  • Still not buying the Dee and Vern romance, which is becoming a tough thing to get over, especially since it features so prominently this episode.
  • One development from last week, continued this week, is that Alma no longer works in the garden that once brought her so much happiness, and has other people do it for her, like the ladies in the garden club.
  • The closer Allison Tolman and B.K. Cannon get in their scenes, the less they seem like mother-daughter and more like actual contemporaries.
  • Next week: Alma gets some good news, but how long can her happiness last?
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