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Performers of The Month - Readers’ Choice Most Outstanding Performer of March - Christina Hendricks

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This article was written by Ellys Cartin, Eve, Laura W, and Marko Pekic. The article was edited by Donna Cromeans (DJRiter). Prepared for publishing by Aimee Hicks.

The most enthralling antihero of our time is Christina Hendricks's Elizabeth "Beth" Boland. As with all the show’s heroines, she is far more than just one of the titularGood Girls. Hendricks is lightning in a bottle; no matter how calm her demeanor, you never forget how much power is simmering below her poise. You simply cannot look away from the screen. Every patient smile cloaks her character's equally angry and brilliant mind, and Hendricks exudes thrilling power with her portrayal of a woman who simply won’t allow herself to stay trapped in any situation. In Frere Jacques (3x6), Beth handles the fallout of a horrific crime that nearly pushes her to her breaking point, and Hendricks delivers chills in every heartbreaking, tense second. For her performance in this episode, our readers voted Hendricks as SpoilerTV Readers’ Choice March Performer of the Month.

Continue reading below to find out our thoughts on the episode. After reading, please leave your own thoughts in the comments.

Christina Hendricks has often been nominated for Performer of the Month. What is one of your favorite performances of hers from any episode of Good Girls?

Ellys: It is absolutely thrilling to rewatch Good Girls and see how the characters have evolved, especially Beth. A View from the Top (1x6), is one of my favorite performances of Hendricks. In that episode, we see Beth truly savoring her new power for the first time, which leads to not one but two marvelous confrontation scenes. Hendricks has Beth just floating with this giddy energy as she gets to use her creative smarts for evil/questionable entrepreneurial ventures. That’s also the episode where she triumphantly tells Dean (Matthew Lillard) that she’s no longer living to cook him dinner in a scene where Hendricks perfectly balances Beth’s enthusiasm and relief.

Eve: By the season finale of Good Girls Season 2, Beth is desperate for a way to get rid of Rio (Manny Montana). After Rio kidnaps both her and Turner (James Lesure), he gives her a gun to kill the agent so that it will all be done with. Instead, she turns the gun on Rio, and shoots him twice in the chest. The distress Beth had then really showcased Hendricks’ talent. Nobody cries as well as she does, running mascara and all.

Laura: My favorite performance from Hendricks had to be from the Season 2 finale, King. Her range was insane in this episode, with the end really sealing the deal. Watching her think she killed someone, and acting it to a T, was something not many actors can do.

Marko: Gosh, there are so many. I will go with a recent one, where she showed Rio how she makes the fake money. What Hendricks brings to this role week in week out is that perfect balance between being this fragile woman and badass boss, and she does it like anyone else. And just a couple of weeks she was so present in that scene while being scared and damaged but still prevailing showing off how powerful she is despite everything going on within her.

In this episode, we see Hendricks’ character, Beth Boland, in a series of typical situations where she just barely manages to keep her head above water. To what extent does Hendricks create the show’s signature suspense, and what particular scenes of that nature in this episode stood out to you?

Ellys: There’s a certain energy that Hendricks brings to even the smallest details of her performance that connotes the deliberate, careful choices that Beth is constantly making. Earlier this season, she carries a tray of lemonade, and if you only watched those few seconds you could tell right away that she’s scheming, because there’s purpose in her body language. She can pack an enormous amount of intensity into a single line. The moment in this episode where she tells Rio that Max (WesamKeesh) got over Lucy has a scrumptious bitterness and malice to it that goes by in the blink of an eye.

Eve: Beth meets with Rio and his bearded associate. She tells him he didn’t have to kill Lucy, but he disagrees. “It’s just business, darling,” he says. We see Hendricks shine as Beth gets angry with Rio which always brings some suspense as we don’t know how Rio will react and what he will tolerate. Rio demands to know Max’s address, but Beth refuses to tell him.

Laura: Hendricks always seems to know just when the episode needs a drawn-out word or an eye tick that indicates there’s more to be seen later. The best scene to show this from this episode I think is when Beth is telling Rio about how Max has decided to call the cops. Her waiting for him to speak and realizing he isn’t going to, and then ragging on him for his bad business. She’s reckless in times when she should be the most scared, and I think that adds more to the suspense of it.

Marko: Gosh, there are so many. I will go with a recent one, where she showed Rio how she makes the fake money. What Hendricks brings to this role week in week out is that perfect balance between being this fragile woman and badass boss, and she does it like no one else. She was so present in that scene while being scared and damaged but still prevailing showing off how powerful she is despite everything going on within her.

The halfway point of this episode shows a particularly vulnerable moment for Beth. What were your reactions to that scene?

Ellys: Another reason that Good Girls continues to be such superb, addictive television is that it never takes its dark humor too far. The characters constantly reckon with the consequences of their own actions and the actions of others. The lines of responsibility sometimes blur, but the toll the wrongdoing takes is always vividly present. Hendricks’s fierce reaction to Dorito(Lucy’s bird)’s illness, her declaration that she will rob every bank in the city if necessary to finance his recovery. We know the deeper motivation behind the bitterly funny moment, but it also earns a sob because of the heartrending sincerity Henricks plays the scene with. Her subsequent tearful breakdown in Dean’s arms packs a gut punch because this is a character who more often than not keeps calm and carries on. The fact that she’s been this impacted creates an uncertainty regarding what will happen next, because Hendricks doesn’t leave any room for doubt that Beth won’t be able to carry on as she has in the past.

Eve: My choice would be when Beth says, “Dorito can’t die” and goes into a desperate and tearful monologue about what she would do to figuratively speaking hold her head above water. You can see her guilt about Lucy’s death coming to a boiling point.

Laura: I was fully crying! Seeing Beth crying always makes me upset, but especially in this episode, when she can’t tell Dean why she’s upset, and she doesn’t feel like she can talk to the other girls about how she’s really feeling. It was interesting to see her vulnerable for a change, but I’m hoping the next time we see that it’ll be for a happier moment.

Marko: Beth having to clean up Lucy (Charlene Yi)’s face so the face ID would work was extremely hard to watch. Kudos to the three leading ladies (Hendricks, Mae Whitman, Retta) as they did amazing work. Beth didn`t think about what she was doing, she only thought about what she must do so her, her family and friends would be safe tomorrow. I admired her strength while I was completely disgusted within.

Good Girls features some of TV’s best casting with its leading and supporting players. Which of Hendricks’s many scenes with her costars in this episode was your favorite and why?

Ellys: Her scene with Keesh is phenomenal. It’s a dual performance on Hendricks’s part. Her voice and eyes are telling two completely different stories. You can feel Beth hoping that Max will subconsciously pick up on the truth and stop searching for answers. And there’s that lovely bittersweet note where she hesitates before accepting the extra yogurt from Max and the resigned full-body sigh when she does take it, as if it’s just one more way she’s wronging him.

Eve: The last scene with Rio really showed that determined side of Beth. It also illustrated the power of Hendricks’ performance with the way she showed how Beth can really ‘flip a switch’ regarding her behavior. When Rio asks how Lucy’s boyfriend is doing, she coldly responds: “He got over it”.

Laura: My favorite from this episode was her scene with Retta and Whitman in the cemetery as they’re digging up Lucy’s body. The way they all bounce off each other is amazing, they have such phenomenal chemistry together and this scene is no exception. These ladies work well together because they all bring a different element to the scenes, and it works every time.

Marko: I appreciate the simple scenes this show features, so I was impressed by the three friends trying to unlock Lucy`s phone. This scene just showed how damaged all of them are and how they coup with Lucy`s death. They’ve been there for each other but were still talking past each other, just like real-life people do in stressful situations. That is, in general, the strength of the show, while all their adventures look silly and unimaginable, they keep their friendship at the core and those scenes are the pillars on which the show stands ground.

Why is Hendricks’s performance in this episode a fan favorite?

Ellys: There’s something about Beth, as Hendricks portrays her, that almost anyone can relate to. Beth is in the predicaments she’s in because she was stifled for so long in roles that didn’t allow her to access her full potential. Viewers root for her because her motivations are, at heart, what everyone wants: to have enough, to be enough, and to take back control of what is hers. In this episode, there is a dark shadow of loss threatening everything that Beth has fought for, and we watch her fight her own way through it, trying to protect everyone around her. And in the final moments of the episode, Hendricks shows us that Beth’s defiant spirit is still alive and well, and it’s the best feeling in the world to see that she is once taking back her power.

Eve: Hendricks’ performance really displays Beth’s duality. Her guilt for the death of Lucy, who considered her a friend and her determination to survive and thrive in this money laundering business.

Laura: Beth always takes the lead with the girls, but she really makes her position known in this episode when she pretty much orchestrates everything. She’s always been a great leader, but this episode really shows how in this she really is and how much she’s willing to do/go through for it.

Marko: I probably sound like a broken record at this point but it is all about the balance that the writing and Hendricks’ performance brought to this role. She was vulnerable, under shock, brave, strong, resourceful, smart and powerful. It was a well-layered strong performance and she was on top of her game with each scene. I just admire the work Hendricks does with her words, body posture, facial expressions and eyes and I think the viewers appreciate that just as much.

What are your final thoughts on her winning this recognition?

Ellys: Beth Boland has said on Good Girls that people don’t know what she’s capable of, yet viewers do know that she’s always capable of more, thanks to Hendricks’ performance. In a show filled with uncertainty, the biggest wild card is always Beth herself, and her cunning ingenuity makes every episode its own adventure.

Eve: Hendricks carries this show. She has extraordinarily strong supporting cast, but her portrayal of Beth is the glue that holds this group together and makes it shine.

Laura: I’m so happy for her. Hendricks deserves it fully and especially for this episode. I know she will continue to be wonderful in what she does as Beth, but she really went above and beyond in this episode and I’m so glad she’s getting recognition for it.

Marko: Long overdue. Isn’t it? The performance of the Good Girls cast should be more critically acclaimed and talked about more. The work the writers and cast, especially Hendricks and Retta, bring to each outing should be more widely recognized. I applaud our readers for recognizing it.

Christina Hendricks has given us one of TV’s greatest protagonists in Beth Boland, raising the bar so high that almost no one can reach it, except Hendricks herself; and she raises it higher and higher each season. Her being chosen as SpoilerTV Readers' Choice Performer of the Month for March is testament to that. While we have discussed many of our reasons as to why she deserved the honor we could not touch on them all.

Please use the comments to discuss all your favorite parts of Christina Hendricks’s performance in Frere Jacques.

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