Why Women Kill, starring Once Upon A Time‘s Ginnifer Goodwin, Elementary‘s Lucy Liu, and The Good Place‘s Kirby Howell-Baptiste, tells the story of three women in three time periods driven to murder.
Honestly, I should stop being surprised by the quality of TV shows on CBS All Access. Just under a year ago, I declared Tell Me A Story, which returns shortly for season 2, was the best new show of 2018. While I wouldn’t quite go that far for Why Women Kill, I will declare it to be the best summer show of 2019, even though it premiered mid-August and still has half of its 10-episode run left.
(There will be minor spoilers ahead!)
The leading ladies
I mean, you can’t really have three powerful and talented leading a series without expecting a lot from it. And Why Women Kill delivers. While Liu and Howell-Baptiste are a staple on TV (like, can they be on any more shows?), this marks Ginnifer Goodwin’s return from post-Once Upon A Time world.
During the later seasons of OUAT, Goodwin’s talent was, clearly, quite wasted. Snow White kind of faded to the background, becoming the secondary love interest to Charming everyone always claimed she would never be. On Why Women Kill, her talents are used to the fullest capacity as Beth Ann, a housewife in the ’60s with a cheating husband, has slowly become my favorite of the three.
Lucy Liu is, as always, incredible. Her performance as Simone, a woman in the ’80s with plenty of riches, is impeccable. She’s probably the most complicated of these characters due to her high attention to detail and the pressure she puts on herself to keep up her appearance, in order to keep her reputation clear and not jeopardize her social class. Simone is probably the most entertaining, character-wise, of the bunch. Story-wise not so much, but we’ll get to that later.
And, lastly, Kirby Howell-Baptiste is finally getting the time on-screen that she deserves. I’ve only ever watched her on The Good Place, Killing Eve, and Veronica Mars, and she definitely has never had enough time to explore the depths of her obvious talent. She plays Taylor, a powerful lawyer in 2019 with an understanding husband and an open marriage. Together, Taylor and Eli invite a third person (Taylor’s lover) into their now-throuple, making things a bit complicated.
As I said before, Simone is probably the most entertaining (comedic, dramatic, etc… all of the qualities that make a fun character) of the three women, but Beth Ann is a marvel. She’s quickly become the most interesting of the women, even though her plot isn’t always such, because she’s so layered and has so many dimensions.
As a housewife in a time where women were expected by society to get married, have kids, and remain at home while their husbands worked, Beth Ann is learning things about herself that she had never known. She’s experiencing things that she never has after decades of marriage to her high school sweetheart, and it’s just amazing to watch. Goodwin sells it so well, and I’m a sucker for a story set in another time period.
All of the women are stepping out of their comfort zones, but Beth Ann is the most because everything seems like a new experience for her. There’s also a lot of baggage the ladies are each carrying, which we don’t realize right away. They’re each so unique and complex in their own ways, it feels like three different shows in one, but it genuinely works.
Of the three stories, my favorite, like my favorite character, would be Beth Ann’s. Like any woman who is being cheated on, Beth Ann tracks down the other woman and befriends her, getting more involved in the situation than she ever thought she would. It’s very interesting to see how attached Beth Ann gets to this women, even though she is aware of everything that’s happening (regarding her husband’s adultery).
However, the most interesting is the story set in the present day with Taylor, Eli, and Jade. Like we’re seeing on Freeform’s Siren, watching any story about a throuple on television is so new, exciting, and there are so many opportunities for how it could play out.
Jade, Eli, and Taylor each have a lot to their past that we aren’t aware of, but the tiny glimpses into who they could really be make it a scary, yet thrilling, situation. The three of them are probably the least likable characters, but their fascinating story saves them from being a total loss.
Finally, Simone’s story, while she’s the most entertaining character, is the most lackluster of the three. After discovering her third husband is gay, and being unable to divorce him for risk of her status declining, Simone begins an affair with a younger man… the newly 18-year-old son of her best friend. It’s not a terrible story; it feels more of a relief from the intense other two stories, at least for the time being…
Why you should be watching ‘Why Women Kill’
Everyone should be watching Why Women Kill. There aren’t words that can accurately do justice to how insanely great the stories are without giving away spoilers because there are so many twists and turns (and many to come) as the season winds up to what it teased in the beginning: Why these women resorted to killing.
Why Women Kill is like Desperate Housewives (as it should because it was created by the same person) meets ABC’s Revenge. What’s going to drive these women to kill, and who are they going to kill? That’s the mystery… but it all started when they learned of their husbands’ betrayal.
Watch the trailer for the series, and be sure to catch new episodes every Thursday on CBS All Access!