“You Had Me At Homicide” is still burdened by an obnoxious present-day storyline, but the show is picking up steam and has an overabundance of fun zingers.
This recap of Why Women Kill Episode 4, “You Had Me At Homicide”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
They say you should save the best until last, but since I despise orthodoxy let’s begin this recap of Why Women Kill Episode 4 by talking about its worst element: The 2019 open-marriage storyline.
Oh, blimey, this is obnoxious. It’s just awful in every sense. The performative wokeness, the nods towards hip contemporary culture, the facile gender-role inversion, all of it — this timeline not only contains all of those things but made them worse last week by introducing a couple of truly insufferable Instagram “influencers” and having its ostensible protagonists prostrate themselves at the feet of their gorgeous live-in fling.
Some of this is intentional; the influencers, for instance, were dopey, broad caricatures, meant to be mocked. But when Jade (Alexandra Daddario) openly considered absconding with them, you had to wonder what either Taylor (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) or Eli (Reid Scott) actually see in her — beyond the fact she’s Alexandra Daddario, obviously. When her psychotic ex Duke (Kevin McNamara) arrives in “You Had Me At Homicide”, the question is why they’d bother helping her frighten him off. Taylor’s take-charge attitude obviously leads to Eli feeling even more inadequate, and his attempts at being an impressive man lead Duke straight back to the crib they can’t afford, where Jade is forced to smack him over the head with a hammer. Virtually none of it works.
Luckily, both the 60s and 80s storylines work increasingly well. “You Had Me At Homicide” finds Beth Ann (Ginnifer Goodwin) growing increasingly close to April (Sadie Calvano) despite the hilariously Noo Yawk protestations of Sheila (Alicia Coppola); this week they snaffle pot brownies, which it turns out were Rob’s idea. Unfortunately, Beth Ann has plans with Rob (Sam Jaeger) that evening: Attending his boss’s dinner party, where she’s immediately entertained by fancy swan napkins. Confessing to him under the table that she knows what he has been up to, Beth Ann and Rob return home, where he confesses he was compelled to try marijuana because of how buttoned-up and serious his life is. It’s a good scene and leads to a sweet one in which the two go late-night roller-skating together; is the inevitable twist here that Rob isn’t actually cheating on Beth Ann, and that April’s married Rob is simply someone else? And will that revelation occur before the promised murder?
In the lavish 80s, still a clear highlight, Simone (Lucy Liu) decides she can’t put up with Tommy’s (Leo Howard) catering van and cheap plastic watches anymore — much less his increasing obsession with her and her flimsy marriage to Karl (Jack Davenport). Complicating matters in “You Had Me At Homicide” is the arrival of Simone’s daughter, Amy (Li Jun Li), whose fiance has been cheating on her, and who ends up on a date with Tommy after he arrives at the house with reconciliatory flowers for Simone and has to pretend they were for Amy all along. This, and some unintentionally choice words of support from Karl, only lead Simone back into Tommy’s idiot arms, though with him being the son of Simone’s best friend and a clear threat to her socialite status, there’s only so long that they can remain happy together.
As two-thirds of Why Women Kill continues to work — and be replete with great zingers, especially from Simone — it’s easy to get hung up on the sheer obnoxiousness of its present-day story, which at the moment is the only thing dragging CBS’s dark comedy down. “You Had Me At Homicide” was full of great moments all the same, but unless Eli, Taylor, and Jade find something interesting to do the show is always going to feel like it never quite reached its full potential.