Three To Tango
I have to admit, Why Women Kill may be my new guilty pleasure this year. With a deliciously dark comedic tone and three strong lead females lighting the way, CBS’s latest drama feels like a mash-up of Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City, but its constantly evolving tone, with three distinctly different time periods, help this one to feel fresh and original.
We begin with interviews from 3 different husbands with very different wives. This sets the tone for what follows as we begin in 1963, Pasadena. After meeting their Brooklyn-bred neighbours, Beth Ann and Rob settle into their new house while in 1984, we meet our second couple, Simone and Karl, before jumping forward to 2019 for our third and final couple, Taylor and Eli. Here we see Taylor challenge a construction worker who’s conducting work on their house. After this brief introduction, we cut back to the different couples for their individual stories.
In 1963, Rob and Beth Ann meet their neighbours and sit down for a hot drink together. Tensions bubble over though when Rob’s integrity is challenged by Sheila when he taps on his cup, summoning Beth to her side. Later that day, Beth Ann overhears gossip from Sheila in the supermarket and learns Rob is having an affair. She then sees first-hand his betrayal, as he kisses a waitress on the mouth while she watches on from the car outside.
Later that night, they share dinner together where Beth Ann tells him he will die, in no uncertain terms. After a tense meal, Beth Ann discusses matters with Sheila the next day, who tells her to confront the waitress and scare her out of seeing Rob. Gulping down a glass of wine for courage, she arrives at the diner with the blonde waitress and winds up getting to know the woman, telling her her name is Sheila, rather than Beth Ann.
In 1984 Simone throws a party where she learns her friend Wanda doesn’t actually like her. Unfortunately, this is the least of her problems as a letter containing pictures of her husband kissing another man tips her over the edge. She confronts Karl, telling him he needs to go upstairs and pack. Instead, he takes one too many pills and passes out in his chair while Simone berates him.
As the ambulance arrives and takes him away, Simone embraces her luxury items in the house until Tommy arrives and tries to comfort her, kissing Simone until she pulls away. Despite not yet at the age of 18 (until 2 days from now), he tells her to think about his proposition.
In 2019, we catch up with Taylor and Eli discussing what to cook for dinner – a complete contrast to the other two couples, especially given they have an open relationship. Their tight-knit rules are thrown into scrutiny though when Jade, Taylor’s lover, arrives to stay for the weekend. Only, he clearly takes a fancy to her but when Taylor asks for her to stay until Friday, Eli rejects the offer. As a way of saying thank you for their hospitality, Jade cleans the entire house for them and makes breakfast.
Speaking to his friend at lunch, Eli is convinced to try and instigate a threesome with Jade. Instead, he talks to her by the pool while attempting in vain to do his work. She tells him he’s special before kissing him on the cheek. As Eli heads inside and tells Taylor he’ll let Jade stay for longer, a sly grin crosses his face as he walks away.
The episode then ends as it begun – with the three wives discussing murder and just why women kill.
Why Women Kill is a surprisingly good drama. The cinematography is slick, with saturated colours for 1963 and a more lavish, luxurious setting in 1984. The costume differences and subtle colour changes help each time period stand out too. All three women do well in their roles, with a script that lends itself to some really interesting juxtapositions and parallels between couples across the episode.
There’s some really impressive editing between the time periods too, with things like a glass smashing or a car pulling up to the house, doing well to add some variety and playful creativity to proceedings. Adding to this, the score is suitably mischievous too, with an array of strings and major key numbers firmly rooting this into dark comedy territory. I said before that the show borrows elements from both Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives and that much is certainly true. Why Women Kill’s unique idea and solid execution is ultimately enough for this to stand out in its own way. It’s early days yet though but so far Why Women Kill may just be the best guilty pleasure of the year.