Apple TV+ hit dark comedy Bad Sisters takes us through Becka’s motive for a murder this week. In the devilishly good series about the murder of a selfish bastard, we flash back to witness the fourth sister’s experience with bad brother-in-law John Paul — and the dispiriting effect it had on all of Garveys.
Meanwhile, in the present, Becka deals with her complicated romantic entanglement with the man trying to bring her and her sisters down. Elsewhere, Eva gets serious with Gabriel, Ursula runs out of options, and JP finds a new target in a truly stellar episode.
Bad Sisters recap: ‘Baby Becka’
Season 1, episode 4: In this week’s episode, entitled “Baby Becka,” Matthew (played by Daryl McCormack) finally opens up to Becka (Eve Hewson) that he’s investigating the Garvey girls for murder, but not in the way he had hoped. He apparently didn’t realize that she was that Becka Garvey.
When he shows up with his brother Tom (Brian Gleeson) to interrogate her, Becka’s furious at him for lying. But he also sees that her phone keeps lighting up with notifications from a dating app, so he also feels like going on the offensive. Matthew leaves in a huff and Becka’s conflicted. She wants to be mad that he’s trying to find her and her sisters guilty of murder, but she knows she messed up by letting Matthew see that she’s still playing the field.
Thomas is also miffed because he can’t get his dead dad’s favorite Garda detective, Fergal Loftus (Barry Ward), to take his inquiries seriously. Even with the widow’s permission (which Thomas lied to get), Loftus doesn’t think exhuming John Paul’s body is worth the hassle. It’s messy. No one likes messes.
Flashing back to the bad old days
Becka reminisces about the time she went to John Paul (Claes Bang) for financial help to open up her massage studio. He gets freaked out when he hears that Becka massaged his mother (Nina Norén) … an ill omen. Bibi (Sarah Greene) and Eva (Sharon Horgan) bring Grace (Anne-Marie Duff) and Blanaid (Saise Quinn) a cat because they feel bad about having accidentally murdered their dog. John Paul almost has a fit, but the whole family gangs up on him and he relents.
Feeling emasculated, he tries calling Donal (Jonjo O’Neill) once more to talk to him about Ursula’s (Eva Birthistle) affair with Ben (Peter Coonan). It has, after all, been days since he sent Donal Ursula’s nudes in the hope of destroying their marriage. However, since Ursula deleted them from Donal’s phone before he could see them, Ben never replied. After that plan fails, John Paul decides to mess with their religious neighbor Roger (Michael Smiley), who’s filling Grace’s head with ideas he doesn’t like.
Grace comes to her sisters as they’re in the middle of discussing their botched murder attempts. They all go quiet because she tells them she signed a lease with John Paul as signatory on the loan. They’re pissed for two reasons: John Paul’s still alive and Becka’s getting into business with him.
They needn’t have worried. John Paul ruins it a day later. When Becka goes around to see John Paul’s mother again, he draws a line. He tells Grace he won’t be helping her after all — and that Grace must break the news to Becka. Becka understandably flips out.
“Why did he send you to tell me?” Becka asks. “That’s demented!”
More family drama
Then Grace leaves as quickly as she arrived, unwilling to argue with Becka any further and knowing she has no leg to stand on. When Ursula next runs into Becka, she’s drinking in the park before noon. They get to talking about the dead ends in which they’ve found themselves, all because of John Paul.
Eva finally decides to get serious with Gabriel (Assaad Bouab) after weeks of flirtation. She brings him to a pub quiz where everyone has to watch Grace try to sing John Paul a song to win a contest. He can’t guess it, even though it was the song they played at their wedding.
Becka comes in and screams at him, and they all get together to talk afterward. Ursula confesses about the photograph, and Eva walks over to John Paul’s house and tries to steal his phone. But she only gets as far as throwing it on the ground, hoping it breaks. While she’s gone, Ursula and Bibi convince Becka to take part in their murder scheme, to which Eva still has the biggest objection.
She finally lets her take part … the question is, how are they going to do it?
A perfect life
I like the implication that both Becka and Matthew can be sleeping with each other for information, which Bad Sisters hints at in the final scene when the two reconcile. It probably won’t go as far in that direction as I’m imagining, but this is still a better use of the idea of sleeping with your target, a cliche as old as shame, and finding out too late that you have to betray them.
With Becka and Matthew going into this with open eyes, it makes everything a lot more unique (and of course it’s also hotter).
The best scene this week was Eva trying to finally confront John Paul and getting interrupted by Blanaid before she could make sure he didn’t have extra copies of the picture of Ursula.
Bad Sisters generates real momentum and tension when it seems like someone’s about to do the right wrong thing. My heart rate went through the roof (it always does when watching this show). The show is only half over, and I’m barely able to slow down long enough to write these recaps because I’m too anxious to get to the next episode.
Watch Bad Sisters on Apple TV+
New episodes of Bad Sisters arrive on Apple TV+ every Friday.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.