When I first learned that this week’s new Lifetime movie would be called The Good Mistress, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Suddenly I turned into Gandalf the Grey and was all, “What do you mean? Do you mean she’s a mistress who’s good to her boyfriend, or that she’s a mistress with good morals? Or perhaps you mean she’s good at the things a mistress does (sex)?” Now that I’ve watched the movie, I’m still not quite sure what the title is supposed to mean, but I do know one thing — Lifetime doesn’t want us to trust anyone. As in, no one. Ever. Nada. Zilch. Unless it’s a cute sheriff, but we’ll get to that later.
The movie opens with a young woman running frantically through the woods. She gets knocked on the head and strangled to death by someone we can’t see. You know, we could wrap this up right away if you’d just give us a reverse shot, Lifetime. When will you learn?
We’re then introduced to our heroine, if you can call her that. She’s one of the least likable, most want-to-shake-her-and-tell-her-to-stop-being-the-way-she-is heroines I’ve witnessed in a Lifetime movie. Her name is Sandy Cooper (Annie Heise), and she’s moving to a new town called Shelter Hills to “start over.” Had she ever seen a horror film, she’d know that moving somewhere to start over almost always leads to murder. In Sandy’s case the past she’s running away from includes that time she got drunk and hit a kid on his bicycle. He survived of course, because this movie wants Sandy to be an alcoholic for plot reasons, but it also wants us to like her at least a little bit.
Sandy’s friend and former babysitter (??) Karen (Kendra Anderson) helps get her a job interview at a law firm, and despite her probation, the boss is like, “Okay sure, I’ll let you work here for the sake of the plot.” He didn’t take Lifetime’s advice about trusting people, but luckily just this once it turned out okay. Karen goes on and on about what a perfect husband she has, and how he’s running for some political office that wasn’t important enough for me to remember. Gee, I wonder if he’ll turn out to not be who she thinks he is.
While loading her groceries into the trunk of her car one day, a couple of hooligans on bikes zoom past Sandy and she gets a case of the dark and creepy flashbacks to that time when she hit that kid. Remember that? Good times. It distracts her so much that her shopping cart goes rolling away and is stopped by a handsome stranger (Antonio Cupo). Of course he doesn’t just hand it off to her and walk away as would happen in real life (at least to me), but he immediately gives her his number and asks her out for coffee, saying his name is Sam. IF THAT’S EVEN HIS REAL NAME. (It’s not.)
One of the clients at Sandy and Karen’s law firm just happens to be the mother of the girl who was murdered at the beginning of the movie. The police find the girl’s body in the woods. Unless this is just a side story that Lifetime threw in to fill out the runtime, the murderer must already be in this movie. I bet it’s the man Sandy met! Do you think it’s him? I think it’s him. It has to be him.
Speaking of him, Sandy agrees to meet up with him for a date, but little does she know the place where they’re meeting is a bar. A place she’s not supposed to go because of her probation. And it has alcohol. The thing she’s not supposed to drink. Clearly she has a breakdown and runs outside, where she and His Name Isn’t Really Sam have a heart-to-heart about her dark past. He’s still totally into her despite everything, though, because who cares? A vagina’s a vagina. Clearly they have sex that night. The next morning he sneaks up on her in the bathroom because AHH HE’S A KILLER! Just kidding, he went and get her a rose with a note that reads, “A perfect rose for a perfect lady.” Excuse me while I bleghhhhh.
This movie’s supposed to be about a mistress, so it’s about time we met that wife of his, wouldn’t you agree? Naturally just when Sandy and Karen are having a fun lunch talking about how great this new relationship will be for Sandy’s fresh start, His Name Isn’t Really Sam walks in and Karen declares that this is her husband David. Like I said, don’t trust anyone. Sandy struggles to hide her disgust for a few minutes, but finally she just leaves without paying, and then she calls in sick for the rest of the day so she can spend some time curled up on the floor holding a bottle of vodka and struggling with whether to drink it.