There’s a moment halfway through tonight’s episode where Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) strolls in, delivers a few lines, and immediately becomes the most interesting thing about Ringer to date. It’s a brief, fairly unimportant scene but it crackles with life because everyone involved—particularly Banks—seems to realize this is supposed to be fun.
Thankfully this fun seems to be spreading, as even the moments of this episode that don’t involve Banks’ remarkable facial hair are a heck of a good time. The closer Ringer gets to the end of the season the better it becomes, as if the show has realized it can finally address all of its convoluted mysteries instead of simply treading water. The biggest mystery throughout hasn’t been what was happening with Bridget (as Bodaway Macawi was always enemy No. 1 for her) but what was happening with Siobhan.
Siobhan has been a complete enigma for almost the entire series; a main character driving much of the plot but without any discernible motivations. Slowly, Siobhan’s backstory has been filled in, and although the show has been terrible at making her feel like a fully realized character, at least her main reason for going to such drastic measures as to fake her own death have become clear: Her husband’s ex is a crazy person.
Okay, so Siobhan had other reasons for ditching her old life (an embezzling husband, a loveless marriage, an affair with another man, the lack of a soul) but following the reveal that Catherine is the one who was attempting to kill Siobhan all along, the actual danger and unease she must have felt in her own life becomes startlingly clear. And let me just say: Catherine is one crazy, scary, completely entertaining psycho of a woman. I wasn’t a fan of her scheme with Juliet and Logan Echolls but that was mostly because of the way the story was plotted. What that story did perfectly set up, however, is the extremes Catherine would go to in an attempt to completely ruin Siobhan’s life.
The fake rape scheme itself may not have worked, but putting it as step one in Catherine’s crazy plot to ruin Siobhan and get her family back is a soapy delight. It just works. Ringer has always been at its best when it completely embraces the soap opera at its core, and the entire last sequence with Catherine drugging Bridget while Machado tries and fails to contact her was soap perfection, capped off with the absolutely gleeful shot of Catherine sprinkling the empty pill casings on top of a passed-out Bridget’s body. Sometimes, you just have to go for it to get it right. Ringer most certainly got this one right.
One other interesting thing tonight was how much time was devoted to Machado connecting all of the various dots from throughout the season: the man Bridget killed, the two men who were trying to kill Bridget but were really after Siobhan, how Charlie/John got the gun that he eventually used to kill Gemma. This all plays out in huge expository chunks but the exposition works here, because although we’ve seen all of these events throughout the season they have been so scattered and poorly paced that it is more than welcome to have a reminder of them all. What’s remarkable about what Machado puts together is how it is all connected to Siobhan, with nary a mention of Macawi necessary. For being introduced as the “big bad”, Macawi certainly has been a quiet non-presence for much of the season. I’m sure his time is coming, though.
The only other thing dealt with this week was Henry and his almost shocking capability to become even more pathetic with each passing week. This time, it involves him actually getting arrested for Tyler’s murder (which happens because he gets caught in all his lies, of course) and then falling even deeper in trouble when Siobhan attempts to bribe the maid that placed him at the scene of the crime. Siobhan even utters the words “this one I can fix” to herself before going to see the maid, which is how you know Siobhan is both destined to fail and also a little bit crazy for talking to herself like she’s the heroine in a mystery novel. Basically, the deeper Henry gets with Siobhan the worse things get for him—a fact he is vocally self-aware of, but seems to want to do nothing to fix—and the ultimate price he seems to have to pay for this is going to jail and losing his children to his father-in-law. I think we’re actually supposed to feel sorry for Henry, as they’re attempting to paint him as the classic rube taken for a ride by the femme fatale, but he’s so damn pathetic it’s hard to muster up any sort of sympathy. Besides, if you’re on the other side of a battle with Gregory Harrison it’s much more fun to take Harrison’s side. He’s got great hair.
Ringer hasn’t been anything approaching a consistent—or even good—show for much of its run, but it’s really picked up some steam in this latter third of the season. If the show can keep up the delicious, soapy fun it displayed in the Catherine story tonight, we actually might be in for sort of a treat in the next few weeks.
- There were so many other things this week that were just fun, in a way the show hasn’t been successful in exploiting most of the time: Bridget’s confusion about being told she paid off the maid; Siobhan hiding from Bridget in Henry’s apartment; the body falling out of the freezer; the cut-up photos of Andrew and Siobhan.
- Juliet and Catherine’s scene in the hospital was really well written: lovely and touching, with a surprisingly barbed sense of humor and truth running throughout. Very enjoyable.
- I do hope Jonathan Banks returns. This tarot card/assassin business is still sort of ridiculous but he’s such a great presence I would be happy to deal with it just to see his character again.
- Henry’s kids are named “Dash” and “Becks.” Dash and Becks. They sound like Pixar characters, or a new Jason Mraz-like singing duo.