Ringer: “It’s Gonna Kill Me, But I’ll Do It”
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Ringer: “It’s Gonna Kill Me, But I’ll Do It”

C+

Ringer

“It’s Gonna Kill Me, But I’ll Do It”

Season 1, Episode 4

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All right, Ringer, now we might be getting somewhere. After two weeks of utterly banal wheel-spinning, the last five minutes of this episode finally featured a moment jaw-dropping and soapy enough to pay off the promise of everything set in motion in the pilot. Even though it’s only the fourth episode it feels like it’s been a long road getting here—each episode has been more generic than the last, until any hint of even pseudo-noir disappeared like the mysterious assassin in the trunk, only to be replaced by generic CW-style pop music—but if the show can pick up this train and run with it, there could be a somewhat fun show buried beneath this boring dreck.

Building on the relationship rebuilding promised last week, Bridget and Andrew head off to the Hamptons to celebrate her birthday, just like in him and Siobhan's happier days. Bridget’s birthday reminiscence leads to a few flashbacks of past birthdays spent with Siobhan and a very sweet shared tradition of passing a necklace back and forth. It is character building, but not necessarily interesting character building. Still, the writers are trying, so good for them! Things get complicated when Gemma and Henry show up at the house and Henry basically refuses to leave Bridget alone about the affair and how much he still loves her.

Of course, all of that is secondary to the aforementioned last five minutes and its two big reveals: Gemma learning about Siobhan and Henry’s affair, and then Bridget in turn confessing she isn’t Siobhan at all, but her twin sister. This is important for several reasons, none more pressing than finally forcing Bridget to make a choice about something. For a protagonist who has done so many insane things since the show began, she’s been almost bizarrely passive, almost walking around in a daze through this crazy mess she made of everything. Her revealing everything to Gemma (even though I have this sneaking suspicion Gemma isn’t going to believe her) was incredibly reckless and probably stupid, but at least it was a choice somewhat substantiated by Bridget’s character, rather than something she seemed to follow because the script dictated it.

Another reason this is important, besides finally getting Gemma to end her constant diatribe about who Henry was sleeping with, is it gives the show options. Want Gemma to become Bridget’s confidante and give her someone to collaborate with in this new life? Done! Want to make Gemma her enemy and have this be the reason Andrew finds out about Bridget’s lies? Sure! Want to have Gemma start out as a confidante and then double-cross Bridget by going to both Agent Machado and Andrew and exposing this entire crazy scenario? Well, that would probably end the show so maybe not. But still, now they can do it!

This whole premise of the show is based on the crazy things people do when backed into a corner, a fact largely ignored in the second and third episodes to the show’s detriment. Between Gemma finding out about Siobhan’s affair with Henry and Agent Machado getting solid evidence something is amiss with the Coast Guard recording of Bridget’s panicked distress call (and the calls on her cell phone to sponsor Malcolm), Bridget definitely has her back up against the wall here. It should be at least a little bit interesting to see how she manages to get herself out of all of these simultaneous messes, if she does at all.

While Bridget was spending her birthday in the Hamptons getting slapped in the face by Gemma, Siobhan was spending hers in Paris trying to get back in the good graces of random-dude-from-last-week Tyler. Tyler works at Andrew’s company, which is something I missed last week that would have made her story make much more sense. Sorry, folks. Siobhan manages to not only woo Tyler again but get him to pay for her hotel room now that she’s out of money to boot, by putting it on the company dime. She also steals a file from his briefcase dealing with account transfers (and helpfully labeled “ACCOUNT TRANSFERS,” because this is how all huge international financial transactions are done these days, with printouts in manila folders). Her end game is still unclear—as is her mysterious partner in crime—but it looks to have something to do with stealing a bunch of Andrew’s money and running. It sure would be nice to know why she hates Andrew so much, huh?

Listen, don’t get me wrong. Despite what I said about the oddly engrossing final five minutes of this episode and the promise it could bring, this show is still not good. There’s something tolerable hidden in this mess, though, if the writers can just find it. The actors are mostly pleasing. The story is insane enough to be decently soapy. They just need to figure out how to bring those two things together into one entertaining whole.

Or maybe I just have my Ioan Gruffudd-colored glasses on again.

Stray observations:

  • Bridget’s biggest mess of all is the pregnancy. We need a scene soon discussing how she is going to deal with the fact that her womb, it is empty.
  • There is maybe nothing less interesting than the love story of Henry and Siobhan. Siobhan is so ill-defined a character still that it makes it difficult to care about her true feelings.
  • Hey, remember Malcolm? The one getting beaten within an inch of his life and shot up with heroin last week? Yeah, the writers don’t either, I don’t think, seeing as he was completely absent here.
  • How did Siobhan meet someone like Andrew in Tahoe? On the slopes? Because it sure as heck wasn’t in Reno.
  • The whole “Siobhan is a vegetarian, but Bridget accidentally ate meat! Oh my God!” thing just didn’t work. Has Bridget not eaten any meals in Andrew’s presence since she’s been there? Also, why did he have the caterer include meat if the guest of honor is a vegetarian?
  • “God, I’m sick of hearing me talk about this.” Us too, Gemma!
  • “I’m sorry. I don’t want you to feel bad. Why don’t you sleep with my husband and see if that makes you feel better?”
Filed Under: TV, Ringer

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