If you look at it one way, Ringer feels like a show that is starting to get it. The past two episodes have been packed with plot in comparison to early ones, where all the characters seemed to sit around staring confusedly at each other. All of the random, lackadaisically introduced mysteries suddenly gained import. In short, the show finally decided to stop spinning its wheels and do something, and in the process, it became a hell of a lot more enjoyable. The problem is, you can’t just look at it that one way. Ringer is still a big old mess, a grab bag of scattershot plots, tonal inconsistency, and inelegantly telegraphed soap machinations. I’m starting to think no one who makes this show has ever seen a soap before. That being said, it’s doing a few more things right each week, and at least it’s finally fun. Fun makes up for a lot.
The best thing the show has done in the last two episodes is finally decide to make Bridget a willing participant in her own life. Tonight, she slept with Andrew and declared her love to him, helped Malcolm figure out why Charlie was so shady, tried to rescue Gemma, and even finally figured out something is rotten in the state of Siobhan. Sarah Michelle Gellar is much more interesting in an active role than the passive worrying position the writers had her in earlier in the season, and when she comes to life, so does the show. Now that Bridget has a motivation for staying and a few solid clues that things around her aren’t as they seem, her active role should only continue.
The main story of the week was a good one, with Bridget and Malcolm’s snooping into his apartment backing Charlie against a wall and causing him to put the screws to Siobhan in return. It seems the reason Gemma was still alive at all is because Siobhan didn’t want her killed, only kept quiet. What was less clear was for how long Charlie was supposed to keep her locked up. Until Siobhan carried out whatever plan she has up her sleeve? Charlie wasn’t too keen on this plan, and instead blackmailed Bridget to get the money Siobhan wouldn’t (or most likely couldn’t) get him. Things only go south when the show finally remembers it's giving Kristoffer Polaha a paycheck and he calls the cops in to watch over Bridget and Andrew's ransom drop, spooking Charlie. Gemma subsequently gets a decent shot at escape, but Charlie finally ends up killing her. In probably the best little plot turn the show has pulled off yet, he ends up dead himself right next to her, by none other than Siobhan herself.
Yes, Siobhan is in New York and is in full-on scheme mode. We still have no idea what she’s doing, but she is doing it with kind of an excess of style. She’s still manipulating Tyler, pulling out the classic fake “husband gave me a black eye” story. She needs his inside information, so it still appears what she wants is money, which again, if that’s the case, MAN, is she going about it in the most complicated way possible. Still, her stringing along of Tyler is perfectly pathetic, especially when she purposely plants a positive pregnancy test for him to find and convinces him it's his baby. Oh, Tyler. You are in over your head, son. Now she’s back in New York, has just killed Charlie and arranged it to look like a suicide, and is after… something. It’s still bothersome how little we know of her motivations, but at least Siobhan is present in the story now. Also, either the writers or Gellar (or both) have finally decided to give her a personality, and that personality is snarkily bitchy, which is something Gellar can execute with aplomb. The episode ending split screen showing the two twins in New York has soapy promise. Now it just needs soapy execution.
Far, far less successful was the FBI portion of the show. Poor Nestor Carbonell is stuck in an aimless, lifeless dead end of a story that, although it is connected to Bridget’s main story, could not feel less essential. The only way any of this will not seem like a colossal waste of time is if Bodaway is somehow connected to what Siobhan is doing. Even then, though, I can’t imagine it justifying the stultifying length of time spent chasing Machado’s leads. Malcolm managed to escape this quagmire and become at least a little bit more interesting. Will Agent Machado be able to do the same? Everything that happened in this episode will likely lead him closer to Bridget and the main mystery, but that outcome simply does not justify the uselessness of the plot that brought him there. Carbonell’s eyelashes are pretty, but pretty eyelashes cannot sustain a story for nine episodes. It’s time to either better integrate him into the main plot or get rid of him—and in turn the Bodaway plot disaster—altogether.
- What a waste of Amber Benson. What was that, five lines in a flashback? They didn't even need those scenes at all.
- Did Billy Miller have a New York accent all of a sudden?
- Is Gemma really dead? All signs point to yes (unless the police are keeping her in witness protection or something) but if so, why did they have Charlie tell her Siobhan was still alive? That information is only necessary if she is going to come back later and spill the beans. It’s sad I don’t know if that’s Ringer being sloppy or Ringer being too obvious for its own good.
- This Juliet/Logan Echolls storyline has gone from “yay, Logan Echolls” to “boring, let me read a magazine” to “ugh, this is ridiculous.” Unless Dohring’s character is somehow involved with Siobhan or her scheme, I honestly could not care less about this whole thing. The second he closed the classroom door, the writing was on the wall, because Ringer is Not Subtle.
- I cannot think of a less appropriate song to end the episode with, both tonally and thematically, than Adele’s “Rumor Has It.” I don’t think the music supervisor on this show as actually SEEN this show.
- “Can you believe it’s been six years? Feels like…” “Six weeks?”
- “That’s what you get for trying to kill me.”