Ringer: “You’re Way Too Pretty To Go To Jail”
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Ringer: “You’re Way Too Pretty To Go To Jail”

Hey, guess what? Ringer is a financial thriller now, guys! Are you excited?

No, wait. It’s the tragic story of a FBI agent whose quest to catch a criminal cost him the most important things in life. (Deep.)

That’s not right, either. It’s actually the story of love: love between sisters, love lost, love gained, love manipulated away. (Now this is just getting depressing.)

All of the above are right. None of the above are right. And thus the continuing problem of this show: What is it? What does it want to be? Or, more troubling: Is it exactly what it wants to be already?

This week, what Ringer wanted to be most of all was a financial thriller, which is concerning because that is probably the least interesting of our options here. Not because financial thrillers can’t be well done—they definitely can—but because there’s just no way Ringer’s version of a financial thriller will be. The most disappointing aspect is how much this is reversing all of the good will Andrew’s character has built up throughout the season. He went from cold fish to warm, loving husband and good father seemingly all because of Bridget’s support and love, right back to cold (potentially dangerous) fish once his livelihood was threatened. The real Andrew is most likely in a series of scenes left on the cutting room floor so the show could make room for more scenes of Sarah Michelle Gellar looking pensively into reflective surfaces.

Here’s the number one problem with Andrew’s character at this point, which all funnels back to one of the biggest problems with the show and one I’ve been complaining about since the pilot: Why was he such a cold fish? Why does Siobhan hate him so much? Is the cold, desperate Andrew we saw tonight the real person here? Is he truly dangerous, and did he have something to do with Tyler’s murder? The show wants us to believe this is true, so in keeping with their reveal pattern thus far, there’s no way it can be true. The whole thing will turn out to be a misunderstanding and all of Andrew’s skulking around in darkened rooms with a menacing look on his face will just have been because he just got back from getting his eyes dilated and he’s still photosensitive and kind of cranky. (Theory? Olivia is behind anything menacing. I mean, I’ve seen Dexter.)

The least triumphant return of the week has to be that of Agent Machado, who is apparently still on the case and still getting nowhere. He’s so in the weeds they take his case away from him and give it to another agent, who decides to drop the search for Bridget and go after Macawi for cigarette trafficking instead. Riveting, right? The whole thing is just an excuse to finally learn why Machado is so interested in bringing Bodaway and Macawi down: The stripper Bridget saw murdered wasn’t only his C.I., she was his pregnant lover. Just spitballing here, but since Machado has been adrift or absent for much of the season maybe giving him this tragic backstory would have been better suited for early in the season? Before we all decided we didn’t care about him, Bodaway, Macawi or any of this boring mess? This show is basically plotted as if they put all of the scenes in a game of Boggle, shook it up, and just let things play out however they landed.

The funny thing is, even though this episode was still a mess, it was a slightly more entertaining mess than it’s been in recent weeks. Some of this is due to actual consequences, like too-dumb-to-live Tyler turning up dead, but most of it is due to the show finally exploiting some of the awkward “people pretending to be other people” madness. Siobhan impersonating Bridget to Malcolm was fun, and funny, and a good example of something Sarah Michelle Gellar could do well—and often—if asked to. Malcolm going to Henry and telling him he knows about his affair with Siobhan as Henry knows in his head Malcolm is working with Bridget? A good time, even if the point of the endeavor is a bit lost at this moment in time. Henry’s awkward kiss with Bridget who he thinks is Siobhan and who protests the whole time is also hilarious, and the sort of thing the show took far too long to exploit. Now, these moments seem like tiny pleasurable Easter eggs in a sea of misery.

And that’s the whole issue: This is a show people wanted to love. Because of Sarah Michelle Gellar, they were practically begging to love it. Ringer, why can’t you just let us love you?

Stray observations:

  • The only mystery I want this show to solve is why random words are capitalized in the opening show summary. Are Sister and Face some sort of clue? Or did the person entering the text get bored?
  • Siobhan is finally showing. It’s about time.
  • Harry’s Fun Room. Strip clubs in Wyoming surely have better names than that. Like Cowboy Harry’s Fun Room.
  • THE ALGORITHM. IT RETURNS.
  • “I heard you did it because you like banging strippers.” How was this not the episode title?

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