Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ringer: “It’s Easy To Cry, When This Much Cash Is Involved”

Illustration for article titled Ringer: “It’s Easy To Cry, When This Much Cash Is Involved”

I’m becoming increasingly convinced Ringer is a show completely designed to create a splashy promo. A few mysterious glances from Sarah Michelle Gellar, a shot of her randomly hiding in a closet while holding a handgun, one vague line of dialogue promising a step forward in the mystery, and BAM: instant enticing promo! The problem is that the 42 minutes not created in service of this promo are an absolute mess. Perhaps worse than a mess, they’re boring and completely devoid of any sort of imagination. Ringer is obviously aiming to be a fun, twisty, mysterious soap, but the trouble is that it's failing at all counts. Miserably.

Let’s start with the big “reveal” of the episode, because it is absolutely emblematic of everything going wrong with the show in general. Juliet’s rape, played for dramatic (and traumatic) effect for the past few episodes, turns out to be a complete lie, a story orchestrated by Juliet, Tessa, and Mr. Carpenter to steal money from Andrew. This is not only a complete rip-off of Wild Things (effectively called out in last week's comments) but a totally bungled rip-off, missing any of the over-the-top camp and sexy intrigue that made that movie even mildly effective in the first place. The perspectives were all wrong. Juliet is a character completely filtered to the audience through her relationship with her parents, leaving the audience completely bewildered on how to gauge her accusations. If you believed her, the show’s refusal to acknowledge the actual rape was maddening. If you didn’t, it just felt like wheel-spinning.

In the end, the only thing that could make sense would be for it to be a lie. The storytelling perspective always kept the audience at a distance, purposely separating us from the actual events. The only reason to keep up this elaborate of a charade with such a sensitive subject is if everything was being set up to pull the rug out from under the audience at the end. Although the story is ridiculous and unoriginal, it still could have been fun if executed flawlessly, instead of simply limping along to its obvious conclusion. It’s only too easy to see the next step will be taking care of Tessa, as she’s clearly the weak link in Juliet and Mr. Carpenter’s plan.

If Juliet was liar number one in this episode, Siobhan was certainly next in line. Now that she’s back in New York, her plan seems to be this: hook back up with Henry, take down Andrew’s company by revealing some sort of top secret information to the SEC, somehow take all of Andrew’s money in this process, and run away with Henry. It’s convoluted and highly, highly uninteresting, with the most obnoxious element being how it never really helps us learn anything about Siobhan’s character. She’s still a cipher there to move plot points around; the only thing we know about her is that she’s pregnant, she hates Andrew for some reason, and she loves Henry. For a hot minute at the start of the series it seemed she would be slowly revealed as the “bad” twin, the one who liked to scheme and get nasty. Unfortunately her schemes involve the Securities and Exchange Commission, making them perhaps the most mundane schemes of all time. At least she’s completely lying to Henry about swapping places with Bridget voluntarily, so next time he runs into Bridget at the local Starbucks, they can have a really confusing conversation.

Finally, we have Bridget, who spends the episode trying to solve the puzzle that is Siobhan and generally failing miserably. The thing about Siobhan is she was a dramatic secret keeper, she of hidden offices, secret town car drivers, and coffee shops with magic secret keeping tables. Bridget discovering her sister was lying to her all along by pulling out a random piece of paper in a secret-keeping chess table at a coffee shop should be sublimely ridiculous and make me cackle with glee. Instead, it’s just laziness dressed up as creativity, a character making an extreme logical leap simply because it is time for her to arrive at the next step in her very, very slow journey to discovering Siobhan is a big, dirty secret-keeper. Bridget’s quest does lead to some tangible information: confirmation Charlie/John was friends with Siobhan, which leads Bridget to realize something is rotten in the Upper East Side. It doesn’t get much further than that. She ends the episode realizing someone might still be trying to kill her, a fact the audience was abruptly reminded of last week with Bodaway. At this point, I wouldn’t mind if Bodaway showed up and put Bridget (and, in turn, this show) out of her misery.

Stray observations:

  • Tyler must be the dumbest man alive. Yes, the man lounging on Siobhan’s bed in a bathrobe with sex hair is Siobhan’s brother. In Westeros, maybe.
  • I had a bit of Logan Echolls déjà vu as Jason Dohring entered the hotel room with the whiskey. I think it was the leaning in the doorway.
  • The SEC sure has a small business card budget.
  • “Are you going to invite me in?” “Do I need to? Are you a vampire?”