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

Ringer: “Shut Up And Eat Your Bologna”

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Writing (and reading) about a struggling show on a weekly basis, especially one that keeps making the same mistakes over and over again, can feel like repeatedly banging your head against the wall. The episodes don’t change, therefore the criticisms don’t change, and it all becomes some big circular festival of awfulness we all begrudgingly agree to participate in. Sometimes, however, a show manages to drag itself out its story depths, fix what’s wrong, and turn itself into something interesting. I’m not saying “Shut Up And Eat Your Bologna” was a definitive turning point for Ringer, but it addressed many of the issues I’ve been mentioning for weeks, added some intrigue to the mystery to propel it going forward, and was damn entertaining in the process. I’ll take it.

One of my main problems with the series thus far has been Bridget’s fuzzy motivation for every single decision she’s made since the pilot. Someone must have sat down and realized no one could figure out what was going on in Bridget’s head and decided to cram an entire season’s worth of motivation into this episode. Whoever that person was, bless you. Up until now, the only motivation mentioned was Bridget’s desire to “fix” Siobhan’s life the way Siobhan always helped her fix hers in the past, which honestly made little sense. Tonight, we got two concrete and logical reasons: Bridget wants to find out who is trying to hurt her sister (remember that, from way back in the pilot?) and, oh yeah, she’s also falling in love with Andrew.

The latter is an important leap for the show to take but not very surprising—anyone with two eyes and a brain could see this coming for weeks, and the juicy complications of this admission are just beginning—but the former is far more interesting, if random. Why did the show forget about this danger for two months and then all of a sudden decide it was Bridget’s big motivation for staying in New York? Honestly, as long as it keeps Bridget as proactive and curious about Siobhan’s life as she was tonight, I don’t care how awkwardly they introduced the idea; I’m just glad they introduced it at all. Watching Bridget purposely attempt to learn more about Siobhan by fishing answers out of her therapist was the most compelling thing the character has done in weeks, and perhaps the only non-reactive action she’s taken since the show started. Here’s hoping this trend continues.

Not only did we get a good chunk of motivation for Bridget’s decision to stay in New York, we also got a very clear picture of why she ended up there in the first place. Sure, this information probably would have been more helpful in the second or third episode but again, it was so nice to see it explained I can’t even be retroactively annoyed. Learning that Jimmy the cop was on the take from Charlie in order to push Bridget towards New York is the kind of delicious twist the show needs, and one of the few twists that has lived up to the twisty plot machinations of the pilot. True or not, the reasons he gave her for fleeing even made sense: according to Jimmy, Bodaway has most of the FBI on the take and therefore could find her at any time, meaning getting off the grid would be the best thing she could do, even suggesting she go to her sister. Finally, everything Bridget did in the pilot doesn’t seem so silly!

Now that Bridget and Malcolm are on to Charlie (and close to finding out where Charlie stashed Gemma; as predicted by many, Gemma is not dead but locked in Charlie’s basement) what will he do next to keep them off his trail? Why did Siobhan lure Bridget to New York? And why was Siobhan so paranoid about someone trying to kill her in the first place? Now that we’ve established Bridget’s motivation, I say it’s time to focus on Siobhan for a bit. She’s the key to everything and the closer the show gets to revealing more about her motivations and plans, the more interesting it gets. If Ringer can do this and in the process pull off an episode as fun as this one every week, we’ve got a series on our hands.

Stray observations:

  • The little twist of the church being a bar was kind of fun. Was the thing that held all the answers in the bar Charlie/John? Or something else?
  • Bridget and Andrew had some very relaxed, chemistry-filled scenes tonight. It’s too bad nosy Olivia is about to go and mess it all up with her boring financial storyline.
  • I like that Malcolm is a fairly sane person who tells Bridget what she’s doing is crazy. She needs a voice of reason, even if she doesn’t ever listen to him.
  • A twins sighting! The children aren’t just figments of Henry and Gemma’s imaginations!
  • The music is almost universally awful and doesn’t fit with the show, but I really enjoyed The Raveonettes while Malcolm was searching Charlie’s jacket.
  • Charlie could at least spring for some turkey or something for Gemma instead of bologna. Sheesh.