Regular readers will probably be aware that I've had a complicated relationship with Ringer. There were times when I've thought it was genuinely absorbing and fun, then there were other times when I got entirely bored by the damn show. But as Ringer wraps up the first half of its season, I'm left with that general feeling that it's not exactly terrible. I don't think Ringer will ever be high art, and I don't even think the show is going to hit that stride of soapy awesomeness I really wish it would pursue but, for what it is, the show is fine. There were parts of this episode that really frustrated me, but it had a drive to it that I found weirdly entertaining.
If we start with the negatives, I was disappointed that Gemma really did kick the bucket this time. It felt like a waste of a good character, and made her entire disappearance seem a little unnecessary. Would it have made much difference if she had actually died several weeks ago? Sure, we saw Charlie's plan falling apart and here we saw how much Siobhan actually cared about her (as much an arch kidnapper-fraudster-attempted sibling-killer can care), but I'm sure the writers could have stumbled into those developments without dangling the possibility of Gemma's survival at us. Blah.
I'm also really bothered by the Juliet subplot. It still feels so unrelated to everything else on the show, and I'm unsure of what the writers actually want us to feel about it. I wasn't at all interested in a 'teacher-student fling' story, and I'm even less interested in a long-winded Law & Order-style 'teacher raped me' saga. Knowing this show, I'm theorizing that Mr Carpenter did rape her. But it doesn't excuse the weak characterization, as Juliet isn't at all acting like a real person, neither before nor after her maybe-assault.
Amber Benson's guest spot turned out to be more than a little underwhelming. I really think the show needs to fix up these Machado subplots. It's strange that while they are connected to the main premise of the show, they feel just as out-of-it as Juliet's high school problems. Maybe it's all the lonely police precincts and abandoned warehouses...
Onto the positive, I still really love Bridget and Andrew together. I had initially pegged that he would be revealed as evil right at the end, coming so soon after their first night together, but then I remembered this wasn't a Joss Whedon show where it's all misery, all the time. I know I always say it, but they have such great chemistry together, and it's great seeing them becoming closer as a couple in both a romantic sense and in an actually-trusting-each-other sense. Loved when Bridget broke down in front of him, all those weeks of elaborate cover-ups suddenly crashing down, and Andrew actually being there for her.
I don't think I'll ever love this show, but Ringer has been consistently interesting, even if most of the storylines bug the hell out of me. It has a weird tone to it, regardless of quality, where it always feels like there's something just around the corner. And while the results are frequently underwhelming, that something keeps you watching long after most sane people would have probably given up. Heh. B
Guest stars Zoey Deutch (Juliet Martin); Billy Miller (Charlie Young/John Delario); Justin Bruening (Tyler Barrett); Jason Dohring (Mr. Carpenter); Darren Pettie (Jimmy Kemper); Gage Golightly (Tessa Banner); Emily Swallow (Detective Elizabeth Saldana); Amber Benson (Mary Curtis); Chelsea Tavares (Andrea); Maximiliano Hernandez (Detective Towers); Tara Summers (Gemma Butler)
Writers Eric Charmelo, Nicole Snyder Director Stuart Gillard