Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ringer: That Woman's Never Been a Victim Her Entire Life (1.18)

After staggering plotlines far longer than what is reasonably sane, Ringer seems to be burning through the lingering story arcs in time for its approaching finale. As a result, there's a definite sense of forward momentum that pulses through this episode. Just like the pushing of financial hooey a couple of weeks back and the repetition of one-sided phone calls in... every damn episode, there was a definite over-reliance tonight on characters vanishing without a trace, but the show did a neat job of tying together the frequently scattered ensemble cast, all of whom interacted with each other in at least some capacity this week.

The show is at the point where keeping Bridget and Siobhan apart has crossed into annoying levels of contrivance, but the writers are still able to drain material out of the various contradictions between both women. There's an impressive scene towards the beginning of the hour in which Henry seemingly works out that Siobhan is irrefutably nuts, leading to a brief sojourn where Siobhan prepares to give up the suicide charade... while at the same time Bridget is becoming even more of a good wife to Andrew, staying at his hospital bedside and worrying like a loved one should. Then there's that flash of resentment that crosses Siobhan's face when she discovers that Andrew took a bullet for her sister, as well as Juliet coming clean about the Wild Things saga to Bridget. Ringer has always been at its best when the lines between both protagonists are blurred, and I thought the show did a strong job with running with that this episode.

Juliet's story brought to mind that she's actually very similar to Bridget, in that both women made nutty decisions in the heat of the moment, and are now stuck in the middle of ever-worsening consequences. Dare I say it, I also think Zoey Deutch is stronger at conveying that sense of hopelessness than Sarah Michelle Gellar. Or maybe that's just the writing, Juliet being a far more linear character compared to the continuity-flailing Bridget. Juliet's subplot here proved once again sort of emotional, with Catherine returning to bitch-on-wheels mode and Juliet again finding common ground with her stepmother in a time of crisis. These relationships have been scrambled so wildly over the course of the season, but at its heart the make-shift Martin family of Andrew, Bridget and Juliet are generally pretty affecting. Especially now that Andrew's 'shadowy wife-killer fake-out hour' phase seems to have been abruptly pulled from the schedule and Bridget told him all about the hitman in the pilot. Remember all that? September, folks!

Par for the course, the convoluted nature of Ringer's serialized insanity continues to rear its ugly head. Seriously, I'm trying to keep up with it all, but sometimes you can't help but get lost -- there's a body... of an assassin... who tried to kill Bridget... but Machado thinks he tried to kill Siobhan... who is actually Bridget... and Malcolm's dead? I can't really explain why Malcolm's demise is the go-to theory, but his vanishing act has been treated like such a non-event (and Bridget seems to be exhibiting a spectacular lack of emotion when it comes to his probable murder), that it feels like this is a story that's been unexpectedly bungled midway through production.

There's also the matter of cheap contrivance at every opportunity, from the pencil rub in Olivia's apartment to the horrible tarot card thing, but, like I said last week, I'm really at the point where this stuff washes over me now. With what is likely the series finale right around the corner, we may as well enjoy the show for what it is at this point. At least this one was half-way decent... B

Guest stars Zoey Deutch (Juliet Martin); Gregory Harrison (Tim Arbogast); Justin Bruening (Tyler Barrett); Sean Patrick Thomas (Solomon Vessida); Dasha Flynn (Oksana); Kosha Patel (Mia Patel); Noah Watts (Daniel Eknath); Andrea Roth (Catherine Martin)
Writer Hank Chilton Director Scott White

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic review. I think this is the first time you've enjoyed an episode more than me!

    We do agree on everything though, particularly on Juliet and Bridget's similarities. I wrote in my review that I'd like to seem them share some sort of bond. It's funny that such a disjointed story line might actually be what causes Bridget to break her silence.

    You make a good point about enjoying it while it lasts though. It may be the sloppiest serial on television, but it's unbelievably fun.