Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ringer: What We Have Is Worth the Pain (1.17)

I don't know if Ringer's quest to pull from continuity is really such a good thing. It's great in theory, finally confirming that the writers seem to know where the story is going and that they've been planning all of this for months -- but in execution you get a ton of awkward flashback scenes to episodes as far back as the pilot. It's the show stumbling into that strange contradiction where things are horribly sign-posted while simultaneously convoluted. Generally, this episode was mighty convoluted, opening with inauspicious exchanges about flash-drives and CEO crookery, before becoming sort of entertaining. In the midst of all this were enough personality changes to generate concerns for schizophrenia, but somehow it all washed over me.

Andrew's characterization is nuts at this point. He's painted as an emotionally suppressive monster for at least half of this episode, threatening to murder his wife at one point -- before being painted as a sacrificial hero for jumping in front of a bullet presumably meant for Bridget. Because we're being kept so often at arm's length, it's hard to discern much of his motivation, and I'm not sure I like a guy who at one point was so abusive and murderous. Then again, can we even trust Siobhan-tinted flashbacks anymore? A good mystery should at least allow its audience to form something of an opinion, instead of half-truths and evasions being dolled out like pennies.

We did seem to get a clearer indication of Siobhan's motives though, which was welcome. It turns out that bringing down Andrew is mere window-dressing for plotting Bridget's demise -- or at least that's what I got from this episode. She believes that Bridget killed her son (although I have no idea if she actually does believe this), and continues pushing the lie that Bridget murdered Gemma. I don't know if Siobhan is being written as literally insane, or if this is all part of an elaborate ruse. If it's the former, I wish that Siobhan was a little campier with the villainy. If it's the latter, then I'm so over this show's repeated 'lies-within-lies' narrative.

Contrived as it was, I didn't have a huge problem with Juliet's subplot tonight. It folds back into the 'perfect family' thing that she had with Andrew and Bridget before Andrew became a broody shadow-dweller, and I actually felt something for her for once. She's awful, sure, but she's also vulnerable to manipulation -- and when her mother is so calculating and batshit, you can understand why Juliet would end up the way she has. "I wish Siobhan was my mother!" Aww... poor, soapily-melodramatic Juliet.

I feel like my general opinion of Ringer changes with whatever mood I'm in. Sometimes I violently dislike the shiny revelations and plot twist dreck, but I also sometimes fully buy into them. Why was Siobhan recording that argument with Andrew? Is there a scientific explanation for why nobody addresses catty showdowns with 'Siobhan' right after the fact? Why is everybody but Siobhan's driver such a goddamn fool? Ringer certainly isn't pleasurable to watch, it's not even coherent as a television drama. But you just need to run with it. There's only five more weeks left, we've given so much of our time to it already. I've lost the will to whine. Blah. C+

Guest stars Zoey Deutch (Juliet Martin); Sean Patrick Thomas (Solomon Vessida); Gage Golightly (Tessa Banner); Nic Robuck (Cash Chilton); Zahn McClarnon (Bodaway Macawi); Andrea Roth (Catherine Martin); Jaime Murray (Olivia Charles)
Writer Scott Nimerfro Director Howard Deutch

1 comment:

  1. It's weird how much our opinions are merging now that its nearing the end. I think my optimism is fading more and more.

    I like what you said about finally feeling something for Juliet for once, which I didn't actually mention in my own review, though I do talk a little about her and Bridget's bonding, something I liked a lot.

    I agree about Siobhan's motives being explained, but I just don't feel any different about her story. She's never been 100% honest, and its made following her plot a little difficult to take.

    Like you said, there's five weeks left, no point in giving up now.