In the seventh episode of the freshmen series, the fall-out from Gemma Butler’s (Tara Summers) disappearance continues as our main characters are dragged in for questioning, forcing Bridget Kelly (Sarah Michelle Gellar) to reveal to both her husband, Andrew Martin (Ioan Gruffud) and her ex-lover, Henry Butler (Kristoffer Polaha) that she has a twin. Meanwhile, Bridget’s sponsor, Malcolm Ward (Mike Colter) finally escapes captivity.
The bitches break down their thoughts on the episode in the first ever “He Said, She Said.”
He Said (cinephilactic)
This episode continued the recent hot streak Ringer has been on as storylines start to converge and characters are given more to do. Among the big achievements in this episode was the payoff from the protracted B-story of Malcolm imprisoned in the basement of a Wyoming strip club. I’m sure Mike Colter was excited to do more than simply “act high” and now that he’s arrived in New York with the rest of the cast, he can join in the twin-tastic excitement.
Alas, the same cannot be said for Andrew’s daughter, Juliet (Zoey Deutch), whose party-antics storyline continues to exasperate. We get it; she’s a spoiled rich girl looking for approval from her cold fish father. This doesn’t make it interesting to watch her sub-par Gossip Girl storyline, even if it does produce dialogue gems like “You owe me bitch! Like $10 million” (uttered after Juliet crashes her friend, Monica’s car and Andrew takes away her trust fund).
Anything to do with the main storyline concerning Gemma’s disappearance, however, was good. The editing in the precinct scene – filled with cross-cuts and pans – as Agent Machado (Nestor Carbonnell) and Detective Saldana (Emily Swallow) question Bridget (posing as Siobhan), Andrew and was a particular stand-out. Scenes like this highlight how much potential the show has if they embraced the dirty fun inherent in such a twisted tale; the show’s energy jumped and made it far more engaging to watch.
Finally, we got not one but two cliffhangers this week:
- The truth about Bridget’s non-pregnancy is about to emerge after she winds up in the hospital after fainting at Gemma’s opening (the nine month flashback to sexytime with Malcolm precludes her from being pregnant with his baby)
- The identity of Gemma’s attacker is revealed to be Bridget’s cute new sponsor, Charlie (Billy Miller), who is acting on orders from Siobhan
- What was up with Eriq LaSalle (from ER!) directing this episode?
- How much of a coincidence is it that Siobhan happens to know Charlie?
- Gemma’s chances of survival: Down to nil?
She Said (tvangie)
Well I definitely had some major issues with this episode, least of which is the increasingly exhausting Juliet storyline (which has already been given too much mention). A million red flags going up when Bridget (as Siobhan) asks Charlie to go waltzing into the police station to see if he can find out more info for her in the missing Gemma investigation. REALLY? This guy is supposed to be her AA sponsor – not her private detective. And how do the brilliant writers get out of this conundrum you ask? A simple, “Charlie, I’ll only tell you what’s bothering me if you don’t ask too many questions,” Bridget says coyly. I wonder what Charlie would have said to get into that police station and access the crime files (an ACTIVE crime investigation might I remind you.) “Yeah for sure, guy off the street. Take a look at all my files. Knock yourself out.” If that weren’t bad enough, Bridget reveals where Gemma’s missing car is without batting an eyelash! If he was a real cop – he’d be hauling her downtown himself. Reminder: These two have probably known each other for all of two weeks. Would you be telling someone you barely know about concealed evidence in a possible murder? Was I the only one proclaiming “Come on!” during that whole exchange? So the big “reveal” that Charlie is actually a bad guy (ikely Gemma’s murderer and in cahoots with the real Siobhan) was hardly a jaw dropping twist.
Ridiculous plot point number two: the museum fundraiser honoring Gemma’s work. Let’s all forget that she’s missing and mostly likely murdered – let’s get dressed up and have a big cocktail party instead. If Henry really wanted to play the dutiful husband, he’d be out there looking for her rather than putting on a tux and cutting a ceremonial ribbon. I guess sulking around the party with 5 o’clock shadow mumbling, “I just want her back,” is supposed to suffice.
Don’t get me wrong, Ringer is a good ol’ soapy time, but when it tries to be serious, it’s laughable (um, just take a look at the episode title). It desperately wants to put the pieces in place for some shocking twists and turns, but all the narrative connections in between are down right sloppy. A payoff can’t happen if you’re not smart or authentic about them all the way through.
So why am I still watching? I think it’s the residual Buffy factor. That, or the production values are just too damn good.
He Said (cinephilactic)
By production values do you mean wardrobe, because SMG is rocking some crazy frocks (her purple dress was quite the knock-out, by which I mean I mean BOOBS)
The Buffy factor is definitely factoring into my buy-in (I confess that I’m also a sucker for Kristoffer Polaha). I guess from my perspective, I’m willing to cut it some slack in lazy storytelling because it’s already gone in directions I wouldn’t have thought it would go. Bridget telling Gemma who she really is in episode 4, Gemma’s disappearance in episode 6 and now the reveal that Siobhan is pulling the strings in Paris feels like a good deal of progress to make so early on. Like all new shows, the show is still finding the right balance of elements, which in this case is somewhere between film noir and over the top soap opera. I’d still rather watch a show that plays fast and loose, however, rather than something that plods along aimlessly (cough *The Killing* cough).
It’s not so much that I want to defend its failings as I’m still want to see where it goes next. Now that Malcolm is in the mix, Charlie is trouble and Gemma remains MIA, I think there’s a lot of potentially interesting places for the show to go.
Things I’d like to see:
- More depth to both Bridget and Siobhan: Bridget needs to move from talking about being more than what Bridget “was” and do “more” (talk less, show more), while Siobhan needs to appear more frequently than every episode’s denouement, spouting one liners into the telephone. Dear Siobhan: You’re not Charlie from Charlie’s Angels. It’s time to show us your hand already!
- Axe Juliet: I never understand why shows hang onto characters that are clearly dead weight. Gemma was snoozy, but at least she moved things along (and her hair gave us something to mock). Juliet’s storyline, despite the appearance of Jason Dohring (RIP Veronica Mars) as way-too-young-to-teach high school teacher, remains a black void on the show. Dullsville. Why does Andrew even need a hard partying daughter?
- More Olivia Charles (Jaime Murray): Not just because I love her from Dexter season 2, but because she brought an Amanda Woodward (Melrose Place) level of bitchery to the show in the few appearances she made. There’s a spike in energy whenever she’s around that is sometimes absent when it’s only Bridget and her brothel of hot men. Not only does Bridget need to get rounded out, she needs to stop moping around (has poor SMG smiled even once on this show?!). Let’s start some catfights. Olivia is a great character to make that happen.
What else do you think can be done to improve the show, tvangie?
She Said (tvangie)
Well, cinephilactic, I agree – dropping the dead weight would improve the show’s pacing and momentum (read: Juliet). Let’s ship her off to boarding school and be done with it. (Yes, I know that she’s already been kicked out of one, but there has to be another out there.) But the presence of hot young English teacher tells me there’s another subplot a-brewin’.
And yes, bring back Olivia Charles! Some grade A acting talent would increase the watchability factor. I just feel the show doesn’t know what it wants to be. Either you go full out campy melodramatic soap (ala Revenge) and we’re all buckled up for the ride, or you try to be a thought provoking drama by focusing on character development. Right now we’re only getting tidbits of each genre, and it’s not as satisfying.
At this point, I think it’s far easier to embrace its soapy roots. I actually thought Episode 4 and 5’s overuse of the word “bitch” and “whore” was an indication of going in that direction. What if Bridget is really preggers with Malcolm’s baby and then nine months later in the hospital, Andrew is in for a big surprise? Would love to see Bridget talk her way out of that one.
I will say that I enjoyed the almost make-out session in the Martins’ closet. This is the first time we’ve seen Andrew and Bridget kiss. The tentative quality of the kiss also gives us some history behind Andrew’s broken heart and his vulnerability in trying to rekindle things with his “wife”. That also brings up another point. What happens when Andrew finds out? You’d think that your husband would be able to tell that your twin is impersonating you when you’re getting down and dirty. At this point it is somewhat believable if they haven’t gotten physical yet, but it will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
It would be really interesting if Andrew acknowledges that this is clearly not his wife, but knew about (the real) Siobhan’s plan this whole time and is playing along for another sinister reason. Now that would be a twist!
For now, however, I’ll hang on for the rest of the season to see what happens. And yes- it’s partly due to the fashion – it doesn’t get any better than disposing of a body while wearing a blush-coloured Chanel camisole.
We’ve prattled on long enough. Any others want to chime in?
[…] the second week in a row Juliet delivered the episode title in conversation. In last week’s He Said/She Said, TVangie suggested that the titles acknowledge the show’s awareness of its trashy, pulpy, […]