Well, that was…something. After 10 episodes of varying quality, we come to the (more or less) half-way point of the season. On the eve of the holiday break, you hope your favourite shows will break out the big reveals, epic showdowns and maybe just a touch of exposition. Instead we got a blah episode that tried to be daring and exciting, but mostly felt like a letdown after last week’s far superior effort. It’s almost enough to make you hit yourself in the eye with the medicine cabinet door handle.
Let’s break it down…Warning: Bitching aheadI’ll address it now and get it out of the way: RIP Big Red. Oh Gemma (Tara Summers), we hardly knew you. Aside from your bad dye job, crummy parenting skills and beautiful architecture, we never got to know the true Gemma Butler. And now we never will. Yes, the only other female character on the show besides SMG* took a bullet to the back of the head late in the hour, despite being impervious to close range shots only moments before. At least she got to say the title line before she passed into the Hamptons in the sky, though after 10 episodes, I will confess that I do feel bad for Tara Summers. You know that when she signed on to this role it was because she thought she would have a glamourous role in Sarah Michelle Gellar’s comeback vehicle. She probably didn’t realize she would disappear for a slew of episodes at a stretch, reappear bound and gagged like Marcellus Wallace, eat a bologna sandwich and then bite it at point blank range because she couldn’t find a set of car keys that were already in the ignition.
Better luck next time, Ms. Summers. If they ever shoot a Blossom movie, at least we know who’ll play her evil twin.
*Regarding female characters on the show, I refuse to consider Zoey Deutch’s Juli-brat anything other than a waste of airtime until forcibly proven otherwise. The fact that she got so much airtime when there wasn’t even a glimpse of Jaime Murray’s delicious Forever-Lila confirms to me that there is nothing sacred in this world.
Too bitchy? I suppose it’s because after a week off, I came into the fall finale expecting great escapism. After feeling as though the show had found itself again in the last new episode, I anticipated that ‘That’s What You Get For Trying to Kill Me’ would send the show off into the break in style. Instead, it felt as though the writers took their cues from The Walking Dead and decided that it was worth having Gemma return for 30 seconds and then kill her. Oh to be a fly on the wall of the writers room:
Writer 1: So we’ve been teasing that Gemma’s dead for multiple episodes now. But what if…she’s not really dead?
Writer 2: Oh snap! That would be off the hook. And not only that, but just when people think she’s back, we’ll kill her for real
Writer 1: Killer! But first let’s do another fake-out, so people will think she’s dead, but then she’ll be okay, and then we kill her. It’s like reverse expectations. I read about it in “Screenwriting For Dummies”
Writer 2: Niiiice
That’s likely how it went down. Because, you know, the writers from Ringer are living in the mid-90s.
In all seriousness, though, who thought it was a wise decision to have Gemma escape death despite being shot from four feet away so that Charlie (Billy Miller) could confess that Siobhan was still alive, only to then really kill her (Sidenote: Shooting her in the back of the head from that close pretty much guarantees that her face would be an epic red smear, so the fact that she not only had a face, but left no blood trail when he dragged the body was beyond ridiculous).
So what else happened?
Agent Machado (Nestor Carbonell) had a mostly stand alone storyline when he returned to Wyoming to seek out a dirty cop after his stripper informant was killed (I was also irate that the stripper was played by Buffy alum Amber Benson in a blink and you’ll miss it cameo. If she doesn’t have a more significant role in flashbacks then that was just a waste of her time). Machado ultimately got his man – the cop that works for Siobhan and helped to set everything in motion by planting a gun in Bridget’s bag and encouraging her to go to NY. What does this mean in the larger story? At this point it may simply be another way to reveal that Siobhan is alive and well. In the context of last night’s episode, however, it was a blah storyline that felt overly drawn out and detracted from the main purpose of finding Big Red.
Henry (Kristoffer Polaha), meanwhile, was so upset about his missing wife that in between bitch-fits on Bridget he decided to feather his hair and break out a sweet 70s blazer. It was his distrust of Bridget that ultimately spelled Gemma’s doom as he recruited Detective Saldana (Emily Swallow) to follow Bridget and Andrew to the money drop at Penn station. This was the second moronic move from Saldana. Earlier in the episode she told Charlie Malcolm Ward (Mike Colter) was accusing him of harbouring Gemma. I’m fairly certain that if you accuse someone of kidnapping, the cops don’t reveal your identity to the accused. That seemed just a tad sloppy, and naturally gave Charlie a nice heads up that his cover was blown. It also meant that Charlie recognized Saldana at the station, so he got spooked and murdered Big Red at his not-so-secret storage locker.
I don’t fully understand why it took Bridget so long to consider her missing bestie might be there considering Malcolm gave her the receipt last episode. It certainly didn’t take Siobhan very long: she flew to NY from Paris (hope she’s collecting Air Miles), got peeved that Charlie disobeyed her, and eventually shot him. She even had time to make up with small head-big body Tyler (Justin Bruening). Of course she had to lie and tell him her future spawn was his and bash herself in the face with a medicine cabinet to do so, but a girl’s got to do whatever keeps her in a high thread sheet count in Paris, amIright?
The episode ended with a split screen of both twins after Charlie and Big Red’s bodies were discovered. Bridget doesn’t believe that Charlie was only after her sister for money and feels that there’s another reason for his actions. That more or less echoes what viewers are thinking now. At this point, 10 freaking episodes in we’re still no closer to finding out why Siobhan is doing what she’s doing and at this point it’s becoming increasingly likely we won’t until the season finale. That’s really upsetting after the big reveals Ringer pulled out early on. Remember when Gemma confronted Bridget and the truth about Bridget impersonating Siobhan came out? That was awesome because it happened in episode 4! Since then it feels like the show has been treading its wheels. Here’s hoping for a little traction and maybe even some advancement, when the show returns in mid-January.
- Andrew and Bridget-as-Siobhan celebrated their sixth year of marriage with joint “I love you”s and some sexytime. I’m coming around to the romance, though the cheese factor for the sex scene was set to Gouda. Why did it look like one of those late night single ads? Wouldn’t the room have been a million degrees with all those candles?
- Charlie’s death was labelled a suicide. I don’t think we need Dexter Morgan on the case to recognize that this would never fly. On the other hand, how much better would the show be if he was on it? Who would he off first? Obviously Olivia…duh
- I didn’t want to address it because it’s so absurd, but the other storyline was Juli-brat suggesting that Mr. Carpenter (Jason Dohring) raped her. This can go two ways: 1) She’s lying because he turned her down (the likely story) or 2) She’s actually telling the truth (and despite everything we’ve seen he’s scum). Neither option is incredibly compelling and only reinforces that this character contributes nothing to the show. Just because the show airs on The CW doesn’t mean it needs to feature teenagers, and if there was ever a case for a character mysteriously leaving to attend a foreign boarding school and never returning, it’s Juliet. I’m officially breaking the glass in case of emergency and getting off the Juliet crazy train.
That was way harsh, Tai.
Glad to know I have someone in my corner. =)
Morgan (@mojotastic) says
Over here from my recap at Yidio.com and I could not agree more (obviously) about both the wasted potential of Amber Benson and Gemma’s demise. I was all for them actually killing her off back when we thought Henry did it, so I have no idea why they kept her around for so long only to kill her off like the murderer at the end of every slasher flick. I couldn’t help but feel horrible for that poor actress, the same way I did when Malcolm’s only contribution was getting heroine injected into his eyeballs. But at least he escaped and didn’t then get shot in the face. TWICE.