For weeks I’ve been fielding the same question from friends, co-workers, and even strangers on the street: why am I’m still watching (and recapping) The CW’s Ringer? I’ll admit, the question was becoming harder and harder to answer as the show wasted its goodwill and abused its talented cast. But I had faith that it would find it’s inner soapy. And low and behold, tonight was the night the show finally got its shit together and became the show I had hoped it would be.
Let’s bitch it out…Hands down this was the best episode of the show to date. Forget the shoddy green screen in the pilot, the nonsensical actions of characters, and the lazy (and non-dramatic) plotting. Even though ‘What are you doing here, ho-bag?” remained chop full of cliches and convenient plot devices, this was the first time in Ringer’s history that the show managed to embrace the ridiculousness of its plot and build some narrative momentum.
So what changed? Well, for the first time, the show introduces some real stakes. Obviously the watercooler moment is the cliffhanger in which Siobhan (Sarah Michelle Gellar) proves to Henry (Kristoffer Polaha) who she is. As Bridget gets out of the car in front of the apartment, Henry finally sees both twins at the same time before Siobhan tosses out this little gem: “She’s the one living the life with Andrew [Ioan Gruffudd], not me. And I’m still pregnant…with our child.” What we all hoped would happen has finally occurred: someone else knows the truth that Bridget is an impostor! The question is: what will happen next? The last person who knew this secret was Big Red and that didn’t work out so well for her.
Now if that had only been this one incident, I would likely be complaining that this was the familiar Ringer structure: a big twist at the end of an otherwise so-so episode. But Siobhan wasn’t the only one making power plays: Bridget also got into the action as she (finally!) started putting the pieces together. Last week she figured out the Hotel Pivoine connection (Siobhan’s Parisian hotel) and this week paid out of multiple plot points from previous episodes, including Bridget’s visit to Siobhan’s therapist in ‘Shut Up and Eat Your Bologna’, as well as her dinner with Tyler in ‘Maybe We Can Get A Dog Instead’. These details allow her to recall that Siobhan always uses the false name Cora Farrell, and that Tyler has a Siobhan connection. Alas Andrew returns home before she can figure out that Siobhan is still alive (and in NY), though thanks to a convenient bit of information from Juliet’s (Zoey Deutsch) biological mother, Catherine (Andrea Roth), Bridget decodes Siobhan’s address book. This allows her to identify the man Tyler name-drops: Solomon (Sean Patrick Thomas in a blink-and-you-miss-it Cruel Intentions reunion with Gellar). When Solomon picks Bridget up she learns that Siobhan used the car service to get to JFK (she’s too good for taxis?) and the last trip she made was nine months previous to…Wyoming. This matches the time and location of Bridget’s case against crimelord Bodaway Macawi (Zahn McClarnon) and likely when Siobhan hired corrupt police detective, Jimmy Kemper (Darren Pettie) – though only we know the latter point, not Bridget (hurray for omniscience).
The Wyoming callback, as well as scenes of Machado (Nestor Carbonnell) and his jailbait partner, Brian Hallisay’s Agent Pettibone (Freudian name *snicker*) reintroduced the long gestating “who gives a crap” Bodaway storyline. It seems that we’re not quite out of the woods with this one just yet, though Kemper’s offer to help Bodaway find Bridget near the end of the episode could be promising. I’ll overlook how ridiculous it is that a) Bodaway would have come to see Kemper in person and b) that people wouldn’t automatically make the connection between them immediately. These little suspensions of disbelief are best employed when watching this show.
Although Bridget is outted and may shortly fall victim to Bodaway’s revenge, Siobhan’s not out of hot water, either. The cliffhanger big reveal comes after Henry fails to believe her confession of love. He wisely recognizes her shock at the news of her ‘miscarriage’, which prompts him to turn her over to Machado (they both think she’s Bridget, but fingerprints exonerate her) Side Note: Do identical twins not have identical finger prints?
Although SMG and the writers don’t always do a great job making the sisters unique, this scene really let Siobhan’s icy bitchiness shine through. It also proved how much better at lying she is than Bridget! Siobhan addressed Machado’s question about her Hamptons meeting with Charlie without batting an eye. Other challenges: Siobhan didn’t manage to get her updated passport (from a random street vendor), so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see where ‘Rebecca Sheldrake’ plans to go.
- We get to meet Juliet’s (Zoey Deutsch) mom, Catherine, and she’s pretty much a sluttier version of Siobhan: blonde, bitchy and far too comfortable around the recreational drugs (ie: BOOZE). Clearly not a candidate for mom-of-the-year, Catherine comes to blows with all three of the Martin family members before Andrew boots her ass to the curb. This allows Bridget an opportunity to connect with Juliet via a lame boot metaphor about how shitty her parents’ divorce was. Shared grief…it makes everyone feel better!
- The ‘rape’ storyline got a bit twistier this week: we got to see hall security footage of Juliet throwing herself at a protesting Mr. Carpenter (Jason Dohring), which confirms our suspicions that Juliet lied about the assault. But then at the end of the episode her classmate, Tessa (the titular ho-bag) shows up to confess that Carpenter forced her to have sex with him, too. Even with the twists, I can’t say that excited about this storyline (maybe it’ll go into Wild Things territory and have a triple cross, multiple murders, and Bacon wang?)
- Although the show doesn’t do much comedy (besides the ludicrous titles that are always attributed to Juliet), it was nice to see a quick jokey moment between Bridget and Andrew when she teases him that his attraction to Martha Stewart is “gross.”
So what do we think, Ringer fans? Do you agree that this was the best episode that the show has done? Are you excited to see what happens now that Henry knows the truth? How much longer can Siobhan stay hidden from Bridget? And will every episode title come from dumb Juliet’s mouth?