Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ringer: “Whores Don’t Make That Much”

Illustration for article titled Ringer: “Whores Don’t Make That Much”
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Last week, Ringer pretty much broke me. It wasn’t the worst episode of the show—that would be the second episode of the season, for my money—it was more like the season as a whole cumulatively ground me down until all that was left of my critical faculties were little nubs, like a dull pencil. The break must have been good for my relationship with the show, however, because I think this episode was actually tolerable? Maybe? That or the show has damaged my brain more than I even realize.

Let me temper this very lukewarm praise for the episode by saying something up front: This is still a terrible show. If you look even slightly beyond the particular scene you are watching, everything completely falls apart. Lucky for us, the show has no trust in its viewing audience to remember simple information introduced only last week, so anything you need to know will be dutifully shoved in front of your face via a flashback or quick insert shot. It’s television for dummies, except I actually think the dummies here might be the ones making the show. We’re just assumed dummies by default.

Still, despite being terrible and telling us nothing we didn’t really already know, this episode was fairly satisfying. Most of this was due to some decent acting between Sarah Michelle Gellar and guest star Misha Collins as Siobhan’s ex Dylan, as they portrayed the very emotional story of what happened to Siobhan’s son Sean. It’s not a particularly interesting story—Bridget went against Siobhan’s wishes and allowed Dylan to see Sean when he wasn’t supposed to, and in the process they were all in a car crash that took Sean’s life—but it was fairly emotionally well-rendered and touching, making it an actual pleasure to watch. The problem, again, comes from when you look beyond the surface. This is a story we could have guessed ages ago without it ever being played out; it’s plotted and paced all wrong in the season. Bridget giving Dylan her forgiveness (as Siobhan, of course) is a good callback to Bridget’s reasons for wanting to remain impersonating Siobhan in the first place, to fix all of the relationships Siobhan had broken because of her. The issue? This is a character motivation we haven’t seen in ages, therefore it literally feels like a disconnect.

The one amazing—and amazingly hilarious—thing to come out of this storyline is Bridget’s newfound goal to someday reveal herself to Andrew and Juliet, explaining her entire ruse. Her hope they will be able to forgive her and continue to let her live Siobhan’s life, but as Bridget, is hilariously misguided, even for a character with Bridget’s faults. The meth must have done more to Bridget’s brain than anyone realized.

Less successful was Juliet’s continued scam this week, as it once again managed to take what should be a surprising, twisty, fun lark and do the most obvious thing possible to kill the momentum. After revealing the Wild Things twist last week, they went even deeper down the rabbit hole by making Juliet’s mother Catherine the mastermind behind the whole plan. File this under “least surprising surprise ever.” I’m not even sure what to do with this storyline at this point, besides hope Andrew loses his custody fight so Juliet can go spend her Daddy’s money in Miami and leave this mess behind us all. If this storyline is going to continue (and obviously it is) fleshing out Juliet’s emotional stake in this is going to be essential. She was obviously upset over Tessa’s beating, but why did she agree to do this in the first place? An attempt to please her absentee mother? An attempt to stick it to her controlling father?
Juliet may have some snarky lines, and Zoey Deutch is a fun performer, but the character itself is a cipher. If the story isn’t going to be a fun surprise, at least create a character the audience can latch onto in the absence of surprise. Seeing as Ringer gets ten things wrong for every one thing it gets right, I am a bit doubtful this is something they will be able to fix.

Stray observations:

  • Where do we think Siobhan was this week? Mani-pedi? Landmark seminar? Seeing The Vow?
  • Tessa and Juliet are going through the same things as the pick six guys on Luck! So, obviously, now I want to see an episode of this show written by David Milch.
  • I love how Malcolm is randomly this total suited-up businessman guy now. He sometimes fixes computers around the office and writes programming, I guess? Hey, he taught a Computer Science class at community college! That makes him totally qualified for…whatever it is he does now.