By Anna Robertson
The unexpected conclusion of “Ringer’s” pilot left plenty of intriguing plot threads hanging, readily available for exploration in this week’s episode, “She’s Ruining Everything.” The second episode is devoted to dissecting the circumstances of Bridget’s shocking murder, albeit in self-defense, of a masked assassin obviously intended for her twin sister Siobhan. Meanwhile, the supposedly dead twin is very much alive and well in Europe despite her apparent suicide in an hour that improves upon its predecssor, but continues to be plagued by a few key problems.
The tone of “Ringer” thankfully improved this week, utilizing some of the opportunities for twisted humor peppered throughout its ridiculous plot, such as Bridget’s darkly comical attempt to conceal the assassin’s body. Scenes like this mark great progress over the pilot episode, in which any humor was an unintentional consequence of the cumbersome dialogue or poor production values. Unfortunately, the dialogue remains an issue in “Everything” – some of the conversations between characters are forced and riddled with television clichés – but the episode contained more of the lighthearted, ironic quality that should have been present from the show’s inception.
The pilot episode failed to establish multilayered characters, and sadly the second episode continues this trend. Little is revealed of the majority of the supporting cast that makes them truly compelling. The episode ends with the same worn-out archetypes that were introduced last week still in place, though the actors put forth their best efforts. The exception is Bridget, who proves herself as the only remotely likable or sympathetic character on the show. She may have her flaws – alcoholism, identity theft, and an uncanny knack for cleaning up after a murder – but these flaws make Bridget feel human. Sarah Michelle Gellar is capable of swaying the audience to root for her, as she tries to work against her issues and become a good person. The actress continues to portray Bridget’s wide-eyed bewilderment perfectly, creating a noticeable contrast between the old, carefree Bridget of flashbacks and the damaged one of the present. There is, however, very little chemistry between any of the characters. While the absence of a spark between Bridget and her spurious husband (really Siobhan’s spouse) could be intentional, she also lacks a connection with her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor/confidante Malcolm (Mike Colter), with whom, it has been suggested, she shares a mutual attraction for.
The first two episodes of “Ringer” have followed a predictable formula – a fairly slow-paced main narrative ending with a shocking twist – which the creators of the show will hopefully deviate from in the future. Though the plot twists have acted as beacons of hope for the show, they are in danger of becoming nothing more than hackneyed ploys to retain the audience. This technique also results in the most exciting scenes only occurring at the end of an episode, a method sure to alienate some impatient audience members. “Everything” leaves the audience with the inexplicable disappearance of the body that Bridget worked so hard to conceal – an interesting twist, but not one that could sustain the third episode’s entire plot before the next revelation is introduced.
Overall, the second episode of Ringer is much more successful than the pilot, mercifully free of terrible CGI backgrounds, a painfully contrived use of mirrors, and the awkwardly forced introductions of characters to the audience. “Everything” is simply a lot more fun, and hints at the show’s potential to become even more enjoyable as the plot progresses. To accomplish this, however, the writers must learn that each incredulous plot convolution will be much more entertaining if the show can crate more well-rounded characters and take itself somewhat less seriously .
Anna Robertson is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington Square News will be covering Ringer’s inaugural first season as part of our new web TV Special Feature. Check back on the blog every Wednesday at noon for recaps, analysis, and critiques of this new show.