Did Sticking with Ringer Just Start to Pay Off?

By Louis Peitzman

Feb 08, 2012

Ringer S01E12: “What Are You Doing Here, Ho-Bag?”

Seven words I never thought I’d write—Tuesday night’s episode of Ringer was great. I’m serious. It was engaging, fun, and legitimately exciting, which is more than I can say about any of the episodes preceding it. If Ringer can keep this up, I might be willing to call it a show that I like by season’s end. (Thought let’s not get carried away: There’s still a lot of badness it has to make up for.)

“What Are You Doing Here, Ho-Bag?” may not have won me over with its title, but the episode was exactly the kind of soap opera thriller we’ve been promised since the start. I could lament the fact that it’s taken Ringer so long to get to this point, but let’s just celebrate an enjoyable hour of television.

The main source of awesomeness? Bridget coming closer to discovering that Siobhan is still alive, and Siobhan doing everything in her power to keep that secret safe. I’ve mentioned this in my reviews of The Lying Game, but if you’ve got a show with two twins pretending to be each other, you have to give me plenty of awkward misunderstandings and near-misses. Now that Siobhan and Bridget are finally in the same city, Ringer has given them both a chance to shine—Siobhan continues to prove her role as master manipulator, and Bridget has stopped being annoyingly dense. These twins bring out the best/worst in each other!

Speaking of people pulling their heads out of their asses, it’s nice to see Agent Machado actually doing good investigative work for once. This is a character who needs to feel essential to the series, and up to this point, he’s mostly been a nuisance. But as Machado has gotten closer to the truth, he’s sharpened—maybe because he realizes this case is more complicated than it first seemed, or because the writers figured out one of their primary antagonists was too dull to take seriously.

Here’s hoping Malcolm can undergo the same personality adjustment and add something to this show. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed Tuesday’s episode so much was that he never made an appearance.

Now, the Juliet rape storyline. I’m still uncomfortable with it, and I remain dubious as to where it’s headed, but the way it was handled in this episode worked for me. The surveillance video planted doubt, and it also reflected a very real problem in accusations of sexual assault. Just because Juliet made a pass at Mr. Carpenter doesn’t mean she’s lying about him later raping her. And if this is a lie, it’s an elaborate one—as evidenced by the reveal that Tessa was also raped by her teacher. If Juliet and Tessa are both lying, this story is straight-up nabbed from Wild Things, but that’s one of my favorite trashy movies ever, and I wouldn’t mind if Ringer paid it homage.

And Juliet’s trauma did provide an excuse to introduce Andrew’s ex-wife Catherine, a delightfully hot mess who gave Ringer the burst of absurdity and bitchiness it needed. “Siobhan” and Catherine duking it out may have little bearing on the story, but holy crap it was fun to watch. The petty sniping and the verbal barbs made the episode feel like a guilty pleasure instead of a slog. And I love that Catherine’s parting words were a weak, “You know what, Siobhan? You can suck it.” This woman is too drunk to fight properly. She showed up naked in a bathtub! She burned photos of her own daughter! Please let Catherine stick around for the rest of the season, because she has already earned a spot in my heart.

The episode ended with a nice reveal, as Henry finally learned that Bridget has taken over Siobhan’s life. And since Kris Polaha is a series regular, I’m guessing this is going to stick. I’m not dying to see next week’s episode, but I’m a little bit excited—and I can’t remember the last time, if ever, I felt even this much enthusiasm for Ringer.

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  • whatever120 Mar 03, 2012

    I honestly don't know what is about this show that keeps me coming back. Let's face it, it's nothing more than a soap. And I don't watch soaps. In fact, each week I record it and then think, "Is it worth watching this?" Half the time I almost delete it unwatched. Then, I think, "Oh, what the hell..." and I end up enjoying it. I have no clue why.

  • Im_right_aint_i Feb 11, 2012

    "Did you sleep with your sister's husband behind her back, too?" ==> Best line of the season !

    Seriously, that week was indeed better than the previous ones. It may have been better to have less but denser episodes for this show... I wish the big finish is close because I really feel that the story is stretched up to the max !

  • pcsjunior002 Feb 11, 2012

    I haven't thought that this show has been quite as bad as you've implied, but I fully agree that this episode was a notch up. I love the fact that things got resolved and came to a head rather than continuing to draw stuff out for a while. "Revenge" has done a good job of that, and it would be great to see these shows fighting in style rather than veering off in odd directions.

  • TrueTvWatcher Feb 11, 2012

    Ringer is awesome and this episode shows what the series is capable of, given the chance! I loved all the revelations and am glad they played it out this way. I didn't want to know every thing immediately, well maybe, but it is the journey not the destination for me in viewing this type of show!

    I'm glad you are finally starting to see what I've known all along!

  • bonezrulz05 Feb 10, 2012

    Quick question: How low to viewing figures have to get before the CW will cancel a show? Cos Ringer doesn't seem to be doing that well and I'm getting worried.

  • Left4Ed Feb 10, 2012

    It averages about 1.2 mil an episode, just slightly below their current fan favorite, Supernatural, which has ALWAYS been a low performer, around 2 mil.

  • saicr Feb 10, 2012

    REALLY LOW....looking at the rating ringer should be fine, its doing better than three or four of the other shows on the network.

  • WhatYouFeel Feb 10, 2012

    I love Ringer and always have, and it is definitely getting even better as it goes! One of my favorite shows on TV.

  • GarthDanicich Feb 09, 2012

    Wow, someone on TV.com giving a program a chance before dumping it rather than just giving it 4 episodes? The horror, the horror!

  • Whedonrules Feb 09, 2012

    That was the single best episode of this show and made the exceptionally slow simmer pay off well. The only problem I have with this show is SMG's complete inability to play two of herself in the same scene. Its like when she was the Buffybot except both Bridget and Siobhan are robots. Everyone actor that has to do this should be forced to watch the master Dean Stockwell do it on "Battlestar Galactica". He has scenes where two Cavil's were arguing in a jail cell on "Battlestar" and it is a masterclass in paying two parts in the same scene. On this show it just looks cheap and SMG can't pull it off at all.

    Nice having Janet Gavin, er Andrea Roth, around. She got to put her drunk Tommy on for that part and it was kind of great. Wonder if she called Dennis Leary for pointers?

    Too bad they waited this long to show how fun and how entertaining this premise could be. They didn't even heavily hype this episode so I'm guessing those abysmal numbers from last week did not improve.

    Best episode of this series thus far.

  • vcivi Feb 09, 2012

    Love this show!!!

  • mlauzon Feb 09, 2012

    Doesn't anyone find it a little weird that "Ringer" also revealed the twin the same week that "The Lying Game" revealed the twin..?!

    Of course, I find "The Lying Game" to be the better of the two, however, I do watch both.

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