Ringer Ends with All Its Cards on the Table

Ringer S01E22: "I'm the Good Twin"

Was that a season finale or a series finale? It’s tough to say. Ringer hasn’t been much of a success with critics or with audiences—but it still has Sarah Michelle Gellar’s name, and it’s on a network that holds itself to a different standard than, say, ABC. Strangely enough, I thought last night's finale, "I'm the Good Twin," showed promise for a second season, but I can’t say I care much either way. After the mess of Season 1, I’m well aware that an intriguing set-up does not imply a successful follow-through.

Tuesday’s episode ended the stupid Bodaway Macawi storyline: what was supposed to be an impetus for Ringer’s action became a dead weight dragging the plot down. Siobhan’s plans had nothing to do with Macawi. The assassins after Bridget were Catherine’s, not Macawi’s. Machado spent the entire season being a really crappy detective. Truly, was there anything about the Macawi plot that added to the show? It may have been why Bridget assumed her sister’s identity, but everything thereafter carried only a flimsy connection to it. What a waste of time.

Thankfully, Macawi is dead. He showed up after a multi-episode absence basically so Bridget could shoot him a couple times, and honestly, I have no problem with that. If Ringer does get a second season, it will be stronger without Macawi looming overhead. There were enough other threats, enough dangerous individuals, that by the end, Macawi felt superfluous. Putting an abrupt end to that nonsense may have been the smartest choice Ringer has made so far—I only wish the show had gotten around to it sooner. The show could have spent a lot of the time it wasted on Macawi working toward a confrontation between Bridget and Siobhan. Isn’t that what most of us have been waiting for?

But the finale did more than just finally off Macawi: It put all of Ringer’s cards on the table. Andrew and Juliet learned that Siobhan slept with Henry and that Bridget was Bridget. Henry learned that he was not the twins’ biological father. Bridget learned that Siobhan was alive, and that she wanted her dead. And while all of this is a step in the right direction, it’s likely too little, too late.

Ringer never had the focus it needed to be the show it thought it was. I have repeatedly criticized Season 1 for being all over the place: for a series that the showrunners painstakingly mapped out ahead of time, it felt a lot like they were throwing a bunch of crap at a wall to see what stuck. Ringer wasn’t just aimless—it was inept, a show that didn’t understand plotting from the get-go. There were moments I enjoyed and stories that could have worked, but the show mishandled nearly everything, to the extent that most episodes were a total slog.

In a way I admire Ringer’s ambition: It set up multiple mysteries and stretched them out for an entire season. But there was always too much going on, and none of it was particularly good. I see what Ringer could have been, what it looks like on paper, and that makes the show’s failure all the more disappointing. I know it seems like I took pleasure in tearing Ringer apart on a weekly basis, but the truth is, I root for Sarah Michelle Gellar. I root for Kris Polaha, Ioan Gruffudd, and Nestor Carbonell. I root for complex drama and for good noir—sadly, that’s not what we got.

I was tempted to write a piece on what Ringer could do to improve next season, but I honestly don’t know where to begin. The Season 1 finale, which pushed Bridget and Siobhan closer to a confrontation with one another, is a good start: I just know it’s not enough. Perhaps Season 2, if it happens, will be a dramatic improvement from the first—but this isn’t a show in need of a little renovation. It needs a total teardown.