Ringer: Middling Malcolm

Watching Ringer is frustrating, because in many ways, the damage has already been done. I’m trying to keep an open mind, but the series has made such a bad first impression that it’s going to be difficult for it to recover. It would be one thing if Ringer was on a clear rise to greatness, but it continues to shuffle along, only occasionally offering an awesome scene or, more rarely, a solid episode. Tuesday's "Maybe We Can Get a Dog Instead?" was not one of those episodes.

But let’s start with the positive, because there were certainly things I liked about it. Well, one thing at least: The plot is moving forward. And to its credit, Ringer has progressed pretty steadily from week to week. The story elements are finally coming together in a way that almost makes sense. I say “almost” because I’m still not sure where all of this is heading, and that’s okay. I’m fine with uncertainty as long as I'm confident the writers have a handle on things. Bridget sitting down to dinner with Tyler was a great “holy crap” moment. And I loved the final scene of her inadvertently turning Malcolm over to the enemy. I’m digging Charlie as a double agent.

And now onto the bad. Tuesday’s episode did its best to flesh out Malcolm as a character, which is something I’ve been wanting to see for weeks. The problem was, it didn’t really do anything to make him interesting or even unique from countless other addict characters we’ve seen on screen. In flashbacks, Malcolm was a boring sponsor, and in the present-day scenes, he was a boring junkie. The characters lacks the complexity of someone like Henry, who has at least shown two very different sides to his personality. Even Bridget, who often comes across as flat, offers a bit more internal conflict.

I want to like Malcolm because it’s clear how important he is to Bridget’s life, and to the story. But so far, I don’t get what he’s doing here. The addiction drama is played out: If you’re going to tell this story, find a new way to tell it. Here, it was painted in broad strokes—Malcolm shaking from withdrawal, Malcolm stealing money from a restaurant, Malcolm insisting that he can get clean on his own. These have become clichés, and frankly everything Ringer has said about addiction so far has felt too cut-and-dried. See also: the ridiculous “junkie” makeup they put on Sarah Michelle Gellar for those Narcotics Anonymous flashbacks.

And while I hate to say it, Juliet remains a weak link for me. (I have no problem with trashing Juliet. I just don’t like being a broken record.) I didn’t mind her scenes with “Siobhan,” because their relationship is starting to make sense to me, but everything that took place at school was a mess. We know Mr. Carpenter is going to be an important character because he’s played by Jason Dohring, but if the show is setting up a student-teacher romance, it's doing an awful job. What student so blatantly hits on a teacher in a classroom? And what teacher, picking up on the obvious come-on, doesn’t react with the appropriate horror? Maybe this is a silly thing to say about a switched-identity twin thriller, but come on, that was really unbelievable.

Don’t even get me started on Machado. Who? Exactly.

While I can give Ringer credit for moving its story forward, I still can’t bring myself to care, and I place almost all of the blame on the weak characters. I don’t feel like I know these people at all, and the more glimpses I get into their backstories, the less invested I become. Go ahead and tell me why I’m watching Ringer wrong—seriously, I welcome your feedback. And I’ll do my best to approach next week’s episode with an open mind. I’m especially curious to see how Siobhan will recover now that Bridget has majorly screwed up her plans.


What did you think of "Maybe We Can Get a Dog Instead?"? Am I being too hard on this show, or are you as frustrated with it as I am?

Comments (23)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
I think this is getting better week after week. Since Gemma's disappearance, the whole plot took another dynamic because Bridget became an actor of her new like. Before, she (and we) was just struggling with the need to fit into her sister's shoes. I think the scene with Malcom at the cafe was a good proof of that.



I'm a bit disappointed that the pregancy thing was evacuated that fast. Of course, it will still have consequences on fake-shioban and andrew's relationship but it's not like what a lot if us predicted last week happened (Bridget being really pregnant with Malcom's baby). Looks like with all the twists that we got, we are waiting for new ones in every scene.



The juliet storyline does not convince me but it's discreet enough to not annoy me. I guess it's getting build up.

The tyler thing was great. I would have like that we didn't get to see the scene where Andrew phoned Tyler : the meeting at the restaurant would have been of a greater impact.



Even if the show is totally unrealistic, I think it is not as silly as it began. Things are going forward.
Reply
Flag
I'm a huge buffy fan and when I heard about this show I was super excited, but I agree with what you said , this show is very disappointing, a show can't rest along on just twists and plots , it needs to have likeable characters, and the writing is amateur at best I could find better dialog in "gossip girl" or god I'm ashamed to even say this because it means I addmit to watching that show but even in "90210" , it lacks wit and not to mention that the most annoying character juliet on the show is also the one that the deliver all the best lines , "maybe we can get a dog insted","a gawd there's two of them"" poor kids do it evryday" why else would the producers name all the episodes like that , which means only one thing if juliet is the witty of them all, then we really hit rock bottom . I'm watching the show every week thinking it might get better but honstly I'm starting to lose hope , I think sarah is wasting her acting skills on this one ,to call it a cross between buffy and film noir as it was mentioned in the PR intereviews is a stretch , it doesn't even come close to the first , but I'll keep watching , hoping for the best becasue I really like sarah and when I read about this show I thought it had huge potential.
More+
Reply
Flag
tyler did not say when he had sex with "cora", so for all bridget knows, siobhan had an affair with tyler some time ago.

unless they see each other again and he mentions something about paris / the time frame, bridget doesn't have a clue her twin is alive.
Reply
Flag
Oh, not yet I agree. But the seed is sown. He's going to be around Andrew more often, now. It is going to be interesting if he gets a call from Siobhan while sitting in front of Bridget...
Reply
Flag
It was the best episode so far.

It has the best scene so far : the dinner scene."I didn't realize I was sleeping with my boss's wife" LMAO!

It has a good development even now I'm interested into Julite story.

If the writers keep it like this and link all characters in a big plot line , it is gonna be a great show!
Reply
Flag
This was one of the first episodes that actually made my heart pound. When Bridget showed up at the dinner, that shit-hitting-the-fan moment was truly great. Because from that, the screws are going to come loose on a lot of the simmering plot points. Siobhan in Paris, doing whatever nefarious deeds she is doing, Tyler thinking that Bridget is his girlfriend and Bridget getting a clue about her sister. That moment was truly great, along with pretty much every scene involving Bridget and Andrew. Sarah and Ioan play so well off each other, especially when Andrew is being a broody jerk. As for Malcolm and Henry, Henry needs to take a long walk off a short pier. While Siobhan's relationship with him adds some dynamic to both their characters, it leaves Henry coming off like a whining, love-sick puppy. He was more interesting when I thought he killed Gemma. But Malcolm... There's a good love story between him and Bridget, but it's not coming off the way it should. It has the potential to be great, we've seen that much from the flashbacks, but like the show, it's hot or it's cold, with no middle ground to be seen. Then we come to Juliet. Like her most infamous namesake, she just needs to die. That look on her face when she went to the Young Samaritans meeting, that one that said she's rich and used to getting her way and she won't be denied what she thinks she deserves, told us everything we need to know about her character. She has shining moments of real personality but for the most part, she's a stuck up rich bitch who thinks she's all that and a bag of chips. "OMG This is the worst week EVAR! My daddy took away my trust fund!" Get rid of Juliet, make Machado more interesting, make Botoway more of a threat, heat up the past relationship between Malcolm and Bridget, while doing the same with Bridget and Andrew and this show could be EPIC. For now, I'll take this last episode, which was truly the best of the season.
More+
Reply
Flag
LoL ... "shit-hitting-the-fan moment" ? "take a long walk off a short pier" ?

"she's all that and a bag of chips" ?

Gee, I'm learning new stuff every day.



Anyhow, I do agree about Henry. I hope you still can enjoy the show even if the writers do not take your suggestions into account. Malcom and Bridget it's over. I'm not even sure if he's gonna be around any longer. Juliet will not die. She will probably put herself in some heavy shit, tho. Botoway is not the real threath... Siobhan is. You may at least get one: Machado will definitely get more interesting along the way. This is a slow cooking pot with no safety valve on the lid.
Reply
Flag
Why do you have to be sure where this is heading? The purpose and fun of watching a show like this is the twists and turns and shocking moments. I liked this episode a lot, and the series is really great compared to other things on tv. I think your being way to hard on the series though, and if you go to the south bronx you will see junkies with that kind of ridiculous make up and look. I also don't know why people are so hard on Juliet despite this weeks development which seemed a little brazen perhaps, but not entirely unheard of, I mean these things do happen. I look forward to watching how things develop now that Shiobhans plans seem to be falling apart at every turn.
Reply
Flag
I love Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jason Dohring so I'll continue to watch no matter what. I like Juliet...I don't really understand all the hate on her.
Reply
Flag
Its obvious that many think that the show would be better if the writers would write for them personally. Since last week, the show is moving into intricate and exciting plot lines. Too bad if some viewers do not see that. I often hear (read) complaints when a new show just re-does what has been done before again and again, which is legitimate: they get bored. What is strange and unfortunate is when a Network brings a new genre, some seem to have trouble accepting its difference.



For me, this was another strong episode. New dynamics have been set in motion:



Bridget may now have a clue that her sister is not dead. Siobhan plans are disturbed by Tyler's encounter with Bridget. Juliet is heading into a train wreck. I don't think Mr. Carpenter is the sweet guy that he seems to be. Siobhan seems troubled that Malcolm is in New York. Machado blackmailing Siobhan(Bridget), trailing Malcom... who landed into the arms of Gemma's Siobhan-hired killer. Machado has taped the meeting between Bridget and Malcom at the restaurant. If he watch it again he may see something he missed the first time and begin having suspicions. If he ever gets fingerprints from our girl (on a cup or something) all hell will break loose.



I must admit, Bridget is bright but also lucky: Ectopic pregnancy. Why didn't I think of that? Hmm, probably because I'm not a woman. Problem solved for Bridget because she couldn't have dealt with that for the whole season...



Still, there are a few loose end that I wish will be tied eventually:

Why did Siobhan tried to have Bridget killed at the beginning and why didn't she try again when it failed?

Who informed Siobhan about Gemma's intentions? Charlie couldn't have known.



Oh. Go look around... You may see many girl addicts who wear "the ridiculous "junkie" makeup" in real life.
More+
Reply
Flag
Juliet and Mr. Carpenter are the best things about this show for me right now MORE SCREEN-TIME!!! i really like Juliet and if we were given time to know her and she was given more realistic motivations i feel like these two could be amazing! i see him as more of a friend/mentor in the future!! and tbh i just love Jason Dohring.

so lessons: okay SMG, kill off Malcolm, sleep with Henry, and marry andrew (i want some action!)
Reply
Flag
The show is getting better but in a very slow pace. I really want to see this go to a second season but I highly doubt it (if it continues like this). Firstly, enough with the intro ''two sisters who share the same face" and the same old scenes from previous episodes,, 2 twins sisters. Boo hoo! Secondly, the plot is really good, but some characters like Malcolm, Juliet, and agent Machado (who couldn't be more stupid) are very underdeveloped and flat. Also I agree that the addiction drama is overplayed and they need to go to a different direction. The story and casting is there, but something seems to go wrong cause I still don't see Ringer's full potential. This show needs to: 1) loosen up, stop trying to look soo serious, 2) stop with all the addiction story lines, enough is enough, 3) Show more of Siobhan, cause she is at the moment the only interesting character in the show, 4) have more thriller/ intense/ chase to kill you moments - cause they rule, and 5) choose a target audience and stick with it. Stop trying to make the show appealing to all ages, cause it's just all over the place.
More+
Reply
Flag
and before anyone bleats why still watch then - one good reason Ioan Gruffudd.
Reply
Flag
The only thing I like in the series are the scenes between Andrew and Brigitte and I think thats because Ioan Gruffudd is a good enough actor to sell the lines and make SMG look good too. The rest of the cast is quite poor quality and certainly not good enough to keep this type of show going long term. The guy playing Henry over acts like mad and the guy playing Malcolm is instantly forgettable. The school room storyline is so predictable. The show needs a major overhaul. Let Brigitte and Andrew go on the run from the heavies and take them out of their cost well off environment. Its all too comfortable.

Reply
Flag
Ringer keeps getting better and better each week, Ringer is an awesome show no complaints here at all
Reply
Flag
Hey Louis - i kind of agree that it is hard not to have given up on Ringer after so many disappointments..... but last night ep was much better than the average.... I hope Bridget gets it soon that her sister is still alive (wasn't Tyler's comment pretty direct...) that is going to get very crazy... I will keep watching but I am not feeling too optimistic about a second season... yet...
Reply
Flag
I so do the dishes, take out the trash, tidy up the apt, while "watching" this thing.

I love SMG and she's the only reason I "watch" it + I don't have cable so not a lot of alternate options.
Reply
Flag
While I agree with you in a number of things, I have to say I really enjoyed this weeks episode. It was the first one that made sense of all it's characters, and the twists and turns started to serve them rather than having them written around the plot, if you get me. The idea of seeing Bridget and Siobhan's lives collide is the best part and they're tackling that aspect of it remarkably well, and that's probably why I didn't mind the whole Malcolm thing as much as you did.
Reply
Flag
I really don't understand why do keep on watching, I mean no one is forcing you. I just hate, when people complain about something yet decide not do anything about it.

You're being way to hard on the show and you keep focusing on the negative aspects of it. While, I don't think the show is by any means great, I do think it is an interesting, fun and addictive soap mystery. The story keeps progressing and they are slowly developing the characters. The show has improved so much with each episode.
Reply
Flag
Couldn't agree more. Stop whining and stop watching.
Reply
Flag
maybe he gets paid for writing a review of it -thus he must keep watching.
Reply
Flag
Totally agree with everything you said, Malcom is boring and Julliet aside from her scenes with SMG are intollerable
Reply
Flag
I really hope Jason Dohring doesn't just become a student-teacher relationship character, that's so boring and played out, and he is better than that. I love that he is on the show but I wish he played a different character, Juliet totally sucks and he is wasted just playing off her.
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook