Ringer: Oh, Hey, Machado's Back

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Ringer S01E16: "You're Way Too Pretty to Go to Jail"

Oh, Ringer. Just when I think I’m starting to kind of like you—or at least trying my damnedest to enjoy you for what you are—you give me another boring slog through financial wrongdoings and backstory that would have been useful to me half a season ago. Plenty happened in this week’s episode, but I didn’t care about any of it. And I’d rather this series just end than give us any more answers.

I’ll admit I was drawn in by Juliet’s rape accusation storyline—at first, it bugged the hell out of me, but once the plot was revealed, I started to dig the soapy, Wild Things-esque quality of it all. This week, with Juliet out of the picture, Ringer focused on Martin-Charles’ Ponzi scheme, because suddenly, this is a show about financial misdeeds and their consequences. (Macawi figured into this episode, insofar as we spent some time with Machado, but their stories could not be further apart.)

We still don’t understand why Siobhan is doing what she’s doing—if she’s really just trying to take Andrew’s company down without implicating herself, she’s going to an awful lot of trouble to do it. And while I don’t mind that we still don’t have a clear picture, I’ve never been less invested in this story. I don’t care about Siobhan’s end game and how Bridget figures into it. The series is too convoluted for me to try to unravel the mystery, but the real problem is the characters. They’re all so obtuse and inconsistent, it’s impossible to worry about what’s going to happen next.

For weeks, I’ve been wondering what Machado's been up to—or, okay, at least noticing his absence. Now he’s back in the picture, so we got some pretty useful backstory via flashback: Machado was romantically involved with his stripper informant, and she was pregnant with his child when Macawi killed her. Now, I understand that Ringer wants to give us some surprises in each episode, but this information would have really helped us give a crap about Machado way back when. At this point, he feels like a non-entity on the show, and the big revelation was just a superfluous detail. This might have changed how I felt about him at the start of the season, but now it’s barely worth a shrug.

Then there’s Andrew. In my recent interview with Ioan Gruffudd—who, for the record, is too good for this material—I asked about the fact that Andrew has stayed relatively clean while all the people around him have gotten their hands dirty. In the last episode we found out that Andrew was behind the Ponzi scheme, which was a somewhat interesting twist. But it still seemed as though it came out of nowhere. Why was the on-the-level Andrew Martin suddenly a criminal?

I can buy it, though. I understand that maybe he made some poor choices and got in over his head. What I can’t accept is that he’s now a villain. This episode asked us to feel threatened by Andrew—to see him as someone who might be capable of killing Bridget. And while the final scene was likely not what it appeared to be, we’re also supposed to think that Andrew killed Tyler. There has been no build-up here, nothing to indicate that Andrew was cold-blooded. His angry voicemails to Bridget felt so phony. You have to develop your characters and give them real motivations: Ringer just flings them about aimlessly and hopes we don’t notice.

Luckily, we’re nearing some sort of conclusion. I’m not sure if Ringer has any hope of a second season—it seems unlikely at this point—but the series feels far past the point of redemption anyway. I give up on trying to make sense of any of it, either the show itself or the thought behind it. For now, I’ll just be glad for the absurd episode titles and Siobhan’s fashion choices. Those never disappoint.


QUESTIONS:

– Does finding out about Machado’s past change the way you feel about him?

– Who killed Tyler?

– Do you buy Andrew as a villain?

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