Ringer: Singular Sensation

Ringer S01E21: "It's Called Improvising, Bitch!"

There are two approaches I could take to reviewing Tuesday’s penultimate episode of Ringer, "It's Called Improvising, Bitch!" I could either pretend it exists in a void, unrelated to the rest of the show's ridiculously scattered season. Or I could view it in the context of the story, in which case it’s another pile of head-scratching nonsense. But why decide when I can do both?

So, fine, taken as a standalone episode, “It’s Called Improvising, Bitch!” was pretty entertaining. I’m a fan of absurd stand-offs, hostage situations, and surprising same-sex relationships. It was basically a sub-par episode of Law & Order: SVU, a show that I enjoy even when it goes off the rails. I wouldn’t call SVU good television, but it's at least engaging, and there are moments of tension where I’m honestly not sure what’s going to happen next.

Some of you have accused me of taking Ringer too seriously. Believe me, I don’t. I am always down for an hour of trash, but Ringer hasn’t been enjoyable enough for me to appreciate it on an ironic level. When Catherine first appeared, I said I liked what she brought to the show. Little did I know how much she’d take over the main plot. But with that aside, she is still the right kind of character for a series like Ringer: She’s over-the-top, unbalanced, and sociopathic. In other words, she’s a delight to watch.

But let’s talk about the episode as it fits into the season as a whole. I mean, it doesn’t, really, right? It’s one thing for a show to go in unexpected directions, but it’s another for it to jump between wildly divergent plots as it sees fit. Ringer has skipped around more than any series I can remember, to the point that it’s not really worth concentrating on any one storyline. It looks like—spoiler alert for those who don’t watch the next-episode previews—Macawi is back next week, but half of the audience will probably be asking, “Macawi who?”

I compared Ringer to the movie Wild Things back when the rape accusation storyline was happening. (Yeah, remember that? Really key to the overall season, right?) And “It’s Called Improvising, Bitch!” reminded me again of the campy 1998 thriller, which hits you with reveal after reveal after reveal. It’s silly, but it’s fun: Just when you think you know whodunit, the rug gets pulled out from under you. By the end, you don’t even really care—you’re just going along for the ride.

Here’s the difference: Wild Things is a little under two hours long. It is a silly, soapy mess of a movie, and I’ve watched it countless times because it never stops being fun. Who in his or her right mind would sit down to watch Ringer’s entire first season again? The problem with stretching this “story” out over so many episodes is that it highlights just how much of our time has been wasted. Ringer forces our attention in one direction, drags us along for several weeks, then kicks us into an entirely different story. For the record, what began as a show about a woman on the run switching places with her twin sister has become a show about a man’s bitter ex-wife joining forces with his business partner to kill the man’s current wife. Who, as it happens, has switched places with her twin.

I know there are Ringer fans out there, some of whom will probably pick up the Season 1 (or, more likely, the Complete Series) box set and marathon the whole thing from start to finish. I just don’t see the re-watch value. Ringer has never given us complex characters or anything beyond surface-level thrills: Now that we know how it all turns out, what’s the point of revisiting any of the early episodes? And if the season finale ends with a cliffhanger—something tells me it will—I can’t imagine caring about what’s going to happen next. I’d rather just watch Wild Things.


QUESTIONS:

– Will Bridget come clean in the season finale?

– How does Macawi figure into this story?

– Is Olivia getting locked up, too?

– Who is the father of Siobhan’s twins?

Comments (26)
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Oh, the one good moment though was Henry finally getting savvy and asking for a paternity test. Good to see that he's at least taking what Shiv tells him with a pinch of salt.
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What the hell was that?! I've watched this show each week and enjoyed it, despite its many faults - but this was the bizarro episode from hell too far. It was as though the writers had entered a 'see how many cliches you can pack in a script' competition. And then there was the appalling dialogue and the blatant over-acting. The actress playing Catherine in particular was so over the top in her hysterical villainy that I half expected her to don a black cape and cackle behind it like some dastardly silent movie villain.



Then there was the plot. Which held together even less than usual. My favourite moment of nonsensical illogic was Andrew desperately trying to free his hands as Catherine was in the other room, distracted by the phone - while Juliet sat on the other side of the sofa and did nothing. Didn't it occur to any of them that she might be able to untie Andrew and Shiv before Catherine got back?



This has to be the low point of the season.
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I would like Henry to dump Siobhan, her to turn up on Andrew's doorstep with the twins ready to turn his world upside down, only to find that Bridget has already come clean and Andrew and Juliette have accepted her anyway. I can't stand Siobhan. Those poor babies! Maybe she could be shot dead by Macawi and Bridget and Andrew could raise them. In fact, maybe that would be better: Macawi could kidnap them both, they could reconcile in the extreme circumstances and then he could shoot Shiv dead. Hip hip hooray! Still. Probably not ridiculous or shocking enough for the writers.
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I'm sorry, but is there a review/recap of the episode hidden somewhere in this rant?

Dude, seriously, we know you hate this show.

Stop torturing yourself and us already.
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Ah, it's always difficult for me not to write mean, accusatory comments directed at the writer of these reviews, but I will refrain. That's just me being defensive!

I love the show. It IS ridiculous, but I love that. I've enjoyed the crazy twists, have gotten my friends hooked, have gone back to re-watch moments of the show I really enjoyed, and I'll be devastated if it's cancelled. If it's not cancelled and there IS a season 2, please stop writing reviews for this show. please. please. please. For your own sake as well!

That's completely fine that you don't enjoy it -- to each his own! -- but these bash-fests are so tiring and disappointing. I know, I should just stop reading, but my silly self clung to the hope that you would come to enjoy some aspect of the show, but nope! you hate it! haha.
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Agreed - this show is a mess and it has the worst FBI agent in the world (mr. machado, good intentions but gosh you are one terrible cop) and other random characters....



This week the biggest laugh was from Henry who asks for a paternity test.... sure... the hospital will run it without the mother's consent... why not....



This show.....
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This was the first episode of Ringer that I have really disliked. I felt that the writers "improvised" (like the episode's title suggests) way to much with the whole "lesbian secret love affair" twist. It came out of nowhere and to me it just felt tacky and forced.



I really like Ringer but I feel like it has lost focus. The pilot felt more like a modern film noir but as the show has progressed it has become more like a cheesy soap opera. Hopefully the finale next week will be a satisfying conclusion..
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Agreed. I was boggling at the fact that these people are tied up in their apartment with a homicidal, gun-waving hysteric. And the thing that's occupying them most is "Hey, what... mom is gay?". I think, no matter how surprising or shocking that news was, I'd have other things on my mind right then!
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I liked the episode and thought it fit the season. I will definitely be re-watching Ringer in marathon from time to time again in the future. I look forward to seeing how things progress!
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I must say, Ringer & The River made this season incredibly hilarious and entertaining, although, I went into a bit of a panic moment when after 12 mins of this ep.I realized that my Pinot bottle was empty...

Thank heavens I know where my hubby keeps his stash, because there is NO WAY I can seat thru and entire hour of this tangled nonsense without the right amount of alcohol in my system, trust me, i tried once, and I almost end up catatonic after that!!!
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Macawi was never a major part of the story, he was just part of the setup. Like Mr. Furley on Three's Company, he was just there to keep the main character pretending to be someone they're not, while living in an apartment with 2 other people.
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I didn't even notice this episode may have been pretty good by itself, as I really couldn't see it without knowing what lead us here. In which case, this was just really, really bad. I mean, I did like this show when it started and I feel like it had loads of potential, but the writers just made bad decision after bad decision. I wish Bridget and Siobhan had met by now. It seams to me like the writers are counting on at least 5 seasons, because that's the only reason I can think of for postponing the confrontation.



- I think the season (series) cliffhanger will be Bridget and Siobhan meeting, but maybe Bridget won't even have to come clean.

- Ehm.. he doesn't

- I suppose Olivia should get locked up, because she did know about her lover's murdering plans.

- Don't we already know Andrew is the father?
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Aaah, some questions and apprehension of a cliffhanger... Le's see...

Will Bridget come clean in the season finale? - No.

Is Olivia getting locked up, too? - Why not? Oh I know, she ich Machados current girlfriend?

Who is the father of Siobhan's twins? Answer: How does Macawi figure into this story? ;-)



What I would like to know: How the heck is Siobhan in the hospital without anybody noticing? She may have used a false name, but Henry clearly used his true name with the hospitals staff... Isn't like under police observation or so? Well, they might just be observing Henry's identical twin who is at the house with Bridget and Siobhan's identical triplet, who happened to actually be Macawi's ex-wife, trying to hide or something like that... We need story-stuff for a cliffhanger, so let your mind drift...!
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LOL - yes, I was wondering about the hospital, too. I thought it was false names until - as you say - it was made clear Henry had used his own name. But then despite several people noting that they'd had conversations with Bridget that she wasn't present for, Bridget still seems clueless, so, you know, expecting any logic from this show....hopeless.
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Very good episode.



Andrew is the father of Siobhan's twins.
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I like the show but you are right. Also, who is Macawi? Hahaha no idea at this point. I need a major recap for the finale!
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This episode of Ringer was amazing! This is the kind of drama we needed all season. I'm a fan of the show and hope it gets renewed but I will NEVER rewatch. Maybe two or three episodes but never the whole series. The show will likely be cancelled though because the writers are so inconsistent.
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Odd episode but if mildly entertaining nonetheless.
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A comet streaming across the sky to tell us there will be dragons is all we need, I mean this is a fantasy show right? Just mix it up with desperate housewives ridiculous plots & hey you got a hit.
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While the episode itself was weird I thought the bit where Siobhan was made to hide in the closet then later tried to keep her labour pain as quiet as possible while the maid was doing that guy before she died due to the drugs was hilarious. Tbh I only remember Macawi when they bring him up but other than that I completely forget he was even a part of this show.
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I guess the writers have become desperate, all they care about is catching the viewers' attention by any means possible... maybe they realize how bored we're becoming with this show.



I actually watched Wild Things just because of the reference to that in an earlier review, and it's sad just how un-original Ringer has become. Ringer is a ringer for lots of other shows, including The Lying Game, which is (to be fair) a lot better and more consistent. At least it sticks to its original major story lines.



I will keep watching, but only because of SMG (who is still amazing, although she's been given some crappy material to work with).
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a lesbian affair, seriously?? maybe next epi will have aliens coming down from the sky cuz we can expect ANYTHING from this show
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I actually sort of liked this episode. It was insanely stupid, like I hoped the show originally would be. Nothing made sense, and I enjoyed it for it. I'll probably stick with the show if it somehow gets a second season, but I'll never rewatch it.l
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I think that you have forgotten the main premise of the show, Bridget pretending to be Siobhan because she thought it would be safer and how she was so wrong...kind of a take on the grass is greener saying. I have enjoyed seeing how Bridget as Siobhan has improved other people's lives-Juliet is not a drugged up loser kid anymore and Andrew is not an empty shell of a man who cares more about money that anything else. Catherine...well she was nuts and not good for the family anyways, so its good to get her out of the picture. Yeah, the writers should have had more Macawi stuff going on thorughout the season so he didn't become one of those back burner things.



Bridget will probably come clean..in a dream segment. I would be pleasantly surprised if she came clean for real though.

Macawi...hmmm, maybe Siobhan told him that she was testifying....or maybe it just goes to show that some times sister can both get screwed over.

Olivia will of course try to get away..she has the cash.

Whose the Daddy....it would be so messed up if its ANdrew....but perfectly in the realm of Ringer events though.
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I agree. The lesbian murder partnership thing was just too off the wall. It's like the writers were all sitting around going, "how can we wrap up the Olivia and the Catherine plot lines at the same time? I know, we never said who Olivia was talking to on the phone, let's just say it was Catherine and do a bunch of random flashbacks of 'how women become lesbians 101' and then call it a day. Bam. Episode of the week complete."
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It's at moments like these that I pity TV.com writers. You have to continue to watch shows, even when you know there's no point anymore.
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