The general consensus among TV critics seems to be that Tuesday’s episode of Ringer showed a significant improvement over the first two episodes. I’m inclined to agree—while the series still needs to work on finding its stride, “If You Ever Need a French Lesson” was consistently entertaining. At the very least, it represented the show Ringer should be, something fun and full of twists. But it also contained hints that Ringer could be even better than that, a fast-paced thriller that’s also, you know, good. We’re not there yet, but I now feel somewhat more hopeful than I did last week.
So let’s start with the positive. I like the proactive role Bridget is taking in the threat against sister: She could try to lay low, but she’s doing her best to find out who wants to take Siobhan out. Of course, there’s an element of self-preservation here, since Siobhan’s would-be assassins can’t tell the twins apart. Still, it makes Bridget a more compelling character—she’s now someone the audience can root for and identify with, insofar as we can really identify with anyone on this show.
But I remain more interested in Siobhan than in Bridget. It’s not only that she’s off having increasingly glamorous adventures in Paris—it’s that we still have so much about her to learn. Bridget is kind of an open book: She’s our point of reference, and we get to see her do all the things she’s trying to cover up from everyone else. So the more time we spend with Bridget, the more I want to see Siobhan. We keep seeing brief hints of her game, and it seems pretty clear she’s pulling the strings in some way. How? And why? And what’s she going to do with that baby?
Now let’s look at where Ringer needs to improve. The show may be on the right track, but it still has far to go. Something about the series continues to feel off to me. Part of it is my fear that we’re going to be dragged along endlessly—and this may be a function of the writers’ public assertion that they have several seasons of arcs planned. On the one hand, it’s nice to know they’re planning ahead, since so many slow-burn mysteries end up feeling aimless. On the other, they’re purposely pacing the series with the intention of making us watch Ringer for quite some time, and right now that requires more interest than I can realistically muster.
Is it just me, or is there something frustrating about watching this show? Even at its most enjoyable, the reveals feel kind of inevitable: We already knew Siobhan was pregnant, so that didn’t make much of a cliffhanger. Even the less obvious ones, like finding out the assassin’s picture of Siobhan was from a widely circulated photo, haven’t been all that surprising. It’s easy to guess Andrew isn’t going to emerge as a villain this early in the series. When he said that particular piece of property was worthless, I believed him before Bridget did, and that’s slowing things down—we’re waiting for her to catch up. See also: Agent Machado is certain that Siobhan is harboring Bridget, but has never once guessed that Bridget is Siobhan.
After a mediocre pilot and a rather dreadful follow-up, it’s easy to point to Ringer’s third episode as a success. But the show is still not very good—it’s just less bad, and there’s no reason we should let it off the hook quite yet. I will stick with the series, but my loyalty to Sarah Michelle Gellar remains a stronger draw than any of the mysteries. I need to care more about the story and its characters before I lose sleep over what’s going to happen next.
What did you think of this episode compared to the first two? Are you any better or worse about the show?
+ For a “Thriller,” Ringer Sure Is Boring So Far
+ The Ringer Premiere Wasn’t Great, But I’m Hooked All the Same