"I've been acting like a different person and it doesn't make sense."
After middling reviews, dwindling ratings and an extended hiatus, I had expected Ringer's return to be a lot more auspicious than it actually was. Taking the show off the air for two months usually results in a little bit of behind-the-scenes tinkering, but annoyingly It Just Got Normal was more of the same. While I wasn't exactly any less enthused than I was back in November, there didn't seem to be many attempts here to forward the show's momentum, especially when most of the stories have barely lurched on from where we last left them. Considering the CW plugged the hell out of Ringer's comeback, it's a little disappointing.
The only true moments of interest, like always, came from Bridget and Siobhan. It's still frustrating to see Bridget appear so stagnant and passive as a character, but Siobhan's arrival in New York provoked some minor sparks. She's already folding into the double-cross narrative here, happy to portray her own twin sister playing her, as well as stalking Bridget as she gets intimate with her hubbie. Meanwhile, she's risking it all by being so gratuitously romantic with Henry, only adding to his confusion since Bridget remains cold towards him. Sure, none of this exactly equaled the explosive sparkage better shows would have probably launched into, but it's not exactly boring.
Unfortunately, the same overriding problems permeate the rest of Ringer. Outside of the twin hoodoo, the ensemble cast are almost universally weak. Juliet's rape drama continues to play out in an amusingly mundane form as she gets drunk again, cuts herself off from her family and later tells Bridget what happened -- leading to brief a charity gala smackdown. Zoey Deutch is giving it her all, but the story is weak, and I hate whenever we're supposed to question whether a rape victim is telling the truth or not. It unintentionally provokes a 'victim-blaming' subtext, and it makes for awkward television when it's not even written convincingly at that.
Similarly, both Malcolm and Agent Machado remain ciphers. While Malcolm does get himself a job at Andrew's company, it feels a little strained in order to keep him around. Agent Machado's subplot remains so alienated in its own little bubble that you really feel for Nestor Carbonell and wonder why the writers haven't even attempted to draw him closer to Bridget and Siobhan. Either make him more integral to the Siobhan scheme in some way, or remove him from the show entirely. Right now he feels redundant.
It Just Got Normal is perfectly fine as a random Ringer episode, but it's concerning that no effort appears to have been made to improve the show and fix some of its major flaws. Siobhan's deeper involvement in the show is promising, but they can't keep relying on Sarah Michelle Gellar's natural charisma to salvage the series, especially when even she appears a little lost right now.
- It feels a little awkward posting reviews that so few people read, but I always said that I'm in it for the long haul, and I have absolutely no problem finishing out the season.
- Madchen Amick's guest spot is another example of promising ideas that end up falling flat. This could have been a biting little subplot, but it turned out to be pretty unassuming.
- Let's not talk about that broke-down wig Sarah was sporting for most of the episode. Eek.
- If the whole acting thing doesn't work out, the girl playing the diner waitress could moonlight as a dog whistle. What a shrill voice...
Juliet: My stepmom used to hate me, and sometimes I think my dad did, too. But lately things are, like, not awful between us. It just got normal. And I kind of want it to stay that way.
Previously posted at Unwelcome Commentary.