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Ringer: What Are You Doing Here, Ho-Bag?

"You can wear lipstick, but you're still a husband-stealing pig!"

It's become routine in recent years for writers to present networks with a multi-season plan when it comes to serialized dramas. In light of high-profile failures like Heroes, it makes sense for networks to request some kind of long-term agenda, preventing a series from sputtering along with writers making things up as they go. Ringer is an example of a series that clearly has one of those long-term plans (it's something the EPs have mentioned a lot in interviews), but is struggling to execute it very well. This episode was of course better than last week's flat series return, but the overriding problems lie in the little things -- it's all good providing shock twists and interesting plot developments, but the journey getting there needs to be interesting, too.

Unfortunately, Ringer's obvious mode of getting information across is with 'the phone call'. It's become kind of ridiculous at this point. Bridget spends most of this episode wandering around her penthouse on the phone, calling up various people and various locations, chasing up leads in her quest to discover more about Siobhan. Most of the answers she gets are fine, and at least forward things a little, but surely the writers could think up more interesting ways of putting this detective mystery across to the audience? If it's not phone calls, it's horrible plot devices like Siobhan's fondness for word jumbles. I think what Ringer needs is a little more scope as Bridget literally pursues leads on foot, instead of calling folks up and backing out of going all the way when it comes to mysterious new avenues of investigation. It may stagger the plot (which is great for the writers), but isn't all that fun for those of us at home.

Before I'm jumped on, I did enjoy this episode. I'm even less clear of Siobhan's real agenda, but having her orchestrate Henry's discovery of her twin sister is a major step in the right direction for this show. Ringer lost a lot of momentum with the abduction and subsequent demise of Gemma, immediately halting any fun interaction between characters that are aware of the full story (or at least certain parts of it), so I'm hoping Henry's knowledge will play out in engaging new ways.

Elsewhere, soap opera histrionics arrived in the form of Andrew's ker-ay-zee ex wife Catherine, a monstrous hell-bitch caricature in a puffy fur coat. Andrea Roth gave the show some necessary spark, coldly trashing her daughter, burning baby photographs in the middle of the apartment and mouthing off against Bridget. The whole thing was so overblown, but at least created some momentary entertainment.

The less could be said for Juliet's rape subplot, becoming uglier by the week, first with that horrible scene with the surveillance camera footage being screened in front of the entire family, the subsequent implication that her cry of rape is void because she at one point came onto the guy, then in the supposedly shocking coda with Tessa. Either they're gonna fly down the Wild Things route with multiple duplicities and CW-level orgies, or this will continue to be a tacky mess where rape is depicted as some sort of sexy soap mystery rather than something horrifyingly abhorrent. Regardless, it's all still pretty cheap.

The mechanics of "What Are You Doing Here, Ho-Bag?" prove a huge problem, but the vacuous part of me was pretty satisfied with most of the twists and turns. If only the writers were confident enough to have Mr. Carpenter, Machado, Macawi and the rest of the Wyoming sleeping pill collective all die in a terrible fire, Ringer could actually prove to be an absorbing little distraction.


- "What Are You Doing Here, Ho-Bag?" is either the greatest episode title in the history of television, or the worst.

- When Bridget seems to have entirely forgotten about Macawi and the bounty on her head, why on earth should we give a damn when he pops up once again? This ill-conceived subplot is insanely boring.

- Cruel Intentions reunion! All we need now is Christine Baranski being casually racist in a sweeps guest spot.


Catherine: What is your problem, Siobhan? After all, this was my tub first.

Bridget: I'm channeling Martha Stewart.
Andrew: You know I have a thing for her, right?

Juliet: You weren't cool, you were a red-neck.

Juliet: What are you doing here, ho-bag? Working in the building as someone's maid?

Previously posted at Unwelcome Commentary.


  1. Better episode than the last one buy I can't stand Bodaway. The fella playing him is a terrible actor and Victor just seems like a thnkless role.
    At least Bridget and Henry got clued up this week.

  2. I am enjoying your reviews a whole lot more than the show! It was a little better this week but how much can SMG carry the show. Siobhan and Bridget's cat and mouse is the only fun part.

    I despise the direction they have gone with Dohring. Why cast such a great actor in a role like that. He should have been Henry!

  3. The show is absurd and illogical but I find it hilarious to watch. I mean, Machado must be the dumbest cop alive and the characters just act kinda dumb. But the show puts a smile on my face.

  4. I wish they'd wrap up the Juliet subplot fast, as it is however it gets resolved will be tasteless and unecessary.
    Henry learning about Bridget should move things forward nicely. At least I think so. Nice review as ever.

  5. "- What Are You Doing Here, Ho-Bag? is either the greatest episode title in the history of television, or the worst."

    DEFINITELY the best! :)


  6. It's so daft but I do sit there consistently entertained at the twisty-turny ridiculousness that is Ringer... This ep tickled me especially with Catherine saying to Bridget "Your sister? Did you sleep with her husband too?!" Oh joy :o)

    I think the other (much less awesome) contender for title quote this week would have been the driver's "Oh you mean the *other* normal?" Which kinda sums up the whole entire thing of Bridget trying to pretend very unconvincingly that she knows what the hell anyone is going on about...! But yep, ditch the Wyoming crew asap please ("sleeping pill collective" is inspired lol!)


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