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

"Andrew Martin may be a liar. Hey, he may be a crook. But he's not a murderer."

Have I entered the Twilight Zone? Is the sky green? Is water dry? Is Agent Machado suddenly interesting? Ringer has appropriately spent the last six months pulling the rug from under us at every opportunity, forsaking almost all character consistency in the process, and this episode fell into that pattern once more, only with a crazed hootenanny of exposition and stupid decisions. I think I liked this episode. It was kind of frantic and amusing in a really lightweight sense, and I was never exactly bored. It's only on closer inspection that literally every plot development falls to pieces.

After all this time, we've discovered that Andrew orchestrated a Ponzi scheme to get his company out of financial turmoil, while he seems to be open to all kinds of violent confrontation in order to keep his butt out of jail. At the same time, Bridget struggles with the concept of being repulsed by all of this, since she's not exactly in a position to be hurt. Girl's been lying all along, too! So I have no idea what we as an audience are supposed to feel anymore. There was a point where Bridget and Andrew seemed to be getting positioned as Ringer's 'endgame' couple, but with Bridget becoming increasingly delusional and Ioan Gruffudd perfecting that 'murder-face' glare, the various pieces on this crumbling chessboard are becoming even less recognizable than they were ten episodes ago.

It's also a little tiring to see the show constantly rely on contrivance instead of believable interaction between characters. It's a typical trope of bad mystery storytelling, in which characters only do things to service the plot, and choose to not do things purely because it's not thematically convenient for them to do said things at this point in time. Malcolm fell victim to this tonight, rushing to conclusions after a hilariously out-of-character phone-call from 'Bridget' in which she effectively ended their friendship and called his bluff. Did Malcolm give 'Bridget' time to cool off? Did he initiate a discussion where he asked her what she was talking about? Nope. Because that's not convenient for episode sixteen of the season. Instead, he ran to Agent Machado. Sure, it's all pretty noble of him to want to protect Bridget in spite of possible danger for himself, but it makes absolutely zero sense compared to how actual people would react in a situation like this.

Obviously, this is a soap opera. But you need to have some semblance of reality otherwise it becomes Passions. But at least that show knew it was ridiculous. There's sometimes an arrogance to Ringer wherein I wonder if they're even aware of how silly it actually is.

Insanely, Agent Machado's subplot was pretty affecting here. Like Siobhan's back-story with her dead son, it's another plot twist that luxuriates in sentimental clich├ęs but proves weirdly heart-warming. I think because it's all so horrific -- the thought of a pregnant woman being terribly murdered, and the man left behind who is pretty much responsible for her getting involved with the guy that ended up killing her. I give credit to Ringer for its consistent ability to play around with character dynamics and making good guys suddenly become bad guys and boring guys suddenly become heroes... but I just wish it didn't feel so much like the writers have made every inch of this up as they've gone along.

"You're Way Too Pretty to Go to Jail" had the requisite shiny plot twists (dead Tyler! Siobhan-being-bitchy-pretending-to-be-Bridget!) that distracted us from all the nonsensical, character-destroying hooey that has made Ringer just as disturbingly watchable as it has been offensively terrible. I only wish it was watchable because it was so strong a show, instead of merely being watchable because it's completely nuts.

Notables

- I love that we're supposedly so culturally ignorant that we need 'Paris, France' scene descriptions every ten seconds, even when they're superimposed over stock shots of the Eiffel Tower. Gah!

- Speaking of, whose bright idea was it to send Siobhan all the way back to Paris? It just means more ridiculous phone calls, a trope that's quickly become Ringer's very own SNL skit.

Quotage

Olivia: If this company goes down, you'll be implicated and Mr. Lanfair won't lift a finger to help. And Tyler... you're way too pretty to go to jail.

Previously posted at Unwelcome Commentary.

4 comments:

  1. At this point, it's just condescending to keep having the 'Paris, France'. Do the producers think their audience are that dense they can't figure out for themselves?

    I knew Tyler was a goner but seriously this show writers need to watch Revenge when it comes to writing ongoing mysteries and forwarding plots now.

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  2. The titles for these episodes are just awful!

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  3. As usual, your reviews are the only highlight of continuing to watch this train wreck of a show each week. I agree, though, that the Nestor Carbonell story line was the only part of the show worth watching this week. I wonder why they didn't give him a bigger role.

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  4. I wish this show was less inconsistent and illogical..we have so many interesting storylines here that will probably just fizzle out..The Machado story was the best bit here..Bridget should at least suspect Siobahn is alive by now..but noo.
    Great review as ever though.
    Anna

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