By John Keegan and Henry Tran
This episode was full of characters standing around, talking. Which is not at all surprising being that the show is a soap opera playing in primetime, and daytime soaps have many scenes of just characters talking instead of taking action. It's not really all that different from what this show has been doing all season, but my interest in what happens to all of these characters continues to decline.
Their conversations have to have more substance than what's been presented onscreen. I think the writers have realized that they've written themselves into a corner, and are somehow working their way out of it. They are going ahead with this Ponzi scheme storyline as if it had some real juice behind it, only to further muddle things up. The characters' motivations for their actions are hard to understand at this point, and so it's hard to know where all of it will end up.
There seems to be a group effort to paint Andrew as the most evil villain that's ever been kept under wraps. Never mind that it doesn't really jive with the behavioral patterns that have been attributed to him thus far this season, but "Ringer" has never shown any fidelity towards a sense of continuity during this run. The character change in the wake of his revelation that he willingly went along with the Ponzi scheme is enough to scare Bridget into leaving their house for a while to figure things out. Malcolm helps with this, though they do it through conversations on the phone (characters on this show use their phones way too much) rather than face-to-face.
At one point in the episode, Malcolm gets burned by using his phone when Siobhan pretends to be Bridget and berates him in order to get him off the scent. It's one of the few times the show has a little bit of fun with its central conceit of people lying to everyone by being someone else. But Andrew, to me, seems too naive to go into pure evil villain mode. That is more like Olivia's style, and indeed, the episode strongly suggests that she's the real brains behind the Ponzi scheme and that it was her who probably arranged for Tyler to be murdered at the end. It was Tyler who actually did something in the episode, though he looked real jittery for no apparent reason when he took the evidence from Siobhan and was going to give it to the SEC. Now that he's dead and unable to give that evidence away, this really uninteresting storyline will continue unabated until the next obstacle inevitably crops up in some unexpected manner.
Agent Machado returns to the story after weeks, it seems, of being absent. The writers give him something resembling a backstory this time. It shows his motivation for bringing down Bodaway Macawi. It started as a job for the FBI, then turned personal. That isn't a bad way to approach something like this. It gives a blank character like Agent Machado some depth by seeing that he fell for one of his informants and that Bodaway ruthlessly murdered her, perhaps because he knew she was working with Machado. Adding to the tragedy was that she was carrying his child. It's a simple story, but quite effective.
Unfortunately, the whole plot is mis-timed. It would have arguably been more effective if they had shown this earlier in the season. This is what we get when the writers have no idea what to do with a certain character. He has been separated from the main storyline for so long that there is little attachment to what happens with him. Now that he has been passed over on the case by another agent (who goes after Bodaway with a weak charge), there is no foreseeable direction for him. Will he go rogue to pursue Bridget and nail Bodaway? There is no indication of that here, but it's really the most predictable course the show can take, if only to keep him close to the main storyline involving Bridget and Siobhan.
Every episode, it seems like it's just more of the same with this show. Characters standing around, threatening people with hypothetical situations that will occur if another character does a particular action or mentions any information to someone else. Everyone on this show has some kind of secret agenda that they have to carry out, but will be unraveled if certain secrets come out in the open. Those secrets carry consequences with them. If we never see those consequences play out and what happens when the fallout occurs, then the show isn't doing its job to pull its viewers into the story.
It feels like the writers are afraid to pull the trigger on the storylines, for fear that the complicated house of cards they've built will come crashing down at any moment. There has to be a point to the entire manipulation that Siobhan is employing, right? Right now, the show seems unwilling to answer that question, or any other question that might be asked.John Keegan is the Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision. Henry Tran is Critical Myth's reviewer for Ringer.