By John Keegan and Henry Tran
It really had to take until the very near end of the season for this show to get good? There has been a marked improvement in the show's quality over the past few episodes, and it continues here. The writers have somehow pulled themselves out of the muck and come up with a more streamlined story that can be built on.
For the first time in a long while, I breezed through this episode. The hour went flying by, and I was entertained and surprised along the way. Given that much of "Ringer"'s first (and only?) season has been such a slog to get through, I didn't think that was possible. Unfortunately, there only remains the season finale, so a sense of futility hangs over the show like a black cloud. It doesn't mean that these final episodes should be devoid of any fun or soap opera-like cheesiness.
This episode firmly cemented my thought that Catherine should have been the primary villain from the start. The actress playing her, Andrea Roth, goes for broke when showing her to be certifiably insane. Okay, her plan doesn't make total sense in some parts, but that doesn't make Catherine any less dangerous. The episode has a simplified approach, only focusing a major part on how Catherine's plan to make it look like Siobhan committed suicide falls apart. And it falls apart very quickly. She forgets the phone that was dropped by Bridget-as-Siobhan after her poisoning and makes the questionable decision to go back to the apartment and search for it.
I had the thought that she could search for it later, although the suicide would bring the authorities to the apartment and I don't think she wants that. Andrew gets caught in this web of lies, saves Bridget-as-Siobhan from drowning, and is caught in a hostage situation. From there, Catherine has no backup plan. She looks to be losing her marbles with every passing minute that the hostage crisis goes on. It was really funny to me how everyone was so concerned about how Juliet was going to take this. Juliet shows up, and while she's scared and nervous about her unstable mother, she takes it better than most.
Part of it is also that the characters start acting smarter about their actions. Bridget finds the phone that Catherine had been looking for (though that's a surprise since Bridget was drugged and unconscious after she dropped the phone so how could she know exactly where the phone was?) and gets Agent Machado to hear what's going on in the hostage crisis. That is helped by the unusually loud speaking voices of both Catherine and Olivia.
Olivia is revealed here to be Catherine's lover, a revelation that defies belief (so much so that I actually had to rewind the episode to make sure I heard it correctly), and that they had been working together to bring down Siobhan from the start. It's a move that reeks of total titillation, but the show doesn't have much to lose at this point. The inevitable conclusion is that Catherine gets outsmarted by a group of people in this case instead of one person. The irony is that Catherine didn't even get the real Siobhan! It neatly wraps up the storyline of who was trying to kill Siobhan. All that's left is to deal with who's trying to kill Bridget.
Siobhan suffers as a character now, compared to what Catherine hatched. Catherine had the fun parts of the story, while Siobhan is stuck in her association with Henry. She tries to fix things in the whole mess with her lover being charged for murder, yet she didn't learn from what happened. She botched the bribing of the hotel maid and this time, she goes after the poor girl's shaky immigration status. Not that she really has to worry because the maid/prostitute proceeds to overdose on cocaine. It's a bit too convenient a way to wrap up that little mess of a plotline, but there's precious little time left to devote to this story so they have to soldier on.
The timing of Siobhan's labor also feels contrived (she witnesses the Russian girl's death, then immediately goes into labor) and, to me at least, implausible since she didn't look anywhere near nine months pregnant when it occurred. Then again, that can be chalked up to the fact that the show has been so inconsistent with Sarah Michelle Gellar and the fake baby bumps. Frankly, I feel that this storyline has been played out by now. The paternity test Henry requests is going to yield information the audience already knows so it probably isn't changing things on the show.
All that is left is for Siobhan to finally meet Bridget face-to-face. No tricks. No dreams or hallucinations or flashbacks. But did they really have to wait until the season finale to do this? The show has wasted a lot of its time being more complex than it should have been. Simple is the best way to go.John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision. Henry Tran is Critical Myth's reviewer for Ringer.