Ringer recap – 1×21: ‘It’s Called Improvising, Bitch!’

Courtesy of The CW

We’re up to the penultimate episode of The CW’s Ringer, and it’s time to tie up loose ends! ‘It’s Called Improvising, Bitch!’ wraps up all of the questions we’ve had about how and why and when Catherine Martin (Andrea Roth) put the hit out on Siobhan (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and there’s one twist that makes the whole thing sortakinda worth it!

Let’s bitch it out…Alright, let’s start with the twist, because it was delicious, ridiculous and completely over the top. Say it with me: hot lesbians. Ah, yes, the plot twist employed by all the great auteurs.

But seriously, how silly is it that Ringer has turned its cast into nothing but killers and blackmailers? At this point is there anyone who isn’t complicit in some kind of crime? For a show that’s been slow to embrace its melodramatic side, these last few episodes sure have turned things around!

Which brings us back to the hot lesbians (that’s sure to drive internet traffic!). The big reveal in ‘It’s Called Improvising, Bitch!’ is that Catherine is not only a special brand of crazy (as we found out last week), but that Olivia Charles aka Forever Lila (Jaime Murray) is her lady love. Turns out that Andrew’s business partner is the one who encouraged Catherine to continue trying to kill Siobhan, as well as find and hide the hitman’s incriminating cell phone.

The only problem with this reveal is that it seems to come completely out of the blue. We’ve never had an inkling that Catherine was sliding up and down the Kinsey scale and we’ve never even seen these two characters interact. Oh sure, we now know who Olivia was talking to in the car a few episodes back and we can extrapolate that they knew each other back when Andrew (Ioan Gruffudd) and Catherine were married. It just feels that Ringer struggles to tell its story without resorting to “fill in the hole” flashbacks and while sometimes this works, at other times  feels as though they’re arbitrarily making decisions on the fly (perhaps using as Tarot card from the laundromat to make the decision?)

So does Catherine’s totally random hetero-to-homo switch improve or detract from the otherwise “meh”-ness of this storyline? Could go either way. Let’s face it, we’ve always operated under the assumption that it was Bodaway that was after Bridget, so as much as I complain that this feels like a name was pulled out of a hat, it is also fun to have the rug pulled out from under us. First Catherine is revealed as the mastermind behind the hit and now we learn that Olivia was in on the whole thing. That’s pretty unexpected, right?

Courtesy of The CW

In retrospect the whole assassination plotline is pretty cut and dry: Catherine thinks that Siobhan is a beyotch, that she stole her life/husband/child and she wants to make her suffer and die. And this is all addressed in the opening teaser as Catherine preps a nice ‘dead bath’ for Bridget (Side Note: First a Wild Things rip-off and now a What Lies Beneath homage? Geez, Ringer writers, are there no late 90s/early 2000 gems that you’re not willing to desecrate at the expense of this show?!) Also, just because it must be said: Slowest. Filling. Tub. Ever.

With Catherine’s motives revealed and the slow accumulation of the Martin family being held under duress, the only surprise left is the Olivia connection. Once that’s out in the open, everything is quickly resolved as Machado (Nestor Carbonnell) nabs Catherine when she goes on the lam with Bridget as a hostage. And presumably Olivia is also taken in (it’s actually unclear what happens to Forever Lila). Might this be the last we see of the lovers? I’m thinking yes since next week’s finale is clearly chock full of Bodoway-suckiness. In reality, though, do we really want more of Catherine or Olivia? There can’t be much left to explore, right?

Other Observations:

  • What’s with the wonky push-ins with the camera during the “we should kill Siobhan” pillow talk scenes? It feels like a strange attempt at turning the lurid melodrama into Battlestar Galactica/Friday Night Lights/24-level drama. Sorry, Ringer, but that’s a no go from me
  • The ‘B’ storyline is even more ridiculous as Siobhan takes care of tattle-telling maid/Russian call-girl, Oxana (Dasha Flynn). Or rather she tries to blackmail her, ends up going into labour in her closet and watching her OD on baking-soda-esque cocaine. I’d say I’d miss Oxana, but her Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle phonetics irked me. Goodbye plot contrivance!
  • Unfortunately Oxy’s death does activate Henry’s (Kristoffer Polaha) BS detector, so after his twin girls are born he quietly asks for a paternity test. Of course, we already know the results (they’re Andrew’s, in case you’ve forgotten). As usual Henry is the last one to know. Also? Could the twin girls and his twin boys be the center of a spin-off coming to The CW in the future? Ringer Jrs, y’all!
  • Malcolm? Malcolm? Bueller? No?

And with that we are down to one final episode! Be sure to count off the checks next Tuesday: Bodaway attacks Bridget, Siobhan and Bridget meet in person, someone (anyone!) dies and the show likely goes the way of Big Red.

Ringer airs on Tuesday nights at 9pm EST on The CW.

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

4 thoughts on “Ringer recap – 1×21: ‘It’s Called Improvising, Bitch!’

  1. Ringer is picking up steam much too late. This episode was a bit over the top, but it was fun to watch. I just hope the wrap everything up next episode. No need for a big cliffhanger, mkay?

    • Supposedly SMG has said that next week’s finale will satisfy fans, but you gotta think they’re going to try and go out with some balls up in the air. This totally seems like a show that doesn’t realize it’s on life support and they’ll end it with Bridget seeing Siobhan and then BAM – fade to black.

      • That would be fine with me. I just want the sisters to be in the same room. The other storylines (paternity, ponzi, Botaway, etc.) aren’t as important for me–especially after this episode.

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