Ringer 1.1 – Pilot

After years of wishing for more Sarah Michelle Gellar on my television screen (more, I say!  It’s been so long since the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!), the television overlords finally heard my cry.  And if you too have been calling for more of Gellar, the new fall series Ringer definitely has your number.  Not only do we get Gellar at the helm of this suspense show, with some exceptionally easy on the eyes co-stars to boot; we get two times the Sarah Michelle Gellar, with her dual roles as twins Bridget Kelly and Siobhan Martin.

Our scene opens with a shot panning the glittery skyline of New York City at night, and to set our gothic mystery vibe off right, we get not one but two (two! twins! duality!) scary gargoyle dudes keeping watch over the city.  But look out, Buffy, because in the penthouse apartment you’re hiding in, there’s a demon after you — sorry, sorry!  It’s one of the twins (but which one?), playing an urban version of How Not to Be Seen with a creeper in a ski mask.  Bridget (or Siobhan) is obviously scared as hell, and makes the understandable decision that there’s no better time to crank up the Patsy Cline than when someone is coming after you with a crowbar.  As he attacks her, they roll around and grunt, and I shriek because whichever twin it is, she is wearing an awesome bangle on her wrist (seriously, where can I get one of hammered metal ones?).  When he attempts to strangle her, she shouts, “You have the wrong girl!” and do we get a feeling that’s going to be the tagline for the entire series?  Yes, we do!

Scene shift to nine days earlier — aha, so we’re playing that game — where Bridget Kelly introduces herself as an addict (just so you can feel assured of the series’ commitment to generic elements, we did get the standard AA meeting dull-voiced, “Hi, Bridget,” following her spiel).  Bridget’s been sober for six months, and she’s even heard from her sister Siobhan inviting her for a visit.  They chant one of those higher power “mistakes aren’t tragedies” just so we can get the hint that, yeah, I think one of Bridget’s mistakes probably was a tragedy, and Bridget books over to the snack table to get a crappy cup of coffee.

Okay, I just have to ask, why is no one smoking at this meeting?  Every recovery meeting ever is conducted by a low cloud of cigarette smoke.  But maybe everyone’s agreed to hold off so they don’t stink up Bridget’s pretty hair (for a recovering addict with dark circles under her eyes and a wary timid manner, her hair still looks damn good).  There’s no time to worry about that, though, because Bridget’s flirting with a fellow recovering addict, Malcolm, pretending to give him a cookie, taking it away, giving it back, and the eye-rolling goofiness of the bit is completely forgiven because Malcolm is smoking hot!  She gestures to someone hovering at the side and says, “I should go, my guy is waiting,” and hey, we’re all happy to see Nestor Carbonell get more work!  Er, I mean, it’s Victor Machado as the FBI guy, who questions her whether Malcolm is her boyfriend or her sponsor.  She hesitates enough that Victor (and the rest of us) are instantly picturing Bridget and Malcolm doing it and doing it (and doing it well).

When Victor and Bridget drive up to a skanky little strip of motel rooms, it turns out she got the coffee for Jimmy, the guy guarding her, because the best way to thank someone guarding your life is to make them drink watered down urn coffee from a recovering addicts’ meeting.  Victor reminds Bridget that he’ll pick her up tomorrow so she can testify at the trial of someone who is totally going to kill her right after she takes the stand.  I mean, she’s under protective custody, ready to testify, and he says, “It’ll be over before you know it.”  We all known that means getting gunned down on the steps of the court house.  Bridget agrees, saying, “If Bodaway wants me dead, I’m dead.  No one can protect me.”

Victor leaves the Double Nickel Motel (EVERYTHING IS DOUBLE), and Bridget tunes in the television to the story of the Wind River Reservation Crime Boss, Bodaway Macawi, who was acquitted of some murder we don’t get to hear about, because Bridget decides she wants to see how her fantasy football picks are playing out.  She decides the game is boring, so we’re back to hearing about Bodaway Macawi, who is now being indicted fro the dismemberment of a dancer in his Rock Springs strip club.  Now that is just terrible business, dismembering your dancers.  People don’t give dolla dolla bills, y’all, to parts of strippers, am I right?

The news report and football coverage combination seems to inspire Bridget to try out a few offensive plays of her own, because after glancing out the window at the cop guarding her, we cut to the next day, when Victor finds the door open, the room a mess, and Jimmy handcuffed to the shower saying, “the crazy bitch took my gun.”  So she lured him inside, tore apart the room for some reason, and got him restrained with his own handcuffs and stole his piece?  What do you think Bridget put in that coffee, Jimmy?

Close up to not!Bridget — our first glimpse of Siobhan — having a drink at a random seedy bar.  She checks out her gorgeous bun and flawless make-up in a mirror (DOUBLING), sees a bus pull in, and tightens her stunning winter white wool coat to waltz out of the joint.  The cop that passes her as he goes in calls her to say she forgot her wallet; she looks nervous, so we know she’s got to have her own trouble with The Law.  But it’s difficult to focus on this plot complication, what with her awesome sunglasses, beautiful scarf, and killer shoulder bag in the shot.  Sarah Michelle Gellar can wear the hell out of clothes, seriously.

It’s Bridget Siobhan has waited for, and mentions, “I was wondering what you’d look like after six years.”  “Not nearly as good as you,” Bridget answers emotionally, and stone cold Siobhan graciously does not confirm that, yes, she looks far fiercer than the exhausted looking Bridget.  They hug, and head to Siobhan’s weekend place, which has killer views of an ocean that sometimes seems not to be moving (are we green-screen-ing some of this?).  Siobhan’s husband won’t be there, because he’s in England on business and also visiting his daughter at boarding school.  It’s probably just as well as it turns out he doesn’t even know that family embarrassment Bridget exists.  Wow, there are family rifts and then there are family chasms that trump the Grand Canyon.

Siobhan goes to one of those angled mirrors that shows multiple versions of someone, and in some nice splicing, Bridget goes next to her and gets her own multiple versions echoing behind her.  Bridget apologizes, and Siobhan waves her off because she already apologized in her letter.  Besides, Siobhan totally knows that Bridget is just doing Step 9, Making Amends, because she did her research, bitch, and you won’t catch Siobhan Martin unprepared!  But when Bridget says, “I think about Sean every day,” Siobhan cuts her off and refuses to talk about it.  She claims Bridget is already forgiven, “You just need to forgive yourself,” but who the hell is Sean in this complicated tapestry of a mystery wrapped in suspense and served with a glass of Chardonnay?

Back to Rock Springs, Wyoming.  Malcolm confesses he got perhaps a bit too close to Bridget as her sponsor (“Let’s just say I regretted it” — hey, he looked like he regretted nothing at that meeting), and Victor hints that if Bridget is on the run, he would think she would have called Malcolm.  He emphasizes that Bodaway is a free man without her testimony — “the guy is ruthless, he killed his own brother” — oh, I’m sorry, because dismembering a stripper isn’t enough to qualify as a ruthless sonofabitch.  You have to kill a family member.

But forget Wyoming, because Siobhan and Bridget are on a speedboat.  Siobhan offers to get them drinks (and I swear, my first thought was, “Watch out, Bridget, she’s totally going to tranq you!”), and then asks if Bridget is still — dot dot dot — dancing?  Now we know Bridget’s connection to Bodaway; she was obviously part of the whole strip club scene.  Bridget denies that she’s stripping any more, and says that, in fact, she’s a waitress (Siobhan looks, if possible, even more pained at this news, probably because at least stripping is creative).

Bridget tells Siobhan she doesn’t “want to be the sister you have to pretend doesn’t exist.”  Too bad she didn’t follow that by mentioning she didn’t want to be the sister Siobhan has to drug so she can make a mysterious escape, because that’s exactly what’s happened at the top of the next scene.  Bridget awakens from a weird nap on the boat bench, Siobhan is gone, there’s an empty prescription bottle with Siobhan’s wedding and engagement rings in it (to replace the pills she obviously slipped Bridget, and damn her for not leaving extra).  After trying to use the static-y radio, Bridget sees Siobhan’s killer scarf at sea, and realizes maybe Siobhan has tried to kill herself!  So she jumps into the ocean immediately and swims like crazy through the choppy waves to reach the scarf.  But even after ducking underwater, she comes up Siobhan-less.  She shouts her name, but we’re miles away from where anyone can hear you, Bridget, scream all you want!

Cut to a doorman letting “Mrs. Martin” out of the car.  Bridget in her Siobhan!wear walks into her sister’s apartment to come face to face with a huge black and white picture of Siobhan.  So now we know that Siobhan loves to look at herself, though I guess you could also say she likes to be reminded of Bridget since Bridget looks exactly like her, and now Bridget is looking at her sister who looks just like herself, and then all the spooky twin doppelganger overtones fade away when we see Siobhan’s awesome closet of trendy tops.  But before we can discover Siobhan’s no doubt killer shoe collection, Siobhan’s grumpy husband returns from his trip.  He asks if she’s lost weight, and then totally psyches her out by saying he has something for her and then handing her laundry.  Bridget refrains from asking where her commemorative William and Kate royal wedding plates are, and instead sneaks out onto her chilly balcony to call Malcolm.

Flashback!  As Bridget tells Malcolm what happened, we see her stagger in after Siobhan’s presumed drowning, overcome at the thought that Siobhan is dead, and there can be nothing good about that.  Except, hey, didn’t Siobhan say earlier this was just the summer place?  It would be crazy to come all the way from Wyoming to visit your sister in New York and not check out her Manhattan apartment, right?  Oh, and if people assume she’s Siobhan because of that, she can hardly help it, and escaping from the brother-stripper-killer Bodaway is just the cherry on top of this movin’ on up cake of a development.  So when Bridget spills Siobhan’s bag on the floor and sees Siobhan’s various identification cards, she ditches her Bridget!rags in a bus station locker, takes Jimmy’s gun (because what do you get for the Upper East side socialite who has everything?  If you guessed a gun…), and puts on Siobhan’s rings to the background of all sorts of mirrors making multiple images of her.

So B. has been giving Malcolm this extended explanation with lengthy pauses between each sentence (in order to let the soundtrack music swell around her narrative), and Malcolm exerts the most control I’ve ever seen demonstrated in a conversation and never once yells at her to spit it out or stop making dramatic pauses, fer chrissake.  He finally says he should come get her (clearly so she can get in his bed and they can be super sexy together, oh, and by the way, testify at that stripper trial because justice comes first and all that).  He wants to go where she is, she says she shouldn’t have called, she spots a mystery man watching her in the streetlight below and gets spooked, and oh my god, finally, THERE ARE SIOBHAN’S SHOES!  But before I can examine the open-toed dress slippers on the top shelf, Bridget makes sure her gun is hidden under her Hermes scarves and gets undressed for her cold cold marital bed (though I should note it has many comfy looking pillows and hot DAMN Ioan Gruffudd is hot like BURNING in his pj bottoms and damp chest, ngghh!

Bridget is woken the next day from sleeping in by the ringing phone (blame that awesome pile of pillows, okay?).  It’s some woman wanting her to meet her at the loft.  Her friend mentions she saw her write it down in her “little orange book” (which Bridget finds on the nightstand, and hey, it actually looks kind of hefty, so I imagine the friend carries an appointment book the size of corned beef sandwich from Katz’s Delicatessen).  While Bridget hems and haws, her friend asks if she’s fallen asleep, and Siobhan’s husband says she shouldn’t skip her trainer just because he said she was too thin.  Never mind that he thinks she’s Siobhan; trainer-skipping is so not an option even if you just buried your sister at sea and escaped from a reservation crime boss, okay?  Bridget promises to hurry; her friend gives her ten more minutes than she estimated and says, “Now you owe me a latte!”

Bridget meets her at Warren St. Lofts, and her friend exclaims that she looks anorexic.  “You must share your secret!”  Hahaha, because New Yorkers are shallow and horrible!  Bridget asks “Why are we moving again?” and the friend answers, “Ask your crazy husband!  It took me a year and a half to finish Park Avenue and now he wants to start over!”  Because Tribeca is cooler than the Upper East Side, obviously, and because, when they head out onto the terrace, we can see that the new place has the creepy gothic statues from the start, and we now know this is the place where someone will soon cue up a great Patsy Cline song!

Siobhan’s friend, Gemma, tells Bridget!Siobhan that she’s worried her out-of-work novelist-husband Henry is having an affair, because they haven’t slept together in over a year.  Bridget agrees she’ll go out with her friend to console her, but then Gemma reminds her she has a charity thing and says she’ll just go ahead and have a fling with one of the workmen (because it is hard enough to get contractors to do anything on schedule in Manhattan; boning one might possibly help).

Bridget goes to the charity event with her “husband”, which turns out to be watching an aria performed at the Natural History museum.  The soprano on stage is mid-arpeggio when Bridget notices the streetlight standing guy from last night is hovering at the back and again watching her.  Andrew (the “husband” for those getting lost with all these names), seems very solicitous during the intermission, telling Bridget her dress is perfect, and offering to get champagne (which Bridget refuses, because recovering addict here).  But when Andrew goes to get the drinks, creepy streetlight guy is now on the stair landing staring at her.  Bridget runs off to the exhibits, telling herself she’ll be safe among the Mastadons!  But the man catches up to her, catches her in a lip-lock, and tells her he came because Gemma said she’d be there tonight.  It’s Henry!  Bridget is shocked to find out she is the one having the affair with Gemma’s husband Henry (well, Siobhan is, but you know).  He presses her to meet him at the hotel when she acts confused and distracted, and he’s got a great time for them to meet because the nanny will be taking the boys to the park (what a scumbear).  Bridget hedges she could be late because of traffic from the new apartment until he tells her “It’s two minutes away!” and lets slip the hotel name, which I missed because I was thinking that Henry looks kind of puffy and smug and not really like someone Siobhan would bang.

Bridget asks Andrew to unhook her dress, and when he seems wary of her, asks aren’t they cool?  “Cool, what are we, 12?” he huffs and then says he was nice because he was playing her game.  She asks why they can’t play nice, and he asks wonderingly, “Who are you?”  “Bridget!” I yell helpfully.  Even though he loves her acting relaxed and agreeable, he says he can’t believe it.  I can’t believe it either.  This is the first recovering junkie I’ve seen who isn’t all jittery and suspicious of everyone.  They’re not exactly known for their zen.

Bridget pulls a photo out of the lining in Siobhan’s jewelry box, and it is of a little boy hugging Siobhan.  “Siobhan and Sean” it reads on the back; whoa, was this Siobhan’s son?  Or Bridget’s?  Was Bridget somehow responsible for killing him, perhaps inadvertently because of her addiction?  And is it possibly true that Siobhan wasn’t always a stone cold bitch before whatever terrible thing happened to that kid occurred?

The discovery sends Bridget to a recovering addicts’ meeting, with a repeat of the line, “Mistakes aren’t tragedies, but please, higher power, help me learn from them.”  The group leader, when Bridget says, “I never meant for any of this to happen.  It just did,” reminds her the important thing is for her to take responsibility for her actions (and apparently this does not sink in at all, if Bridget feels like imitating Siobhan, fooling everyone, and letting the stripper killer go free just happened.

After returning to her apartment, Bridget meets her stepdaughter.  That is, she meets her stepdaughter the budding dominatrix; on top of her blindfolded boyfriend while they are getting it on to loud music (so you know this girl is trouble!  It’s a strict correlation to the speakers totally going up to eleven!).  Bridget asks, “Wait, is that my scarf?” and while her stepdaughter huffs about her getting out of the room (“Get out, get out, get out!!!”), Bridget trots off to make sure  her gun is still there.  Thank goodness it is, because Juliet the sullen and sexy stepdaughter (played by Lea Thompson’s daughter; did you totally see the resemblance?) has told the doorman it’s okay to let “some guy” up, and it’s none other than Nestor, er, Victor, and we can see Bridget’s expression: My past, it catches up to me!  D:

Bridget tells Victor she’s never been to Wyoming.  She tells him she has no idea where Bridget (um, that is she) is, and says they weren’t close.  She also gets offended when Victor mentions that Bridget assaulted a police officer and stole his weapon, saying, “Bridget wouldn’t do that!”  Um.  Is there some other way to read that scene I missed?  Anyway, turns out Bridget was up on charges of prostitution and possession when the feds agreed to drop the charges if she testified against Bodaway Macawi (I just like typing out that name now.  It sounds like the name of a sexy mystery writer with a weakness for martinis, not a Reservation Crime Boss).  She’s the only witness to the murder, and even if she’s escaped, she’ll have thugs coming after her, because “silencing your sister is [Bodaway’s] only insurance.”

Quick cut to Rock Springs, Wyoming, where Malcolm the Hot is being stalked by Bodaway, crap!

Back to the gothic creeper sculptures, who are looking more and more like Severus Snape’s cousins to me, so we know Bridget is at the apartment.  She wraps her gun up in a newspaper to hide it, but the headline, “Local Woman Washes Ashore off Long Island Coast” catches her eye.  Luckily it is someone way old, and so no danger of it being Siobhan!  Gemma turns up, and when she shows Bridget where some random thing will be mounted on the wall and assures her the holes in the wall are going to get covered tomorrow, Bridget says, “Perfect!”  It will be a much better place to hide her gun, assuming her stepdaughter Juliet doesn’t start bringing her boys around to the new apartment to sex them up among the plaster and exposed brick and weird floating-look staircases.

Bridget distracts Gemma from the whole gun in a newspaper thing by asking who she thinks is cheating with Henry.  Gemma runs through the list of suspects:  “The trainer’s gay, the maid’s fat, the wife’s best friend…I’m joking!  Come on, you’re so not his type!”  Bridget seems relieved and also like she’s not sure if she should be offended.  Don’t be offended, Bridget; Henry is puffy.

When Bridget meets Henry at the hotel, she says it bothers her that he’s her BFF’s husband, even though he replies that it obviously never bothered her before.  She tips him off that she suggested to Gemma that he’s sleeping with the nanny, and he counters by saying the nanny is a lesbian, at which point I wonder, how certain does Gemma try to make it that her husband won’t sleep with any of the help?

Andrew and his daughter Juliet fight, and we figure out that Siobhan is more or less responsible for shunting Juliet off to boarding school.  Sounds like Juliet’s mother doesn’t much want her around either, and I feel bad for Juliet, because she seems spunky and likes to tie her boyfriends up with silk scarves.  When Bridget walks in on the action, no one will tell her what’s up, but that’s okay, because she’s got Siobhan’s doctor on the horn telling her she’s four weeks along.  Shocked, she asks, “I’m pregnant?” in confusion just as Andrew walks in, and she goes to the bathroom to say, “Siobhan, what did you do?” to her reflection.  Because that’s how she talks to her sister now that Siobhan sleeps with the fishes.  Also, Bridget, you get that you’re not pregnant, right?  Just checking.

Gemma calls Bridget!Siobhan a sneaky bitch for getting pregnant and not saying:  “So that’s why you haven’t been drinking!”  It’ll be a good put off for Bridget to refuse drinks, though perhaps not to refuse Henry, who looks pissed.  “He’s upset because his editor didn’t like his new pages,” Gemma confides, and why am I not surprised that Henry is a crap writer?  When Andrew goes off with Gemma to get her a fresh drink, Henry gets upset because he assumes the child is his, and issues Bridget!Siobhan an ultimatum.  She says, “I choose him,” and walks off.  Henry is utterly stunned, because he’s a scruffy unemployed novelist whose editor hates his pages.  Who wouldn’t want to tap that?

On the phone, Andrew tells someone he “wants out” of something, and then cuts the conversation off when “the wife” walks in.  Bridget asks about Juliet, and learns she got kicked out of boarding school for druuuugs!  We actually see the drugs.  Like, I guess they sent her home with the vial for proof or something, and she actually handed the vial over to her dad rather than snort up the contents?  Huh.  Bridget says Juliet can’t stay, “Not with the baby coming.”  I guess she’s worried she’ll get her stepdaughter to score for her if she’s around.

Victor turns up in the Hamptons, where police have found Bridget’s clothing in the bus station locker along with a letter showing that Bridget and Siobhan have communicated recently.  But that’s hardly our concern when we shift back to the loft, where Bridget has gone to meet Gemma when Gemma called to say she’s figured out who Henry is having the affair with.  Bridget walks around in her clunking heels, and then realizes SHE’S NOT ALONE!  Okay, so now we’re at the spot we were at from the very start, and Bridget tries to sneak around and then of course cranks up the Patsy Cline.  We see the killer running, lights flashing, he gets ready to strangle her, she says “You have the wrong girl,” blah blah blah, we’ve seen this — okay, then Bridget and he crash through a wall together!  She spots the “Woman’s Body Washes Ashore” article, and you know what that means.  Gun time!

Just before she shoots him dead, she shouts, “I’m not Bridget!” which, wha?  Definitely we’re at the identity confusion stage, because why would you need to clarify with the guy you’re about to off that you’re not the person you are because you think he thinks you are that person (who you are!) because you need to stick to your story of pretending to be another person who looks just like you but does not in fact have someone trying to kill her?  I mean.  Just sayin’.

Except! When Bridget uncovers the man’s head, and then finds a picture in his pocket, she sees that the photo shows his target — Siobhan Martin, not Bridget Kelly!  So now we have another clue to why Siobhan seemed nervous about the cop in the bar earlier (other than perhaps having double-parked her car in the Hamptons where, let me tell you, the ticketing situation is vicious).

Cue the shot of the actual Siobhan in Paris, smoking in front of a mirror.  So we know she is bad.  I mean, not because of the mirror; that’s just continuing on with the doubling/duplicity themes in the show.  It’s that hey, even the addicts on this show don’t smoke, Siobhan!  Way to be marked as evil.  Wait, she’s pregnant and smoking; in the American mind, she is pure evil.  The phone rings, and someone tells her “we have a problem” and Siobhan very rudely hangs up the phone immediately.  Well, to be fair, no one likes bad news.  There’s clearly more to Siobhan’s story that we’ve yet to learn.  All I can say is that she seems cool and calculating in her new hideout, but I can tell she just might miss the life and the sister she left behind.  After all, she’s barefoot, and she just lost her closet full of fantastic shoes in Manhattan to her look-alike recovering-addict stripper sister.

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  • Geeka

    Yay!! I’m so glad RINGER is on here. I love SMG. I need the recaps because of the twisty turny plot. AND, I read my favorite bad boy character actor is going to be an occasional player, Jason Dohring. I <3 Logan Echolls forever.
    Thanks!!

  • Janey Ford

    It is a twisty turny plot, isn’t it? I read some review of it that completely missed the point of the show, scolding that following only one mystery will set the show up to fail. ONLY ONE? I think that person missed the other 8261.5 mysteries that were hinted at before the third act.

    And hey now, that is good news! Maybe he’ll replace puffy Henry? Thanks for reading and commenting!