Ringer 1.21 – It’s Called Improvising, Bitch!

As Ringer's first season nears its conclusion, everything boils down to one simple question: is Catherine going to have to shoot a bitch?

Oh my god, Ringer; Ringer, oh my GOD!

There is almost no way to tease into this without spoilers aplenty, so I’ll just say before the read-more that this fine frenetic episode has the following nuggets of awesome: sedative-spiking, gun-pulling, Wyoming-banishing, voyeurism-forcing, bathtub-drowning, true-love-sobbing, sexuality-shifting, and paternity-denying. Discover its delights along with me, won’t you?

“Why so down, Siobhan?” Catherine purrs as Bridget!Siobhan sprawls on the floor, paralyzed by the sedatives Catherine spiked her tea with, the Cell Phone of Criminal Significance hidden nearby under a chair.  Then Catherine prances off to write Siobhan’s suicide note while I guffaw like a loon.

Apparently Catherine thinks Siobhan would confess she’d “rather be dead than destitute,” before taking her own life, and wraps up the nonsense with “Eternally yours, Siobhan.” While I’m choking at this seriously insane turn of events, Catherine, all the while carefully applying lipstick, deftly practices reactions to the news of Siobhan’s death:  a quiet surprise face of sorrow, the concerned face of disbelief, and the winner, her prayer-hands reaction of horrified shock. I honestly didn’t think I could love evil!Catherine any harder, but I was so very wrong.

Bridget!Siobhan languishes unconscious in the rapidly filling bathtub.  Catherine’s left her victim’s clothes on, because this isn’t HBO. But dang, Catherine, who gets in a bathtub to die without taking off soggy-making garments? It’s the little things that make a staged crime scene work, you know?

Catherine flashes-back to a cat fight she had with the real Siobhan, when Siobhan told Catherine she had to vacate the premises of her Florida home.  “Where the hell am I supposed to live?” Catherine asks, stunned. “Spare me the drama, Catherine. We both know you’re never more than one disgusting sex act away from shacking up with a sugar daddy.” *jaw drops* Dear god, The Real Siobhan really was a horrible wench, wasn’t she?  Another flashback shows us Siobhan snarling, “The last thing Juliet needs is a chemically dependent promiscuous part-time parent.”

So, okay. Catherine has reasons to act peeved. But taunting unconscious-Bridget!Siobhan with “Who’s humiliating the family now?” while leaving her to drown in the soaking tub seems a slightly extreme response. But Catherine has no time for such nit-picking over equitable reactions, and merrily scribbles, “Gone to therapy” on a piece of paper before she waltzes out to leave Bridget!Siobhan to her watery grave.

As Vic Machado finally heads out to see what the hell’s happened with Siobhan, he’s cut off by an exciting surprise—an SUV full of FBI agents! At the same time, Catherine realizes she’s not going to make her escape from the apartment so quickly, because the Cell Phone of Criminal Significance is missing from her purse.

Andrew arrives home for some good old-fashioned middle-of-the-day tie changing. When Catherine’s jittery and shifty-eyed, he thinks Catherine was going to have a long soak in the tub they’ve declared off-limits. “Siobhan opened her heart and home to you; don’t abuse her hospitality,” he lectures Catherine as we spy Bridget!Siobhan slipping ever deeper into certain death.  By the way, don’t go getting ideas this means we’re pals, Andrew scolds Catherine, who hops around with her arms flapping when she sees water spilling out of the bathroom.

Everything gets injected with a hyper-shot of crazy awesome, as Andrew pushes past Catherine to discover Bridget!Siobhan in the tub. “Oh my god, Siobhan,” he cries out, alternately administering CPR and feeling his heart break into a thousand pieces from his man pain. He loves her soooooo much, and—dear god, “Andrew, I really wish you wouldn’t have done that,” Catherine barks out, pointing a gun at Andrew and Siobhan!

“Why can’t the judge be reasonable?” Henry asks as he learns his petition for supervised visits with his twins was denied. Because, wait for it, you are a for-real killer, Henry. “This is all going to be over soon, I promise,” Siobhan croons. Did anyone else just get a creepy shiver running up her spine?  Henry thinks no one will realize he killed Tyler, because outside of the maid’s testimony, there’s no evidence tying him to the murder. “We can’t leave this to chance,” Siobhan tells him. He tells her not to do anything, okay? Promise? Pinky swear? But Siobhan totally had her fingers crossed behind her back, and pretends she has an OB appointment so she can go kill her some Russian maid.

Catherine fumes that her plans are ruined, ruined! “Now I have to try something different,” she mutters, plotting. Andrew tries to tell her it’s too late. “It was too late the minute you took Queen Bitch here out of the tub!” Catherine shrieks. Think of Juliet, Bridget!Siobhan pleads. (Important note: apparently someone pointing a gun at you magically wakes you from the Sleep of a Thousand Pills, because Bridget!Siobhan looks positively perky.)

Catherine absolutely loses it at the suggestion Bridget!Siobhan cares more about Juliet than her. “I am the one who loves her, and that is why I kept her busy with errands all day so she wouldn’t have to find your corpse!” Oh. My.  God. That is so super thoughtful of Catherine, am I right?

As Vic gets hauled in for some finger-wagging and is booked on a flight back to Wyoming tomorrow, he exclaims Siobhan Martin’s life could be in danger.  “What is it with you and those sisters?” his mean supervisor wonders.

Catherine trains her gun on Andrew and Bridget!Siobhan, so that they’ll pack those suitcases right, damn it! No, no, don’t just pile clothes in there; roll everything so you can fit multiple mixable pieces into your carry-on with ease for a week’s worth of flexible fashion! Um, why are we packing, Bridget!Siobhan wonders. “It’s called improvising, bitch!” Catherine snaps back, getting what might be THE best title yet (seriously, they keep getting better every week).

Turns out Catherine has solved her problem of Andrew coming home by envisioning a set-up that will invariably make anyone conclude that:  (a) Catherine and Andrew were going off to Mexico together because they are in L-U-V LOVE; (b) Siobhan came home unexpectedly and waved a gun around like the jealous-of-Catherine bitch Catherine knows she is; (c) Andrew got shot dead while Catherine was wounded, before Siobhan turned the gun on herself.  Um. Tack on some stuff about drug cartel money given to orphans and switched-at-birth babies, why don’t you, Catherine, to make all this even more ludicrously complicated?

Darn it all if two federal agents haven’t shown up in the lobby—Andrew meets them in the living room and says Catherine took off for Mexico while Bridget!Siobhan, reached by her cell phone, complains everything’s fine, she’s in no danger, and let her get back to her Pilates because she needs to strengthen her core, okay? Ah, I see—Catherine’s got her gun trained on Bridget!Siobhan so that both she and Andrew must lie to save her life.

In a fit of desperation, Andrew seizes on the feds advising Bridget!Siobhan to signal danger by using the day of the week in a sentence. He says he’ll give them his office number, instead writing MONDAY on a scrap of paper. But Catherine’s all, hi, Andrew, hi! I’m in the doorway, with your wife at gunpoint, miming my nefarious intentions, hi, hi! So Andrew doesn’t give the game away.

Siobhan surprises Oksana the testimony-submitting, lingerie-clad Russian maid in a surprisingly fancy-schmancy pad. Too bad “I based my generosity [for the bribe] on the salary of a hotel maid, not a high-class call girl with a taste for Faberge eggs!” Siobhan sighs. And guess what, fake!maid trying to get citizenship? Siobhan’s been to another one of her criminal connections for false passports, and they’ve got Oksana’s photos and identity-fraud written all over them. Hey, it’s not Siobhan’s fault if the police find them and draw the obvious conclusions.

Juliet is simply too speedy a shopper, and arrives to find her dad, her step-mom, and her gun-toting mother. “Angel, I’m sorry,” Catherine tells her, commanding her to hand over her cell phone. Luckily the apartment stocks scads of duct tape, so that Catherine can bind Andrew and Bridget!Siobhan’s wrists, knees, and ankles together. “She destroyed our family,” Catherine tells Juliet. But Juliet shrieks Catherine is the one who destroyed everything, and goes over to huddle with Andrew and Bridget!Siobhan.

“Baby, it’s me,” Catherine pants into her cell phone. “You have to help me; I’ve made a mess of everything.” We switch POVs to the aforesaid “baby”, and guess what, Ringer fans? CATHERINE’S TALKING TO OLIVIA, because they are in a sexy sex SEX relationship!

Wow.  Seriously, wow.  I guessed Olivia and Catherine might have been in cahoots in an earlier recap, but I did not see this coming.  On the one hand, I’m annoyed Ringer has succumbed to the inevitable, “She’s a villain; therefore she must be a lesbian!” / “She’s a lesbian; therefore she must be a villain!” noir stereotype for female wrongdoers.  On the other hand, I am simply blown away by the pure fiery white-hotness that is Olivia/Catherine.

“I did it for you and me; it’s what we wanted,” Catherine says. “I didn’t think that meant you were going to take hostages!” Olivia replies heatedly.

Meanwhile, Vic gets a call that all is hunky-dory over at the Martin apartment. Agents are on their way to seize Catherine before she can fly to Cancun. Funny thing, though, Catherine also booked a seat for Andrew. You can just see Vic chomping at the bit at the weirdness of this. “Machado, walk away, we’re on top of it,” his nasty boss says, as usual acting all kinds of stupid and wrong.

“I need you to stop yelling at me,” Catherine begs Olivia over the phone. But hey, Andrew’s already recognized Olivia’s screaming voice. “You mean Olivia and mom, dot dot dot?” Juliet asks, wondering if this will present yet another step-mom willing to buy her affection with taffeta skirts and cute little purses.

Flashback to six weeks ago, that night that Catherine pretended to hold a funeral for Juliet and made her sob uncontrollably (which we now know was part of the faux-rape plotting). Catherine zipped over to Olivia’s place, claiming she had nowhere else to go. Like those Benjamins Andrew threw at you couldn’t have bought your way into the Plaza, Catherine. They get to drinking, and a little wine and trash talk about Siobhan and Andrew later, Olivia confesses her long-standing crush on Catherine. They proceed to make out in one of the steamiest kisses on Ringer yet.

“This is not how you treat someone you love!” Catherine sobs in the present, while Juliet follows Bridget!Siobhan’s instructions to grab the phone under the chair without Catherine spotting it. While Bridget grabs the phone and dials, hiding it among the cushions, Catherine whirls around, her huge running mascara-decorated eyes demonstrating her full-on crazy.

Vic’s phone rings, and not only have Bridget and Andrew managed to yell information in the guise of telling Catherine to give up holding them against their will at their apartment, THE PHONE STILL HAD A CHARGE. Hey now, where’s Olivia at these days, they ask? Olivia is safe and sound at Catherine’s sister’s rental property in Saddle Rock, thankyouverymuch!

Flashback again, four weeks ago, with Olivia and Catherine in bed. Catherine confides her thwarted attempt to kill Siobhan. Olivia turns on the limpid bedroom eyes as Catherine continues to sexy-talk her with information about how Siobhan got the killer’s contact cell phone. “She ruined my life! How was I supposed to let her get away with that?” “The only mistake you made was not getting that cell phone back,” Olivia replies, obviously on board for another go at murdering Siobhan.

The real Siobhan bickers with Oksana about withdrawing her testimony, but whoops, someone’s at the door! The call girl shoves Siobhan into a closet and greets her dangerous-drug-bearing client. Siobhan peers through the wooden blinds of the closet door to see the call girl and client start their session with a little drug snorting. Why is Siobhan making that face? Surely she’s witnessed sex worker drug use from a closet before…Oh, good god, she’s legit going into labor! She sneaks peeks of the drug-induced euphoric sexual encounter on the bed just outside while briskly settling into her Lamaze breathing pattern.

While my head spins with all of this craziness, the call girl gets super sweaty, does more drug snorting, and starts to bleed out at the nose. The client freaks out, takes the drug evidence and runs, leaving Siobhan free to escape and hail a cab to get her to the hospital and push out those twins.

“I love you both very much,” Andrew tells Juliet and Bridget!Siobhan heroically, palming a paperweight to brain Catherine. More flashbacks confirm the one Olivia phoned before hightailing it out of town was Catherine.  Back in the present, Olivia calls back telling Catherine to leave right now and come to her. Oh, it’s because Vic’s reached Olivia’s hidey-hole, and is forcing her to lure Catherine there.

Yay, Catherine’s off to meet with her one true love! But first, un-duct Siobhan for mommy, Juliet, so she can come with; there’s a dear! “If you’re going to take anyone [hostage], take me!” Andrew bravely tells Catherine. “I don’t want you, Andrew, or that paperweight you’re planning to bludgeon me with,” Catherine scoffs. Busted!

At the hospital, Henry can’t go into the room with Siobhan when she has the twins, because the doctors must do an emergency C-section. Back at Olivia’s Saddle Rock secret place, Olivia asks why Vic doesn’t just send feds to the apartment. Vic rattles off some mind-numbing statistics about multiple-hostage situations and chances of death, but I don’t mind because it gives my reeling head a moment to recover. And then Catherine shoves Bridget!Siobhan up the path at Saddle Rock, only to find Vic Machado waiting for her.

Everything goes into overdrive again: Bridget!Siobhan breaks free at a run, guns clatter to the floor, there’s a free-for-all mess of blond hair tangling as Catherine and Bridget!Siobhan scramble for the weapons, and Bridget!Siobhan runs after Catherine with the gun. “You don’t have it in you,” Catherine jeers as Bridget!Siobhan is unable to shoot. “She might not, but I do,” Vic clarifies, telling Catherine to put her hands up behind her head because she is so arrested.

Henry drinks some crappy hospital coffee, gets a text from his attorney that the maid who was to testify against him was found dead, and plays nice with Siobhan, kissing her on the forehead. Siobhan seems surprised at the news about Oksana, because she totally didn’t watch while she got high and died. Henry nods, turns on his heel and tells the doctor he wants a PATERNITY test, because he has finally-bo-dinally clued in to the fact that Siobhan just might be lying when she says her twins are his.

“I couldn’t do it to Juliet,” Bridget!Siobhan says, explaining why she couldn’t shoot Catherine. It’s on account of how she’s such a good person, Vic tells her.  Good person my shapely divorcee ass, Catherine spits:  “You stole my husband, you turned my daughter against me—whose life is so pathetic that they have to live someone else’s to be happy?” Bridget just barely stops herself from saying, “oooh, oooh, ooh, my life is so pathetic—me, I’m the one who needs to live someone else’s life!”

That’s right, Bridget—hold back and save it for the season finale next week, which will somehow try to top all of this?  I’m fetching my fainting couch in advance, people; this penultimate episode almost did me in. Getting 44 minutes even crazier than this is going to send me around the freaking bend.

Meanwhile, #saveringer, #renewringer, people!  Let’s keep this soapy deliciousness alive!