Ringer, "Pilot": sister, sister

Quick Take: Ringer, "Pilot"
Is it my imagination, or was that pretty good?

The Ringer

Review: Ringer, "Pilot"
(S0101) Despite all odds, Sarah Michelle Gellar might actually make a comeback! Whether she succeeds depends largely on if the Powers That Be manage to work out the kinks with Ringer before the audience loses interest. I suspect they just might do it.

The pilot introduces us to the two roles that Gellar plays on this show: twin sisters that comprise Siobhan Martin, a rich, manipulative woman embroiled in all kinds of mischief, and Bridget Kelly, a recovering drug addict on the run from her murderous pimp and the lawman as well. Siobhan leads Bridget to believe that she committed suicide and because Bridget is so terribly afraid of leading her own life, she assumes her sister's role as a married adulterer, a selfish humanitarian, and a downright lousy person. From her Parisian hideaway, the real Siobhan learns that her attempt to kill Bridget in her place (thereby securing her change of identity) failed.

The subtle variations in Gellar's portrayal of the twins speak volumes about the characters. Bridget's insecurity and genuine desire for redemption and Siobhan's self-satisfied ruthlessness shine through the pilot-episode blues and remind me of (particularly the later seasons of) Buffy and Gellar's ability to fully own a role. There are, unfortunately, some weak scenes, the likes of which one can expect from a single new role, and SMG has two to master.

The rest of the cast seem excellently chosen and, again, if not for a few scenes whose purpose was to bang-the-audience-over-the-head-with-X, all seem likely to carry the ambiguity and weight a show like this requires. Ioan Gruffudd, playing Siobhan's husband Andrew (a name thankfully changed from "Xander"—oops, I mean—"Ander" that he's referred to at certain points) played his part particularly well.

A few things bugged me about the pilot. The biggest problem was too much TV shorthand, and by this point, CW should really recognize these clichés as the blight of most of their programming (including, but not limited to Smallville). Can their viewership really not be trusted to understand a simple story without being told what to think?

Another problem is that I can buy Bridget's willingness to assume her sister's identity, but what I can't buy is the precise timing of both Bridget and Siobhan's need to hide. I'd be very disappointed if we didn't eventually learn that Siobhan orchestrated the melodrama in Bridget's life so that she would actually be willing to impersonate her dead sister. Because — come on — how diabolical can Siobhan be if she didn't foresee the shakiness of that plan?

The last big complaint is that they took too many scenes to tell the story, to the point that they didn't have enough time to connect them. Clearly, changes were made and reshoots were required, but I'm certain that they could have done a better job of overlapping the many plots they had to set up.

That said, the multiplicity of plot threads is really what has me interested in what comes next. Were it not for the sheer potential of the character relations set up, I would be much more skeptical of a show on CW. Hopefully, the show (and the network) surpass our rather low expectations. And by all means, stop telling and start showing! It is a mystery, after all.

By Mike Stop Continues

About the author

I'm on a quest to be the most amazing writer to ever live. Until then, writing about TV will have to satiate my hunger for characters, plots, and intense emotional reactions.

See my blog for more stuff...

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1 Comment
On: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Gellar is a marvelous actress, and I don't think we've gotten to see her full range since the days of Buffy (at least from what I've seen her in since). Really looking forward to checking out this pilot -- great review mike !

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