Ringer Episode 1-1 Recap: Pilot

We’ve waited years for Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to the small screen, and… it wasn’t pretty–and I’m not just talking about the boat scene. For her part, SMG is not bad, but the producers are not playing to her strengths which are definitely in line with the dreary, nervous material she is given. Although she has a few solid quips here and there, the tone of the show is very serious. [Insert serious business meme]

The main problem is that, while the producers want the show to be dark, intense, and thrilling, the plot would indicate that it is, in fact, campy and full of bullshit we can laugh at. I honesty wouldn’t mind too much if the producers had a lighter touch, jabbing at the inanity of the situation occasionally, but they really want to get across the direness of the situation, even throwing in a couple musical montages (that makes things deep, you see).

Here’s the plot: Bridget Kelly escapes from witness protection on the eve of a big trial and meets up with her identical twin Siobhan Martin. They take a boat ride (which features embarrassing visual effects), Bridget wakes up, and finds Siobhan gone, presumably drowned. What’s the next logical step? Take her sister’s place! Of course it makes perfect sense. OK, think for a moment–how much information do you store in your brain and not keep recorded anywhere? But Bridget somehow succeeds and everyone believes she is Siobhan. Siobhan’s life is very complicated as Bridget soon finds out, but probably not as complicated as Bridget’s will soon be, with the combined problems of her and Siobhan’s lives. In a twist of utter stupidity, Bridget learns of Siobhan’s pregnancy over the phone–and announces it to the world. Yeah, not even going to warrant a comment. The episode ends with Siobhan alive in Paris, a predictable twist to propel the show towards wherever wacky place it belongs.

With a large emphasis on plot, the characters–including Bridget–hardly get fleshed out beyond the names and roles. Why is Bridget staying behind? It would seem a lot easier if she just took a bunch of Siobhan’s stuff and ran. Does she like posh lifestyle? Is she a thrillseeker who gets into impossible situations for the fun of getting out of them?

I want to end with some positive comments, assuming the writers did intend for some social commentary. As ludicrous as Bridget actually succeeding is, there is something to be said about the way the upper-crust looks at people. They don’t see Siobhan as an actual person but as a rich, skinny blonde. Bridget can come in, replace her sister, and no one will notice, because people only cared what Siobhan looked like. This isn’t particularly deep, but preferably to what is on other shows, the “smash the message on your face 500 times” style of commentary.

Score: 7.0/10