So, I can't tell if it's the funny compliment affecting my ability to critique or not but imagine my surprise when I turn on The CW at 9PM earlier tonight expecting another muddled, haphazard version of what's supposed to be a professional television series episode and being able to actually find really decent things to say about Ringer!
(Then, imagine my disdain in Ringer and The CW for not putting out any promotional stills for the second episode of their most-anticipated show of the season. Seriously, go check the SpoilerTV gallery for yourself. Thanks to this Sarah Michelle Geller fansite and kudos for being able to weed out an episode still, even if it's just one image.)
Let's examine what was wrong with the pilot episode of Ringer, as most of you agreed in the comments: (1) the music was completely mismatched; (2) the visual effects were god-awful; (3) the writing and directing was too casual for what should be a suspenseful show.
Watching Bridgette wrap up that body and try to clean blood with a tarp (come on, Bridge!) while someone's walking into the loft, I was scared that we'd get some song comparable to Foster the People's "Houdini," (though, now, they're probably too mainstream for The CW) but instead the show decided to let the natural sound speak for itself. And I think the scene was better for it. And when Gemma walks in and her toes are thisclose to the dead body on the floor, that little intense sound effect was oh so pleasantly suspenseful. I found myself cheering on Ringer a little, if I might add, which was a bit eccentric.
That pleasantry was short-lived, however, as Bridgette decides to go home and find products to help clean up her mess and another indie soft rock song came on. What? Okay, seriously? This is no longer just fraud, she killed someone. This is murder. Can we please act accordingly and put music that's fitting?
Siobhan walking behind Bridgette in the flashback was done well, but the New York scenery during Bridette's taxi ride wasn't done too well, and you knew she was in a lot. (I believe they shot episode 2 and beyond in LA.) But it was such a short scene, and it was only a tiny portion of the screen, we can hardly be annoyed with those visual effects.
Direction and writing
The pilot episode of Ringer was directed by someone who's mostly directed shows like 30 Rock and Ugly Betty. Tonight's episode was directed by Rob Bailey, who's done procedurals like Without a Trace and CSI: (and The Wire). That compared with a succinct story this time made for immensely better execution in this second episode.
But just how stupid is Bridgette? Why would she call Malcolm to tell him she killed someone? And why would she be so close to leaving him a voicemail (you know, just the kind of evidence the FBI needs and just the kind of trail the mob can trace)? Thankfully, she erases the message before leaving it, but then they begin to share text messages. Why would they do this? It makes no sense to me. And if it makes no sense to me, someone who isn't exactly keen on murders and fraud, then why would it make sense to the people that are actually committing these actions? Obviously, this will be Bridgette's biggest downfall.
Unimportant in the first episode was the story, mostly because we all knew what would happen thanks to the promos. Even so, the pilot was all over the place, and this episode brought it down to just one point: the body!
The focused plot allowed for better pacing and suspense than the pilot episode, considering everything was working towards the exposing of the body. Why she would keep it hidden in a loft is beyond me, though. And how she could forget to search for a cellphone or a wallet in his pants is iffy. Not to mention that she has money, and she had people moving stuff in her loft, so she could just have gotten someone to move it out of the apartment and onto some truck or car and drive to a body of water and dumped it. (Hm, maybe I do know about murder.) Regardless, I must admit I tensed up every time someone was closer to that dead body: when Andrew called about the party taking place in the loft, when blood was dripping at the corner, and when the party planners rolled out that carpet and Bridgette yelled "Stop!" I think my heart stopped beating for just a moment.
Ringer still has some problems, like why would Siobhan take money out of an account anyone, technically, has access to? If she was trying to hide away in Paris, wouldn't she have put money aside in some "offshore" account that no one could trace back to her? But despite its issues, I think I may be hooked — and when Bridgette opened that chest only to find it empty, I knew I had to be back next Tuesday.
I'm so on the bandwagon, I've been playing Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" (the song featured in the promos) on loop the entire time I was writing this.