Baffling Decision Theatre Featuring: Ringer!

Perhaps the ultimate guilty-pleasure TV show, Ringer is the absurd tale of a woman who goes on the run from the mob and takes over the life of a twin sister she thinks is dead, but really the sister is a scheming villain who wants to steal all of her husband's money and disappear somehow. I'm not clear on the details, since (at the time of writing this), the season is just eight episodes in.

On top of the amazingly crazy premise, the show's madness is assisted by writers who have apparently never met a person, ever. Nearly everyone on the show makes baffling, impossible decisions when confronted with any problem, to the point where the average viewer's jaw will be on the floor three or four times per episode. These aren't examples of people getting in a bad situation and doing something dumb on the spur of the moment because they can't think straight - these are people going through elaborate, multi-step plans to accomplish nonsensical goals for reasons that are coherent to no one.

I offer, for elucidation, two examples.

1 - The situation: Evil Sister's best friend has disappeared. Cheating Husband thinks good sister (who he thinks is evil sister - this gets confusing fast) killed her, so he covered up the crime as best he could. Now the police think he's involved in her disappearance/death, but in reality, both of them are innocent. Good sister is upset because while the cops are wasting time looking at the husband, they won't be searching for the real killers.

Her solution: Find murder evidence and plant her own fingerprints on it.

But why would she do something like that? Excellent question! I have no idea. She claims it's to clear cheating husband so the police will stop being distracted, but all she's accomplished is to send them on an even more pointless wild goose chase, since now they're looking for her. And further police scrutiny is the absolute last thing she needs, given that she's living a double life and on the run from the mob.

2 - The situation: Good sister's NA sponsor/boyfriend (yeah, she makes plenty of bad decisions) has been kidnapped by the mob boss good sister was supposed to testify against. He's held for a week, hooked on heroin, and then let go, in the hopes that he'll lead the mob to good sister.

His solution: Go to see good sister.

But why would he do something like that? God only knows! What's lost in his decision-making process is the fact that by kidnapping the sponsor and then letting him go, the mob boss has accidentally solved all of the FBI's problems. Kidnapping is as serious a crime as murder, and  since he committed the act in hopes of intimidating a witness in a federal murder investigation, that opens up all sorts of avenues of investigation. The entire motive for good sister going on the run - she was the only witness to mob boss' crime, and he wanted to killer her before she could testify - has just been nullified, since the mob boss has just committed an equally serious crime, and left another witness alive.

In a subsequent episode the sponsor/boyfriend will claim that no one would believe him, since he's a drug addict - but his situation is actually better than good sister's was. In her case she was the only witness to a murder and there was no physical evidence - and she's a drug user as well. In his case there was DNA evidence - collected by the FBI - which proves that the mob boss' goons were stalking the sponsor. As for his word against the villain's in court, one of them is a respected teacher who - until he was kidnapped and given heroin, had been sober for five years. The other is a sleazy native mob boss who's known publicly to be a drug dealer and runs a strip club. Which of those two would a jury be more likely to side with?

One final note - in episode eight, we discover that the man evil sister has been sleeping with in Paris is a subordinate of her husband's. He comes to New York for a dinner meeting, and is surprised to see good sister there. Upon meeting her, he acts like they know one another, and explicitly mentions the affair that they've been having. Good sister neither finds this the least bit suspicious, nor does she pursue the matter in any way.

But why would she do something like that? Who knows? God, I love this show.

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