Dead Ringers – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Meet the Twins

Episode 1 of Dead Ringers opens with the twin gynaecologists, Elliot and Beverly, talking in a café. They want to open their own birthing centre where they will finally be able to do things their own way. A man from the next booth tries to hit on them, together. Beverly and Elliot’s heavily sarcastic response makes him back down.

While on the toilet, Beverly finds that she’s bleeding. Later, she picks up what looks like a blood clot from the toilet and lovingly says “hello”.

The twins step out of a building and walk down the street. Beverly tells Elliot she lost another one. A beggar woman asks for change and Elliot gives her her sunglasses. She then takes Beverly’s sunglasses for herself while hugging her and telling her she’s sorry.

At the hospital, Beverly and Elliot are discussing which patients each of them should take when a patient named Megan comes in, thinking that her contractions have started. Beverly tells her it isn’t happening yet and sends her home.

This is followed by a montage of the twins at work — screaming pregnant women, babies coming out of vaginas, vivid c-sections taking place, blood dripping by white shoes. As they work on a c-section Elliot mentions Joseph, who has called her 12 times. Beverly mentions they are trying to change the way women are birthing together and don’t have time to go dancing.

Afterwards, Elliot takes Beverly’s blood. In the bathroom, Elliot snorts a white powder while Beverly does her makeup. They do, indeed, go to a club but Elliot is the only one dancing while Beverly does some research. Beverly wants to leave but Elliot asks for five minutes and hooks up with a man who was looking at her. While they have sex in a bathroom, Beverly storms in and tells her they need to leave.

The twins meet Joseph who tells them to attend a dinner with potential investors. They could get the entire funding for their centre, from someone called the Parkers. Joseph tells them the Parker woman is interested in science and innovation. Elliot claims she was responsible for an opioid crisis. She asks Beverly her opinion and Beverly says she just wants the birthing centre open as soon as possible.

We then see the twins doing a check-up for Nicki, a surrogate mother for a woman named Lara’s baby. The baby is breach and Beverly uses her hands to turn the baby. Lara clearly has no regard for surrogate mother’s body or health and even asks how soon she can have another baby (she already has five). She even says she’s donating money to the twins’ birthing centre so she can ‘skip the queue’.

Elliot does a check-up for Beverly and confirms her miscarriage. She then goes on about all the patients’ irrational demands they get and how they can make the impossible possible with their research. Beverly calls this Elliot’s individualist structure. Elliot then promises to solve Beverly’s inability to have a baby.

Elliot goes to work in a lab where Tom, the man who runs the lab, approaches her. He discusses her desire to grow a foetus from a test tube as well as their upcoming dinner with Rebecca Parker, a morally corrupt woman according to him. When he suggests coming along to see Bev, Elliot says that Beverly doesn’t like him.

Beverly speaks with a patient named Lenka who’s had yet another miscarriage. Elliot meets with a patient named Therese and her husband about a yeast infection. When Theres has to leave to pee, Elliot asks the husband how he is. She notices something and then asks him if he wants to show her something, ultimately coaxing him to pull out his penis. He puts it back before Therese walks in.

Beverly meets a man named John who’s wife recently gave birth. He says his wife is in pain but no one’s been to see her for hours. Beverly begins to question her but the doctor in charge comes by and makes Beverly leave. Her next patient is Genevieve Cotar and Beverly looks uncharacteristically nervous. Genevieve wants a baby and is doing an x-ray to make sure things are okay. She engages in small talk but soon makes an excuse and leaves. She texts Elliot, telling her to swap with her.

The twins meet in the bathroom and exchange shoes and change their hair until they look exactly like the other. They exchange patient information and Elliot exclaims that Genevieve is an actress from one of Beverly’s favourite shows. She realises Beverly is flushed.

Beverly, now as Elliot, meets with a 22-year-old who wants to be sterilized. She claims to have chosen Elliot for her reputation of listening to women. Elliot, as Beverly, conducts the x-ray for Genevieve and finds that she has a bicornuate uterus and blocked fallopian tubes. Elliot insists there’s a lot they can do for Genevieve to still have a baby regardless but the actress says she needs to process the information in a nearby bar.

The twins swap back into their original places. Elliot then works on Leonie, a woman who’s 45 weeks pregnant but never visited a hospital out of fear and is now in immense pain. Beverly sees that John’s wife, the woman who was complaining of abdominal pain, is now dead. Leonie’s baby is a still born. The doctor in charge tells John that a CT scan was ordered for his wife but it didn’t happen.

Beverly and Elliot are both struck by these incidents and the system that brought them about. Beverly tells Elliot to take time off while she covers for her. Elliot asks if Beverly wants her to ‘get’ Genevieve. Beverly tells her to go do something nice.

Elliot has a burger from a roadside stall and then heads to the bar anyway. Beverly meanwhile, watches Genevieve’s TV show in the bathroom.

In the bar, Elliot and Genevieve talk with Elliot asking most of the questions and not answering any herself. Genevieve talks about being an army brat and moving around a lot. Elliot suddenly kisses her and asks if she wants to go out. She’s busy with a press thing but, after some back and forth, agrees to meet up later.

In the cab to the restaurant, the twins discuss Rebecca Parker and her fourth wife Susan. Elliot then tells Beverly what happened with the actress and Beverly thanks her for it.

At the dinner, Susan goes on and on about babies but Rebecca remains unimpressed with the twins’ proposal. Beverly goes on a rant about how messed up the system is and gets up to leave but Rebecca tells her to sit down. She agrees to spend more time with them before making her decision.

Beverly meet Genevieve afterwards and they have some drinks.

Elliot sleeps with the man she met before, an accountant. She asks him questions the way she did with Genevieve. Later, she watches a family celebrate from her apartment. We then see her sinking into water in a bathtub with sunglasses on, accompanied by vague flashes of a scene with two women in a large body of water.

Meanwhile, Beverly is engrossed with Genevieve as she talks about wanting a baby and doesn’t realise Elliot is trying to call her. Beverly opens up about not being able to have babies herself. They lean in towards each other, their lips almost touching. Beverly gets Genevieve home, revealing she lives with her sister. Genevieve decides to cook for her and later, they have sex.

Elliot works in the lab, making something for Beverly. She comes home to see Genevieve’s clothes. She smells them and then eats the food she’d made.

Genevieve wakes up in the morning and finds a woman has cleaned up the house. It’s Greta and she’s the twins’ maid. Elliot also introduces herself, to Genevieve’s shock. Later, she asks Beverly if it’s only been her the whole time and then realises it’s an offensive question. She kisses Beverly and leaves.

Genevieve walks to a building and takes out a paper with a symbol on it of two babies, one inverted.

At a restaurant, Elliot tells Beverly she’s excited about the Parkers. She asks Beverly about the actress. Beverly thinks she’s incredible but refuses to tell more about her, to Elliot’s frustration.

At a support group, Beverly talks about how her twin sister died. Meanwhile, Elliot sits on a toilet and screams in frustration.

The Episode Review

Off to a brilliant start, Dead Ringers episode 1 practically throws us into the world of the Mantle twins. Rachel Weisz does a fantastic job, clearly setting apart Elliot’s whimsicalness and passion with Beverly’s gravity and empathy. Both characters are immensely interesting.

Genevieve and Rebecca also make compelling supporting characters. It’s great to see so many different kinds of women on screen and I’m hoping that the series will continue to show them as real, three-dimensional people.

The story has already brought up a number of real world issues, from corrupt investors to body autonomy for surrogate mothers to inefficiencies in the hospital system.

The series has a stylistic charm as well, using quick montages, graphic visuals and quick switches between the twins’ storylines. Red is a highly vivid colour and stands out from the palette. The pace does go up and down and along with the quick jump cuts, this can be a bit jarring. But accompanied by some great music, the overall impression is that Dead Ringers knows exactly what kind of show it wants to be.

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You can read our full season review for Dead Ringers here!


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