Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rubicon - "Connect the Dots"

Will Travers (James Badge Dale) receives an ominous warning from his boss, Kale Ingram (Arliss Howard).
Photo Credit: AMC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

Season 1 - Episode 5
"Connect the Dots"

"I strongly suggest you stick to the analysis side of things. I would hate to see you involved in any mayhem." - Kale Ingram

If there was ever a line that underscored the potential danger that Will Travers in on the verge of bring down upon his own head, it was that one. Arliss Howard has done a great job imbuing Kale Ingram with underlying sense that this is potentially a dangerous man. Of course, what we learned about his time in Beirut killing people, only intensifies this. He's a little guy, but he scares the hell out of me.

However, it would be easy to jump to conclusions that Kale is the bad guy. What if he's really a good guy or at least playing things from a whole different angle the Spangler and Wheeler gang? To put it in X-Files terms (as my wife wonderfully pointed out), what if he's a Skinner? Or an X? Kale was observing unnoticed Spangler, Bloom, and one of Will's tails leaving their meeting. This series is only five episodes in and at such a slow, deliberate rate, the surface has barely been scratched.

If Will is going to get in over his head with spy games, he's really got to work on his sneaking around. He got caught, not once, but twice in the same episode. While the second time does allow him a glimpse of the possible players in The Conspiracy, it's the first time when he Kale catches him spying on him and Bloom that provokes that warning from Will's boss.

Will is completely and understandable unnerved about getting seen by Kale. His reaction is a very strange one. He runs back to API and has a very inappropriately close conversation with Maggie. I'm not sure what was trying to be conveyed in this scene? Was Will supposed to be really scared and paranoid so he had to get right up into her face? Was he playing on her attraction of him so he could pump her for information on Kale? It was just a weird moment.

Tanya's performance gets called into question by Kale and Will gives her an opportunity to sink or swim. There is an understandable concern if she burns out. She's dealing with some very sensitive material and if she were ever to let something slip while out drinking, well we're talking national security problems. We learned last week that the folks at API literally have to play calculus with people's lives and there isn't any room for errors or winging it.

The writers have it both ways with Tanya. She is certainly good at her job and she pitches the Boeck case effectively to Spangler (after a beating of a dry run with Miles and Grant). However, once she's sold it, she heads to her office and downs some vodka. Even Will isn't going let this success keep her from a drug screening. The job is too important.

Speaking of stress, we finally get to see what years of code cracking has done to old Ed. His obsessive nature obviously makes him a truly gifted analyst, but there's a manic side to it. When Will finally gets a clue as to the level of involvement Ed has taken, he quickly lies and says that they've been following the wrong person. It's really sad, but Ed sincerely wants to know why his best friend David was killed.

Will and Katherine finally, but briefly meet. Nothing much comes of it and we don't get a real solid merging of their storylines here. Katherine visits the office of the business left to her by her husband and finds an article locked away about a suicide. 'Rubicon' is a slow moving show, but Katherine Rhumor's story is really creeping along.

Overall, another solid offering from a really compelling new show. The Conspiracy is intriguing, but the characters are what have really sold me on 'Rubicon'.

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