Monday, October 18, 2010

Rubicon - "You Never Can Win"

Will (James Badge Dale) and Truxton (Michael Christofer) finally have that important talk.
Photo Credit: AMC

Review by Paul Steven Brown

Season 1 - Episode 13
"You Never Can Win"

As much as I really enjoyed this first (and hopefully not the last) season of 'Rubicon', I was disappointed in the handling of the episode's conclusion. Don't get me wrong, James Badge Dale and Michael Christofer were as excellent as always and the scene crackled with tension. However, we're left with both Will and Truxton knowing that the other knows about everything involving Atlas MacDowell and the Galvaston attack. Spangler walks away daring Will to go public. Fade to black.

Now, if AMC listens to the critics and not the numbers, and we are blessed with a second season, this will not be as much of an issue. The story can move forward. However, if this is all we get and with this vague and non-conclusive wrap-up of the season, I will not be completely satisfied with what little 'Rubicon' we did get.

Still, how do you go from here? Spangler knows that Will knows everything, and after the supposed murder of Katherine Rhumor (more on that in a moment), our hero is certainly not going to rest until he brings the man to justice. Another wrinkle to all of this is the fact that Truxton has been booted from the secret Atlas MacDowell cabal. He will no longer be working in concert with his childhood friends for economic gain. Will continue to game the intelligence system on his own? Also, what's keeping Kale from taking this guy out quietly?

I can't see a way for this series to continue with both Spangler and Will (and for that matter Kale) all under the same roof. Will may not be able to touch Truxton legally or publicly, I get that. However, what would keep Spangler from sending another Donald Bloom or Mr. Roy after him?

The circumstances involving Katherine were very, very interesting. First off was the secret message on the DVD. Not only did we get a message from her husband, but also David Hadas had one for Will, which we didn't get to see much of. Even more surprising was the address of Tom Rhumor gave to Katherine if she was ever in danger. Low and behold, it's Andy's apartment! What?! Andy says that they were never supposed to meet, but grabs a gun (!) and proceeds to take Katherine somewhere else.

Unfortunately, Katherine has to meet Will at the park to deliver the DVD. Despite being out in the open, she gets bumped by Mr. Roy who injects her with something. Will shows up in time to see her die, but doesn't notice Andy making a quick exit. Good-bye, Miranda Richardson... or maybe not!

Will assumes that Katherine is dead and makes for a hasty exit of the scene. We don't get any EMT or any other medical confirmation that she is dead. Also, she still had the DVD with David's message to Will. I'm just shooting wildly here, but this is a show where not everything is what it seems at times.

Will brings Miles into the loop, who is initially skeptical. However, he trusts Will and after analyzing the material from Bloom's apartment, he can't help but acknowledge the truth about Spangler and his connection to Bloom and Atlas MacDowell. As he says to Julia, "everything is different".

Throw in Grant's promotion and Will's demotion, plus Tanya's desire to quit, and our favorite analysis team has been flipped on it's head. I'm really glad that Grant was not made into a turncoat or someone with sinister intentions for career advancement. The job was probably supposed to be his before Will anyway. Spangler gave it to Will in an attempt to keep him preoccupied and away from investigating David's death. I hope this isn't the last we see of Tanya, but given her circumstances and hardships, this is not a surprising move.

I really wished that the Atlas MacDowell/Spangler arc had come to a definite conclusion. There have been episodes ("The Outsider" for example) that demonstrated that 'Rubicon' could do standalones as well as mythology builders. This is a phenomenal cast and the writing has been consistently solid. Despite my reservations about the conclusion of the first season, I really, really, really hope we get a second one.

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