'Rubicon' review: This show just gets better and better, even if there is 'No Honesty In Men'

Continuing its rhythm as a series that just gets better, more intriguing, and witty each week, Rubicon uncorked another fine episode on Sunday.

Our man Will, made antsy by the electronic bugs he’s found in his apartment, decides he needs to move — and, what the hell, put the moves on that attractive woman with whom he’s been exchanging glances from across their nearby windows. She’s an artist, a painter, who seems (all too?) willing to let Will in for shelter and a some sheet-wrinkling. At this point in Rubicon, I’m as jumpy as Will; I suspect that everyone has ulterior motives…which is why I wonder why he doesn’t. Maybe he’s just relieved to be out of his apartment, with a woman who finds him immediately attractive (or as she puts it, “You’re weird in an interesting way”), and who has a place in her bathroom where he can stash his API files on the Hadas death and God knows what else. They also had a Rear Window moment, gazing across at Will’s apartment; later, Will sees someone’s rummaging around in his abode: It’s Donald Bloom.

Lots of tension this week between Truxton Spangler and Kale Ingram. First Kale interrupts Truxton while he’s having his sacred alone-time in his office eating cereal (“Go away!” Knock, knock. “Persistence is often met with vengeance!”) Later, Truxton interrupted Kale’s morning run to bring the Man With The Roman Haircut his favorite morning beverage, ginseng tea (loved the way Michael Christofer makes Truxton stumble over the word “ginseng,” as if that is simply not in the WASP lexicon) and clearly implies to Kale that he’s a tad concerned about Will’s persistence in connecting the dots in Spangler’s old-boy spy conspiracy. It’s in this scene that Truxton utters the Romeo and Juliet quote that gives the episode its title: “There’s no trust, no faith, no honesty in men; all perjured, all forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.”

Speaking of dissemblers, among Will’s crew, pain and discontent prevailed. There’s Emily, a new assistant replacing Maggie; she’s so exaggeratedly timorous, I suspect her of ulterior motives, too. Tanya is off in rehab, and her temporary replacement is Julia, the nice woman Miles flirted with during the lock-down episode. These two were at once startled, pleased, and nervous about seeing each other again. Grant — hoo boy, his wife has been fired and his marriage is on the rocks. His wife, Grant tells Miles, wonders why he “makes analyst money versus banker money.” This is both poignant and true, since Grant invariably dresses like a banker on his way to J.P. Morgan) How bad is it? Wife Lisa tells her buttoned-down hubby as a parting toodeloo, “I’m gonna go home and kill myself.”

As far as the group’s work goes, it’s now thought that Tanaz is a double agent working with Iranian intelligence, and Kateb is planning a terrorist attack. (Should I add “again” to that sentence?) As Rubicon‘s first season is coming to a conclusion, it’s clear that there are going to be convergences between the overseas terrorist threats being analyzed and the people here at home doing the analysis, and by no means all of them for noble reasons. I can sense, among readers and people I talk to, an increasing interest in Rubicon, which makes me hopeful for a second season. If that happens, producer Henry Bromell is going to be faced with a challenge. It’s clear that many fans prefer the more stand-alone, workplace-environment episodes, while the show’s writers are equally interested in worldwide conspiracies and global politics. The trick will be to narrow that latter, vast focus, while also preventing Rubicon from becoming, as I said here admiringly a few weeks ago, The Office without the laughs.

Pop-up observations and questions:

• I must admit to a bit of Katherine fatigue. I think Miranda Richardson is terrific, but her dogged pursuit of who’s in the childhood picture left to her by her dead husband seemed repetitive, a non-starter, this week.

• Will’s new female friend has a New York City apartment so big, Will has to ask here her bathroom is? I know they live downtown in big warehouse-lofts, but…

• Andi says she’s 32; he says, “I’m older than you.” How old did you think Will was/is?

• Not only does Julia speak Urdu, which we knew before, but she’s also knowledgeable about “computer string theory” and “the psychology of anarchists.” In the world of Rubicon, this is like finding a cross between Emma Goldman and Christina Hendricks — go for it, Miles!

Follow: @kentucker

Comments (108 total) Add your comment
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  • Allie

    I thought this was absolutely the best episode of Rubicon yet–and I thought it would be hard for them to top last week’s. This really is such a high quality show and really strings the audience along in trying to solve the conspiracy along with Will. I’d be just devastated if it didn’t get a second season pick up.

    • Lily

      I LOVE this show. Am totally hooked. So glad Will wasn’t killed by the guy hiding in his bathroom (10-3-10). It’s all actually starting to make sense. . . . such a great show.

  • leviramsey

    On the Bromell planning for next season bit:

    http://www.tvsquad.com/2010/09/16/Rubicon-james-badge-dale/

    “[Bromell]: We’ve been trying to do a balance, but it’s clear that the self-contained stories work better dramatically and so there will be more of that next season.”

    • JOHNNY

      NO NEXT SEASON. THIS SHOW IS OVER.

      • Mia Perry

        Not on your life, one of only a few,original,well written,good character delineation & stylishly produced programs of this season !

  • Lyn

    Ken, on your recommendation (and with little else on TV Sunday nights now) I’ve tried my best to catch up with this show . . . I despair of ever doing so, though I do like it. They need to run a couple more marathons of earlier episodes, or it’s hard to imagine it gaining enough of a following to keep it on the air.

  • Nix

    This was a very excellent episode, but I just want to scream: WTF ROBERT LECKIE AND LENA BASILONE. James Badge Dale and Anna Parisse.

    • maroonpunk

      Thank you! I thought I was the only one who found the inter-relationships between Rubicon and The Pacific strange.

    • ludlow

      yes! so glad some one else saw that too!

    • jlc

      I love Rubicon, but people, I have to interject this, it was not Robert Leckie with Lena of course. That was John Seda as her husband, John Basilone. Robert Leckie was hooked up with the Australian girl during the war.

      • jlc

        Oh, now I get it, Annie Parisse played Lena on The Pacific. Still it was not Robert and Lena in bed together…….

  • David K

    Thank you sir, may I have another (season)? :)

  • Rbp

    Great show!!! Hope there is a next season.

  • Suzanne

    In real life, the actors are 35 (her) and 32 (him). But I think they’re probably playing the reverse. She’s 32 because she said so and he’s a few years older–to give him more life experience–maybe he was married for a decade?

    • Lea

      It was established in ep 1 that his wife and child died in one of the Twin Towers, so it’s been almost a decade of widower-hood.

      • Deanna

        I was so happy to see Will finally have sex. So much pent up emotion and need in that scene.

  • Suzanne

    I missed the first minute of the episode. How did he get into her apartment? he just showed up with wine? A guy she’s just seen through the window?

    • Abby

      Pretty much. He brought bread, a tomato and wine and asked if she’d like dinner. She asked why and he said she looked pretty. That was good enough for her.

      • DiMi

        He’s adorable. That would be good enough for me too. Also, she’s been watching him through her window, too, so she knows he’s not a serial killer.

    • Bob G

      No wine, just a tomato.

      • Bob in San Diego

        No – he grabbed the wine too. And don’t forget the Mayo!

  • JOHNNY

    I have tried, My wife has tried, Our friends have tried. Rubicon is boring. BORING. we call it.. Sleepicon. Best show ever…. To put you to sleep. looking forward to Walking Dead.

    • MCS

      Im glad you feel the same way. I just cant get into it. I hope it’s not just because of AMC’s reputation with Mad Men and Breaking Bad that everyone loves it. I just cant get into it.

      • Nix

        Well, if you want one opinion … I just like looking at it. Like looking at a painting. Those don’t move either.

      • Abby

        I’ve never seen Breaking Bad or Mad Men. I love, love, love this show.

      • Nix

        Abby, that’s not something to be proud of.

      • Peter Popper

        Nix: I watched the first 5 or 6 eps of Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and couldn’t get into either one. I do enjoy Rubicon. Each to their own.

      • Mike

        I like both Mad Men and Rubicon, they fill different niches of interest. If you don’t like eihter, fine, that’s why God gave you fingers, push the remote and find something else.

    • ludlow

      I love the show and my friend doesn’t. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad show, it just means that there are all kinds of interests and preferences. I am really hoping for a second season.

    • veronica

      It picked up dramatically after episode 5 or so – I was going to delete it from my DVR queue, and now I’m so glad I didn’t!

    • DiMi

      This show has French film tone and pacing. If you like that – I do – you’ll like the show. If you don’t, you won’t. I love the subtlety and silences.

  • Leithen

    I really enjoy this show, but it’s definitely not for those expecting True Blood style histrionics. I think that’s exactly what I enjoy about it, though.

  • Fabulous Alert!

    Will’s hair says he’s in his forties but his clothing (and IMDb bio) say thirties.

    • Nix

      Badge has admitted to premature greying. Rrowr.

      • Lyn

        Really?! I was thinking the swaths of gray hair on the sides of his head looked really fake — like some studio person sprayed them on!

    • DiMi

      I don’t care how old he is, I’m totally crushing on him.

  • Buddy

    I am so officially hooked on this show now. Every week it’s grasp gets tighter.

    Loved the neighbor’s references to “Three Days of the Condor.” It’s what I, and most people, thought of upon first meeting Will in week one. Such a smart, funny series just rich with nuance.

    • avidfan

      I absolutely thought Three Days of the Condor as well, as their inspiration.

      • JBL

        3 days of the Condor reference last night when he told the girl he only saw through the window :he could not go home. She said “Are you going to handcuff me to the radiator. However, my guess is she is monitoring him for the Atlas gang.

  • Britt

    This show gets better each week. I’m sincerely hoping for a second season. Hopefully, it the show gets renewed, people will have enough time to marathon through the show. I imagine the show will flow much better without week-long breaks and commercials.

  • Jacob

    I like both, but prefer the vast, conspiracy centric episodes. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves. That’s where the show’s bread and butter is. It’s what propels the whole plot forward.

    They just can’t not focus on it in the second season.

  • Given2Indifference

    I just started watching Rubicon following the catch-up marathon on AMC a few weeks ago, and I am so happy that I did. It’s definitely one of the most thought-provoking and intelligent shows on TV.

    I sincerely hope that AMC gives it the green-light for season two.

    To answer your questions:

    - Miranda Richardson has definitely been under utilised; she’s an amazing actress and certainly deserves a storyline and character that’s a bit less peripheral.
    - Perhaps Will was just being polite by asking where the toilette was :)
    - I’d peg Will’s age around 36-40.
    - Go Miles!

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