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Home > Entertainment, Film / TV, Quick Hits, Review / Recap > Quick Hits: Rubicon E1.06 — “Look to the Ant”

Quick Hits: Rubicon E1.06 — “Look to the Ant”

September 7th, 2010

Although I’m apprehensive about its somewhat slow pace, I still think Rubicon has what it takes to grow into a real winner and a hit. As such, I’m putting some faith in it and am anointing it with instant recap status.  To read prior Quick Hits for the show, click here on my posts tagged #Rubicon.  Here are my Quick Hits for Episode 1.06, “Look to the Ant.”

Travers escaped to a gaming cafe to execute some searches.

I had quite the busy week last week and insufficient time to do a full Quick Hits for Rubicon’s sixth episode. As a result, I’m typing this up both late and in an abbreviated manner. The episode was, on the whole, quite good. There’s been a marked, yet subtle speeding up of the plot. We also saw in this episode one of the glaring weaknesses and one of the potential turning points for the show as it possibly moves toward greatness.

I’ll open by hitting the weakness first. I really do think that they are a bit quick to fall into stereotypes. While Travers, Kale, Spangler, Katherine Rhumor and Miles have all shown potential to be very deep, complex and connective characters, there remains a tendency to go stereotypical with Maggie, some tangential characters and even Miles. In particular, the rendezvous Maggie had in this episode was just manufactured snooze fest.

Maggie herself is a character who seems fundamentally flawed. We’ve been introduced to her only in snippets, some of which worked (like her spying for Kale) and most of which didn’t (her far too forced pining for Travers and her bizarre unexplained relationship with her ex-husband, not to mention her somewhat worthless blog).  She disappears for extended periods in the show’s brief run and all of the screen time she does get is just a bit too forced, particularly in scenes she shares with Travers.  The show seems to want to push her character, but I think they’d do well to just let it go and let her drift into the background.

Click on through for more thoughts.

Her entire experience with her classmate was a bit too generic. Yes, as the single mom with a night to herself, she might be expected to be a little frisky; however, when rebuffed by Travers, she turns to a character who might as well have been a toy pulled from a Cracker Jack box, as it couldn’t have been more boring. I suppose they chose someone boring, preppy and Goober-ish to offset Travers’ moodiness and reflect just how hard up for it Maggie was, but the character was only one of two revelations that bled stereotype.

Though it's hard not to be critical of a show introducing another ridiculous apartment, at least they provided a plausible Tribeca explanation for a $3M loft.

The first was framing Kale in all-black when he broke into Travers’ studio at the start of the show. It was one thing to have Travers be in a parking garage in episode four: “The Outsider”, but an entirely different thing to have a trained operative in Kale dressing up as a cartoonish spy to break into an apartment. Sticking with Kale and stereotypes, his home life was actually a pretty decent and simple use of stereotype. Kale is very different in his work life and home life, which very much so sticks with one of the major and solid themes of the show.

Enough complaining, it’s time for some quick hits.

  • Miranda Richardson continues to be a scene stealer as Katherine Rhumor. Her scenes with fellow veteran actress Maryann Plunkett were quite good. Even if bit about the clover was a bit predictable once she pulled out the box, it was a solid, slow to develop conversion of two earlier plot points.

The introduction of Julia allowed for one of the better interactions between characters on the show, so far.

  • The other scene stealer was Dallas Roberts as Miles in his interactions with the newly introduced Julia.  It should be noted that, unlike the introductions of prior secondary characters, the producers were patient in bringing along Julia, though it seems obvious that she will be a significant character… either as a key co-worker or a love interest for Miles.  They had every bit of the on-screen chemistry which Maggie and Will Travers lack.
  • Katherine’s investigations paralleled Travers in that both led toward Atlas MacDowell. Katherine learned of a common connection between Tom Rhumor and the late husband of Alice Bradley (played by Plunkett), who was referenced in the news clipping Katherine found at MRQ Alternatives. On the other end, Travers was uncovering research on Senator Clay Davis (the spy currently known as Mr. Roy) which revealed his affiliation with Atlas MacDowell. We have no clue what Atlas MacDowell is at this point, but for the fact that we know Tom Rhumor and Professor Bradley shared a board membership and their suicides.
  • This leads me back to MRQ Alternatives. If all the meaning provided by MRQ Alternatives in this show is going to be a news clipping about a CCNY professor and old co-conspirator of Tom Rhumor… well, that’s a bit too much of a spread in factoids. I’m hoping that we’re not to believe Tom had such confidence in Katherine’s sleuthing that she would be able to put so many two-and-twos together.
  • Some might be bothered by how stereotypically post-modern yuppie gay Kale and his lover were (right down to Walter wearing flip flops and liking bad house music); however, I felt it fundamentally added to the idea that people maintain segregation between their personal and private lives. Other than David bringing Travers into API, we’ve not really seen comingling between the private and public worlds. Here, Kale is viewed as very different in his home and work lives. When he was first introduced, if one guessed he owned a $3M Tribeca duplex (which is what I assume it is) and lived with a male lover, you’d be looked as as nuts. But it works because there is the segregation of the church and state, as Spangler put it.

The revelations provided by Kale sent Travers a bit further down the rabbit hole of justifiable paranoia.

  • It was also interesting to see Kale complete what was implied by his spying at the end of the last episode. He was going to spy and assist Travers against Bloom, Roy and Spangler. A nice twist from the man who has Maggie spying for him.

That brings me to one final point, although it is obvious that his personal life was traumatically decimated by the September 11 attacks, it is equally notable that Travers is so surrounded by and engrossed in the discussion of separating work from personal life, and yet he so clearly has no personal life of his own. There are efforts from Maggie, but he is a lonely, introverted and now paranoid man.

The high point of the episode was, undoubtedly, after Kale revealed the degree to which he was being watched. We again went into the mind of the paranoid, borderline schizophrenic personality. What was most interesting is that in as much as Travers responded with paranoid overreaction, his suspicions were both well-placed and also backed by puffery. The scene where he confronts his attacker both with David’s gun and his smart phone camera was just that. It was puffery and the appearance of strength from a man who is afraid and running, but running toward danger.

AMC’s “Most Talked About Scene” (Don’t Mess With Will)

AMC’s Episode Summary

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