‘Rubicon’ – ‘Keep the Ends Out’: Does a bear hibernate in the woods?

A quick review of the third episode of “Rubicon” coming up just as soon as I’m officially hungry and financially irresponsible…

I’m glad that “Keep the Ends Out” falls on the day I’m traveling home from press tour. I have neither the time nor the energy to write a detailed review (especially since I have to brace myself for my first non-advance “Mad Men” review), and this is such a relatively listless episode that I don’t feel I have to spend time on it.

Of the four that AMC sent out for review, “Keep the Ends Out” is definitely the one that provided me with the strongest sense of the show spinning its wheels while figuring out a new direction following creator Jason Horwitch’s departure. Will is still being followed – not only by the two mystery men (one played by Isiah Whitlock Jr., known to many of you as Clay Davis on “The Wire”), but by another man who turns out to be an FBI agent – he finds another code to show Ed (hidden, with a gun, inside David’s motorcycle), Katherine Rhumor keeps exploring her husband’s mystery townhouse, and Will’s team keeps looking for intel on the men in the photo with Yuri. Storywise, though, this doesn’t feel like an episode where very much new happened or was learned.

On the other hand, it’s interesting as a character piece. We again see the toll that this kind of work takes on the men and women who do it – and on the families who can never know about it. David’s widow makes her first-ever visit to his office and doesn’t recognize anything of the man she loved inside its walls. We learn that David’s son (and Will’s brother-in-law) has himself had mental problems, and that he felt his father never paid enough attention to him. Miles becomes obsessed with security video of one of their subjects going through the airport with his family, but mainly because his own family has fallen apart and he’s trying to understand how a functional one works. (Or perhaps trying to find a clue that this one doesn’t.)

So I think “Rubicon” so far works more as a compelling world to visit than as a compelling narrative. We’ll have to see down the road whether these early episodes will prove more important than we realized, “Wire”-style, or if the creative team just didn’t know where they were going yet.

What did everybody else think?

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