‘Rubicon’ – ‘Look to the Ant’: Quit bugging me!

A review of tonight’s “Rubicon” coming up just as soon as there’s nothing wrong with my gall bladder…

“Do you have any idea what I do for a living?” -Will

“Life is not meant to be lived alone.” -George, as translated by Julia

What Will does for a living is a very solitary pursuit. While he’s part of a team, and then part of a larger organization, so much of what he – and Miles, Grant and Tanya – do involves being the lone man/woman poring over a stack of data, disappearing deep into the recesses of their own minds to make sense of it all. Is it any wonder that so many of them seem emotionally damaged, if not outright nuts like Ed?

“Look to the Ant” was about our various solo acts becoming duets of a sort.

Kale shocks Will with how much he knows about his investigation – and with the extent to which Will is being watched by the people he’s chasing – and offers to help him, within limits. He won’t actively participate in this particular op, but he’ll point Will in the right direction – or, in the case of Donald Bloom, keep him away from someone he cares about.(*)

(*) Good on those of you in last week’s comments who caught the suggestion in the Kale/Donald lunch scene that the two were ex-lovers. I missed it – in part because I was under the (possibly erroneous) impression that Kale was sleeping with Maggie in addition to using her to spy on her co-workers – but the clues are clearly there in that scene, and this episode confirms both that Kale is gay and that he is very protective of Bloom. Nice work, people.

Katherine Rhumor finds another woman whose husband committed suicide under mysterious, four-leaf clover-related circumstances, and whose seat on Atlas McDowell was inherited by Tom Rhumor. And with Will discovering that Mr. Roy works for Atlas McDowell, I imagine he and Mrs. Rhumor will be meeting again, and soon.

Poor Miles spends a perfect night eavesdropping on George’s wedding with Urdu-speaking, Miles-compatible Julia. But because he can’t even admit that his marriage is over to himself, let alone tell other people, he blows his shot (for now) of continuing their relationship outside the API basement.

And Maggie, having trusted her ex to watch their daughter for the night, is in desperate need of some companionship, but Will is too busy freaking out over the bugs in his apartment to make time for a booty call, so she has to settle for the dweeb from her night school class – only to have another of Will’s ill-timed arrivals remind her how little she cares about the naked man in her apartment.

As these connections are made, it feels like the story is finally beginning to pick up momentum, and “Rubicon” is getting stronger for it. I didn’t get impatient during any of the Katherine Rhumor scenes, and the establishment of Kale as someone who’s mostly on the side of the angels but unwilling to risk too much of his comfortable life both gives Will (and us) access to valuable information and makes this arc much richer.

Just as I was skeptical last week that Will could so easily tail Bloom, I don’t buy that he would be quite this shocked at learning his home and office were bugged – unlike the tail, I have some idea of what he does for a living, and I know that he’s very familiar with the notion of electronic surveillance in these situations, and with how dangerous his targets can be to API employees – but James Badge Dale, as usual, played the hell out of Will’s mounting paranoia. (And Seith Mann and Michael Slovis shot the hell out of the bug hunt in his apartment, choosing all kinds of high and low angles to augment the sense of disorientation.) There comes a point in this kind of story where a man just starts jumping at shadows, and the problem for Will is that some of the shadows really are trying to kill him. I thought Dale was particularly good in the scene at Maggie’s place, where the sound of her one-night stand shocked Will back into a more normal reality that doesn’t involve massive, deadly conspiracy theories.

And Will’s confrontation with the man tailing him was fantastic: the “Rubicon” equivalent of Dirty Harry’s famous “Do I feel lucky?” speech. When you do what he does for a living, you can be just as dangerous with a camera phone and your brain as ol’ Harry was with his .44 Magnum.

What did everybody else think?

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