If I had any doubts about AMC’s Rubicon, they’re gone after this episode. “Keep the Ends Out,” is undoubtedly the best episode of the series yet. Of course, the series hasn’t quite hit its stride; there’s still some sort of awkward expository elements that will undoubtedly disappear as the series continues. But it’s definitely improving as it goes along, and “Keep the Ends Out” is a sign of that.
The episode, as the other two did, focused on Will Travers (James Badge Dale) for the most part, with slight exceptions made for characters like Katherine Rhumor (Miranda Richardson) and Maggie Young (Jessica Collins). Even Miles (Dallas Roberts) got a few scenes to himself that really expanded his character immensely (he may be manic-depressive, but he really loves his family and longs to escape with them – even though his wife doesn’t seem to happy with him). He’s already my favorite member of the team, and definitely is much more likable than Grant and Tanya, who spent the episode debating over whether Grant’s namesake was in the bottom five presidents ever.
Have I mentioned that I really like the music for the show’s title sequence? Because I do. It’s not head-noddingly catchy like RJD2’s “A Beautiful Mine” is for Mad Men, but it’s intense and I want to hear more of it.
Some moments of tonight’s Rubicon were fist-pumpingly cool, with Will’s discovery of the handgun in the motorcycle seat being one of the definable moments of the episode. The interesting conversation between Will and his tail in Ingram’s office blended friendliness and threat that shows that we’ll be dealing with the paranoid following aspect (perhaps the show’s strongest element) of the show for quite a long while. There were also some truly hated scenes, like David’s son Evan showing up to claim the motorcycle that David had given to Will. His bluntness and abrasiveness makes me angry at the character for being the too-late prodigal son.
Roger Robinson is doing a great job as Ed Bancroft, but his role is getting a little stale as the check-in guy for Will. We need to be seeing Ed out of his house, or he’ll become sort of a cliche character. Meanwhile, the inclusion of Maggie’s husband (whom you might recognize from the Fringe season one episode “Power Hungry”) adds more depth to her character, though only minimally.
The episode definitely expanded the series greatly. If it keeps going in this direction, we could be seeing one of the greatest shows on television by the end of the season. As long as Travers is “still digging,” I’m still watching. B+
Next week’s episode, “The Outsider,” will air next Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.
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