You haven’t heard from me in a while. Last week’s episode of Rubicon, “The Outsider,” didn’t receive a review. I took a sabbatical from TVOvermind to clear my head; I felt my opinions were stagnating. Fortunately, I feel revitalized with the week’s break, and I’m back once again to review Rubicon‘s fifth episode, “Connect the Dots.”
I can’t say I found a lot that stuck out to me about this episode. Compared to tonight’s offering of Mad Men (one of my favorite episodes of television this year), Rubicon just felt like more of the same. Sure, we saw a brief collision of the show’s two storylines (Will and Katherine), but other than that, the episode really only advanced the plot minimally. It wasn’t a bad episode by any means, but compared with the other block of AMC’s programming (which it is doomed to be for the rest of its existence), the episode was simply lackluster.
It was nice to see Michael Gaston (who is, to me, a mix of J.K. Simmons and David Koechner) appear as the elusive Donald Bloom, though I couldn’t help but think of his role on Fringe every time I saw him, possibly because he was a high-ranking government agent in both roles. He was solid in the role, though, which probably explains why he’s twice had such a role.
Kale Ingram was the real star of the episode, though, and his quietly menacing interaction with the always-reliable Will Travers made for some incredibly tense television. I’ve never seen Arliss Howard (who plays Ingram) in anything else before, and he’s quite possibly the best discovery of the entire show. I hope he continues to have such a major role in the series’ future.
The subplot featuring Tanya wasn’t exactly compelling, but it definitely made the weekly “team” subplot fresh again, much like last week’s was. But, come on, it’s time for them to figure this case out already. I don’t even know what it’s about and it’s losing my interest.
What headway we made into the show’s mythology was cut short by Will, who perhaps out of fear told Ed Bancroft to stop his apparently mad conspiracy theorizing, which actually gave the show its first sense of unification so far. Are we supposed to discredit Ed’s findings? It’s still not exactly clear. Even after five episodes, it’s hard to tell where Rubicon is really going at this point. That’s the major qualm about this episode, and the series so far, and might continue to be an issue for the show until it indeed does connect the dots and let us know what’s happening. B-
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