Rubicon 1.11 “A Good Day’s Work” Review

Now we can say it with authority. Rubicon is one of the best series on TV in 2010. And if it were up to me (which, sadly, it is not), James Badge Dale (Will) and Michael Cristofer (Spangler) would be nominated for Emmy’s for their work in 1.11.

Finally, we have some answers. Of course, whether they are definitive remains to be seen. Terrorism for profit. If it seems too simple, perhaps it is. But then again, aren’t the answers always this simple when it comes right down to it? Greed. Power. Hubris.

It appears more likely than ever that Kateb is working for the Clover Group. That the lives we’ve watched over the course of the season be destroyed by the stress, guilt and pressure of working for API are nothing more than patsies, sent on fools’ errands to cover up the trail of the upcoming attack in the U.S in order for American corporations to profit by it.

This was a master class in subtext and tension. It was also the first time we’ve ever seen Spangler lose his cool. And how great was the expression on Miles’ (Dallas Roberts) face when he walked in on Grant (Christopher Evan Welch) having an awkward scotch with Truxton?

Everyone will be talking about the murder attempt on Will (and what a great scene it was, I don’t think I was the only one who screamed out loud when Will got that shot off), but I want to stop for a moment to reflect on the greatness that was the earlier showdown with Spangler. These two actors can do so much with their tone, facial expressions and body language. As Spangler compared Will to David as the “conscience of this place” (and used the past tense when referencing what a great job Will had done), there was almost a sense of genuine sadness in Spangler, as if he was saying goodbye once again to his own conscience. That handshake was completely disturbing. It was impossible to watch this scene without squirming.

You had to love Kale (Arliss Howard) bringing in his own “Wolf” (my own nod to Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction) to dispose of the assassin’s body with a power saw. (Does this guy do apartments? Place was almost spotless.) You could see it happening as Will sat in the bathroom, listening to the music blare: what was only moments ago a kind of “spy game” was now suddenly very, very real. You could see it sinking in. And that’s why he had to get rid of Andy (Annie Parisse), as heartbreaking as this was. Will’s self-deception was over. No longer could he pretend that his life could ever have any sense of normalcy.

One also has to wonder if the note Katherine (Miranda Richardson) found in the jewelry box will contain the clue that breaks open the date of the terrorist attack. Could that be what her husband meant by “celebrating their anniversary?”

Whether or not the answers we were given in 1.11 turn out to be the ultimate truth, one thing we know for certain to be true: Rubicon kicks ass.

Grade: A+

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