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'Rubicon': It's complicated

August 30, 2010 |  9:25 am

Rubicon 1
A doorknob is seen turning, the door opens slightly, and a figure in black leather -- including gloves -- enters the apartment we have come to know as Will Travers' Manhattan studio. As the camera follows the figure slowly walking into the room, we see the notes and clues Will assembled at the close of last week's episode are fanned out on his braided rug. And then, this being "Rubicon," and since we've come to associate double-dealing and heavy-handed manipulation with a certain character, we shouldn't be surprised when the camera pulls back to reveal that the person breaking and entering is ... Kale Ingram, Will's boss at the government data-analysis center API.

Judging from some of the comments I've seen after "Rubicon" posts, other viewers have shared my impatience with the show's pace, minimal dialogue and maddening school of red herring in its opening episodes. Last week, it powered up a little, and this week's show absolutely launched it. You should have stuck with it, naysayers.

My take on the proceedings, and please tell me if you disagree, is that Kale tried to co-opt Will this week, giving him one document and offering his services in Will's investigation of David Hadas' death (and the connections to it), as long as Will didn't work it at home, didn't call undue attention to himself and stopped asking Hal to run computer searches for him. He implied that his apartment was not a safe place, and when Will returned home, he found several bugs (the electronic listening kind). But the way it played to me, Ingram just wanted to stay on top of what Will found, stay ahead of others who were also tracking his quest and try to get Will to trust him. I don't buy his stated duty "to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," but maybe this is what the show wants us to think, and Kale is an honorable sort?

Katherine Rhumor made progress this week, finding the widow of a man whose death was reported in a newspaper clipping she found in her late husband's files. Her first attempt to contact Carol Bradley didn't  get anywhere, but she went back and was able to get the woman to talk a bit more. Carol was one bitter survivor of a spouse's suicide, but she offered Katharine a look at some of her husband's things that she kept in a cardboard carton. Katharine's hand went immediately to a Plexiglas object -- a small desk ornament that held a single four-leaf clover, like the one found near her husband's body. After Katharine bolted for the door, Carol Bradley absently rearranged the carton's objects, and we saw a framed photograph of a lineup of boys or young men -- the same photo that James Wheeler removed from Tom Rhumor's secret townhouse.

Much of the scene of Katharine's second meeting with Carol Bradley was shot strangely, as if from a balcony or loft over the living room, almost the vantage point of an overhead hidden camera.

A great sequence this week involved Miles and a translator working the graveyard shift at API. He was pressed into service to translate a satellite transmission of the wedding of the daughter of one of the figures that the analysis team was tracking, George. Miles clearly has problems in his marriage. In another episode, it became clear he was concealing his separation from his wife -- but in this episode, he didn't respond to the female translator's semi-flirtatious overtures. She was monitoring the wedding toasts and at one point translated the toast by the father of the bride to the wedding couple, a standard though heartfelt look back at the toaster's love affair with his wife and his hopes for his daughter. Miles, his eyes glistening, was riveted to the blasé translator's account, and you felt the different ways the speech was playing to each of them -- to one, it is almost an anonymous cliché; to the other, it was a painful reminder of the goals and dreams we set out with when we marry, no matter how well-worn the words.

A company or organization called Atlas McDowell surfaced as another link in the conspiracy, in findings by both Katherine and Will. Ingram tried to steer Will away from Donald Bloom and toward an ex-CIA agent named Edward Roy, who was associated with A-M. Katharine found references to it at home and in her late husband's files. Ingram was apparently gay, we found when Will arrived at his apartment for a command-performance dinner and was greeted by Walter. We also learned the depth of Maggie's loneliness; she reached out to Will but ultimately lost a step in any potential romance between them.

In all, an eventful episode. What did you think? And where do you think Kale Ingram is going to wind up in this thing?

-- Kelly Scott

Photo: James Badge Dale is Will Travers on “Rubicon.” Credit: Craig Blankenhorn / AMC