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'Rubicon' recap: What a tangled web [*Updated]

September 6, 2010 |  9:25 am

The vast right-wing conspiracy on "Rubicon" got vast-er Sunday night. How do I know it's right wing, you ask? Aren't they all? This one seems to encompass incredibly rich people, with East Side townhouses and country estates as well as Cold Warriors -- that's usually enough for Hollywood. But after this episode, it would appear the FBI is in on it as well. It makes you wonder who isn't. Besides Will Travers, of course.

Let's look at this episode on three levels: what we learned about the four-leaf clover people; what we learned about the characters on the show; and what we learned about George and Uri. Well, we can answer that last one pretty quickly -- suspicion and attention has now moved on to a character whose name I believe is Tanaz Zahar, a femme fatale, Middle-Eastern NGO head first glimpsed on the satellite coverage of George's daughter's wedding last episode, while Miles was falling for the API Urdu translator. Will the George-Uri-Tanaz plotline matter in the greater scheme of things? Who knows, but I like her name.

Next, the characters on the show. Revelation was facilitated by the FBI's raid of API, during which everyone was forced to take polygraphs on account of a classified document having been leaked. So we learned things like Tanya is either not her name, or she's so shaky from a hangover that she can't state her name without it seeming like a lie. Grant, apparently, has been unfaithful to the wife he had moments ago called "great." Or he's thinking about it, which is something I didn't know polygraphs could detect. Miles, who left a classified file in a cab (or so he says), owns up to being separated from his family. And he owns up to losing the file after about 45 seconds in the chair. But he gets off with probably a memo in his personnel file because that file wasn't the leak the FBI was looking for.

But by episode's end, you realize the FBI raid may have simply been an elaborate ruse. Two men are rooted out of API -- one in handcuffs, one expelled personally by Spangler, in his office, for all the other "team leaders" to see. But there's the matter of the bug in the owl on Will's desk. The episode plays a shell game with it: Will finds a bug in it at the outset of the episode. Then we hear an FBI tech declare his office bug-free, and when Will checks it, it's gone. But when he checks it again at the very end of the day, it's back again. [Updated: a previous version of this story said that the bug was in a "bowl" on Will's desk.]

The person I watch 'Rubicon' with (OK, my son) thinks the FBI raid was bogus and that the men were apprehended, one of them the cyber-terrorism "team leader," merely for show. OK, but then what were the feds really doing there? Checking the bug in Will's office? Giving everyone else at API a false sense of security? Were the testy scenes between Spangler and the field agent running the raid just for show, too?

Will spent the time Spangler was hooked up to the polygraph rifling through his files; he found a thick one on David Hadas that included surveillance photos of Hadas and Will and a CD that sounded like a recording of a bugged conversation between Hadas and his good friend Ed Bancroft. Then Kale found Will going through Spangler's office and had a snit fit. [Updated: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Miles rifled through Spangler's office.]

Katharine Rhumor, meanwhile, did not have a big role in this episode. Early on, someone broke into her home (the fancy one where Tom shot himself, which apparently doesn't have a panic room). The police found no evidence of a break-in and nothing missing, and implied it was her imagination. In another scene, she found what could be a tiny surveillance device--camera or bug--stuck to her mantelpiece.

"Who do we work for?" Miles asked Kale, the question the entire "Rubicon" viewing audience wants to know. "The United States of America," Kale answers. Will's not so sure. That's only one of the things we viewers aren't so sure about. Let me know if you have ideas on these things:

--Where does Atlas-McDowell fit into everything, and what is it, a defense contractor? Is it maybe the street name for the four-leaf clover guys?

--Was it just a tease to have Will and Katharine meet a few episodes ago -- will their paths cross again?

--Aside from sharing a suicide pact, what exactly are the four-leaf clover guys up to?

It would be nice if the writers of "Rubicon" would share a little more with us.

-- Kelly Scott

Above: Will Travers (James Badge Dale) in "Rubicon." Credit: AMC