Saturday, 7 May 2011

'RUBICON' 1.5 - "Connect The Dots"

Saturday, 7 May 2011

This was a much better episode in terms of delivering developments that felt relatively huge, but has it come too late? I've started to wonder why I should actually care about the reason a stranger committed suicide. Or the suspected murder of an admittedly likeable man who only appeared in the show for half the pilot. Rubicon needs to find a way to make me care about Will's (James Badge Dale) investigation, by putting it into more engaging terms. Who or what is actually at stake in the present? I think we need to feel that Will's life is in danger, or there are victims to protect from something.

Some of the mystery was solved by frazzled Ed (Roger Robinson), whose analytical brain has been reawakened by Will and started an obsession with putting the David Hadas puzzle together. Will's face when he saw Ed's wall of clues was a picture. The crossword puzzle was "go code" for a man called Donald Bloom (X) to assassinate someone involved with oil, which fits with what happened back in 1983 when the same code was used in national newspapers. Unfortunately, Will has concerns about Ed's mental health and, for his own good, calls a halt to Ed's homespun research by claiming Donald Bloom isn't a person of interest.

It was also fun to see Will play spy, tailing Bloom across town to the Waldorf restaurant, shocked to see he's meeting with his boss Kale Ingram (Arliss Howard), who noticed Will peering in at them through a window. This immediately raised tension, knowing Ingram's aware that Will's prying into things. Curiously, Ingram may have delivered a threat to Will later ("I strongly suggest you stick to the analysis side of things. I would hate to see you involved in any mayhem"), but he's also refusing to inform Spangler (Michael Cristofer) of anything. Consequently, Ingram's suddenly the show's most fascinating character -- as we're not sure if he's good, bad, or a mixture of both. Ingram's tête-à-tête over lunch with old friend Bloom was also fantastic, knowing the pair have a shared history that appears to have diverged in recent times: Ingram now a desk-bound analyst with a stable love life of "delights", whereas Bloom's assumedly a hired killer who gets his only pleasures from prostitutes.

Will also discovered that so-called "white papers" have been taken from the API archives, later seen being shredded by Spangler in his office, marked "The Houston Problem". Spangler himself was shown to be a bigger threat than expected, when it's revealed he has a bug planted in Ed's house and has been listening in on conversations with Will. Although hearing that he'd rather his men "concentrate on Katherine Rhumor" was a surprise. Is she the bigger threat to exposing whatever they're up to?

It's still hard to feel engaged with Katherine (Mirandra Richardson), who's slowly investigating the circumstances leading up to her husband's suicide. Here she was wondering why he bequeathed her MRQ Alternatives (a clothing manufacturers) mere days before he died, if it's a "bad investment" according to friend James Wheeler. At MRQ, Katherine opened her husband's locked filing cabinet and found a newspaper clipping inside about the suicide of a Professor Bradley. Who's that? Was her husband aware of something was happening that would cause people to kill themselves, rather than suffer another fate? He must have known there would come a time when he may have to take the same course of action. Does the discovery of that four-leafed clover meaning you're marked for death -- at the hands of Bloom? Did this Professor Bradley receive a clover? It was also fun to see Will and Katherine interact at a party, exchanging a pleasantry, as two ends of Rubicon's storylines briefly touched -- both unaware they're investigating the same thing.

Overall, there was certainly plenty to chew on here, but I'm still waiting for a moment where Rubicon shows enough of its hand to make me care about things. Maybe we'll learn who Bloom's arrived to assassinate soon, or how deep this conspiracy may go soon. It's still a little too mystifying for its own good, sadly. It's the kind of mystery that doesn't feel very fun to engage with, but I can't shake the feeling Rubicon could very easily become must-see television once it ditches the vagaries and starts to become more of a Hitchcockian thriller.


  • Bloom's trusty umbrella isn't tipped with poison or anything, is it?
  • Did Bloom know he was being tailed by Will? Why else did he go up the escalator, then down another one immediately, if not to shake Will off?
  • Tanya has a drinking problem, then. That's disappointing, from a character standpoint.
  • The scene where Will confronted Maggie (Jessica Collins) about telling him everything she knows about Ingram was very good, mainly because it was the first time Will's look perturbed by anything. James Badge Dale's much more engaging when he's rattled. Interesting to note that Maggie didn't say anything about the fact Ingram has her reporting back to him about Will's team. Is she loyal to Ingram only?
written by Nichole Beattie / directed by Nick Gomez / 5 May 2011 / BBC Four