Movable Type 3.2
September 09, 2010
Rubicon 1.7: "The Truth Will Out"
Note: I really thought I published this on Tuesday, but apparently not! That's what I get for being all on top of things!
Everyone gets polygraphed, but no one has any idea what's going on. Still. More after the jump . . .
After the previouslies, Will sleeps . . . no, he's not even sleeping. He's staring into space, and then staring at the places where he found the various bugs in his apartment. He heads into work - is it the middle of the night? - and begins to examine that owl figurine. Yup, he finds a bug in there too. Credits!
Katherine sits on the floor of one of her beautiful homes, and now it's her turn to look distressed while she's surrounded by papers and notes. At least she has a glass of wine. She hears weird noises and whispering and is utterly freaked out and . . . locks herself in a closet, so we don't find out what's actually going on. The police come but aren't convinced that anyone was there, and won't follow a report because there's nothing missing.
Grant walks down the street and is yelling on his cell phone about how his job is important. Who's he talking to? Girlfriend? Wife? Someone named Lisa, anyway. He heads in to work and is immediately ambushed by Miles, who is looking for "856." That seems to be a classified file. Tanya comes in looking hungover or something. Will gives them a five-minute warning. Do they not have a schedule time for their meetings? Hmm. Miles is dumping out his briefcase and looking all over for the file, and it seems pretty obvious that the translator from last week took it, no?
Team Meeting! Grant starts updating Will on what they found out about the wedding guests. Miles comes in late, clearly distressed, and tries to interrupt but Grant won't let him. As they meet, the FBI comes in and puts the building on lockdown. Part of that is "all work must cease," which seems a little odd. Maggie comes in and retrives Will for Spangler, but the FBI won't let anyone else leave the conference room.
Spangler tells Will and the other team leaders and various other people that the FBI thinks there's a leak, but he doesn't believe it. He then tells them all not to be distracted from their Very Important Work. And not to make him look bad. For some reason, we get a close-up on his paperweight, which says "Happy Holidays 2007."
Will and Kale are in an elevator and Will tells Kale about the bug in his office. Kale reasonably tells him that today is not the day for his extracurricular activities. Oh, apparently the paperweight was from Atlas McDowell, and that's why we were supposed to notice it. Will: "Who are WE working for?" Kale gets off the elevator without answering.
The team is still in the conference room, being supervised by an FBI agent. Another comes in and takes all their papers. They're not allowed to use any phones or computers or communicate with anyone for any reason, even about their kids' school plays.
Polygraphs for all! Kale is annoyed by the whole thing. Meanwhile, the team continues to snap at each other, then start discussing who's behind the leak. Tanya: "Iran? That would not be awesome." Hah. Then Miles snaps and says "anyone" is scarier than an actual country, because random guys with bombs are more dangerous than actual governments. Tanya jokes that Miles is the leak. Stop it, Tanya! Maggie is called in for a polygraph and looks concerned.
Kale continues to be delightfully snarky to the polygrapher. I love him. "Are there analysts you manage here who are capable of running a covert operation?" "No." We cut to Will. Harsh! Will is in with the team, where Grant is still going on about how his wife is going to kill him for missing the play, and Miles looks extremely nervous and distressed. Tanya thinks they can figure out what the wedding guest was up to without documents, but the rest are skeptical. Then she and Grant get called in.
Tanya's polygraph is making it look like she's lying about everything, including her name. Grant still wants to call his wife. He seems to be doing okay on the polygraph, though, until he's asked if he's ever cheated on his wife. He is upset by this question. He says he hasn't, but it claims he's lying. The polygrapher seems to think this means he will cheat in the future. Heh.
Back to Tanya! She claims that she's just nervous because of the situation. The polygraph says she's lying about everything, except whether she's used illegal drugs, as she says yes to that. "Have you ever removed a whitepaper from the building?" "No." Polygraph says otherwise. Commercial!
Miles and Will are still in the conference room. Miles thinks he might be the leak! He took a classified file home and . . . left it in a cab? Will and I are both skeptical. It's the German intelligence file on Beck. Will tells him to stop talking in there. Miles thinks "they" can't bug restricted areas. Oh, Miles, so naive.
An FBI guy is sweeping for bugs, and then lets Will back into his office. Ooh, his turn for a polygraph. The polygrapher starts talking about David, but then won't answer Will's questions. Will gets a question about friends and seems surprised at the implication that he has any.
Tanya joins Grant in the cafeteria, makes a Boyz II Men joke, then says "Sorry, I forgot you're old. Cat Stevens?" Hee. She then accuses Grant of being the leak, and I can't tell whether she's serious. He goes to try to make a call, again.
Back to Katherine! Guess what she's doing? Wandering around her house! She starts examining something on a fireplace, and . . . is it a bug? Hm. I can't tell, and she just looks off into space, so she's no help. Cut to Katherine standing outside a different house. Or maybe the same house? I don't know. Anyway, she stares at it and then gets in her car and drives off.
Time for Spangler's polygraph! "If I'm your leak, this country implodes. Crumbles. In its entirety. From the inside out." Modest! He refuses to take the polygraph. They have a staring contest and he gives in really quickly.
Will goes back to that darn owl and takes it apart again. The bug is gone. An FBI guy comes and tells him he can't be in there. He literally collides with Spangler in the hallway. "Wish me luck, Will." Will heads upstairs and lets himself into an office. Spangler's. Man, these FBI guys aren't very good babysitters. Will examines the paperweight and then starts looking at files on Spangler's desk.
Time for Spangler's polygraph. He looks bored. Oh, back to Will going through Spangler's office. And then to Miles's polygraph. He says he's shaky because he needs a cigarette, so the polygrapher tells him to smoke because she won't get clean results if he's in nicotine withdrawal. Shockingly, he continues to be distressed as he smokes.
The polygrapher brings Spangler a cup of something. Water? Kale walks down a hallway. Will goes through Spangler's files and finds a picture of himself and David at a ball game. Back to Miles - he's getting the routine questions and then starts blurting all about the file he took from API. Not the most stable guy, Miles.
Spangler is done with his test. Boo. I was hoping we'd see some of it. Will keeps going through files and takes a CD out of one as Spangler, in the hallway, asks an FBI agent how much longer the whole thing will take. Kale finds Will in Spangler's office and is Not Amused, even when Will claims to have found something. Kale: "You're going to go back to that cafeteria, and you're going to PRETEND that you're not the stupidest son of a bitch in this place. Or I'm going to open a window and throw you out of it." I LOVE HIM. Will starts to leave, then hesitates. "Who do we work for?" "We work for the United States government." "How do you know?" They stare at each other. Will leaves.
Miles is being yelled at. He might get a week's suspension. That's all? He and I are both confused. "I'm . . . not the leak?" "You're not the leak we're looking for." Heh.
Back to the cafeteria. Tanya is babbling and Grant is ignoring her. "Grant, whatever happened to you in there, snap out of it." Heh. Will comes in and Maggie asks if he's okay. He thinks about it and then says yes, and asks about her. She's a little scared. "You have nothing to worry about." "Everyone has secrets, Will." He walks off, so I guess that was our Maggie/Will scene for the episode. Miles joins them at the table and Tanya immediately asks him his opinion of the wedding guest. "Nice to see you." "I'm glad they didn't hang you. Now help us." Heh. Miles FINALLY brings up that mystery third person from the picture. Ooh, the translator from last time is there! They have a cute little moment but I still don't trust her. The FBI comes in and handcuffs a "Mr. Porter" who we really don't care about at all anyway.
The team leaders are back in Spangler's office. He's giving out cigars. Obviously the correct reaction! He tells a guy named Jerry to take two, and then fires him. Huh. Apparently Jerry's employee was the leak, and team leaders get fired if someone on their team leaks. Spangler cuts off in mid-sentence and looks at a file on his desk. Is it one of the ones Will was messing with? Unclear. Spangler syas they've made it through "relatively unscathed" and sends them home for the day.
Tanya, Grant, and Miles are still in the cafeteria working. Dedicated! They decide that the mystery third person was actually this (female) wedding guest, not a guy. They are proud of themselves.
Will is taking apart the freaking owl yet again. The bug is back! He looks extremely alarmed and confused, but that's basically how he always looks. The music is rather dire and more electronic than usual. At home, Will listens to the CD he took. (And watches that neighbor again, through the window. Wait, is she Miles's translator? I'm not sure.) It's a conversation between . . . David and Ed, I think, about Spangler running an unsanctioned op using the crossword code. David tells Ed to tell Will to leave it alone. David says someone is following him. "Oh God . . . there's someone . . ." Cut to black.
Next week: Will confronts David about the tapes. Maggie: "I should never have agreed to work for you." Will: "I want to know what it all means." So say we all.
September 01, 2010
Rubicon 1.6: "Look to the Ant"
It looks like TWoP has stopped covering Rubicon, so apparently I think this means I should write even more ridiculously long recaps. Does anyone want to read that? Probably not. But I find it comforting to know I have sent them out into the ether. Continue after the jump . . .
The Previouslies guy sounds sooo smug. Anyway. Are we convinced that David's dead? I wonder that each time they show the train crash but not his face.
We start with . . . someone breaking in somewhere! I think it's Will's apartment. Ah, it's Kale. He takes off his evil black trenchcoat, so apparently he's planning to stay a while. And that was the shortest opener ever. Credits! I haven't mentioned the opening credit sequence, but i really like it. It's very puzzly. Which makes sense, of course. Hey, this episode was written by Zack Whedon, brother of Joss!
In the API offices, we're following Maggie down the hallway, and - you know what this is like? This is like all those long tracking shots Tommy Schlamme is so famous for, but in slow motion. That might be a decent metaphor for the show, actually. Okay, Maggie is bringing a piece of paper to an office and then is NOT SNEAKY AT ALL as she starts snooping around. You work with SPIES, Maggie. They would be on to you, if they weren't the slowest spies ever. Have we discussed how Maggie looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal? She really does. Will catches her, believes her "just straightening up" lie, and then they have their mandatory awkward flirting moment. Her actual news for him: Kale is summoning him to dinner at his apartment.
Will just sits there looking confused for a while - literally - and we jump to Team Meeting! Grant wants deference because of his seniority. Tanya is unimpressed. Miles looks at pictures of Beck's house. Will comes in, gives them info about the surveillance of the Beck wedding, and leaves the moment Miles offers to stay and deal with it. You're really not a very good boss, Will. After they leave Miles alone, he hears something that sounds like a gunshot, or maybe just a door slamming, and looks up. Was that supposed to be . . . something? I don't even know.
Katherine shows up at the home of someone named Alice Bradley, looking to talk to her about her late husband Gerald. Oh, he's the guy from that newspaper clipping from last episode. Alice has never heard of Tom Rhumor and seems bemused. And that's all that happens.
Maggie is sending Sophie off for a weekend with her dad! But not before threatening him with calling the cops if Sophie's late to school or if Maggie can't get in touch with him.
Will shows up at Kale's and is met by a young guy named Walter. Apparently Kale is in the shower. Is this his boyfriend? Hm. There's music playing and the apartment is huge and gorgeous. Please tell me they invited Will over for a threesome. Walter thinks he doesn't get to meet Kale's coworkers because Kale's ashamed of him, and Will is actually charming for a moment as he assures Walter that it's the API folks Kale is ashamed of. Probably true! Kale very seriously says he wants to ask Will something, and my dirty mind is back to the threesome thing, but it's actually whether Will has ever had white bean salad. Will and I are both confused.
At the table, Will is going on about . . . slime mold? Pleasant dinner conversation! Walter runs off as quickly as he can, and I don't blame him. Will then starts to actually make sense about how our enemies are no longer hierarchical and are now more like a web, or slime mold, and Kale responds with a hearty "God, I miss the Cold War." So say we all, Kale, so say we all. Then Kale tells Will that Bloom and Edward Roy were in a car accident last night, and that Roy is the person of interest for Will. Who is he working for? (I just looked it up - Edward Roy is NOT the Ed who has been a main character so far. I think he's the laundromat guy. Really, show? Two characters with the same name? The two African-American characters? REALLY?)
Then we have this brilliant bit of dialogue: "You're not saying anything, Will." "I don't know what to say. What are YOU saying?" Man, I love these wacky non-spies. Kale is saying that he wants to help Will. He knows all about what Will's up to, and points out that Will is not being stealthy at ALL. "Are you saying my home is bugged?" Yes, yes he is. I bet API bugs everyone's homes, anyway. "How I know is inconsequential. That I know is significant." How does Kale know his home is not also bugged? "Oh, I sweep this place twice a week. Sometimes more, if I'm bored." I'm starting to love Kale. He's too high-profile to participate directly, but he'll help where he can, so stop asking dumb questions about his change of heart, Will! Will looks unconvinced. "Thank you for dinner." He leaves, to some rather fetching music.
Miles is bored and punchy while on Beck wedding duty, and he starts taking wheeled desk chair rides around the office and I think he's going to bang into something and make all the expensive equipment fall down, but no, that would be too much action for this show. Then there's something about guests entering the facility and Miles starts yelling "No" and running around looking for someone. Everyone else has gone home. "Urdu, seriously, Urdu?" Finally he finds someone named Julia, and she speaks Urdu, of course, so he drags her off to translate as she points out how dumb it was for him to expect the wedding guests to be speaking German. She doesn't want to help because their teams are segregated for a reason. Hmmm. But it looks like Miles convinces her.
Will goes home to his apartment full of index cards, and starts looking for bugs. He finds one in the thermostat and stares at it for a really long time, although I really don't know why he's at all surprised at this point.
Maggie, lonely without Sophie, is watching an old horror movie. That'll make you feel better! She turns it off and listens to the various sounds of her neighbors. She chews her thumbnail. Seriously, that's all that happens in this scene.
And we're back to Will, still searching for - and finding - bugs in various places in his apartment. And his cell phone! He sighs a lot, and then the phone rings and he jumps and I laugh uncharitably. It's Maggie! He assumes it's an emergency, but she was just calling. "About what?" Oh, Will, you're really bad at this. She asks him out and I'm not sure he even realizes because he's so freaked out about all the bugs. Oh, poor Maggie. Will sits in a corner of his apartment, looking defeated and paranoid. Then he sees people! Through the window! In other buildings! He panics and slams the blinds shut, Then he takes a piece of paper out of his bag, considers calling a number on it, crumples it, uncrumples it, etc. The music is very intense. Finally he stuffs all his notes in his messenger bag and is about to run out the door, but goes back at the last moment for David's gun. THEN he leaves adn we finally get a commercial.
Will gets out of a taxi on a busy street and wanders to . . . an Internet cafe? REALLY? (Someone is following him, of course. Badly. Of course.) I'm not sure this is what Kale meant by "under the radar." He . . . searches for Edward Roy? SERIOUSLY? And of course he's convinced that the various people in the place are looking at him. Are they? I don't know.
Back to Miles and Julia watching the Beck hijinks! Miles lectures her and then is all "They have so much money blah" and she's all "you're jealous blah" and I'm not even going to bother. Then the phone rings and it's his mom! Really?
Cut to Maggie in her apartment wearing a bra and pants. There's a knock at the door and she yells "Coming!" as she hurries to put on a shirt. Do people really wander around without their shirts like that? I don't get it. She checks the mirror, opens the door, and it's . . . some guy with a vague maybe-British accent. Irish? He brought Scrabble! He missed her in class on Tuesday! She claims that Sophie is at a friend's, and that she works for Unicef. Apparently she is taking classes to become a translator. She gets munchies and wine and looks at him expectantly. And . . . he has no accent. Never mind. He starts telling her about widows in India being burned at their husbands' funerals and then realizes that that's not very sexy. "Should I open the wine?" "Sure!"
Back to Will. He gets up to print something and the guy behind him reaches for his bag - it looks like to take it, but maybe just to pick it up off the floor. Will freaks out and leaves. Someone is, of course, unsubtly following him. He goes to the subway, I think.
Julia is back to criticizing Miles for not knowing Urdu, and refusing to tell him what the people are saying. He insists. "The bride looks beautiful. They grow up so fast." Heh. Of course, then something interesting happens. They're being cryptic! Talking about "The Foundation!"
Maggie and her boy are practicing languages. He's cute. She's worried about Sophie but trying to relax, and drinking lots of wine. I don't entirely trust this boy, and I'm also expecting Will to show up all crazy-like just when Maggie starts to hook up with the guy. Oh, and as I typed that, they started making out. Hurry up before Will gets there!
Will walks along a deserted street. Someone follows him. Do I even need to bother to say this? Will gets behind the guy and pulls his gun. "Who do you work for?" "They don't want to tell me. And I don't want to know." Well, that's rather incurious of him. Will then brags about how he has access to all information ever, which doesn't really seem like the safest thing to do. But then he takes the guy's picture, which is clever. and he runs off. Shockingly, the guy doesn't shot him as soon as he turns his back.
Katherine is home watching infomercials, because the people on this show can't even watch anything interesting on TV. She looks at that newspaper clipping again and then starts wandering around, as is her wont. She grabs a small clock from a bookcase and stares at it. Commercial!
Maggie and the guy are in bed. Maggie, I really think if you're going to sleep with him, you should at least tell us his name. He says "That was nice." Uh, high praise? "I didn't even realize you were interested in me. You're quiet. I like that." I still say he's creepy. He's all snuggly and she looks sort of uncomfortable. And then - knock on the door! She looks more terrified than you'd expect, really. She throws on a robe, and - it's Will! I told you this would happen! He's clearly in distress and asks if he woke Sophie, which proves that he DIDN'T really hear anything Maggie said on the phone earlier. He asks to come in and she hedges. He says "This isn't anything" and asks if he can crash on her couch. He just doesn't want to be by himself right now. Finally, the guy says "Is everything all right?" and Will realizes what's going on, apologizes, and leaves. And . . . Maggie immediately throws the guy out! Because seeing Will made her realize that's who she really liked? Just because she's freaked out? Hmm.
Miles recognizes an Iranian intelligence guy on the feeds and Julia can't hear what they're saying. He finally thanks her for totally interrupting her night to help, and she says she's enjoying the distraction from some sewage-related research she was doing just for fun. Okay! They both get a little teary as she translates an emotional speech about love. There are Significant Looks and I assume Miles has a new crush. Julia asks if Miles is married and he hesitates before saying he is. And then asks about her Zelda tattoo. Hee. Suddenly it's time to leave, although I don't know why they've decided nothing else interesting will happen.
The next morning, Will and Maggie look at each other awkwardly through a weird open window thing in the office. He keeps apologizing. She keeps insisting it's fine. He goes to see Ingram and she looks after him and sighs. I am suddenly seeing shades of Josh and Donna.
Will starts to tell Kale that he looked into Edward Roy, but Kale pantomimes something that I assume is about the office being bugged. Get with the picture, Will! Kale takes him onto the roof, which actually looks a lot like the roof on Gossip Girl, plus or minus some barbed wire. Edward Roy is ex-CIA, retired ten years ago, started a security firm that was bought by Atlas MacDowell. And Atlas MacDowell, friends, is a company on whose board sat Gerald Bradley, the CCNY prof whose suicide was the subject of the clipping Katherine found in Tom's locked files. But of course, Will doesn't know any of this, because when he met Katherine all they talked about was vodka. "So what do you imagine Atlas is up to?" "I don't know." "Well, perhaps you'd best find out." Yes, Will, perhaps you'd best.
As Kale walks away, Will asks AGAIN why Kale's helping him, and Kale says "I support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." This is part of the oath taken by new senators, new citizens, and new military officers, so take your pick. Also new CIA agents? Perhaps. As he leaves, Kale says that it's not just Will's home - he's being monitored at the office too. Had Will not guessed this? Sigh.
Katherine is back at Alice Bradley's house, asking about Atlas MacDowell! Go Katherine! Ooh. After Gerald died, Tom took his place on the board. Alice immediately picks up on the fact that it's weird that both men committed suicide. Katherine asks if Alice knew anything about the company, but Alice starts talking about how it's impossible to figure out why their husbands killed themselves except for the simple, sad fact that "You gave him years, and he walked away." She has a box of stuff that she thought might have "meant something" after Gerald's death. Katherine immediately finds a four-leaf clover that Alice found on Gerald's desk and preserved in a frame. Katherine is visibly shaken but won't tell Alice why. She rushes out. Then Alice takes a photograph out of the box, and it's that same one of boys on a beach!
Will enters what I think is Kale's office, looks around, and very slowly sits down at the desk chair. He stares at an owl figurine in apparent horror. The end!
August 27, 2010
Rubicon 1.5: "Connect the Dots"
There are dots! Being connected! Ooooh. Read on . . .
We start with Will walking down a street, as he so often does, but he's actually intercepted by Ed! Who is not in his house! Will finds this surprising and keeps asking if Ed's okay, but Ed claims to just want to help. After hearing about Bloom, he keeps telling Will to check "the whitepapers." Tech specs? That's what whitepapers means to me, but I assume he's talking about something else.
Tanya wears dark glasses, and Kale watches her. He then goes to Will and weirdly recites an order about attending Mrs. Spangler's charity event before getting to the real purpose of his visit, which is asking for Will's "read" on Tanya, Will has clearly never thought about her before. Hee. He tells Kale he'll look into it, and then goes to the library and receives directions to the mysterious whitepapers, and he finds something in the catalog called "The Houston Problem" that David was working on. But it's empty! The librarian is concerned.
Team meeting time! Back to Yuri Popovich and George Beck. Again, no one knows anything. Tanya gives a weird little speech about how they should forget about Yuri and focus on George. Will tells her to write up an analysis, and this is obviously some sort of test for Tanya.
Katherine sits in a limo - that is not moving - going over her finances with a finance guy. I have no idea why she's sitting in the limo, but hey, she's not wandering around a house! The guy wants her to sell MRQ, that company that Tom left her right before he died. She refuses, and then discusses it with someone over the phone as she walks around some sort of urban park. I'm just happy she's outdoors.
Ed sits on his stairs in his pajamas as he rips apart phone books and calls hotels asking for Donald Bloom. Will shows up with pizza and Ed tells him that Bloom is staying at the Waldorf, and clearly has a bit of a hubris issue because he's staying under his own name. Will tells Ed about the Mysterious Missing Whitepaper. Ed seems to be going vaguely crazy as he gives a speech about finding the dots and connecting the dots and understanding the dots. "What's the connection? What's the narrative?" I don't know, Ed. I don't know.
Will follows Bloom around for a while, and there are a lot of escalators involved. Clever guy. Eventually Bloom goes and meets someone at a restaurant. It's Kale! I think. Bloom complains that Kale's man - Will, I suppose? - is causing trouble and making them do all sorts of complicated things all over the world. Then they have this big long conversation about whether they have girlfriends or have to pay for women, and it's kind of hilarious. Bloom is all nostalgic about the good old days, but Kale points out that they were killing people. Apparently that was part of the fun for Bloom.
Will shows up at Maggie's office and just sort of stands there until she asks what's wrong. He gets really really close as he asks for everything she knows about Kale. She gets all flustered that's Will's on to whatever her weird agreement with Kale, but he's actually asking about David. He keeps looking like he might kiss her in this scene, and there's all sorts of weird tension, but of course he doesn't. And of course he refuses to tell her why he's all worked up. The music is very dire and the camera is very zoomed and I suddenly feel like I'm in the middle of, I don't know, an Elizabeth Bowen novel.
Kale walks into Spangler's office and he's asking about David too! He wants to know if the loose ends were tied up. "Do you know something I don't?" "No I do not." Then yes, the loose ends are tied up. Now that we have that nonsense out of the way, we're back on about the wife's charity event, because obviously that's what's important here. I hope this is like Gossip Girl and the entire cast ends up at a big gala at the end of the episode. As Kale leaves the office, we see that Spangler is shredding the Mysterious Missing Whitepaper.
Time for another team meeting! Tanya is giving her analysis, and the guys are rather ripping her apart. Oh, I guess this is some sort of practice for pitching this to Spangler. Then Will goes down to see NotHal, who starts the conversation with "No. Whatever it is, no." Smart guy. But Will trades on their years of friendship to make NotHal do a database search for Bloom and Kale, and I'm a dork so I'm excited that we get to see how the search operators work. Anyway, NotHal comes up with a CIA case number, but if he opens it, They will know, so he doesn't.
Will runs into Tanya on his way down from the room, and she yells at him about letting Miles and Grant be hard on her. Good for her! Is Will setting her up to fail? No, he thinks she's right about George. Would it have killed him to say that in front of the others? Apparently. Instead, he launches into a speech about Good Fear and Bad Fear. Apparently Bad Fear means you shouldn't work at API. Well, that was an encouraging speech, Will.
Will shows up at Ed's house, but Ed doesn't answer his door, so of course Will lets himself in. It's unlocked? Really? That seems unlikely, unless it's supposed to show us that Ed is going nuts. There are notes taped up all over the walls. Ed goes on and on about various connections and some of it makes sense and some of it doesn't, and then Will finally interrupts and tells him that they have to stand down because they had the wrong Donald Bloom, and it's actually an engineering student in Oregon. What is? I mean, I know Will's lying to make Ed stop his investigation, but I'm not sure who he's saying is an engineering student. They guy who flew in? Huh. Ed takes this in and then crumples to the floor, crying, and sobs that David was his best friend. Will looks close to tears as well.
Oh good, now we're at the charity event! Where's Lily van der Woodsen? Will wanders around and, hey, he runs into Katherine! Maybe these plot lines will eventually intersect! They introduce themselves and make small talk about vodka and then she wanders off. Well, that was a let down. Will wanders around and comes upon Spangler in a dark room with James Wheeler and R.C. Gilbert. He's meeting the whole secret society! Spangler gives him all sorts of praise, asks if he's enjoying the party, and then calls him a liar when he says he is. Charming! And Will wanders out again. Interesting things keep almost happening, but then they don't! As he leaves, someone else comes in and says the squalls have been shipped and will be on site in a week. I don't even know what that means, or who this person is, although he looks somewhat familiar.
Will stands by himself in the middle of the party, accompanied by an overwrought cello, and Kale appears and snarks about it. Then he says that Donald Bloom is an old friend, and then recommends that Will stay with analysis and stop trying to gather his own information, and is all vaguely threatening and ominous.
Tanya pitches her idea to Will, Spangler, and Kale. She does a good job and Spangler goes for it. Yay Tanya! Of course, then she immediately goes and pours something from a flash into her glass and looks vaguely miserable about everything.
Spangler has a clandestine meeting with one of the tails from the previous episode, and Bloom is there too. They hear a recording of Will telling Ed to stand down, so either Will or Ed or both are bugged. Spangler tells the tail to concentrate on Katherine now. They all leave separately, and we see that Kale has been watching the building, or one of them, from outside.
Katherine visits the MRQ building and meets Harold, who is in charge. She finally asks someone what the company actually does, anyway, and is told that they "used to make clothes, not very successfully." Uh, okay! What are you doing NOW, then? She asks to be alone, and figures out that the code to the filing cabinet is their anniversary. Aww. She finds a newspaper clipping about a professor's death being ruled a suicide.
Kale stands in a dark room. Will stands at the edge of the dark room, and eventually knocks and is asked in, because apparently Kale wants to talk about what life was like before electricity. Darkness! Shadows! Just like this show! Kale says that Tanya did well and shows Will new intelligence that backs up Tanya's theory, and Will charmingly replies by saying they should put her name on the list for drug testing. Kale is rather apathetic about that, and just wants to know what George is up to.
Will sits at his kitchen table taking notes on bunches of index cards that are spread out all over the floor. He's using a Sharpie, which seems inconvenient, and is barefoot, which for some reason I find cute. He puts down a card that says "James Wheeler" and has a big question mark. Indeed. The music is extremely intense as Will stares at his cards and moves some of them by fractions of inches. Then there's some sort of loud noise - I can't quite tell if it's on the soundtrack or if Will can actually hear it - and Will abruptly stands up. It didn't quite sound like a gunshot, but I can't be sure. Will looks alarmed, in any case, so I suppose I am too.
Next week: Will finds out his home is bugged! I am now COMPLETELY into this show. I hope someone else is too, because I want it to stick around.
August 26, 2010
Rubicon 1.4: "The Outsider"
Will actually took a train to another city in this episode, so I guess I have to stop claiming that nothing happens on this show. What actually happens, after the jump . . .
Okay, now they're just messing with us. This episode started with VERY intense classical music set to a montage of - Will making and eating breakfast. Really. But then it became clear that the classical music was actually on the radio, so I guess that's okay. Will sees a neighbor looking at him from the facing building, and sees her again at the end of the episode, and sort of waves. I have no idea whether that's important, so I'm just throwing it out there.
Will meets Spangler at the train station to go to Washington, and they have a conversation about Friedman's column about Sudan that's just like the conversations about vampires I have with my boss every morning. No, really. When they get to Washington, Spangler picks up a copy of the Post to "study the local flora and fauna," which I found unexpectedly hilarious. He then gives Will a very long lecture about proper briefcases, and even WIll seemed bemused that the show was taking so much time for Spangler's opinions on this. But anyway, it seems they are actually there to nurture allies in the intelligence community for API. They have lots of meetings, some of which Will isn't even allowed to attend, and some of which are in a room with President Obama's picture on the wall. Nice touch, show! At one point, they bring up that list of cities from the first episode, but remember how they decided it was Cameron's itinerary? Now they think it's an Al Qaeda itinerary. Make up your minds, people! After their Trip of Bonding, Spangler praises Will for managing not to speak, and buys him a proper briefcase. Will is much more surprised by that than I am. Spangler seems to avoid questions about his children, and talks about his father instead. And it seems that what Spangler likes about his life of secrets and spies is the chance to be solitary. Okay then.
While in Washington, Will has a covert meeting in a parking garage, because those always go well. I always expect someone to be run over and/or roofied and kidnapped, but either of those options would be too action-packed for this show, so instead he meets that "Daniel" from last episode, about the list of names. Once again, Will's getting someone to do work off the record that he could have done perfectly legitimately if he would just do the paperwork. The list of names is mostly CIA people, but Daniel couldn't find one name. Most are dead or retired; the only one that seems interesting is Donald Bloom. Daniel hands Will a bunch of files and then takes them back.
While Will is gone, his team has to decide whether to take out a guy in Indonesia. Tanya helpfully calls the guy they're researching a "bad guy" and an "al Qaeda rock star. It seems that the team needs to decide whether the chance to take out this guy is worth also blowing up a bunch of civilians. Apparently it's harder this time because last time they had WIll and David and no girls. Because obviously only girls are concerned about killing innocent civilians. This is obviously all here just to show the team having to Work Together and Make a Decision Without Will, so I'm not going into too much detail. Tanya takes pills, there's a MILF joke, and then they eventually decide to go ahead with the assassination and then get drunk together.
Elsewhere, Katherine wanders around a house, because that's basically all she ever does. She receives a box of evidence from the police, including bloody clothes and something small - maybe Tom's wedding ring? It makes her cry, understandably. It also contains his cell phone, which has a cryptic message from Wheeler. "If you keep this up, you know what's going to happen." Obviously, Katherine's response to this is to go wander around the Super Secret Townhouse some more. I have no idea why she thinks the Chinese restaurant menu she finds is important enough to make her go there and order takeout, but hey! She's going somewhere other than a house! So I'm in favor. She gets the restaurant lady to look up Tom's order history and finds that Wheeler used his credit card for an order at the townhouse, so was lying about not knowing about it. Are you shocked? I'm not.
Eventually, Will makes it back to the office and practically his first action is to put his new briefcase in a corner and block it with the globe/hidden chessboard. That's gratitude! He has another very vaguely suggestive and/or cute moment with Maggie, in which Will says "Nice to see you." Gasp. Anyway, Miles found out that Donald Bloom might be in New York. Kale says Spangler thinks Will has potential, but doesn't seem to agree. Tanya is annoyed that they can't even find out whether the assassination was successful. And at the end of the episode, we're back to Yuri and Beck, and even Will is barely paying attention.
August 25, 2010
Rubicon 1.3: "Keep the Ends Out"
At the beginning of this episode, they did a little recap of the "conspiracy" so far, so perhaps the things they mentioned are the things that are important for us to keep in mind. If this is true, Nigeria doesn't matter, and Yuri might not either. So there's that. Thoughts on this episode after the jump . . .
We start with what passes for intrigue on this show - Will walks down the street with a newspaper! Someone might be following him! He - gasp - pretends to tie his shoe, but it's not really untied! Hey, he has blue Converse, just like me. Anyway, he's on his way to meet David's widow (and his mother-in-law), Joan, who is there to pick up David's things. Will seems shocked that Joan has never seen David's office, but I'm not. The security guard takes Joan's cell phone and "any other electronics." Have we seen this with the other characters? Hey, is this why they have so many papers all the time? Because no electronics are allowed? Hmm.
Anyway, Joan continues to be astonished about her husband's Super Secret Office and mutters stuff about "Church and State" for a while, implying that David kept his home and work lives separate. She eventually tells Will that her son Even wants to see him, and even though Evan becomes a big part of this episode, we never really figure out what his deal is. He's in Vermont, in some sort of institution, maybe. He wants the bike his dad gave Will, and there's a lot of sibling rivalry and "I'm his real son" stuff, but Will realizes pretty quickly that he should just give the bike to Evan.
But first, Will takes apart the bike, because he realizes that maybe, you know, David gave it to him for a reason. He doesn't find anything, and then FINALLY looks at the manual, where he finds a picture of a young Evan on the bike. There is now tape on the seat that wasn't there in the picture, so he takes it off and finds a list of ten-digit numbers - and a gun in the seat! He brings it to Ed and gets, instead of answers, a lesson in his own wife's family history, which seemed a little odd. Also odd: we're supposed to think Will, who knows everything about everything, doesn't know who John Wayne is. Oh, and Ed thinks David was murdered. Personally, I'm not entirely convinced David is dead at all. Anyway. After considering a bunch of options (phone numbers, ISBNs), Will decides that the numbers have something to do with dates of baseball games, so he goes and wakes up poor Ed again. They figure out that the numbers lead to . . . the pitchers of games on those dates? Maybe? It's a little unclear. Wouldn't there be several games on some of the dates? How would they know which ones they were looking for? Later on, Will has a series of names, presumably from this code, and asks a "Daniel Burns" to run them through his database. There is, of course, more of the "I could get fired for doing this for you!" stuff.
Meanwhile, Will has an actual job where he's supposed to be doing actual work involving Yuri and Beck and all that. Except it WAS a test, as I'd guessed, to see if he'd say he could get results more quickly than he actually could, or something. But I guess they still have to do the work. Tanya seems to be the only one of the team who actually produces much, while Miles watches an airport security video over and over and Grant continues to be obnoxious. They all stop to discuss the five worst presidents in history, much to my delight. Miles stays at the office all night, and it seems that he's separated from his wife and hiding it from his coworkers. Poor guy.
Throughout the episode, Will knows he's being followed, and eventually confronts the guy and gets beaten up. His boss later introduces him to the guy who beat him up - it turns out he's FBI and was tailing Will as part of a security check for his promotion or something. Worst tail ever, FBI! Will later realizes that someone else is still following him, so he goes home and loads David's gun. Very slowly. That second tail meets a guy at a laundromat and the guy calls . . . someone . . . to report that Will is still digging.
In other news we might or might not care about, Maggie is walking her daughter home from school (which seemed weird because the previous scene had taken place on a Sunday, but I guess it was supposed to be the next day) when she was surprised by Sophie's father. Her ex-husband? Current, estranged husband? Something. Sophie is happy to see her dad, but Maggie is not. She winds up confiding in Kale, which really makes me want to know what kind of influence or hold Kale has over her, exactly. Kale tells her not to let the guy - Craig, I think - back into her life. She later has a cute and awkward moment with Will in which Will manages to answer an obscure question about bears, because obviously he knows everything ever. Are they trying to set up a romantic thing between Will and Maggie? Maybe.
Elsewhere - Katherine! Remember her? She's in bed, and then Wheeler calls and convinces her to have dinner with him, and for a minute I thought maybe they'd been having an affair before her husband died, but no, I think that's too exciting for this show. So. They have dinner. They hear "the most depressing song ever written" but I didn't catch what it was - anyone know? Then Wheeler goes to the Super Secret Townhouse and steals an old picture of kids on a beach. Why? No idea.
I kind of can't believe I'm writing this much about this show. It's still moving glacially slowly, and it seems somewhat scattered - the Nigeria thing wasn't mentioned this episode, and the Sudan was, with no details. Nothing more about Vanderbilts or hyacinths or Graham Greene. I'm still not at all sure whether the whole Beck thing has anything to do with the main plot of the show. But I'm enjoying it enough to stick with it and find out.
August 23, 2010
Rubicon 1.2: "The First Day of School"
I think I forgot to mention this last time, but is anyone else completely distracted by how much Will (James Badge Dale) looks like Matthew Morrison of Glee? No? Just me? Anyway, more substantive thoughts after the jump . . .
I'm finding this show difficult to write about because I'm actually pretty fascinated by it, except that nothing happens. Or things happen, but it's completely unclear which if any of them are important. There are a lot of long looks and awkward movements and cryptic statements. Hyacinths! Graham Greene! Ferries! Vanderbilt! Nigeria! Any of those words could be important. Or not. Who knows?
But, okay, let's try to sort through some of the more tangible elements that may or may not be important. But wait, first, I had sympathy for the security guard making the girl take off her sunglasses, because all the characters on this show look alike. It took me this entire episode to get a handle on Maggie and Tanya and which is which, and I still have no idea who's who among the older guys. Thank goodness Will, Miles, and Grant all look different, or I'd be completely sunk.
So. It's Will's first day as boss! Replacing his father-in-law! Shockingly, there's tension. His team seems to be composed of Miles, Tanya, and Grant. (Is Maggie on another team? Or is she an admin or something? I couldn't figure this out, but I think it's the latter.) Miles and Tanya seem generally decent, but Grant is either an awful person or really has something against Will. And Tanya. I guess we'll find out. Maybe. Miles is obsessed with Nigeria, and Maggie is informing on the group, possibly as a way of keeping her kid safe. Or something. Oh, and there's also tension with Will's higher-ups, and he's late for his first team leader meeting. Last episode, someone made a big deal about him never being late for anything since his wife and child died on September 11, so is it supposed to be Extremely Significant that he was late for this meeting? Or did they just forget about the never late thing?
Will's bosses want him working on this thing about a guy named Yuri, who has ties with ex-KGB people, as though the fact that his name is Yuri hadn't told us that already. He was photographed with a German guy named Beck. There are bank accounts involved. And money. And Hezbollah and missiles, maybe. I don't know. I also don't know if the Yuri thing is actually important or if it was just designed to distract Will from the Great Crossword Mystery. Or maybe it's some kind of test of him as a boss. Or something else entirely.
Speaking of the Great Crossword Mystery, Will has not been distracted from it. He has a guy who he calls Hal (but whose name is actually Mason, I think) working on it, and apparently NotHal could get fired for doing this for him because it's unauthorized, and it's all very cloak-and-dagger for some unexplained reason. NotHal finds a similar Crossword Thing in 1983, and David's friend Ed tells Will that he and David did it and it was supposed to be a "go" code. So presumably this new one is the same thing. NotHal decides it was a trigger for revenge killings of Hezbollah people. Wait, does that mean Yuri was actually involved? Hm.
Ed also tells Will that the code Will found in David's typewriter is an old-school book code, and that made me happy, because I've actually heard of that! Both people have a book and use the code to specify a page/line/word/letter, and the letters together spell out the message. Will realizes quickly that the book in question is probably the one David gave him right before he died (and speaking of which, what ever happened to the motorcycle and the "drive away" message?). The message ends up being "They hide in plain sight." Uh, thanks, David. That was enlightening.
People are following Will throughout the episode, which he sometimes seems to know and sometimes doesn't. And someone bumps into him and then he almost gets hit by a taxi, which might or might not have been an accident. But he seems fairly unconcerned. At the end, one of the people watching him is all "Why are we watching this guy?" so maybe they too are amazed by how little happens on this show.
Elsewhere, Miranda Richardson is back! Yay! At the reading of her husband's will, she discovers that he changed his will a week before he died to leave her one of his companies, and she is suspicious. And then she discovers that he also left her a townhouse she didn't know he had, so she's REALLY suspicious. She thinks he was cheating, and is looking all over for clues, and finds a four-leaf clover, which leads back that secret society, of course. Oh, and the "fourth branch of government" idea, which apparently Will and NotHal forgot about in the whole "The crossword is a go code!" thing. Hmmm.
Oh, random thought: Maggie's daughter's name seems to be Sophia, which means wisdom. That could be meaningful! Who knows?
This show is still deadly boring and completely riveting at the same time. Somehow. It's a marvel.
August 19, 2010
Rubicon 1.1: "Gone in the Teeth"
I know everyone else in the universe watched this as a preview or online, but I didn't. And then - bonus! - I waited two weeks to watch it at all, so this post is really timely. But if you want to know what I thought, keep reading . . .
I'm getting the impression from, you know, Twitter and various headlines I've glimpsed that people are mostly not liking this show, and maybe finding it boring. Boring! I'd like to say that I can't imagine why they would think that, but I suppose I can. I mean, depressed guys in sweaters doing crossword puzzles is BASICALLY my idea of the perfect TV show, but I guess that may not be a popular opinion. Really, though, this is exactly the sort of thing I like. Spies! Codes! Figuring things out! Conspiracies! Chess!
Aesthetically, too, I like it - it's dark and moody and snowy and wet, and again, I suppose I can see why it would not be for all viewers. But it went very well with my knitting and giant mug of tea. The setting is contemporary, but it felt old-fashioned compared to other tech-focused spy shows like Covert Affairs; everything seems to be paper-based, with books and newspapers and, God help us, card catalogs abounding. It's probably not very realistic but I'm not sure I care. (And that globe-with-hidden-chess-set? I totally want that, even though I don't really play chess.) The music fits the rest of the aesthetics, with lots of overwrought cellos.
This first episode was rife with little moments clearly designed to set up the characters. Some of these were annoyingly simplistic: Will can figure out crosswords and reads about string theory, so he's smart! One of the characters (Grant? I think?) tells Tanya that bringing the doughnuts to the meeting is her most important duty, so we are to know that her job is lower on the totem pole and he is kind of an ass. I liked the subtlety of the newspapers - characters read what looks like the New York Times or the Post depending on who they are, and really, the choice between those two says a lot.
I guess I haven't really mentioned the plot, but I'm not sure we know enough about it yet to say much. There's some sort of conspiracy, perhaps involving a secret fourth branch of government, and it seems that in his new position Will will try to discover what's going on and/or be recruited to join in. Good times! It's not yet entirely clear who's on which side, or who the bad guys are, or what anyone is actually trying to do, but I'll be patient. That's the fun of the slow-burn spy show, after all.