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Sunday, 7 of March of 2021

Rubicon – “Look to the Ant”

How I know is inconsequential. That I know is significant.”

Dear Zack Whedon,

Allow me to thank you for “Look to the Ant,” the most recent episode of Rubicon. While I’ve been enjoying the show from episode 1, I’ve felt a little like Will in conversations about it. I’m convinced that Rubicon is a very good show, but I’ve had trouble of really convincing people of that, in much in the same way that I’m sure Will feels he can’t convince anyone of the conspiracy he’s currently trying to solve.

While I’ve pointed to the past couple of episodes, particularly “Keep the Ends Out” and “Connect the Dots,” as signs of life in the series, as hints of why people who are in the fence should keep watching, I think I’ll start using “Look to the Ant” as the episode that tells people why Rubicon works.

Now, admittedly, “Look to the Ant” maintains some of the new aesthetic choices that have been emerging since “The Outsider” and solidifying with “Conenct the Dots,” but I can’t fault you for those. Indeed, you actually have scenes that take place at night (and I love the look of Rubicon at night, almost a gaslight noir), so you already won me over there. But you do engage in the show’s quicker pacing as well. Some of this is editing, to be sure, but your script moves at a decent clip, with scenes lasting just long enough and no longer (still no Will staring off into the distance, mulling on conspiracy and grief).

Unlike last week, where I felt iffy on the quicker pacing, I found myself relishing the deft juggling of the scenes and characters, with everyone finally starting to click. In particular, Maggie’s role in the show is still a bit amorphous, but I feel like your work with the character, in particular highlighting how lonely she is without Sophie, actually made me care about the woman in ways that I simply haven’t yet. Hers and Will’s relationship is finally starting to become wonderfully complicated, and I hope that she visits Kale again soon, for an update on the team.

Speaking of Kale, congrats on keeping the cryptic spymaster version of Steve Jobs nicely balanced. While I think Kale has been playing things a little too close to the vest (dare I say a little too cryptically) allegiance-wise (was is warning in the previous episode about mayhem threatening or fatherly?),  I like his willingness to step forward and help Will, even I don’t particularly trust his intentions. But that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? In a world where you can trust Will to be noble, Tanya to drink, Miles to be Miles, and Grant to be an arrogant jerk, that I can trust Kale to be a little ambiguous.

Oh, and Miles. Dear, wonderful Miles. His scenes in this episode are most clearly the scenes that feel set off from the rest of the show while still managing to feel like Rubicon. Grieved with being estranged from his family, Miles keeps throwing himself into his work, including watching a wedding. Already a hard enough thing to do, but to have the wedding be in Urdu (“Who doesn’t [speak Urdu] at this place?” “Uh. Lots of people. Lots of people.”) and the charmingly sweet Julia (“I like Zelda.”) translate it, only reminds Miles of perhaps better times in his marriage. Also, my friend, you know how to write a toast. You mind if I steal it and use it later?

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. I thank you for making solid moves on the conspiracy front (Atlas MacDowell is a terrific name), and for giving me an episode that I can tell people to watch to let them know just how good Rubicon is.

Yours,

Noel

P.S. When’s Dr. Horrible II happening, I mean, like, for real? (Kidding! Kidding!)


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