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Sunday, 7 of March of 2021

Rubicon – “No Honesty in Men”

You can always count on a well-read man, hmm?

It’s getting delicious, isn’t it?

Because of how deftly the storytelling is executed (if you’re still complaining about the pace of the show, I think you’re watching it at half speed) and how the threads are starting to connect together (Katherine gets Spangler’s name and API, Will gets Tom’s name) it feels like we’re about to run up against the last two hours of the show, not the last four.

Yes, there’s only four episodes left of the first season of Rubicon. I am really excited.

I think with Rubicon we see one of the benefits of the shortened season done very well. The show’s arc would be far too stretched out across a full 22-episode order, but 13 not only speeds up the narrative threads, but because of the show’s genre, the 13 episodes make it all seem very claustrophobic and paranoid, like hours are bumping up against one another, casting quick glances while they speed along in the night.

Indeed, Rubicon‘s episode count has allowed them, and we’ll see how much follow through this idea has in the next four weeks, to essentially make a three act structure, with 4 episodes making up an act. The first four episodes, the ponderous stare-y ones that people felt bored with, set up the characters and the beats and arcs, culminating in the trip to D.C. and a look at Spangler’s job at API. It lays out the universe for us, gives us a sense of the rules and actions that these characters are capable of, and where their lives are right now.

The past four episodes have been better received (or so it seems on my Twitter feed), as they start to parse out those individual character beats more, shifting away from just Will working through things. His team comes more and more to the forefront, Miles and Tanya especially, as they cope with their own demons and baggage. But development in the mystery of David’s death still progress in nice way (like Will seeing the faces of Spangler’s group and meeting Katherine). I will say these last few episodes have really dented my reading of the show as being about grief, especially since I miss Will just staring at things (I really do!).

Which is perfectly all right, since Kale has become one of the most devious characters on television. Still unwilling to seem actively involved, his position of useful neutrality comes to a shattering end, but he thinks he can still play his line out to keep Will on the right track and himself safe. What’s great about Kale, like Benjamin Linus, is that you’re not sure what his endgame is here. Is he doing this to avenge David’s death? Is he after Spangler’s job? Or is he after Spangler’s position on the Clover Leaves? Who knows? He plays as if he’s been sitting on Tom’s death the entire time (and I believe he has been), but to what end? Why?

I’ll close with some brief thoughts on Andy. Obviously, based on how she’s appear in earlier episode, we’re to believe she’s part of Spangler’s team of spies that track Will. And I think much of the episode continues to play up this idea until we get the scene of her alone, looking through Will’s bag. Her motivation is played more out of curiosity rather than purpose. She’s looking to look (and smell in a rather creepy instance) but to seek, if that distinction makes sense. Now, if it is revealed that she’s a Spangler spy, the scene rings far too hollow and wrong, so we’ll see how that balance works (my money is that she’s on Kale’s payroll to keep an eye on Will from afar, but isn’t trained for this sort of thing).

I realize, of course, that you can’t divide 13 by 4 and have an even number (Yes, I know someone of you did the math already). “No Honesty in Men” is a tipping point, the tail end of the second act or the very beginning of the third. I lean towards the former, as it feels more organic to think of this, with the culmination of Andy and Will and Katherine and API, as where all the plots begin to intersect, including subplots like Miles and Julia (brought about by Tanya’s drug and alcohol problem). Things are starting to come together, at least in terms of character beats. Are you ready for the arc to come together?

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