SPOILER ALERT: Before you read this post, pack up a tomato and a gun and go watch last night’s Rubicon with someone you barely know.
Who among us hasn’t opened our door at nearly midnight, let in an attractive stranger we only know by sight (pickup line: “You looked pretty”), and agreed to a date with them, at home, while they edgily stare out the window at their apartment as if they expect something horrible to happen? What, you haven’t? And you? And you?
What sheltered lives you lead! Next thing you know you’ll tell me you’ve never let a handsome stranger stay at your home on the strength of a wild story about being chased from their apartment by the agents of a conspiracy!
OK, so Andy’s warm welcome of Will is a little… unusual. And yet her eager acceptance of Will makes her far more interesting than a more, well, normal response (“That’s great! Now how about you call me tomorrow and we make a plan for drinks!”) would have. A while back, the running visual of the artist staring alluringly through her window at Will made me wonder whether she wasn’t actually part of the conspiracy as well. (This being a show, after all, in which surveilling someone usually doesn’t indicate friendly intent.) It doesn’t seem so now—or does it?—but her reaction to Will was unexpected and a refreshing twist, alternately smitten, tentative, fascinated and amused. (“It is the Russians, right? Don’t tell me. I so want to believe it’s the Russians!”)
In any case, Will’s decamping across the streets increases the sense of imminent danger, as he witnesses our good friend Donald Bloom breaking into his apartment while he’s away. And the threat is being raised on another end, as we learn that not only does Spangler suspect Will—”If he is [a problem], he will be handled, as problems are”—but he’s making plans to install Grant in his place should anything happen. (Shades, by the way, of Gus setting up Walt’s replacement in Breaking Bad, lest the cook stop once he eliminates him.) Grant seems a bit unsettled by the way Spangler broaches the subject, but with increasing trouble on the homefront and his wife’s income to make up for, he can hardly question a shot at a promotion.
Katherine Rhumor, meanwhile, comes into possession of a photograph that finally links her husband, Gerald and Truxton Spangler, whom she finds is API’s director. Are the twin storylines about to converge? Two-thirds of the way through the season, and things seem to be converging.
Now the hail of bullets:
* Rubicon seems to be becoming a funnier show as it goes along, with some of the best lines going to Arliss Howard (who I believe a commenter here said is making his Kale into the Ben Linus of Rubicon). Best line tonight: “There may not be audio up here, but there are cameras everywhere. So eat the delicious snack we came up here to enjoy, and then please tell me what you did to Truxton Spangler to make him show up at my home at 6 a.m.”
* This, however, was bracketed by Kale’s scene with Spangler, in which we are reminded that he is not all fun and games–nor is his boss: “You remain the man I met in Syria. The man with blood on his hands. The second thing I admire about you is you don’t ask questions.”
* I like that the series has not harped on Will’s demons from losing his family on 9/11, but the episode worked in a nice, small reminder as Will’s date ribbed him about the reduced-fat mayonnaise: “I just buy what—I buy what I always bought.” “That’s something a mother would buy.”
* Nice callback to the early episodes as Miles reminds Grant of the fallout of Tanya’s trip to rehab; not only are they short-handed, but “there’s no donuts.”
* Every week, in little ways, Rubicon reminds us how the API job slowly ruins the personal lives of the analysts working for it. This week, Grant, who just landed in the doghouse for missing a school play during lockdown, now can’t even tell his wife why his job is important enough to him not to leave it and cash in on Wall Street. (I’m not entirely sure that Grant is an expressive enough guy that he could have ahndled the situation well anyway—there’s a physical stiffness between him and his wife—but the job certainly doesn’t help.)
* “I like that you’ve got a gun.” And that, kids, is how I met your mother!