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“Carry On, My Wayward, al Qaida-Loving Son”

By Adrienne Saia Isaac | TV | October 11, 2010 | Comments ()

By Adrienne Saia Isaac | TV | October 11, 2010 |


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I fully expected this penultimate episode of the series to accelerate full-force into the season finale next week. But it seems likely that we'll be left with more questions than answers and the empty promise of a second season pay-off. I'm not entirely sure "Rubicon" will make it past season one. I'm not wishing its demise, but I can't imagine there's a huge following after such a slow build, despite the to-die-for time slot. We make some big-time connections in episode 12, but we're only really getting to the core of the characters (and we've only got 60 more minutes to catch the bad guys and wrap up this circus -- the Atlas storyline can't sustain another season, in my opinion). It'll certainly be a shame if I never again type the name "Truxton" after next week.

Tonight we learn that Spangler, the king of Not Giving a Fuck, smokes out the window of his federally-funded office; Will makes a huge breakthrough in connecting Kateb to Atlas; terrorists jerk off before blowing shit up; and Kale is still a badass not to be fucked with.

Once the folks at API get over their pissing match with the FBI, they finally put together some valuable pieces of information about Kateb. He's in America, entered with his own passport, and has timed all of his attacks at 21:21 GMT (4:20 EST, holla). They know when and who, but not how, where or why something is gonna go down. Grant and Will are sent to New Jersey to interview Purcell/Kateb's friends and family, which does nothing but reinforce the Jersey trash truth stereotype and paint Purcell as an underachiever who found acceptance in a fringe group of radicals (don't they all?). Miles, meanwhile, finds Tanaz's travel records and Will is then able to connect Tanaz and Donald Bloom (I keep wanting to call him Harold Bloom, because I am a hardcore nerd). We've got circumstantial evidence of the Atlas connection to nefarious events, but we're going to need more than Loose Change-type conspiracy theories to keep the story plausible.

We're given an even closer look into the Truxton Spangler underworld through this episode; he transitions from cocky, in-charge badass to shaking, betrayed old man in 58 minutes. He opens by promising the remaining Atlas cronies that Katherine and Will are under control and that, sorry kids, but the plan's already in motion. He could care less if the others think his action imprudent; he's running the show and it must go on. Later, through surveillance photos, Spangler finds out that Kale and Maggie have gotten involved and are hiding Katherine (well, we viewers know the latter although Spangler might only assume it). This news stuns him and, for a moment, we see Spangler crack. His hands shake and his eyes mist over; honestly, I expected him to off himself at the end of the episode (the shot of Spangler at his desk reminded me of Tom's suicide scene from episode one). When Kale enters Spangler's office like the Man in Black, Spangler can only chain smoke and reveal to Kale how indispensable he really is to Spangler and API. Whether this is a Grant-type butter up or a sincere statement, we don't know.

Meanwhile, Kale does his best to manage Will, Katherine and Maggie while also keeping his own ass safe. He enlists Maggie the Pushover to babysit Katherine at the safe house. He believes that Tom killed himself to protect Katherine and that she's obviously in grave danger. However, both women betray Kale to aid Will. Maggie heads to Andi's apartment to retrieve Will's files from her bathroom (and engage in some cunty banter about who's screwing who). Soon after, Katherine leaves to find her DVD copy of "Meet Me in St. Louis," the movie that she and Tom watched to celebrate their anniversary. Will believes he needs both of these things to crack the code of Atlas, David's death, the crosswords, etc. and these women are willing to defy their only source of protection to get these to him. Maggie's either shaken to her core or supremely over-(re)acting when Kale confronts her at API. She's like a beaten dog who cowers at the mere raise of a hand. The level of her discomfort makes me question the nature of her and Kale's relationship (we can safely assume it's not sexual, but I get the impression that it's... fatherly... regardless, he's definitely saved her ass big time before).

Will seems to have elephantiasis of the balls this episode (killing a CIA operative will do that to you). He ignores death threats (and attempts) to protect Katherine, takes control of his team, manipulates Maggie and gives the FBI the what-for. Most importantly, he makes the connection between Bloom and Tanaz - they were in the same U.S. cities at the same time and colluding to forward the agenda of Atlas MacDowell. He calls Kale from the office (apparently having big balls also distorts one's common sense) and spews off the fruits of his analyzed intelligence: he believes that Kateb's goal is to disrupt the energy market by blocking oil delivery to the U.S. via Texas. That's what the mysterious "Houston problem" refers to, after all.

It's only when Maggie frantically rushes in about three seconds later that Will learns his prediction is, in fact, true and happening simultaneously. Kateb had packed up his radio (blasting the shit out of some Kansas), maps, and high-powered explosives on to a boat and motored over to Galveston Bay to blow shit up (after masturbating, of course, which I am guessing was the scene of an "adult and sexual nature" that the higher powers warned us about. Next time, there had better be another person in the sex scene, not just a hand and excessive sweating). An oil tanker burns on the television as a news anchor (in dead-on broadcast-school style melodrama) talks about Homeland Security being blindsided, the closing of borders, airports and New York bridges, and the fact that the U.S. is, indeed, under attack. This seems like a far-fetched reaction Julia, but Will and Miles insist that it's incredibly awful and important. I gotta say I'm with Julia on this one; the attack, thus far, is isolated and not on the 9/11 scale (at least not to me... that day was a huge, big fucking deal and this really doesn't seem to be on that level). Plus, if an evil capitalist conglomerate wanted to profit from the disruption of the energy market, they wouldn't have to go to the extent of involving fucking al Qaida (did no one learn anything from season two of Damages?). The connection seems tenuous and excessive, and I'm interested to see how the explanation progresses next week.

Spangler's cool as a cucumber over all of this drama. He ignores calls from the major intelligence and governmental agencies, saying they can wait a few minutes. Will is the emotional antithesis of Spangler, however. He collapses in his apartment after fixating on the spot where the last drop of Bloom's blood had landed. Will cleaned the blood from his wall, but it's impossible to clean it from his hands.

Adrienne Saia Isaac is a journalist and Philly expat living in Colorado with two pair of skis, seven Phillies hats and her pit bull mix, Juno. Her main goal in life (besides finding gainful employment) is to drink whiskey out of Lord Stanley's cup with Chris Pronger. You can read her rants and rambling at Ex-Pat's and Geno's.


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