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Boom Goes Bloom

By Adrienne Saia Isaac | TV | October 4, 2010 |

By Adrienne Saia Isaac | TV | October 4, 2010 |

Now I know why I have a weird sexual thing for Will Travers — he plays hockey. And he totally has a fear of commitment. He reminds me of my favorite ex-boyfriend, minus the dead father-in-law and irrational disregard for his own safety. In fact, there are a ton of small things in this episode that Will does that are the “Rubicon” equivalent of the girl in the horror movie running up the stairs instead of out the front door. If you’re like me, you have a bruise on your forehead from banging it on the coffee table every time Will does something that is sure to get him killed (but at least we didn’t end up with the cleanest gunshot wound ever like Donald Bloom).

The episode begins with a rough-looking Will waking up and blowing Andi off as he sprints to work. For some reason, this makes me entirely thrilled, as I’m not a huge fan of her trying to tie our spy down. From the credits on, the episode jumps from one 20-second scene to another, never really lingering on one storyline for too long, so I’ll do my best to consolidate. It seems that the further into the season we go, the quicker the jumps from scene to scene. I’m not sure it’s entirely necessary because the subject matter is frenetic enough and every now and then, I’d just like a little more time with the characters in a particular scene.

In the world of API, Spangler’s taking heat from other U.S. intelligence agencies who’ve dropped the ball on the Q’teb assassination. He’s alive, but apparently also in eight different locations at once, and they need API to figure it all out. Kale gives the assignment to Will’s team, which will once again include Tanya and Maggie. Now, I can understand Will wanting Tanya back, as she’s an integral part of the analyst team, but Maggie? Okay, she’s a great assistant… except for the backstabbing and weird sexual tension and going through his trash. But apparently Will can overlook all that to get her back in the office because, ostensibly, she will eventually be necessary to advance the storyline. Any backbone that solidified in Will when he fired her just went to mush again.

Will passes the assignment on to his team who is overwhelmed with the information that lacks any information. Rather than help them out, he leaves to his office and starts making phone calls to the records department of the Fisher’s Island Library. Yes, the black and white photo of kids on the beach has made its return and Will, the intel expert he is, has decided to investigate this group IN HIS OFFICE. WHERE THERE ARE BUGS. AND WHERE KALE SPECIFICALLY TOLD HIM TO NOT DO THIS RESEARCH. I think there’s a forehead-shaped dent in my coffee table. Will’s fucking asking to be assassinated. Kale walks into his office and drops the thinly-veiled hint that Will should leave. The next best place to do intelligence work uninterrupted in the apartment of an unemployed artist who wants to put a label on your relationship, so Will goes back to Andi’s. He gets his work done, Andi calls him a pussy (because she’s ballsy and shocking like that! How artsy of her!) and he peaces out.

Meanwhile, there’s some tension at API between Tanya and Julia, but only from Tanya’s end. Julia’s been placed in the rough position and is actually just as good (if not better) at Tanya’s job (and she doesn’t go running to coke and downers to play Russian roulette with her spinal cord). Spangler walks in on the analysts unfunny banter and wipes a speck of Chinese food off Miles’ face. As ominous as he’s supposed to be, there’s something hilarious about Spangler’s nuances; if he weren’t all wrapped up in this murderous capitalist conspiracy, he’d be a blast to find the bottom of a Knob Creek bottle with. But now Spangler’s main goal is to de-problematize Will Travers. He tinkers in Will’s office, eventually hitting the “last no.” button on the phone, and reaches the Fisher’s Island Library. The banging of my head on the coffee table resounded in harmony with Spangler banging the phone on Will’s desk. Bonehead! This is what happens when you make personal calls at work.

It’s at this point that Will and Katherine’s storylines intersect. Katherine’s moved to a new “apartment” (aka a sprawling loft) and is afraid to leave. Every time she walks out the door, she’s sure she’s being followed… by everyone. So, she stays in and drinks, which sounds pretty awesome to me. She almost has a heart attack when Will knocks on her door, but he ignores the threat of death and rushes in. He’s found seven names from the photo, and at least two each have been on the board of directors at 12 companies. This is where the conspiracy really picks up steam and brings us back to the entire premise of the first two episodes. At various times, each company has profited from catastrophic events that were predicted by API intelligence. The men in charge of these companies then kill themselves, ostensibly unable to deal with their guilty consciences (although I’m guessing it’s more like a pact - once you know too much and it happens to you, you need to off yourself). Will asks Katherine to find patterns in Tom’s businesses to prove his theory. Katherine is really too horrified to focus, instead bewildered at the fact that Tom was profiting off the deaths of innocents while they were married.

Back at the office, the team has figured out that Q’teb is probably a convert, a white guy who got sucked into the cause during an impressionable time as a student studying abroad (when I studied abroad, I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and made out with a Hungarian bartender… way more fun than joining al Qaida). Tanya, unable to cope, frantically searches all of the hiding places in her office for booze or drugs. Like Will, she seems to forget that she works for a GODDAMN INTELLIGENCE AGENCY and they probably know where all that crap was hidden and cleaned it out when she went to rehab. God, people. Of course, Awkward Maggie ignores the signs of Alkie’s breakdown and walks right in to get her Starbucks order. It’s a bizarre moment, but if it didn’t happen, this wouldn’t be “Rubicon.”

The team figures out that Q’teb is indeed an American named Joseph Purcell who studied abroad in Yemen. Obviously, the American terrorist is from New Jersey (being a Pennsylvanian, I could have told them this; I mean, if New Jerseyans aren’t spreading the herp down in Miami, they’re planning to overthrow the white devil of Western civilization. Truth). Feeling comfortable in this assessment (and preoccupied with his own problems), Will sends everyone home. He doesn’t know that he’s walking into his own death trap because Spangler’s on the warpath. Truxton orders a hit on Will. It’s not supposed to be like David’s death - no loose ends and no questions. Will won’t be the victim of a freak train accident, but instead of a completely unexpected heroin overdose at his home. Blame it on his dead wife and child. Perfect.

Spangler walks in as Will packs up for the night. He engages Will in a conversation about David, which is forced and only for Spangler, really. He likes to hear himself ruminate and Will’s pretty confused by it all. Spangler says several times that he misses David and that Will’s just like the dead man: brilliant, principled, and soon to be dead as well. Spangler sends Will home with a pat on the shoulder, the “Rubicon” equivalent of a Judas kiss. Little does Will know that Donald Bloom is busy planting syringes and balloon of heroin in his bathroom. When he gets to his apartment, a struggle ensues with Bloom. If it hadn’t occurred with 20 minutes left in the episode, I’d be concerned that Will wouldn’t make it. He was getting his ass kicked pretty handily until he copped that gun from his bag and shot Bloom point blank in his forehead. It’s a great moment, and changes Will forever, as murdering an ex-CIA operative would do to anyone.

And there Kale was just a-walkin’ down the street singin’ do wah diddy, diddy dum, diddy do when he’s interrupted from his cruising by a phone call from a frantic Will. He tells Will to touch nothing and heads over to the apartment, where he cranks up some tunes to drown out the bugs. A bald “cleaner” shows up (why he isn’t played by Harvey Keitel, I don’t know) and starts to get rid of the body. Kale stashes Will in the bathroom and tells him to stay put, closes the door, and the sound of a buzzsaw filters through. How this doesn’t stain Will’s floors, I also don’t know. But when Kale gets Will next, the body is gone, the apartment is clean as hell, and everything is copacetic. Kale points out the blood on Will’s shirt and leaves. As Will undresses, he’s interrupted by a knock on the door. It’s Andi, groveling, desperate, with a tomato. She’s trying to be all modern and “Let’s not name it! Random sex is fun! And I’m liberated! See - I have this tomato!” Will, having just assassinated an assassin, tells her to go away and never come back. He shuts the door in her face a changed man. The blood splatter on the wall proves this point.

Meanwhile, the group never really left the office. Grant gets railroaded by Spangler to have drinks in the big man’s office. He examines Grant leadership aspirations, ostensibly because the next day, Will will be dead and Grant will get a promotion. However, their pow-wow is interrupted by Miles, who had been holding hands with Julia when they get a stunning piece of intel. Purcell is back in the U.S., having just entered through Mexico. Al Qaida is on American turf and it’s time to get shit going.

Poor Katherine, however, is left with a jewelry box and a glass of rose. It’s the only bit of furniture that wasn’t worth enough to sell with the townhouse. She smashes it on the floor and finds a suicide note from Tom imploring her to remember their anniversary. This, to me, was the most poorly acted scene in the entire episode. The frantic emotion just isn’t believable (because the rest of the episode is, right? No one heard the gunshot in Will’s apartment, the secretary spy is rehired and Will thinks he can do covert work in an office full of intelligence agents. Totally believable). But she repeats that he wanted her to celebrate their anniversary, which will probably play into later episodes. The API/Q’teb storyline is wrapping up nicely and the Atlas/David storyline is really picking up steam. There’s a few more weeks of exposition and it’s going to be a crazy ride.

Adrienne Saia Isaac is a journalist and Philly expat living in Colorado with two pairs 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.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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