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Cruelty is the Mother of Invention

By Adrienne Saia Isaac | TV | September 13, 2010 |

By Adrienne Saia Isaac | TV | September 13, 2010 |

I admittedly slacked a bit on this recap. I’ve been working non-stop and when I’m not working, I’ve been volunteering for the Fourmile Fire relief efforts in Boulder. When the opportunity came up last night to blow off some steam with my coworkers, I took it. I’m going to keep this recap short and sweet, since I have to be back at work soon. But thanks to OnDemand, I caught episode eight of Rubicon this morning; this show is best watched this way (unless you have Tivo), because you can pause and rewind. Every little detail matters because you never know when they’re going to pop back up.

This week we get even further entangled in Kale’s web of deception, we learn that not all positive drug tests end in termination and that James the lawyer likes getting blown by his secretary daily at 3pm. Oh, and there’s the Abu Grahaib-style torture of an al Qaida operative too. Good stuff this week.

The show opens with Will and Bancroft engaged in a chess match. Chess is a bit of a cheap metaphor at this point, but the relationship between the two seems genuine. Will’s getting a bit exhausting in his relentless and not-so-covert search for David’s killer. I understand how it could be consuming, but the reckless abandon with which he’s undertaking it surely will bite him in the ass. Bancroft tells Will that he can’t trust Kale, and of course Will ignores this and proceeds to keep meeting Kale on the roof throughout the episode. Kale admits that he’s had Maggie spy on Will and he knows that Will’s been meeting with Bancroft. We see how much control Kale exerts over people, involving himself in almost all of Will’s relationships and manipulating people to take the actions he wants them to take (i.e. Bancroft doing further research on Atlas MacDowell and going to Will with his findings). This must be where his ops background comes into play.

Speaking of relationships, the one between Will and Maggie is more awkward than ever, especially since Kale revealed her as one of his spies. What began with Will taking her up on the birthday lunch from episode one ended with Will serving Maggie with walking papers due to her betrayal. However, according to the previews for next week, it appears that they finally get it on. Do her, don’t do her, I don’t care — I just want to know what kind of past these two had, because I’m thinking it extends beyond their respective tenures at API.

The parallel narrative deals with Tanya and Miles’ foray into interrogation analysis. We see Tanya sluttin’ it up in the bathroom, changing out of her Chucks into heels and popping pills once her lipstick is set. Until now, I thought booze was her poison; this late revelation makes more clear her paranoia about the drug testing. She never gets to the date (or sad night alone at the bar, whatever); her and Miles get thrown on a plane to an undisclosed location by the CIA to observe an interrogation. The guy being interrogated is linked to Q’teb, the man the group chose to have assassinated earlier in the season. Well, turns out he may have survived and this guy in custody knows the truth. Of course, the only way to get the truth is to torture it out of him, which brings up an interesting moral conundrum for both Tanya and Miles. It’s an interesting plot turn, very real and quite serious, and an interesting yet not preachy charge to the audience to think about the subject. We’re also posed with the conundrum of Tanya trying to find cigarettes. But with her being an attractive female in a bunker full of Marines, I’m not sure why she doesn’t just shut up and go bum one. The torture scene is more true to life than her whining and pining for sweet, sweet nicotine. Even less believable is that, upon her return, Spangler doesn’t fire her ass for failing her drug test. This is the threat that haunts college graduates into lives of monastic sobriety. Spangler assures Tanya that she will be fine, she’s not the first to fall into the throws of addiction, and she will be taken care of. He expects to have her at API for a long time. I’m jealous of this outcome.

During the interrogation process, Miles and Tanya learn that Tanaz (the woman from the Beck wedding) is a CIA intel source and also has connections to Q’teb. In fact, she’s probably a double agent, feeding the CIA lies while she funnels money to Q’teb and keeps his whereabouts secret. Miles explodes over this via videophone (goddamit, now that Beyonce Gaga song is stuck in my head, I hate you VMAs) with Spangler, Grant, Will and Kale back in the U.S. Spangler shows his appreciation for the team. He’s putting up a good front, hiding his connections to James Wheeler and Atlas MacDowell.
Later, Spangler attends an old white men war profiteer’s breakfast where James is asked if Katherine is still a threat. James tells them to stand down, that she’s not asking any more questions. Later, after his 3 pm BJ, James notices he’s being watched not-so-subtly from an adjacent building. The next day, he anonymously mails Katherine the black and white photo of kids on the beach, with a hand-drawn four-leaf clover on the back. Katherine opening this mail is the only scene with her, which makes me wonder if her narrative gets the focus next week. At this point it should, as we’ve connected API to Wheeler and Atlas MacDowell. Spangler’s on the phone list there, as is Edward Roy, one of the shady men Will’s been trying to research. They’re also involved in a private security firm and the Citizens Institute. It’s all one big corporation involving ex-military and CIA and all sorts of higher-ups from the political and intelligence realms. The conspiracy lies in the offices of 125 Gansevoort.

The episode wraps up with one last meeting between Kale and Will on the API roof. Will’s getting frustrated with Kale’s intrusion into his life; Will feels like Kale’s stonewalling his investigation. Kale’s also one of the few higher-ups at API not on the Atlas MacDowell phone list, which gives him some credibility. Kale believes that Atlas had something to do with David’s death but can’t offer anything more to back up his claim. Will’s frustrated by this. He goes home and takes the frustration out on the bugs in his thermostat. Will, not content to be the only New Yorker without a truly harrowing bug infestation, crushes the electronic variety with a screwdriver. But it’s going to take more than that to make the spooks go away.

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.

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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