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Skullduggery in High Places

By Adrienne Saia Isaac | TV | October 18, 2010 |

By Adrienne Saia Isaac | TV | October 18, 2010 |

Well, “Rubicon” ended tonight. And although I fully expected it to go out with a bang, it went out with a whimper. With no network confirmation of a second season (at least at 11:15 pm, MST, as I write this) and few questions answered, this could be one of the most poorly conceived finales in recent memory. Maybe I need to watch it again before I make that judgment, but I really expected more, especially after kinetic pace of the last few episodes. I definitely expected Spangler to kill himself by the end and I wanted more of Kale Ingram. I wanted to know how the hell Andi got involved in this whole debacle and why she couldn’t be this cool all season. Throughout the night I made note of the incredulous expressions of most of the cast during the episode. Now I, too, sit here incredulous: Is that it?

Spangler commands the API staff to singularly focus on finding the culprits behind the explosion in Galveston and puts Will’s team in charge. He wants the truth, a sentiment he can’t deliver without a pregnant pause and a nod to his own shortcomings in the truth department. Will’s also obsessed with the truth, but less concerned with Galveston than with the big picture and Atlas’s involvement. Kale tries to instill the importance of figuring out Galveston to Will and tells him to back off the other stuff for now. He does, however, push Will in the direction of Bloom’s apartment in Williamsburg; it’s not certain whether this was intentional, but methinks that nothing Kale Ingram does is by accident. Will, being pigheaded and somewhat arrogant (two adjectives that a fellow Atlas member will use to describe Spangler later), refuses to heed Kale’s advice and pushes forth with his investigation into the connection between Atlas and David’s murder. To Will, his mission to find David’s killer trumps everything, even if it means putting others in danger.

Will breaks another of Kale’s commandments when he disables the owl bug in his office and proceeds to tell Miles that Atlas has been manipulating intel over the past 20 years. In this case, Spangler is pushing the U.S. to war with Iran. The forced connections that API has made to Iran mirror the real ones that Will makes to link Atlas and Spangler to David’s death. All the connections seem to have come far too easily (this episode, mostly via Hal, who previously wanted nothing to do with Will’s extracurricular sleuthing). The timing of this revelation to Miles felt odd to me: Miles is already super strung out and his and Will’s relationship hasn’t been the tightest lately. Hell, Miles hasn’t even been the MVP of his analysis team. In the end, the exchange seems to hurt Miles more than it ends up helping Will.

Miles isn’t the only one who’s hurt during this episode. By the end, Katherine ends up dead in the middle of Central Park, with both Will and Andi (W.T. F.) shitting the bed on protecting her. Katherine was attempting to deliver her copy of “Meet Me in St. Louis” to Will, as it contains a message from Tom and David. It’s that message that leads Katherine to Andi’s apartment, but we have no idea how Andi and Tom are connected, nor why he thought that Andi could protect Katherine. Before she could give Will the DVD, the black Atlas cohort bumps into her, wearing gloves coated with some type of murder-on-contact substance, and she collapses. Will hovers over her dead body then runs away to API. He then whines to Maggie about merely wanting answers and she kills herself trying to console him. I don’t know how she can just sit and baby him while Katherine is dead. He is almost completely unlikeable by this point, and equal to Spangler in his hubris. Will lays against Maggie’s chest like a child, which is in itself kind of weird, and that’s all we get from the two of them. No answer about the origins of their relationship, nor any indication of where it is going.

This is just one of the glaring unanswered questions at the end of the season. Another one is: Who the fuck is Andi? I really expected them to give us a glimpse into her double life earlier on in the season, rather than suddenly have her be identified by Tom as the only one who can protect Katherine. When the hell did that happen? Also, when did Tom and David suddenly get into cahoots with each other? OH — and one more — since when the fuck is Tanya a published author?? She quits API, a seemingly stupid move on behalf of the writers, as I found Tanya to be one of the more likable characters. So, what, we end her storyline on a weak note? This is the danger of leaving about 9 cliffhanging plot elements without the guarantee of a second season.

The only thing we are guaranteed is that Spangler retains his throne as the king of Not Giving a Fuck. For reals. He promotes Grant and demotes Will without really consulting either man beforehand. He doesn’t give a fuck that the other Atlas members find him to be a liability and are cutting him off after 20 years of business (and 50 years of friendship). And he could really not give a fuck that Will’s got his Atlas/Hadas game figured out. The best scenes in the episode are the ones that feature our ol’ pal Truxton: his interchange with his old Atlas friend and the one with Will on the roof. By the second scene, Spangler’s received the four leaf clover. Will tries to play hardball and ends up looking completely lame as Spangler rebuffs his threats. “Do it,” Spangler says, twice, when Will threatens to go public. He could give a fuck because he knows he’s going to die. But we have zero confirmation of this fact, as he’s alive by the end of the episode. He leaves the clover with Will, alerting Will to his fate but also showing that he’ll be immune to Will’s whistleblowing. It doesn’t matter if he goes public or not; either way Will loses. He’s too late to prevent tragedies (David, the train, Galveston) and has his hands dirtied by killing Bloom and abandoning Katherine, so his credibility is questionable. Spangler wins this one, even though he’s been charged with killing himself.

I seriously expected a [completely unrelated show spoiler alert] “Breaking Bad”-type finale with a jumpcut to black and a gunshot. But, no. Nothing. And I don’t even like the main character enough to want to know what happens to him, but I wanted answers about Katherine, Tom and Andi. As the unsettling trailer for AMC’s horror movie marathon played, I asked myself: “Wait… Is this it?”

So, AMC: Is this it?

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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