‘Rubicon’: What it feels like to be in the middle of an ‘operation’

This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Miles prophetically realized the API team was tracking a real-time operation in the Sept. 26 episode, and it became a grislier reality in Sunday night’s episode, as Spangler dropped a dime on Will, Kale called in the body snatchers and Kateb, who we now know is a homegrown, conspiracy-sponsored operative, entered the U.S. through Mexico. ‘Rubicon’ watchers, it’s all coming together.

Or have I said that before?

Well, this time, it is. Two more episodes left, and here’s what we know about the four-leaf-clover/Fisher’s Island conspiracy: They are businessmen who use API ‘white papers’ or global intelligence research and reporting to plot catastrophic events that they then profit from, by the zillions, in the stock market. Spangler is pulling the strings -- he had David Hadas killed to continue the decades-long operation and arranged Sunday night for Donald Bloom to kill Will in his apartment and make it look like a drug overdose. The murder was all going according to plan until Will broke free from Bloom’s strangle grip, groped for the gun Hadas left him and shot Bloom in the forehead.

Will called Kale, who arrived at Will’s place followed by a very special haz-mat guy. Kale led a traumatized Will into the bathroom and wrote ‘Don’t Come Out’ on a piece of paper, then shut Will in. As the camera focused on Will’s shellshocked face, we heard the whine of an electric saw from the other room.

Let us now praise the glorious performance, throughout ‘Rubicon,’ of playwright Michael Cristofer as Truxton Spangler. He had some great scenes Sunday night -- after pushing the ‘last call’ button on Will’s office phone and hearing the Fisher’s Island Public Library answer, he bashed Will’s phone again and again on the desktop. He described in a sorrowful way, as if it really were an awful shame, the cover story for Will’s death to the man he was ordering to kill him. Making a late-night swing through Will’s office and indulging in a prolonged reverie about Will’s mentor, David Hadas -- the man he killed, along with scores of innocents, by arranging a commuter-train signal error. (James Badge Dale had a great moment in that scene, too, when Spangler invited him to ‘sit with me,’ and Dale slowly, gingerly, loathingly, descended into an armchair as though the seat was covered with flesh-eating microbes.)


‘Great work,’ Spangler sincerely told Will upon hearing that the team had figured out that Kateb was actually a New Jersey guy named Joseph Purcell who supposedly turned Al Qaeda. ‘You did a good job at API,’ he went on, and the past tense was hardly lost on Will. Later, upon summoning Grand to his office, when he believed Will had been killed, he poured them exotic Scotch (‘single malt’ is Scotch, right?). Grant glanced at his watch when he thought that Spangler, reclining in his desk chair, had dozed off. ‘Am I boring you?’ Spangler said without turning.

And Katharine! Katharine found Tom Rhumor’s suicide note, an abject apology that appeared to include a coded message. ‘I hope you’ll continue to celebrate our anniversary,’ it said in closing. What does that mean?

Study questions before next week’s episode:

-- Kale Ingram: He appears to serve Spangler, but he is the only friend Will has in his extreme circumstances. Explain his tangled loyalties, and make a case for whether Will should -- or should not under any circumstances -- trust him.

-- Exactly how will Spangler derail Miles, Grant, Julia and Tanya’s race to locate Purcell and get to him before Purcell pulls off the massive catastrophe that Spangler has hired him to do?

-- ‘Rubicon’: second season or no? If yes, explain how this one will end, who will still be alive and how the writers will set up the next.

-- Kelly Scott

Above: Miranda Richardson and James Badge Dale in ‘Rubicon.’ Credit: Craig Blakenhorn/AMC