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Rubicon Recap: Keep the Ends Out

August 10, 2010

This episode is just as difficult to recap than last week’s, and it’s largely due to the same reasons. I still don’t understand the significance of the Yankee code nor the running theme of Grant being among the worst US presidents. Maybe that’s the point, but if we’re supposed to figure the codes out for ourselves, well they solve them almost as fast as they’re introduced.

I understand that Will’s being followed, and that’s about the only plot point I can follow. There’s a motorcycle that apparently was willed to Will from his old boss David that Will passes on to David’s son, and they’re working on it, and Will is helping to repair it and discovers a hidden note from David and takes it to An Old Wise Black Man who immediately deciphers it.

Back at the office, another character mentions that he’s named after Ulysses S. Grant, which starts a long debate on how Grant is one of the five worst presidents ever. Meanwhile, Will tries to figure out who’s tailing him, starts a fight with the guy, and then discovers that the guy is actually an FBI agent when his boss tells him as such. And evidently he may not be, as by the end of the episode Will’s boss seems to imply that  the tail was a plant from the company to “test” Will. And I think Miranda Richardson goes to a bar and lies to someone about not knowing about her husband’s boathouse.

In any event, I’m really struggling to maintain interest or care.

That said, I didn’t feel as lost this week as last, but, again, the plot is still pretty incomprehensible, even after reading AMC’s recap. I watched it. I went to Wikipedia to look up each character’s name and reread both Wiki and AMC’s recaps of previous episodes, read the Onion’s AV Club recaps, and I still have no idea what’s going on.

I’m willing to grant my time and attention and admit my own failings, and my thesis and specialty in college was Shakespeare, but when I watch Rubicon, I feel exhausted. Not by the material, but because while I’m trying to wade through cryptics for 41 minutes, I’m asking myself, Why should I care? Everyone else covering this show has been struggling to keep track of everyone else’s names, much less what’s going on with their stories. And yet they’re all trying to stick with this as if it’s going to pay off.

I’m not sure it is. The driving force of Rubicon so far has been to introduce mystery after clouded mystery, at the expense of everything else. Now, I love mysteries, and while I have a lot of reservations regarding TV drama, the ones I do enjoy—Veronica Mars, Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, even Nero Wolfe—are all mysteries, but Rubicon doesn’t seem to make much of its mysteries, or at least so far isn’t interested in giving the viewer any satisfaction for the week. After each episode, so far, I’ve just felt empty and angered at the messiness of it all.

I still don’t know the characters, whom they are or what they do. At least if I knew something about them the mysteries could be somewhat interesting, even as teases. But so far, it’s just painful to watch.


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