Rubicon Review: "The First Day of School"

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After a terrific first hour (follow this link for our pilot episode review), Sunday's second installment of Rubicon began with Will Travers standing on the edge of the roof of his building.

By the end of the episode, when Will finds himself in the same spot, we are right there with him, on the edge.

Two hours into its first season, Rubicon is fast-becoming the Must See show we had hoped for. And it is doing this by moving at a slow, measured and calculated pace.

Will has decided to take David’s place as head of the team, and half of the focus of the episode is on the awkwardness Will feels in taking over as leader.

The cold, creepy Spangler, who demands intel on a man named Yuri who may be dealing weapons with ex-KGB members, does not make this transition any easier. Nor does the inability of Miles, Tanya or Grant to gather this requested intel.

Will Travers Photo

Will finally takes to his leadership role and angrily demands that his team get him the results he’s looking for. During his transition, he looks to Maggie for support, which she seemingly gives.

However, she meets with Ingram in a hotel to give Will’s boss inside information about the team – Grant is jealous of Will, Miles is distracted, and Tanya may have a drinking problem.

While Will may be uncomfortable dealing with his new responsibilities of overseeing a team of envious, distracted, disinegenous problem drinkers, he is much more comfortable while working on the other focus of the episode: piecing together the puzzle left behind in the wake of David’s death.

With the help of Hal, a brain working in the basement of the facility, Will learns that the crossword puzzle code was put into place once before, in 1983.

He then works with Ed to break a code David left behind (using the book David left him, Will finds the phrase “They hide in plain sight”), and learns that David and Ed worked on the original crossword code. As Will works at the code, he learns from Hal that the crossword puzzle is a “Go Code” that is used to initiate revenge killings.

While Will works through his own code, Katherine Rhumor, the newly widowed wife of Tom Rhumor, learns that her husband changed his will two days before his death to leave her a company and a townhouse she did not know existed. She initially believes that Tom used to townhouse to cheat on her – even confiding this information to a friend of Tom’s who we know to be involved with Spangler – but as she searches through his office, she finds a four-leaf clover icon.

As Will continues to put together the pieces David left behind, we see that he is being followed home from work. As the episode ends, we see two men watching him from a nearby office building, the entire floor vacant except for their binoculars. One asks the other why they are watching Will.

It is a question we now know the answer to, as Rubicon continues to slowly build its masterpiece: we watch because we want to find out what happens next.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (22 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


"Rubicon" is seductive--with movie-quality writing and directing. Most TV shows, even good ones, tend to pad the action a little with unnecessary dialague, etc., to fill time and reduce the number of different scenes. This show cuts deep into the scene to keep the narrative taut and the viewer on edge even though the pacing is slow. That type of productive is expensive but is consistent with everything about the show. It's first-class all the way. I find Ingram to be an extremely interesting character. Sleek and spare with lethal air of a viper. He wears minimalist, expensive clothing to show off bulging neck muscles and acts like he would just as soon slit your throat as shake hands. Sort of like an assisin called in from the cold. Maggie is also interesting. She is obviously being used to try to seduce Will for Ingram's purposes. The low-cut dress she wore on Will's first day as boss would have certainly made my day--but he didn't react. She seems like a nice girl but is being forced into being a Delila. Rubican looks like a contender for the last spot in the pantheon of the 10 greatest TV shows of all time. Mine now includes "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Hill Street Blues," "Miami Vice," "LA Law," "Seinfeld," "The Sopranos," and "Mad Men."

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