Rubicon Season Finale Review: A Major Letdown

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Unfortunately, Rubicon saved its worst for last.

In my review of "Wayward Sons," I wondered if this show would have been better off with a finale that essentially let Truxton Spangler and company get away with their crimes. Last night's episode, "You Can Never Win," made that answer clear: most definitely.

Season Finale Shot

Most of the hour was spent watching Will put a sloppy bow on the season-long conspiracy. Following weeks of intrigue built up solely based on intelligence gathered and analyzed within one room of API, Will and Miles discovered the key piece of evidence against Atlas McDowell... by standing around and letting a hacker type a bunch of commands into a computer?!?

Aside from making for boring television, this scene ran counter to everything I've loved about Rubicon. It's been a slow-simmering drama based on character interaction and the lack of high-tech gadgets. Remember on the premiere when we were introduced to Will as a genius who could toss out answers to any question on the spot?

It's been awhile since we really saw this side to him, hasn't it? He's been trying to piece together Truxton's role for a few weeks now, but we haven't really been witness to any impressive displays of intelligence analysis - and discovering McDowell's connection to Donald Bloom via the use of a computer hack felt like a major letdown for a show built on such an intriguing world of overly-stressed individuals and their limited use of such technology.

Even more bothersome, however, was the death of Katherine Rhumor. Just think about how much time has been spent on this character, only for her to be killed before even handing Will the DVD of her husband and David.

It's important to remember that Rubicon actually changed hands after just one episode, as the original showrunner exited and Henry Bromwell was brought in. He made an effort to expand the series beyond a mere conspiracy thriller, using the lives of API employees as a character study. It was the right choice and I've been a big fan throughout season one.

But Bromwell had plenty of time to cut a number of Katherine scenes. Instead, she was featured throughout numerous episodes, only for me to now wonder why. Her death on the finale felt more like a waste than a tragic occurrence.

Then, we come to Andy. I was extraordinarily disappointed to learn that she actually did play a role in the conspiracy (although it's still unclear how). Wouldn't it have been better for this woman to just have entered Will's world and been forced to react to the circumstances within in... as opposed to the leap in logic the show is asking viewers to take in understanding just how David had arranged for her to keep an eye on things?

Because AMC has not green-lighted a second season yet, this twist and Truxton's unknown fate were likely the only choices Bromwell had in order to tie up season one and keep doors open for season two. I get that. But taken on its own, the finale was a letdown on multiple levels, as one of the smarter shows on television limped to the finish line in a sloppy, rushed manner.

Review

Editor Rating: 1.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (130 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Hate to say it guys, but didn't the tone of the final episode strike you as a bit weird? To me it felt like a series of deleted scenes, nothing approaching the quality of the season as a whole. It should have finished on the 12th episode. The 13th was just an excuse to wrap up the season after they found they had got a continuation, tie up the loose ends. It was horrible. Kale's speech to Miles in the office about 'cheering up' said it all. I f**king loved this show, why did it get cancelled?!

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OK, I loved it at the beginning and found it falling apart by the end. What I truly love about it is the level of paranoia - Will sounds out of his mind when expaining things to Miles. "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after me." C'mon people - anyone who did not expect the artist girlfriend Andy to be part of it is not paranoid enough. First and biggest question - why is Spangler pushing for Will and crew to investigate and expose his own dastardly deeds??? Second - why didn't David Hadas leave him a full set of notes in the Norton instead of a weird set of codes??? {I know - it would have been too easy...}

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I totally agree, the last episode is a disapointment.
First, the caracter Andy lost all it's deepth by getting in the conspiracy. She is no longer the cute artist next door which tease Will and love to play with the spy world she discover... She became a Spy wich is somehow Will's neighbor... Can you beleave it? From the star she was there ( the adress is given by a man dead at the begining ) and suddenly it is just too convenient. She was so cute when innocent... what a lost.
As for the end, it suggest the crew hopes to have a second season... To bad for them, the show was canceled. Lucky us, there wasn't enought material for a second one... The conspiracy allready revealed, with or without the CD wich should have been discovered next to Trumor's body by the police... Will linked Atlas twice, as he already did it when discovering Bloom and Atlas, then he again, with the plane later... The file should be full-proof then... As for the API director, being expelled from Atlas, we can guess he is out of the picture, going either way to commit suicide, get killed, get arrested or coorperate to bury is partners. Finaly, i must say it is quite ridiculous for a powerfull group as Atlas ( wich plays end game economy, wars and all ) to have only ONE assassin to send to Will... Being aware of Will existence and of his knowledge, it would have been more logical for them to send an army to erase him in 1 hour. This could have been a great show, but wanting to make it to a second season without ending this conspiracy was a huge mistake. I would have to follow Will in a new adventure, but sadly, the show doesn't have any more credibility.

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Hey LV, Must be frustrating for you since you lack the intellect to appreciate Rubicon. Guess you can go back to watching Dr. Who with rest of you losers. Sincerely, TD

Anja

Yeah Giubbo! more fans!!!!! fans of the shoe, rise and fight for the new season (haha...) no, really, I WANT A NEW SEASON more Rubicooooooooon!

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This show is a classic example of great potential but never realizing it (and reviewing many of the above comments about how clever the show is just demonstrates why it wont get better --this is no condor). It all starts off clever but fails to self check itself for multiple inconsistencies in plot and charachter (for another show with the same problem watch "Damages"). It also should have been left as a short series and not tried to extend it to further episodes (just like 'prison break' tried to do and failed) The hook with Will as super genius and ability to see connections in the spy world was brilliant and well acted in the first episode -- and by the last episode he couldnt solve a nancy drew mystery. What part of someone is trying to kill you and is following you is so difficult for him to understand-- he may not be a field agent but when is it wise to let the fly swatter know that you are the fly in the room. The part with kateb and figuring out the double agent issue and the alias of the american traitor was also well done and should have been the main focus -- the season/show should have ended with its resolution. to list just some of the problems as i see it 1- the four leaf clover -- if one kills themselves presumably to avoid their family from being hurt -why not just get better security-or hire someone to kill the other guys-- these guys are multi millionaires arent they? And why wouldn't Katherine have security already or hire different security at some point? 2- why wasnt truxton suprised by Will's appearance the morning after he tried to have him killed. 3- What was the deal with Will's girlfriend Andie-- they have her actions so ambiguous -- e.g. She doesnt want to bring Katherine to the meeting with Will (b/c she was hired by Mr Rhumor to protect her)but then she leaves her alone so she can get assassinated and does nothing after it happens? 4- How is there a message from David on the tape talking about Will -- how in the world could anyone foresee katherine meeting Will and the two of them deciphering the clues to find the tape ever-- let alone in time to stop the impending tragedy. -- and if you wanted to stop the terrorist act -- why not just directly tip off the police/fbi/press etc directly. 5- Why doesnt kale just turn in/kill truxton as he must already suspect/know that he had david killed and tried to have will killed-- he is also likely also aware of all the other conspiracies that made truxton so powerful and rich. 6 -- What is up with all the nonsense with hidden clues that lead to nothingness== the whole thing with tearing down a motorcycle to discover a clue which says nothing important is rediculous (trying to be clever for its own sake accomplishes the opposite effect) In summary, the show started great and was a downhill rollercoaster ride for the most part leading to a lousy conclusion. will take much better editing to bring me back next year.

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I loved the slow pace and lack of high tec. Very cerebral. Great acting, believable characters and storyline. When I saw the show I didnt know it was only scheduled for 13 episodes. Slow pace and only 13 episodes-not a good mix. I get it-test the waters-but I really like the way they are slowly unfolding the characters. Maybe they had a "oh shit-its the last episodes we gotta cram as much as possible into the episode moment". The finale just seemed like another episode. So I was surprised (disappointed) when I realized it was the finale. 
Hopefully-there will be a second season and it will run at natural speed. Great the way they killed off Miranda Richardson-a walk in the park, an `accidental bump into"-very scary.

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Well, I thougt from the start one of the two protagonists would have died. What decepted me is de fact that Will had to know he was intercepted in the API building. So, he is responsible of Katherine's death. About Andy, i tihnk everyone knew form the first sight she was involved in some way, now we know she's working for the good side, but there is a clue: does Kale Ingram know of her existence or not? I think there could be no other finale than this. Someone had to die, or the bad ones where not bad enough. on the other hand, a full denunciation of Spangler acts would have benn too simple. There are too much questions wich couldn't be solved in just 45 minutes but the conspiration was solved way before. Here's the situation: Bad ones know that Will knows, but they think he doesn't know enough, he missed the decisive proof, Kale is an infiltrated agent who plays on two tables, and David didn't trust him (his message was for Will, but he told Kale the crossword appeared, whitout sayng a word about Will's work).
Second season please. Masterpiece.

Anja

and of course....James Badge Dale is the heart of the show, loved him since the monent I saw him in Pacific:) I adore that geekiness:)

Anja

OK, I think people are way too hooked on what a season finale is supposed to be, it wasn't the best episode of the show, but I believe it can get better (and it isn't bad, I love the slow pace), if nothing else, aren't the characters great though (considering the relatively little dialogue and screen time they are really exquisite) I think Dallas Roberts is a discovery, he's excellent, so is Arliss Howard (his Kale Ingram is hot, creepy, and ...hot and coooool and hopefully a good guy in the end), Meggie (well, I don't really like her character), Tanya is a multi layered character, Grant is getting more and more likable, Spangler's just creepy and evil but great at hiding it behind those stutters.... A GOOD SHOW (refreshing)