It’s taken me nearly 4 months, and a great deal of willpower, but, as of this morning, I have finally watched the rest of Rubicon.
I paused at the end of episode 3 – we had other things to watch, and, whatever Rubicon was, it was never urgent – but started watching again a few weeks ago in the fallow period, determined to finish the job and finish the story. After all, I wanted to know what the 4-leaf clover was about, what Atlas McDowell was, who the crossword puzzle was a signal for, why so many of the male characters had such strange names….
So, over the past couple of weeks, I soldiered on through what felt like endless episode after episode of atmosphere and ambience, accidentally wiping episode 11 before I had the chance to see it (no matter), growing more and more frustrated at the pace of the show, but more and more insistent on seeing it through. There was a good story in there, dammit. There were characters in there I cared about. Bathed in golden, 70’s light, gazing at a stylish hybrid of modern and retro sets, and drowning slowly in a narrative half as fast as it should have been (I watched several wordless, lengthy scenes at double-speed – they worked better); I wanted to know what happened in the end.
Did I find out the answers? Some of them. To my satisfaction? No. The body count was high, the resolution factor low, and while we found out who was behind the main plot, the climactic showdown just left me going “Yes, but then what?!?!” I sat through hours of this, fighting ennui and the urge to give up at the beginning of every 48 minute instalment, to be left with a “then what”?
My own fault, of course. With a show cancelled after one season, you take the risk it won’t all wrap up nicely, and there were some rewards along the way. This was clever, dense and ambitious tv, and I applaud them for giving it a go. But, ultimately, it was also a disappointment. Over on the Torchwood thread, unpopculter Tim has pointed out that Miracle Day might have worked much better as a 5 part series. Rubicon too – it could have been a crisp, exciting and edgy 5-part paranoia classic. Instead, it was a missed opportunity. A beautifully lit, well-acted, and intriguingly plotted one, but a missed opportunity nonetheless.