John Weir’s team now knows that Crowley is excerting pressure on Presidential candidate Senator Evers and that she. in turn, is proposing a bill that will co-ordinate the nation’s security levels and empower Crowley to gain unprecedented access to everyday people’s lives and secrets. Getting close to Evers isn’t a problem, but convincing her to help is another. Crowley has her under his thumb with significant blackmail material kept in a secure vault. Evers says she will help John, but only if he gets the icriminating evidence first.
So begins a cat-and-mouse game , not only inside the vault itself, but with the flow of information.
And elsewhere, the Intern sets in motion a series of events that could threaten John’s plans…
It’s almost obligatory that any spy-fi concept has a checklist of elements it gets around to using. Eventually it has to have a ‘caper’ factor, that penetrating an impenetrable vault with style, skill, sleight of hand and a little luck and things going wrong in the moment to crank up the tension. The Playbook is Rabbit Hole‘s entry into that situation and though this aspect largely plays out as you’d expect (something, ironically, unexpected for a show famous for swerves) the art of getting to that point entertains enough that you enjoy the templated tension.
The security facility is one of those tv/movie creations that are impossibly imposing and yet simultaneously strong and weak in their operations, full of trigger-traps, continued observation and sterile corridors (which look like the complex under the X-Men‘s mansion in X2) but are then defeated by the merest distractions of its personnel at key moments. Again, the show’s superior editing comes into play as it cuts backwards and forwards between setting up the heist and carrying it out, as well as intercutting other threats. Fun, yes…realistic, no, probably not.
Another familiar element to conspiracy-outing is the expendable ‘Manchurian Candidate‘, a political figure who is playing power games but is ultimately a fall-guy for a bigger bad. Unfortunately, in this case, it’s Senator Evers (played by Megan Follows, probably best known for the title role in the well-received series of television movies based on the Anne of Green Gables books and far more recently as Catherine de’ Medici in Reign). We really only met her in passing last week and even then only on a news report as she edged her way towards a Presidential run. Here we find out that she’s definitely under the sway of Crowley but only because he has damning blackmail material he can use against her (so bad, she says, that anyone in her family would change their surname if it got out). Due to Homm’s knowledge of the area and his liking for fast-food stands, John Weir’s team work out that the incriminating suitcase of documents is locked in a specific safe-deposit bank used by the powerful and nefarious and work out an elaborate way to dupe their way in and switch materials. None of them trust Evers (or her head of security Lanneman, played by Eddie G – to keep their word of co-operation, but – as you’d expect – put in some failsafes to enforce it. But the minute Evers’ schedule changes and she has to delay a hand-off, you know this is the equivalent of the ‘Goose being cooked’ and that her days are numbered.
The same could be said for Eliza Wells (Maia Jae Bastidas) the junkie girlfriend of Kyle (The Intern) played by Walt Klink. I thought for one second that it might turn out that she was also an operative, sent to kill Kyle when his job was done, but it goes the slightly safer and more obvious route of her being a patsy for the Evers assassination. Creating and socially-isolating a person to believably be your fall-guy through gaslighting and manipulation is one thing, but relying on a radicalised drug-user to be that fall-guy seems risky and it’s less easy to see quite how they could guarantee a kill-shot from her. (There were other operatives there of course, but for ballistics-sake she still had to be a believable culprit etc.).
We are led to believe that Peter Weir’s manipulative and ruthless un-named mover-and-shaker is Crowley, though it’s worth noting that hasn’t been explicitly said and it’s possible – even likely – that the show will reveal (a la 24‘s habit of switcheroo mid-season) that the guy we think is the season’s big bad is purely middle-management. (There’s a flashback to Ben when he was a younger operative, partnered by another man, one that the IMDb credits as ‘Mark Winnick as Young Crowley’ so it seems likely Winnick and Weir play the same character). Equally, we already know there’s something else going on with Meta Golding’s ever-capable Hailey who is taking orders from an unseen boss from time-to-time, so what is her true agenda and loyalty? (Seriously, at this point in Rabbit Hole, John Weir could actually be a brainwashed Jack Bauer engaging in a VR manipulation in Russian custody and I’m not sure I’d even blink!).
Still playing with us, the last few seconds make us want to believe that Valence is possibly still alive. In a show like Rabbit Hole where the remit is ‘they’re not dead until you’ve seen the body and even when you’ve seen the body. are they really dead?‘, anything seems possible, but we did see Valence step off a balcony in the first episode and mere seconds later a body hit the ground and I’m not sure the show could explain that away even with a suspension of disbelief. But why did John Weir keep trying Valence’s message-link, despite seeing the fatal fall himself and the show has just done the ‘the team’s dead / the team’s alive / no, actually they are dead‘ spin last week, so it’s probably wise to be ‘skeptical, yet verify ‘in that regard.
Especially with only two episodes to go…
- Production Design / VFX8