“Intelligence” delivered another stellar hour of television this week with their third episode, “Mei Chen Returns”. In this episode, Gabriel’s chip is hacked and the Cyber Command team quickly realizes that not only has Mei Chen survived the surgery that we witnessed in the Pilot episode to implant a chip similar to Gabriel’s in her brain, but her chip also appears to be even more powerful than Gabriel’s. Unlike Gabriel, however, Mei Chen has no interest in using her chip for good; instead, she uses her chip first to taunt Gabriel by invading his cyber renders, but her ultimate goal is to steal the technology behind the chip and sell it so that it can be mass produced and create a new species. As Gabriel aptly proclaims, she is one ‘crazy bitch’ and so Lillian and her team have their work cut out for them: they need Gabriel’s help to stop Mei Chen, but to not take Gabriel “offline” is to leave him vulnerable to the mindgames that Mei Chen seems to enjoy playing with him.
The highlight of this episode for me was watching Lillian at odds with the leaders of some of the other federal agencies. She held her own quite well against her counterparts and even took the CIA Director to task for daring to spy on her agency. Her hard-nosed approach to dealing with them also countered nicely with her staunch defense of Gabriel and his right to mourn his recently deceased wife and her complete faith that he will come back to them and do his job. She might be tough as nails because she has to be, but like Gabriel, she is not a machine. I do still have a lingering question about Lillian’s motivation for not telling Gabriel the truth about Amelia, especially since his unanswered questions are obviously plaguing him and his cyber renders, but I’m sure she has her reasons and that all will eventually be revealed.
In addition to my continuing love for Marg’s character, other highlights of the episode for me were Jameson, Nelson, and Dr. Cassidy. I think Lillian’s boys makes a great team, and I especially enjoy Nelson’s humorous one-liners and his enthusiasm when he’s getting his ‘geek on’: “Booyah!, I’m in!” I also enjoyed the unexpected comic relief that the return of our ‘fat friend’ Amos and his four buckets of fried chicken provided. Those unexpected moments of humor interspersed throughout all of these otherwise intense moments are probably what I enjoy the most about “Intelligence”. It’s just a fun hour of television and I look forward to tuning in each week.
As blown away as I was by the Intelligence series premiere, I thought that “Red X”, the second offering from its freshman season, was an even stronger episode. Packed with action and full of plot twists, the episode kept me on the edge of my seat from its opening sequence to the final scene.
I especially enjoyed that we were immediately plunged into some pretty major character development now that we’ve gotten through the business of explaining where everyone fits into the picture at CyberCommand. I don’t want to give anything away for those who haven’t seen the episode yet, but let’s just say we have three very strong personalities in Lillian, Gabriel, and Riley, which leads to many tense moments. I think it’s safe to say that Lillian and Riley will have their hands full each episode trying to protect Gabriel, both from terrorists and from himself.
Marg continues to impress, no surprise there. She’s very convincing in her role as the head of a federal government agency and I just love Lillian. She is downright fierce when she needs to be (i.e. when she needs to reel Gabriel back in), but she can also dial it down and be quite nurturing, such as in her scene with the little boy in the episode’s closing moments. I think she’s going to be a character with a lot of depth and I look forward to learning more about her throughout the season.
Thanks to the cast and crew for another entertaining hour of television. I can’t wait to see the next new episode, “Mei Chen Returns”, which airs on Monday, January 20 at 10PM ET.
Click thumbnails below to visit the screen capture album for this episode…
Here’s the interview clip from Marg’s appearance on CBS’ “The Talk” earlier today. Special thanks to Sharon for putting together the clip for me. Summary: Marg discusses her hit new CBS show “Intelligence” and playing Lillian Strand, the director of the United States Cyber Command. She also reveals co-star Josh Holloway’s on set nickname: “We call him ‘peaches’…I think because he’s from Georgia!”
CBS has also just made the complete episode available as well, so you can watch that at CBS.com.
I’ll keep my remarks somewhat brief since I’m not a professional reviewer or writer and because I don’t want to spoil anyone who hasn’t yet watched the premiere, but suffice it to say, I LOVED it! From the opening sequence, it’s just packed with non-stop action, spectacular special effects, strong female characters, witty dialogue, believable chemistry between the major characters, and just a damn good storyline. I knew “Intelligence” was going to be good, but it far exceeded my expectations.
The much anticipated return of Marg to primetime television was, of course, my primary reason for tuning in to watch “Intelligence” and she does not disappoint! Marg turns in a stellar performance as Lillian Strand. As the head of CyberCom, Lillian leads the fight to protect the U.S. from its enemies and she takes her job very seriously. I really liked the complexity of Lillian and the way Marg portrayed her: she’s a total badass – no-nonsense, take charge, wicked smart, tough as nails (and let’s not forget sexy as hell!). Yet, at the same time, she clearly has empathy for Gabriel Vaughn’s plight as he is trying to discover the truth about his wife, even though it makes him reckless and insubordinate at times. I also liked that there are already several teasers regarding Lillian’s personal life — seems like there are lots of possiblities for interesting storylines to further develop Marg’s character as we move through the season. I don’t think any of Marg’s fans will be disappointed in this role. It’s a great fit for her.
Congratulations to Marg and the cast and crew of “Intelligence” for their much deserved ratings victory for such a strong series premiere. 16.6 million viewers tuned in to make “Intelligence” the “most watched new series of the season” (Credit: Intelligence CBS News Blog).
Marg’s final episode of CSI, “Willows in the Wind”, aired on AXN España this week. As part of their farewell to Catherine Willows, the Spanish television website teleprograma.tv posted the following interview with Marg. In some respects, it is similar in content to what we have seen in other ‘farewell’ interviews, but it is still definitely worth a read, especially for her comments regarding her former castmates.
Any errors in translation from Spanish to English are my own.
The Final Case for Willows
After 12 seasons, Marg Helgenberger wants to focus on his family and the theater.
By Juan Silvestre
It was not an easy decision and took months to make, but Marg Helgenberger felt it was time to turn the page, and so, after 11 ½ years, she decided to leave ‘CSI: Las Vegas’. Tonight AXN airs the emotional farewell of criminalist Catherine Willows.
Do you miss her [Catherine]?
Very much. I feel that I was more her than me, that I know her better than I know myself.
Why did you leave?
It was the right time. People all over the world recognize me and I found myself wondering what would become of me when I stopped playing the role of Catherine.
What was the first thing you did after you left [the show]?
I went on a two week holiday to the beach. Then I did many things that I had not been able to do while working on the show — normal, mundane things like cleaning the house, being with my family and friends, and with my pets. And returning to the theater.
Are you still in contact with your former castmates?
With the ones I was closest to. But I’m not dead, you know?
How was working with William Petersen?
Incredible. We have shared many things, both on and off the set. I would love to work with him again.
Is there any project in sight for the two of you?
No, but it would be great to play Catherine and Gil again.
Is there a scene [with Petersen] that you remember most fondly?
The last scene I recorded with him. We had very little dialogue. I had to stop after the line “I knew before you that you were going to follow your path” because I got so emotional.