“Intelligence” delivered another rock solid episode last night. As we’ve come to expect, the storyline was full of twists and turns as Gabriel and the CyberCommand team set out to find and neutralize a lethal threat to the greatest artificial intelligence scientists of this generation. The threat comes in the form of microscopic robots called nanites, which when unleashed, infect and almost immediately kill their target. The team is even more invested than ever in tracking this killer down because one of their own, Shenandoah Cassidy, the brilliant scientist who designed Gabriel’s chip, is a target.
Just as interesting to watch as the team track down and stop the killer, however, is the philosophical debate that runs throughout the episode. What does it take to be human? Is Gabriel any less human because he has a computer chip in his brain? From the moment he realized what he was witnessing as he watched Gabriel work, Cassidy’s protégé seemed to enjoy trying to make Gabriel feel like he was less than human. He even referred to him as being a completely different species. I’m not sure if he got under Gabriel’s skin and made him start to question his own humanity or if those questions were already on Gabriel’s mind, but it definitely seemed to stick with him through the course of the episode. At one point, Gabriel even tells Lillian that she has a ‘freak’ of her own, meaning himself. I liked that Riley was the one to keep reminding Gabriel that he is human, reminiscent of a scene from the pilot when she reminds Lillian that Gabriel is “him, not it”. I think Riley reaching out to Gabriel to help push the doubts about his humanity out of his head went a long way to solidifying their partnership.
Highlights of the episode for me were:
1) John Billingsley’s performance – he was amazing in each and every one of his scenes. If you don’t cry when Shenandoah becomes infected by the nanites, there is seriously something wrong with you. Another great moment for Billingsley is at the end when Shenandoah confronts his former protégé. Just good stuff.
2) PJ Byrne was also excellent in this episode. Just as we got to see a different side of Nelson last week because of his concern for the sick child and his family, we got to see even more of that side of Nelson as he frantically worked to save his Dad’s life.
3) Watching the entire team pull together to save Shenandoah was perhaps my favorite scene from the episode. I love the team/family dynamic that is starting to show itself as we move through the season and it seemed fitting that Gabriel and Nelson abandon their ‘sibling’ rivalry to work together to save their ‘Dad. This scene was also my favorite Lillian moment. The episode was Lillian-lite, which is why I haven’t said much about her, but watching the emotions play across her face as she thought she might be losing one of her own was just so heartbreaking. She’s normally so tough as nails that it was nice to see that more vulnerable side of her personality. It also made me wonder about her relationship with Shenandoah (or Shen as she calls him). Are they just long-time friends and coworkers or is there perhaps something more there?
4) The final scene between Gabriel and Riley. I still can’t decide if a romance is the right move for these two since it would obviously complicate their working relationship, but boy, they sure are adorable together. I love the flirtation and the light banter made for a fitting ending to remind us of just how human Gabriel is no matter how powerful that computer chip in his head is.