Before I jump into my recap and review of the Intelligence season one finale, I just want to take a moment and say a huge thank you to everyone involved with Intelligence, but especially to those who are active on social media: Michael Seitzman, PJ Byrne, Michael Rady, Aaron Ginsburg, John Dixon, Lance Reddick, Tomas Arana, Faye Kingslee, Octvavius J. Johnson, and last but most certainly not least, my favorite leading lady, Marg Helgenberger. The social media tie-in, the sharing of behind-the-scenes photos and script pages, and the interaction with the fans through live tweets really enhanced my viewing experience — it’s, by far, the most fun I have ever had watching a television series. Thank you so much for all of your efforts. And now on to the recap…
If you’ve come to expect heart pounding action and plot twists galore, you will not be disappointed with the Intelligence Season 1 finale. “Being Human” delivers a full order of both as Lillian and her team set out to clear Gabriel’s name by finding who is really responsible for the murders that he has been framed for.
Part 2 picks up immediately where we left off last week — with Gabriel, Riley, and Mei Chen fleeing from their would-be assassin. They have no idea who they can trust at this point so they’re trying to stay off the grid, but at the same time, they also know Gabriel needs medical attention. Gabriel knows one person he can definitely trust and directs Riley to drive to his mother’s house. Mary Vaughn, played by the fabulous Debra Mooney, is a retired Army field nurse who is full of spitfire and vinegar and knows her way around an operating room. As Mary and Riley prep Gabriel for surgery, he loses consciousness and Mei Chen seizes the opportunity to get into Gabriel’s head and cyber-render with him.
Mei Chen has decided that she needs to educate Gabriel about the truth, specifically the truth about the people he works for. In their cyber-render, she tells Gabriel that a potential candidate for the Presidency, Governor Christy Cameron, is being targeted for assassination. According to Mei Chen, the conspirators are the same people who hired her to kill those men and frame Gabriel and who then tried to murder both Gabriel and Mei Chen. She knows that they are U.S. government employees but says she doesn’t know specifically who because whoever it is has been very careful. After telling Gabriel she doesn’t care if he believes her or not, Mei Chen exits both the render and Mary Vaughn’s house.
Back at CyberCom, while trading barbs about who is responsible for what happened at the park, Lillian and Jeff Tetazoo brief the Director of National Intelligence Adam Weatherly about the attempt on Gabriel’s life and the fact that he is now on the run with both Riley and Mei Chen. Tetazoo vows that he will find them and reiterates to the CyberCom staff that they are to find and bring in Gabriel, Riley, and Mei Chen dead or alive. Lillian questions the logic of Tetazoo’s orders, especially now that they know there’s an unknown shooter out there who could prove Gabriel’s innocence. She says that we shouldn’t be killing our own people and looks to Weatherly for support. To her dismay, Weatherly sides with Tetazoo and says that Gabriel is a threat due to those vulnerabilities in the chip that were documented by Dr. Cassidy. They all must be brought down.
While recovering from surgery, Gabriel asks Riley if she thinks one of their own is behind the shooting. They immediately rule out Lillian but say they wouldn’t put it past Tetazoo. As they discuss the possibilities Mama Vaughn points out the obvious — that someone should warn Governor Cameron that her life may be in danger. Riley’s ex, played by Michael Trucco, is in charge of Governor Cameron’s security detail and Riley convinces him to give her an audience with the Governor.
Lillian convenes a second secret meeting with Jameson, Nelson, and Dr. Cassidy to relay to them everything she knows about ‘The Flood’, an Iranian program designed to recruit high ranking U.S. Government officials and turn them into sleeper agents for Iran. Lillian shares her belief that Colonel Hatcher discovered the identity of one or more of these sleeper agents and was turning their names over to the FBI when he and the FBI Deputy Director were murdered. Dr. Cassidy pieces together that they then framed Gabriel to get him out of the way because they knew that Gabriel and the chip would be the best way to find and stop the sleeper agents. The team concludes that Gabriel and Riley’s lives depend on them finding out the identities of the sleeper agents and to do that, they first need to find Gabriel and Riley. Jameson thinks this will be nearly impossible considering that since he wiped Gabriel’s hacking of the minivan computer off the grid, the entire Intelligence apparatus has been tracking Gabriel with no success. Nelson reminds them that Gabriel needs medical assistance and Dr. Cassidy and Lillian remember that Gabriel’s mom is a former Army nurse. They surmise that Gabriel very likely would have sought her help.
Lillian and her team, however, aren’t the only ones who come to this conclusion. The assassin also figures it out and before Riley returns from the governor’s office, makes another attempt on Gabriel’s life. With a little help from Mom in the form of a can of hairspray and a ‘cannon’ of a gun that she keeps in her nightstand, Gabriel takes out the assailant and using facial recognition technology, he identifies the man as Thomas Olivier.
Riley returns to the Vaughn residence and seeing the dead man lying on the floor, immediately draws her weapon. She encounters Jameson who has done the exact same thing, and after a brief face-off, the two of them determine they are still on the same team and decide that it’s best if they relocate. If both Lillian’s team and the assassin were able to find Gabriel’s hiding place this easily, more trouble is likely to follow. Gabriel convinces his mother to go and stay with her ‘road whore’ sister and he and the team go to the Cassidy residence.
In the meantime, the Governor has contacted her friend of more than 20 years, Adam Weatherly, to tell him of Riley’s visit and what she had to say. Although most of us, Lillian’s team included, have been suspicious of Tetazoo all along, he is clearly surprised by what the Governor has said: “What the hell is going on here?!”
While Tetazoo and Weatherly are trying to figure out what is going on, Riley and Gabriel arrive at the Cassidy residence, and Dr. Cassidy and Nelson are understandably overjoyed to see them. Nelson chides: “Seriously, you guys cannot run away anymore. You gave my dad heart palpitations.” There’s no sign of Lillian, but Dr. Cassidy replies “Not just my heart” and Lillian hesitantly enters and approaches Gabriel. In one of the most moving moments of the season, an emotional Lillian tells Gabriel “I hope you know that I have been, and always will be, on your side.” Gabriel’s heartfelt response “I do know, Lillian” puts Lillian at ease and back on her game. I thought that Marg and Josh played that scene beautifully. Lillian then goes on to thank Riley for keeping Gabriel safe and the team starts to piece together what they have each figured out thus far. Their conclusion: Whoever hired Mei Chen to kill Colonel Hatcher is probably one of the Iranian sleeper agents. They then determine that it still isn’t safe for them to return to CyberCommand since they still can’t prove Gabriel’s innocence and can’t trust Tetazoo.
Their conversation is interrupted by the ringing of Lillian’s cell phone. With a glance at the display, Lillian quips, “Speak of the devil”. It’s Tetazoo, and in an unexpected turn of events, he tells Lillian “there may be a lot more going on here than we realize.” He then relays to her that they have located a photograph and some other documents in a safe deposit box that belonged to Colonel Hatcher. Tetazoo goes on to say that Hatcher’s notes indicate that the photo comes directly from Iranian Cent Com file and is proof of the existence of ‘The Flood’. Tetazoo says that he’ll tell her more in person but that he wants to send her the photograph now via encrypted server. He gives her the password, but it wouldn’t be Intelligence without a plot twist, and while he is in the process of forwarding Lillian the link to the server, Tetazoo is gunned down. Badass that he is, Tetazoo is able to take down the gunman and still send the email to Lillian before succumbing to his injuries. As many bad feelings as I had towards Tetazoo throughout the season, I think he completely redeemed himself with these final actions. I actually kept hoping throughout the remainder of the episode that it would turn out that Tetazoo survived the attack since his fiery interactions with Lillian were some of my favorite moments from the season. Alas, it appears that he is gone. Bravo to Lance Reddick for his powerful portrayal of Jeff Tetazoo. I really loved to hate that guy.
Once she has the photo, Lillian takes her team to see dear old Dad, Leland Strand to see if he can help them identify the people in the photo. There are six people, all with their faces blurred beyond recognition. Accompanying the photo are six names, which although Nelson says they sound like names of coffee, Dr. Cassidy identifies them as subspecies of tigers. This gets Leland’s attention and he relays more details about the legend of ‘The Flood’. According to the legend, out of the hundreds of sleepers that Iran recruited, there were six who were considered superstars. There were referred to as the six tigers. If the legend is true, then the photograph is likely of those six superstar sleeper agents, and if they can identify them, then they will know who murdered Colonel Hatcher and framed Gabriel, and who is trying to assassinate Governor Cameron.
I always love it when Nelson and Dr. Cassidy ‘geek out’ and they do so here as it occurs to them that the blur job on the photo was done by a computer. Remembering that, according to Hatcher’s notes, the photo was taken in 1989, they realize that the blurring was done via algorithm or code and, because it’s old technology, can probably be reversed by Gabriel if he has a baseline. Riley reminds us that Gabriel may, in fact, have a baseline since Thomas Olivier, the assassin that Gabriel killed at his mother’s house, is likely a sleeper agent. Using facial recognition again, Gabriel establishes that Oliver is one of the faces in the photograph and is then able to reverse the blurring and, in our next plot twist, discovers that the superstar sleeper agent they are looking for is none other than the Director of National Intelligence — Mr. Checks and Balances himself, Adam Weatherly. Trust no one, indeed. Lillian berates herself: “All this time it was right in front of me and I never saw it.” Leland reminds her that no one else saw it either and then tells her that he knows where Weatherly is so that she and her team can stop him.
Weatherly is then seen meeting with an Iranian who congratulates him for all that he has done for them, especially giving them access to Clockwork. Weatherly then confirms what has been suspected all along – that the framing of Gabriel was an attempt to discredit him since he and that chip are the biggest weapon against Iran that the U.S. Government possesses. The Iranian then gives Weatherly his next task, which is to assassinate Governor Cameron because she is the only obstacle between ‘The Flood’ and the White House. Weatherly protests because he thinks he’s being wasted in such a role, but is reminded that he is in the best position to accomplish this because he has known Cameron for so long and is trusted. They will be attending a charity hunting event that day and he can easily make it look like an accident.
Weatherly sets out to complete his task, but thankfully, is stopped by Gabriel and Riley. Once he is locked up, Gabriel and Lillian seek him out to determine what his motivation was for betraying his country. He tells them about a CIA mission in the 1950s where the CIA staged a series of bombings designed to turn Iranians against their own government. He says that his mother, who is Iranian, was one of the bombers and that it destroyed her. Instead of helping her, our government denied her existence. His act, therefore, is an act of revenge. As he states, he is “defined by the decisions of others”.
Lillian tells him that they know everything about ‘The Flood’ and the six tigers and that it’s over. Gabriel tries to convince Weatherly that it would make his life much easier in terms of his sentence if he reveals the name of the sleeper Presidential candidate. Weatherly declines to do so and instead takes a final parting shot at Gabriel by telling him because of the chip in his head, he will always be something less than human, and therefore, destined to be marginalized and alone.
Obviously rattled by what Weatherly has told him, Gabriel visits his mother. He confides to her that he has a microchip in his head. He tells her what he can do with it and that it makes him different – that not all who know about the chip trust him because they think it makes him dangerous — that others can potentially control him. Mom knows best, of course, and points out to Gabriel that Weatherly didn’t have a microchip in his head but was easily brainwashed and controlled by others. Riley, who is also present, echoes Mom’s wise words by telling Gabriel that his chip makes him more than human, not less.
Mei Chen finally reappears at the end of the episode. Since we know Mei Chen does nothing for free, it becomes apparent that someone has hired her to kill Weatherly and as expected, once she completes her task, she climbs into the backseat of a car to collect payment. In perhaps the biggest plot twist of all, we learn that it is Leland Strand who has hired her and not only has he hired her for this job, he tells her “I have more work if you’re interested…” And so the season that has kept us on the edge of our seats for 13 straight episodes ends with the beginning of a deliciously dangerous new partnership and so many questions about how Leland fits into what has happened.
Highlighted by brilliant performances by Marg and her castmates, strong female characters, innovative cyber-renders, relevant political themes and national security issues, Intelligence is a show that lives up to its name. CBS needs to renew Intelligence for a second season.
Screen captures of Marg from the episode can be found HERE.