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.

"We can't be killing our own people."

“We can’t be killing our own people.”

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 educates her team about 'The Flood'.

Lillian educates her team about ‘The Flood’.

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.
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‘The Grey Hat’, this week’s installment of Intelligence, written by Heidi Cole McAdams and directed by Tim Hunter, focuses on two very real threats that we face in modern society, hackers and nuclear disasters, and what happens when the two threats merged into one potentially deadly attack.

The episode opens with Lillian telling her team about blackouts that have suddenly started plunging the U.S. West Coast into darkness. When Riley questions what this has to do with CyberCom, Nelson explains that the Cyber Defense Division has determined that the blackouts are being caused by a sophisticated and destructive cyber worm that a hacker has unleashed inside of the power grid.

All signs seemingly point to Cortez, a legend in the hacker community who specializes in ‘hostage ware’ or ‘grey hat’ scams, where he installs a destructive worm into a corporation’s systems and then blackmails the corporation into paying him to stop the worm. Riley questions how attacking a power grid would fit Cortez’s usual M.O. and Nelson chalks it up to ego, the desire to prove he’s the best high-level hacker out there. Nelson quickly realizes, however, that Cortez has made an error — the security system for the power grid only allows access to local IP addresses; therefore the worm had to have originated in Los Angeles. Lillian has heard enough and, taking charge, dispatches Gabriel, Riley, and Nelson to L.A. to find this Cortez and stop the worm: “Everyone, this is the cyber attack we’ve all been afraid of. Millions of lives are affected and we may not have seen the worst yet.”

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When Gabriel, Riley, and Nelson track down “Cortez”, aka Troy Ricksen, and show him what they believe to be his handiwork, we are presented with our first major plot twist. Troy informs them that it’s not his worm — someone has cloned it and the design is such that he can’t stop it. In fact, it won’t stop until it has found and attacked its target. Ready to “bust some heads” because someone has stolen his worm, Troy tells Gabriel, Nelson, and Riley that the power grid is not the worm’s actual target. Using a vivid analogy, he explains that the worm to a kitten playing with a ball of string while it’s roaming the power grid. Once it finds its true target, the worm will transform from a kitten to a tiger and attack. With assistance from Troy and Nelson, who make quite a team, I must say, Gabriel determines that a nuclear power plant in California is the worm’s target. Whoever cloned Troy’s worm has sold it to terrorists.

Back at CyberCommand, Lillian meets with the heads of the other DOJ agencies to decide the best course of action. While they are discussing their options, they receive a video broadcast from Torbin Salvi, the leader of the anti-nuclear terrorist organization, NSR. He is willing to abort their attack if his brother, Dominic Salvi, was arrested by the FBI for bombing a nuclear research facility in Moscow and killing 52 people, is released from U.S. custody rather than being extradited to Russia where he is expected to be executed for his crimes. If Dominic is not released, the NSR will unleash a nuclear disaster on the U.S. West Coast that will rival Chernobyl.

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Once Gabriel and Riley realize how dire the situation is, they seek Troy’s help in doing whatever it takes to stop the worm. Troy, however, realizing who has stolen his worm, gives Gabriel and the team the slip and goes to confront the thief. Rather than “bust some heads”, he tells the thief that the two of them are going to do the right thing — they’re going to work together to stop that worm before anyone else gets killed. Troy sees just how high the stakes are when the terrorists show up and start shooting. Thankfully Gabriel has tracked the vehicle Troy stole and he and Riley are able to stop the attackers before they can harm Troy, although his friend isn’t so lucky. When Riley and Gabriel tell him that he has the ability to stop the worm with a biometric ‘kill switch’ of his that was also cloned, Troy tells them that he can stop the worm but he needs the “mother ship,” the computer that was used to originally launch the worm, to do so.

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I’m a little short on writing time this week, so I’m going to focus almost exclusively on Lillian and of course on how completely amazing Marg was in this episode. If you liked the episode “The Rescue” because we got to see a different side of Lillian as we explored her relationship with her father, then you’re going to LOVE “Cain and Gabriel.”

In this episode, the CyberCom team learns that the FBI’s Witness Protection database has been hacked and someone is using it to blackmail witnesses into carrying out terrorist attacks. When a large quantity of potentially deadly chemicals is stolen, Gabriel uses his chip to track the vehicle and quickly determines that the target of the next attack is San Francisco. As soon as Gabriel mentions San Francisco, a variety of emotions play across Lillian’s face, and in a move that surprises everyone except for Dr. Cassidy, she announces that she will be joining Gabriel and Riley in the field to prevent this imminent attack. As she declares, “Wheels up in an hour” and abruptly leaves the room to prepare for their departure, Cassidy explains to the team that Lillian’s daughter, Rebecca (played by the lovely and talented Laura Slade from “Shameless”), lives in San Francisco.

Lillian learns about San Francisco

Lillian’s maternal side takes center stage in “Cain and Gabriel”. Throughout the episode, the viewers, as well as Riley and Gabriel, who even comments that Lillian isn’t herself, can see that Lillian is struggling with an internal conflict — as a mother, she wants to do nothing more than get her daughter out of harm’s way, but as Director of CyberCommand, she is expected to follow certain national security protocols for the greater good. As she tells Gabriel when he suggests that she call and warn her daughter, “The best way for me to protect my daughter is to make sure that this attack never happens. Because the minute any of us puts our own interests ahead of our job, that’s the minute that my daughter’s life really is in jeopardy.” As accurate as her statement may be, the expression on Lillian’s face is most telling. She is trying to convince herself here as much as she is trying to convince Gabriel. One of the things I loved most about this episode was reading the emotions on Lillian’s face. Often, her expressions told us just as much, if not more, of what she was thinking and feeling than her actual words did. Marg is a true artist when it comes using facial expressions to convey the nuances of her character’s emotions — that’s one of the many reasons why I enjoy watching her perform so much.

Lillian goes to see her daughter

As her team works to find the attacker and eliminate the threat, Lillian stops in, unannounced, to check on her daughter. What we see right away is that their relationship, much like Lillian’s relationship with her father, is a bit strained. They obviously don’t talk very often, considering that Lillian has no idea Rebecca’s boyfriend has been out of the picture for months. Rebecca mentions her father several times and it is apparent that she is much closer to him than she is to Lillian. They obviously love each other, but it’s not an easy relationship and when Lillian comes back to see her a second time and demands that Rebecca leave town, Rebecca lashes out at Lillian. She tells her that she is too controlling and that she treats her family as if they are her employees to order around. This sounds like an argument they’ve had before and is probably also one of the reasons why the two of them live on opposite coasts. Rebecca’s words stop Lillian in her tracks and she tries again, a little less commanding this time, and is able to convey to Rebecca why she needs for her to leave town immediately, with the promise of phoning her to explain the full story as soon as she can. Hats off to both Marg and Laura Slade for their scenes together. They had excellent chemistry and were very believable as mother and daughter.

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It’s hard to believe we’re already through eight episodes of “Intelligence” already? I guess the old saying is true – time flies when you’re having fun. Last night’s episode ‘Delta Force’ delivered yet another wild ride to its viewers as Gabriel, Riley, and Jameson are sent on a mission to Bolivia to protect a presidential candidate that the U.S. government favors who is the target of an assassination attempt. As Lillian is filling them in on the details of the mission, Gabriel is shocked to learn that his best friend from Delta Force, John Norris, is the prime suspect. Throughout the episode and as revealed through flashbacks, Gabriel struggles to separate what his friend was while they were together in Delta Force with what he has potentially become, a hired gun. In a series of surprising twists and turns, Gabriel and the viewers learn that all is not as it seems, including Norris, and that the CIA is yet again right in the middle of it and an obstacle to CyberCommand’s mission.

Highlights of ‘Delta Force’ for me:

1. Lillian was in full badass mode in this episode. Even Jeffrey Tetazoo was impressed when she firmly reminded Gabriel who’s in charge at CyberCommand:

Gabriel: “So what, I’m an assassin now? You press a button and I kill a man?”
Lillian: “Yes, as a matter of fact, I press a button and you kill a man. That’s how it works. Are we clear?”
Gabriel: “Yeah, we’re clear.”
Jeff Tetazoo: “You and I might become friends after all.”
Lillian: “Unlikely.”

2. Chris Jameson revealed that he is also a bit of a badass when he demonstrated his expert marksmanship, both at the firing range and out in the field when it really counted. I’d love to see him out in the field more.

3. What Lillian and Jeff Tetazoo have possibly shared is particularly intriguing to me. I can’t even begin to guess what their backstory is, but I’m interested in exploring it further because the two of them are definitely getting under each other’s skin. Love the sparks flying between them.

Jeff Tetazoo: “Without trust, you and I have nothing.”
Lillian: “We’ve shared a lot of things, Jeff. Trust has never been one of them.”

4. The scene where Gabriel helps his friend navigate his way through a minefield was one of the most unusual and thrilling uses of the chip so far. I was practically holding my breath until Norris made it safely across.

5. The growing relationship between Gabriel and Riley continues to be a highlight of each episode. I love watching the trust and familiarity grow between them. Whether this ends up taking a romantic turn or not, they are a fun pair to watch.

‘Delta Force’ was yet another stellar episode from “Intelligence” so be sure not to miss it!


Click thumbnails to view screen captures of Marg from this episode…
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“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.


Click thumbnails to visit the screen capture gallery for this episode:
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