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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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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“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.


Click the thumbnails below to visit the screen capture gallery for this episode:
Mei Chen Screen Captures Mei Chen Screen Captures Mei Chen Screen Captures


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…

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