In addition to presenting exciting storylines that have left viewers on their edges of their seats each week, Intelligence has also begun to delve a bit deeper into the personal lives of each of its main characters. The first few episodes focused primarily on Gabriel Vaughn and his obsession with locating his wife, Amelia, and proving that she was not an enemy of the United States. Then we moved on to Riley Neal and got to sneak a peek into her former life as a Secret Service agent. As we got to know Gabriel and Riley better, Marg’s character, Lillian Strand, however, had remained somewhat of an enigma until last night’s episode. “The Rescue” is the episode that Marg fans have been waiting for — where we finally got a glimpse of Lillian’s personal life, specifically, her relationship with her father. While this relationship doesn’t fully unravel the mystery that is Lillian, it does shed some light on what has made Lillian the woman she is today.
As soon as Lillian’s father, Leland Strand, brilliantly played by Peter Coyote, comes on the scene to request CyberCommand’s help in rescuing a senator’s daughter who has been abducted by a Mexican drug lord, you can tell that he and Lillian have a complicated and somewhat strained relationship. When Lillian starts to question Leland about why and how he is involved since his role is unclear, he undermines her credibility in front of Adam Weatherly by calling her ‘Rooster’, which one can only assume is a ‘pet’ name from when she was a child. The tension radiates off of Lillian, who looks like she wants to strangle Leland. She then questions his respect for her. His response “If I didn’t respect you, would I be here?” doesn’t seem to convince her. Leland then goes on to tell her that she is “relentless” and that it’s a trait she gets from him. Lillian doesn’t appear especially comfortable with the idea of being just like Dad either, but once she realizes that the President is the one who sent Leland to her, she agrees to help rescue the senator’s daughter.
Lillian butts heads with her father again when she realizes that he has been withholding information from her. Because she remembers everything her dad taught her when she was younger, Lillian pieces together that not only does Leland know Hector the drug lord, but Hector is actually one of Leland’s ‘assets’. In exchange for ‘intel’ that can bring down his drug dealing competitors, Hector has basically been allowed to do as he pleases, unchecked by authorities. Leland deems that letting Hector roam unchecked in exchange for his ‘intel’ is the lesser of the evils and balks when Lillian tells him that he needs to get his ‘asset’ under control. This difference of opinion comes to a head once the rescue mission is complete and Riley and Gabriel have the opportunity to bring Hector into custody. In an unexpected move that places both Leland and Weatherly at odds with Lillian, Weatherly tells Lillian: “We have the girl. Your agent is safe. Hector Vi Riall is not your concern.” Against her better judgment and because she feels she has no choice, Lillian follows the order and allows Hector to go free. You can tell by the look on her face that it kills her to have to give in and that she is also disappointed by her father. When she next sees her father, she point blank accuses him of having climbed into bed with evil.
Lillian has the last word though and proves that while she might be relentless like her father, unlike him, she is not willing to make deals with the devil. In what has to be the best scene of the series to date, Lillian, dressed to kill in a sexy red gown, literally does just that. She phones Hector, tells him that he should have taken the deal he was offered. She tells him that he crossed the line when he crossed our border and took those girls and that his services are no longer needed. The lovely young woman who is relaxing in the tub with Hector then stabs him to death, carrying out Lillian’s orders. Lillian’s father walks in at that moment and asks Lillian if everything is all right, she replies with a sly smile, “Better” and off they go to enjoy a night at the opera, Leland blissfully ignorant that Lillian has just put the ‘all boys’ club’ of Weatherly and Company on notice.
I really loved this episode. Marg and Peter Coyote were so great together. I loved the tension that was present in all of their scenes and that it was hard to read how father and daughter truly felt about each other. I hope that we’ll see more of Leland because I’d like to see their relationship explored further. Marg was also just fantastic throughout the episode. She is definitely channeling Hillary Clinton, who is another of my own role models, and I’m loving every minute of it.