Have Josh Holloway’s dimples finally worn me down?
Because I would describe the most recent episode of Intelligence as not so bad, actually. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, I know. But the hour was a marked improvement over the freshman drama’s previous outings.
Gabriel, Riley and Lillian head to San Francisco because somebody has hacked into the Witness Protection data base and is blackmailing people in order to get them to carry out a nefarious plan. Jonathan Cain is a paralyzed but tech-savvy man who is plotting to release a nerve gas that will paralyze others in the same way he already is. Cain is played by Alan Ruck, who I’ll confess is one of those actors I’m always happy to see. I’ve kind of loved him ever since he played Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. So he may also be the reason I’m feeling more sanguine about this episode.
Lillian gets out from behind the computers and accompanies the gang to San Francisco because her daughter, Rebecca, lives there. Rebecca is, of course, sullen, artistic and resentful of her controlling mom. Lillian is torn because she wants to warn her daughter to get out of San Francisco but also doesn’t want to put her personal needs above the needs of national security. Both Riley and Gabriel seem to think it’s totally fine for Lillian to warn her daughter. “Telling her doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human,” Gabriel says. “Maybe you should forget protocol and just be her mom,” Riley advises. Glad to know they’re the ones protecting the country!
Lillian does eventually warn her daughter, and by the end of the episode the two are sharing a meal and looking at a painting Rebecca drew of the two of them together. I think the point of all this was to humanize Lillian who has had no character development since the series began. Riley also tells Gabriel, “Every woman in the intelligence community wants to be Lillian.” Hmmm … if you say so, Riley.
The whole mother/daughter subplot also give Riley a reason to discuss her fractured relationship with her mother. (Remember, she shot her mom’s abusive boyfriend.) Again, this is probably to start giving Riley some depth and personality, but she still comes across as Gabriel’s flirtatious sidekick.
Gabriel spends a lot of time psychoanalyzing Cain because he thinks he understands him. “You’re broken, and you think what you’re doing is going to fix it,” he tells him. I’m not sure I really believe Gabriel is this insightful and intuitive, but I decided to just go with it.
Of course, the things that drive me crazy about the show were still there. Once again, Riley and Gabriel go into a place where they know a toxic nerve gas is going to be released and they are not wearing gas masks. This makes absolutely no sense. It seems like it would be protocol 101 to don a gas mask. Are the actors afraid of messing up their hair? Is the show afraid that if we can’t see Josh Holloway’s face, we’ll change the channel?
Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.