January 13, 2014


For better or worse, every episode of Intelligence so far (which makes for a grand total of two) feels like a season finale.  It wasn’t a trait that worked very well for its premiere, where way too many concepts and plots were mashed together with characters we just met, but in “Red X,” the show’s whirlwind pace and high stakes made for a decent hour of television.  “Red X” actually managed to even create a real sense of love and emotion between Gabe and Amelia within just one episode.  But is the show burning through too many plots too quickly?  Hit the jump for why, “it’s only geography.”

intelligence red x josh hollowayIntelligence did a lot of things very well in “Red X” that it didn’t necessarily do in its pilot.  For one, Gabe’s abilities and interactions with the chip were expanded a little more in this hour, to explain why he is more valuable than, say, someone with a tablet.  He does race with those using computers at the command center, and doesn’t always win.  But later we were shown that in addition to his virtual snapshot abilities, he can also de-encrypt files and, occasionally, use people’s personal information against them (or to gain their trust in the moment).  That mind/chip meld is what’s important, and tracking the development is key.

The main hangup to his special power though is the same that befalls Dorian, the humanoid android, on Almost Human: emotions.  The trigger for Gabe is his wife Amelia (Zuleikha Robinson, one of Josh Holloway‘s Lost castmates).  “Red X” did a decent job of establishing a relationship between them — even though he hasn’t seen her in six years — and making his plight emotional by focusing on them as newlyweds, and giving them a moment before her death.

It still felt like way too much too soon, but “Red X” at least closed that arc completely with two additional scenes after the explosion.  The first singled in on Amelia not being sure if she could come back from being in so deep in her covert mission.  Then, Lillian was able to figure out that Amelia had planted a clue for Gabe both so that he could save the lives she was meant to kill, and prove that she was at least conflicted about her situation.

intelligence red x meghan oryThe show also fleshed out some of the ancillary characters, like Lillian, as well as the Cassidy men (the father and son Hurt Locker duo).  Nelson’s jokes also help cut some of the very serious tension the show constantly has.  Tension is obviously an important component to the show, but it can sometimes take itself too seriously.  On the other hand, the Case of the Week being about an undetectable bomb that had Riley and Gabe working together, to find the suicide bomber and “the button,” was a good story because of that tension.  Riley’s development in her “minding” of Gabe also took an important step when she chose to save him instead of letting him keep trying to save Amelia.  But the entire story with Amelia still felt rushed.  Yes, Intelligence is a procedural, but that doesn’t mean every element has to be self-contained to weekly stories.

Without Amelia, it would seem Gabe might be free to just be the quasi-robot he was intended to be, though next week shows him already battling his Chinese chip-twin from the premiere.  So many plots burned through so quickly … we should see soon how much staying power Intelligence really has.

Episode Rating: B

Musings and Miscellanea:

— I loved the exchange: “He’s a baker.” “He had to be working with someone.” And Nelson’s quip, “want to question the banker and the candlestick maker?”  No one was amused, of course!

intelligence red x pj byrne josh holloway marg helgenberger— An interesting point made by Shenandoah about weaponry tech always taking the war away from the battlefield, even back in the 14th century with arrows.

— Plausible situation there with the Swiss company making safer mining equipment that actually was essentially edible C4.

— Hmm, so now that Amelia is gone, how long is it going to take for Gabe and Riley to start making eyes at each other?

— I respect the fact that Riley is styled in such a way that she never looks like she has makeup on.  Realistic for her character’s personality.  Lucky for her she was blessed with perfect hair, though …

— Comparing Intelligence and Almost Human, it does seem preferable to develop quasi-AI androids rather than putting chips in people’s brains.  The droids on Almost Human have the same abilities as Gabe, minus the virtual snapshot (I think), but with extra abilities regarding strength and being able to sacrifice limbs or an eye or whatever else may be necessary in the moment, that a human could never do.

— So much shirtless Gabe this week.  Not that I’m complaining!

— “The simplest explanation is usually the right one” – Lillian.