'Intelligence' Recap: A Paralyzing Agent Hits Too Close to Home
'Intelligence' Recap: A Paralyzing Agent Hits Too Close to Home
Margaret McGriff
Margaret McGriff
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
It's Lillian Strand's turn to get her heart strings pulled in the latest episode of Intelligence. A computer hacker has gotten into the District of Justice's witness protection database to find ex-criminals to do his bidding. One of them is a criminal turned exterminator who gets his hands on dangerous chemicals to be delivered to a chemist named Anton. A trip to the coffee shop turns into a really bad day for him, with the hacker calling his cell and ordering him to do what he says or his family would get hurt.

Where does Lillian come in? It's all going down in San Francisco -- where her daughter lives.

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A Paralyzing Threat

In order to protect his family, Anton follows orders and meets the exterminator at a warehouse. With the hacker threatening his young son in his ear, he shoots the unsuspecting delivery man and gets to work. Word of the DOJ data breach and the purchase of lethal chemicals gets back to CyberCom and they're on the case. Gabriel gets a lead on the location of the van and the race against the clock starts.

While Gabriel, Riley and Lillian board a plan for San Francisco, Cassidy and his crew try to nail down the hacker and the chemicals he's dealing with. Used together, these ingredients can spread with the right amount of heat and ventilation as fumes, causing widespread exposure. We're not talking about people dying but rather becoming paralyzed, becoming "all brain and no body" as Cassidy puts it.  How weird! Why would anyone want to paralyze instead of kill people?

The Hacker's Motives Begin to Make Sense

With the help of Cassidy and Nelson back at CyberCom, Gabriel and Riley get a lead on the lab where Anton was cooking the biological weapon. When they get there, though, Anton is gone and the only thing that's left is the camera that was watching them. Gabriel does his computer chip thing, sees it's a live feed and tries to trace it.

The hacker is just too good, and not only is it untraceable, but he gets real cocky and uses it to call Gabriel on his cell phone.  Instead of the agent questioning him, the hacker tries to figure out who he is because according to the US government, Gabriel doesn't exist. Their chat doesn't last too long and doesn't get the team any closer to finding him but we get to see who he is.

Our hacker is a quadriplegic (now the dots are starting to connect!).

The Third Mule

The exterminator got the materials, Anton cooked them up and now a third person is needed to deliver it. The third mule is Eric Hanson, father to a tween and an ex-front man in a ponzi scheme. He's contacted on his laptop, the hacker threatening to expose his identity unless he goes to a local park where Anton is waiting. Luckily, Nelson and Cassidy were hip to this criminal's way of thinking and somehow figured out that Eric was the next target.

Riley and Gabriel get to his apartment and -- you guessed it! -- Eric and his family aren't there. Using the camera on the Xbox, Gabriel creates a render of what happened hours before. The 3D imaging shows Eric on his laptop and right on his screen is the online chat with the park address.

Showdown at the Park

Eric meets Anton at a picnic table and they're both really rattled about what they're involved in. With guns pointed at each other under the table, it's clear that one is just as clueless as the other and there isn't time for them to exchange notes. Riley and Gabriel are in the area and, thanks to the cameras posted all over the place¸ the hacker does too. He calls Anton and tells him that Eric needs the case and he needs to high tail it out of there if he wants to live. Eric takes the package and runs while Anton books it in the other direction.
Gabriel is able to use the cameras for a little bit, but when his foe shuts them down, he has to track down Anton the old-fashioned way. The ex-chemist gives himself away, letting off shots and starting a gunfight that ultimately ends his life. The hacker really sticks it to Gabriel by giving him another call to gloat and the agent just doesn't buy it. From his voice, Gabriel can tell the man is winded, takes a sip of something whenever he's lying and sounds like he's a broken man (that last part is a bit convenient for him to say).

The Heat is On

Back at the airport hanger where Strand set up shop, they play back the phone conversation and get two key pieces of info. One is that sipping sound which Cassidy deduces is what quadriplegics use on their chairs. I'm not sure how he figured that out, but at this point in the show we just roll with it. The second piece of information is a foghorn that sounded in the background, the same horn that blows off the Golden Gate Bridge. That meant he was local and lived in a house with a ramp and lot of bandwidth. Gabriel and his chip narrow it down to one and it's the home of Jonathan Cain.

The agents arrive at his house, brushing past Cain's unsuspecting wife to find him behind his computer screens. They demand the location of the toxins, but Cain tells them they're too late. The suitcase is already en route and he's not telling them where. What he does tell them is how his life was turned upside down in college. He was an athlete, a picture of him running on the wall, as well as a worker in a chemistry lab. There was an accident and chemicals left him paralyzed and without a cure. By exposing people to these toxins, they would be just like him.

Cassidy comes to the rescue again, figuring out that if more people were afflicted by this toxin, the more profitable a cure would be. So he goes and tries to find out if any companies were looking into cures for his particular illness. There was only one, Jennings Pharmaceuticals, and it just so happens that our buddy from the park, Eric, was a shareholder.

Lo and behold, Eric was sitting in the meeting, the briefcase under his seat set on a timer. Riley and Gabriel get there in time to clear the place out, tackle down Eric and get their hands on the suitcase. The pressure is on now because there's only a minute or so left before it goes off. With Cassidy talking them through it, they freeze the timer with a fire extinguisher and get the case into the furnace so it can explode and neutralize the toxins. It's a bit far-fetched, but it's entertaining and you can't go wrong with an explosion in the last few minutes of a show.

The Director vs. the Mom

Throughout this episode, we watched Lillian Strand struggle with her role as CyberCom director and mom to her daughter, Rebecca. She didn't want to break protocol and let her know what was going on but wanted to keep her safe. What doesn't help is that they haven't had the best relationship, her job creating a wall that doesn't let anyone in, including her family. After a few talks with Riley and Gabriel, she tells her daughter to leave town but doesn't tell her why. I secretly wish she did so her daughter could truly understand her and how stressful her job is. However, Strand stays true to her character and I can't fault her for that.

While the last episode really hit those emotional buttons, we really didn't get to feel that mother and daughter connection until the last few minutes of the show. When her daughter revealed the painting she created from a memory she shared with her mom, it was truly touching. However, it couldn't make up for the lack of urgency and emotion I expected to see throughout the episode. If I knew my daughter could become paralyzed by a bioweapon, I would be breathing down everyone's necks to find the hacker and stop the attack. Instead, she remained the same cool and collected Strand we've seen all season.

Intelligence airs Mondays at 10pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)