Intelligence hands out horrible plot clichés to all its characters

Last night on Intelligence, EVERYONE GETS A CLICHÉ. Riley's is unreal. And I may never forgive them for either what they did to Lillian or the truly awful villain of the week.

Spoilers ahead. . .

The Mission

Oh my god, the mission this week was awful. There's a hacker who got into the Witness Protection Program's database in order to find people he could blackmail into helping him with his evil plan. He threatens to reveal their identities to the people hunting them if they don't help. So an exterminator picks up some chemicals, which he delivers to another blackmailed witness who can make chemical weapons. That guy makes a neurotoxin which will paralyze but not kill. Also, it'll be useless if not used in a certain period of time because... the plot needs it to.


The team is divided up this week into two groups: Team Stay at Home (Jameson and the Phloxes) and Team Runs Around (Gabriel, Riley, and Lillian). Team Stay at Home does everything this week. They figure out what chemical can be made from the stolen chemicals. They figure what locations have the the facilities to make the chemical. They figure that there's about to be another witness blackmailed into delivering the toxin. They contact WITSEC and discover which witness it is. They figure out through sound cues that the hacker (who is calling Gabriel) is paralyzed. They determine that they're looking for a home that is handicapped-accessible and has a powerful processor installed. And they walk Gabriel through disarming the timed delivery mechanism.

All of which meant that, as usual, I spent a lot of time screaming "WHAT IS GABRIEL EVEN FOR?" I'll be fair, he does a few things this week. He hacks a game system's camera to figure out where a witness was. He does a google search to determine the target. And he brings up a building's blueprint so he can throw the suitcase full of toxin into the furnace. But as usual, he does more running around than proving how amazing this chip is.

Now there's the hacker. They don't figure out who he is until about 45 minutes into the episode, but we all knew his name was Cain because the episode's called "Cain and Gabriel." Yeah. Let that play on words sink in for a bit. Because I'm still angry about it.


Cain sees Gabriel on a security camera he's hacked, and decides to call him up. Why? Because he can't find any information about Gabriel. He also looked up Riley, and she exists up until she started working for CyberCom. SERIOUSLY CYBERCOM? You didn't think to create a cover story for your operatives, just erase them? DUMB.

Cain and Gabriel spend some quality time trying to out-creepy each other. Cain opens with "You move like an athlete. Swimmer?" Which Gabriel counters with "Your breathing's labored. Injured?" Given the first comment, I would not discount the possibility of it being a more classic heavy breathing phone call, Gabriel.


I can't deal with Cain's motivation. It's so bad. Here we go: He was paralyzed in a lab accident, and is angry at the world for lying to him about a cure being close. A company was working on one, but stopped right before trials would start because it was too expensive. So he's having a paralyzing chemical released at the company's stockholder meeting, thinking that then they'd all be just like him and then keep going with the cure research.

It's so offensive. The villain of this episode became a terrorist because he became disabled. They even have Gabriel tell him that he "has so much" because of his intelligence. SEE, IT'S ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO, NOT WHAT YOU CAN'T. The second we saw Cain in the wheelchair, I knew where this episode was going, because it's just stupid enough for Intelligence.



And the hits just keep coming. Lillian's also got a horribly clichéd plot this week. She goes with Team Runs Around to San Francisco, because her daughter lives there. And then everyone spends the episode telling her that she should break the rules and get her daughter to safety, which she refuses to do, at first, because stopping the attack would also save her daughter and is, in fact, her job.


She still a few good moments, like when Team Runs Around is on the plane to San Francisco. Gabriel, despite never having exhibited this before, is apparently superstitious, and Lillian's sitting in his seat. He tries to get her to talk about her daughter, she's all about her job, and she shuts him down with "Oh, and you can have your seat back now." And when her daughter asks her why she's in town and Lillian pauses for a moment, and goes "" It's all in the delivery.

This conversation essentially repeats later, with Gabriel and Lillian passing the idiot ball back and forth. Gabriel says that Lillian's too stubborn to break protocol to save her daughter. Lillian replies, "For a guy with a supercomputer in his head, you can be really stupid sometimes." Which is the understatement of the century.


But instead of repeating that she has a job to do, which would make sense, Lillian counters that she can't share the information she has with her daughter and get her out of San Francisco because no other mother can do that. Which may make sense in theory ("Why should I or my family be treated any better?") but isn't very logical ("If you can't save everyone, you shouldn't save your family.")

It's eventually Riley who convinces Lillian to abandon the mission for her daughter. Which I'd be pissed about, but I was busy picking my jaw off the ground at how Riley did that. When just telling her to go doesn't work, Riley says, like it's nothing, "I was 15 when I shot my mother's boyfriend and we both knew if I hadn't he would have killed her. We still didn't speak for 14 years." This is how we get told this major life event for one of the leads? I would have much rather explored this than her Secret Service boyfriend a few episodes back. Honestly, I don't blame Lillian for leaving after that.


This episode also introduces us to Riley, the Lillian fangirl. At the end of the episode, she tells Lillian that if her daughter knew what Lillian has done, she'd be so proud. There's a definite tinge of "like I do, love me like you love your daughter" to it. And earlier, Riley tells Gabriel that Lillian escaped the shadow of her father (aww, I miss that crazy Lion King quoting superspy), was running Army Intelligence when she was Riley's age, and essentially created CyberCom. She finishes with "Everyone woman working in intelligence wants to be her." Not just women in intelligence, Riley. I also would like to be Lillian.

Well, I used to. Continuing the theme of clichéd plots, we learn that super-serious, tech-savvy Lillian has, of course, a Bohemian artist for a daughter. And, of course, this means that they have trouble connecting. The worst example of this was when Lillian finally caves, and goes to ask her daughter to get out of San Francisco, her daughter decides that this is the time to enumerate all her mother's flaws. She's a control freak who orders her family around like they're her employees. Um, while you may have valid complaints, your mother, who you know is a big deal in intelligence, just told you to leave for your own safety. Leave, and confront her later.


And Lillian, much like with Riley and Gabriel, caves. She says that her daughter's right, and then... just repeats what she said earlier, but in a nicer tone. And in the last scene, her daughter reveals a painting she's done of her and Lillian at the beach, holding hands. Lillian gets all touched, and she and her daughter hold hands just like in the painting. Ugh. I really wanted a Lillian episode, but I should have known better. Being the main character of the series has not been good to Gabriel, of course that transfers to any character made the focus of an episode. Lesson of the day: Do not, under any circumstances, allow the writers of Intelligence to turn their pens on you.

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