ORBzine - Intelligence (2014) TV Review

Intelligence (2014)

Season 1

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 1] Pilot
Shown 07/Jan/14

Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway - Lost ) is the USA's top secret agent. He has a microchip in his head, like a modern-day version of the Six Million Dollar Man . But hasn't this been done before? Jake 2.0, Chuck ... Well, this is a serious version. The same way the GI Joe movie was a serious version of Team America: World Police !

Red China's top secret agent, Cong (Will Yun Lee - Die Another Day ), kidnaps the scientist who created the microchip. According to Rosalind Chao , he has been disavowed. So who is his new backer?

This was apparently based on a novel named Phoenix Island. However, the result is an enormous pile of cliches!

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 2] Red X
Shown 13/Jan/14

Islamic fundamentalists have gotten a new explosive named Red X. It is so safe it is practically undetectable. And one of them has brought it to the USA so he can hit hard targets.

Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway - Lost ) discovers his wife is among the suspects. Yes, the quest which has taken seven years (and would have been a great story arc for the rest of the Season) comes to a premature climax. Of course, this ups the Unrestrained Sexual Tension with his bodyguard Riley ( Meghan Ory ).

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 3] Mei Chen Returns
Shown 20/Jan/14

A female Snowdon has gone on the run with a hard drive full of CIA secrets. Mei Lui, the freelance assassin implanted in the first ep, is after it!

Boss lady Marg Helgenberger discovers what is on the hard drive. CIA Boss Lance Reddick ( Fringe ) has been spying on her operation, so whoever has the info can duplicate the chip!

Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway - Lost ) is drinking his troubles away after the confrontation at the end of the previous episode. Worse, he thinks someone is stalking him in his mental simulations. Can Mei Lui hack his brain and make him halucinate?

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 4] Secrets of the Secret Service
Shown 27/Jan/14

A couple of US journalists (including Tania Raymonde ) have been captured by Ba'athist Government Forces in Civil War-torn Syria. They are probably going to be executed, which would escalate into US involvement, and then Russian counter-involvement .

For some reason, the only team the Agency can send in is Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway - Lost ) and Riley ( Meghan Ory ). The fact that Gabriel cannot access the prison schematics should be their first warning sign. His superpowers only work in hi-tech areas, because he is reliant on Internet access. If he goes south of the Brandt line, into a Third World country where they do not put their data on networked computers, all he can do is update his Facebook status. Even the CIA have gotten wise to this, keeping Operation Clockwork on paper only, not on a digital format.

Another thing they have to worry about is inter-Agency rivalry. The rescue team are Cyber Command, their cover is as Secret Service bodyguards (to a more serious version of Bill Clinton), and there is a CIA team in play as well.

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 5] The Rescue
Shown 03/Feb/14

A couple of Spring Breakers are abducted by Mexican gigolos. In a case of fem-jep (female jeopardy) there is always going to be some female empowerment in the ironic ending.

The President's troubleshooter (Peter Coyote - E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial ) orders Gabe and Riley ( Meghan Ory ) into the field. Yes, yet again they are south of the Brandt line - but they do not appear to be operating with any problems.

Boss Lady Marg Helgenberger is unhappy with the President's man on her case. To start with, he is her father. Worse, he is involved in political deals with unsavoury people. She prefers to take the law into her own hands, sanctioning high-level assassinations to avenge childish grievences. Worse, she could end up creating a state of civil war in a country that is not only a valuable ally to her own, but actually has a land border with hers. Yes, way to make a controllable situation spiral out of control!

Ironic that the previous ep was about preventing the CIA from performing an illegal and unnecessary killing.

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 6] Patient Zero
Shown 10/Feb/14

There is a deadly virus outbreak at a music festival in Texas. Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway - Lost ) uses crowd-sourced photos on social media sites to identify patient zero, doing it in real-time in his head. This is comparable to the super-computer that took 3 days to identify the Boston bombers. The only problem is, Gabriel's facial recognition software indicates the suspect is a convict who was executed on Death Row recently.

There is a lack of moral ambiguity with regards to the villains. The escaped convict is a murderous killer, with no remorse towards his victims. Unrepentant, unbroken by the harsh prison regime, and totally unsympathetic. Worse, the Military types who used him as an unwilling lab-rat to create a deadly WMD are portrayed as simply gung-ho. This makes Marg Helgenberger look like a complete hypocrite after she started a civil war in Mexico in the previous episode.

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 7] Size Matters
Shown 17/Feb/14

Someone is mailing packages of killer nannites to high-level scientific researchers. One former student of John Billingsly ( Enterprise ) is a target. He is also one of the few people in the world who can work out what the scientist created and implanted into Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway - Lost ).

The killer also sent out a Unabomber-type manifesto. Gabriel tracks down a suspect who is living off the grid. The poor man lives in fear of the US military-industrial complex creating a singularity of mankind and machine. Just like Gabriel, in other words.

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 8] Delta Force
Shown 24/Feb/14

Bolivia is coming up to an important election. The USA wants access to vital mineral reserves, so they need a corrupt politician in their pocket. Someone is bumping off the contenders - and it is a Delta Force officer! In an even bigger coincidence, he turns out to be Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway - Lost )'s best friend.

Gabriel and Riley ( Meghan Ory ) are sent south of the border again, although realistically the CIA boss (Lance Reddick - Fringe ) should have had this handled in-house. South of the Brandt line, Gabriel's cyborg superpower only works when there is a satellite overhead. And while he may have personal knowledge of the man's skills and abilities, this also gives him a conflict of interest. Can he kill his buddy? After all, the guy is a hired killer. Yes, killing is always wrong, even if the CIA orders it ... but not if Marg Helgenberger gives the go-ahead.

There is not much use for the brain-chip. One character gets trapped in a minefield laid by Pinochet's men in the 1970s. Why a Chilean death-squad was hanging around in Bolivia is not explained. Luckily, the unlikely mine-layers also made very accurate maps, which someone scanned into a computer and put online for Gabriel to access.

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 9] Athens
Shown 03/Mar/14

Someone breaks Cong (Will Yun Lee - Die Another Day ) out of jail in Red China. Before the Computer Centre find out about it, someone knocks down their servers with a high-level computer virus. Then Cong personally leads an armed assault that takes over the US Computer Agency's base.

The computer virus wipes Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway - Lost )'s human memories. His loyalties to the USA are thus also removed. Will Cong convince Gabriel that they are friends, or will Riley ( Meghan Ory )'s physical attractions influence him instead?

Can Riley and the pretty-boy escape and take out all the guards? Will the elite hit-squad run headlong into danger, without pausing to fire from cover? Do the good guys really need Gabriel if their normal Agents are practically superhuman?

The McGuffin this week is the Athens List, a list of children that have tested positive for the gene that allows the chip to be implanted. Apparently this is a bad thing, because it leaves the children open to abuse. However, children often grow up and some even decide to serve their country. In fact, it seems a reasonable idea to have a short-list of potential candidates.

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 10] Cain and Gabriel
Shown 10/Mar/14

A super-hacker has busted the Witness Protection Program's database, and is using a team of highly-skilled crooks to set up a large-scale attack. He keeps track of everything using CCTV systems he has hacked. Yes, finally the Cyber team take on a villain (Alan Ruck - Star Trek: Generations ) whose use of technology is exactly what they are specialised in fighting.

Boss lady Marg Helgenberger compromises herself by abandoning her post at HQ and joining the mission team in San Francisco. Her reason is personal - she has a daughter in that city. Not a son, because nobody would have sympathy for a son. After all, there's no such thing as bring your son to work day because you know he's going to drop out and end up on welfare anyway. Anyhow, at least this explains why the boss lady was such a bitch towards the Mexican dude who kidnapped the Senator's Spring Breaker.

The villain's motive is quite understandable, and his plan itself is quite sensible. He aims to stage a non-lethal attack on Big Pharma, part of the conspiracy that makes up the US privatised health-care system. Can our heroes save the Fat Cats and condemn the afflicted to perpetual sickness?

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 11] The Grey Hat
Shown 17/Mar/14

Again, the team are in their element –although there are a lot of similarities with the previous episode. Someone hacks the California power-grid.This time, the hacker is in Los Angeles instead of San Francisco. The CyberCom team investigate, and trace the cyber-worm responsible back to a world-class hacker ... an African-American teenager! The hacker is well-intentioned (if larcenous), not unlike last week’s so-called villain. Will the black kid come and live with the white family? The show needs a bit of diversity, but this is a bit of a cliché.

The villains of the week are gun-toting Ukrainian eco-terrorists. They are targeting a nuclear power plant in order to extort the US Government into releasing their leader, who is about to be extradited to Russia. The pesky Ukrainians want nuclear disarmament, and blew up a Russian nuclear lab in order to make the world safer.

The show’s stance is quite difficult to understand. The Ukrainians (literally survivors of Chernobyl, in this case) are portrayed as murderous villains. In contrast, the Russian Government, a belligerent and expansionist superpower, is deemed worthy of nuclear weapons. And putting a nuclear power plant on the San Andreas fault is deemed a logical idea!

Last week the team’s mission was to help Big Business at the expense of crippled people. Before that, the boss-lady sparked off a major drugs war in Mexico (the body count, though never acknowledged, probably runs into the thousands). And now she makes a promise that she cannot keep to a Russian envoy who she cannot trust that will help the threat of nuclear war rise from the ashes of the Cold War. Although the USA is unlikely to go to war to protect the independence of small nations, if this episode is anything to go by. Instead they will bend over whenever Russia tells them to, so the Ukraine can be used as a radioactive toilet by the Russian military-industrial complex. Wow, I feel safer already.

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 12] The Event Horizon
Shown 24/Mar/14

A retired US Army Intelligence Colonel has a secret meeting with the Director of the FBI. Unfortunately the Fed only has one bodyguard, who is incapable of frisking a waiter or securing a single door. As a result, everyone ends up dead.

The CCTV appears to implicate Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway - Lost ), so he and his bodyguard Riley ( Meghan Ory ) go on the run. Just as Gabriel's chip is the only one powerful enough to solve the crime, it is also powerful enough to frame him for it. Has the chip been hacked, or has he been framed by someone with similar tech?

Boss lady Marg Helgenberger is suspended from duty, and CIA Boss Lance Reddick ( Fringe ) stands in for her.

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1, Episode 13] Being Human
Shown 31/Mar/14

Gabriel Vaughn (Josh Holloway - Lost ) is still on the run. He has been framed by a high-level traitor within the US Military-Industrial Complex. Yes, this ep is about corruption within other Agencies, and how the CyberCom family (much like the family unit in NCIS) must face off against the rival Agency.

This is the final episode, because the show was cancelled. At least there is not a cliffhanger ending.





Intelligence (2014)

Intelligence (2014) Intelligence (2014) [Season 1 , Episode 1 ]
Shown th October 2010 [Wednesday]

Reviewed in our special supplement Intelligence (2014)

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