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Intelligence 1.09 "Athens" Reveiw: Don't Think, Feel

    This week’s episode of Intelligence, “Athens,” was written by Matthew Lau and directed by Bill Eagles. Lau also wrote episode 4, “Secrets of the Secret Service.” Eagles other credits include Strike Back, Numb3rs, Cold Case, and CSI. There are some great fight scenes in this episode, and Meghan Ory (Riley) turns in another spectacular performance. To be fair, there are a number of great performances in the episode.

    The main theme once again in this week’s episode is what it really means to by human. We see the return of Jin Cong (Will Yun Lee) who is looking for revenge, particularly on Lillian (Marg Hellgenberger). If you want to hurt your enemy, you go after their weak spots – things they’ve done and regretted and their children. The Athens list of genetically compatible children fulfills the first criteria while Gabriel (Josh Holloway) fulfills the second.

    Cong uses an EMP (electo-magnetic pulse) to take down all the computers at CyberCom, including Gabriel’s chip. This provided a really interesting look at what it was like when Gabriel first had the chip implanted. Of course, this time around, at least Shenendoah (John Billingsley) knows what’s going on and what Gabriel needs to do to quiet the noise in his head. Holloway does a great job portraying Gabriel’s confusion.

    There are two nicely juxtaposed scenes. When Riley confronts Gabriel, he tells her she’s going to have to kill him. Lillian tells her to shoot him, that he can’t be trusted. She’s willing to sacrifice him, her surrogate son in many ways. Meanwhile, Shenendoah sees that Nelson (PJ Byrne) is about to be shot and loses it. When he finally storms the room, he runs joyfully and tearfully into his son’s arms. As always, I love the chemistry between Byrne and Billingsley. Nelson is clearly impressed that his dad has built a stun bomb, and Shenendoah’s “You bet your ass I did!” is one of my favorite moments from the episode.

    All along Riley has seen Gabriel as more than the chip; she’s always seen him as a person. It’s their human relationship that lets her tell him to ignore the data and just feel. To use his heart instead of his brain because that is what sets him apart from the machine. Gabriel didn’t need the chip to tell him that putting children in danger was wrong. When Gabriel apologizes to Shenendoah, Shenendoah tells him that ultimately the important decisions are made by our hearts not our heads.

    Lillian does redeem herself somewhat in the episode by shooting Cong and saving Gabriel. She doesn’t, however, have the luxury of being ruled by her heart or of being part of the “gang.” I liked the scene in which Shenendoah dresses her down for not destroying the list. She tells him that she doesn’t have the luxury of disobeying orders. We’ve seen her run interference for the team on a number of occasions. Lillian doesn’t have an easy task to walk that balancing act, which she does to protect her team.

    PJ Byrne continues to impress. He is the smartass in the room who always seems to have a comeback, but you don’t lose the ability to take him seriously. I loved the scene in which he’s about to be shot and Jameson tries to take his place. Byrne plays this to perfection as he calmly meets Jameson’s eyes and says no. It’s ok. Jameson tries to lighten the mood and bolster Nelson by teasing him about not being able to come up with an idiom to taunt Cong with. Nelson is no less brave than the rest of them, and he refuses to stay down when Jameson and Riley go on the attack. I loved him using his chair as a weapon. I also loved how devastated he was when he thought he’d killed a man and Jameson immediately assures him that all he killed was the ceiling. Ever practical Nelson immediately wonders if he’s going to have to pay to repair the ceiling. A special shout out to the great chemistry between Rady and Byrne here. It’s been nice to see them spend a little time over the last two episodes giving us some insights into Jameson.

    Once again, one of the highlights is the chemistry between Ory and Holloway. Ory, in particular, is wonderful in this episode as she has to wear her heart on her sleeve to appeal to Gabriel’s emotions. Gabriel tries to convince Riley to have some fun and agree to go out on a date with David (Charlie Koznick). He tells her he didn’t need the chip to see the attraction between them, but he understands that you “just know” when it’s right. It’s the same phrasing that Riley uses when Lillian tells her not to trust Gabriel. It’s Riley that gets through to Gabriel. Riley also tells Gabriel in response to his urging her on the date that “Caution shouldn’t paralyze you from taking action.” This is certainly advice that Riley stands behind. It seemed like they were clearly dancing around the will they/won’t they issue of a relationship here. When Riley initially tries to remind Gabriel about their relationship, she tells him “we’re friends and partners” and then gets flustered over the double meaning of partners. Gabriel immediately asks if they’re intimate, and Riley replies with “NO!” By the end of the episode, they are back to their usual banter. I’m very much enjoying them being friends and partners in the platonic sense, but it seems inevitable that the show is moving to something more.

    This was another solid episode, with great contributions from the entire cast. The actors all have great chemistry and have been turning in solid performance every week. A final shout out to the fight coordinator, Holloway and Lee for that fantastic fight scene at the end. What did you think of the episode? Do you feel like a relationship between Riley and Gabriel is inevitable? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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