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FBI: International - The Soul of Chess - Review



In this episode, we open on a gentleman in a restaurant in Krakow, Poland, texting to someone asking where they are and receiving a reply of “They know”. He rushes out of the restaurant to his hotel room where a maid is lying dead, and he covers his mouth and nose, gets a USB stick out of the safe and leaves. On the street, he collapses dead, bleeding from the mouth. We then see a man come up and sneak the USB stick out of his bag. A young blonde woman also comes up, looks at him and runs away. Then we see another message on his phone that says, “I’m sorry”.

We then flash to Budapest, where Vo and Kellett are working out in the park and Cameron challenges Jamie to a race to the fountain. But before they can, they get a call from Forrester that they have a case. In this scene it is nice to see a relationship and friendship forming between these two women on the team, and it is nice to see that Cameron is being included in social activities with the team outside of working hours.

We learn from Scott that the gentleman was a journalist, Philip Blake, who was working freelance for a number of different online publications. He had been specializing in articles about National Security and was in Krakow less than 24 hours before collapsing on the street and the cause of death is still officially unknown, but they suspect poison. They are concerned that the person who killed him wanted an international incident, and it is related to the Russians. The team decides to mobilize right away and finish the briefing in the air. Scott checks in with Jamie to see if she is ready for this, and she says she is ready to work and asks is he. This was an interesting conversation, as it is clear he is still concerned for her safety, and she seems concerned if this will affect his work when they are out in the field.

The team arrives in Krakow, and meets with Alesky Zielinski from the local police department, and he indicates that everything is at their disposal. He has worked with Katrin before and says she saved his life “with her brain”. Raines asks to go to the victim’s hotel to meet with the team checking for nerve agents at the scene, and Zielinski advises it is sealed off and they will take him there right away. It is really nice to see the development of this team and how well they are working with other foreign authorities now, and the collaboration they are able to create in these last few episodes.

They meet Alina Nowak, another journalist who was to meet with Blake, and the team interviews her. They ask how well she knew Blake and she says they met 6 or 7 weeks before in Germany when she was there for a story, where she had asked him for help with some background information. She says they traded numbers and had lunch and she told him that if he ever came to Krakow, she said she would show him around but that was it. She says he reached out a few days ago to meet a source, but she did not know why. She said they were going to meet for dinner, and all she was doing was giving him travel advice for the area. They tell her about the encrypted number texting I am sorry when he died, and she says it was not her. She says he had told her nothing, and she wonders if he had told her anything if she would be dead too. She leaves and Katrin says if she was an agent, she would have a better story.

Vo has been looking through Blake's articles but has found nothing that she feels would raise eyebrows for Russia. Scott and Jamie go to the restaurant and interview the manager and waiters. They then go upstairs and meet with Raines and find out it was a deadly radioactive isotope that killed Blake, and they mask up. The bathroom was treated with a radioactive isotope that was powerful but had a short half life, and had the maid not been killed, they would have never checked the hotel room and it would have decayed and disappeared never to be found. They identify that after applying the isotope, the killer would have to have been nearby, and they follow the radioactive trail to another room. They find out two men were in that room, and the hotel has camera footage of them, but they are unable to identify them at this time. The manager remembers they spoke Russian, but the names on the room are aliases.

Scott notices someone watching them, so asks Jamie to stay and look through the lobby footage to see if the Russian men show up anywhere else, and asks Raines to go with him outside. He tells Raines they are being followed, and they get the man to follow them down an alley, where they grab him. He is a CIA agent, Michael Rafferty, case officer from the Berlin station, and he says all he can tell them is Blake is piece of a much bigger dangerous game and they need to keep a low profile. He hands over the USB stick to them that he took from Blake's bag, and Scott is upset he held back evidence, but he says that he was making sure it did not fall into the wrong hands.

Back at the station, Scott asks Katrin to get on the phone with IAEA to see if the isotope can be traced back to the reactor it came from, but she is already on the line speaking to them. One of the best characteristics of Katrin's character is her knowledge and foresight in these types of situations to get the information they need as quickly as possible. Jamie tells Scott they are not allowed to have Blake’s agency file and their orders are to keep their heads down and stay out of the papers, and they realize whatever the CIA’s angle is is top priority. Vo finds hundreds of files on the USB stick and Scott tells her there was something on there Rafferty wanted them to find and to keep looking. Raines worries they are being deliberately lead down the wrong track, and Scott tells Katrin that something is going on and he doesn’t like it, because if Blake was on CIA’s radar before he was killed, why didn’t they protect him. Katrin asks Scott if he thinks the CIA wanted Blake gone too, and he says he is not sure but is done giving them the benefit of the doubt, and tells Katrin they need to use the back channels because he wants to know what danger his team is being lead into. Katrin says she has someone she can talk to but had to be careful that the agency does not find out.

Katrin goes to the Russian Consulate and meets with a colleague, Piotr Efremov, who she has known for a long time. She says that although it is called something different, she knows they still have a lab creating new poisons, and that using something radioactive was a big mistake as it is only a matter of time until it is traced. He says they would be fools to harm an American journalist as it would lead to economic sanctions, and Katrin says maybe they just didn’t think they would be caught. He warns her that she has been on his countries bad side in the past, and does she really want to go back there, and she calls him on being nervous and that they must be on to something really big, and if he tells her what it is, maybe they can help each other. He replies that they all have their secrets and when she can offer him something more, they can talk again.

Back at the station, Vo finds the file they have been looking for. It was a hidden file with Blake’s notes and research for his article. The article is about Russian Missile technology and a new missile that can evade USA tracking and detection. Blake was meeting up with a source to prove it existed as up until now if was just rumored to exist. Scott says this definitely sounds like a scoop someone would kill for.

Jamie and Scott go to speak with Julianna, Blake’s widow who has arrived, who wants to know what they are doing about the Russian government poisoning her husband for the story he was writing, and Scott says they are still investigating. She says he knew the risk, and that he worked for 7 years for the Post, but for this type of investigating that he loved, he lept at the chance for this type of story when it fell into his lap. She says she is going to make sure every media outlet will know what happened and Scott asks her not to do that for security reasons. She wants to know whose side they are on because they took her husband from her. Jamie asks what she means by the story fell into his lap and she tells them it was Alina who contacted him and told him she had a story for him. They were writing it together.

They find out where Alina is staying, and Scott takes Tank and Vo with him instead of Jamie, much to Jamie’s dismay, and Scott tells her to stay with the widow. At the apartment they confront Alina. They know she was working with Blake and they want to protect her and help, and she says they can’t and that the whole apartment could be poison and she would never know. She says their government doesn’t care about her and why should she trust them any more than the Russians. Scott says they are not there to arrest her and they just want to know the truth. She says Philip was willing to risk everything for the story and maybe prevent an arms race, but she says she never asked for any of this and that no story is worth dying for. Scott says he knows she is scared but asks if she has ever seen the two men from the hotel. She says she does not know who they are. A week ago she was at her desk when a message arrived. A source claimed to have valuable information from Russia. They contacted her because she is a nobody and no one would be spying on her and she called Philip because she was afraid and did not know what to do. He arranged for the meeting and took on the risk himself, and she says he is dead because of her. Vo reassures her is it not her fault. Alina says they know now that anyone who knows “Dasha” is in danger. Tank begins barking, and Scott looks out the window and sees men with guns so he takes Alina to the tub and tells her to get in and leaves Tank to guard her and the room. One man comes through the window with an automatic weapon and exchanges rounds with Scott, and when he breaks into the bathroom, Tank grabs him and Scott is able to knock him out. The other man exchanges rounds with Vo through the door and escapes in their car. It was so great to see Tank back in action...he truly is a gem on this show!

They find out Dasha is someone high in the Russian Ministry of Defence and was the source Blake was meeting with. Dasha offered to share the secret details which would eliminate the Russian technological advantage of the new missile. Katrin says that must be why the Russians are so nervous and Rafferty asks if they have one of the Russians in custody and Scott says yes, but he is not talking. They feel the Russians ordered hits on the journalists to send Dasha back into the shadows. And they discover that Dasha was the CIA target all along. Rafferty confirms that all those facts are true. He says that they have to act fast to get ahold of Dasha quickly and Rafferty brings up Forresters mother and says that is why he was leary of trusting him. They decide to try to get to Dasha first by having Alina set up a meeting. Scott says if they do this though that the bureau will run point for everyones safety, not the CIA, and Rafferty agrees.

They make contact with Dasha and set up the meeting, and Raines tells Alina they will be with her and Vo says at any sign of danger they can pull her out immediately, but Vo is concerned. She tells Scott and Jamie that Alina has not stopped shaking since yesterday, and she feels she is not sure she can keep it together and doesn’t think they should be using her as bait. Scott asks if anyone has a better idea, and Jamie says that Dasha has never seen Alina in person, and she offers to be the bait. There is then an interesting conversation between Jamie and Scott, where he says this is to dangerous and she says he is letting his feelings compromise the case and brings up him telling her to stay with the wife. He says he is just trying to keep his team alive, and she replies that he is doing a terrible job because in trying to protect her he almost got himself and Vo killed. He says that the last time he almost lost her in the field and he cares about her and he cannot turn that off and then Jamie replies that if he can’t trust her to do her job, she is done. Scott then interestingly replies that she cannot use their relationship as leverage for planning missions. They end up agreeing that all feelings aside, Jamie is best for the mission, and it was nice to perhaps see a glimpse of their relationship and the trauma of her being shot being slowly put behind them so that they can work effectively together again as a team.

Raines gets Jamie set up and says that they cannot be to close, and Scott says she will largely be on her own. Jamie uses Alina’s phone and is texting with Dasha, who is having her move to different locations near the cathedral. They identify someone following her and he follows her into the cathedral and tries to inject her with something and they fight and she then injects it into him. The police move in and Vo and Raines think they may see Dasha, but Raines chases him and they lose him in the courtyard. Jamie texts him to try to convince him it is safe to come out and they can protect him, but instead he gives them a clue of where to find a USB stick he has hidden for them in the cemetery.

Once Katrin meets with the Russians and ensures they are not going to hurt anyone else, they turn the USB drive over to the CIA. Rafferty says Scott is a man of his word, and gives him a picture – it is his mother and it was taken recently in Moscow.

As this new season of FBI: International progresses, these new characters and storylines are providing fun, excitement, action and all the wonderful things we have come to expcet from the Dick Wolf universe, and I personally am thoroughly enjoying this new installment of the FBI franchise, and feel it is a great addition to the family. I cannot wait to see what comes next from these characters, both personally and professionally. How about you?
Let us know what you thought about this week’s episode in the comments below.

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