FBI – Season 5 Episode 12 “Breakdown” Recap & Review


Episode 12 of FBI season 5 starts with three people cleaning a bus at night. One of them is fixing a faulty heater in the bus and starts smelling something. He accidentally presses the wrong switch and poisonous gas is let out, killing all of them.

In the morning, Jubal is getting coffee when his ex-wife calls him to inform him that their son has a lump. They are heading to the hospital to get it checked out. Jubal asks to be put on speakerphone and tries to comfort his son. They are worried that his cancer could be recurring. After the call, Jubal gets a message from Isobel asking him to report to work immediately. Jubal feels pressured and is tempted to start drinking.

At the office, Isobel updates him on the case and asks him to lead the investigation. Schola and OA visit the crime scene and it looks like the poisonous gas was concentrated botox. They will need to find someone who had enough resources to grow the bacteria and harvest it into a toxin. The forensic team tells OA that they are lucky the gas was accidentally exposed, it was meant to go off at the busiest time of the day.

Surveillance footage of the bus before the attack happened leads them to a bus operator named  Aurelio Martinez. They send  Maggie and Tiffany to his last known address where they find only his mom. His mom is worried that her son is mixed up with bad people to help take care of her.  Schola and OA trace his phone at the pier and find him dead.

With their initial suspect dead, they follow his latest transactions to find out who hired him. Martinez had saved his conversations with a man named Bil Zada. The name is on the NSA database and he works for a Houthi extremist group which blames America for the civil war in Yemen. They are unfortunately not able to have more on him and have no description of his appearance.

As they discuss this, Jubal gets a call from his son telling him that he has been scheduled for an ultrasound. Jubal tries to encourage his son and assure him that everything will be fine but he is clearly overwhelmed. He heads out of the office and Isobel wonders what is going on with him.

Test results on the strain of botox used for the attack come back and it can only be found in one lab in Newyork at The Hudson University. OA and Schola head over to interrogate the people at the lab. Their investigation leads them to a young woman by the name of Amal. She is originally from Yemen and has been in the lab alone on many occasions.

OA and Schola track her down and arrest her. She insists on getting a lawyer who tries to make a deal for her. Amal admits to making the toxin for a friend, Bil Zada. They never met in person but she gave him enough toxin to make another device that can kill thousands of people. Amal refuses to tell them where the exchange took place or where the other attack is scheduled to happen. She blames Americans for the devastation in her country and says she is waiting for the attack to happen that night.

They decide to track Amal’s movements in the past week and find security footage of the drop and pick-up of the toxin. The man who picked up the toxin covered his face and they are unable to track him. Luckily, they get unclear footage of him handing off the toxin to another man near a fruit stand. Jubal loses his patience and lashes out at the team. Isobel calls him aside and asks him what is wrong. Jubal tells her he is anxious about his son’s test results and Isobel offers to give him time off. Jubal insists on staying on the case and asks him to take Maggie to interview the owner of the fruit stand.

On the way, Jubal is still acting sensitive and acts unlike himself when someone accidentally rams into him and he spills his coffee. The fruit stand owner identifies the man and says his name is Hassan and he works for an exterminating company.  They follow the lead and learn Hassan only became an extremist after his mom was killed by an American bomb in Yemen a year ago.

They head to his address and Maggie checks in with Jubal and asks if he has been drinking. She admits that she smelled alcohol in his coffee earlier and he has been acting weird. Before Jubal can respond they spot Hassan and chase after him. Jubal is late to arrive and fails to take a shot when he had a chance. This leaves Maggie injured and Hassan in the wind. Maggie later asks him what happened and Jubal claims he didn’t have a shot and wasn’t willing to risk it. He also tells her that she is off base with her suspicions of his drinking.

They check Hassan’s house and they believe he had company over and they run the fingerprints. The fingerprints lead them to Ahmad, he is Hassan’s cousin and they work together. They head to his house and the wife tells them that Hassan and Ahmad have just left but they were angry. Hassan took her van and they trace the location of the car.

They get there in time to see Ahmad and Hassan head into Grand Central carrying the device. Shots are exchanged but Jubal asks Tiffany to hold fire in case the bullets hits the device. They call for back -up and rush in to try and spot Hassan and Ahmad. Unfortunately, they are late, the device has already been planted.

They corner Hassan in the basement and Tiffany takes out Ahmad. Jubal and Maggie are left inside fighting back with Hassan while waiting for SWAT. Finally, SWAT arrives and Maggie and Jubal differ on which approach to use. Maggie points out they have to go tactical since Hassan is the only one who knows where the device is planted. Jubal, on the other hand, wants to go dynamic which means there is a slim chance of Hassan making it alive.

Maggie calls Jubal aside and asks him again if he has been drinking and tells him to let someone take the lead. Jubal gets angry and warns her not to question his authority again or he will fire her.

They get into the basement and Maggie is forced to shoot Hassan to save Jubal’s life. Jubal tries to negotiate with him to tell them the location of the device. Hassan refuses to cooperate and Maggie deduces that the device is most likely the air system. Tiffany is unable to find the device and Isobel insists on evacuating the building. Maggie follows her instincts and decides to check the main vent. She finds the device and under the instructions of Ian, she is able to turn off the vent and saves the day.

Later, Maggie pulls Jubal aside and tells him that she knows the signs, she has been through it before with her sister. She asks him to get help or she will be forced to tell Isobel.

Jubal decides to tell his wife that he slipped and has been drinking . She is disappointed in him. She also tells that the lump was a cyst and that their son will be fine. Jubal then leaves and heads to an AAA meeting.

The Episode Review

I am glad Jubal’s son is fine but I am disappointed in Jubal. I wished he had managed to fight the urge. He was under immense pressure and it took a toll on him, especially the fear that his son’s cancer might be back. Alcoholism is a disease and I hope he can get treatment to help him.

It was interesting to see the pairs switched up in this episode. I am looking forward to seeing a Maggie and Tiffany duo reunion soon, while OA and Schola did great too.

It was bold for Maggie to stand up to Jubal like that. I understand that her concern comes from a good place and she just wants him to be at his best. This job is not easy and a wrong move can lead to people dying. Jubal is in charge of the whole team and calls a lot of shots, he needs to be sober .

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