Warning: Spoiler Alert
Ralph has a ‘Time Capsule’ project for school and Walter is very unimpressed. Walter would rather Ralph only study math and science, or in Walter’s mind, the subjects that matter. In addition to that, is being very Walter about Megan’s passing. Sylvester on the other hand is taking as one might expect him to.
Sylvester: Hey Walter, I have a lovely picture of you and Megan for you…
Walter: No thanks, I know what we both look like.
Cabe walks in carrying an evidence box that looks rather heavy. Inside the box is the air tank that once belonged to Ray’s firefighter friend. Ray has always felt he was to blame for the death of his friend. Walter would like to take a stab at disproving that idea. Problem is that as Paige points out, Walter may be using this project for Ray as a means to compensate for the mourning he is not doing for Megan.
Cooper arrives with tonight’s mission. A while ago, Homeland received a ransom demand. It was a small amount of 20,000. They paid the ransom and this time need Scorpion as the new demand is 250 million or they will shut down the Federal Reserve. This news sends Sly into one of his typical rants about just how dangerous life is. This is a fire sale, in the computer savvy world. Shut down the fed and everything about our economy falls. Not just big business. Everything. Post apocalyptic barren version of ourselves.
Cooper: That’s why I need you to access the Fed’s server and kill this ransom-ware.
Walter: Well I’m already in and it’s not happening. Every time I try to break the code, it changes. As if it’s adapting.
Sylvester: Welp! Walter can’t get in. Should I start hoarding canned goods?
The next step is one that no one involved would be thrilled to take. Scorpion is going back to college. They’ve traced the point of upload to a student activity center. There were four groups that had the floor reserved. A wrestling team, a sorority, the Psych department, and a drama club gathering. Try to play the Match Game pairing each of those four groups with the Scorpion member expected to infiltrate said group.
Happy can build small pocket-sized devices that will pick up any nearby electronics and measure its specific omitting frequency. I one of them gets close to the computer that uploaded the ransom-ware, they’ll know it. Toby is the only genius excited about the prospect of going back to college. This time it will be different. Sylvester will try to get close as a college wrestler. Happy is going to pledge what I’m sure is a pink and frilly sorority. Toby will try to get hired into the college Psych department that is headed by his arch-enemy. And Walter will be a visiting Drama professor. Even Cabe will parade around as a new campus security rent-a-cop.
Even in their ‘costumes’ Toby and Sylvester find things on the campus event calendar they’d rather be doing. Toby’s motives are typically Toby while Sylvester is enthralled with the exhibit on campus of old space suits.
Sylvester is first up. In his large track suit, Sylvester tries to fit in with these jocks and it doesn’t take a genius to sense the Carrie moment that’s about to happen. Sylvester gets invited into the annual team photo on the front steps of the fraternity house. When a number of dirty jock straps fall on him from the second floor, Sylvester has had enough and leaves. No frequency readout.
Walter isn’t in character 10 seconds before two drama students get a little too uppity about the use of non-PC language and Walter is compelled to destroy them. He gets close enough but no frequency readout. The drama students (especially the woman) keep pushing. Walter doesn’t have to reach far to squash them with nothing more than a dictionary meaning of the term ‘you guys’ to represent a group of people, having nothing to do gender. He drops the proverbial hammer and makes his exit.
The most painful of all of these experiences might just go to Happy. Happy Quinn standing emotionless (not a surprise), wearing a pink plaid skirt, a pink hooded sweatshirt, hair down looking about as thrilled as she would be if she were learning to crochet. Later one of the pledges approaches Happy with an almost upsetting optimism. She makes an analogy to this sorority being her surrogate family when she’s away from hers. Her tone may have been annoying, but the wheels in Happy’s head are turning.
Toby complains to Paige all the way up to and including the waiting room for his ‘job interview’. He sits down and there is a large in stature man already seated. This person is very familiar. Took about 3.2 seconds to realize who. I looked over at my wife a demanded to know, “Why is Willie McGinest on my show?” For the uninitiated, Willie McGinest used to play professional football for the New England Patriots. I don’t know the purpose of this cameo and it serves as little to no help advancing the story.
Inside the meeting room, we have high noon at the OK Corral, battle of the behaviorist. Dr. Burkhead takes the first shot, Toby goes along for the ride momentarily then uses his understanding of the field to tell Burkhead exactly what he needs to in order to drop his defenses.
Cabe meets with his new boss/partner, Griggs. Griggs is not at all excited about the job. He had aspirations of being a police officer like his father. Even mentions what it would be like to take down real bad guys and slap on the cuffs. Then Paige informs Cabe they have a ping. The good (or bad depending on how you want to view it) Doctor. Whatever tripped the ping was unhelpful. The Doctor’s phone is clean, no trace of the ransom-ware at all.
Happy overhears a couple in other room arguing about code, the dead professor, and what to do next. Happy charges in uninvited. She clearly announces her intentions and the male advances. Poor decision. A shot to his Adam’s Apple and the couple is compliant. Quickly we discover that they were paid to write code. Not knowing or even really questioning why, they aided in this issue. That is not the bad news. The bad news is that the ransom-ware code has been uploaded to a ‘Quantum’. You can see Walter and Sylvester’s eyes begin screaming.
The Quantum is a super computer that utilizes lasers, much faster than the consumer tech available today. That’s why it kept adapting, it was just faster than Walter, a fact that he open accepts as irrefutable fact. If they can upload Walter’s code, it too could run as fast as the ransom-ware. The Quantum does not look like or act like something anyone can pick up at a big box store. This thing looks like an ice-cube inside of a much larger ice-cube. Incredible environmental and biological fail safes will trigger an explosion if done wrong. Too many things could trigger this thing to blow. Also, if they are to install Walter’s code, they need to get next to it without freezing to death in the -100 degree room its in. A great opportunity for Homeland to commandeer the old space suits exhibit that Sylvester was going to miss.
Sylvester struggles to keep his jitters or vital signs in check as he positions a small mirror to reflect one of the lasers back on itself. The theory is this should slow the Quantum’s speed long enough to allow Walter to upload his code. Then Sylvester freaks out thinking they are experiencing an earthquake. Instead, there is a block party starting up on the street above them. Cabe puts that to a halt by pushing the DJ out-of-the-way and proclaiming he is a DEA agent. All the students scatter.
Walter implores Paige to do something to calm Sylvester. She begins in with that calmly maternal voice of hers she uses when things get bad. Sly pushes back suggesting that this is not the time. All she has to do is mention a who that made him calm. Thinking about Megan put his mind at ease. The pep talk did the trick, now if Walter can only grab the flash drive he dropped with his big One Giant Leap for Mankind gloves. Enjoyably and predictably, he gets it just a time is about to run out. They all celebrate and Walter even apologizes for objecting to Paige’s pep talk. But they will get no response and the man behind the ransom has a gun pointed at her head
They have strict instructions to meet at the ‘Founders Fountain’ with the money or Paige dies. There is a strategic benefit for the bad guy by choosing this venue. He will see anyone coming. Cabe has a plan. Cabe reaches out to Griggs, presumably to let him live out his cop dream. Griggs approaches just being the friendly campus security guard. Rider (bad guy) gives a false story about this being their anniversary trying to shake Griggs. Griggs does an effective job buying time, even offered to take a picture of the couple. Hoping he would soon leave, Rider poses for the picture. Before it’s taken Cabe tackles Rider. Paige steps on his hand as he reaches for his gun. And most importantly, Cabe tosses his cuffs at Griggs who gleefully and awkwardly cuffs Rider.
With the mission well in hand, its time to say goodbye to their second college run. Toby is still very much distraught over the number of college experiences he missed today. Hacky-sac, naked racing, and the winter dance. Prospective eventual love interests pair up for the ride home. Walter and Paige walk through campus when Walter is met with verbal indifference. The drama club. The snotty lady drops a “those who can’t, teach” reference. Walter politely has had about enough of these drama kids and schools them in a way that even surprises me. Walter O’Brien played by Elyes Gabel, who is British delivers the Juliet death scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet but in his Americanized accent. And its one of the most brilliant things I’ve seen in a while.
Toby continues wallowing as they approach Happy’s truck. She tells him to wait. She opens the door turns the key and turns up the radio. She comes in close to Toby who is still standing in front of the truck. Happy wants Toby to mark off one thing from his college bucket list, and no it’s not streaking. Happy offers to slow dance with Toby. At first there is a safe distance. Even in the moment, Toby can’t help but ask what she’s doing. It won’t matter this time. Happy is letting down her shield (something the annoying sorority pledge said to her), which Toby was not about to question.
Walter and Paige return to find Ray sitting on a stool staring at the experiment tank that has his former partner’s oxygen tank in it. Ray is as ‘gone’ as we’ve ever seen him. The loss of Tuggle or more aptly Ray’s perceived notion that he was responsible for the loss of Tuggle has dictated near everything in his life since. Ray is calm when he hears Walter’s why. Even asks what would be present if the tank indeed was defective. Bubbles. The solution the tank is submerged in would reveal bubbles. No bubbles, Ray says as he walks away.
Not before Paige notices what Ray did not. Bubbles. Ray comes charging back. The existence of bubbles and his faith in Walter’s knowledge are enough to erase a decade of torment in a single moment. Ray doesn’t say anything at first, but instead lunges into Walter for a bro hug. This news is liberating for Ray. He finds a way to make a joke and referring to himself in the third person for good measure as he lets them know that it might be time to say hello to the world again.
Ray walks over to hug Paige and not call her by her correct name. When he leans in for the hug, he holds it. Not so much for the creepy embrace, but for him to impart some wisdom onto Paige. It seems that Ray’s purpose was much more important than comic relief or the ying to Walter’s yang. Much more significant.
Ray (whispering to Paige): You know how he feels about you. You need to go to him. He’s not able to do it on his own.
Paige doesn’t address that tidbit but does announce she needs to leave to pick up Ralph. She reiterates that she will have the time capsule out of the garage by Friday. She looks back and says that she knows there are things Walter cares about. When she’s gone, Walter picks up the picture of he and Megan that Sly was going to give him. Takes a look at the photo then places it in the time capsule.