Warning: Spoiler Alert (sort of)
‘Scorpion’ is a new dramatic series on CBS combining a team of geniuses and a governmental resources to routinely solve problems our government would otherwise have trouble dealing with. Despite popular belief, the concept that the characters on the show are in some way smarter than the viewers watching the show has always been a cornerstone of successful dramas. Think of any show you love. Chances are good that there is a character that is smarter than you about a thing that is not critical to you in your life. Gregory House, Fitz/Simmons, Josiah Bartlet, or Bobby Singer. We are fascinated by watching smart people do smart people things. And this show puts four geniuses together to solve problems.
The cast is unique. The ‘team’ which one would have to believe is the star of the show is composed of Elyes Gabel (Walter O’Brien), Ari Stidham (Sylvester Dodd), Jadyn Wong (Happy Quinn) and Eddie Kaye Thomas (Toby Curtis). If none of those are familiar to you, that’s understandable. If Eddie Kaye Thomas seems remotely familiar, it should. He played S***break or Paul Finch from the American Pie franchise. Where the cast gets really interesting is everywhere else.
After the ‘team’ we find a slew of actors that have made their presence known in other productions. First and foremost is the waitress in the diner, Katharine McPhee who rose to prominence during the fifth season of American Idol (as I cringe in my seat). The character that pops off the screen is none other than Robert Patrick. Most known for his role as the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement day. Patrick has made a name for himself providing very good but focused roles on such shows as The Unit, The Sopranos, The X-Files, Lost, NCIS, Burn Notice, Last Resort and even True Blood. Erick Avari who played the elder Suresh on Heroes. Joel Gretsch who had a healthy run on the show ‘V’ and the 4400, even if I know him from his role of Bobby Jones in movie Bagger Vance. And even Ernie Hudson better known as Winston from Ghostbusters 2 makes an appearance at least in the pilot episode.
The premise of this show is an intriguing one. Geniuses work together to save the populace from the bad things that they hopefully aren’t even aware are happening. There’s a nice, attractive waitress single mother involved. And even a FBI agent in their corner providing support and resources. Sounds good enough to watch. Then we discovered a wrinkle a little over a week ago. If the waitress is just a waitress in a diner, who cares? From the first promo we knew the waitress had a son. A son she believes is ‘special’. In what was believed to be the big moment in the waitress/lead genius relationship, Walter says
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your son is not special, he’s a genius”
We later would discover that was a set up for the more telling and important detail not only to the wrinkle in their relationship, but also maybe the biggest wrinkle in the show in the early going. Using geniuses to solve problems is not enough to bring all of these people together. Katherine McPhee is too big a name to just use in the pilot. And yes, I understand how referring to Katherine McPhee as ‘too big a name’ sounds ridiculous. However, she was a recurring character on Smash (a show I went out of my way not to watch) and has 15 acting credits on the resume. This wouldn’t seem right if she was the token CSI cameo. Back to the point at hand. The real ‘big’ moment that doesn’t include planes falling from the sky and amassing 20,000+ deaths, it comes in the form of dialogue at some point in the pilot episode.
“If you will translate the outside world to us, then I will translate your son to you.”-Walter O’Brien
As this is a new series, we have very little to offer the rabid fans in the way of plot point spoilers. I think it’s fair to assume that they will telegraph the eventual romantic conflict between Walter and Paige. Maybe there’s something between Toby and Happy. And at some point there will be a power struggle between Agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick) and his boss(es). Government agencies thinking outside the box tend to always bring with them conflict from above. Aside from that, I am excited to see what they plan on doing with this great idea long-term. I recommend giving this show a fair shake. Is it going to be The Blacklist, Gotham, or Person of Interest, but it does seem worth the time of the viewer with high expectations.
Scorpion debuts September 22nd and will be found on CBS, Mondays at 9/8c.