Scorpion: Hitting Too Close To Home


Courtesy of CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

This episode begins with a flashback. Just like the last one. Let me impart one of the few little sticking points for me. I love flashbacks, especially if they are done right. However, you cannot be a little bit pregnant with flashbacks. When they are used in the same manner in the same juncture of two episodes in a row, it NEEDS to be a staple of the show. We can’t have 4 episodes start with a flashback and have the fifth episode sans flashback. Just a little nerdy issue I have.

In this flashback we find Walter schooling a teacher four times his age. Which I imagine happened often for a guy like Walter. However, just before getting a little corporal punishment on his hands, his sister comes to the rescue, pulling the fire alarm.

Let’s fast forward back into present time. A number of things happen in a short amount of time. If this is your first exposure to Scorpion, I strongly suggest you brace yourself for the tempo. Very quick. Checks from the government come. Sylvester makes a joke about Mo Money Mo Problems. Then Toby makes a joke about 99 problems but misplacing a check ain’t one. And Walter discovers that Ralph re-calibrated the digital thermometer so that Paige would think he always had a fever. Then we are introduced to the presence of Walter’s sister. Who it seems, according to a letter he received, has MS.

I must say, I thoroughly enjoy anytime Sylvester is placed in a situation he is not comfortable with. Last episode it was the disorder of chalk and referencing the frequency in which he speaks to his parents. This week (so far) its showing up in response to arriving at the Governor’s house and finding a van from the Centers for Disease Control parked outside. Once inside Walter and Paige see a young girl in a bed clinging to life. Which sends Walter into a short flashback (not to be confused with the setup flashback in the cold open) of seeing his sister in a similar predicament.

Walter asks for details and none are given. He then upon meeting the Governor, lays down the law about governmental proprietary information being a hindrance. Shortly after his ‘stand’, Paige interjects with the sentiments of a mother offering her sympathy. Which seems to break the ice nicely. After revealing some details about the Governor’s daughter’s laptop, Walter starts to make some connections. The long and short of it is that there is computer hacking and bio hacking going on here. The child’s laptop is the only device in the house infected and the child is the only person in the house infected. Walter grabs the laptop and outlines that there is no hope until they find the hacker responsible. Then attempts to leave with the laptop.

Governor: Where are you going? You can’t just drop a theory like that and leave.
Walter: Governor, the helplessness that you feel will incline you toward irrational behavior. So please resist the temptation to do anything stupid like getting in my way and let me do my job.

Back at the Scorpion think tank they are coming up empty. They have nothing on the computer virus itself as of yet. Gallo comes in with printed emails for Toby to look over. Toby says to keep digging because what Gallo has isn’t what they’re looking for. Gallo is still confused on the bio hacking concept. Irritated Walter throws out a scenario that seems quite logical. Then Walter goes back to Toby who has nothing. Walter smashes a coffee cup against a desk in frustration. Something tells me that Walter’s frustration is directly related to this girl’s predicament. Walter gets the most frustrated when he feels like he can’t figure something out.

Megan O’Brien did survive a child hood illness. However, the doctors overseeing her in her assisted living situation believe that her multiple sclerosis is progressing faster than they’d like.

The team catches a break when they discover that the emails aren’t bouncing from a few servers around the world, it’s on an endless loop. And like a card counter, Walter sees their tell. He thinks he knows the source.

They enter a hackers den, I really have no other way to describe it. A large room with computers spread out like a college computer lab. Gallo identifies himself and says he wants the person who sent a viral email to the Governor’s daughter. Immediately Toby surveys the room. You don’t need to be a brilliant profiler like Toby to notice the guilty party. The guy slowly gets up and attempts to run. A large body comes out of nowhere and drops the kids like Ray Lewis playing a JV team.

Paige: Um…Since when does Walter get physical?
Sylvester: Um… … …Never.

There are actually 4 victims of this. All trace back to four people (the Governor included) that worked for a pharmaceutical company. They developed a drug for clinical trials to work against spinal muscular atrophy. But instead it worked well against Athsma, so they pulled the plug on the clinical trials leaving the spinal patients out in the cold.

Their endgame it appears has to do with revenge, naturally. And to execute that instead of demanding a ransom, they will plan to inform the victims families of a cure, that they can’t have. So they can watch their children waste away as the perpetrators of this crime were forced to do.

The first play is to get the pharmaceutical company to release the records from the clinical trial. Which they are not willing to do for another 12 hours. Sylvester, who has seen the girl, doesn’t believe she’s got 12 hours. When that plan falls by the wayside, Walter is inspired by a takeout restaurant coupon.

Walter: Cabe, call the Governor and ask if Vlaxco keeps hard copies of the clinical trials.
Gallo: Why am I asking?
Walter: We’re going to break in.

The break in is pretty slick. They set up outside Vlaxco for proximity sake. Then Walter hacks the local sub shop and plants a harmless virus in the pdf of the sub shop’s daily specials. Once someone from Vlaxco clicks on it, they can bypass the firewall. Then step 2 is to get Sylvester in. While Sylvester complains about disease (namely the plague) everyone else gets in position. Toby and Happy find the marks car. Then Happy uses a pickup truck to get intimate with the mark’s parked car. While this happens, Sylvester (with Walter in his ear) makes his way to the entrance.

The only real question yet to be answered is if Walter knows what he’s looking for, and Walter needs to guide Sylvester while Sylvester freaks out the entire time, why isn’t Walter the one going inside? Anyway, the plan depends on Sylvester getting in and out before the real Mr. Howser returns. Which depends on Toby and Happy stalling him. Which they were unable to do. The security team has been alerted to Sylvester’s presence. Walter has an alternate route for Sylvester to slip out of. One problem. Previously Walter assured Sylvester that he would go nowhere near any bio hazard rooms. The back door for Sylvester’s getaway clearly has a bio hazard sticker on it.

The short version is the Sylvester has an all time great melt down. His fear of any sort of disease is heightened when he finds himself, literally, in the middle of his worst nightmare. Eventually Paige is able to distract his mind long enough to get him to exit the lab. After Sylvester gets in the truck, Toby jumps out to zip tie the door shut from the outside.

Back at the think tank, they have 50 names. Which puts Toby clearly in his element. They start removing names based on no improvement, placebo, and other such criteria. As Toby starts to zero in on a subject, Gallo jumps in and declares he’s got the guy. Lost a child almost immediately after the trial was scrapped. As it turns out this gentleman is a Micro Biology professor. Ding Ding Ding, and the survey says!

The team scours Richter’s (the suspect) office. Happy discovers that with his equipment and the right intelligence he could be, as she puts it, be a modern Typhoid Mary. With that, Walter focuses on the modern part. He is able to find the genetic sequencing off Richter’s computer and he hands the printout to Gallo. Then explains that the CDC can reverse engineer the virus to easily create an antidote and cure anyone who has been infected.

At the 40 minute mark, the victory celebration is premature. After all, Scorpions (thus far) have not adopted the Legend school of thought on story line closure. There is a fifth victim yet to be infected. Someone who didn’t receive and email. The Governor himself. Nothing like watching your daughter die just to see yourself meet the same fate. The one wrinkle to this is that the strain sent to infect the Governor will not make him suffer, it will make him dead. Instantly. Seems easy enough. Keep the Governor away from Richter. But the Governor just ditched his security detail to meet with Richter secretly. Note to all parents. Never circumvent those charged with helping because you think you can make it all better by essentially accepting the bad guy’s terms. Which is TV 101 stuff.

The team plus reinforcements enter the mall that was set as the meeting point. The Governor and Richter make eye contact just before Gallo yells out “Homeland Security”. In a rash move, Richter sprays an aerosol sprayer in the Governor’s direction. Apparently you can render an airborne pathogen useless by simply making it rain.

Gallo is in what looks like the think tank with the lights down low or some unidentified shady location so that Gallo can exercise his power by way of some Patriot Act loophole. Or so it seems with Richter tied to a chair. Gallo drops his coat onto the conference phone device, which naturally turns it on and calls the think tank. I really did expect some sort of Guantanamo Bay style beat down. But instead, Gallo delivers a very heart-felt story about watching his child slowly die. Then Richter speaks out refusing to accept the finality of his attempt.

Richter: That man deserved to die. They all deserved to feel my pain.
Gallo: No they didn’t. No one deserves it.

In what I hope becomes another staple of the show, Paige swoops in to try to add clarity to cluttered minds. The result of which is Walter figuring out that Paige knows about Megan. Her response is that it’s ok to not know the answer. To which Walter replies that in his mind every problem has a solution. Now, that would be fine. If the credits rolled there, I would have conveyed yet another successful episode for Scorpion. But that’s not how it ended.

Gallo is about to leave. Had you heard the heartfelt story he told Richter earlier about watching a young girl slowly die before him this next bit would be more telling. Paige invited Walter to come set up a new telescope for Ralph on the roof and that they’d be grilling. After hearing the pain in Gallo’s voice Paige turns to him and makes a similar but much more profound invitation to Gallo.

Paige: Ralph and I are going barbecue some burgers up on the roof.
(Paige tilts her head as if to indicate that she knows something that has prompted her to ask what she’s asking)
Paige: It would really help if you could keep an eye on him while I work the grill.

For reasons too personal to mention on this open forum, that gesture and non verbal response forced me to walk away for a moment. Suffice it to say, that it is a nice warm moment for most. But for me, was much, much more.

Sylvester walks into what must be an orphanage and presents a nun with a cashiers check. He says that all of it is for the kids. But not the biology department. And that it should be spent on something fun. And safe.

Happy, after telling Toby that tools don’t disappoint you only people do, is working on a motorcycle when a flat-head screwdriver breaks. Oh, the irony.

Toby is seen playing cards against some unsavory characters. The voiceover is his ex-fiance claiming that she’s moved on and he should too. Just before he goes all in without even seeing his cards. Because he was able to read the goon across the table.

Walter visits his sister in the assisted living complex. She is not well, but the meeting is a joyous one. Megan asserts that MS is not Walter’s fight. Walter, stubbornly rejects her premise. “I will fix you”.

Back on the roof the team (minus Toby and Sylvester), Gallo speaking to Walter says how a family can make you vulnerable, but it could also be a good thing. Then he looks toward Paige and Ralph. Walter gives a very slight grin and says, I know. Walter walks over and hands Paige a folded piece of paper. On it reads something about the curvature of the moon and what it makes Orion’s belt do. Which gets a great response from Ralph. Which in turn gets a great response for Paige to Walter. Gallo looks on admiring what I think he hopes is a family beginning (in some context). As is expected, Gallo is not the only one hoping for some sort of eventual union creating a family of some sort with Walter, Paige and Ralph.

6 thoughts on “Scorpion: Hitting Too Close To Home”

  1. Did the real life Walter O’Brien have a sister who really died of MS? I have lived with MS for over 20 years. A particular whole food supplement made a tremendous difference in my life, NO NEW lesions since starting it 11 years ago. Yet, to see a character on TV die from MS is troubling when I’m under the impression that parts of Scorpian episodes are based on the real life experiences of Walter O’Brien. Personally having MS creates an inner sense of needing to know the real life story; was there real life death from MS for a real life Megan O’Brien? Thank you

    1. Did Walter O’Brien in real life have a sister who died of MS? I have MS and the episode moved me deeply.

  2. I feel the same way. I have MS and I cried that whole episode so I really want to know if she died from MS

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.