Scorpion: Music, Moguls, and Missed Opportunities

Courtesy of CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Walter is street racing? With all of what went on last episode, clearly Walter is acting out some childish attempt to tune out what he doesn’t want to see. As in the presence of Drew. Drew is a normal. Also a man responsible for hurting Paige on some level. Since Ralph is a genius, Walter feels an attachment and a welcomed responsibility for Ralph. Which is put in jeopardy with the return of Drew.

Ralph got a D- on an algebra test. Which he should be able to ace in his sleep without studying. Paige asks Walter to talk to Ralph. Which granted, is something Walter volunteered for, but I don’t appreciate Paige asking for Walter’s assistance and accepting Drew’s presence at the same time. Walter communicates to Ralph in a non-threatening way that Ralph responds to. The problem here is that the introduction of an estranged father may sound like a good idea, but it rarely is. Especially in this situation and at this age. The child is predisposed to feel compelled to change in a way that appeals to the returning parent. And that is not always a good thing.

Walter: Ralph, this (points to the D- on the paper) is not you.
Ralph: Maybe that’s a good thing.

The team arrives at the next ‘job site’ but only after being for warned. This is the scene of a murder. The lead detective is not at all thrilled that he has to entertain these geniuses. However, he quickly learns just much smarter they are than him. There is a white board. A white board with an algorithm that has been mostly wiped clean. Sylvester easily fills in the gaps. Walter finds a redundancy in the code. Ties it to a person. Walter is more intrigued in finding the purpose for the algorithm than the identity of the killer. Walter sneaks onto the property that they do not have a warrant to search and gets electrocuted by a trip wire.

Walter is clearly focusing his attention on anything and everything except Paige, Ralph, and Drew. If I may, this is one of the many beauties of this show. One detail that makes television intriguing to the viewership at large is any time the characters on the show are smarter than the viewers watching the show. It goes without saying that such a device exists on a show about geniuses. However, how they approach some of these neurosis and compulsions that inhabit the genius mind and explaining it to the rest of us makes for a must see dynamic.

In the house we discover that this Templeton character was a friend of the deceased and a musical prodigy. He had created a program that took into account every single iota of every single hip hop song ever produced to create a mathematical means to create hits. Believe it or not, I’ve heard of this. As if it’s an actual thing. Or an urban legend. Walter convinces Templeton to share the information with him and him alone to minimize risk.

So, let’s side step the story for a moment so I can share an opinion that will not be shared by all. Katharine McPhee (Paige) first gained notoriety as a finalist on American Idol. We have a strict rule about reality television, so I’ll move away from that. Then they compounded her singing experience and cast her in the show Smash which was about a Broadway caliber musical theater type performance art. In Scorpion, she is supposed to be a waitress and a single mother of a genius. Nowhere in that description says anything about singing ability. Yet while she is trying to convince Toby to ask out Happy, Toby notices her body language perks when she speaks of music. Thus creating an opening for a Katharine McPhee singing moment on the show. I am more than marginally opposed to this. There is no reason whatsoever for ‘Paige’ to sing. It’s convenient.

Aaron Tveit, the star of USA Network’s Graceland, was previous an accomplished Broadway star with a much more respected and recognized singing career compared to McPhee. One could argue that Mr. Tveit was THE golden boy of Broadway when Graceland came calling. Want to take a stab at how many times Aaron Tveit sang on Graceland? Never. He sang never amount of times on Graceland.

Josh Groban, arguably the most talented musician, singer, and composer on the planet. Who has made some cameos where he would sing. The Crazy Ones (Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar), Ally McBeal, and even The Office. The commonality is that in all of those small roles, the character called for a singer. In the movie Coffee Town (produced by CollegeHumor.com) , Josh Groban plays the second most important character and is on-screen for the bulk of the film. In which he sings for about a grand total of 6 or 7 seconds which plays into his douchey barista who’s also in a band aspect of his character.

It is not necessary for Paige to sing. As a matter of opinion, the show runners deciding to use her relative singing ability and slide it into the show when it is not needed, I take a great exception to. Whether she sings in this episode or not, it is clear they intend at some point to bring out. The good news is that this is the only time since the premiere of this show, that I haven’t been glowing with praise for this show. Now that’s out there, we can move on.

In other musicians turned actor news, the first suspect is none other than Clifford Smith. Now I expect almost none of you to get that reference. Clifford Smith is the birth name of the rapper and original member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Method Man. While I criticize the introduction of Katharine McPhee’s singing experience on this show, I am more than happy to welcome the introduction of Method Man. I acknowledge my own bias. To keep this objective, Method Man’s character literally calls for him to be a musician. Paige’s character does not.

Full disclosure, Method Man does a decent job playing the Suge Knight character.

Once Paige, not Toby, is able to plant the bug in “Lucky’s” (Method Man) office, they quickly depart the mogul’s office. Outside they all pile in the van. Walter turns the key and the starter makes a strange sound. The kind of sound that suggests tampering. The kind of tampering that results in an exploded van.

Walter: What the hell was that?
Happy: Something not normal. Let’s discuss it outside the van.
[…Exploded]

The person responsible for the car bomb is a member of an a well-known security firm that is well-known in the music business. Meanwhile, Ralph has not said a single thing at his father / son outing to a baseball game. There is a wonderful dynamic forming of Toby analyzing Walter and Walter trying to avoid the analyzed situation. This time Toby (with a stare) convinces Walter to take the phone from Paige and give Drew a suggestion that might help.

Walter walks Temple towards his car. Walter tries to have a connecting conversation, which is big for Walter. It’s actually a nice moment. And right as Temple says, “never hide” a red dot appears on Walter’s chest. It’s the security guy from the record label. He tazes Walter, injects something in Temple’s neck and makes off with Temple.

Once Walter comes to, they deduce that the security guy has to be the tipping point. He has 20 regular clients. By finding a commonality between 3 artists on the Hit Wizard list, they find a connection. And of course Paige knows where he lives, because they are leaving bread crumbs to insert a singing performance at some point in the future.

The team, without Cabe’s knowledge, intend to get eyes and ears on this new suspect. There they discover that the security guy is there as well as Temple. Temple is alive, but heat signature suggests just barely. So naturally, this is where the group of geniuses decided to go all James Bond and take matters into their own hands. Which rarely comes off without a hitch.

Happy gets them inside without incident, but Sylvester notices that the security guy is headed to the room that currently has Toby, Happy, Walter, and Temple with garbage bags and duct tape. In an effort to save Temple and the crew, but more so to impress Happy, Toby jumps on the proverbial grenade. They slip out while Toby impersonates a desperate wannabe rapper soliciting the opportunity to be heard by a big record label executive. This is the part where I have to leave the room for fear of what will happen in my brain if I have to hear Eddie Kaye Thomas battle rap. The result of which is dangling from his feet over the high-rise balcony.

Walter does not hesitate. He runs back to the lush apartment where Toby dangles. He gives them everything they need to hear to get in the elevator. Including the detail that Temple is being kept in Scorpion headquarters sans security. Once inside, Walter and Toby begin tether themselves to the elevator hand rail with their belts. Then elsewhere Happy has seized control of the elevator and every few seconds slams on the brakes. Which sends the label exec and his security guy to bounce from floor to ceiling like a painful walk on the moon. Once the doors open Cabe is accompanied by four other agents with guns drawn.

The case has been solved. The stolen algorithm and software returned to Temple. But we still have a problem of how Walter is going to turn over a Lamborghini over to a Russian mobster for losing the street race in the cold open.

In less exciting developments, the moment Toby builds up the courage to ask Happy out, she turns her attention to Temple who is playing the synthesizer that Happy built. He keeps playing while he talks about his love for music and how the perfection is found in the tiny mistakes. Then Paige turns the corner. I have a bad feeling about the cheese ball close they are about to attempt. Thank goodness for Ralph and Drew showing up to interrupt this singing distraction.

Drew wishes there was a way for he and Ralph to speak the same baseball. Walter’s little trick at the game got Ralph engaged but left Drew in the dark. So Walter devises a way to explain baseball a way that Ralph will enjoy and use Drew’s ability to pitch as the demonstration. Then Walter leans into to Paige and confirms my earlier point. Ralph doesn’t want his dad to leave again, so he failed his test in order to come down to his dad’s level. So his dad would like him more. Any child that experienced that situation would see that coming a mile away.

Then Temple on a whim asks out Happy, who is all too eager to agree. Temple wants to repay Walter for all they have done. Toby suggest a ‘Lambo’. Walter hooks up Method Man’s internet with a 10x speed boost and it’ll always be free. In exchange Walter gets to ‘borrow’ Meth’s Lambo which Walter will use in a ‘double or nothing’ attempt to get the Russian mobster off his back

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