Tag Archives: Scorpion

Scorpion: A New Variable

Courtesy of CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Tonight we find the team gambling on Sylvester’s ability to mimic a large sequence while Walter is trying map a mouse’s brain activity and Paige gets a phone call. From Drew. Ralph’s father. And the geniuses naturally jump in. At the same time, Cabe shows up with a job. A few convicts escaped from a prison and no one knows how or where to find them.

In the prison, our guys (uncomfortably) deduce that it was actually kind of easy. Involving using toothpaste as drywall spackle. A mini drone to drop in a cell phone. And what essentially looked like to escapes and a kidnapping.

Walter and the team get caught up on new details surrounding their prison break while Toby digs into this Drew person. Hacking records was only the beginning. He’s parked outside Drew’s motel room. When Drew exits, Toby makes up some sort of BS about losing his dog just to read his body language and tells.

At the crime scene of a carjacking where our escaped convicts needed a new ride, nothing seems noteworthy. Until Happy notices the computer genius (the kidnapped) seems to be squirming in an odd way. They look into it and he was able to leave a message using a motor oil display.

Toby returns to debrief Walter and Sylvester on his Drew findings. All of it is bad in some way. Displayed hostile tendencies and even unearthed a battery charge that predates his involvement with Paige. And then, Drew shows up a Scorpion HQ. And if you thought Walter’s uneasiness with Paige dancing with a mark last episode, you should see Walter burning a hole through Drew with this stare.

Paige and Drew’s conversation is interrupted with a location on the escaped convicts. Walter gets this great idea that they could use Sylvester’s wooden remote control bird thing similarly to that of a drone to spy on the safe house. But tragically, Toby and Sylvester fight over who gets to fly the bird and the bird goes right through a window. The convicts run out of the house recklessly shooting in arbitrary directions. Before they speed off in their stolen car.

Walter: Well…this is going to be a tough one to explain.

The bird was able to get a last second image of Percy’s (the kidnapped almost genius that the Russians are using to write code or hack) computer. This image tips off how he is doing what he’s doing but not exactly what he’s doing. Then new plan is to hack Percy’s laptop’s webcam to at least see what is happening from the inside.

At Scorpion HQ, Paige tries to soften the blow to Ralph of his father’s return by asking what he remembers of his father. Ralph mentions that he left to go see a movie and that after doing all of the pertinent math, concludes that “maybe he just wanted to watch more movies”. And yes, Walter is still very much not alright with this.

Walter steps outside to hopefully give a supportive two cents on the concerns he has regarding Drew’s involvement in Ralph’s life. Due to the unavoidable fact that Walter is a genius, this not only comes off cold but he tips his hand that ‘they’ looked into Drew’s past. Paige bursts back inside and gives a quick tongue lashing about how this situation is emotional and they are ill-equipped to analyze it.

Sylvester is able to hack Percy’s IM handle. From there they devise a plan using software and an empty potato chip bag to measure vibrations that mirror that which they see on Percy’s webcam feed. This in my opinion, is at the very least the best new show on television if not the best show on television period, all factors considered. But sometimes these guys are talking faster and smarter than I can keep up with. Suffice it to say, they are using a potato chip bag to create the audio they aren’t getting from Percy’s webcam.

While the Russians aren’t looking, they trigger the webcam light and Percy almost on cue begins tapping Morse Code on his forehead giving the location. Just before they file out to rescue him, Cabe gets a text showing that the overseas account is only in Percy’s name. Percy wasn’t the victim, he was the perpetrator. The Russians weren’t using him, he was using the Russians. Then we see another Walter flashback. Walter sees this as Percy did what normals do to geniuses. And Walter wants to take him down.

Toby monitors Percy’s activity from the back of Cabe’s SUV. They have gone silent, no coms. Once Cabe and his tact team depart, Toby realizes that he mistakenly translated the Morse Code for building S when it should have been building H. With no way to intercept Cabe, Walter and the team head out on foot. On the proper side of the compound, Walter figures out how they can flush them out of the building by using the bird’s remote control and a jar full of gas. The only catch is that Sylvester has to throw it.

It lands exactly where it needs to and catches fire. The three convicts exit. Happy has created a red laser with a DVD and Toby’s laptop. The sniper laser thing works until the laptop battery dies. Happy and Toby surrender. Then the bad guys hears Sylvester step on something. Walter tells Sylvester to take Paige and get away. Paige rejects the idea, but Sylvester doesn’t.

Walter: Take Paige. Go.
Paige: We are not leaving you.
Sylvester: Walter’s the boss, OK?
Walter: You were right. Ralph needs you to look after him, not a bunch of geniuses. Now go.

The Russians intend to march everyone back into the burning building and let the fire engulf the dead bodies. Just before they get there, you hear Cabe’s voice, “Federal Agents, put down your weapons”. Then Walter turns and slugs the smaller Russian. The situation is handled, but Cabe senses something else. In typical Walter O’Brien fashion he opens up to Cabe with what is in his head quickly and efficiently about how he felt when Cabe betrayed him. Associating that to Ralph’s father coming back into the picture. All steps in the right direction, but Walter has to cut it there and leave the situation before it becomes more real.

Back at HQ, Happy finally steps forward to give her two cents on the Ralph/Drew situation. Which is not a welcomed conversation from Paige’s perspective. However, Happy is quick. No matter what Paige thinks and no matter what Walter thinks, if letting Ralph see Drew ends what Ralph is going through, Paige needs to do that. Then Happy walks away.

Before Paige leaves, Walter approaches. Paige wants Drew to see what Ralph is. If there is to be a relationship between father and son, father needs to know that going in. Walter’s reaction to this is not what I would have expected. Even though Walter cannot quantify it, he loves Ralph as if he is his own son. He also has legitimate feelings for Paige that he has not as of yet dealt with. But for once, Walter says exactly the right thing.

Walter: Moving forward, no more interfering. But if Ralph does need me, I will be close by.

All episode long, Happy has rejected the idea that she has any desire whatsoever to be reunited with her father. At the end, I will give my two cents on this theme. The scene following Walter’s well said words has Happy walking into a mechanics garage with a man of appropriate age working on a car and Happy’s expression says all it needs to. She inquires about a job to the man. She’s able to get out that ‘wrenching’ relaxes her. As it does for this man. She’s about to leave, looks at the picture she shredded early to see if it’s the same guy. Then turns back and gives him a tip on an easier way to do what he’s doing. Then she shows him how. He stands behind her as a father would do teaching his child something new.

Paige takes Ralph to meet Drew. As predicted, Walter is not far away. Then Cabe drives up behind Walter. Walter never breaks eye contact with Ralph and Drew. He asks why Cabe is here. Cabe responds with, “you watch after the kid, I’ll watch after you. That’s how this is going to work.” Then they both take a bite out of the cookies (that are a recurring gag in this episode, but not exactly important to the recap) as if they were father and son themselves. Which is after all, the dynamic that Walter has lived with for most of this life. Cabe is closer to a father figure to Walter than Walter’s own father actually was. Even if he hated said father figure for half of his life.

Editorial Take: This episode was very personal for me. Full disclosure, not the first episode that has affected me emotionally due to themes or story lines. I won’t go into great detail. I am the product of a single mother. The details of my story are not important here and my professionalism prevents me from sharing those details. Suffice it to say, this episode is very real for me. I may be in my thirties, but I do remember how the child in this situation feels and how such a reunion rarely ends well. A child tends to blame him or herself for their plight and regardless of whether that is true or not, the child will manifest an image or perception of what he or she believes that missing parent to be. And reality rarely lives up to the myth.

Whether we are looking at this from Ralph’s perspective or Happy’s there is a real concern for whether or not the meeting of child to absent parent will render a positive result. In Happy’s case, hopefully she can just reel in the anger long enough to hear the other side of the story and maybe reconcile. In Ralph’s case, it may be too early. He is definitely not emotionally adjusted enough to really soak it all in and appropriately react. Even if Ralph were ‘normal’, he is not at an age or maturity to handle what is about to ensue. In every plausible way, Walter is more capable and ready to be the father figure to Ralph. However there is a conflict with replacing the actual father with one more capable for the specific situation.

The father deserves a chance. However, the father also needs to understand that his return has not earned him anything. This will be a difficult proposition. One that is not easily adapted to. And also the single most important detail as to why reality rarely lives up to the myth. Like the characters on this show, I do hope that Ralph is not hurt by this new introduction. However, the mere fact that he is a genius most certainly will do him no favors as he deals with this new development.

Scorpion: The Team’s Future At Risk, Walter Catches Feelings

Courtesy of CBS.com
Courtesy of CBS.com

Warning: Spoiler Alert

This week’s Scorpion starts from a familiar place. Homeland security director attempting to unwad his panties. And threatening the team again. This time with psychiatric evaluations. Something tells me that the best head doctor they government can find is still outmatched against this crew. Especially Toby.

Toby: Okay. But first I should mention that I also have a PhD is clinical psychology, perhaps our time would be better spent talking about you.
Doctor: I don’t think so.
Toby: Talk more about that.

The team has been recommended for a job by the Governor and Director Merrick has signed off on it. At the same time, Paige is trying to convince Ralph to participate in a school Halloween party. She reaches out to Walter who is no help. This new job seems like a simple one. Upgrade a security system that will protect a very valuable painting on loan from a German museum. On the ride over, Paige convinces Walter, using very basic logic, that if he tried to be more human they could get more jobs and grow the company. Watching Walter try to be more ‘human’ is almost painful, but pretty funny at the same time.

Walter walks around the gallery looking awkward. Almost like a man trying to walk like a flamingo. He gets very close to the painting in question and swiftly cuts two long slices into the painting. One on the right side, one on the bottom. Should’ve seen the forgery angle minutes ago. Naturally when the security team jumps in like SWAT we are left with four geniuses attempting to convey their evidence of said forgery to ‘normals’ who cannot comprehend what just happened. FBI confirms that it is a forgery. And while the gallery curator kicks them out, the FBI agent for Art Crimes wants them to stay on.

For those of you who may have missed last week’s episode, I did something I don’t always do. Tease the promo for the next episode. This is a cross over episode. A little soon in the life span, but I’ll take it. I am not a steady viewer of the second part that makes this a crossover. However, I did get a little excited at the prospect of what this should be. Agent Gallo claims he knows someone who can help. Here’s a hint, they are in Los Angeles, Scorpion is a CBS show, and the person in question is a she.

Enter Henrietta “Hetty” Lange, the Operations Manager for NCIS Los Angeles. She provides the means and the account number to access high res scans of famous paintings. Which the team turns into a quick suspect list. Then Sylvester goes complete nerd on the toy manufacturer who they believe employs the forger.

The suspect in question jumps out of the building while the team is still in the van. Walter decides to jump out of the van and chase him on foot. Sylvester goes to get Cabe, running faster than he ever has ignoring Paige because Cabe is in the toy factory. Walter gives chase despite being very bad at it. Eventually Cabe stops the guy with a serious clothes line. Sylvester comes running shortly thereafter. Wearing a t-shirt from the factory.

After detaining this suspect, Gallo comes up empty. They have one hour and nothing even resembling evidence much less the painting itself. Now Toby decides to try. Considering he can read any tell or form of body language, have Toby in there actually seems like a smart idea. As predicted, it took about 30 seconds for Toby to (figuratively) paint the picture of this artist’s journey through life and get a name.

Gallo gives the typical, don’t move until I tell you to, bit and Walter replies with his typical, that will cost us an opportunity bit. The team is going full National Treasure here, crashing a party in order swipe the painting themselves or gain enough intel to intercept it at a later date. They need gear and Paige has nothing to wear. Toby knows who to contact. Hetty.

Hetty gets the team into ‘costume’ with an array of attire that will allow them to fit in. Toby and Happy dressed as wait staff. Walter and Paige as guests. Sylvester get’s nothing as he will just be in the van. Slightly depressing for Sylvester still wearing his “Super Fun Guy” superhero t-shirt.

Hetty: Wow, sometimes I even surprise myself.
Paige: Is this okay?
(Paige does a 360 turn while Hetty quietly claps)
Paige: Really?
Walter: YES.
Toby: You silver-tongued devil you.
Sylvester: What about me?
Hetty: Well, you’re in the van. So you can wear you’re stupid shirt.
Sylvester (under his breath, making a fist): Yes.

Clearly, Walter is developing something for Paige. I’d call it a feeling, but that would be too close to emotions, which Walter claims he does not possess. But it’s fun to watch it unfold. They pull up to the party and Paige is nervous. Walter tries to put her mind at ease claiming that she will fit in fine. He gets out of the car and walks toward the door. Until he realizes Paige never got out of the car. Take it from me, a woman does not get dressed to the nines and open her own car door. As well she shouldn’t. Once out of the car, Walter looks around at the other guests to see exactly how much physical contact is required to sell their cover.

They need to get a device within 5 feet of the host in order to clone his phone. Paige’s (as pretty much every woman’s) first thought is to dance near him. Walter thinks this is a horrible idea. As his body language mimics that of a toddler when they are asked to do something they don’t want to. He’s inches from turning into a full on ‘jello-child’. Instead he presses on as it is the most efficient way. It is awkward to say the least. But Paige expects it and before you know it, Walter is selling the cover well and enjoying it. I don’t care how smart you are, an attractive woman tells you where to put your hands, and you will enjoy yourself, on some level.

The download for the clone failed. They have to start again. Only this time the host cuts in. Walter quickly slips the device down the back of Paige’s dress. He walks toward a wall in the room and asks Sylvester how much longer. Walter may have successfully suppressed his emotional side his whole life. But Paige changes things. He asked how long because he’s uncomfortable with this strange man dancing with Paige. It’s almost cute really.

Toby and Happy are looking for the painting in what they think is not a wine cellar. Turns out that is exactly just a wine cellar. Before we get to that conclusion, Toby keeps rocking a fixture. Then the whole thing comes crashing down. Thanks to Sylvester, everyone gets out without being made.
Back at HQ, Sylvester begins hacking the cloned phone to find the identity of a frequently called number. The identity belongs to the museum curator.

Walter gives Paige something to give to Hetty and the rest pile in Paige’s car (to use the built-in Wi-Fi, lovely product placement for Chevy don’t you think?). They tail the curator and remotely kill the engine to his car. Gallo arrives just in time. In time to see the car with the painting explode.

In the final scene involving the psychiatrist, Walter attempts to leave. She makes some claim (quite founded I’m sure) that Walter reset the cloning device in order to keep dancing with Paige. Assuming he risked the mission. He makes a lovely stand defending his team and asserting that if she passes them they can continue to do work that no one else is capable of. They pass.

The note Walter passed to Paige intended for Hetty leads us to what really happened on the bridge. The team switched the real painting for the fake in the curator’s trunk. Then when they followed him and killed the engine, they exploded the car burning the fake. Then returning the real painting to the rightful owners without Gallo’s permission. Which they didn’t need to worry about. Cabe questioned Walter and Walter stuck to his story. But once Cabe knew it was BS, his face bore a sense of approval.

Paige shows up with Ralph hopefully for his school’s Halloween party. Toby is dressed as Sigmund Freud, Happy as the laziest cat costume ever, Sylvester as Super Fun Guy (surprise surprise), and Walter simply puts on a pair of aviator sun glasses and says he’s Agent Cabe Gallo. While 3 of the team take Ralph into another room to put him in his brain costume, Paige tosses Walter some softballs (figuratively). Any non-genius would see this as Paige’s attempt to make the first move, inviting Walter to open up. Perhaps even escalate the situation because she is giving him permission to.

Walter: You know Ralph, Halloween started off as a day to ward off evil spirits, isn’t that stupid?
Ralph: Yeah.
Walter: Yeah, but who cares, let’s go get some candy.

Scorpion: One Last Trip Down The Rabbit Hole

 

Courtesy of CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The cold open of tonight’s episode reveals a strange man in some sort of military issue vest and maybe even G.I. glasses as well shouting Walter O’Brien’s name. Then we find Ralph has taken apart his new telescope in order to clean it piece by piece. Paige wants him ready for school so he can take his long division test. Walter chimes in without missing a beat.

Walter: First optics test is to check for spherical aberration.
Paige: Actually the first test he needs to do is for long division, so we can’t be late for school.
Walter: You really think we need a test to determine if he knows long division?
Paige: Point taken, but he still needs to be at school on time.

Agent Gallo shows up yelling for Walter, again. This time he needs Walter and Walter only. He mentions the name “Mark Collins”. Walter immediately recognizes the name and asks Gallo to keep this one quiet. As in away from the rest of the team.

At a military installation Gallo and Walter walk (it’s very West Wing-esque). Then they are joined by Mykelti Williamson (best known for Ellstin Limehouse-Justified or Bubba Blue from Forrest Gump). In the interrogation room this Mark guy directs 90% of his dialogue to only Walter. Speaking in numbers and what would sound like code. He intentionally got himself caught in this manner because he knew he could get Walter in the room. Walter needs to go to his house and piece together what’s happening. And it’s big. Walter is oddly explicit about the team not being told.

At the Collins residence, the team is picking up on items in the yard (like a massive handmade dish surrounded by fencing) and sensing that this is a residence of one of their kind. Happy figures it out first and no one is pleased about it. Toby is particularly vocal. They are painting the picture that Mark may be smarter than all of them and that was a detriment to the team. Walter is off just by being there. Essentially, this boils down to the team taking a job to upgrade a nuclear power plant.

The power plant was set to begin a cool down process that would lead to being dismantled 8 years from now. The only problem is the that the system cannot regulate itself so it’s not cooling down. It’s heating up. Walter’s plan is to get Mark in the room and lead them to the fix.

The team is not alright with this. Everyone who knows Mark is treating him like plutonium (pun intended). Everyone except Walter. There is something missing here. Once inside, Mark just starts spouting out directions and orders, which no one is alright with. Walter keeps trying to bring it back to doing the job, but it’s not going well.

While nothing is clear at this point, one thing is starting to take shape. Mark created this problem for Scorpion to solve because he wants something from Walter and/or the team. I really hope it isn’t to get back in. Mark wants to initiate the first step of the upgrade and Happy is adamant that if they don’t check the infrastructure of the very old system, the first step could cause an immediate meltdown. Walter chooses Mark’s way and that does not go over well with Happy. Who apparently was the one the pulled Walter back to sanity after a ‘rabbit hole’ experience with Mark.

The download is almost complete when there is an explosion. Protocol would dictate that this is where the meltdown procedures take effect. Sirens and lots of running. They have to get out before the blast doors close. Which is fine for the General, Sylvester, Paige, and Mark. Not so good for Walter and Gallo. But much worse for Gallo who is stuck on the wrong side.

In the panic of not knowing how to get Gallo out, Walter tells Gallo what he’s hiding. 5 years ago, Walter had Mark committed to an asylum. The good news or at least it seems like good news is that they found the right pipe that could take Gallo out of the plant and far from radiation.

Gallo: Hey, listen, kid. If this doesn’t work out, I’m glad I got to know you.
Walter: Okay.
Sylvester (flabbergasted): A man gives you what may be his last goodbye, and you say okay?
Toby: You could use some time on the couch.

Next scene opens up on a California beach. Two bikini clad young women in beach chairs. Then amidst the waves, Cabe Gallo walks out of the water like something out of a trashy romance novel. Back at the plant, Walter and Sylvester are programming the update. Once the update is received, the system should drop the core temperature to a regulated safe range.

I just really need the team to fix this problem and throw Mark down a deep hole. Now he is doing his mind games thing on Paige, and I’m not alright with that. At the plant there is a little breathing room and Gallo inquires to why Walter is not more pleased. Walter tells a nice little story about what it’s like in the rabbit hole and how hard it is to get out. Just then Walter checks something. Then the pieces come together in a hurry. Mark set this all up. Knowing every move before it’s made. This is the outcome he wanted. To prove his worth.

At his house Mark stages his big stand. This is the moment that he hangs what Walter did to him over his head. With a nuclear meltdown imminent. Then a series of number games that correlate to dates and actual events. Eventually, Paige of all people is the one that tips the correct answer. Mark yells out NO and Gallo shoots him in the leg. Once the code is put in, Walter sends the update and with what feels like 10 seconds to spare, maybe, crisis averted.

Toby: Aaaawwwwwww. (long pause) I know this might be awkward but I for one am against Mark rejoining the team.

Walter makes one last (hopefully) visit to Mark before he gets locked up again. This time I imagine a super max penitentiary. Mark asks the question he’s been sitting on for so long. Why wasn’t there room for one more on your precious little team. Walter’s response is telling. “There is. Paige. She binds us.” Implying that not only was Mark bad for the team, but a ‘normal’ is more worthy of keeping around than the one person who test the limits of Walter’s intelligence.

Walter sought out Happy to thank her for what she did 5 years ago. And also to mention that Toby went after Mark to defend her honor. Then Happy looks across the room at Toby with a look that says something. Not sure what, but it said something. Maybe the “Tappy” (Toby and Happy) ship may just come sooner than expected.

Paige comes in and essentially forces the team to cook Italian food together as a way to unplug from their aggressive thought processes. Then she pulls Walter aside. Mark put it in her head that she and Ralph are just an experiment. She needs to know if that is true. And if it is to know now.

Paige: If you’re trying me out, to see if I work with this team…
Walter: Paige…
Paige: If that’s what’s happening, and I could end up being a failure and I could end up getting discarded. Just tell me. I can handle it, but don’t do it to Ralph. He’s grown attached to the team, especially you and I don’t want to see him hurt.
Walter: You are one of us. We can’t do this without you. Good?

While that brings this week’s episode to a close, do not under any circumstances miss next week’s episode and subsequent recap on NJATVS. If you missed the show promo for next week, we have a crossover episode about to take place. I’m not going to be any more specific than that. But I’m sure I just woke up my wife and my son with my reaction to it.

Scorpion: Not Ready for the Private Sector

 

Courtesy of CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

In tonight’s episode titled, “Shorthanded” the Scorpion team decide to take on a civilian client. Which means no governmental help. Gallo insists that Walter and the team are not ready for such a task. Walter disagrees. There is an interesting hissy fit from Toby as Walter suggests that he stay there and not travel to Las Vegas due to Toby’s propensity to get into trouble when gambling is involved. Paige persuades Walter to see things from the perspective of the entire group. Toby goes.

Now I’ve seen the promos so this is not me having a premonition, but the Casino lady seems to eager to offer things they didn’t ask for and very open about everything. I sense a frame job, but like I said, I alone am not planting a flag anywhere with that one.

Walter: We need to find out why the Crimson is losing money.
Toby: Only you would turn blackjack into math homework.
Sylvester: I like math homework.

In the casino, Happy slices up part of the carpet to inlay sensor pads to monitor random movement. If the movements become ‘non-random’ that is an indication that person is ripping off the casino. The results are slow going. Both Toby and Sylvester don’t notice anything off. Then by using a different camera angle Walter notices something.

Wow. I love this show. They call in the dealer. He’s not stealing though. Walter noticed that his hands are comparatively small. Therefore, games to deal per hour. Less revenue over time. Its cumulative. And while Walter is correct, his advice is to fire the dealer because he’s not qualified for a job that relies on hand speed and dexterity.

On their way out everything seems on the up and up. Then Happy wants to hit the slots and Paige suggests that its ok since the job has concluded. Against his better judgement, Walter allows it. Probably to show he can concede to Paige from time to time. Problem is, if something goes wrong, he’s going to blame her. We’ll see.

Toby complains about the old lady that just won 40,000 on a slot machine. But Walter notices two men that walked in with low sitting baseball hats and his spidey-sense is triggered. It’s a robbery. Interesting choice. As if Ocean’s Eleven has taught us anything (especially the Elliot Gould scene), no one robs the casino and gets away with it.

To be honest, you didn’t even need to watch the episode to know what happens next. Walter asked for the position of the dealer’s camera to be moved in order to identify the dealer’s hands issue. They also just upgraded the security software. And now a security officer has audio of Walter saying, “a robbery is about to go down”. And if that wasn’t enough, someone has planted money from the robbery with matching serial numbers in Walter’s bag in their room at the casino. Strap in.

The last thing a certified genius should do is waive his right to a public defender. While Walter was right in referencing a jury of his peers and how they will have a hard time finding 12 residents of whatever county they’re in all having at least 196 IQ is correct. Chances are excellent that the judge is not going to care about the accuracy of the statement. Bail set at 500k. As he’s being taken away, he yells to Toby, “The bet’s off”. Which is references back to before they left for Las Vegas, Walter bet Toby that he couldn’t resist gambling the entire time they were in Vegas. Job checks were put up.

Happy and Paige to the precinct to go over the surveillance footage of their room. After finding nothing, Happy notices that the trajectory of the windows were different from that of the picture taken with Paige’s phone earlier. The footage of their room was not of their room. It was from a completely different floor. I hate to say this, because of how I feel about this particular show but, I think I’ve already figured this one out.

The next scene is almost a palette cleanser for the stress of the previous few. A montage of Toby at the blackjack table and Sylvester at the sports book. Just racking up wins.

Palette in need of re-cleansing already. The ‘drunk tank’ they are putting Walter in has another tenant. The dealer he suggested should be fired for having small hands.

While Toby and Sylvester have won north of 250k, they are still short. Toby thinks he can ‘read’ the roulette wheel, which is a bad idea. The group convince him that it’s a bad idea. As they begin to walk away Toby quickly pops a u-turn and drops all 250k on the table before they could stop him.
Speaking of stopping. In the drunk tank, the inebriated dealer is about to punch Walter when the guard shows up to say that Walter’s lawyer is here to see him. Please be Cabe Gallo. Not Cabe. Its Toby in a horribly oversized suit. Then what follows is what typically follows when two people who think they have everything figured out are presented with a real dilemma. They blame each other. That scene ends, uh in a pretty unhealthy way.

Paige: We’re not going through that again. We disappointed Walter once, we’re not going to do it again.
(Sylvester raises his hand)
Sylvester: Are you our new Walter?

Sylvester has an idea of connecting a vpn flash drive to the bosses computer so that it can relay data to Sylvester’s computer. Instead of going through the front door, which they can’t do, Happy has a plan to enter through another door. It always seems dangerous when Happy gets an idea.
True to Vegas Casino heist jobs, they zip line it in from an adjacent building. Well Happy does, Toby kind of flails and almost sprains his liver.

In the drunk tank, Walter and the dealer are becoming chums. Walter’s outline a distribution plan that will make him much more money as a baker than he ever was as a dealer. Then he tells a story about a magic act from 30 years ago. Walter figures that has some bearing on how the robbers exited the casino. Which is great, but they need to get that info out. So by using a sleeve of a shirt, the urinal cake from the toilet and a metal button, Walter “McGuyver’s” a thing that warps the tumblers in the cell door, allowing them to just walk out.

The download starts but Sylvester is parked in a loading zone. He has to move the vehicle. One problem. Sylvester doesn’t drive. Happy notices the download has stalled. Toby is running from the guards. Sylvester is trying to drive, for the first time as Walter walks by. Download is complete but Happy’s stuck. With no one to pull her up through the ceiling tiles she’s seconds away from getting caught. Just then a rope drops down in the nick of time. It’s Paige.

The whole team is secure except for Toby. Just a hunch, but I think with Toby in custody of the casino security, he will find a way to rectify the previous shortcoming in the bail money situation. As it turns out, in the effort of minimizing bad PR, the daughter of the owner decides to let Toby go.

Back at the shady motel the other brainstorm. The casino’s financials are stable. According to the blueprints of the casino, an employee would have had to swipe their security card to exit from the storage room. It’s the daughter. Who just so happens to be escorting Toby to the desert to walk home. Then she says something that tips her hand.

Toby: When this is all over and the real robbers are caught, you are going to feel bad.
Owner’s Daughter: That’s not going to happen.
Toby: Don’t be so sure, guilt can be a powerful emotion… Hold on, what’s not going to happen? You’re not going to feel bad or the real robbers won’t be caught?
(The privacy windows goes down to reveal a sketchy guy pointing a gun at Toby)
Sketchy Guy: So you’re a genius?
Toby: Right now I’m not feeling like one.

So the long and short of it is that Daddy isn’t handing over the new venue to his daughter to run. So she’s not going to get mad, she’s going to get even. Starting with the ten million dollars she believes she’s owed. If the credits rolled here it might make sense. Instead, Toby is forced to send a text message bringing all of the team out to his location. Nothing good ever comes from leaving Vegas for the desert outside of it. The owner’s daughter locks eyes with Walter and freaks. Because Walter’s supposed to be in jail and isn’t, she thinks something’s wrong. She’s right, but I don’t think it’s for the same reason she does.

Then out of nowhere, choppers, black SUVs, sirens. Please be Cabe. Yes, it’s Cabe. When Toby sent the text message supplying them latitude and longitude, he mentioned Orion’s belt. Which isn’t visible this time of year. The detective shows up to inform them that Renee (the owner’s daughter-took me until the 53rd minute to catch her name) has been laundering money through the casino for years. Then Paige suggests the detective owes Walter an apology.

Sylvester (leans in to whisper to Paige): For the record, you’re a great Walter.

Cabe seems reluctant to say I told you so. The fun part comes when he agrees to drive everyone back to LA. Except Walter and Toby. They start walking towards the closest bus depot. They during this walk there is a bit of an opening up. Toby acknowledges that he’s been a screw up most of his life and Walter pulled his ‘fat from the fryer’ and all he wanted to do was prove that Walter’s efforts weren’t wasted. And Walter admitted that he never connected with his real father and when Cabe showed up (when Walter was a child) there was a fatherly like connection because Cabe encouraged Walter’s gift. Then Walter does something unexpected. Suggests they take what little money they have and hit the tables. Which Toby is all too happy to oblige.

Scorpion: Eventually Everyone Fits In

Courtesy of CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The team takes on a new task. One decidedly outside their comfort zone. However, if done well, it could buy them some breathing room with the people above Agent Gallo.

Needless to say, the op did not go as planned. But as Walter points out, had the situation been handled professionally and not militarily (with the acronyms and mild rookie or civilian hazing) they would have been successful by about 25 seconds or so. But in typical by the book commanding officer presented with an outside the box solution form, the director of Homeland Security sees this as an angle to bench Scorpion.

There is a bomb explosion, which Homeland Security always responds to bombs. But, Scorpion is “on ice”. I get the sneaking suspicion that this is about to become more than a bombing and thus require the services of Walter’s team. Anyone who is familiar with the term “fire sale” as it relates to hypothetical cyber terrorism, will know exactly where this is headed. The bombing takes out the internet from LA to Scottsdale. Then Walter articulates how this will have a ripple effect that will stop finances, communication even traffic.

The team makes every effort to not only convince Cabe but this new “FSG” agent as well, to no avail. So instead of sitting this one out, the move forward. As the saying goes, it’s always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Problem is if this goes south, it may be over.

Happy notices a specific key chain. Toby recognizes its origin as he lost $4,000 on a turtle race there. It’s not critical to the story as of yet, so I’ll leave that one alone for now.

Walter (on the phone with Ralph turns to Paige): Any dreams of him making a team or being in student council, its um…not gonna happen.
Paige: I thought you told me he’d eventually fit in.
Walter: Yeah, he will. Just not in school.
Toby: I know she’s sweet and you think she can help but purely from an analytical point of view, what exactly is her purpose here?
Walter: Take it easy. Sylvester, come on, help me out here.
Sylvester:…She’s pretty.

They have followed the clues to locate the bombers location. They believe they’ve found him in an apartment across from the beach. Happy creates a device using a small guitar amp, duct tape and a dingy umbrella to pick up on sounds to verify that there is a person in the apartment. The guy exits and sees the team looking ‘odd’. He bolts and Happy gives chase. Well in some way they all (minus Sylvester whose frozen by fear) give chase. Eventually the guy pulls a gun and points it toward Walter’s car. Then he gets hit by a city bus.

Back at Scorpion HQ , Paige has a one on one with Walter about the previously transcribed conversation about her. The long and short of it is, they may be right most of the time but if they don’t start listening to her this arrangement is going to fall apart. Probably at the hands of Homeland Security.

Gallo arrives with some evidence that he nor the FSG agent can make heads or tails of. Gallo is visibly unnerved by what they’ve been able to do to this point. Like a father to grounded kids, he stays stern and they give answers only as long as is required. Happy breaks down some interesting details in the equipment (mechanical) used to set the bomb and that there will be others. And based on the screen shot after explosions are heard, at least 3 maybe 4 just went off.

Inside there is genius chaos. Theories and speculation and the often timid Paige figuratively punches the tough guy on the school yard. She puts her foot down by explaining something very basic in a logic they all will understand. And just like that, she goes from chaperone to a productive member of the team. This should make for a nice warm moment later.

The team has begun to make progress and surmised that the bombings have been executed as a means to destroy the origin of an email. The storage site for said email. And eventually the shadow file of said email. Toby somehow figures out which router hub holds the email shadow file. When the access it Walter begins to read it. He gets out ‘former FSG agent’, the name of the current FSG agent we’ve already come to know and surveillance of the White House before Gallo tells him to stop reading.

Gallo explains the ‘black’ nature of the FSG and its lack of oversight. He plans to turn this file over to the Department of Justice when Happy hears a noise. By crawling through the air ducts she discovers a bomb. They will need to evacuate the building immediately. Toby and Paige go floor to floor while Gallo and Sylvester leave for the DOJ.

At the precise moment that Gallo is trying to convince Sylvester that there is no such governmental conspiracy they are t-boned by what looks like the same vehicle in a different color. Would you like to wager a guess as to that vehicle belongs to? That’s right, FSG Agent d-bag.

Inside, Walter and Happy have few options. This bomb is going off like it or not. But Happy figures out a way, using janitor supplies and salt packets, to place the bomb in a spackle like substance and if it hardens fast enough it could minimize the casualties.

Side note. Sylvester crawled under a car to retrieve the agents gun. That perplexes me on more than one level.

In between RV’s Gallo and the FSG agent break out into a street fight. And just as it appears that Gallo would lose the upper hand, shots ring out. It’s a bloody nosed Sylvester to save the day.

Paige, Happy and Toby wait at the entrance for Walter to run out. You’re expecting to see him any minute, but before he can there is an explosion and smoke billows out with significant force. Walter trudges out amidst the cloud as if he were some sort of nerdy superhero.

Back at HQ, it appears all is lost and Keening (FSG agent) will be released. Until Sylvester offers up some info that could put him away long-term. Sometimes you see something, a small detail, and discard it. When Walter began to download the shadow file, Sylvester was standing behind him. He was reading over Walter’s shoulder and I let that pass as if it were non-essential information. As it turns out Sylvester was able to memorize the entire message. All of it.

Maybe the most important detail of this show thus far is an admission made by Gallo. Walter inquires about his concerns with the team. Gallo offers up some background that we were not aware of. Gallo was not promoted. He was inches from forced retirement. He needs this team to work so he can ‘remove some blood from his ledger’. Just wondering what Agent Romanoff would have to say about stealing that line, but that’s just a TV/Movie joke.

While I enjoy literally 99.998% of this show, sometimes you gotta pump the brakes. “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by the Scorpions as the theme song of the Team Scorpion on an episode called “Cyclone” is a bit much.

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.

Scorpion: Risk, Reward and Connections

Photo Courtesy of CBS
Photo Courtesy of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

This pilot episode starts off in a nice but somewhat predictable flashback. Every story that includes a hacker seems to start with the flashback of a kid hacking the pentagon or the NSA. This time it is Walter O’Brien hacking NASA. Just following the flashback is Walter (in his 20’s now) breaking up with a girl. Using a document to connect emotionally, complete with a decision tree.  This ends badly especially considering he is breaking up with a woman on a job site.  He’s at a diner to fix their Wi-Fi.  After a short game of what appears to be chess with condiments, based on the types of movements and speed, with a waitress’ kid Walter departs the diner.

Radio Host: Which month has 28 days.
Walter (without hesitation): All of them.
Caller: I actually know this one. February.
Radio Host: We have a winner.
Walter: Idiots

During Walter’s quasi breakdown over the ‘teams’ inability to focus on one thing long enough to pay their bills, Agent Gallo shows up at their undisclosed location. Agent Gallo is the agent that shows up at O’Brien’s door in the previously mentioned flashback. Apparently, there is a rift between these two. There is a problem with the LAX guidance system which will prevent communication to the planes above. If the problem is not resolved in under two hours, planes will start falling from the sky. Gallo gives the hard sell. And 50k each, which would dramatically change their financial situation.

Walter (speaking to Gallo): You cross me on this one and I’ll go online. And in less than an hour, I’ll erase you.

Being that this is LA we’re talking about, getting to LAX in a timely fashion in the middle of the day is unrealistic. Walter deduces that all they need is a strong Wi-Fi signal that will not go offline. So, we’re off to the diner. Gallo commandeers the diner for this ‘national emergency’. Paige, the waitress, is not convinced that a national emergency can be fixed by the Wi-Fi fix it guy.

Anyone who has seen the promos that CBS has been running for this show has been waiting for this moment. Paige, comes over with a glass of water. A conversation ensues. Walter is being Walter (factoring the huge IQ generally is accompanied by awkward social skills). Paige fires back at this deductions as if they are insulting. She also insinuates that Ralph, her son, is special. Going back to earlier when Walter fixed the Wi-Fi, he noticed Ralph. Everyone else thought Ralph was just playing with salt and pepper shakers because he’s special. Walter recognized that Ralph was playing chess. This is where Walter pulls out his ‘bearer of bad news’ line.

Paige: And my polish streaks because Ralph puts it on. He loves to paint. And don’t tell me that he needs help either. He’s challenged. Have some empathy.
Walter (under his breath): Challenged huh.
(Walter gets up to stand next to Paige and observe Ralph together)
Walter: Look at Sylvester and him. Do you know what they’re doing? (she shakes her head) The matches are the King, the jelly is the Queen, and the sugar packets are the Knights. His playing chess, with a grand master who is about to lose.
Sylvester: Walter, are you seeing this? Checkmate in 8 moves. This kid is amazing!
Walter: He doesn’t paint your nails because he loves to paint. He wants to hold your hand, but he can’t process physical contact. So help him, or he will never connect with you.
(Paige stares deeply with a tear welling in her eye)
Walter: I sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your son is a genius.

The first snag is that no one is home at the LAX server storage facility. They need to access the servers to access the backup software as the current theory is the latest software download was corrupt. In a certain amount of time, if they don’t secure the old software, the new (corrupt) software will infect the good software. So now the team has to calculate the power needed to create a surge strong enough to shut down a 10 block radius around the Port of Los Angeles just to get the doors open.

Toby Curtis is the profiler/shrink, who also dresses like a lame hipster minus the commitment. Once inside, Toby runs through his process, taking in human factors that would tip him in the right direction. Like putting the LAX server on the right side because the guy that runs the place is right-handed. Ultimately Toby yanks the server just in time. When Happy (the engineer and tough girl of the group) asks how’s he know that was the right one, Toby replies with “It says LAX right on the side”.

For the second time, we have a certifiable genius trying to explain to Paige what exactly is going on inside her son’s head. From the perspective of a genius. It’s actually a very nice scene. Beyond the basic information, Ari Stidham who plays Sylvester communicates the subtleties of being what he is and in turn what Ralph is very nicely.

Toby and Happy return rejoicing of their success and Toby even suggests they put a statue of him out in front of LAX because it is that much ‘in the bag’. Even a seldom television viewer should see right through that bravado. Snag number 2 is on its way. When Toby transported the drive it was next to the car door. Car doors have speakers. Speakers have magnets. Drive erased. Snag number 2. Walter storms out of the diner. After an essentially two one way conversations about Walter being smart enough to know what’s happening and Paige knowing that he is shutting down mentally, Ralph looks up and something clicks. It should be noted that the beauty of this show’s dynamic will come down to Walter and Paige. In one form or another. They don’t have to necessarily be an item, but they do have to be connected as the show is concerned.

Snag number 3 comes in the form of a direct download. FROM A PLANE CURRENTLY FLYING. Gallo begins to make calls to attempt to remove traffic and give them a clear shot to LAX in order to intercept the correct plane and download the old uncorrupted software. Problem is, that not all geniuses drive. Just then Ralph takes Paige’s keys out of her purse and hands them to her.

Paige: Uh…driving through LA with nothing but green lights has kind of been a fantasy of mine.
Walter: At high speeds? No.
Paige: Who’s gonna drive?
Walter: Your son needs you.
Paige: I’ve tried really hard and I’ve never been able to fully connect with my son. Not in the way that I’ve seen you guys connect with him today. What my son needs is to see me help you. Please Walter.

Paige and Walter race out of the diner parking lot in front of Agent Gallo. Gallo jumps in his Bureau issued Tahoe and chases after them. Happy is unable to get one of the lights to change. Gallo hears this and steps on the gas. He positions himself between Paige’s car and the pickup truck headed to t-bone them. For our sports fans, Agent Gallo was run blocking in live traffic.

At the diner, Sylvester and Toby are having a hard time tracking down a cell phone on the plane that isn’t turned off. The answer is not newer tech but older tech. The exchange between Toby and the older plastic salesman on board the plane is one of those subtly glorious moments in dialogue. Overlooked by most I’m sure.

The plan to get passed snag number 3 is to download the file while the plane does a fly by a hundred feet above the tower. So when Walter says there is a speed differential between the flying plane and a stationary laptop, my first thought was DUH. And I’m not even close to genius smart. Again, anyone who watched the promos leading up to tonight knows what’s coming next.

They are going to have to use a hard wire connection to download the file directly from the plane to the ‘moving’ laptop. The only way to do that is to bring the plane’s altitude to around 8 feet (totally not joking) plug-in the Ethernet cord and download the file in under 7 seconds while Paige drives a Ferrari at about 200 mph under the plane. Yeah, simple. Writing this recap is making me sound much smarter than I am about technology.

The Co-Pilot (whom you may recognize as Agent Davis Sinclair from NUMB3RS) actually has to get in the belly of the plane, find the Ethernet cord, travel down the landing gear and hand it to Paige while Walter drives at 200 mph. Which more or less goes to plan. Problem is that the runway is short and the end of the line seems to be coming faster than the download progress bar. The pilot begins to pull back on the stick forcing Paige to stand up in the car while holding on to the laptop. Once they get the download, Walter goes all James Bond with the Ferrari power sliding to a stop perfectly 2 inches from crashing into the cement barricade.

Back at the diner everyone rejoices. Then we see Ralph sitting at the counter in front of Walter’s computer. He is stone faced. Then Sylvester leans in and says, “your mother did that”.

Now for the fun part. Never underestimate the value of doing the math. Presently 51 minutes of a 59 minute recording. The good guys saved the day. But if you thought this was a one time engagement, then you either take things as they come (admirable) or you don’t understand how TV works. This is the part where Gallo tries to sell Walter and his team into becoming a team for the US Government. And if my hunch is right, this is where they recruit Paige away from the diner and introduce her as one of the team.

Walter: I wanted to thank you for your help today.
Paige: You came all the way over here to say that?
Walter: No. I also wanted to offer you a job. Government funded problem solvers.
Paige: Um, why? I’m not a genius.
Walter: No. But you are raising one. And that takes someone smart and brave. Now our work requires interaction with people. That is not our strength. Now you want to know about your son. I can translate him for you. You, translate the world for us.
(Walter hands her a folded piece of paper)
Walter: Salary plus benefits. You’re worried about not being able to connect with Ralph? That, is a second chance.

In the heat of this great moment, and even before she says yes, Paige asks about Walter and Cabe (Gallo). As it turns out, Gallo convinced Walter to design deliver software for the military to drop aid and food on countries that need it. Yep, instead they used the software to drop bombs on Baghdad taking 2,000 civilian lives. He immediately jumps right in to Ralph. “Tell him to avoid sentences that start with NORMALLY…” Then Ralph walks into the room and without looking at him say, “Hi Walter”. Paige is amazed as he doesn’t talk to anyone but her. Walter retorts with, “he recognizes one of his own”. Then they bond over a video game.

NJATVS Preview: Scorpion

Photo Courtesy of CBS
Photo Courtesy of CBS

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.