Review of Scorpion, season 1 & finale

Before Scorpion started, CBS really promoted the concept: a team of geniuses that solved problems and got into dangerous situations. At least that’s the only thing I got from the commercials. It doesn’t matter, because they had me from “a team of geniuses…” I would at least give it a shot. I’m glad I did.

I am drawn to character-driven TV. I want to see three-dimensional characters, not cartoon stereotypes. Much like life, plots develop naturally surrounding real people. The formula for a good television show is to start with a strong cast—both character premises and actors. Scorpion surrounds “a team of geniuses”—they are socially awkward (most of them) but exceptionally smart. It’s not necessarily the most ground-breaking show, but I like it.

The highlights of the show, in my opinion, are Toby (played by Eddie Kay Thomas, aka American Pie’s “Shit Break”), a genius psychoanalyst and doctor who provides a lot of the comic relief; and Agent Cabe Gallo (played by Robert Patrick), the federal agent who employs the Scorpion team to work on homeland security cases. Robert Patrick is just a bad-ass, from the T-1000 in Terminator 2 (and Wayne’s World) to small roles on True Blood and Sons of Anarchy. Every time he shows up on screen, he kills it.

Walter O’Brien (played by Elyes Gabel) has an IQ of 197, making him one of the most intelligent people who ever lived. He is drawn to Paige’s son Ralph (played by Riley B. Smith), seeing a bit of himself in the boy. He also slowly falls in love with the non-genius Paige (played by Katherine McPhee), despite his “knowledge” that love doesn’t exist. The team is rounded out by Sylvester (played by Ari Stidham), a “human computer;” and Happy (played by Jadyn Wong), kind of like a young Asian female MacGyver.

Overall, the show doesn’t get too deep. No matter how impossible the situation might be (and each episode includes at least two or three impossible situations), the team is able to solve the problem using their superior intellects. Intelligentia ex machina.

If you haven’t seen Scorpion, click here to watch the entire season or individual episodes on Amazon Instant Video.


Warning: Spoilers below


Image from Season 1, ep. 20 (“Crossroads”) via cbs.com

The season finale aired this Monday, April 20, 2015. It begins at the end of the last episode (fittingly entitled “Cliffhanger”)—I believe the first time this season that the plot carried from one episode into the next. Walter had gotten into a fight with Paige over her leaving, and the team was on the verge of breaking up. Walter got into a fast car given to him by Richard Elia (played by The Office‘s Andy Buckley), some rich guy who wanted Walter to work for his think tank, and went speeding down the road and off a cliff.

As this episode began, the team was looking for Walter but couldn’t find him. Eventually they find him in the car, bleeding and delicately balanced on the side of the cliff, ready to fall to his death at any minute. Rescue workers come in and almost kill Walter with their silly plans to rescue him—even throwing Toby and Happy into the back of a police car for talking condescendingly to a police officer. Sylvester finds Cabe who shows up (after quitting Homeland Security that morning) and flashes his scuba license to gain control of the rescue efforts.

A bunch of stuff happens, including Walter cauterizing arterial bleeding near his spleen with a silver pen and a crow landing on the hood of the car. Eventually Cabe is able to rescue Walter just minutes before the car falls. I don’t think it exploded, but it should have. Paige and Ralph show up and Walter almost tells her that he loves her.

The episode ends with the team in the hospital where Walter is being treated, seemingly with a renewed sense of togetherness.

It will be interesting to see how Season 2 begins, considering that Cabe is no longer with Homeland Security.

Scorpion aired Monday nights at 10pm (Eastern) this season, and has been renewed for a second season.

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