“The Scorpions…That’s our theme song”
It’s always interesting to see the steps that a show like Scorpion takes in its first few episodes. The stories that they deem important to tell, and what they want to focus on. So three weeks in here, and we get the idea of the entire infrastructure of the Internet being taken down in the Southwest. The episode explores the horrors of a world with no Internet as Paige tries to help her son figure out what to do during recess with his phone effectively being wi-fi-less. Granted, people are dying, and it’s kind of severe when it comes to national security, but that’s what we’re dealing with this week.
To kick things off, we see Team Scorpion take down a spider hole type mission in not-Iraq as they do mock missions for training. This could be kind of interesting in an X-Men’s “Danger Room” type sense, but currently we just have the team criticizing superiors for criticizing them, as their genius points out all the foibles and errors that they did. Because Scorpion botched this training mission, the Internet blackout epidemic therefore becomes all the more important in justifying their worth. Inflated stakes? Check.
The episodes still feel beyond forced when there are moments like everyone at the bombsite and each member of Team Scorpion rattles off their skill, collectively filling in the basics of the crime. These types of scenes happen continually through the episode as each character takes their turn at playing Scorpion and then waiting until it’s their time to be a genius again. At the least the chemistry between everyone is getting better, and there’s an actual rapport going on between these people, in spite of their constructed nature. They also continue to split the team up into pairs, which is fine, but we’re getting the same pairs every week so far. Will we ever see Paige and Toby paired up!?!? (probably, actually…)
Speaking of Toby, he suspiciously runs back to get his hat before they go on their mission this week. Perhaps Toby needs his hat for his genius powers? Without it in his possession he’s useless? Surely this will get developed in the episodes to come and we’ll see, but it seems like a solid season-long character arc.
The episode spends some time specifically addressing that Paige doesn’t serve a purpose on the team, other than being a pretty face, which at least shows some evolution and is a step in the right direction. Walter reminds everyone (in the most ham-fisted pieces of dialogue) that all of them seemed hopeless and without purpose when he first discovered them, and now they’re the team of super geniuses that dominate television airwaves on Mondays. So supposedly, Paige’s skill and use will eventually come into focus, and unsurprisingly, right after it’s brought up, it ends up happening in this episode. The execution of all of this is clunky as hell, but it’s at least turning these characters into slightly more layered, interesting people.
There’s even a decent enough “twist” with Scorpion catching the bomber half way through the episode, only for him to crash his car and end up in a coma. We don’t get his motivations, his agenda, his endgame, which might just seem sloppy and undercooked, but it’s also kind of twisted and a nice idea on how sometimes we don’t get all the answers. Or our victories aren’t always champagne-toasting perfect. Sometimes, people do terrible things and we never know why, and if that’s something that’s airing at 9pm on CBS, I’ll take it.
In time we do get to see Team Scorpion analyzing Frank Turner, the suspect, and putting together his motive while he’s in a coma, which works well enough. They determine that he’s doing all of this to erase a file or hide a secret, but I still might have preferred them not knowing why he did this. It’s a bit of a cop out. Even having their theory that seems airtight end up being completely wrong, as Turner flatlines and the truth never coming out, would have been a little more exciting. We do get to see Robert Patrick have a chain fight with someone and Sylvester fire a gun though, which are steps in the right direction.
This inevitably all culminates in the gang stuck with a bomb that they need to defuse, and last-minute betrayals and double-crosses from the characters-of-the-week that are meant to seem smart but just feel whatever in the end. It’s bigness for the sake of it, which is by all means fine. It just doesn’t need to be the most obvious examples of “SUSPENSE!”
But there are also scenes like the one that opens the episode where Walter and Sylvester are playing “dueling Rubix cubes” as they race each other, pitting genius against genius with dozens of completed Rubix cubes sitting amongst them on the table. As ridiculous as they are, these are the sort of scenes that I can get behind and want more of. It doesn’t sound like most people are on board with this show’s general concept without treating it as preposterous, so it might as well turn everything up a few notches.
If Walter and co were constantly solving brain teasers and completing hand-eye coordination tests as they walked from their vehicle to their next assignment, I could at least be having more fun with all of this. You might as well push it as far as it can go; solving Rubix cubes while in hostage situations and completing a magic eye puzzle while hacking into an airplane’s control system and landing it safely.
veryone in Team Scorpion should be wearing giant brain helmets at all times, as they respond to danger that’s alerted to them by Cabe shining on the Brain Signal up in the sky (cue “Rock Me Like a Hurricane”), because a bland, mediocre version of all of this isn’t fun for anyone. We’re at least getting closer to this place though, even if it’s not intentional. The episode even closes on the most shoehorned of conversations where we’re told that a family of scorpions is called a cyclone.
Because they’re a family.
And they’re Team Scorpion.
So they’re the cy—HERE I AM! ROCK ME LIKE A HURRICANE! HERE I AM…