Scorpion: Father’s Day Review

Team Scorpion hunts down an escaped convict who happens to be a brilliant hacker, and Ralph’s no-show father shows all of a sudden…

“Peek freans are a very serious cookie.”

Guys, Toby and Sylvester bicker at each other, causing a remote control plane to crash through a window, thereby causing men with machine guns to come out weapons a-blazin’!

Weird stuff like that just happens here on Scorpion, and isn’t even dwelt on while it just keeps moving onward as the noise almost washes over you. Such confusing decisions are made here, or scenes that amount to nearly nothing, that a plane going through a window might as well bring out semi-automatic rifles to push the story along.

But what’s treated as the much bigger issue is the welcome material we get, albeit inevitable and feeling constructed as hell, in the return of Ralph’s father, Paige’s ex-husband (maybe? It’s never clarified), Drew Baker, as we struggle with whether this formerly untrustworthy guy can now be trusted, and how Walter feels in comparison to this rival for Paige’s heart. If this didn’t hit enough of the stereotypical buttons, he’s also a minor league baseball player (“A jock!?”), which weirdly feels like a requirement for this sort of gone-seven-years-and-all-of-a-sudden-back type of dad.

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There are some very melodramatic conversations had between Drew and Paige about baseball versus family that are pretty ridiculous. It doesn’t help that the actor playing Ralph is pretty deplorable. There’s nothing special going on there.

This is all played in juxtaposition to some flashbacks from Walter’s childhood with Cabe as the father figure in opposition to his actual family. None of it really connects as much as they’d like it to, or contains any revelations that we couldn’t have just assumed on our own (although the scene where a young Walter learns that his work for Cabe was re-appropriated to drop bombs is pretty satisfying). It’s an overly expository way to pad an episode that already feels thin. The brainstorming scenes that fill up the first and second act feel like they take an especially long time to move forward while still not saying much, as we could actually be zipping through this plot.

What frustrated me the most about this episode was how connections felt so clearly orchestrated without at all being plausible; in the flashbacks to Walter and Cabe in the ‘90s, we see Cabe teaching him how to fight, telling him to always go for the nose. At the end of the episode, nearly 20 years later, Cabe commends Walter for going for the nose in a fight. It makes the viewer smile, but it’s a ridiculous callback that draws attention to itself rather than being clever.

Oh, and just for the sake of common denominators, Toby weirdly does research on Happy’s biological family (which she promptly shreds), because it feels connected and like a thematic thing to include here. There’s even a heavy-handed conclusion where she belabors the point home, albeit in a sweet way.

It’s enjoyable enough to see Sylvester and the rest of the gang using their genius to dissect why Drew might be reappearing in Paige and Ralph’s life, just as it’s entertaining to see Sylvester input (successfully) a 1000-button sequence in a “Simon”-esque game that Happy has built. Everyone has fallen comfortably enough into their tidy little stereotyped boxes six episodes in, and this show is running smoothly enough while using the same general formula again and again. I still think we should be getting things like Sylvester completing the sequence, but throwing repeated bulleyes at a dartboard while he’s doing it. Give your scorpion some sting.

Admittedly, this episode probably has the best display of the team’s chemistry to date, and there are even some exchanges that made me chuckle. The ability in not only having Toby throw Cabe’s peek frean line back at him later, but have it become a runner through the episode instills some confidence for the series’ comedic sensibilities. At the least the cast are gelling, even if the plotting is still pretty clunky and transparent.

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At the same time though, we’re still getting incredibly on-the-nose scenes like the one where Walter tells Paige that Ralph is at the same age that he was at when his dad came back into his life, and he had a hard time understanding him. Of course, because Ralph is special too, it’s implied the same thing is going to happen here and Walter more or less says without saying that she better choose the guy she’s known unromantically for a few months now over the kid’s father. I understand what the show is going for, but don’t have Walter be a dick by actually saying this to Paige, have her realize it on her own.

Walter then continues to cross more boundaries by looking into Drew’s background and private life (through Toby, so he’s not technically breaking her trust), in actions that are brushed off as neurotic and charming when in fact they’re a pretty huge violation of trust and abuse of powers. This gang thinking that they’re better than regular people, and are entitled to go above the law is dangerous territory (not that the show is actually heading in that direction, although it’d be a welcome angle) and the wrong message to be painting for its heroes.

In the real story of the episode, we get Percy Tate, a “hacktivisit” (ugh), who escapes from prison with two other convicts and is on the loose. Team Scorpion is worried about what this brilliant hacker activist (I just can’t, sorry) is up to, and more importantly, where he is so they can stop him. Most episodes of Scorpion so far have involved trying to catch someone or track something down before it’s too late, so this is hardly new territory here. What is an appreciated twist and a decent complication, is that Percy isn’t the mastermind of these three convicts, but rather is being held hostage by them, being forced to use his intellect to steal billions of dollars for them via the Internet.

We’re given a very flashy third act here that doesn’t amount to much as we see the gang solving Morse code and being held at gun point by thugs in very low-stake feeling situations that you know they’re going to move past quickly enough (and sure enough, Cabe, like most of the time, rescues them). It’s a pretty ho-hum conclusion for the episode after a good deal of steam is built up, letting the episode go out on the topic of Ralph, Paige, and Drew. This surely won’t be the last we see of him (by a long shot), but at least the show is trying to focus on its cast a little more than the incredulous genius missions.

Now go have a peek frean.

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2.5 out of 5