Scorpion: Kill Screen Review

The secret level to a video game might be killing people and it’s beginning to feel like Scorpion is back from hiatus. Here is our review.

“Well I guess we all have our hidden talents.”

Scorpion is back, you guys! And surely you’ve all been eagerly waiting with frothy maws open for when Scorpion was going to return from its winter break, and that time is now. Those wacky, implausible geniuses are back.

We’re treated to actually a fairly interesting introduction where we see a child playing a video game and as he mows down people in the game, we see real life CIA agents in a safe house getting shot down and killed. It almost feels more like an opening from an X-Files episode than what we’re used to here, and then things take another twist when it’s not just any child that’s playing this video game, but Ralph, Paige’s son. He’s unlocked a secret level in his game, and it seems to be one that bridges the gap between video game and reality…kind of.

It’s a wise decision on the show’s part to focus on Ralph for this episode, and it brings an interesting focus to it all. I always think it’s illuminating to see what shows like this do in their 13th episode—what was designed to be their finale before their order got extended—with what sort of message they want to go out on. The show explores the inevitable angle of Ralph also being some spectrum-hugging prodigy who would make a perfect future Scorpion member. We see him encrypting at a genius level to get to Overt Target’s hidden level, which apparently was locked away in the “dark web” and an otherwise inaccessible website. Only Ralph and one other gamer were able to reach it, and so that makes the other party the killer.

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It’s a little ridiculous that the CIA really treats Ralph like the culprit when it’s beyond obvious that it must be the other guy. Ralph’s future being ruined by all of this is repeatedly tossed around and it feels like it’s only being done to draw parallels between his current situation and what Walter went through before Cabe stepped in and saved him (a connection that’s also outright mentioned).

Ralph acts as the perfect catalyst to a lot of the roving relationships throughout the series. Paige feels like Walter has betrayed her and manipulated Ralph by introducing Ralph to the dark/deep web in the first place. Ralph’s father naturally shows up too and we see Walter and him butting heads over Ralph and over Paige, and while this all works well enough, it feels no different than what we’ve been seeing in the past few episodes from Ralph’s dad, and at this point it’s starting to feel repetitive, which is a waste because this is actually one of the few episodes where this fractured triangle makes sense.

Searching for the actual villain here takes Team Scorpion into a seedy, underground gaming convention, which embraces a number of stereotypes and convenient, outdated caricatures. But hey, we learn that Sylvester is really good at “Jurassic Bash”, which is surely crucial story development that’s going to come into play in the season finale. All of this leads to some flashy car chases, some slap-dash MacGuyver-ing, and a messy stabbing that culminates in basically Ralph needing to play Overt Target as he coaches Team Scorpion on what to do as layers continue to bleed together. Ralph talking these guys through it all plays out pretty much exactly how you think it would, and it doesn’t help that the actor playing Ralph seems to be the least on the ball that he’s ever been in this episode. He really seems to be checked out and a lot of his material falls flat accordingly, which is really too bad.

As we move into the back end of the season now, it’s comforting to see Scorpion moving the magnifying glass onto some of the more neglected characters, even if it is repetitive. Between this week’s set-up and the plotting of some of the more recent efforts, it feels as if these guys also have a better hold on at least establishing the premise for a creative episode, even if the follow-through is consistently getting bogged down. As a final episode, this one would have been largely disappointing, but as a midway point, it acts as a welcome piece that shows where the stories are heading, and how comfortable the relationships are becoming.

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3 out of 5