“I will put a bullet in her ponytail, if Alyssa Bonesteel doesn’t come forward.”
Scorpion is back after a rather lengthy hiatus, and it opens to a pretty impressive start as some truck drivers transporting a shipment of weapons are brutally and unceremoniously gunned down. Team Scorpion refers to the gunman as a “very bad man,” and he is. I’m always a fan of when Scorpion ups the severity of what’s going on, and quickly this episode establishes its stakes.
Not long after these events, Cabe is informing everyone that this “very bad man” is in fact going to be on a luxury cruise—which narrows it down to one of hundreds of passengers. Obviously, the next step is for them to infiltrate the cruiser and hack into each of the missiles that were stolen, and put GPS on them so they can figure out whom they’re sold to.
Great. Good. That’s a very solid, boiled down premise that this show could do a lot with, especially if it was a tense bottle episode. Unfortunately, it’s not (and Toby and Happy aren’t even on the boat) but it still executes this simple idea very well. To begin with, the episode has a wacky sense of humor coursing through it, which is always a plus. All of the material on the boat screams romp as this game of charades is played. Paige and Sylvester’s aliases are Chas and Alyssa Bonesteel for example, which is a name that’s thrown around as much as possible here. Or moments like where the Captain tells everyone “Don’t worry! Everything is going to be fine!” before he’s immediately knocked over and held up at gunpoint. There are many smart beats where humor is used to undercut the action going on, and they all work.
Other obstacles are gleefully thrown around to make this mission more difficult, like an ex of Walter’s being on the ship (who’s engaged, natch) jeopardizing their cover. The tone of this eventually turns more serious since it transforms into a hostage situation after Cabe and Walter are left to work on the missiles.
I really, really loved this hostage stuff, if only for how unhinged our villain of the week (who is doing his best Christian Bale impression) was. Seriously. He’s constantly waving his gun at people, saying ridiculous stuff, and at every moment I believed that he might have shoot someone. Here’s an example of the sort of stuff he says during an exchange with Paige, aka Alyssa Bonseteel.
“Please don’t, I have a son.”
“Well in three seconds that son won’t have a mother. And then I’m going to pay him a visit.”
Bear in mind, they’re on a boat, and Ralph isn’t, making his threat deeply empty. But everything out of this guy’s mouth is gold. Expectations also continue to be broken with the mission this week, as one of the missiles is actually fired and casualties are seen. Scorpion still gets the upper-hand in the end and saves the day blah blah blah, but it’s nice to see things go so down south for a while.
While the mission stuff all works well, this does also happen to be Scorpion’s Valentine’s Day episode, and this is a show that’s never been subtle or adept with how it’s handling its romantic material. Walter and Paige’s status is constantly coming up (although making her and Sylvester the couple is refreshing and appreciated), and Ralph’s subplot revolves around his first crush. This crush stuff is just fine. That’s it. Fine. It’s very clear that it’s just there to get Toby and Happy together again, talking about love and relationships, and pushing them further together like they’ve been just struck by Contrivance’s Arrow.
But the love stuff surprisingly isn’t focused on for that long (for an episode that’s titled “Love Boat” of all things), and even in the final act, there’s some thrilling stuff going down. When Sylvester jumped to take down that lifeboat, in spite of his fear of water, I was actually proud of him. Then the impending danger of a live propeller shredding him up after felt like a very genuine danger. As cheesy as it was, the romantic fireworks at the end of the episode were a nice touch, and I’m not resenting the idea of these characters being together like I might have in the past. If the show continues to churn out installments like this, it could really end its season on a high note.