“I told you guys you weren’t ready to go out on your own.”
Vegas babyyyyyyy! This episode sends the Scorpion team to Sin City and takes a refreshing turn in an homage to Leaving Las Vegas. Walter returns to his lost love of liquor and goes off the wagon in a big, big way. After finding solace with a prostitute, he’s torn between her and Paige, and which woman he really belongs with. Meanwhile the rest of the cast finds themselves in a remake of Last Vegas, with Gallo leading the pack.
That doesn’t happen. At all. But the oft-cliché show is going to the oft-cliché city, so why not? Wouldn’t that be a better use of these 43 minutes?
The truth is, Walter and Team Scorpion do a “simple” casino job. Agent Gallo doesn’t approve of the job, but Walter saunters on anyway without him, and as a result, Robert Patrick largely gets to sit this episode out for being the lame dad of it all.
A robbery ends up happening at the casino just when Team Scorpion was dealing with the security system. As they are suspected, stolen money is found in Walter’s room and suddenly he’s under arrest with a bail of $500,000 on his head.
So, rather than this really being a casino job episode, it’s actually a good old fashioned mystery, as the rest of the team tries to figure out who framed Walter and why. Toby and Sylvester meanwhile take to gambling as a means to hit the 500 grand that they need for Walter’s freedom.
There’s actually a lot of potential in this idea. As overdone as they are, a solid casino heist can be incredibly engaging if done properly, and removing Walter from the occasion puts the rest of the characters in an interesting position, in theory, and a chance to show new sides of themselves and break the rigidity that this show has already fallen into three episodes in. By design we’re even given some fresh teams, with Happy and Paige being a fun pairing, in what I assume Rizzoli and Isles must be like.
More fun is had with Toby and Happy gambling on suspects using their genius as the handicap is the sort of thing I want from this show. This actually has thematic resonance too with the episode being steeped in gambling. We also see Walter’s genius leading to his insistence that a casino fire a small-handed, slow-dealing Blackjack dealer (and former magician). Seeing Walter value data over a human being with a family is another darker turn for these people’s intellect.
Seeing more of the callous side, as well as the playful side, hitting both sides of hyperbole, is a much smarter way to use these characters. We get more of this when Walter bitches out Toby for losing the bail money by losing a bet. As if raising more than half of what was needed wasn’t an extraordinary gesture in itself. We’re seeing more and more of Walter acting like a bratty child, and perhaps the least interesting of the characters, and this is an interesting avenue for them to continue down.
The chemistry is getting better and the beyond silly concept is at least getting played with in fun ways now. And if I’m having fun with this show, instead of just getting annoyed at how hackneyed it is, then I’ll be okay. There’s a scene where Walter is getting strangled and he geniuses his way out of death by snapping his fingers in a Quixotic way to stupefy the attacker. He wins a fight with snapping, guys. Then later he uses a rayon shirt to break out of prison. So. Yeah.
There are some sizable set pieces here, like the team ziplining across Vegas rooftops, that might meander and take longer than they should, but they’re something, and a fine attempt at suspense.
The “twist” at the end that the casino owner is the culprit, and stealing from her own casino is pretty obvious, since we’re really not introduced to many other characters here, but it’s a fine enough conclusion. As is the over the top helicoptered ending of Gallo arriving to save the day. Fade out on, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” and that’s a wrap. Scorpion is still far from a good show, but it’s slowly getting there, improving a bit each time; its venom working its way through your system more and more.