Monday, September 21, 2015

Geeky TV commentary - Catch-up edition - Scorpion 2.1

Shows I didn't get to watch live!

Scorpion airs at 9pm on CBS Monday nights.

Oh my GOD these nerds are gonna kill me!

The writers of Scorpion have figured out exactly how to make silly stories really, really stressful to watch but also addictive, and how to break up the intensity with personal moments that are just as intense in entirely other ways. If I have a heart attack in my 30s, it'll be because of this show literally stopping it.

Scorpion (the team) has been on hiatus over the summer while Walter recovers and gets physical therapy, and in that time, Toby has been gambling, Sylvester has shifted his collecting to higher-end Super Fun Guy products that Toby won't leave him alone about, Happy has taken up paintball, Paige has taken on more business responsibilities for the team and put in an intercom, and Cabe has been acting as a tech adviser for the movies. All of which is gold. Paige has also had nightmares about having to return to work as a waitress if she fails the team, and Walter has been having post-concussion syndrome where he can't focus or get under too much stress without getting headaches and dizzy spells and sometimes blacking out.

Which is all bad news when there's an old satellite coming down right over SoCal that happens to have enough of a nuclear power source to make it an A-bomb if it hits land. New head of Homeland Security Adriana Molina--who is tough as nails and wants to believe in the team and have them succeed, and immediately wins me over--has brought them back together a few weeks sooner than Walter should be back in the field because they're the only ones who can help. Walter agrees, because he's getting bored and restless in PT, and everyone is happy to have him back because they've basically been without a case since his crash.

So! They have to hack the controls, but that doesn't work. So they decide to shoot it down, and that misses because their Intel is wrong. So Molina chews out the president and gets better stats, but now it's too close to shoot down without nuclear-winter-ing the state. So they hack the shuttle replacement thing to get closer to the satellite, and that fails because Walter got a virus downloading the security camera footage of Paige kissing his unconscious self and by the time he gets it clear, everything is out of range.

So then! Then they get really bonkers and Happy turns a bank of microwaves into a science-fair EMP to force the satellite to reboot so Sly can hack it without any security measures fussing with him, but she gets thrown across the carport by a loose wire shocking her and damages her eye. Which means she can't go up in the weather balloon that she was meant to go up in because damaged eyes can pop that high up. Which means Paige has to go up. Once they're up there, Walter drops the EMP because of turbulence combined with a bad hand, and has to loosen his parachute to reach where it's caught on the side of the balloon, and then blacks out for a second and loses his whole parachute and gets stuck on the side himself.

Paige manages to not black out from lack of oxygen (but it's close) and knocks the thing out with EMP, which lets Sly hack it and send it into the ocean--but also sends it right through the weather balloon. They have, like, no time, and Walter keeps yelling at her to go and get safe and leave him, and she keeps refusing, and at the last second, she gets her straps around him and they get to parachute to safety together instead of one or both of them dying.

And that's all not even talking about the interpersonal stuff.

Toby is still trying to convince Happy to date him--or let him date her, really, let's be honest--and as he points out, she trusts him to save her vision on the fly, but not to date. By the end of the episode, he's gotten her to "use her words" and admit she's scared, and it looks like she's coming around a little bit again. It's very sweet.

Sly hugs Walter! Sly who doesn't like germs and touching people pushes everyone out of the way to hug Walter before anyone else gets there, and Walter doesn't exactly hug him back, but also doesn't really freeze up like he usually does, and mostly looked pleased.

And when it's all over, Cabe tells Walter not to lie about his health to him anymore, because he knows him and he could see it--with the implication that he was worried.

And then there's Walter and Paige.

At the beginning of the episode, she confesses to him in the interests of not keeping secrets and committing to clear and open communications, that she kissed him in the hospital. That's when he drops all those files, and it's so great in context. But then she goes on to say that she doesn't really feel that way and his face just falls, but he recovers pretty quickly and agrees that they should stay professional, even though it's clear that neither of them really wants that.

And so that they don't have to then either keep this discussion from the team or rehash it, of course, Toby and everyone else hears it on the intercom that Paige had installed.

Later, when they're in the balloon and heading up into the thin air up there and have nothing else to do until they get into position, also in the interests of communication, Walter just quietly and openly admits that he has been having feelings for Paige. That makes her happy, but when he does like she did and immediately goes on to say that it really is best if they leave it so that they won't destabilize Scorpion (in this case, probably the team or the show), her face falls the way his did before. It's a nice bit of mirroring that makes the point that this isn't at all what either of them wants, but they're both doing it because the other said it is. Toby hears this, too, of course.

It's attempted murder by feels.

Once they're back in the garage and everyone is gone but the two of them, they try to keep that up and fail miserably because as soon as they say that their "destabilizing the team" is a theory, well, theories have to be tested.

And then they kiss.

The ad was cut cleverly to make it look like she kissed him out of nowhere, but that was a mutual kiss. He met her half way and it was half his idea, and it was awkward and needy and fierce and wonderful--

And then they both rip themselves away from the other and insist that they really do need to keep it professional and yes, good, they tested it and they can just not do that again. They also both insist they didn't feel anything, but Paige flees a little too quickly and only makes it as far as the door before she's leaning against it and sighing out of his line of sight, and he can barely keep standing after she leaves and flops down into her chair, and this is fanfic stuff. It's so great.

What a heart-racing return to the series! It's refreshing to have a head of Homeland who wants to believe in them and let them do their thing, and who will literally fight to allow them to do it. She's so feisty and fierce, and she's as impressed by them as they are by her! Plus, it's nice to get another lady on the show!

It's also nice that they didn't draw out getting everyone back together; it was literally one phonecall and no need to fuss about it, it just was, and we were back on the story-road as if they hadn't really missed a beat.

Except that Walter has been compromised. He doesn't want the team to see it, though by this point it's probably pretty obvious, and will hopefully stick around at least a few weeks since they made such a point about how he's not 100% yet. It humanizes Walter, not knowing everything, and it gives him new things to do--mostly with feelings and interpersonal relationships, since it means he has to handle fear of failure and trusting his team to pick up more of the slack since he can't think as fast as usual. It also means that the team gets to be more of an actual team, not Walter and the team, and that should be good for the show as well as for him as a character.

There's a lot of potential story set up here for the season as it unfolds, and it should be so much fun to watch it go!

What did you guys think of it? Share in the comments here, or come talk to me on Twitter!
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