Deeper dive into several main characters, plenty of tension and an emotional drive that kept us invested
We'd like to learn more about our full cast and this weeks main guest stars didn't stand out, but all in all still a good episode
Intelligent, endearing and fun, this group of geniuses may make Scorpion be the breakout hit of the Fall TV season.
The stakes become strikingly real in episode 1×03 “A Cyclone” and everyone has something to lose if they can’t make their new arrangement with Cabe (Robert Patrick) work. The team fails a high-pressure demonstration for Homeland Security and learns the hard way that unless they solve their internal struggles, they may find themselves again struggling to pay the bills.
A bomber threatens to dismantle the entire Internet infrastructure of the Southwest and the team instantly sees their chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of Cabe and Homeland Security. Determined to prove their worth, Walter (Elyes Gabel) pushes everyone past their limits and take extraordinary risks to show they can deliver when the chips are down.
With everything on the line, can the team pull together and succeed despite themselves? Will the delicate balance between everyone survive when absolutely everything is at stake? When the dust finally settles, everyone may not be the same again, so let’s take the plunge and uncover all the juicy tidbits this episode had to offer!
Everyone has a stake and it’s all or nothing for this team.
Behind all the action and drama, it was the realization that everyone had nearly everything at stake that made this episode emotionally grounded. Those stakes were real. If things didn’t work out, everyone is back on the street. Yes, it’s a television show and in the back of our minds we knew things must work out, but exceptional performances and writing made us forget that fact as it unfolded.
Those stakes made the risks real as well. As Walter pushed the team into the highly uncomfortable position of chasing down the bomber themselves, we see just how desperate all of them are to make this work. The risks lead to more bungles and failures along with the only suspect in a coma, but in the end, the relentless push serves to drive the team toward solving the much deeper puzzle of who the bomber worked for and the eventual capture of the much bigger fish.
After the team has overcome everything, the most emotional lifeline was delivered by Robert Patrick as Cabe tells Walter this opportunity means everything. After Bagdad, Cabe nearly lost it all and himself. This is his last chance.
“I want some blood off my ledger. So even though you may not trust me, you should know that I trust you so much that I’ve put everything into this team and you.” ~ Cabe
We applaud the choice by writers Nick Santora and Nicholas Wootton. All too often on television, details about how a team is funded, built and maintained are ignored. Blank checks are norm and nothing is at stake. Maybe it’s because some believe those things make for riskier stories, but the possibility of failure with everything at stake is something so many of us working day in and day out to make ends meet connect with and understand. In this episode of Scorpion it worked exceptionally well.
Smart parallels are setting Scorpion up to thrive.
As the episode played out, Paige (Katharine McPhee) becomes the one feeling she is on the outside. In a nice role reversal, she feels shut out and unable to fit in as the team usually does to the rest of the world. She even asks Walter if this is how Ralph (Riley B. Smith) feels being boxed out by others. Walter assures her that it just takes time. She’ll fit in and so will Ralph.
“I heard you tell them that you believe in me—well, I believe in you too, but you guys don’t listen. You think you’re always right because you are almost always right, but if you keep boxing me out like the cool kids on the playground, then…you’re correct…this won’t survive.” ~ Paige
When the moment does arrive, Paige steps up. She sees what the rest don’t. The armored truck isn’t the target of one of the bombings, it’s the building next to it. Her life experience was more meaningful than all of their logic.
“Remember when I said you’d thrive. Feels good being right again.” ~ Walter
We smiled right along with Paige. That small victory was a nice touch in bringing this team closer together. In that moment she became one of them. They aren’t “always” right but they all knew what was at stake. When faced with undeniable truth by Paige, they didn’t let ego get in the way and the race was on to stop the real threat. It’s more apparent every week through scenes like this that Scorpion has already figured out how to parallel the big picture and the smaller personal stories extremely well.
Smart editing by Eric Seaburn and music by Brian Tyler and Tony Morales throughout showed just how well Scorpion understands how pace moves us subliminally as well. The earlier scene, beautifully shot between Walter and Paige slowed us down and gave us pause to think. As the bomb threats and the real motives of the bomber became clear, all those elements along with sharp dialogue were used to speed things up and put us on edge. We’re impressed with the high level of polish and heart Scorpion has shown this early out of the gate.
Our dear Sylvester is growing up, right before our very eyes.
As the team continued to bungle their opportunities, we were reminded that everyone has a lot to lose if things fall through. But if there’s one way Scorpion has surprised us most, it’s that this intelligent show has tremendous heart.
Ari Stidham has perhaps shown that heart more than anyone and we’re happy to say that our initial impression that Sylvester would be the bungling comic relief was completely wrong. He certainly has made us laugh out loud each episode, but each week has shown moments of growth for him too. Stidham has us rooting for this lovable hero to overcome the multitude of mental hurdles in Sylvester’s way.
“No one will ever know if we just don’t do anything.” ~ Sylvester.
That was certainly Sylvester’s M.O. throughout most of the episode. After embodying that statement and freezing several times, we had our biggest fist-pumping moment when, of all people, Sylvester saves Cabe from what was sure to be a brutal death. In the end, Sylvester came through despite himself. Stidham has done a good job of both showing us Sylvester’s very real fears, but also his moments of courage. In the end, Sylvester was the hero again when all the evidence had been destroyed but his memorization of that evidence provided the means to put those responsible away for good.
FINAL VERDICT: Scorpion just seems to get better and better. It’s found that good balance between action, drama and emotional drive that will bring us back every week.
We’re only 3 episodes in and we care about these characters. So much so that we got chills when the music lifted our spirits and Walter staggered out of the garage. His courage in working to minimize the bomb’s damage and save everyone still within range was an emotional moment that Elyes Gabel delivered big time. Their relief he was okay was our relief too. That’s excellent writing, great performance and overall execution. Kudos to director Gary Fleder for bringing together solid writing and a great cast to make us feel this moment.
The episode wasn’t perfect, but it did many things incredibly well. We still want to see more character development for Happy (Jadyn Wong) and Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas) who up to this point are both entertaining, but still the most two-dimensional. Given what we’ve seen so far, we have faith that the writing team will find ways for those two characters to feel more rounded to us as this season progresses. They’ve earned that trust through great writing and three episodes we’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
This week’s primary guest appearance, FSG Agent Keeler, played by veteran Glenn Plummer, had a few memorable comic moments as the team challenged him in almost every area, but fell short a bit late in the episode as it became apparent that his character had ulterior motives. We didn’t see this as Plummer’s fault. Much of his plot twist was handled without him on screen and the bits and pieces we did get to see of him after just didn’t afford him the opportunity to bring this twist properly to life. We didn’t take huge issue with this small fault because it’s the main characters of the show in which we need to feel invested.
Through it all, it’s become abundantly clear that one of the key themes of Scorpion is that family is not the people related to you, but those you can trust most and who accept you for who you are. As we saw the team begin to accept Paige and realized how genuine the stakes were for all of them, the final moment of Walter explaining this to Ralph in terms we all could understand summed this up nicely:
“You know what a family of scorpions is called? A cyclone. Now, scorpions are very loyal to their cyclone. If one of them is attacked, all the others dive in. And we, all of us, are a cyclone.” ~ Walter
This team is stronger together and they’re all starting to realize it. When the chips were down for real, everyone played their part and found they can do more together than they could ever do apart. It did not go unnoticed by us that almost no scene had just one person as the only component to reaching a solution. Almost every triumph took at least two people working together to overcome what they faced.
This cyclone is starting to knit a tight bond with each other and an equally strong bond with us watching it happen at home. We don’t know exactly where this show will go next, but we’ll certainly be watching. We care about these characters now and we’re hooked. That’s a good thing.
Questions, Comments, Concerns, Reactions…
- Sylvester and Walter in camo is just hilarious. lol Nicely played @AriStidham @ElyesGabel
- What’s with the full contact!? Happy takes no crap and I love it. 😉 @JadynJWong
- Scorpions! Our theme song! The look on Happy’s face says it: They are a indeed a million miles from normal.
- That’s cough.. unconstitutional .. Toby just can’t “not” say something. lol #TeamScorpion
- You. You need to keep these guys in check. That’s your job. Capiche? No stress situation there Paige.
- I do like how this presents realistic stakes for our team. They aren’t given a blank check with no oversight. #TheRiskAreReal
- The concepts behind the screening and flow are real. Team Scorpion really used this tech to catch the Boston bombers.
- Gallo is going to have Toby’s ass if he finds out that badge is missing. #TeamScorpion
- I saw something in her. Like I saw something in you. — I like Walter. But he’s reckless at times for sure. Though I think Happy might be more reckless than anyone on this show. @JadynJWong Hmm.
- Bad Guy 0, Bus 1. Gallo may have ALL their asses now.
- There are porn stars in Mensa. Toby cracks me up. And no, he’s not helping at all. lol
- Wow. Paige just put Walter in his place. And she was RIGHT. I loved that scene. @katharinemcphee @ElyesGabel
- I know. BOOM. Damn. Sometimes it’s got to seriously suck to “almost” always be right. @JadynJWong
- How the hell do you erase a file once it’s on the web? I wanna know too!!
- I don’t like it when Happy looks that way. I think if I suspected a bomb I’d EXIT the building. Not crawl in & get it!!
- Cabe: Where’d you get that? [The badge] Toby: You dropped it. lol
- Seriously, @ScorpionCBS gets better with each episode. The characters get more real and the intensity hasn’t stopped!
- You may not trust me, but you should know that I trust you so much that I put everything into you & this team. I love this show!
- A cyclone is very loyal to each other. They all jump in when one is attacked. This team just got closer.
- Mondays are going to be much better this year. @ScorpionCBS is brilliantly written! @ScorpionWriters
Scorpion Review: Episode 1×03 “A Cyclone”