So, guys… Scorpion is back and my Monday routine finally feels complete. Last season we left a convalescent Walter O’Brian at the hospital after a huge ordeal. Cabe Gallo saved him, putting to rest all that bickering about trust we’d had in the last few episodes. He was also done with Homeland Security. Toby and Happy seemed to be in a promising situation. Paige had decided not to move with Drew, and Ralph was delighted… oh, yeah and she also kissed Walter while he slept.
It was a pretty hectic season finale and I just gave you the bare essentials. Now hit after the jump for our recap and review.
Opening titles start and I’m taken by just how much I missed this show over the summer. “Satellite of Love” begins with a police car chasing a suspect through the streets of Downtown LA, arriving at the now infamous LA Center Studios when we hear “cut!” and we remember that Cabe is no longer part of Homeland Security. Casually dressed, he’s the tech advisor at this show, correcting a smug Gene Simmons on his gun grip. Right away, I’m already laughing. This is short lived as Cabe receives a call; he’s reinstated and back to oversee Scorpion.
The team has been on their own agendas while on break: Walter has been having fun while in physical therapy, recovering from a hand injury he suffered in the crash and still feeling dizzy spells he hides from his doctors. Cabe arrives, now in his customary suit; it’s time to go back to work. Walter ignores the advice that he shouldn’t submit himself to stressful situations. I mean, going back to his world-saving 9-to-5, what kind of stress could he be under?
We land on Paige’s own stressy universe as she wakes up from a frenzied nightmare that shows us how terrified she is to go back to being a waitress. Happy and Toby catch her on her desk at the garage. These two are still going through their cheeky antics, though we learn that she hasn’t fallen for his charms yet. Sylvester is preoccupied with his collectibles, having acquired a coveted Vintage Super Fun Guy statue that talks. Toby gets on his case about it while discussing that his summer activities were more productive as Happy shoots him in the ass with a modified paintball rifle. Oh, these two are lovable.
Paige spent her summer productively, studying up on leadership dynamics and business. The other “satellite” characters are mentioned as well: Ralph is visiting his father, which explains then why he’s not around, and Megan, well, we’ll get to this. Walter and Cabe arrive at the garage and the team welcomes them warmly even if it’s awkward for Walter.
Paige and Walter fidget, hesitant about how to relate again, as she helps him to get ready since his hand is in a brace. He’s avoidant but she wants to have this conversation. She’s been studying team dynamics and knows that for them to succeed as a team they have to communicate without judgement, be open to ideas, let the information flow freely. This gets even more awkward, because in the spirit of that, she confesses that she kissed him. ‘Member that? I surely flailed over it.
Walter is shocked while she tries to rationalize why she kissed him. She excuses her feelings on the fact that their job puts them in an emotional high and the esteem that she has for him, she’s confused by those feelings and wouldn’t want to risk the team with keeping this knowledge from him. She wants to ensure open communication. Be professional about it.
Walter’s expression falls. He hides it well but he’s welcoming of those feelings. She doesn’t want to compromise “what should be important.” He thanks her, only halfheartedly, and even when she expects him to share his thoughts, he diverts, agreeing that their first year as a team was indeed stressful. Toby cuts in, commenting on the awkward moment via the intercom system that’s just been installed. The whole team has heard Paige’s confession. Happy agrees with them, “no fraternization means no problems” which Toby resents since he’s been so open about his intentions towards her.
Gallo greets their boss… a new one: Adriana Molina (Alana de la Garza - CSI: Miami, Forever) she’s Merrick’s replacement, as top notch as you can imagine and hot, as Toby points out. Confident and zero non-sense. Even though Scorpion has butted heads with almost every law enforcement agency in the country, and Merrick was aiming for their demise, Molina wants them to succeed. They study their mission on the way to the Rocketry Aeronautics Center (RAC).
A Russian satellite has been struck by space debris and now is orbiting towards Earth. It will crash in Southern California and it’s nuclear powered, which means that this would be the equivalent of an A-bomb, incinerating everything within 50 miles of impact. Anywhere near a populated area, that means 10 million deaths. They have an inaccurate guess of three hours until the satellite crashes and the Russian agencies aren’t sharing information as this is basically a spy satellite. They need to hack into it to reset its trajectory so it lands in the ocean, ‘cause… who cares about the fishes and the whales, right?
Walter is troubled, feeling the effects of yet another dizzy spell. They have to hack the system fast and his hand won’t be responsive enough to type at that speed, so Paige offers to do it for him. Molina makes it clear, the fate of ten million people depends on the people in that SUV. Messing up is not an option. No biggie. Welcome back.
When they arrive at RAC, the place is desolated. They evacuated all personnel to avoid any leaks and mass panic. While Walter dictates to Paige all the hacking code, personal space is kind of scarce and they’re obviously affected by it, reassuring each other awkwardly just how good it is to be working again, as a team of course. Raise your hand if you’re convinced? No one? Thought so.
They can’t ping the satellite, and while Molina suggests it might be damaged by space debris, the team disagrees. Walter suspects that there’s more to this story. It gets tense, Paige tries to smooth the situation as always; Walter’s bedside manner is rusty at best. As she pulls him aside, his post concussion syndrome flares at the “intense” situation and that’s basically all they do; Paige questions why his doctor would release him and that’s when she gets that he has conned his way out of recovery to come back to the team. He pleads her not to tell Cabe; he needs to get the perfect performance from him today. Paige proposes a pact; since she fears also for her own abilities and she was honest about it, they’ll support each other and make it through as a team, partners, if you will. This “no fraternization” thing is going well. Yeah… no.
Sly can’t get any alternate way to get to the satellite’s computer. The alternative would be to hit it with a missile, but without accurate specs - which they don’t have - this is close to impossible. Hacking into the Russian system would take too long, but if they could get eyes on someone accessing the Russian system they would have the passwords to enter their computers.
Obviously, Gallo questions this plan with Russia being… not in their backyard; fret not, dear Cabe… the truth is that it is. The Russian consulate in California will do.
While Toby and Happy head over, and she explains how her improvised device will get them the needed signal, Toby claims that he’s gotten the signal himself, loud and clear. She doesn’t want to move forward with their relationship; he’s like mold to her. The thing is that he might be a pest right now, but she better hope that he’s still around for it when she comes to her senses.
They arrive to the Consulate; Toby wants to do all the talking, since a machista Russian officer wouldn’t give her the time of day, but boy, is he wrong. The officer in charge is a woman. A very scary one too.
He introduces himself as part of Homeland Security and Happy as his Japanese tech consultant, requesting to talk to someone in Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency. The officer finds it suspicious and refers to them in Russian and Japanese, yikes. She requests their credentials, and Happy baffles Toby responding in flawless Japanese that there’s an issue with a Russian satellite and that their credentials should have been faxed ahead - they don’t have time to waste. Toby creates a diversion, dropping a can of pens to the floor while the officer denies the existence of any paperwork. Happy requests to speak to a supervisor but without the proper ID’s, the officer won’t allow her, all the while monitoring Toby who tries to attach their device to a power outlet, as he fakes picking after himself.
As he does, he brushes her off, as if giving up on their pursuit to talk to a higher ranking officer, and their device is planted. Right away, they start receiving data. Walter cracks the server and Sly calculates the trajectory to take down the satellite. Molina makes the call - the missile is in the air… only it misses hitting the craft. Silvester can’t believe he missed the calculations, but Walter does. There’s something at play and Molina actually sides with him this time. They were working off the assumption that the satellite was damaged by space debris, but maybe this is not the case. Molina makes a call to the authority that hired them, that might as well be the President. Meanwhile, Walter thinks that his foggy brain might be preventing them from figuring this out on their own.
In an impressive showmanship of badassery, Molina chews the President for lying to them. The US struck the satellite when trying to take it out of its orbit, because they feared that it had military applications. They’ve violated space warfare rules. The new information has the crash happening in less than an hour. And now it’s impossible to hit it without causing a nuclear winter.
Walter asks Paige to assist him with his computer, only she mistakenly opens what seems to be a video on a loop of the hospital’s surveillance cameras, showing the moment she kissed him at the hospital on the screens of the war room. So… true to fashion, this nerd ships himself and makes tumblr GIFs out of the important moments. We’re only missing a bee here. Toby jokes that maybe is good that the satellite will wipe them all off the surface.
The missile launch has alerted every agency and tensions run high as the phones ring off the hooks. Happy takes care of it, ripping the lines off the box. Molina orders to evacuate while they can but they refuse. Walter figures that they just need to be closer to the satellite to be able to transmit data to it. They could go to a secret Air Force Base nearby to use one of the US watch crafts to transmit and control it, so it can land at sea. Again, what about the dolphins?
Sly stays behind with Molina as the rest of the gang leaves for the base. When they arrive, they rush to send the hack but it doesn’t work. It turns out that Walter has infected his own computer with a virus when he hacked into the hospital’s surveillance system. Oh, the irony. This is what you get for snooping and shipping. The window of opportunity passes and once again the satellite follows its deadly path to Earth.
Paige refuses to believe there’s nothing else to be done; with Ralph all the way in Maine with Drew, she can’t accept that she won’t get to see her son again. Walter figures out that if they could get physically close enough to the craft to launch an Electromagnetic Pulse it would reset its system allowing them to hack and reroute it. Happy can build it out of microwave ovens, and they can use a weather balloon from the Meteorology division at the base and trigger it.
As Happy tests the device, a loose wire sparks and sends her flying, injuring her eye. Going up with Walter could damage her vision forever, Toby assesses. The only person that can go up with him is Paige. So the two non fraternizing coworkers will be trapped in a tight ball, going up the air, in a very stressful situation. Just what the doctor and all those teamwork books recommended. But together they have a shot to save the world, even when they’re not sure this device will work. Cabe sends them off, and as the balloon starts to rise, so do the tensions and down go the temperatures.
Meanwhile, Toby tends to Happy’s eye. He notes how much she trusts him in this situation yet won’t trust him to date her. Up at the balloon, Walter begrudges that if he hadn’t hacked into the hospital they would probably be safe by now. Paige tries to dismiss his worry but he’s got some confessions on his end too. He shares the same feelings she has for him; they’re confusing to him as well, but ironically his head injury has given him some clarity. He can’t risk Scorpion, and those feelings they have are destabilizing. He agrees that she’s right, that they shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize the team. In some ways, I consider that this confession, while it doesn’t inform of anything new, it does make Paige feel less deranged.
The guys have listened to all of this as well, and they warn them to get moving because they’re almost within range. Walter clumsily climbs out and almost loses the EMP. Paige has to assist. Outside their cocoon, Walter tries to reach out to the tangled device, hands it to Paige but misses a step when he has yet another dizzy spell. In the midst of it all, he loses his parachute, the only way to return to the ground. Paige takes over, also dizzy with how thin the air is, but she pulls it off. The satellite is on safe mode, Sly is about to execute the change when of course DOD storms the place and they lose a few precious seconds until Molina squares the situation away, gets them to lower their guns and helps him activate the hack.
Meanwhile, Paige and Walter struggle to get Paige’s parachute to work for both of them. It’s too tight and now that Sly changed the coordinates, the satellite is headed straight towards them. After much stubborn bicker, Paige manages to jerry rig the parachute and they drop, in an awkward embrace lacking personal space, again. The world is saved.
As Molina gets ready for the customary press conference, Toby checks on Happy who’s as thorny as ever. She’s scared, but he assures her that a nuclear apocalypse is more likely than him hurting her. She can see now without her eye patch, a delightful fungus in the shape of Toby as she claims. Maybe it will work out.
Molina starts the press conference, explaining how everyone is safe now (but the plankton and the poor turtles) and talks about her participation in it, suspiciously and almost uncomfortably forgetting to really give credit first and foremost to Scorpion, it’s almost an afterthought, and doesn’t feel enough.
Back at the garage, Toby, Happy and Sly are already in the thick of his boyish antics, fighting over Superfun Guy. Paige is annoyed and Cabe looks endearingly as Walter stands by him. He asks him if he’s ready to go back to working with this team of brats and he jokes that he’d been working with actors for weeks so this is actually an upgrade… oh, burn. Toby rallies to go out for a drink and everyone joins but Paige and Walter.
Cabe bids his goodbyes not leaving without warning Walter that this has to be the last time he hides his condition from him. Walter thinks that Paige told on him but in reality it is all Cabe, he knows him well enough to know something was off.
Walter moves to Paige as she continues to design a business plan for Scorpion. He reminds her that this is a plan that needs to be tested to see if it works, like the EMP or even them. They assume that their feelings would interfere with Scorpion, except that they haven’t tested that assumption yet, to see what would happen if they acted on their attraction… so they kiss. It’s hot, guys, but they stupidly deny their emotions, faking that they didn’t feel anything when they’re obviously so into each other. Paige scrambles to leave, Walter bids her goodbye. They’re doomed.
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t like this season premiere. It gets everyone on the same page, we get our nerdy heroes back, and we’re back in business. I missed them. The episode is filled with the usual Scorpion texture; a seriousness that’s not quite full on dramatic, and instances where some resolutions happen almost too conveniently, but this is what this show is, and why I really love it.
Introducing a new character is always tricky in a show, even when we’re all so happy to see Merrick go. Molina might have presented herself as an ally, but there’s nothing black and white when it comes to politics, as it’s mentioned in the episode a few times. I sense troubled waters ahead with her, and why wouldn’t you? She’s supposed to be the resistance force, otherwise, other than psychopaths, terrorists, bombs, viruses, grudges and their own failure to develop a healthy love life, what other obstacle does Scorpion have? I kid.
This character also makes me come to a bit of criticism that I hope is just a sensation I get because of the forced dynamic we have with the introduction of Molina’s character. Because we have more involvement from her, facilitating and working towards helping their cause in some ways, we get less time of Cabe doing this, which is usually his thing. Besides the initial push that his character got in the first minutes of this episode, and boy I loved see a casual Robert Patrick, after he suited up, he sat back and watched vigilant for a lot of it, not quite serving an active purpose. I hope this doesn’t become the dynamic, and in fact I’d be prone to hope for an exploration of the relationships between Molina and Gallo. What’s the politics side for them? What does Gallo go through now that Merrick is out of his life and there isn’t an impending threat all the time to be blackmailed over his past? Will he also feel that she’s out to get the credit of their work? Or will he push that she be welcomed into this bunch as well after some adaptation to their ways? Will they get jiggy with it?
As for the team’s ships; I’m actually very satisfied that they halted the crescendo for Walter and Paige. This is about endurance, as much as this was actually the discussion during the episode. I don’t particularly agree that letting the main ship sail ruins a show, even when there are so many examples, but if done well, this could work… which is also the case for the actual storyline.
The thing too is that there’s also Toby and Happy. That the writers are leaning towards actually letting them explore in their own stubborn ways feels like a good decision, because the main focus won’t be on them all the time, even when this pair actually has so many fans! The truth is that all these fears are justified for all of them, especially when everyone is so emotionally stunted.
Then we come to Sylvester and Megan. I can’t forgive that there was no substantial mention of her, or their relationship if any. This woman’s health was on the decline last we saw her and she’s a pivotal part of Walter’s life, as the rocket engine parked in the garage acts as reminder to everyone. When the summer was recapped for all of them, the lack of mention seemed sloppy. Bless Sylvester and his Superfun Guy obsession though. I’m glad that he’s being gutsier this season, even if he lets the child in him live more often than not.
Don’t forget to tune in next week for the second episode of the season, at 9/8pm on CBS.