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This week, Team Scorpion must pass a mandated psych evaluation or face being disbanded after they’re accused of destroying a priceless work of art. Meanwhile, Ralph is reluctant to go to his school’s halloween party, so Paige asks the team to step in and help.
For our recap and review… click on “Read More”
Writer Rob Pearlstein mixed it up and brought us a novel narrative for what we’re used to on Scorpion. Possibly taking note from shows like HBO’s In Treatment, and films such as The Thomas Crown Affair, Ocean's Eleven, 007 and Mission: Impossible, this episode starts halfway through the events, splat in the middle of the 6th St. bridge in Downtown LA. Something has gone terribly wrong with their mission and now they’re going to have to pass a mandated psych evaluation, conducted by Shohreh Aghdashloo (24, X-Men: The Last Stand, FlashForward) as Dr. Cassandra Davis.
But back to the beginning.
It’s Halloween week, something that’s not particularly important to Walter, who continues to be dismissive of all things emotional. This apparently includes art and pagan celebrations, but Paige won’t have any of this; she’s determined to have him grow a heart.
The case they’ve been given sounds like an easy one: to reinforce the security system of the West Side Museum of Art; they’re holding an exhibit from Franz Biermann. Paige loves it. Walter has no clue of who this artist is or why should he care.
The team also has a brand new loaned van, which will come in handy later on. The challenge for part of the team this week is that art is make believe to them. Paige appreciates it a lot; she loves Gauguin and she argues that Walter has to learn how people work if he expects to make Scorpion successful, let alone be a functioning member of society. So she challenges him in an experiment to try to be more empathetic. He accepts the challenge but… it couldn’t be more awkward.
Once they arrive at the museum, curator Paulson, played by Once Upon a Time’s Raphael Sbarge, worries that Scorpion is not a ‘typical’ law enforcement team. They analyze one of the paintings, but Walter comes too near to it and tears the canvas, making everyone cringe and gasp in horror. It’s a forgery, and luckily the FBI arrives to defend their stance before Paulson goes ballistic on them.
Back at headquarters, Toby and Paige agree that there was a better way to approach this situation. The FBI calls on their expertise since they detected the canvas was printed by a machine. They have to detect where the original painting went missing. Cabe knows of someone that can help them track it down, but warns them to behave, because, really.
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Enter Hattie Lange - Linda Hunt from NCIS: LA - though this is not really spelled out for us. She’s perplexed by Walter’s disconnection with emotions. The team doesn’t seem intimidated by the authoritative presence of the woman. I honestly wanted to slap some sense into them: Please, this woman is old, at least show some respect.
They explain that a forger with an HD picture of the painting can reproduce it on a 3D printer. Funny story, Castle did this too this week, on the same night, but I digress. Hetty gives them an account number from the Royal Stuart Museum from when she was a costumer in London. They keep pictures like these in archive. They also learn that this painting has been stolen before: It was seized by the Nazis and the family has tried many times to recover it.
They track down one of the downloaders of the image to Galactic Toys, the makers of one of Sylvester’s favorite super heroes, ‘Super Fun Man”. They work with state of the art 3D printers. The forger must be there. Fun fact: If you look closely, when they pull up to the possible forgers, you can spot Alex Kurtzman between the suspects; if you missed it, he’s one of the show’s executive producers.
They pin Phil Daniels as a likely suspect and Cabe goes to get him. He doesn’t allow Sylvester to tag along, crushing his excitement. Considering the differences between Walter and Sylvester, Paige takes on the challenge of “what needs to be done” to connect him to his emotional side; he can’t even laugh at a joke, ruining it with logic. Sometimes, I wonder if just kissing him would do the trick?
Daniels escapes and Walter instructs Happy take off in the car after him while he chases on foot. The chase is a collection of comedic errors, and absurd accidents that made me giggle. Because really, they’re this awkward, damaging property and their brand new loaned car. Walter chases him under the 6th St. bridge where Paul runs into a Wall of Robert Patrick. I mean, Cabe tackles him by surprise, stopping the chase just in time for the rest of the team to arrive, showing their battle wounds.
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Unfortunately, they’re having trouble getting information from the suspect, they’ve scared the guy. As Cabe puts it, “This is what happens when a guy gets chased by a bunch of weirdos and a van covered in chicken feathers.” The FBI doesn’t find anything on him. Cabe dreads that they’ll never see the picture again. Toby talks to Paul, profiling him and forcing a confession: Magnate Jacques Lebaux (Mike Powers - Transporter 3, Anger Management) hired him.
They scope out Lebaux and detect a possible room in his house that could be used to store the paintings. They don’t have enough evidence for a search warrant though so Cabe tries to find an alternate way to go in.
Meanwhile, the team tries to track down where Lebaux could be hiding the original painting, and find out he’s holding a charity ball -insert fanfic joke here-. Paige is hesitant to disobey Cabe, but Walter is decided. Happy and Toby will recon the place while Paige and him get near enough to Jacques to clone his phone. Sylvester will control it all from the Van. They go back to Hattie, and she gears them up with the right attire and equipment to go undercover (Edna Mode from The Incredibles, anyone?) Here, we’re witness to a moment of weakness from Walter as he checks Paige out. Hattie notices. I love her, I really do.
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Walter got them on the party’s guest list as Gauguin. See Paige? He pays attention. Happy and Toby go to the room they think is a storage locker while Paige and Walter follow Jacques to hack into his phone. He’s dancing, so Paige convinces Walter to play along, this is the “most efficient way.” He’s so nervous that it’s endearing, and he even tries to make a joke… But just when you think things could turn interesting, Sylvester interrupts them and tells them they’ll be done in 15 secs, only then the transmitter resets and they have to keep dancing.
They then get interrupted by Jacques; he wants to dance with Paige. Walters slips the transmitter into the back of her dress and watches as they dance along. He’s jealous, you can see it, and he masks his emotions by putting his efforts onto the mission. Meanwhile, Toby’s stubbornness makes him tip a whole shelf of wine on top of him. The noise alerts the staff and Sylvester creates a distraction to get them out of there. He cuts the power and they all escape.
Hacking into Lebaux phone, they discover that Curator Paulson has been in on this the whole time. They’ve been working as a team to switch the original paintings the museum receives for the fakes that they’ve been producing. They set off to tail him, but Walter sends Paige back to Hattie, trusting her to deliver something important to her. The importance of this we dismiss because we’re tangled in this touching moment of his appreciation for her help.
They call Cabe, and inform him of Paulson’s involvement and that they’re following him through town. They’ve rigged Paulson’s car to stall him until Cabe gets there. He soon arrives and arrests him while the paintings are safe in the car’s trunk. Just then, their device malfunctions, the car explodes, and with it go the paintings. They try to explain to their superiors that it was an accident. But they don’t care - they’re now subject to evaluation. And this time Cabe is not bailing them out, he’s letting them be put under the microscope.
Commence the psych interviews. Each session revealed an important personality trait for exploration in each member of the team; it was small but important. What’s really influential in each session is what Dr. Davies discovers about their relationship with Walter. It is what’s at the end of the day will keep them together.
- From Sylvester, we are reminded that he has too much emotional quotient compared to Walter, besides his squeamish and hypochondriac nature...Does his anxiety hinder his ability to work in Scorpion? No, because Walter keeps him focused on the work.
- One of the funniest bits for me was Toby’s interaction with Davis. He tries to psychoanalyze her, deflecting on every question about his mental stability. She reminds him that a sign of antisocial behavior are addiction issues, but this is precisely where Walter has come through for him, helping him crawl out of the hole that his addictions often put him in.
- Happy counters with her own sarcastic tools of deflection, dismissing Davis’ concern that Walter may be endangering their lives with his decisions. She trusts him and his plans, because there’s always a plan.
- Then there’s Paige’s turn, and perhaps the one I thought was the rudest of the bunch, as she strives to feature how even when geniuses have low EQ, they’re also brave and special. If they were unstable, she wouldn’t trust her son to them… “Your son is one of them.” Davis counters cheaply, but Paige doesn’t let it affect her, “Thank you, I think he’s special too.”
- On Walter’s end, he’s being forced to be honest. He argues that he was doing his job. Davis questions his ability to protect something he doesn’t care about because he lacks emotions, but he’s too smart for that, always deflecting and defending his actions as an efficient way to function. But Davis one-ups him: she analyzed the scanner that they used to hack into Lebaux’ phone that had failed during the mission. The device never reset - He did it intentionally to dance longer with Paige. She blames him for jeopardizing the mission, but he won’t have it and challenges her to make the best decision. In the meantime, he’s in charge of protecting his team.
After these interviews, it seems they have a low possibility of passing, but Cabe surprises them: Davis has cleared them. As Cabe reads the report to Walter, Davis claims that: “his deeper motivation stems not as he states, from a desire to complete his mission, but for empathy for his team members. He’s created for himself a purpose and for each of them a family. A safe haven, a place to reach their potential.”
Cabe doesn’t bite and brings up other things that don’t make sense: He doesn’t believe they’d botch the rig on Paulson’s car. He also couldn’t find the forged painting that had been catalogued for evidence. The team totally pulled a stunt behind his back: switching the paintings and delivering the real one to the original owner’s family. They teamed up with Hattie, who’s ensured them that Interpol wouldn’t have a trace of their operations. She wants to know though why is he finding importance in something he didn’t appreciate before. He tries to fool her, but she knows that something or someone made him change his mind. Cabe also knows he’s lying, but he’s actually happy about it.
As a wrap up they all dress up to go to the school halloween party. Sylvester as Super fun Guy - the super hero, Toby as Freud, Happy as Catwoman much to Toby’s delight and … Walter dons a pair of aviators with a stern face. He’s dressed as Agent Gallo. They made Ralph a brain for a costume. Paige calls walter out on his facade, for a guy that says he has no feelings he puts a lot on the line for the people he cares about. At the end of the day he does appreciate the levity of it all.
My favorite parts of this episode start with the narrative style that was fresh and different; the shifts between their psyche exams and back to the casefile were very dynamic. The comment I have about it though is that the anchor points and transitions that led us to these conversations were not as clear as they could have been. While their arguments of what made Walter a great leader and Scorpion a valid organization were the reasons why they’re still in business, narratively what was discussed seemed a bit isolated from the on going casefile. It would have been nice to have clearer transitions thematically. Maybe I missed it, maybe I’m asking for too much, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be that way.
Another thing that I would question in terms of logic it’s how the fact that Scorpion provides a family to these misfits is a strong enough reason for the authorities to pass them. I know, I’m ruining the story with my logic. I'm aware that the family gives them a sense of security that makes them be functional, but perhaps this was somewhat not executed properly through Davis' argument.
Robert Patrick’s comedic timing was great, he should do more comedy. As I’ve been saying in the past few weeks, Kat McPhee has been a surprise to me, and she continues to be super solid in her character. For me, she’s no longer playing a part but she’s made a great fusion with Paige that makes it graspable and believable, organic. You forget that she’s acting.
I hardly talk about Elyes Gabel talents per se; it's hard to give an informed opinion based on the characteristics of his character, being emotionless and all. But this episode gave him the chance to actually break through that self imposed limitation. It was a nice change. I hope that as his character goes through the journey of becoming ""more human"" we also get to experience what should be a very challenging transition for anyone in this situation in real life.
On the ship watch this week, I like that they’re taking their time to tease ever so briefly about Toby and Happy, it’s a lot lighter than of course the tension between Paige and Walter. I enjoy both, but I think that in the long run, Toby and Happy’s will play a lot better as we see it develop over time, I think I can see more levels to it as of right now than Walter and Paige’s. Nothing that cannot become a challenge to these writers to extend upon, as this show has now been picked up for a full season order and a second season is most likely in the bag.
As always, you’re welcome to follow me on twitter (@AviQuijada) for the impromptu live tweeting when I watch the show. And also, make sure you follow @ScorpionCBS for their take on BTS photos and information about the show.
Next episode airs Monday Nov. 3rd, at 9pm on CBS.
Photos coutesy of CBS Entertainment.