Previously on Scorpion: Walter went on a date that didn’t work and the newest trainee from Homeland was putting the moves on Paige. The dude is also testing Walter’s patience when it comes to sharing Cabe. So… all is good, right?
Click after the jump for our latest recap and review of Scorpion’s “Twist and Shout.”
Tim has somewhat made himself at home with some members of the team. As he takes a stab at playing with the Super Fun Guy arcade machine, both Toby and Sly are impressed at just how good he is at this. He pegs it to having played this game as a kid but Toby knows better; he’s got some mad skills. Sly wants Ralph to check it out but his mind is somewhere else.
Walter comes out from his office after hearing all the ruckus from the boys. Tim is obliterating the records on the machine. Toby points out that Tim has had extensive training with the Marines, but Walter doesn’t believe that physical attributes could trump intellect. Sure, Walter… do we need to revisit the Scorpion Olympics incident?
Paige sniffs out the jealousy a mile away. Nice. Yet another thing to intimidate him. So he obviously deflects. That’s when Linda arrives at the garage. Remember her? Chick with whom he had an awful date that ended up with “Da Bomb” strapped to her body? Well, she’s back, surprising everybody and wanting to talk to Walter.
They step aside to talk in private, and Paige is already making a face about this. It turns out that Linda has been thinking about him a lot, and feels that she dismissed him way too unfairly, especially since he’s a great guy and saved her life. She thinks that maybe they should give it another go. Walter is surprised since no calculation could have told him that the woman would change her mind. He’s glad that the odds did not play out… but the conversation gets interrupted by the rowdy boys celebrating that Tim just beat Walter’s score at the arcade game. There goes yet another failed calculation on his part.
Walter agrees to call her later for a date. Happy is amused by what’s going on, throwing side commentary as Paige walks off, covering her annoyance with some hunger nonsense.
The thing is, as Toby points out, Paige and Tim seem to be getting along and he should have someone to get along with as well. That way it would be easier to let go. But Walter doesn’t recognize the need to let go since according to him, he wasn’t attached to begin with. To this, Toby responds: “That’s right. I keep forgetting because of the way you look, feel and talk about her…” This is possibly one of the best lines of the whole episode.
Ralph is concentrating on finishing his current project for his college course. He’s created a transfer system that manages to send data via sound, that could download the entire library of congress in a matter of seconds. His presentation is today, but still has to go to normal school like a regular kid, as promised. He gets ready to be picked up as Cabe arrives with their weekly client.
John Pandova (Josh Randall) is a retired Marine that would like to retain their services for a very important case. He’s been working to retrieve the remains of fallen and MIA soldiers around the world. The current situation is that a piece of a US military ammo belt was found at a construction site in Vietnam. He believes that it belongs to a Marine patrol that went MIA in that area in the 70s.
The families of the ten Marines missing are counting on him to bring them back. It’s a noble and important mission. The problem is that he can’t get approval for excavation without more specific evidence that the remains of the soldiers are there. If they were to find a piece of a uniform with the name of a soldier it would stop the construction crew from moving forward. The government has approved of their plans, but local influences and corruption are still pushing back. They only have two days to retrieve any proof before they move forward with the construction of the factory. Walter is skeptical, and Happy points out that they’re not archeologists, so how could they be of use?
While archeologists look into the past, Pandova needs someone that can take this exploration further and enhance their imaging equipment to accelerate the scanning efforts and find clues underground. But Toby reads into the man’s eagerness to get this to happen; he has to have a deeper reason behind it. The truth is that John’s father was part of the patrol and he’s been missing ever since. His mother is very sick and will most likely die in six months; he wants to bring closure to her before she leaves. Cabe is taken by the emotional charge of this situation and promises to assist him. Paige is sobered by the man’s pain, but Walter is still… skeptical.
Pandova leaves to make arrangements, Gallo picks up on Walter’s hesitance. He doesn’t see why this case was so important to Cabe. For a minute it annoys him, wondering if he’s insinuating that recovering MIA Military isn’t worthy of their time. For Walter, it isn’t that in particular, but just recovering remains lacks logic to him altogether, whomever they are. Paige intervenes; people lost their loved ones, and she thought he could commiserate given that he has just lost his sister. But he argues that he cared about “who” Megan was, not “what” she was. He even kept her ashes in a coffee can in his car. Gallo meets eyes with the rest of the team… it’s a mix between hurt, sadness, and frustration. Happy thinks that he’s messed up.
Cabe takes a deep breath and explains that regular people place value on the fact that they have “something” to say goodbye to, and maybe someday he will grasp that notion, but in the meantime, they need to get going. Walter has just been told off, and I feel for him. But more on this in my actual review.
They get on their way. As they fly over to Vietnam, Happy and Walter scan all kinds of model items that Toby bought so they can tell the machine what to look for. The equipment will scan the ground and locate the evidence, keeping photographs so they can prove their point. They even added a chip that will allow for imaging subterranean data with 100% accuracy.
Toby uses this opportunity to mock Walter. “Subterranean,” like his scores at the arcade, thanks to Tim, who’s dreading the attention that’s being put on this.
Meanwhile, Paige is trying to shut them up so she can talk to Ralph over a sat phone. He’s uncomfortable that they left Sly to babysit him since he’s being too eager a cheerleader at his presentation. They end their call because it’s getting turbulent, and Cabe can only warn them that it will be getting a lot worse.
They arrive and drive through the jungle. Tim takes this moment alone with Walter to clarify that he doesn’t want to be in any competition, he just wants to be an asset to the team. Walter smugly responds that “there’s no competition.” Yes, Tim. That was Walter being a pain.
Cabe warns them that they have to move fast because the storm looks dangerous, but Toby is more concerned with the look of the construction workers at the site. They shouldn’t be there as they still have two days until the deadline, but the foreman fights them, claiming he has invested too much time and money on this site for them to get in his way. Walter tries to intervene but Tim cuts him off, breaking into Vietnamese and threatening the foreman to call the authorities on him. That wouldn’t go well since he’s in clear violation of the agreement. The man backs away after Tim’s threat and Toby taunts Walter that he doesn’t know how to speak the language. He claims he could if he had an hour to learn it. Yeah, okay.
He moves on and gives tasks to everyone; in the middle of the strong winds it’s hard to set up the equipment and they’re struggling to not get hurt. Tim saves Paige from getting hit by flying objects as they fly off. It’s kind of a mess, even the special chip that would allow them to scan flies off and Happy has to retrieve it. It gets even worse when Sly confirms that the weather won’t improve; the reports confirm that they’re in the middle of a Category Two storm and it could easily turn into a disaster because the winds would blow through the excavation site and make the rescue efforts even worse. They only had two days to do two years worth of work, and now they only have two hours. Peachy.
To top that off, when they’re ready to go, they discover that the chip broke when the wind tossed the case. They can’t do the necessary imaging to prove that the remains are indeed Pandova’s unit. Toby wants to pick up and leave for the city where they could hunker down until the storm passes. John is upset about it but there really isn’t a solution if they can’t replace the chip. That’s when Walter gets an idea: if they can find a nearby hospital they could use the chip from their ultrasound machines. John and Paige tag along to minimize the chances that they get in trouble with Walter’s craptastical bedside manner.
Meanwhile in LA, Sly and Ralph come back from his presentation. He failed, to the surprise of everyone. Sly thinks that the code was too advanced for his professor and because he couldn’t understand it, and so he failed him. Not the first time I’ve heard of this happening, I may say. Then they hear an alert; Silvester had set up the computers to monitor the weather in Vietnam and the situation has gone from bad to way worse.
Walter, Paige and John have reached the hospital, but there’s an electrical fire they can’t put out and they’re evacuating. Walter tries to make an argument of what they need, but again, not the most convincing guy, never appealing to the emotional side of people. Paige takes over and the doctor gives them the go ahead, instructing them where to go. As John and Walter move ahead, an old Vietnamese man looks at Pandova and calls him a ghost. Walter urges John to move while Paige offers the doctor a hand in evacuating the elderly residents.
Walter and John get to the right place and break the ultrasound machine’s wand to get the chip out then rush back to the entrance. But when they get there, Paige urges them to figure out some help for the residents since they can’t fit more people into their vans and making another trip is impossible in the storm. Walter argues that they’re not helpless as the doctors are there with them, but they’re no match to nature. Seriously, sometimes I question his genius, I really do.
They need to get these people underground; there aren’t any basements in the jungle, but plenty of tunnels. They ask the old man and he tells them of some over the hill sealed with aluminum covers. Walter instructs them to go to the site and he’d catch up. He needs to get the thermometers from inside the hospital.
Toby and Happy struggle to get the scanner ready in the middle of the storm, and even his signature hat flies off, to Happy’s delight. But now Walter is running behind and they can’t get started without the chip.
Back at the hill, the group arrives and they spot the aluminum covers. Walter gets to work right away, and John is confused about what he’s doing to get access to the tunnel. Paige reassures him that Walter will voice his plan soon enough and it will all make sense. He breaks the thermometers, the mixture inside corrodes the aluminum and so he can open a way for them to go in. The patients enter and the old man calls John a spectre again. He asks the doctor why he’s behaving like this, and Walter thinks that engaging him is just a waste of time, but John won’t walk away.
It turns out, he says he saw him decades ago, and Paige theorizes that he actually means he saw Pandova’s father. He shows the man the picture with his father’s team and the man says that his father was brave, that he never forgot him. But John claims that soldiers don’t forget the faces of those they kill. The man doesn’t confirm it, but he says that his father died in battle in a nearby valley, which is confirmation of John’s suspicions. But he’s sorry, he was just a boy back then. Pandova takes a moment and tells the doctor to translate to the man there’s nothing to apologize for, they were both young ones drafted to fight in a war. The moment is so touching, but Walter urges them to rush because they need to get to the construction site before the storm.
Back at the site, the power is up. Walter arrives with the chip just in time and they start scanning. They’re reaching the end of the 3rd grid as Toby and Happy handle the machine; the whole team waits inside the tents. Paige and Tim are impressed with how much John has kept it together despite having just met his father’s assassin. Tim points out that the military teaches you to keep your feelings in check but still, you have to let go before it becomes unhealthy, and this is exactly what Paige has been trying to teach the team. Walter rolls his eyes at this, just in time for John to come over and recommend they move to the area that the old man claimed he last saw his father.
Walter is annoyed by his interruption, and Cabe warns them that the storm is getting really close. But John won’t budge, he will stay even if they have to go. Tim is worried that he would die in the same valley his father was killed in. They continue scanning and Happy hits a signal. Sure enough, bullet casings and a rifle. And then dogtags. When Walter sharpens the image, they recognize the letters in them: they’re John’s father’s dogtags. They have their proof and the construction company won’t be able to continue, but now they have serious problems.
The storm has gotten bigger; it’s a supercell and has brought with it an active F4 tornado going straight at them. It’s just three miles away and it’s a mile wide. Ralph urges Paige to get out of there, and Walter and the team rushes to pack up. The problem is that John is worried that the size of the tornado will dig on the terrain and scatter the remains. They won’t get closure anyways… and now they can’t get out of the area because the speed has increased. The warm temperature in the valley aids in the twister becoming faster.
That’s when Walter comes up with a solution, they need to cool the air to dissipate the funnel and control the threat. Thanks to the CO2 lines that had been built for the factory and the fire extinguishers in the hospital they can create dry ice that would help to diminish the temperatures enough. They need to take the dump trucks, cover them with seal tarps and create the ice. Then they have to move each to a strategic location where the ice would get sucked in by the tornado and gradually poison itself.
They set off to gather the supplies and prepare for the operation. They hack a government satellite and transmit the accurate information in real time thanks to Ralph’s code… even when he thought it didn’t work because his teacher flunked him. He’s a genius not a human… - don’t get me started - and if he’s not going to try then what’s the point of having such abilities? This gives the kid the confidence and he gets to it. Paige is happy and Walter is proud and I’m uneasy but I’ll get to it later.
Toby and Happy rush out to stop the crews from leaving with the trucks. They’d never make it out. The foreman comes to them; a member of his family was saved from the nearby hospital by Americans and he assumes they’re talking about Scorpion so he’s going to be extra cooperative now that he’s thankful. Happy gives him a list of things they can do.
Cut to all of them in the trucks; they’re heading to the right spots thanks to the calculations based on the data that Ralph’s code helped transmit. They hook up to the CO2 line and create the dry ice in their trucks, but the twister is looking amazingly close and it’s huge. They really need to dissolve it.
Tim and Cabe make their drop. Happy and Toby finally get to theirs and do so as well. But after this there’s really no place safe to hide in. Their only hope is that this works. To top off their problems, Walter’s truck is too slow and will get to their drop site simultaneously. Walter urges Paige to jump off the truck to save herself, but she won’t - not even when Tim pleads as well. She’s staying with Walter. So, they devise a move with the truck that has them doing a sharp U-Turn that slides the load off the truck and allows them to turn around almost instantly.
The stunt is successful, but the old truck didn’t take the move well and is stalling. The twister approaches.
Walter and Paige make it to a clump of trees, where they exit the car and rush over. Walter grabs his belt and ties it around it to secure Paige to it. That’s when the tornado gets there and they have to hold on to each other to avoid getting sucked into the the funnel. Everyone freaks out, both Walter and Paige are literally held in the air with just his belt anchoring them to the ground. They hold on until Sly tells them it is safe to let go, but Paige is freaking out and losing her grip. Walter promises that he won’t let go. They share a moment, and that’s when the winds drop and so do they. To the ground, like a sack of potatoes. Poor potatoes. And… the tornado is dead.
Back on the plane and to the States, Tim and Happy dismantle the equipment while Toby, Cabe and Paige catch some rest. Walter sits with John giving him the account of their findings. His father is no longer MIA. Pandova is really thankful for their efforts, especially because they put themselves in danger for him. Paige wakes up to witness the exchange. Walter claims that he knows that it’s important for John and others to get the closure they feel they need. Paige listens to this… does she believe him?
At the garage, with the team already settled back in, Pandova announces that he has spoken to the final family. All of their loved ones are coming back and they’re thankful. Walter retreats to his desk and Paige tails him to ask if he really understands closure now or if he was pretending for the sake of appeasing John. To her disappointment, he understands the level of importance but doesn’t understand why it is important.
That’s when John’s mother arrives. The old lady will make you cry just looking at her. They embrace and Cabe greets the woman, honored to meet her. The team looks at them as John hands her his father’s bloody dog tags and she breaks down in sobs. He will be brought home. The woman has waited so long and she’s very grateful to the team. Cabe shows them to their car as the weepy woman walks, embraced by her son. This is the moment when Walter understands closure and finally Paige seems satisfied by his progress.
Happy and Toby retreat to the kitchen where he waxes poetic about Mrs. Pandova staying all those years, keeping hope alive, and never remarrying. He takes a hat out of the stove’s oven to replace the one he lost in Vietnam. He has hats stashed everywhere. Then he wonders, what would happen in the theoretical scenario where they would be married and he would be carried off by a tornado. Would she carry a torch or move on? She claims that she wouldn’t move on. Toby skips a beat, but then she explains… it would be too hard to find another guy that would annoy her just like he does. Awww, seriously guys… He’ll take that. And then he tells her to chew on the thought of getting married… oh, Toby… sloowwww down!
Ralph then discovers that his college professor has stolen his code and that’s the reason why he failed him. He wants to sue him, but Walter thinks it would be crazy expensive. That’s when Sly brings up that Haywood could have the right motivation and do it for free because he really wants to win a case. Ralph approves, because he fights for the little guy. Here we go, then.
Up in Walter’s loft, Tim comes to him later on to chat. He praises his bravery running towards the tornado, and there’s no equation that makes for that kind of bravery. He was blown away by it. Walter points out that all of them were, because of the storm… you know, cracking a joke that even Tim was totally WTF-ing about. But he sits down and tries to invite him to grab a bite, the thing is that Walter wants to regroup with Linda, he doesn’t to miss out on having dinner with a smart, beautiful, and kind woman… he’d be a fool to. Tim takes off, with Walter still begrudging the man. He picks up the phone and calls Linda but gets her voice mail, already cringing, he then leaves the world’s most awkward phone message.
He comes down to the garage and finds Tim again, as he’s about to leave. He’s going to go have a meal with Paige at the diner… because he also cannot pass on having dinner with a smart, beautiful and kind woman… Walter notes that he caught onto his concern when Paige wouldn’t jump off the truck back in Vietnam, so… does he care for her? Tim finds her intriguing. Walter wishes them a good time, and as Tim leaves, he’s left behind playing with the Super Fun Guy arcade… Walter O’Brien’s equivalent of punching something… because jealousy.
There are a few things about this episode that actually put me on the verge of punching a pillow and tearing up because it hit some personal history of mine.
But I’ll get to it. First, to the basics.
I was talking about this with a friend that I recently introduced to the show and we both agreed on how much sometimes it reminds us of a version of Scooby Doo- without the supernatural part, that is. They continue to keep the youthful appeal that they've made their signature and I love that. I don't know how good a reviewer I am since I care so much about it. But then, there was Walter O'Brien.
I really want to get you and be compassionate about your limitations, but this emotional handicap of yours is getting to be highly irritating. To the point where sometimes this character is almost becoming an anti-hero.
There are plenty of things that I admire about him, like his tenacity and unwillingness to give up. There’s some candor to the way that he relates to the simplest of things. Indeed, he has suffered the effects of a life filled with some bullying and a fair amount of trauma; he’s sometimes a child emotionally and that translates into so many aspects of his life. But, it’s one thing to elevate the attributes of geniuses because they deserve it… another is to put down the rest of the world because we can’t compare to Einstein. And this happened in this episode at a moment that I wasn’t quite alright with. It happened as a “positive” reinforcement to Ralph, who you’d hope is the one character some of the youngest audience of this show may relate to and who just got told that he could not, and should not, be like the very ones that admire him. I know one should have aspirational values, but there are some cases where… the wording has to be so.very.careful.
And this is an element throughout the show as of late that I wonder if the writers are going into intentionally, mostly coming from Walter’s character. In his haste to feel superior to the people he has the need to compete with, whether they’re a member of the team, or a person that comes in and out of his life, or a person that legitimately is a threat to him, he has the tendency of using this method as his defense mechanism and that is turning into a version of bullying. He’s in a position of power, where for the others to get their word across and force humanity onto him they have to resort to breaking rules, taking deep breaths and doing a whole lot of soul searching to not punch him where it counts. There’s just so much patience and empathy in this world. Even Cabe had to hold it in when he insinuated that it wasn’t valuable to retrieve the bodies of MIA soldiers.
There has to be a balance to these comparisons. To find the value in things that normal people do that may prove to be better in some sense than the highly skilled ones… because how do highly impressionable children get real role models closer to their own nature? I was an artsy kid, ten-year-old me wouldn’t have found myself completely in this show, and that's fine but it has nothing to do with me being a genius or not. Van Gogh and Da Vinci were geniuses, but we keep getting examples where only science and psychology (which use is based off biology) are showcases of outstanding intellect. We need more showcases for the arts. And we need more showcases as to why is it actually valuable to save the lives of these millions of normal people every single week. Why are we the “normals” needed, valuable, and even unique on our own, and not just a mass that is often times presented as crippled, helpless or illogical?
To extend on Walter’s inability to connect: with this emotional therapy of hers, Paige is failing to try and educate this emotionally crippled manchild. This is not a “genius” problem. It’s a Walter problem. Toby and Happy have found the way to let their emotions run, in a very clear and almost healthy way. He’s even talking marriage these days. Sylvester dated and married Megan. Hell, even Ralph went and held that girl’s hand last season!
But in Walter prohibiting any possibility of a relationship with Paige, not only did he start walking down a very confusing path of romantic development, one that he doesn’t even want to fully enforce outside of an experiment, but he is also setting himself up for failure and reinforcement of his emotional unavailability. Because he’s doing the wrong experiment. For a genius, seriously not the most effective one when it comes to this.
It will be an interesting plot moment if there comes a time where this realization hits, and I can see where it’s already moving closer to home, with Tim’s addition to the team. Paige is seeing that there’s more than trying to thread on water. Walter already almost lost her last year to Ralph’s father… so what’s going to give? What’s it going to take for Walter to really understand, short from seeing another woman on the brink of death? Seems to be a theme with him.
Talking about Tim, I really enjoyed that the man doesn’t get intimidated by the geniuses. He knows he has skills and knows when to use them. He has his own low points but he recognizes them, and so far he’s the picture of maturity… not even letting himself bite onto Walter’s snide comments here and there. I like that this is a competition that is not being painted as a surreal baddie but an actual healthy human being. It makes Paige’s potential tendency to choose to give him a chance a totally plausible reality. Scott Porter is great as this character because I really believe the candor that escapes his otherwise “slightly rough around the edges” Military self.
Now onto the noteworthy plot of this episode.
I have to say that I was surprised just how much this one hit home. I’ve seen other shows and movies about recovering MIA soldiers and so on, and they’d never hit like this one. Maybe it was just the perfect storm this time around, pun intended.
To explain, and this is a bit of personal history here that may or not have value to my readers, but I have members of my family that are or were MIA for decades. Some of them I never knew, but I got to experience the tremendous amount of pain and suffering that my elderly relatives had and still have to sustain wondering if we’d ever get the opportunity to say goodbye at a grave. Wondering if we’d ever get to know what had really happened to them, even if the truth was horrific. The problem is that our imaginations sometimes can be even crueler than reality. Closure is important because it may bring clues to that story; there’s no more what if’s and no more waiting for that call that may never come.
Pandova’s struggle and even Cabe’s solemn support was so important to me in this episode. This is the part that I felt I so identified with and it hurt to watch over and over again as I had to write my recap. I believed the man’s pain, and even his forgiveness to the man that killed his father because there are more than just a couple of layers to this situation.
When I saw Mrs. Pandova get her husband’s dog tags, I saw my Aunt when we finally got that call. My family probably will never have all the details, but what we know has helped us close doors that allow us to move on, to hope for forgiveness in our country at some point. It especially gives my Aunt the opportunity to spend her last years on this planet with a purpose other than finding where my uncle Noel was, regretting that she had not ensured that his soul was at peace because his remains were never laid to rest. Religious implications aside it was a moment of reflection for me that I appreciated a lot.
I hope that Walter O’Brien gets to the point where emotional connection like this comes easier because he’s missing out on a rich human connection that he has no clue about because of his efforts to streamline his life. Sometimes human thinking is needed. Just like he thought it was valuable to not pass on the chance of a date with a beautiful woman I feel like the final peg hasn’t clicked in yet as to why he needs or should want to reach this connection with someone.
Interesting scenario to be in when we’re nearing the end of the season and with a third already secured for Team Scorpion.
As always the invitation is to follow the shenanigans every Monday on CBS. Check local listings for times. If you have a comment please leave them below or hit me up at @AviQuijada or @XFilesNews on Twitter.