A television series review
BY KIMBERLY BENNETT
In the past, CBS Broadcasting Inc. has brought various procedural television shows to its network that have aired for several seasons such as NCIS and Person of Interest. Alongside the TV shows with the procedural element, CBS has produced several comedies, including an award-winning series known as The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. From the director of Fast and Furious, CBS brings a new and exhilarating television show to the network that expresses the same level of intensity as Person of Interest and portrays a stronger level of intellect than The Big Bang Theory.
“And [it is] </SCORPION>.”
Because the new-hit freshman series has a strong mixture of action, suspense, humor, romance, and intellect, </SCORPION> can satisfy more than one target audience. Loosely based on the life of Walter O’Brien – the fourth smartest man ever recorded, </SCORPION> is about a man with an Intellectual Quotient (IQ) of 197 (much higher than Einstein’s 165).
Walter (Elyes Gabel) manages a team of geniuses that takes on difficult (as well as bizarre) federal cases “normals” (a term used to describe people with average intelligence) cannot solve. As a young boy, Walter O’Brien lived in Callan, Ireland, and when he was a preteen, he was caught hacking into NASA, simply because he wanted to download a blueprint of his favorite rocket ship. Federal agents of the Department of Homeland Security escorted him to one of their local facilities and discovered the boy’s genius. On and off, the Walter and Homeland Security have worked cases together while he was an adolescent, but due to a major incident that happened overseas during the War on Terror, Walter ceased all contact with his handler, Agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick) for more than 10 years.
Fifteen years later, Walter currently fixes internet connections for a living and is seen rewiring a diner’s Wi-Fi connection. He has his eyes on a young boy who is playing with the diner’s salt and pepper shakers, sugar packets and various objects as he waits for his mother, Paige Dineen (Katharine McPhee) to finish her shift. Walter takes a special interest in Paige’s nine-year-old son, Ralph (Riley B. Smith) and tells Paige to help her son before he leaves the diner after finishing his job.
Walter makes his way home to a large garage-like warehouse in Los Angeles and finds his team of intellectual misfits working on their individual projects:
Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong), the mechanical prodigy, is connecting wires, telling the team that they will be temporarily stealing electricity from their neighbors until the bills are paid. Happy, for the most part, is the exact opposite of her name. Most of the time, she wears a scowl on her face and confides in machines to manage her constant anger. With each episode, however, she slowly opens up and reveals a softer side to her hardened exterior.
Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham), the Human Calculator, is found working on his latest algorithm on the chalkboard. Sylvester, unfortunately, grew up afraid of his own shadow. When he isn’t at the chalkboard, he is busy disinfecting every surface of the Cyclone (Scorpion’s HQ). Unlike the rest of his genius friends, Sylvester has an overabundant amount of Emotional Quotient (EQ) and expresses himself a lot more than the others in his team. If it wasn’t for Walter, Sylvester admits in a later episode that he wouldn’t be able to keep his composure. Walter keeps Sylvester balanced and sees everyone in Team Scorpion as good friends.
And then there’s Toby Curtis (Eddie Kay Thomas) – the strangest genius of them all. Toby is Team Scorpion’s behaviorist and has a reputation of being a condescending jerk. Despite his cynical attitude, Walter considers him an asset to the team. Toby is the hub of humor for each episode; his one-liners keep the show’s intensity balanced, temporarily relieving viewers from the hardcore physical and mental action </SCORPION> provides.
The Cyclone is a home – a refuge – for these geniuses because all four of them have hard times interacting with “normals.”
Due to a national emergency, Agent Cabe Gallo re-contacts Walter and informs Team Scorpion that LAX software had been encrypted with a virus, shutting down all communications between airline pilots and the LAX control tower. Knowing that Walter is the only person who has the intellectual potential in saving hundreds of lives, Cabe is willing to pay every Scorpion team member $50,000 to compensate them for their work. Needing a strong Wi-Fi access point, Walter and his team commandeer the diner and use its Wi-Fi connection to contact the LAX control tower. While Team Scorpion seeks to save the lives of hundreds by fixing the software, they run into a few hiccups. As they attempt to find alternative ways to reboot the old system software before it erases altogether, Walter notices Ralph Dineen still interacting with the diner’s condiments. Sylvester starts to move around the condiments with Ralph reciprocating each move. Sylvester is radiant when the boy beats him – a grandmaster – at chess in eight moves. Walter then informs Paige that her son is a genius, wanting her to know that she needs to continue trying to connect with Ralph if she ever wants to have a relationship with her son in the future.
By allowing Paige to help in the case, Walter secures her a job in Scorpion, asking her to help bridge the divide between “normals” and the dysfunctional band of genius misfits. In return, Walter promises Paige he will help her connect with her son. Will Walter O’Brien and the rest of Team Scorpion be able to save everyone in the air in time before the Department of Defense shoots down a number of airplanes in order to save the lives of the many? Watch </SCORPION> from the beginning and find out.
All previously aired episodes are available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon for $34.99 for the entire season.
Each week, Scorpion faces a new threat and has to intellectually as well as creatively figure ways to solve them before lives are lost. With an average of 2 million viewers per episode, there is no doubt in my mind that CBS’s </SCORPION> will go far.
</SCORPION> airs on Monday nights on CBS at 8 PM.
Are you ready to join Team Scorpion?