Scorpion Review: “Plutonium Is Forever” (Season 1, Episode 5)


Sometimes on super-teams, things just don’t work out. For instance, did you know that the Hulk was only on The Avengers for the first couple of issues of the comic. In this week’s Scorpion, we meet Mark Collins, who seems to have a lot in common with the Hulk: he’s mean, he’s angry, he’s kind of a jerk, and he made kind of a big mess that our heroes have to clean up. Collins is clearly unbalanced, and we know this because all the team members – save Walter – tell Paige that he’s pretty unbalanced. Worse still, his proximity to Walter makes Scorpion’s fearless leader unbalanced as well. So, we have all these inter-personal conflicts in team dynamics, and a nuclear core in meltdown. What can possibly go wrong?

Collins is played by Joshua Leonard, who will likely remain best known to audiences for the part he played in the film that, in essence, gave us viral marketing: The Blair Witch Project. Collins, from the look of him, might as well have spent the last 15 years lost in the woods someplace with his Grizzly Adams‘ beard and a camping weekend dress code. He’s an expert in communications, be they radio or computer, short wave or broadband, and if it floats through the air, he can catch it and record.

Collins is in trouble because he walked into the protective area around a nuclear power plant being guarded by the military. The plant is in the process of being decommissioned, but the ancient computer systems haven’t detected that the reactor is slowly building up to a meltdown. Collins noticed though, and he pushes for Walter’s help to resolve the situation. Walter brings in the team, who remember Collins with no kind of fondness for the destructive influence he had on Walter. In the end, it’s discovered that Collins played no small part in accelerating the meltdown so that he could create a situation where the team would take him back. Or embarrass Walter in his new trust position as a government adviser. Or something. Collin’s motivations are kind of unclear.

The other problem with Collins is that he seems right from the get-go to not be all there. True, he fits in with Scorpion’s somewhat limited definition of how a genius thinks and acts, but Leonard plays it all up with a performance I can only describe as Timothy Olymphant playing Hannibal Lector. To put it another way, there’s something not quite right about that boy, and it mostly seems to have to do with the fact that he’s watched Silence of the Lambs one too many times and extrapolated from it how a villain talks and acts. What happened to your lamb, Walter?