But of course, Collins turns out be a threat, and we realize that well before Walter reveals that he had Collins put away in an asylum. He has a giant jury-rigged satellite dish in his back yard, and he lives in the basement surrounded by audiotapes of all the things he recorded, which he’s meticulously cataloged. I didn’t think you could even buy blank cassette tapes anymore, let alone collect enough of them to record hours of overheard communications. Leaving that aside, I get the impression that Collins was supposed to be a door to the dark side of genius, a giant flashing warning sign that says, “Wrong way!”
Yes, Walter can be dark, and Collins was Iago to his Othello, but the ones Collins was turning Walter against was the lack of genius in normal people, and the not-genius-enough other members of the Scorpion team. Happy chastises Walter for going back down “the rabbit hole,” and for taking Collins’ side over her’s; it was Happy that apparently helped Walter cope after he put Collins on the short bus to crazy town. Walter was also concerned though that he might become Collins. Like Superman being exposed to red kryptonite, he might find himself down a “rabbit hole” from which he can not escape. The only problem with that is that Walter’s shown no sign of being particularly susceptible to the Dark Side of Force. He’s not exactly Ferris Beuller, but there’s been nothing to suggest he’s Anakin Skywalker, either.
Naturally, Collins also tried to stick a wedge in the team by going for its newest, less-genius-y link: Paige. Paige chooses to believe in the team, but has the team leader shining her on, treating her and her son as a social experiment to see how they fit in the dynamics of the group only to cast them out if they don’t fit. “I’m still trying to piece out your roll here,” Collins tells Paige. Well, that makes two of us.
In the end, Collins didn’t turn out to be the long, lost, misunderstood team member that was welcomed back to the fold. No, Scorpion has now set up its first arch-nemesis. Mark is to Walter what Murdock was to MacGyver, or what the Evil Leaper was to Sam Beckett, or what Frank Burns was to Hawkeye Pierce. It’s only a matter of time till Mark Collins comes back to make the Scorpion gang pay for thwarting his perfectly reasonable attempt to get back into their good books by turning SoCal into a nuclear wasteland a la the Old Earth from Judge Dredd, but for now, there’s Chicken Piccata.