With a provocative title like “Revenge,” you better believe that this week’s Scorpion was going to get real, but do we watch Scorpion because it’s real? That’s the question. Although the titular nerd herd cashes cheques from Homeland Security, there’s very rarely an ominous cloud of death coming any minute for the main characters. But on the occasion that the danger gets very real, it feels like a spasm in the show, as if the writers were asking their program to accept something it didn’t want to. “Revenge” was an exception though, as the emotional ringer that the episode puts Walter and the crew through felt like an adequate escalation in the stakes as a group of murderous thieves put a key team member in the hospital.
Initially, I feared that Scorpion was pushing us to accept danger for danger’s sake. In the opening scene, we meet the “Ghosts,” and even though they wear animal masks, their super-villain nickname is tied to the fact that they never leave a trace. They arrive at a safe manufacturer, break into the biggest, most unbreakable safe and then shoot everyone there before detonating a bunch of little acid bombs that cover up their DNA. These guys are pros, and even Walter is impressed by the apparent scientific method of their madness.
Interesting then that Interpol Agent Simone Taylor (guest star Karolina Wydra) would have an 8×10 glossy of the gang’s ringleader, Javier Acosta. That inconsistency is never explained, but evil must have a human face, I suppose, especially when it puts Sylvester in the hospital with an unexploded bomb. The human calculator tells Walter that he’s having some trouble with these ultra dangerous assignments, and that it doesn’t feel like what he’s at Scorpion to do.
Cynically, I would say that the writers are trying to create some false internal drama in the team – again, they work for Homeland Security – but I remember that Sylvester wasn’t part of last week’s excursion to Bosnia. It’s been made pretty clear that Sly doesn’t like this kind of field work, and still, his objections were phrased as sudden, and the rather surprisingly violent opening scene put me on a back footing. Was I watching Scorpion, or something from the CSI oeuvre?
There were a couple of other developments, though. The first was Agent Taylor’s acknowledgement that Team Scorpion was earning a reputation for getting results, which is hardly surprising since success breeds respect in law enforcement; look at NCIS, which was framed as the J.V. of law enforcement in its first season, but 10 years later it’s the point of the sword, even more dependable than the FBI and the CIA. By that measurement, Walter will be Secretary of Defense by the end of the decade, or perhaps he will be entitled to a crossover with the NCIS mothership as opposed to little brother NCIS: LA.