Scorpion Review: “Talisman” (Season 1, Episode 10)


After a couple of weak entries, Scorpion seemed to get its groove back for an adventure that capitalized on the best of what happens the nerd herd are fish out of water, sending them on a perilous mission to Bosnia complete with rebels, gunfire, landmines, and 24-esque torture sequences. It’s pretty far from the literal and figurative sunny California adventures, and although I wouldn’t want to see Walter and the gang in fatigues and flying into war zones every week, it was nice to finally get the “worldwide” in the worldwide threats that Walter talks about in the opening voiceover. Along the way, we also get some behind the scenes insight into the characters, or at least as much insight as a weekly procedural allows.

The case of the week involves a plane shot down in the skies over Bosnia. Much to Toby’s chagrin, Bosnia is still a thing, and a group of rebels shot down the plane while it was flying over the southern area of the Balkan country. Scorpion is being sent in with a group of Navy SEALS to recover the remains of the plane’s pilot, but more importantly, to secure the propitiatory stealth technology used in the aircraft. And before you can say “culture clash,” you better believe that the logical and empirical Walter rubs the unit leader, dubbed G.I. Jim, the wrong way. It’s brains versus brawn, and when the mission goes wrong they have to find a way to work together. Yawn.

So there’s a lot of talk about “manning up” throughout the episode, and I don’t just mean that Paige is the only woman on the mission. Even Gallo gets in on the act, clearly forgetting that the only military service his beloved group of nerd advisers have ever had can be summed up in three words: “Call of Duty.” Over the course of the episode though, Jim comes to respect Walter for his cool calm in the face of solving a problem, and Walter respects Jim for being the tough guy he can never be. I guess. All rather predictable really, but this week’s story unfolded with a lot of energy and is elevated by the fine work of the cast, so I didn’t really care.

Aside from the typical bro-bonding and the chocolate and peanut butter humor between the navy and the nerds, we also get some interesting insights into the team. Despite all his talk about the superstitious nonsense of talismans, Walter seems all too superstitious with his collection of mementos. His sister Megan, sprung from the hospital and her MS treatment for some R & R, finds her big brother’s stash including a chip from the casino where he saved Toby from some card sharks, and the hotel room key that belonged to Sylvester when he rented a room with hacked funds as a teenage runaway. Walter’s sentimentality shouldn’t come as a surprise, as those who protest the loudest usually do so because they see something in others they don’t like in themselves. It may be illogical, but Walter loves his teammates, and since he values them, he values these small talismans representing how they came into his life.