Scorpion Season 1 Review “Plutonium is Forever”

On the latest episode of “Scorpion,” the team had a run-in with an old member of the team, in “Plutonium is Forever,” which sounds like a bad Bond movie rip-off. In this case, it was more like a combination of something like “The China Syndrome” and, as Toby pointed out, “WarGames.” We started out with a man intentionally walking onto private property- in this case, on the outskirts of an old decommissioned nuclear facility- and surrendering himself to the authorities.

The man in question was Mark Collins (Joshua Leonard, “The Blair Witch Project”), a radio signal savant that can absorb pretty much everything he hears over the radio via scanners, cell phones, et al. In this case, he overheard a man frantically calling his wife and telling her that there was going to be trouble at the nuclear power plant he worked at. Shortly thereafter, the man left his job without explanation and moved to Pennsylvania.

The problem was that the software at the plant was hopelessly outdated and the gauges listing the cooling temperatures were radically off, and what should have been registering as near in the red was being seen as just hunky dory. Collins said he could fix it, but would only talk to Walter. So, Walter was brought in, and eventually the team, and they all set about avoiding a complete nuclear meltdown. Good times!

Aside from the obvious, the problem was that Collins was kicked off the team for a reason; namely, the fact that he and Walter tended to go off on tangents together, to the point that they would become uncommunicative for vast periods of time, barely speaking to anyone and not eating and so forth. Walter eventually recognized the problem with this, and with a valuable assist from Happy, was able to get himself out of that mind set and went on to have Collins committed, for his own well-being- and Walter’s. Would history repeat itself?

Fortunately, that was not the case, but this time around, Collins had other plans. While he hadn’t lied about the nuclear reaction software being updated and in dire need of repair sooner than later- they were some 18 hours away from a complete meltdown without rectifying the situation- Collins knew they couldn’t pull it off without his help, and he basically jury-rigged the situation so that they were doomed to fail.

Knowing that the meticulous Happy would want to run diagnostics before downloading updated software, and that it would overload the system and cause things to go haywire, he set up a Trojan Horse to cause the system to self-destruct when she inevitably did. Well, despite Walter’s warning that they had no time for such things, Happy did just that, and things went from bad to worse in no time flat. Walter realized that their only hope lied in an analogue antenna that Collins had on his property near the station, but there was one hitch: the area was on lockdown and only Collins had the code to unlock it, and he wasn’t exactly forthcoming.

Enter Paige, who, as various members of the team were shouting out potential codes, suggested they try the date that Walter had Collins committed, which did the trick. Collins tried to intervene and stop it, but Cabe shot him, and it was off to jail for Collins after receiving medical attention. Walter visited him one last time, and that was it for Collins working with the team again. He told Collins that the reason it didn’t work between them was that they were their own self-contained team and it only worked with everyone contributing. That was why Paige was so crucial, despite not being a genius like the rest of them- she humanized the group and served as the glue that kept them together.

That’s a pretty neat assessment, and makes perfect sense as to why the team didn’t really work effectively before- they needed a go-between to keep them focused. Now they have two: Paige, and Cabe, both of whom serve key positions on the team- keeping them focused and on point, and helping them navigate the “normals,” aka regular, non-genius people. It only works because of the sum of the parts, with no one person being more important than others. That wasn’t the case with Collins, and that’s why that iteration of the team was doomed to fail- and why it still didn’t work without Cabe and Paige.

This was an exciting episode, loaded with tension and dire scenarios. At various times, any number of things could go sideways, and often did, as with Cabe nearly being trapped inside the danger zone within the reactor, or what happened with Happy taking matters into her own hands, which nearly sank the whole operation.

I also got a kick out of the way some things were resolved, i.e. the scene where Cabe was flushed into the ocean via an effluent pipe and resurfaced onto a beach, much to the astonishment of two sunbathing hotties, who were decidedly taken aback to see a guy emerge from the ocean in a full suit. Another nice pay-off was Toby’s note to Happy, just in case she got too worked up, insisting that it would help calm her down. The note read: “Made you look.” LOL.

I’m really starting to enjoy the show for what it is: a passably entertaining variation of a time-worm crime procedural-type show. With all the shows of this sort cluttering the television landscape, it takes a unique hook to stand out, and “Scorpion” has one in its premise of a team of geniuses. Will it eventually run out of steam? Don’t all shows after a point? But this one has a likable enough cast and a premise just unique enough to stand out from the crowd, so the chances are it should make a go of things for a while, if it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of similar types of shows. Here’s hoping.

What did you think of “Scorpion” this week? Did you like the idea of a genius so eccentric he was too much even for the likes of this team? How about the idea that someone was smart enough to very nearly get the better of them all? Will Collins be back? What did you think of Walter’s take on why Paige mattered to the group? What sorts of cases would you like to see the team take on? Do you think Toby is sweet on Happy? How about Walter in regards to Paige? Let me know what you think down below and I’ll see you next week!