Scorpion Season 1 Review “Charades”

Charades 5

On a special Sunday edition of “Scorpion,” we got the first of two episodes this week- the next will air on the show’s usual day and time, on Monday night. On this episode, entitled “Charades,” we got the show doing what it does best, hopefully to a wider audience, thanks to that football playoff lead-in, though it does seem like a bit of an oddball fit, given the subject matter of the show.

That’s what made it the perfect episode of the show to air in this particular time-slot, however, as it not only played to the show’s strengths, it was also all about dorky people trying their best to be cool and fit in. Seeing as the show itself was a weird fit to air after a football game, that makes perfect sense that they’d air such an episode in light of that fact. Rather than try to be something it’s not, the show found its inner coolness by being itself. That’s pretty cool, right?

The episode revolved around a CIA leak that had gotten potentially dangerous chemical materials into the wrong hands, but why, and to what end? That was, of course, up to Team Scorpion to discover, and as usual, everyone had something to contribute to the case at hand. First, the team decrypted the message at hand, which revealed a seemingly loving exchange between a CIA worker and an unidentified woman, but was it for real or a coded message? Paige, the hopeless romantic of the group, thought it was sincere, but the others had their doubts.

However, Paige was proved right, and in more ways than one by the end of the episode. But first and foremost, she was proved right when, after taking a look at the CIA’s equivalent of themselves-aka the tech geeks of the building- they narrowed it down to one man: Leonard, who, it turned out, was indeed crushing on a mystery woman named Sima.

It seems Sima had been scamming Leonard to deliver certain chemicals to her in order to put together a pesticide that would save untold amounts of people suffering in Yemen. Leonard had already delivered two out of three of her asked-for ingredients, but the team quickly discerned that these chemicals could also be combined with the third requested chemical to put together a deadly nerve gas. Whoops!

Refusing to believe it, Leonard won’t cooperate, so the team has him read aloud a specially-assembled statement that they record in order to simulate his voice so that they can call and dupe Sima into meeting with them by posing as an associate of Leonard’s. However, it comes down to Walter to go to the meet, and he needs to behave a certain way or his cover will be blown. This means he needs to be charming and flirty, which are not things that come easy to a guy like him, to say the least.

So, faster than you can say “Cyrano,” the team fits him with an earpiece so that Paige can help guide him through the flirting process after an initial teaching session proves Walter’s game to be a bit dubious. This whole sequence, from Paige showing Walter how to flirt with a girl while herself essentially flirting with him and Walter cluelessly doing as he was told without realizing what it was he was really doing or the adverse effect it might have on Paige was really smart, funny, charming and really went a long way towards humanizing Walter, who’s not always the most likable guy on the planet. That’s an important thing to do when you’ve got a show full of mostly socially awkward geniuses that not everyone can relate to- it’s kind of like the dramatic equivalent of what “The Big Bang Theory” does in sitcom form, and it worked like a charm here, and not just with Walter, but the others as well.

For instance, you got some great moments with Happy and Toby’s burgeoning relationship, as Toby got his flirt on with a sexy CIA tech and Happy realized that maybe she was taking him for granted a bit, but then you also got to see that manifest itself in amusing fashion when tech girl’s tech proved not-as-impressive as it seemed and nearly caused Happy’s literal downfall, via the “gecko” gloves. That whole scene was both funny and tense, even if deep down you knew they weren’t going to kill off one of the main characters that way, at least not this early on in the show’s run. (Down the road, you never know these days, what with TV’s kill-happy rate as of late.)

It also revealed a lot about the characters, as did the stuff with Paige and Walter. I like it when shows allow the viewer to read between the lines without spelling everything out for you, and “Scorpion” is just smart enough to do that via actions and solid acting performances instead of obvious monologues that say exactly what they’re up to. You don’t need a scene where Toby tells Happy or Paige tells Walter how worried they were about them and how they don’t know what they’d do if anything bad happened to them- you can just tell from their reactions and what they don’t say as much as you would if they actually said it. That’s pretty cool.

Of course, the show also delivered in other ways as well. There was no shortage of tense moments, between that aforementioned moment with Happy scaling the building to the scene where Walter’s cover was blown to the fantastic ending set-piece on the airplane, as Walter worked overtime to MacGyver himself out of a terrible situation and save the day under seemingly impossible circumstances. The scenes with Walter and Sima were also sexy, even as the real flirting that was going on was via Walter and Paige, not Walter and Sima- though I’m not entirely sure that Walter himself realized that, having a lot to learn about the opposite sex, to say the least.

All in all, a great episode to potentially introduce new viewers to a show that the rest of us regular watchers already know is a keeper. What more could you ask for, really? Kudos to CBS for doing it, and hopefully, everyone new to the show will continue to tune in on Mondays. I guess we’ll find out soon enough if the stunt paid off, right? If not, well, there’s always us loyal viewers to hang on to, and I will take a double dose of one of my favorite new shows where I can get it. Who’s with me?

What did you think of the latest episode of “Scorpion”? If you’re a new viewer, what was your initial impression of the show? If you’re a loyal viewer, how do you think this show stacked up to a “normal” episode of the show? Did it feel special, or not special enough, in other words? Where do you hope the show will go from here? Would you like to see Walter and Paige become an actual couple? How about Happy and Toby? Or, hell, who’d like to see Sylvester get some love? Why not? Sound off below, and see you tomorrow night!