Scorpion “The Old College Try” Review (Season 2 Episode 11)


On a much-needed palate-cleanser of an episode, “Scorpion” went back to school in a (mostly) light-hearted episode, “The Old College Try.” Of course, the team was all still fairly reeling from the untimely passing of Megan, with Walter in particular playing things close to the vest, though all were dealing with it in a variety of ways. Walter, bristling at Ralph’s time capsule project, decided to adopt the methodology of a shark, which have to keep swimming or they’ll die, and hence are “only looking forward.”

Be that as it might, it didn’t stop Walter from working on a project of his own, involving submerging a tank of liquid glycerin in a water tank, in order to help prove that his friend Ray’s partner’s death wasn’t his fault. Of course, this was also a thinly-veiled attempt to likely prove to himself that Megan’s death wasn’t his fault, either, even though there was nothing he could possibly do, and on a certain level, he probably knew that.

Though at first rattled by the experiment, as Walter had written his partner’s name on said tank, Ray was ultimately touched by the gesture on his part, even though it seemed that it only confirmed that he was responsible. However, as it turned out, he had jumped the gun, as Walter’s test proved that, in fact, Ray had not caused his partner’s death after all.

Given that Ray had brooded over it for some ten years or so, this was a massive weight lifted off his shoulders, which led to a surprising reaction from Ray- he promptly announced he was leaving, to finally “live his life” in earnest, after spending an unduly amount of time moping. This was not the reaction Walter was necessarily expecting, but it was clear it had a profound effect on him, as shortly thereafter, he put a photo of him and Megan inside the time capsule he had so casually dismissed earlier.

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As Paige pointed out earlier on in the episode, like it or not, Walter had come too far all around to deny his emotions anymore and it was clear that a return to the older, colder, more closed-off Walter was not in the cards. It was a really nice, quiet moment, and one that said all it needed to say without a preachy conversation, from the sometimes needling Paige.

Not that I don’t get that she means well, and as Walter himself mentioned, Paige is sort of his “Cliff Notes” for emotions, in that she often helps recapitulate what he’s gone through and put things into context- a really important contribution for someone who often can’t see the forest for the trees. Be that as it may, he sometimes needs a bit more time than others to work through his emotions, not in the least because he’s still coming to terms with having them in the first place.

The bulk of the episode, though, revolved around a case from Cooper, in which a blackmailer had installed some so-called “ransom-ware” into the system and was threatening to shut down the Federal Reserve if his monetary demands weren’t met in a specific amount of time. The only real lead they had was that it was somehow connected to a Professor Cooley at a local college- only Cooley had been found dead recently.

A closer look showed that his account had been accessed at a specific time, in which a variety of people from different groups could have accessed it, including a wrestling team, a drama club, and a sorority. So, the gang had to don various disguises to try and infiltrate said groups, in order to use a DHS device to identify who the culprit or culprits were. There was also an old acquaintance of Toby’s that was a possibility as well, but with a catch- he had nabbed Toby’s former fiancée from him back in the day. So, Toby had to swallow his pride and apply for a job with him, in order to get close enough to use the device.

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One of the great hooks of the episode was the way it forced a lot of the team to have to face their insecurities- Sly’s feelings of being bullied, Happy’s feelings of not being able to fit in, Toby’s resentment over someone stealing his girl- and his worry that he might be the real one to blame, which indeed proved to be the case. I especially liked the scene where Happy, after begrudgingly attending a sorority mixer, realized that, contrary to her feeling that they were the “bad guys,” it was actually Happy herself that was the “mean girl” on campus who needed to lighten up.

Also amusing was Walter’s brief-but-hilarious stint as a drama teacher, in which he ran afoul of the current trend of everyone being overly sensitive about things like word choice, “trigger words” and “micro-aggressions.” Having just graduated myself about a year ago this month, I can tell you this sort of thing is all too real, even if it was heightened a good bit here for comedic purposes. I’m not sure when colleges stopped being fun and started getting a little too real, but it’s certainly happening more and more as we speak.

Be that as it may, I did like that they didn’t go the usual route and make both the fraternity and the sororities the typical haze-crazy party animals that we’re accustomed to seeing on TV and in the movies. Yes, Sly did run afoul of some jock types in his experience, but that was a nice role reversal in the scenes with Happy.

I actually had a somewhat similar experience with a frat at my college, when I moved next door to them at one point when I moved off-campus during Grad School. Contrary to the clichés, they were actually really nice guys that not only invited me to every party they threw, but also told me if they ever got too rowdy to let them know and they’d keep it down.

It never came to that- and I’ll grant you, the point might have been to avoid any potential trouble, proactively, but still- they were always really civil to me and friendly, which is not always the case with many frats and sororities, so it was much appreciated. It just goes to show you- you can’t always judge a book by their cover, which is exactly the lesson Happy learned.

This experience also led to another step in the right direction, however inadvertently, for Happy’s relationship with Toby. After being dressed down by his “nemesis” Quincy (Jeff Galfer, “Love & Mercy”), who told Toby that he didn’t steal his fiancée, but rather, she left Toby because he’d gotten deep into gambling and had virtually been ignoring her; Toby was a bit down that his college experience had been such a bummer.

Enter Happy as his unlikely savior, who helped Toby capture some of that college experience he’d missed out on by slow dancing with him in front of a truck as a romantic music played in the night. Maybe there’s hope for these two after all. With Sly and Megan’s relationship sadly a thing of the past, I wouldn’t mind it so much if they took another stab at things with Happy and Toby, now that the dust has settled somewhat. (As for Walter and Paige, I think they should continue to take things slow, as too much too soon could be a little too overwhelming to Walter, given his general reaction to overt displays of emotion.)

The case itself was relatively interesting, and, as ever, made the time for some wacky on-the-fly inventions and scenarios, including Happy modifying a chainsaw to shoot metal nuts at a bad guy and Walter, Happy and Sly donning vintage spacesuits to thwart a laser-protected “quantum” computer under dire circumstances.

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Naturally, it all worked out in the end, and I liked that Cabe allowed the security guy that lamented never making it as a “real” cop getting to contribute an assist to the team when Paige ended up getting held at gunpoint by the mastermind in charge of all of this. In the end, the day was indeed saved, as per usual, and another win for Team Scorpion was officially in the books, as ever.

Next week brings the winter finale, and one assumes, a Christmas-themed episode, which, from the looks of it involves a dam about to burst, leaving the team to stop it, and one assumes, save Christmas for whoever is in its path. We shall see in a week’s time. Until then, this was a solid enough episode, with some good character moments, and just what the doctor ordered after the emotional highs and lows of last week’s disheartening episode and the sad loss of Megan.

What did you think about the latest episode of “Scorpion”? Did you have a favorite moment? (I personally loved Walter schooling the drama club near the end.) How about a favorite development? (Mine was definitely Happy and Toby getting closer.) Are you sad to see Ray go, or are you glad they finally got rid of him? (I was in the camp that found him annoying, but ironically, he was never more likable than he was in this episode. Go figure.) Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week for the big finale!