Scorpion “Sun of a Gun” Review (Season 2 Episode 14)

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On the latest episode of “Scorpion,” Sly had a close encounter of the dad kind, while Walter and Cabe struggled to make a connection, period, in the wryly-titled “Sun of a Gun.” In an interesting bit of casting, Sly’s father, Ken, was played by noted character actor Jeff Fahey, probably best-known to modern audiences for his turns in “Lost” and various Robert Rodriguez projects, like “Machete” and “Planet Terror.”

However, what makes him a cool choice here was the lesser-known but well-worth seeking out 80’s cheese-fest “The Lawnmower Man,” in which he played a simpleton who was turned into a genius overnight via computers. Though the computer FX is decidedly outdated and laughable by today’s standards, the film itself is a solid watch that I highly recommend to those unfamiliar, who don’t mind a little sci-fi in their horror.

Here, he played a staunch military type, in the Cabe mold, who was highly dubious of his son’s capabilities, while Sly himself was justifiably dubious of Ken’s parenting skills, having not seen or talked to him in well over nine years. As such, Sly wasn’t too keen on teaming up with not-so-dear old dad, but circumstances were what they were, so he didn’t have much of a choice.

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The case itself revolved around Ken’s suspicion that a so-called “sun gun” had been constructed and tested by a South African dictator in Bahari by the name of Rahal (Hakeem Kae-Kazim, “Black Sails”). The goal was to investigate under the auspices of searching for nuclear weapons and the like, without letting the President get wind of the fact that the team was actually looking for weapons of the solar kind, which were much more tricky to detect- least of all given the fact that Sly was dubious such a thing even existed.

Making matters that much trickier was the fact that their most valuable asset, Walter, was basically tied up in company of Rahal, who actually wanted him there specifically, as he was looking to woo Walter into joining up with him as the head of his planned space program, wanting him to help construct a rocket much like the one he’d just built and shot off into the sky a few episodes back.

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Needless to say, Walter had no intention of doing any such thing, but he also knew he had to stall Rahal as much as possible, in order to allow his team to move as freely as they could, to better explore the area for said potential weapons. Remarkably enough, they found them, hidden basically in plain sight, underneath a host of solar panels in a huge hangar on site. But how to get them off the property without attracting attention, not to mention get them to the right people and not into the hands of other potential enemies?

The team came up with an idea to attach them to a blimp on site which they’d realized had been used to test out the weapon, which had somewhat backfired, demolishing a building in the area by mistake, as they hadn’t quite figured how to control it yet, or rather, how to properly aim it. Speaking of which, Sly also ran into some aiming problems of his own, when it turned out his calculations to get the solar panels to the right location were off because he’d calculated using the American measuring system and not the international metric one.

Recalculating on the fly, the team managed to get the blimp off just in the nick of time to avoid the guards sent to investigate what was going on in that area, after Rahal got wind of someone being in the general vicinity of the blimp via the cameras he had all over the area. As tends to be the case on this show, just as they thought the mission was complete, another wrinkle presented itself, as Walter figured out that Rahal had even more solar panels stashed elsewhere, and they needed to address those as well.

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Figuring out that they must be in a room that housed the water pumps that were used for the pool and aquarium, Walter pointed them in the direction of a likely location and off they went yet again, with only a brief amount of time to spare before they were expected to meet up back at the President’s mansion for a lavish dinner party. Sly, his father and Cabe head to the pump room, where Sly does indeed find the solar panels, along with other potentially dangerous German-era equipment that needed to be destroyed as well.

The plan was to flood the room with water, then add lime to make it into concrete, thus walling up the floor of the area (or something like that). Unfortunately, Sly realizes that Ken never sent the original panels along with the blimp, not trusting his own son to calculate things effectively enough to avoid them getting into the wrong hands. In struggling with them, it sends up a solar beam of light that accidentally seals them inside the pump room and nearly takes out Sly in the process, to boot.

To make matters worse, as they fight about it, the concrete hardens, trapping Sly and Ken inside, so they can’t move from their place to potentially remedy the situation. Meanwhile, Cabe, who left the pump room after flooding it with water and leaving Sly and Ken to finish things off, is looking for a car to hotwire so that they can all escape when the time is right.

In the meantime, Happy, Walter and Paige go to the party to stall the President, as well as to get a hold of his watch, which they need to get the code that opens the gates on the exit from the area, otherwise they’ll be trapped inside. Amusingly, this leads to two things I think it’s safe to say we never thought we’d see on the show: Happy dancing, and Walter and Paige doing a duet of Elton John’s “Don’t Go Breaking my Heart”!

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It works and Happy nabs the watch while Rahal is distracted by the one-two combo of Walter and Paige’s performance and Happy’s dubious dance skills. Not for long, though, as he realizes the watch is gone almost immediately and the three along with it and sends the guards off after them.

Meanwhile, Sly figures out how to get him and his father free by using the panels as a gun himself and breaking the seal of the hatch trapping them inside, then shattering the concrete they’re trapped in with the hatch itself, when it crashes down. Free at last, the two rush to the surface and into Cabe’s waiting car, where everyone concerned gets the hell out of dodge while the getting’s good, as bullets from Rahal’s guards rain down upon them. Using the watch, the gate is decoded just in time and off the team goes, just in the nick of time to make it out of there in one piece.

This was another solid episode, which managed to be tense and thrilling and amusingly funny at various spots along the way, notably the speed dating opening sequence, in which both Walter and Cabe- who hilariously ended up in the so-called “Sunset Circle” for older daters- fared miserably at the task at hand by being a little too honest with their would-be objects of affection.

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Also funny was the aforementioned duet, which proves once again that former “American Idol” star Katharine McPhee has one impressive set of pipes on her, while at the same time showing that Elyes Gabel most certainly does not. Another consistent source of comic relief was poor Toby, who was sidelined with the flu forcing him to stay behind to be the command center for the task at hand back at team HQ.

On the other hand, providing a surprising amount of pathos and emotional release was the ever-changing relationship with Sly and his father, Ken, which started rough, got even worse, but eventually gave way to apologies and confessions that only served to bring the two closer together in spite of their initial reservations about one another.

It must be said that actor Ari Stidham might well be the best at communicating the ups-and-downs that life is constantly throwing at this rag-tag group of geniuses and their team. He certainly knocked it out of the park here, as he did in the episodes leading up to and after his wife Megan died. Lord knows he might well have been through the most, all things considered, with due respect to Walter, for the weathering the loss of his sister as well.

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I thought this was a highly enjoyable episode, that hit all the right beats and did what the show does best in a highly efficient and stealthy manner that recalled the similarly-structured past episode “Once Bitten, Twice Die” from Season One, one of my favorites from that season as well. I think the show fares best when it balances the humor and thrills in equal measure and that’s what we got here. Yes, as per usual, the science was a bit dubious at times, but at this point, I think I’ve just learned to go with it and leave that to dissect for those who actually know what the hell they’re talking about, which I most decidedly do not.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Scorpion”? Did you also like the way the show divvied up the laughs and action? Are you also a fan of Stidham’s work here? How about Fahey? (Any other fellow closet “Lawnmower Man” fans out there?) Was any of the stuff here plausible at all, for those who are in the know? What did you make of Paige and Walter’s duet? Did the show actually expect us to believe Walter really had no idea who Elton John was? (You’d think he’d at least know “Rocket Man,” lol.) Sound off on this and more down below and I’ll see you next episode!