Scorpion “Fractured” Review (Season 2 Episode 16)

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On the latest episode of “Scorpion,” as Paige insisted that an ever-squabbling Walter and Toby take their woes to a therapist, an earthquake hits L.A. as a spread-thin team must pool their resources on every end to combat various obstacles and save themselves and others, in “Fractured.”

While the show splitting up the team and giving them each specific things that have to do in the service of a single task is nothing new, I do enjoy the occasional variation of the approach, such as we had here, in which there was no overriding case, per se, and each of the three separate and disparate groups had something to contend with that wasn’t necessarily all connected to the main issue at hand, save in the broadest sense.

For instance, the overarching issue was, obviously, the earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks, but the underlying issues were off-shoots of that earthquake, which, while still related, were completely divided ones that were contingent on the respective teams dealing with them. Yes, there was some back-and-forth, as per usual, but there were also a good bit of scenarios in which each team had to think for themselves and act accordingly, come what may.

What this did, of course, was to show both the overall team’s strength as one big coherent unit, but also make a case for each of them having their own unique strengths, even when split up into unlikely, unplanned combinations. Obviously, in a “normal” case, if the group split up, it would do so in a specific way, so that each subunit had a “star” player that was the expert in a chosen area that was necessary to that team’s particular task. But what happened when those teams were split into groups that weren’t the ideal combinations?

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That’s what we had here, and it made for some unique and interesting situations, in which each group had to rely on themselves and play to their own strengths, often without having anyone else to rely on, as the communication devices they had access to were oft-unreliable and could go away at any given moment. I liked that it forced each team member to think outside the box, as it were, and work together in cool ways to get the job done.

For instance, the argumentative Walter and Toby both injured themselves at one point and had to be at a certain place at a certain time and there was no time to waste quarreling. So, in order to better facilitate things, they tied their unhurt legs together and had to move as one to get there faster. Even better, because their timing was off due to their being at odds with one another, they even had to go so far as to get into sync by singing together in order to simulate a “beat” on which to walk simultaneously.

Similarly, when Sly accidentally stepped on his glasses, rendering himself half-blind, he had to rely on Ralph to help guide him, even though the boy ended up having to do things that were decidedly out of his wheelhouse, such as driving a car. Meanwhile, with Cabe, Paige and Happy stuck outside headquarters, dealing with a stranded group of people trapped between flooded waters, a broken transformer and an oil leak, they had to think fast on their feet, often with seconds to spare before some new disaster reared its ugly head.

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As such, given all that was going on, and the diverse nature of each groups’ tasks at hand, there was never a really dull moment. To me, the best episodes are the one in which that is the case, while still making time for the occasional character moment, and we certainly had some good ones here, from Walter and Toby’s a cappella rendition of Extreme’s “More than Words,” of all things- not to mention Paige’s bemused reaction to it (“I think the gas leak must have gotten to them.”)- to Paige’s own heroic last-ditch effort to save the lone man stuck in the isolated car when he froze up (“I never thought I’d miss being a waitress.”).

Factor in an amusing, if unlikely appearance by, of all people, magician Penn Jillette, as, of all things, a touchy-feely hippie-dippie couples’ therapist, in what may or may not be a recurring role (he was also the one that suggested the Extreme song as an exercise in bonding) and you had an episode that was as funny as it was action-packed.

Granted, one could grumble about the fact that Walter actually knew that song in the first place, when all along we’ve had it pointed out, time and again, that Walter is one of the most un-pop culture savvy people on the planet- just recently, he didn’t even know who Elton John was- but it made for a hilarious moment, so I’m willing to let it slide for that reason, and suspend my disbelief.

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Besides, as we’ve covered in this column in one review after another, if we all nitpicked every episode apart for inconsistencies and unlikelihoods, we’d be here all day and no one would be happy about it. Yes, they need to watch that sort of thing, but I also get why they did it- it was funny. Likewise, the scientific stuff, while typically over-my-head, anyway, doesn’t have to be letter-perfect, so long as it holds up in the moment. But if we all set about trying to poke holes in the logic on display here, my guess is we’d all find something iffy in the mix. It is what it is.

But there’s no denying the show is often a lot of fun, while also hitting the emotional beats squarely, time and again. So long as they do that, I’m more than willing to overlook the other stuff, even if they need to make sure it’s at least plausible. After all, it is a show about geniuses- you’d think the show-runners would at least want to get that stuff reasonably right.

So, yeah, another fun one overall. I thought the plot was interesting, and the situations that resulted from the initial earthquake were unique and diverse enough to keep things moving and exciting. I really enjoyed it on the whole, and especially appreciated the left-of-center pairings of the various characters and the way the offbeat teams were forced to play to their strengths, and in some cases, draw on ones they didn’t even realize they possessed until they were actually in the moment.

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What did you think of the latest episode of “Scorpion”? Did you like the whole earthquake conceit? How about the mini-disasters that emerged as a result of the earthquake? Did you enjoy the new configurations of the team, as unlikely as some of them were? Did you appreciate the way it exposed both their respective weaknesses and their strengths? Or that it brought out strengths they never realized they had, for that matter? Did you get a kick out of Penn Jillette’s turn? Would you like to see him return to the show? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next time!