Scorpion “Chernobyl Intentions” Review (Season 2 Episode 23)

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On the latest episode of “Scorpion,” Toby dealt with former team member Mark Collins (Joshua Leonard, “Bates Motel”), as the rest of the team helped out with an issue involving the famed Chernobyl nuclear power plant and repairing a decaying reactor as a quick fix before a confinement apparatus can be brought in to cover the area and contain any potential issues, in “Chernobyl Intentions.”

We began with Toby testifying as to the state of mental health of Collins, which was not great, as we would see first-hand later on in the episode. Up for potential release, Toby let the board know, in no uncertain terms that, while Mark was brilliant, he was also out of his damn mind. “I’m sure it’s lovely in there with all the elf socials and unicorn parties,” he cracked, setting Collins off and causing him to have to be restrained. This would come back to haunt him later on, needless to say.

Back at Scorpion HQ, the gang was placing bets on what kinds of chocolates were in a sampler, sent as a gift to Paige from Tim, with Ralph serving as the taster to confirm or deny their predictions. Obviously, they were doing so without Toby present, so as to not set off his gambling tendencies, but Paige wasn’t thrilled about engorging Ralph with considerable doses of sugar, for obvious reasons.

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Walter was noticeably absent from the proceedings, off by himself as per usual, which has not gone unnoticed by Happy, who is also aware that Walter had made it a point to reclaim his lost position on the videogame at HQ after Tim earned a top spot on it previously- the first to do so since Walter’s previously unchallenged record-holding status.

Happy, in an unusual and rare example instance of Toby-style meddling (he must be rubbing off on her, finally), takes Walter aside to insist he take a swing at Paige before he loses her to Tim and regrets it for the rest of his life. Walter is, of course, still in denial about his feelings for Paige, but most everyone else is keenly aware of it, that’s for sure.

Walter is saved by a visit from Cabe with a new case, with the lovely Oksana Nastrova (Kathleen Monroe, “Resurrection”) serving as a go-between. The case involves the legendary Chernobyl, where, in hastily trying to contain a nuclear disaster, the powers that be covered the reactor in a concrete sarcophagus. This was done on the fly and is quickly decaying, bringing down the dome surrounding it, which could potentially leak into the soil and/or into the water supply, leaving them with yet another disaster on their hands.

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So, plans to install a new sarcophagus are set into motion but the resulting structure is massive, weighing several thousand tons, so placement of it is crucial, so as to not put it in an area where it could potentially sink into the ground and cause the same after-effects it was intended to stop, thus defeating its purpose. They need Team Scorpion to determine where exactly to place the sarcophagus so as to avoid such another potential disaster.

The team quickly realize that doing so will be impossible without actually going there to scope out the area themselves, so it’s road trip time, to one of the worst destinations ever. The gang gets the use of a robot from the military which Happy dubs RANDY to send inside the facility to get the data they need, thus keeping them from having to actually go inside it themselves- or that’s the idea at least.

Setting up in the admittedly picturesque Pripyat- which notoriously features an amusement park that was only open for several hours for one single solitary day, to keep people occupied as evacuation was arranged in light of the Chernobyl disaster- the team get to work, as Sly is begrudgingly forced to accompany Oksana in a small plane with Paige to get some necessary figures they need to complete the mission.

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RANDY drills into the wall outside the area they need to get into, successfully permeating it and going inside to survey its surroundings. Breaching the corium, RANDY is able to get close to the so-called “elephant’s foot,” a radioactive mass surrounded by solidified lava. Unfortunately, the breach causes a radioactive plume that causes the plane’s system to fail and Oksana and the rest are forced to make a crash landing- right into the area RANDY is exploring, which, needless to say, isn’t good.

Even worse, the plane is stuck inside the structure in such a way as to trap Oksana, Sly and Paige inside as well. The incident, along with RANDY getting taken out in the process of its exploration, causes a leak in the corium which, if not contained, could potentially cause another disaster. In addition, those trapped inside have around forty minutes to get out before they suffer the effects of radiation and die.

Walter comes up with a plan on the fly to get them out by using the carousel at the amusement park as a sort of pulley to pull out the plane, thus allowing them to exit through the hole in the wall they caused in the crash. As they set up outside, a water pipe breaks inside, pouring onto the core lava, effectively cutting their time in half to twenty minutes before the air inside the facility is tainted.

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The team is able to find oxygen tanks and gas masks to protect them in the short-term, but with only enough for a limited amount of time. As the group inside tries to keep calm, Oksana tells Paige a story about how she was dating a man at her former job that was muscular, handsome and charming, but there was another who also expressed interest, but was shy, reserved and introverted, and how she ultimately decided to go with the latter man and hadn’t looked back since. This story hits home for Paige for obvious reasons.

Everyone piles back into the plane, as the carousel is started up and the plane is partially pulled out of the facility. However, it gets stuck halfway out and Paige is forced to go back inside to remove a sign that is obstructing the passage of the plane. The removal serves to effectively get the plane out of the building entirely, saving Sly and Oksana, but in doing so, the rocks surrounding the hole left by the plane start to cave in and Walter is just barely able to get inside to attempt to save Paige when the two are trapped inside yet again.

Now left with only ten minutes of air, Walter comes up with another idea to intentionally collapse part of the building to stop the flow of corium and keep it from reaching the nuclear rods. As the outside team works on this, with Happy rigging up some fuel tanks to serve as explosives, he and Paige climb up a ladder-like wall to the top of the building, spotting a crack near one side that they could potentially escape through, as sunlight is pouring in from there.

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Walter and Paige reach the top and are then forced to walk across a girder to reach the hole in the ceiling they need to acess to get out. While doing so, Walter loses his footing and nearly plummets to his death. He manages to grab a hold of the girder and hold on, but is too weak to hoist himself up, having run out of oxygen when he dropped his tank in the fall, forcing him to have to hold his breath.

Paige, thinking fast, takes in a heavy breath of oxygen and blows it into Walter’s mouth, CPR-style, giving him just the boost he needs to pull himself up. The two continue to hold their breath as they successfully cross the beam and get out of the building and onto the roof. However, time is still of the essence and they have to get off the roof, but there’s no ladder or what have you to get down to do so.

Walter rigs up a cable, attaching it to a cinder block, and then to the both of them, telling Paige to be ready. He shoves the block off the roof, where it twirls around a flagpole which somehow snags just enough to keep Paige and Walter from crashing to their doom and free themselves before they and all concerned run for their lives as Happy’s explosives go off. The gambit works and disaster is averted, just in time. Walter informs Oksana that they will have the necessary coordinates by the evening and all is well.

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Safely back at HQ, the gang has to drink an awful concoction known as a “Fish Shake” to counteract the potential effects of the exposure to radiation, but are otherwise okay. Happy pulls Walter aside once again, and tells him he should ask Paige to a concert he had bought tickets for him and Linda to attend before they went their separate ways, rightfully seeing their saving each other’s lives as the perfect opportunity to act on their feelings for one another finally.

Walter approaches Paige, but chokes in the heat of the moment and instead ends up offering her the tickets for her and Tim to go once he returns, despite her ignoring a call from Tim himself to talk to Walter instead. An eavesdropping Happy, already out on a limb, as she is not one to interfere with such things, groans as Walter blows it.

Meanwhile, Toby meets with someone to pick up a custom-made ring he had fashioned from what appears to be a metal nut, like one would find in a car- a clever nod to Happy’s mechanical-minded ways that is awfully thoughtful, if a bit on the fugly side. Unfortunately, Toby is blindsided by an apparently escaped Mark Collins, who knocks him out and absconds with him in the back of a van, speeding off to God knows where, which is where we leave things.

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This episode will lead into the season finale, in which the team works overtime to save Toby from the evil clutches of Collins, so we’ll have to wait until next week to see Toby’s fate. I’m pretty sure he dropped the ring in the process of being taken, so my guess would be that Happy will find it when they go looking for Toby, probably using the GPS to find Walter’s car and discern Toby’s last location before his disappearance.

From the looks of things, Collins isn’t looking to deal for Toby’s life and simply wants to torture and kill him for keeping him in an institution for an even longer period of time. As to how he got out of said mental institution in the first place, your guess is as good as mine.

So, this was certainly and exciting and tense episode, with lots of action and funny moments, but, as per usual, completely unbelievable from a scientific standpoint. Granted, I don’t claim to know enough about such things as to defend this stance, but almost everything in this episode in terms of the whole Chernobyl thing seemed as dubious to me as a “Fish Shake” getting rid of radioactive after-effects, especially the whole blowing up part of a building to contain a potential nuclear disaster, but I’ll leave that for people who know more about this sort of thing than I do.

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That said, what appeared to be a certain degree of actual location shooting (though I don’t doubt a significant amount of green screen was involved) lent this an air of believability that helped sell it, and if the science was dubious then it still didn’t keep it from being entertaining, at the very least, so there’s that. Factor in some great moments with Happy and Walter and Toby and Mark and you had the makings of one of the better episodes of the season, even while it was easily one of the most unbelievable.

But hey, we’re not here for that at this point, right? I think by now most of us loyal fans to the show have given up on some semblance of reality if the show is entertaining enough and this one is, so I’m going to let the other stuff slide once again because I simply enjoyed it, plain and simple. In a perfect world, we’d have our scientific reality and eat it too, but this is not that world, this is a CBS show, so I guess we’ll just have to deal.

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What did you think of the latest episode of “Scorpion”? Did you find the whole thing a bit much? Or were you also entertained enough not to care? Was “The Chernobyl Diaries” more convincing than this episode? Or was it feasible, to those who know about such things? Will Walter ever man up and go after Paige for real, before it’s too late? What will become of Toby? How will Happy react when she discovers Toby has been kidnapped? Or that he planned to propose to her? How do you predict things will end this season? Sound off down below and see you for the big finale next week!