Jul 3, 2017

[TV] Scorpion: Season 2 Review

For shows that I'm particularly passionate about, I do my best to watch them only together with my partner Tobie. Otherwise I watch a bunch of weirder stuff in the interim while waiting for him to become available. And thus the whole host of shows that end up being background TV fare for when I'm writing blog posts or trying to get work done.

Enter Scorpion, a strange show that celebrates all the possible quirky stereotypes about people with genius-level IQs in a manner that doesn't seem to attract the ire of people who hate on The Big Bang Theory so much. The way they use their "genius" skills often borders on the ridiculous, which I suppose makes it easier to embrace as guilty pleasure entertainment.

The first season was pretty much stuck in a case-of-the-week format with some minor character development arcs centered around Walter's growth as a more social human being. But given what little "progress" he made in the first season, it's a wonder that his team sticks around at all.

Synopsis: Scorpion is an American drama TV series created by Nick Santora. It's very loosely based on the life of real-life computer expert although it's pretty clear how far the show jumps into the realm of the fantastic versus real life. The show has already been confirmed for a fourth season and you can catch the first two seasons on Netflix in the Philippines.

After the events of the first season, Scorpion finally gets back in the saddle given a new Homeland Security director in the form of Adriana Molina (Alana de la Garza) who decides to employ them once more. She's a lot more liberal in her use of the team and at times also more willing to put them more at risk, much to the discomfort of Agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick), who resumes his role as liaison between Scorpion and Homeland.

Walter (Elyes Gabel) continues to deal with the effects of his injuries from the last season and his unresolved feelings for Paige (Katharine McPhee). Happy (Jadyn Wong) and Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas) continue to have their own on-again, off-again struggle with possible feelings for one another although Happy is quick to aggressively see other guys to fend Toby off. Sylvester (Ari Stidham) is still seeing Walter's sister Megan (Camille Guaty), although her medical situation becomes a long-running character arc throughout the season as things seem to get worse and worse.

What I Liked: Scorpion continues to scratch the same itch MacGuyver used to do in the 80's but with more technologically current solutions to various problems. Thus episodes with the team fighting an ancient fungus that has managed to spread wildly within a hospital or a high tech building seemingly self-destructing and in both cases them struggling to make do with whatever they have on hand.

This season really has the team exploring wildly different situations and locations in the course of tackling their missions all the while still finding time to insert their personal drama into the mix of things. It's an odd format but one that seems to indicate the show trying to embrace the diverse aspects that people enjoy the most even if it may at times compromise the integrity of the narrative. Hence my guilty pleasure categorization.

What Could Have Been Better: The character that has had the most opportunity for character growth in terms of screen time is also the one who has made the least progress. Sure they all tap into stereotypes of people with high intelligence in this or that area, but Walter really seems stuck in a rigid categorization of himself. The first season seemed to indicate that he was making progress somehow as he learned to be more sociable because of Paige but this season really has him acting like a petulant man child over and over and over again.

The addition of Ray (Kevin Weisman) to the group felt like another chance for Walter to move forward (and for me to relive Alias guilty pleasure feels) but then it didn't really go anywhere. And beyond Sylvester and Megan, everyone else's character arcs mostly involved self-sabotage and going back to old mistakes because I guess that's what geniuses do? For a show that's supposed to be smarter than most, it gets side-tracked by all this emotional silliness more than it should.

TL;DR: Scorpion will never be the best show on the planet but it does scratch a particular itch for one reason or another. People continue to enjoy it and thus it remains on the air, much to my surprise. This second season only gets 2.5 crazy stunts out of a possible 5.

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