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Image Credit: Elyes Gabel as Walter O'Brien in Scorpion's second episode.

'Scorpion' recap: Paralyzing fear

Season 1 |  Episode 2 | “Single Point of Failure” | Aired Sept 29, 2014

Scorpion may be the perfect example of why audiences should give shows a second or even third chance to prove themselves.

Unlike last week’s stale pilot, infused with small doses of manicured action sequences, the show’s second episode delved into the people behind the grand allure that is superhuman intelligence.

The episode starts off with a flashback to Walter’s youth, where his trouble with authority began, as he cleverly outwits and out-sasses his practically prehistoric math teacher. He is about to be reprimanded, but his older sister pulls the school’s fire alarm, dashing through the empty hallways and pulling Walter along as fast as she can, conveniently saving him.

Flash forward to present day, and the melancholic realization that she’s currently suffering from multiple sclerosis and residing in a medical facility.

As with most procedurals, this episode’s case reflects the current tribulations affecting the main cast of characters.

Walter and his team are given the task of tracking down a biohacker who’s managed to poison the daughter of the governor of California (who just shut down a major drug trial for a debilitating and fatal illness)—through her laptop.

After isolating the attack to a hacking collective, stereotypically hidden inside a dungeon-like basement and littered with Mountain Dew cans, oversize headphones, and electronic music, the team finds, physically tackles, and reprimands the young hacker hired to execute the attack.

Once the hacker confesses to taking the job from an anonymous employer on Craigslist, the team starts using its superpowered brains to narrow the field of suspects.

Using the only clue provided to them from the aforementioned citizen black hat, Walter and his team focus their attention on a pharmaceutical company in charge of a drug trial targeted at the specific disease the governor’s daughter has been infected with.

Just as quickly as their investigation progresses, however, it’s obstructed once more due to a request for more information on the antibiotic; they’re simply turned away because of patient confidentiality.

As in last week’s episode, it becomes apparent that the team will have to use both conventional methods of obtaining unwarranted information, like theft, and modern cyber methods, namely hacking, to get the information they so desperately need.

Walter, ever the group’s alpha male, sends Sylvester, the team’s resident germophobe, into the building with unnamed diseases and other ungodly concoctions to secure the trial drug in question. Meanwhile, Happy and Toby meander off to pursue a potential source and deal with their undeniable pent-up sexual frustration—which every procedural seems to need. (It’s pretty much par for the course for CBS shows to have this element, and it’s never been duller.)

Eventually, thanks to help from the entire team, they manage to track down the man who sent the suspicious chemical agent. But before they’re able to reprimand him, they learn that he’s off to meet the governor at a local mall.

Just like in the premiere, Walter and his team arrive in the nick of time. They manage to save the governor from being poisoned with an aerosol can full of the same highly concentrated virus that was slowly killing his daughter.

While this is going on, Paige and Walter’s flirtatious—yet somewhat oddly maternal—relationship continues to bloom, although its execution is weak. Walter freaks out; Paige helps him out. Walter forgets to eat because he’s so busy being brilliant; Paige gets him an orange. Walter freaks out about his sister; Paige is the only one he’ll open up to. Paige becomes his muse, and while it’s great for his character, it comes off as lazy development from the writers. It’d be somewhat adorable if this relationship hadn’t already been repeated on countless other CBS shows.

The real spark shines through within the last five minutes, when the team gets together on the roof of their geeky clubhouse for burgers and steaks, helping Paige connect with her prodigal son, Ryan.

Scorpion is an ensemble show, and it works best when the ensemble is together, bouncing relentless jabs and cheesy but cute compliments off of each other. When they try to focus on potential couples or on Walter as a singular main character, the show loses part of its charm and feels lost within an ocean of hundreds of other procedurals.

Scorpion has the potential to be something great. It’s just not quite there yet.

Scorpion, rated TV-14, airs on Mondays at 9/8C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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