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'Scorpion' react: Brain games

Season 1 | Episode 15 | “Forget Me Nots” | Aired Jan 19, 2015

After an extremely personal episode on Sunday, Scorpion‘s latest episode found its way back to the episodic side of this serialized procedural, and it was better for it.

Which isn’t to say, however, that there weren’t any personal moments in the show’s fifteenth episode. There certainly were; they were just kept separate from the ongoing case the team is sent out to solve.

Homeland Security is, as usual, in way over their heads. One of the missiles they keep offshore has been hacked by a terrorist organization, and they have just under 24 hours (it’s always just under 24 hours with these shows) to stop the missile from launching and possibly starting the next world war.

Only problem is that even with their superpowered minds, there’s no way they can hack into the organization that has control of the missile fast enough to stop it from going off.

They are told that the only man who might know where the original controller for the missile is, a tool they call “the football,” is living in a retirement facility for people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Considering he’s their only chance, though, Walter and the team agree to go out and meet their only hope—the Ben Kenobi of this entire situation.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

After months of computer hacking and typical action-movie-style car chases, the entirety of this episode focuses on the ability to biohack and manipulate the brain to accomplish certain tasks.

Walter decides to use a touch of targeted shock therapy—not quite the same as what poor Esther had to endure in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar—in an attempt to boost their retired CIA guy’s brain function and recall certain details about the night the control was stolen.

Easily most comparable to recent movies like Lucy or Limitless, the idea behind the seemingly inhumane methodology is that humans only use 10 percent of their brains at all times. Using targeted electrotherapy opens up the floodgates and allows human beings to accomplish mental and physical feats they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

Through the high-powered electric jolts, their CIA agent not only remembers who took the control from him—another CIA operative who had been working for a splinter-cell terrorist group—but can actually remember the key tones of the phone call the illegitimate operative made when he had the control in his grip.

Using the episode to focus on the power of the brain—and acknowledging that it is a far more powerful tool than a computer could ever hope to be—is the first time Scorpion has addressed the innate, heightened power of its genius collective.

The tone of the show changed in this episode as Walter and his company of fiendishly intelligent crime-fighting crusaders stopped being framed as arrogant know-it-alls and actually managed to elicit empathy from their colleagues.

It’s one of the most human moments expressed by those who don’t understand human emotion and see it as a flaw: The ability to connect with Paige and Gallo by silently showing them what it’s like to have heightened abilities did more for team building than any forced conversation ever could.

Stepping away from the computer screens and allowing the team to focus on restoring one man’s brain functionality for a couple of hours was more interesting than anything else that has occurred this season thus far—and one of the most touching scenarios.

But for those that are enamored with Paige and Walter’s ongoing cat-and-mouse game of who confesses they have feelings first, don’t worry. There’s some of that too.

At the beginning of the episode, Walter finds out that Paige is considering moving to Portland with Drew and enrolling Ralph in a school for the gifted.

Walter, devastated by the news, doesn’t know how to express his feelings and tries to dissuade Paige from leaving by going on about the miserable weather, all of which Paige is less than receptive to.

By the end of the episode, however, he confesses to Paige that he doesn’t want her to leave because Ralph is a huge part of his life—and he would like to believe he plays a large role in Ralph’s life.

So close to admitting he wants her to stay because he likes her too, but no cigar.

This game of cat and mouse isn’t going to end anytime soon.

But if they focus on celebrating the genius of their group, while giving them human cases they can shine in, Scorpion may just be able to stretch out the subplot of Walter coming into his feelings and understanding them a little bit longer.

Scorpion airs Mondays at 9/8C on CBS.