Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Scorpion 3x03 Review: “It Isn’t the Fall That Kills You” (A Vacation From Reality) [Guest Poster: Yasmine]

“It Isn’t the Fall That Kills You”
Original Airdate: October 10, 2016

This week’s episode of Scorpion brought back Richard Elia and I could not be more excited. I love Elia episodes because they are always really good, and Elia himself challenges the team every single time, pushing them to go above and beyond. So I was personally really happy we weren’t made to wait long before we got him back (and I hope this is not the last time this season he shows up).

This week’s case was out of this world. Literally. While checking on the tech of a spaceship for Richard Elia, Walter is accidentally launched into space when lightning hits the spaceship. It would have been perfectly fine if this wasn’t Scorpion. But because it is Scorpion, the problems start piling up. Six catastrophic problems, to be exact. And before they know it, the team’s fearless leader is flying in outer space with an estimated life span of just under half an hour.

It all ends happily, of course. Walter lives after a little bit of free falling from a spaceship straight into the bubbly Pacific Ocean. (Kids, don’t try this at home, but it sure looked like it was fun).

One of the greatest things about this week’s episode is that Team Scorpion had to really bring their A-game and solve their problems without Walter leading them. First, because Walter himself was the case — but besides that, he also went from being out of communication with the team, to low on oxygen and hallucinating, to unconscious. So really, he couldn’t have been of much help. It came down to each one of these geniuses (intellectually or otherwise) to really give it their all, to work together and bring the best out of each other to save Walter.

And while the episode starts with everyone distracted by their own issue — Paige and Tim with their new relationship, Toby with finding out the identity of Happy’s husband, etc. — at the end of the day, they all put these distractions aside to be a team. At the beginning it is clearly shown that there is a lack of communication between the team (both metaphorically and literally, when Walter loses communication with them after the blast off); it is yet another thing that the episode does well to journey through and eventually resolve. And while one kind of lack of communication is completely resolved (that one being with Walter), the more emotional one remains unresolved. But at least they are aware of it.

One of my favorite lines this episode was Toby’s line to Paige: “You know how to talk to us. That’s why you're on this team.” We don’t always get to see Paige and Toby interact like that, and this is what Toby is good at. It was wonderful seeing him be for her what she usually is for everyone. When she was doubting her own strengths, her own talents, he was there to remind her — to show her and tell her they have faith in her, faith in that she will be able to do what needs to be done to save Walter’s life.

There is one last thing about this team I should note, and this one is all about Sylvester. I absolutely love what they are doing with Sly this year. He has become the most focused of the team and is doing everything in his power to keep this team together — to keep them strong and united. He is reminding me so much of Hurley from Lost, who always knew how to take care of people, how to keep them optimistic and united in the face of everything. I hope the writers keep this up. It is great because for two seasons he was the most “childish” in a way, and now that everyone around him seems to be too preoccupied, he has really stepped up and is showing great growth.

And finally, to discuss the emotional drive of this episode: Walter and Paige. The writers didn’t wait too long to give the Waige shippers a very strong episode. And they gave it their all — an episode perfectly balanced with quite awkward Walter-esque moments, to really heavy, emotionally driven moments, and ending with hopeful angst. This perfectly balanced combination was delivered by both Katharine McPhee and Elyes Gabel. I think this goes as one of the best performances either one of these two actors have given on this show.

Conscious, rational, slightly self-destructive Walter starts the episode coming up with a very elaborate and very immature plan on how to avoid Paige and Tim at the garage. Unfortunately, this just proves Cabe’s comments from last week. Walter still has a lot of growth to do before he is ready to really be responsible for his feelings and before he can be in a relationship with Paige. Oxygen-deprived Walter is something else entirely. That version of Walter, in full hallucination mode, was able to completely break down his own walls and express what his heart wanted to express, what his genius brain refuses to accept — let alone say out loud.

Hallucinating Walter was able to display the growth that he doesn’t display most times. He tells Paige that he remembers everything that she has taught him, and shows her that when he is hallucinating. He is aware of his feelings, and when he expresses them, it is just so raw and so real that it’s absolutely beautiful to witness. In a strange way, his brain still knew what it was doing then. It knows what he is capable of and what he is not capable of when he is in full control of it, so it takes this opportunity to take a leap, to try something he would not dare do otherwise. Walter tells Paige he loves her, and honestly, it is one of the most beautiful confessions I have seen on TV because we know how hard this is for him and how much he has grown to be able to say this.

This leap he takes, paralleled with the actual leap he eventually takes out of the spaceship, is yet another metaphor. He jumped out of the spaceship without a parachute, complete free falling, not knowing where he would land or if he would survive. And the jump he took telling Paige he loves her, even if he was hallucinating, is exactly the same: a free fall, without a parachute, not knowing if he will survive.

And while at the end of the episode they do resolve the literal jump, the other jump remains a mystery. Of course, to prolong the angst, the writers make sure Walter does not remember anything that happened on the space ship. Just as well, because Paige remembers everything. And now, the usually composed, in-control-of-her-emotions Paige is the one left lost and confused, falling with him — only he’s not aware that he is falling at all.

I think this episode maintained the fun, exciting level it always has for its cases but I think, at least for me, this is by far their strongest Waige episode. I think they have finally found a way to properly balance the quirkiness with the heavy emotional weight that Waige can provide for the show. Before this, I have always felt their writing of Waige swayed a lot between trying too hard to be angsty and not really getting there, and staying in the quirky adorable part of the spectrum (which in my opinion always worked). But with this episode, they finally did justice to both and I hope they can keep it up because it was a great episode and brought the best out of their actors.

1 comment:

  1. Based on the direction Walter and Paige have been taking lately, I can see them getting together sometime this season.