Thursday, November 17, 2016

Scorpion 3x08 Review: "Sly and the Family Stone” (Blood Doesn't Make Family, Love Makes Family) [Guest Poster: Yasmine]

“Sly and the Family Stone”
Original Airdate: November 14, 2016

Scorpion this week went back to one of its core values and themes, and focused on family — family in all its positives and negatives and all its different forms and shapes. This episode also focused a lot on Walter, his being the most exciting journey this year, and made it hard as possible for him this week by forcing him to go back and face his past. Literally. The team, most of them at least, went back to Ireland for Megan’s memorial. And by doing so, Walter had to confront his past — his tortured past — his family, his village, and everything that made him the broken child that he was and formed the man he grew to become. And to be fair to Walter, being a genius and being so different is hard enough, so having to grow in a place in which no one understood him, let alone accepted him, must have been a nightmare.

The Walter vs. his past conflict was prefaced by the inevitable Walter vs. Tim battle. The brains vs. the brawn battling for Paige’s affection, if you will. Ralph and Toby pick up on this beforehand and try to derail the conflict by tricking both men into thinking the other needs their help in the category in which they lack. And it is all done for one noble goal: Paige’s happiness. While their ruse is eventually exposed, Tim and Walter do have to work together, have each other’s’ backs, and find a new common ground to reach an understanding and end the rivalry between them.

The trip back to Ireland starts awkwardly and uncomfortably for Walter, as expected, but not so much for Sly, who we all assume is meeting the extended family of his late wife for the first time. But apparently Sly is loved by everyone back in Ireland, much to Walter’s dismay. And while the younger genius is loved and accepted and listened to, Walter is still estranged, ostracized, bullied, and misunderstood. He does not make things easier on himself when he announces to the village that the lake is going to explode due to carbon dioxide collecting at the bottom. The village ignores him and laughs at this. Only his team stands by him. While Sly and Paige join the procession to the cemetery, Walter, Tim, and Cabe stay behind, and — with the help of Toby and Happy (who had stayed in the garage) — they try to solve the problem before catastrophe hits the village.

Things get complicated — as they always do — and with tensions high between Tim and Walter, the lake does explode, sending a cloud of CO2 toward the cemetery where everyone is gathered. Again, Walter has to convince the village, his father, and simultaneously try to figure out a solution to the problem. Of course they do, eventually, but not without both Walter and Tim having to risk their lives in the process. This brings both men closer than they’d ever been, and they realize that the skills that they both possess are necessary to keep this team effective, efficient, and the best at what they do.

Saving the village also came at another price: Walter having to confront the bullies who had made his life hell as a child. Per Tim’s advice, Walter fights back (joined then also by Tim), only to have the fight stopped by Walter’s mother.

And just after that fight, as they revealed Megan’s cenotaph, the tears hit me. I was not expecting that at all, but they just rolled down and the entire scene that followed — the talk of building bridges and closing gaps — was so beautifully done. I did not expect this episode to make me cry, but it did.

At the end, Walter leaves home having extended an olive branch to his bullies and made a promise to his parents to stay in touch better.

Eventually, Walter is going to have to embrace his past and his family. But before he does, he is going to have to go through a lot. This episode was the first step. Acceptance and bridging the gap was necessary and it was done beautifully. His past and his family represent the rest of the world to him — a world that does not understand him or accept him or appreciate him for who he is, and a world he, too, does not understand. His journey is to find that common ground, that bridge on which they can both exist without him having to change who he truly is, but at least change how the world see him and show himself in a way that the world can understand and hopefully appreciate what wonderful human being he is.

And it is along this journey, and on this bridge, that Walter will be able to find Paige and be with her. But what is great about this relationship is that even when they are not together in the romantic sense, she is there to guide him through it, every step of the way.

Because ultimately Team Scorpion is a family who will do absolutely anything and everything for each other. No sacrifice is too big.

And speaking of sacrifices: back at the garage, Happy was finalizing her divorce with Walter, hoping that by the end of the day, she and Toby would be married via popping into courthouse and getting it done. Happy isn’t the most romantic person. Toby deals with the situation with subtlety and finesse. But he doesn’t want a courthouse wedding — Toby wants a big wedding with all their friends and family. Happy agrees to his wishes because, after a small moment with Cabe — who tells her that his wedding day was the happiest day of his life — she realizes she cannot deny Toby that.

At the end of the day, this show reminds us of what truly matters: family. And family are the people who love you, who are there for you always, and who are ready to sacrifice everything for you, no questions asked.

This was another fun episode of Scorpion that hit just the right spots emotionally and carried the characters into the next steps of their journey — whether small like with Happy or, in Walter’s case, a huge leap that propels his story into the next phase.


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