Sunday, April 8, 2018

Scorpion 4x20 Review: "Foul Balls" (We're About to Lose Everything) [Guest Contributor: Yasmine]

"Foul Balls"
Original Airdate: March 26, 2018

I’ve watched this episode a few times since it’s aired. When I first found out there would be an episode where this team of geniuses would have to play a game of sports, I was prepared for what I knew would be one of the most fun Scorpion episodes ever. However, on my first viewing, it left a bitter aftertaste. I immediately knew why. So, on my second, third, and fourth rewatches, I watched the episode without the Walter scenes. And my enjoyment was enhanced immensely.

It pains me to say this, because Walter is one of my favorite characters on any TV show and his journey (up until a few episodes) ago has been great. Being in a relationship with Paige this season should have been a huge step for him in growing and learning, but it seems the past few episodes has seen him fall into a relapse that has had no trigger story-wise. We’ve seen Walter commit the same mistakes he had made so long ago, we’ve seen him act as though the learning curve of the past four seasons never existed. And it just doesn’t make sense — not narratively, at least.

On the other hand, we see the rest of the team growing and learning and evolving so seamlessly and beautifully. So for me, this episode is split into two: one where Walter forgets everything he’s learned over the past four years and repeats the same mistakes — which, even though they try to justify it with an emotional undertone, I am afraid it’s not strong enough and the damage of his behavior is too far that I personally fail to sympathize with him. And the other part of the episode is this amazing team coming together on one of the hardest tasks they’ve faced so far, overcome difficulties, and putting their efforts toward saving their jobs and saving Scorpion because they know how important and how irreplaceable this family is to each and every one of them.

Walter starts the episode by upsetting his entire team with a recent memo explaining the new shares he’s offering them. The numbers he proposes are not only ridiculous but also insulting. Toby and Happy each get 0.75%, Sly gets a 0.7% and Paige gets a full 1%. When confronted about why his girlfriend gets more, Walter explains that in fact Paige gets 0.25% and that Ralph gets the rest but labor laws prohibit him adding Ralph, so he put it under Paige’s name. And to top it off, Cabe doesn’t get anything because “he is not a member of Scorpion but a Homeland employee.” Suffice to say, the team members are insulted by this and also, rightfully, very pissed off about Walter.

And who wouldn’t be? This is the kind of behavior we would have expected from season one Walter, not the Walter who we assume has grown up and learned the value of this team and the value of friendship and how important these people are to each other and to the success of Scorpion. Caught in the middle of this, Walter decides the only way to fix this team situation is to call in Dr. Cecil Rizzuto (guest star Penn Jillette), and even though his presence does little to actually fix the situation, he is always a fun addition to any episode.

But before the team healing can begin, Scorpion is handed their toughest task to date. Cabe’s Homeland boss, Carson, drafts them to play a softball game against Homeland in an FGSL championship. The stakes are also pretty high because Carson is a douchebag. If Homeland wins, then he terminates Scorpion’s contract with the government. And if Scorpion wins, then Homeland doubles the ratings they pay them. Of course, for the geniuses, just the idea of playing sports makes them want to run for the hills. But Paige and Cabe are jocks, and they are not used to being bullies, so without consulting the team, they agree to the terms.

And yes, these nerds are as terrible at sports as you can imagine, especially since, in order to field a full team, they recruit Ralph, Patty, Dyfrost, Cecil, and Flo.

Walter offers to help Cabe go grab the team some equipment from the evidence locker of a police station, where a friend of Cabe’s does the team a favor by giving them access. In the meantime, Paige captains the team of misfits on the field. And it’s absolutely hilarious — from their pathetic attempts to trash talk to their more pathetic attempts at playing the sport. It’s funny and ridiculous and watching Paige as a jock is an absolute treat. But the reality of their jobs being on the line does not escape anyone.

Except Walter, it seems, who is willing to sacrifice everything in order to not embarrass himself in front of Cabe. That truth does not come out until the end, but to get to that supposedly emotional revelation, the episode is spent with Walter and Cabe being stuck in the evidence cage they were getting equipment from after they lose the key. Cabe claims it was with Walter but Walter denies that, rudely throwing in his face that he is the smart one of the two and he is sure Cabe had the key. They spend the episode trying to get out, with Walter constantly being an asshole to Cabe and sabotaging their attempts to get out.

In the end, the key does fall out of Walter’s pocket and the truth is revealed. The reason behind his actions is that as a kid he got embarrassed trying to impress his father playing soccer and he does not want it to happen with Cabe. I get that, but after the way Walter’s been acting recently and the fact that his behavior had been horrible to everyone, including Cabe, since before the whole softball thing, I find it hard to feel bad for him or to sympathize with him.

But either way, back in the game, Paige is desperate for the team to at least stop losing so terribly. Having read the rulebook cover to cover, Sly finds ways to “cheat” while working within the rules. He tells Paige that there is a range for the size and weight of the balls and so the team decides to tweak Homeland’s balls by sending Toby to a nearby pizza place and put the balls in the oven for a few minutes. This works for a while as it affects Homeland’s hitting and pitching game. Happy also comes up with a suggestion to use sensors to help Team Scorpion catch some balls and her logical justification of it not being cheating is that it’s akin to wearing glasses.

These two tactics help Scorpion get back in the game, but there is one more thing causing unbalance in the team: Happy knows that Flo went to the lecture with Walter a few days ago and that Walter did not tell Paige about it. She, of course, goes to her husband with the information and the two decide to investigate because they know that if there is something happening between the two, then that is a recipe for things to be not good. While Toby’s approach is more subtle, Happy is more aggressive and one point actually tackles Flo on the field after Flo herself loses her temper on an opposing player. But in a series of “under the bleachers” chats, Flo admits she has no feelings for Walter, much to Sly’s delight as he continues to have a crush on her, and also admits she does not know why Walter lied to Paige about it.

When Walter finally shows up, it’s his turn to take the bleachers for a moment of truth and he tells Toby that is was a white lie. But Toby isn’t having any of it. He reminds Walter of the delicate situation here; he had dreamed of Flo being his wife and of kissing her. This is not something that passes as a white lie and Paige deserves the truth.

But I guess that is something left for another episode because this one ends with Team Scorpion coming together to defeat Homeland and finally, these nerds have their moment of sports glory — tacos and trophies included!


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