Saturday, January 6, 2018

Scorpion 4x12 Review: "A Christmas Car-Roll" (I’m Not Married to Big Bird) [Guest Contributor: Yasmine]

"A Christmas Car-Roll"
Original Airdate: December 18, 2017

It’s Scorpion’s version of A Christmas Carol and, of course, who other than Walter O’Brien can be Scrooge in this situation? The episode is in its entirety a huge lesson and an opportunity of major growth for a Walter. This season has been an important one for Walter, who — through his new relationship with Paige — is having to learn so much, and this episode comes to give him a more advanced lesson than he’s ever had.

Without taking into consideration the others’ Christmas Eve plans, Walter agrees to a job on the day. He’s dismissive and rude to the team’s feelings and concerns, even Paige and Ralph’s, and when they all refuse to work, he lets them know that he can do it on his own anyway, and that he does not need them.

With the team leaving him alone at the garage, Walter prepares for the job. As he steps down the stairs, he trips and falls, hitting his head badly. With no one left at the garage, Walter lies unconscious and bleeding for a while before his next-door-nemesis-turned-somewhat-friendly neighbor stops by with her Christmas gift. She immediately calls the team, and one by one they come back to the garage. Fortunately for Walter, the first to arrive is Toby with his medical expertise, and he immediately gets to working on saving Walter while they wait for the ambulance. The team then all manage to return one by one, as Walter’s condition goes from bad to worse and they do their best to keep him alive.

But the episode’s story is actually in Walter’s head, as he’s stuck while he lies unconscious in the garage. Walter “wakes up” in an alternate universe where nothing is familiar, but also everything is extremely familiar. In this world, Walter never founded Scorpion and the team is not together. Not only that, none of them know each other and they all live their own seemingly happy and successful lives, without Walter being a part of it. Walter is a university professor and he is married to Flo! Yes, the chemist from next door who he can barely stand!

Stepping out of the garage, Walter starts to realize that this world that does not have Scorpion has suffered some major tragedies — tragedies that in the real-world, the team had managed to stop. And just around the corner, Walter finds another tragedy ready to happen: a horrific car crash that has a person stuck inside a car, just a short time away from being crushed by a truck. The person inside the car? It’s Walter.

With Ray suddenly showing up to help, Walter realizes that the only people who can save this man — who can save him — are the members of Scorpion, and it is up to him to find them and convince them to work together and help him. But the problem is, they are all happy and successful in this world in Walter’s head, the world where he is not a part of their lives. Or so they think. It is up to Walter to reach deep into his “training” to figure out how to talk to each of them, how to reach them on a personal level and convince them to help. What doesn’t help is the fact that Ray is invisible to everyone else, which makes Walter look like a crazy person, and the fact that the parameters of the accident keep on changing, throwing new challenges into their path as they try to figure out how to rescue the Walter stuck inside the car.

One of the running jokes in this episode is that Sly’s real-world intern, Patty, is literally everywhere. The first time we meet her, she’s a police Sergeant to Cabe’s Chief of Police. Upon first meeting Walter, who’s talking nonsense and disturbing the peace, Cabe is not a huge fan of him, willing to have his sergeant stun him. But this is Walter’s first test, and he has to convince a Cabe, who has little faith in his skill sets and talents, that there can be no other man, or better man, to help his rescue the man in the car accident.

After Cabe, Walter needs Happy, who in this world has her own podcast on cars and mechanics and it’s quite popular. And of course, her assistant is Patty. Once again, Walter is faced by a version of his friend who is successful and has no intention of helping him. His crazy ramblings and talk of a parallel world are not helping either. Walter needs to get personal with Happy. He shows her that he truly knows her, proves to her that they’re friends and shows her that he knows that what she truly wants in life is a real human connection and that she hates being alone. He reminds her that all she wants is a family, and promises her that he can introduce her to the man who is the love of her life, Toby.

Next, while Toby and Happy in the real world are drilling through his skull, Walter needs to find Sylvester in the imaginary world and get him on board as well. In this world, Sylvester is an extremely successful video game designer and kind of a douchebag as well. After having disregarded his work on the video game as childish, Walter really has to dig deep and apologize to this Sly in order to get him to join them. Walter praises Sylvester’s view on life and his refusal to let go of the wonderment of childhood as his true brilliance. Walter also offers Sylvester a fix to the glitch in his game and that gets Sly on board. And yes, his receptionist in this world is also Patty.

As Walter’s condition, both the one unconscious in the garage and the one stuck in the car accident gets worse, it’s time to call on Toby, who in this world is a successful motivational speaker who seems to have the answer to the question of finding true happiness. After getting chastised by his assistant, Patty, for interrupting Toby’s rehearsal, Walter gets a chance to talk to Toby, but what truly happens is that Toby and Happy meet for the first time. And the spark they share in the real world is just as strong in this one. Their connection is immediate and with a little push from Walter, the two, in their own Quintis way, agree to a date and Toby agrees to help.

Back at the site of the accident, Walter, Cabe, Toby, Happy and Sylvester are trying to rescue the Walter in the car, but things are not going well at all. Yes, these geniuses have the skill set to fix the situation, but their egos get in the way. They are unable to work together or to communicate, and of course, this requires the unparalleled skill set of one person: Paige Dineen.

The team shows up at the diner where they assume she works as a waitress, but instead Paige actually owns the diner. After a slight altercation with one of her waitresses, Patty, Walter finally gets a chance to talk to her. Once again, Walter sounds like a crazy person for a moment before he figures out just how to get to her. And of course, it’s through Ralph. Instead of being the highly functioning young genius he is in the real world, thanks to being a part of team Scorpion, Ralph is who we met all the way back in the Pilot. He’s sitting at the counter “making a mess.” Walter talks to Paige about Ralph, the most important thing in the world to her, and how every night she prays that he finds someone like him, who can help him and make him feel like he belongs. Like in the Pilot, Walter plays chess with Ralph and proves to Paige he knows what he is talking about, and that convinces Paige to join. (One fun detail was that the IT guy fixing the router at the diner this time around is Richard Elia.)

Back at the site of the accident, Paige takes charge, whipping the geniuses into shape so that they can rescue the Walter in the car.

When Walter finally wakes up in the hospital, he is surrounded by his team, his family — including Ray. Walter tells the team about his dream and how in that world they all had what seem like awesome lives that Walter was not a part of. He admits that even though he had said he didn’t need them, the truth is that they would do better without him. Toby, of course, is the voice of reason and helps Walter realize that they all need each other, that they all are all better together and think so highly of each other.

The episode is a lesson for Walter in humility and importance of other people. He is not alone and he could never accomplish any of this alone. But also, they are all better together, no mater what perfect world they thought they had, being a family is their greatest strength and source of biggest happiness and peace and belonging. They all make each other better and they all need each other. None of them can be the people they are today without each other. No one owes anyone anything and they all owe each other everything.

If that had been all, it would have been the perfect Christmas episode, but that’s not all. There is a small detail I’ve been avoiding and it’s time to bring it up, I suppose: the detail of Flo. In Walter’s dream, Flo was his wife. She was the one in the real world who called 911 and the reason he didn’t die. And in the end, when she shows up at the hospital to check in on him, Walter and Flo share a look. I don’t know where this is going, but it certainly looks like they’re trying to set up a possible love triangle here between Walter, Florence, and Paige. I really hope they don’t. The Waige storyline does not need a triangle to make it harder or to test it. They’ve already been through a lot and the nature of their relationship as it is is already challenging enough.

Like I said, I don’t know where this is going, but I really hope they don’t fall into the triangle trap.

1 comment:

  1. I share your concern about a Flo-Walter-Paige triangle. This is the last thing the show needs. There are other ways to explore the Waige relationship without putting them through that. Look at Jake and Amy on Brooklyn Nine Nine.