Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Scorpion 4x19 Review: "Gator Done” (Stupid Behavior + Stupid Behavior = More Stupidity) [Guest Contributor: Yasmine]

"Gator Done"
Original Airdate: March 19, 2018

I’m sad to say that the case is just so ridiculous — and not in the fun way — that it puts this episode as one of my least favorites. The plot development tools are too dumbed down, contrived, avoidable and forced. It is not like when the team typically digs themselves deeper because something goes wrong while they are being smart, no, things in this episode, at least when it comes to the case, were just stupid.

To stop a Zika-like virus from spreading, they have to release sterile mosquitoes into the atmosphere. Of course, it’s very time-sensitive and half the team travels to New Orleans to perform the job themselves. Toby’s focus isn’t completely on the job as he is seeing this as his last adventure in New Orleans before he becomes a dad, and that is the entire premise of why the job goes wrong. They have a limited number of mosquitoes to release and as they “sail” over the bayou toward the most appropriate location to release them, Toby’s beads get caught in the fan of the boat — a makeshift flotation device — and it jostles weirdly, which causes the canister that holds the mosquitoes to fall into the water. And if that alone isn’t too contrived, an alligator pops up and swallow the canister.
There are many ways they could have written for this case or job to go wrong, but they chose a series of events that just feels too lame. Yes, there it is. It has happened a lot of times that the team or someone from the team does something and it sends things into a downward spiral, but usually it’s when they are actively trying to solve things. Things always go wrong, yes, and they usually do end up making things harder for themselves before they make it easy, but this whole setup just felt too forced and too slapstick for these geniuses. I know I’ve said that I love how Scorpion has embraced some of its ridiculous elements and made them very enjoyable, but I honestly felt this episode failed at that. It was just roll-your-eyes stupid.

And after the alligator swallows the canister — why was Waler holding it in his lap and not securing it properly somewhere knowing how valuable it is? — things just keep getting more and more out of control. It’s not in the fun way, either, but again, forced and contrived and lazy, in my opinion. They find the alligator and decide the best way to get the canister is by Toby performing surgery. They try to put it down but Walter shoots Cabe with the tranquilizer gun instead of the alligator because the boat is shaking. Why didn’t he step out of the boat and stand on solid ground? I don’t know. So with Cabe out of commission and in a state of “he needs the antidote or h will die,” the team splits up. Walter and Paige continue after the gator and Toby has to take Cabe to meet with the guy who has the antidote.

Toby and Cabe end up drowning in quicksand and have to let it take them so they can swim under it, towards a nearby puddle. On the other hand, Walter and Paige find a way to get the canister out of the alligator, and that is by getting it to eat a chicken — yes, there are a lot of raw chickens on the boat — that they stuff with a plant that causes vomiting. They succeed in doing that, but then Paige ends up in the water and is in danger of becoming alligator lunch until Walter revs the engine of the boat and pulls her out.

And yes, they do end up releasing the mosquitoes. And yes, Toby gets Cabe the antidote in time.

Fortunately, the B-plot managed to salvage the episode with a story that was emotionally touching, pure, and at the heart of what this show is. Patty shows up to help Sly and Ralph promote Sly’s water filter and she is not herself. She admits that she had gotten her first tardy as a result of being bullied by a group of popular girls who did not appreciate her asking a popular boy to the dance. As if the embarrassment of rejection was not enough, they had tampered with her bicycle and left a mean note and she ended up late to school for the first time in her life.

Sylvester and Ralph both decide to take it upon themselves to right this injustice, even though Patty asks them not to. Sly, ever the pacifist and the diplomat, resorts to going to the principal to plead Patty’s case. On the other hand, Ralph — with his crush on Patty — decides to take more drastic measures. He ends up locking all the girls’ bicycles together. No real harm done, except that they have to try an impossible number of combinations to unlock them. Unfortunately for Ralph, this does put him in hot water with his mother and does not get him the recognition from Patty. Although I don’t think that he did it for that. He genuinely did want to get revenge on these girls, whether Patty found out it was him or not.

Sly’s successful endeavors do lead up to a beautiful scene between him and Patty where they talk about the hardships of high school and how important their friendship is to both of them. This genuinely sweet and tender moment was the highlight of the episode.

Another shining moment in the episode is the growth that both Toby and Happy portray. These two are about to start the scariest journey in their lives and this episode is an eye opener for both. Happy recognizes that her life-long commitment to being in control is going to come to an end. Having a child and becoming a mother means accepting that she cannot control everything anymore, and as terrifying as the thought is, she is learning how to do it. Her husband, on the other hand, also comes to an awakening, and it is that becoming a father is not just about having a baby, it is about taking care of them. And to do that, Toby admits he has to let go of his man-child persona and approach to life.

Unfortunately, there’s another genius in a serious relationship and that one is really struggling with a lot of things. The start of the season had Walter really trying hard to become a better man and to grow and learn, but the past few episodes have seen him regress. While he does come to personal realization at the end of the episode, it is really frustrating watching as he actively refuses to accept his mistakes every single week until that one moment in the end where he shows he’s made an improvement... only for the next episode to come and show Walter either regressing or just not growing — again.

This week, Walter struggles with white lies. He fails to understand the concept of lying to someone as to not hurt their feelings, and very much like how the case came together, it just felt too contrived and forced and I got the feeling that we have dealt with this with Walter at some point previously. He’s come too far along to have to struggle with this and, throughout the episode, he just comes off as an insensitive jerk. Until the end, where he suddenly figures out how it’s done and uses a white lie to get Paige out of going with him to a lecture she was too polite to tell him she did not want to attend.

So Walter lies to her and tells her it has been canceled. However, instead of this going down as a sweet moment, it only opens up a door that I don’t think anyone wants to be opened. Walter — out of options as to who to ask with him to the lecture — ends up calling Flo. Earlier in the episode, Sly had tried to ask her out but chickened out, and we once again find ourselves having to swallow yet another development in the inevitably disappointing love quadrangle plot.


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