Friday, April 27, 2018

Scorpion 4x22 Review: "A Lie in the Sand" (I Wanna Make Our Dream Come True) [Guest Contributor: Yasmine]

“A Lie in the Sand”
Original Airdate: April 16, 2018

It’s never easy watching a finale when the fate of the show is still hanging in the air, and it becomes extra hard when the finale is so divisive and ends on the most bitter and infuriating and heartbreaking cliffhanger possible. That was the case with the Scorpion season four finale. With the network still not announcing whether the show will come back for a fifth season, the finale and the way it played out was hard to swallow.

I admit that in terms of the narrative and the character arcs, I am extremely happy and satisfied with how things went. It played out exactly how I wanted and expected it to play out. But the fact that we don’t know if the show is coming back — that is the tough part to make peace with.

For the case itself, while it carried the episode quite well for the length of it and was in classic Scorpion style (exciting, action-packed, and kept me at the edge of my seat, while providing a few laughs on occasion) is, in retrospect, almost forgettable. It did manage to carry the weight required to push the emotional and psychological journeys of all the characters forward perfectly, but it was just another “save the day while all the odds are against them” case. It did introduce us to Sly’s pen-pal, who is also Scorpion’s biggest fanboy, but it served better in how it managed to send everyone on a very important and revealing journey of self-discovery.

Sylvester was the one who brought the case for the team this week via his pen-pal, Alex, in Northeast Africa. Throughout the day, as Alex fulfills his dream of meeting and even assisting the team, it becomes clear that in their correspondence Sly may have taken some liberty with some details. While the stories about the team that he told Alex may have been true, he may have painted a more “super” heroic version of himself. And that’s always been Sly’s problem. Despite all the amazing things he’s achieved, is capable of, and has proven to be able to do, he’s always selling himself short. His lack of self-confidence has been the main reason he has not asked Flo out yet and why he felt he needed to embellish the stories he’s told Alex. This case was the necessary outing for Sly to realize that he is an incredible guy and that he does not need to lie to paint such a picture of himself.

Happy and Toby’s journey, as a couple and individually, has been my favorite part of this season. While I adore Sylvester and love his growth, I think the challenge of keeping a couple’s story interesting after they get married is the biggest one the writers faced this season. And I think they did a great job at not falling into the typical pitfalls with Happy and Toby. I think their desire to have a child together, while seemingly a natural step forward for a newlywed couple, was, in their case, a huge leap forward in their individual story arcs, whether as a reflection of Toby’s growth (and a step away from his immature ways) or for Happy and her desire and readiness to commit and have a family.

I really appreciate that this was the focus of their season and that the writers did not resort or the typical tiresome tropes of adding drama to an established couple — yes, I am talking about love triangles here. Happy and Toby’s love and commitment and their trust in one another was a breath of fresh air and a very welcome change of pace to how such couples are usually handled on TV. So this made their arc of trying and failing to conceive such a heartwarming and relatable story and struggle. Here are two people who have grown so much and are finally at a place where they both know what they want and what they’ve earned and are trying so hard to get it, yet the hand of fate is working against them. It was so beautiful watching them all season continually try and try and never give up, going through it side by side and supporting each other fiercely and with such devotion and love.

I think it was obvious all along that these two were going to end up adopting. It makes the most sense for who they are, their pasts and their story. It was still necessary to see them go through the process of trying to conceive. I think it taught them a lot about who they are and what they want and brought them so much closer together. But in the end, I think it was inevitable that the child that would complete their family would be adopted. I think it’s a beautiful way to take their story forward and is so respectful of both their pasts and their characters. Crossing my fingers that the show gets renewed; I cannot wait to see Toby and Happy as parents!

And this brings us to the other core relationship on the show and I suppose the most explosive storyline of the finale. I have to admit that, as much as I hate it, I certainly saw it coming. I can imagine the fandom is split on this, especially when it comes to Paige’s reaction and the proportion of things and how they escalated. But to be honest, I have to personally side with Paige on this. And just to make things clear, I think Walter’s initial “mistake” — going with Flo to the lecture — was barely even a mistake. It was how he handled everything afterward and how he’s failed repeatedly, not just with Paige but with everyone else, to accept his own shortcomings or to own up to his mistakes (or even try to adapt and adjust) that warrant Paige — and the rest of the team’s — reactions.

Repeatedly, Walter has played down his lying and his deception. And after being given chance after chance — after several confrontations from the team — not only did he disrespect them and their advice, but he also failed at taking these chances. He allowed a small lie to grow and his deception to become more and more damaging. He held his own fate — and the fate of his relationship with Paige — in his hands, and he can only hold himself responsible for how things played out.

My main issue with Walter this season has been his blatant refusal to change or adapt or make room for others, whether in his romantic relationship with Paige or even with the rest of the team. Somehow this has been the most conceited we’ve seen Walter ever. In several situations Walter has shown his disregard for the rest of the team, his refusal to accommodate Paige or her friends, his blindness toward the importance of everyone on this team and how Scorpion is as much dependent on them as it is on him.

I know I am being harsh on him right now. And do not get me wrong, I absolutely love Walter. He was the reason I was attracted to the show and the one character I am constantly rooting for because I think, in him and his character, the show carries all its major themes. I want Walter to succeed. I want him to find happiness within himself and with his friends and family. And this is why I honestly believe what happened in finale is exactly what needed to happen. In order for Walter to understand the value of what he has, of his friends and his family, for him to appreciate what he and Paige share and the life they can have, he needs to lose it all. He needs to fail and lose everything before he can succeed and have it all again.

The scene in the garage was so emotionally overwhelming and so beautifully acted by everyone involved. Paige’s breakdown was raw and vulnerable and I cannot in a million years fault her for how she feels and her outburst. She was one hundred percent justified in feeling the way she felt after everything that happened and how much she invested and sacrificed for their relationship, only to have Walter not even try to show her the same commitment or willingness to sacrifice or change or compromise or even own up to his mistakes.

I still believe Walter and Paige are meant to be together and that they will find their way back to each other. This is just a bump along the way. Yes, it looks like a mountain more than a bump, but all great couples have to face the impossible before they get their happily ever after, right? That’s just it for these two. They will come back to one another when they are ready, when they are stronger and more in love than ever before.

But first they must overcome these hardships and this break-up, which is more than just a personal one. Paige was not alone when she stormed out of the garage. Sylvester, Happy and Toby all did so, too. And rightfully so. Walter has been treating them as less than equals for a long time, and I think they have had enough. Centipede may not be here for long because, let’s be honest, this show is about Team Scorpion, but for the time being it’s a good thing that it is happening. For starters, Walter needs to see that these geniuses are very capable of doing it all without him and that the people he’s considered dispensable can actually do it better, would be a huge wake up call for him. And I also think it’s a good self-esteem boost for everyone else, especially for someone like Sly, who has been putting himself down for too long.

It is absolutely heartbreaking seeing this family so shattered and broken, but I think from a narrative point of view, it is the best thing that could happen to the show and to the characters.

And yes, I am aware I completely ignored Flo here but I just... I do not want to talk about her suddenly having feelings for Walter and breaking Sly’s heart. That is too much for me to handle! Let’s just cross our fingers and hope the show gets renewed so we get the chance to watch this family rebuild from the ashes and come back stronger than ever.

1 comment:

  1. I thought a lot of the internal drama in Team Scorpion towards the end felt forced. I also think the Waige situation felt forced too. It's part of my issue with how their relationship has been mishandled this season. I know Walter and Paige aren't perfect. But they have made some growth through S1-S3 and it's like most of that growth was erased by the start of S4 for the sake of drama. I hate that and if the show does come back for a fifth season, I suspect the writers will drag out this breakup for all its worth. Even bring Tim back for an episode to further stir up the post.