CBS landed a hit last fall with the inaugural season of Scorpion, the show based on a true story about a team of high intelligence personal headed by real-life genius computer analyst Walter O’Brien (IQ 197). Though Scorpion had a difficult time convincing critics of its merit, viewers quickly latched on to the diverse characters, crazy stunts, and quick-paced plot. Audiences found Scorpion to be a surprising yet favorable mix of humor, heart, and edge-of-your-seat intensity. Scorpion is bringing something totally new to prime time television. Viewers (genius or otherwise) can appreciate the energy that the show brings and the incredible representation of the struggles these heroes face every day.
The story of Scorpion began when Walter O’Brien was just 11 years old and living in Ireland. The young genius (codename Scorpion) had hacked into NASA to print blueprints to hang up in is room, and for obvious reasons the government showed up at his door expecting to arrest a cyber criminal, but instead discovering that it was just an innocent child. The government decided that they wanted Walter on their side and Agent Cabe Gallo of Homeland Security took him under his wing. But it is soon clear that taking care of a genius is no easy task because people with very high IQs have very low EQs, that is, comprehension of emotional situations and concept of how regular people behave.
Fast forward 22 years and Walter (played by Elyes Gabel) now runs a rag-tag team of geniuses out of a garage in Los Angeles. Gallo is out of the picture after a falling out between him and Walter many years before. The team (called Scorpion) is struggling to make it financially because jobs requiring their skill set are few and far between. Not to mention that these geniuses are terrible with people and fail to explain their unconventional methods and eccentric personalities. There’s the human calculator, Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham), who is prone to anxiety and extreme phobias. Toby Curtis (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is the team’s behaviorist, who graduated with a PHD from Harvard at age 17. Toby provides most of the humor on the show, as he is the witty, sarcastic one of the group. He’s also self-absorbed, has a horrible gambling problem, and a deep infatuation with the team’s master mechanic Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong). Speaking of the genius fabricator, Happy Quinn, though really badass, is aggressive, blunt, and rough around the edges. She’s as a beautiful as she is smart, but grew up between foster homes and the streets and therefore has a hard exterior that is intimidating to most people.
In the pilot, Cabe Gallo returns begging for the help of Walter and his team. The team also gains one more member — Paige Dineen (Katherine McPhee). Paige, however, is not a genius. She acts the world interpreter for the geniuses and helps with the more emotional side of the cases they encounter and, in turn, Walter and the team help her to connect with her 10 year old genius son, Ralph (Riley B. Smith). Finally, Gallo offers the whole team a job with Homeland Security, where they will get more cases and their skills will be put to good use.
In the series, each episode is a new case that Scorpion must solve. These cases have taken them to nuclear power plants, drug cartel territory, and war zones. But while these cases are challenging, they are nothing compared to the difficulties that emerge within their own garage. Walter, who has struggled with emotions his entire life and cannot comprehend them, must learn how to deal with his developing romantic feelings for Paige and his genuine love for her son. Things get even stickier when Paige’s ex (and Ralph’s father), Drew, returns after seven years. Meanwhile, Happy and Toby are running around in circles, making moves and then backing away. Their relationship has been developing at a pretty fast pace throughout the first season, but the road has not been smooth. The two shared a passionate kiss and Toby even admitted his love for Happy, but still they don’t know how to cope with idea of a real romance and are consequently stuck in a kind of relationship limbo. And as for Sylvester, he and Walter’s older sister, Megan (Camille Guaty) hit it off right away. All would be well for them except that Megan was diagnosed with MS, which is growing more and more aggressive and will eventually take her life.
The relationships between all the members of Scorpion and how they interact with each other is certainly the selling point for most viewers. Going into its Sophomore season, producers Nicholas Wootton and Don Tardino promise more action, bigger problems to solve, and a closer look at all the members of Scorpion. Viewers are hoping for more character backstory and the return of ex-Scorpion member Mark Collins (Joshua Leonard), who made us all question the line between genius and insanity.
Now that the writers have found their footing and decided what’s working and what’s not, Scorpion will be a much more focused show. Season 1 was, of course, a trial run. Audiences can expect to see a more refined version of Team Scorpion and a clearer overarching plot. Season 1 left a lot of loose ends, so it’s anyone’s guess as to which storyline the writers will roll with. But it’s guaranteed that there will be more stellar acting, clever writing, high-intensity action sequences, and the spirit that made the first season such a success.