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Scorpion: 1.21 “Cliffhanger” Review

This week, the team finds out the truth behind what happened in Baghdad, and everything goes to crap.

Scorpion has to stop a man named Simon who’s planning to kill a facility of people with Saran gas if the President doesn’t tell the world that the 1997 Baghdad mission (using Walter’s program) actually killed 2,000 civilians including his fiancé—instead of the intended target.

The situation escalates on the team’s side when Cabe tells Walter that, three days before the mission in Baghdad, Director Merrick told Cabe the true agenda. It’s been made obvious that Walter appreciates trust, and now, Walter and Cabe’s relationship is fractured beyond repair. (Again.)

So, really, the case just serves as a backdrop to change everything for the team before next week’s finale because Walter is no longer the guy who hides his emotions or refuses to deal with them and tells Director Merrick that Cabe is off the team once the case is closed.

Of course, Walter is able to save the day by getting into the facility to distract Simon while Cabe evacuates everyone after cutting a hole into the facility’s incinerator to get inside. Although Simon takes Walter hostage, Walter gets away, and Simon dies as the Saran gas filters through the ventilation system.

But, there’s more!

Ralph, who had snuck out of school to help the team, seals the hole in the incinerator using the silicone rubber model of Super Fun Man that Sylvester had gifted him to make sure the gas wouldn’t get outside, which, okay, Ralph is a boss kid, but it’s obvious that his admiration of Walter (and the team) combined with his need to help his friends makes him as likely as Walter to put himself in harm’s way.

Unfortunately this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and after the case ends, Paige decides that she’s going to move with Drew to Maine and take Ralph with them. The conversation that follows is the most heart wrenching of the show so far because Paige’s assertion that Ralph can’t be around Walter when Ralph is so inspired by Walter obviously cuts deep.

Especially considering for picture day Ralph dressed up like Walter. (I thought it was super cute.)

Worse is Paige’s response when Walter asks if it’s so awful for someone to be like him or around him: “I just don’t want him to become you!” (Ugh. The worst.)

And, that’s after Walter points out that taking Ralph far away with a man who already abandoned Paige and Ralph once is totally ridiculous.

Snaps. I’ll always be on the show’s side about Drew.

Paige’s last words aren’t any better when she tells Walter that he’s not Ralph’s dad.

And, the entire audience groans in sympathy with a worried mother and a distressed and already emotionally compromised protagonist, who honestly has the right to be pissed at Cabe, but is worried about losing both Ralph and Paige and is having an overall terrible, no good day.

Walter’s response is that he doesn’t need Paige or Cabe (who had resigned at the end of the case once Walter told him that he’s not Cabe’s kid anymore).

Tears everywhere.

Then, to top it all off, Walter goes on a reckless driving spree in the car that the billionaire tech mogul from “Going South” gifted him at episode’s start that unsurprisingly ends in a cliffhanger because anytime a protagonist says they don’t need another character, stuff is about to go down.

Walter’s car is stuck on a cliff’s edge precariously, and if Walter moves, he’ll drop to his death as the team explains in the promo for next week: “Cliff hanger, hanging off a cliff, that’s why they call him Cliff Hanger.”

(Everyone remembers Between the Lyons, right?)

Which makes it kind of hard to truly be invested as an audience member knowing that there’s still the actual finale to come which could change everything yet again.

There’s no way Cabe and Paige won’t show up, so I wonder if Walter almost dying changes Paige’s belief about danger or cements them. (No way I’m assuming Walter won’t survive.)

This show may be billed as geniuses saving the world, but it’s really about a genius and his daddy issues and his found family because Walter found Toby, Sylvester, and Happy and then Cabe found them again. Adding Paige and Ralph to the mix elevated the four geniuses into a team that has saved a whole lot of people.

While Paige is absolutely correct in wanting to keep her son safe, who—to be fair—is definitely emulating some of Walter’s more unsafe qualities, it’s not fair to blame that all on Walter or the team. Even if Paige and Ralph had never met the team, Ralph would have continued to look for something that would challenge him just like most kids do who get bored.

As for Cabe and Walter, well, the parallels between Cabe being Walter’s stand in dad and Walter trying to unsubtly be Ralph’s have been clear since the pilot, and I’m honestly surprised it took so long for Paige to comment on it so directly.

Still, this is a perfect penultimate episode considering all that’s happened between Walter and Cabe and then Walter and Paige.

Grade: A


Image courtesy CBS

Seher
Written By

Seher obsesses over show ratings and usually writes about media representation issues. Otherwise, she's at work in the non-profit world using her anthropology and public health training.

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