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Scorpion - Shorthanded - Review

Scorpion, “Shorthanded,” was written by Elizabeth Beall and directed by Dwight H. Little. Beall has also written for Castle and Little’s many credits include Bones, Nikita, Prison Break, and 24, and his movies include Halloween 4 and Free Willy 2. This was yet another solid episode – that netted solid ratings, but it felt again like it was slightly out of order. While the centerpiece of the show is the “capers,” the character relationships, interactions, and growth are what really keep me coming back to a show, and those are negatively impacted by re-arranging episodes. It’s just a small quibble about an otherwise really fun episode.

Having had the pleasure of meeting the real Walter O’Brien and Elyes Gabel who plays him in the series at SDCC this year, I can tell you that Gabel is doing an outstanding job in portraying Walter. I say this for two reasons. Firstly, he’s not doing an impersonation of Walter, but he portrays the essentials of Walter perfectly – serious and focused. Secondly, Gabel is really quite outgoing and personable – and he smiles a lot more than we see Walter do on the show – in other words, Gabel certainly appears to be quite different in real life than the character that he’s playing. Sometimes a subtle, restrained performance gets missed, and I’d hate for Gabel to be short changed.

At the heart of this episode is something that every viewer can relate to – the need to prove yourself to somebody. Walter needs to prove himself to Gallo (Robert Patrick) and Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas) needs to prove himself to Walter. Toby takes the bet that he won’t bet as one way to prove his worth to Walter. Of course, that bet itself should mean he loses, right? That theme of parental approval runs throughout the entire episode even being the incentive behind Renee’s (Alicia Lagano) robbing her father’s (Corbin Bernsen) casino. The episode actually features a number of great guest stars including Bernsen, Chris Mulkey, and Jose Zuniga as Lou.

I’m really enjoying how they are drawing Paige (Katherine McPhee) into the action. She calls Walter on his behavior; in fact, she tells him off right after he gets Ronny (Chris Mulkey) fired. Of course, if he was let go like that simply for having small hands, the casino would like face a wrongful dismissal suit. Surely, they could have offered him some other position. It didn’t make it a lot better when he only offered to help him when he was about to get beaten up. I’m hoping that this is all a learning curve for Walter, and we’ll see him become more sensitive with Paige’s help.

I really liked how the various jobs were layered in this episode. We only see the end of one case before the team takes off to Vegas to help the Crimson – much to Gallo’s displeasure – so that they have a case they can use for publicity. That case is then solved before the opening credits. Then we see the team have to pull together to help Walter who’s charged with robbing the casino. Walter refuses to let Paige call Gallo because they “are a professional company” and then proceeds to piss off the judge and get put in jail. The episode then focuses on the team trying to function without Walter. Paige does a good job stepping in to manage them, but it also drives home how important Walter is in that role.

There’s a nice moment when the team is struggling to function, when Sylvester (Ari Stidham) says they can’t solve it without Walter. Toby asks him, “Who ruined you?” and Sylvester answers, “My father.” It’s a nice underscore to the theme of the episode. It also demonstrates that Sylvester might be a bit farther ahead than Walter and Toby as he’s already come to terms with this. Stidham continues to be hysterical in this episode, especially in the scene where he’s working the numbers and encouraging Cuppa Coffee across the finish line! And did anyone else notice that the shirt Sylvester wears for the whole episode is Tweety Bird yellow???

I loved Happy (Jadyn Wong) zip lining them into the Casino, but I think a harness would have been a good idea! And I’m still unclear on how they were supposed to get out. I also loved Walter MacGyvering his way out of jail. It was a nice touch for Paige to show up in the nick of time to get Happy out of the office. By the end of the episode, Walter is ready to put his need to save Toby above his pride, so it was nice to see Gallo show up to save the day too.

I loved that Gallo still gets his revenge by making Toby and Walter walk – but he also ensures that the two talk by doing so. Gallo refuses to take them because he doesn’t want to listen to “the kids” bickering. The final scene brings us back to the theme of the episode, and underscores that even the smartest people in the world can have relatable problems – and things to prove to the people who are important to them.

This episode underscores why this is such a good show – great writing, fun and clever escapades, and relatable characters who are really well acted. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Forever, Defiance, Bitten, Glee, and a few others! Highlights of this past year include covering San Diego Comic Con as press and a set visit to Bitten. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.


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