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Scorpion - Satellite of Love - Review

Scorpion returned for season two with “Satellite of Love” written by Nick Santora and Nicholas Wootton and directed by Sam Hill. I always like when the creator is front and center as an episode writer. It’s not unusual for the first or last episode of a season, but you’ll see Santora’s name on at least the first three episodes. This really helps a show maintain its creative vision, and if you liked Scorpion’s “formula” last season, chances are you really liked this episode.

This episode delivered exactly what I was expecting, and that’s not a bad thing. We had the same action and twists with the lives of 10 million people hanging on the brilliance of the team. There were some nice tender moments and the humor we’ve also come to expect. The entire cast seamlessly picked up from where they left off with the characters at the end of last season, and Alana De La Garza seamlessly joined the team as new Homeland Security handler Adriana Molina.

I suspect the big thing we weren’t expecting was an almost complete reset button on the romances. Once again it looks like Happy (Jadyn Wong) and Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas) will have an easier time working through their problems and we’ll have to wait a lot longer to see Walter (Elyes Gabel) and Paige (Katherine McPhee) finally get together. The show would seem to be appeasing us with the Happy/Toby romance so we don’t become completely frustrated…

The basic structure of the show really stayed exactly the same. I loved the car chase at the beginning which turns out to be Cabe’s (Robert Patrick) new job as a technical advisor to Gene Simmon’s new action movie. I also really loved the scene of Paige waitressing. It was a terrific shout out to how we met her in the “Pilot” and turns out to be a nightmare. In fact, she’s been using her summer off to take business and management classes to more effectively run the office. Happy has been making things – I loved her shooting Toby in the leg and Thomas’ scream! Sylvester (Ari Stidham) has been focusing on collecting, and Toby was betting on the races at Santa Anita. And they are all thrilled to get called in for a case.

Walter is still undergoing therapy for post-concussion syndrome and is wearing a brace on his right hand. I loved Happy’s immediate comment that she could have built something better! The condition is quite real – you can look it up. Interestingly, Walter has only allowed Cabe to visit him in rehab. Naturally, it’s Cabe and Paige who notice that Walter isn’t quite as healthy as he says he is. Patrick doesn’t have a whole lot to do in the episode, but in addition to the opening scene with Simmons, he’s also great in the final scene with Walter. Walter is sure Paige has tipped Cabe off that he’s not 100%, but Cabe assures him, “I just know you, kid.” I love the subtle way Cabe’s face softens as he says this.

Naturally, the opening scene is not without its other hijinks – like Toby and the team using Paige’s new intercom system to eavesdrop on Walter and Paige’s discussion. Paige tells Walter she’s been reading about the importance of open communication and then admits to having kissed him when he was unconscious. She tells him she respects him and doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize the team. Walter agrees that it was all just the release of pent up emotions and that they are better off just as colleagues. And of course, we all know that that’s the opposite of open, honest communication!

I think the show is in some danger of teasing this out too long. The two do share a nice steamy kiss by the end of the episode, and then immediately deny it has any effect on them – and then the last shot we see of both of them by themselves is that they’ve lied again… I thought we might have been getting somewhere when they both admitted they hadn’t tested their hypothesis that they couldn’t or shouldn’t be in a relationship and working together. One kiss is hardly a test!

Happy and Toby have a much more satisfying arc in the episode. They end up having to work in the field together – which is always gold! Toby and Happy have to get the Russian code to hack the satellite. I loved Toby setting up the sting based on the security head being a male Russian who would pay no attention to tech Happy and then it turning out to be a female who also knew how to speak Japanese. Loved Happy jumping in and playing her role perfectly! The two really do work well together.

      They also have great chemistry, so I loved the parallel scenes of Toby telling Happy that he’s like a rare mold. After Happy is injured – and that was a great stunt! – Toby assures her yet again that he would never hurt her – and he saves her eyesight. Happy then tells Toby that she sees “A rare and delightful fungus.” She really does see him and she’s beginning to realize he won’t hurt her.

The case of the week is a good one with lots of twists and unexpected surprises. Once again, each of the team members plays a vital part. Cabe is about the only one not to have a major role, but hopefully, that’s more because the episode was introducing Adiana and needed to foreground her a little more. She seems to be more of an ally than Merrick – at least she says she wants them to succeed even if by the end of the episode, she’s pretty much taking credit for the entire operation – with only a brief generic nod to their help.

De La Garza does a good job establishing the character, but she’s also a regular on the new Criminal Minds spinoff slated for winter, so I wonder if the character will be with us for more than a few episodes. De La Garza is fresh off of the cancelled Forever in which she was really excellent. She has a real range, so fingers crossed they find a way to keep her on a recurring basis. She had some nice moments with the team, and certainly had no problem going to bat with them against the President: “the people in my room are smarter than the people in your room.”

I liked that she is smart enough to quickly realize when Walter is right about them having bad intel on the satellite. I’m not quite sure how to take how quickly she was willing to bug out and sacrifice millions of lives to save the team – so they could save more another time. Is she protecting them or just a valuable asset? I think that is the role that Cabe will continue to have to play – though that didn’t really come through here.

Some of my favorite parts of the episode were the comic bits. I loved Paige having to pull Walter aside because his “people skills were rusty.” Naturally, one of the best scenes is when Paige hits the wrong key and Walter’s hacked hospital video of Paige kissing him gets thrown up on the big screen. Toby calling it “The Embarrassment” was also priceless. And then having the video infect Walter’s computer with a virus – yes, Toby, great irony! – was a nice twist.

Adriana is bewildered by Happy’s needing microwaves to build an EMP, leading Sylvester to ask, “How would you build an EMP?” I also liked Sylvester hacking her history before she could even suggest they’d do it anyway! Walter mutters ‘that’s a wrinkle’ after dropping his parachute while having a dizzy spell, having the team ask “What’s a wrinkle” and with perfect timing having the parachute essentially drop at their feet. Even a fairly cheap sight gag like Walter hanging at chest level with Paige in her parachute is pretty adorably funny.

This was definitely a solid season opener. I thought McPhee, Wong, and De La Garza were particularly strong in the episode. The case had some great twists and I liked the final twist with Walter and Paige having to work together to save the day and each other. The show continues to have some great special effects. What did you think of the episode? Did you like the addition of Adriana? Do you think she’s going to be a help to the team or is she just out for herself? Are you satisfied with how the romances are playing out? 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, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. 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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