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Scorpion - Fish Fillet - Review

Scorpion, “Fish Fillet,” was written by the team of Paul Grellong and Nick Santora and was directed by Omar Madha. After last week’s low ratings, there was a bit of a bounce back. I like that the showrunners are remaining really close to the project and have built up a stable of directors to also keep the show on track. This episode had the usual time sensitive, high-stakes caper at the center of it, but also did a nice job of weaving together some overall themes. Both Sylvester (Ari Stidham) and Walter (Elyes Gabel) must face some of their on-going fears to grow.

This is Stidham’s episode, and he is absolutely terrific in it. I also loved how they dovetailed Ralph (Riley B Smith) being bullied at school with the other two storylines. The episode may follow the same formula as the others, we start with the gang in the garage, move to the case, and then finish back in the garage, but the writing really wove it all together this week for me.

While the Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas)/Happy (Jadyn Wong) and Paige (Katharine McPhee)/Walter storylines take one step forward and two steps backward, at least we can take comfort in the fact that Sylvester and Megan (Camille Guaty) are moving their relationship steadily forward. As the episode begins, we see Sylvester desperately trying to tell Megan that he loves her. This also picks up a thread from last week’s episode, in which Toby wanted Sylvester to ramp up his discomfort so that he could break through his barriers.

We get to see real growth in Sylvester in this episode. Stidham is always terrific in bringing the comic relief as he frets about his safety. I loved his attempts to do a snarl – Stidham is excellent at the physical comedy. Toby guilts Sylvester into going into the prison because Sylvester is the only one who can memorize the legend and figure out which judges will die at midnight. The plan of putting Sylvester in jail with only the Warden (Wade Williams) knowing who he really was was pretty flimsy – as was the plot. It could only go one way. Someone would take out the Warden and Sylvester would be trapped. Putting his only means of communication in his tooth and then having him antagonize Ten-Ton (Lester Speight) was equally transparent. However, the scene in which Sylvester grabs Ten-Ton’s colors and blows his nose in them is hilarious.

However, we see Sylvester go through all of these trials by fire, leading up to him having to fake his own death. The scene in which Sylvester searches for the legend in the infirmary is terrific and well shot as we the viewer share the tension of the team as they watch Sylvester and can’t help. Sylvester is adamant that he won’t “dabble in suicide.” Toby once again guilts him onward, sending a note that says Sylvester won’t be able to tell Megan he loves her if Sylvester is dead.

Sylvester emerges from the body bag a new man. Cabe (Robert Patrick) asks what’s gotten into him and Sylvester snaps, “A bunch of pills that almost killed me!” The change is complete when Ten-Ton manages to grab Sylvester through the bars and start choking him. The old Sylvester likely would have been paralyzed by fear or simply have waited to be rescued. This Sylvester is a man on a mission and he breaks Ten-Ton’s fingers to save himself, telling him, “I have a limit of one death per day!” It’s hilarious and all Sylvester. But then Sylvester goes completely against type and insists that they can’t leave, regardless of the danger until he’s gotten the legend and figured out which judges are in danger.

It’s a terrific fight scene with Walter and Cabe fighting the guards as Sylvester decodes with Happy coming in with the hose for the last minute save of the team. And it’s this new confidence that allows Sylvester to tell Megan that he loves her – in a uniquely sweet and funny Sylvester way. I loved the scene in which he starts to do the Egret dance for her, explaining that it’s how he feels. She, like the audience, find it funny at first, but Sylvester is truly baring his feelings here, and she and the audience are both touched. And happily for us, Megan tells him, “I love you too.” Sylvester has learned not to run from bullies or his own emotions.

Running from bullies is the advice that Sylvester gives Ralph at the beginning of the episode. We find out that Ralph is being bullied to do another boy’s homework. Each of the team gives him the advice we’d expect. Cabe offers to teach him how to fight and Happy supports fighting as a solution. Walter suggests it’s the best reason yet for Ralph to leave the school and come to be homeschooled at the garage. Paige, however, is determined to have it out with the Principal.

Ralph begs her for one day to solve the problem on his own, and once again proves that he is smarter than all of the others. At the end of the episode, Ralph is on the nightly news. He’s applied to and been accepted by the likes of Harvard, MIT, and Cal Tech. Once again, Walter is in favor of him leaving the school. Paige is baffled as to why he did it. Ralph explains that now that he’s a celebrity, he won’t get picked on. Walter does admire that it was an efficient solution. Ralph refuses to leave the school, however. He says he wants to stay in Elementary school because he doesn’t want to turn out like them – unable to relate to most of the world. Walter still urges Ralph to take some night classes with Cal Tech to stimulate his mind though! Smith is excellent in the episode, and you can see that he has developed beyond the closed off child we first met.

Paige also wants Walter to develop beyond his immediate circle of geniuses to continue to grow and learn to interact better with people. When Paige meets Ray (Kevin Weisman), she sees that he offers something that Walter is missing. Weisman is hilarious, especially as he ‘pretends’ to be a lawyer to help facilitate Sylvester getting the drugs. McPhee is really good in the jail scene too. Ray accepts Walter for who he is and isn’t put off by his low emotional affect, so Paige sees him as a way for Walter to become better socialized just as Ralph is by staying in Elementary school.

Molina (Alana de la Garza) isn’t exactly a bully, but she proves herself not to be a true friend when she refuses to get Sylvester out of prison when he’s in danger. When Molina comes to congratulate the team afterwards, Cabe stops her and tells her that he was a marine. No man left behind really means something to him. He tells her that he doesn’t trust her anymore, and he’ll never put his team in her hands again. Patrick is terrific in this scene.

Cabe does get to teach someone to fight when Toby turns to the heavy bag after Happy leaves, presumably with her new boyfriend. I think it’s too on the nose and that there’s more to this than we are seeing. I’m betting that it isn’t some kind of dance club where they were meeting, but that Happy is getting some kind of training from this guy.

I thought this was another solid episode. Good writing and good performances helped to shore up a not terrific case. Sylvester coming out of the body bag was priceless, but his Egret dance was the moment of the episode for me. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts – and favorite scene – 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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