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Scorpion - Area 51 - Review

Scorpion, “Area 51,” was written by the team of Kim Rome and Nicholas Wootton and was directed by Carey Meyer, who is the production designer for Scorpion. She’s actually better known for production design and her only other directing credit is for a series of CSI: Miami. She does a terrific job with the episode – it’s nicely shot – to be expected from a design eye – but she also gets some terrific performances out of the cast.

This episode had some light moments but also focuses on the impending death of Megan. It certainly isn’t like we haven’t seen this coming, but the episode really focuses on how this is going to affect Walter (Elyes Gabel) and the rest of the team. Gabel is excellent in the episode, and I’m anticipating a really great performance when Megan does pass.

The episode really focuses on how the various team members are coping with this potential loss. Paige (Katharine McPhee) and Cabe (Robert Patrick) are clearly ready to provide support for the others. I loved how Paige approached both Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Happy (Jadyn Wong) to see how they were doing and help them cope.

As the episode opens, Toby is doing a Rorschach test on Cabe to determine a baseline so that he can predict the future. Paige easily sees through this new hobby as a way of gaining control over the world around him, including Megan’s death. Toby tells Paige that death and grief are both just physical processes.

Paige also asks Happy how she’s doing. Happy tells Paige that her mother died the day she was born so she’s used to dealing with death. Paige tries to tell Happy that it’s okay to think about it and be sad, but Happy just deflects. She says ‘or just don’t think about it.’ She’s clearly just going to push it away – much as she’s done with Toby.

Meanwhile, Cabe reaches out to Walter several times. When he tells Walter that they’ll talk when the mission is done, Walter is clearly upset but just says he’s busy. He’s determined to bury himself in his work rather than think about losing his sister. In reality, he’s so caught up in his own experience that he’s giving no thought to what Megan is going through.

Paige also reaches out to Walter. She tells him that they all struggle with the unknown. Walter insists that there’s nothing they can’t explain, and Paige asks about death. Walter then asks Toby a series of questions that Toby answers matter of factly. But when Paige asks why Megan’s own body is attacking her, Toby can’t answer her. Walter then reminds Paige that when she first met them she said that they save everybody. He vows that he’s going to save his sister.

We learn that Walter’s plan to rebuild the rocket and win the prize to fund his quest for a cure is going to take much too long. He seems to have found another solution. He’s going to download Megan’s mind and then find her another body. The show really slides into the realm of science fiction with this one. The main point though is that Walter is doing this for himself. He’s completely forgetting to ask Megan what she wants. It’s quite typical that Walter would be more concerned with Megan’s mind while it’s been clear for sometime that Megan is concerned with her body and her lack of control over that. Deciding what happens to her through her treatment is one way that she can regain that control.

Sylvester (Ari Stidham) is clearly struggling with the thought of losing Megan, but he also loves her enough to consider her wishes and try to abide by them. This causes some real friction between Walter and Sylvester in this episode. Walter leaves Sylvester with Megan while he goes off to take care of the case, but he admonishes Sylvester to treat Megan’s current respiratory infection “aggressively.” Walter is already mad that Sylvester didn’t tell him about the infection immediately. Sylvester asks him to consider Megan’s quality of life, but Walter is too fixated on not losing her – at any cost.

Megan isn’t giving up, but when the doctor suggests intubation, she refuses. Sylvester suggest they do the aggressive thing, but Megan calls him on it and asks him not to be a conduit to her brother but to be the man she loves. When Walter gets back to the hospital, he’s really angry at Sylvester. Sylvester stands up to Walter, though, telling Walter that he loves Megan too and that he just did what she wanted. Walter insists that he’ll look after it himself. You don’t need to have Toby’s ability to predict the future to know that this discussion between Walter in Megan is not going to go well for Walter.

This week’s case also touched nicely on the uncertainty of the unknown. The team is hired by Mike Willis (Billy Wirth) of the CIA to find a missing plane. A plane that went missing in Area 51! Is there another place more mysterious in the US? I loved Paige teasing about aliens and then the final shadow on the roof of the soldiers that looks like an alien!

Willis offers them a huge sum and the entire team donates their pay to Walter to use for Megan. When it becomes obvious that the plane has been taken by rogue agents, Willis doubles the pay for the team to keep investigating. The others have reservations – Toby points out that “being lead around by a pay day is bad business.” I liked the final scene with Willis as Walter and Sylvester work together with the drone, but I’m betting Willis is the kind of guy to hold a grudge…

The case has some nice moments. I loved Happy hacking the phone and them using Toby’s disgusting flossing habit to help them escape. Brad Beyer does a solid job as the much put upon Lieutenant Burns. I love the fight scene in the plane when Walter gets them weightless. I also loved Walter turning to Cabe and breaking the news to him that he doesn’t actually know how to land a plane! I also loved Paige simply kicking the satellite dish to break the cone of silence – much as she’s trying to shake the team up to break their own cone of silence for their emotions.

Once again, a fun case and the real depth of the episode comes with the characters. How well do you think the team will handle it if Megan does die? What did you think of the episode? What was your favorite scene? Line? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

My favorite shot of the episode!

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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