Exploring the art of storytelling.
“Scorpion” is a show about a group of geniuses recruited by the Department of Homeland Security. The show is influenced by true events which interested me enough to warrant an hour of my time.
In the first scene of the pilot, we were introduced to the main character, Walter O’Brien. We watched as Walter was taken from his home in Ireland by the US Department of Homeland Security. During the scene, Walter spoke with an Irish accent. When the episode came back to the present, we discovered that Walter no longer had this accent. I do understand that a language or accent can diminish overtime without exposure. However, I think Walter would have been a more interesting character to me if he had an Irish accent.
The only bit of back story told about the geniuses is in the opening scene. But I want to learn more about all of the geniuses. We don’t have any back story on any of the characters except for that one clip of Walter. How did they meet each other? Why are they all working together? And what is this business of theirs? What do they do? They seem like interesting individuals, but I want to know more. And I’m sure we’ll get more information as the series progresses. I just wished the pilot had a bit more of an introduction.
Walter is the main character of “Scorpion.” Unfortunately, I felt like Walter lacked a personality. He spoke in a monotonous tone and rarely made any facial expressions. He also wasn’t that nice of a person. Walter was rude and judgmental so I was immediately put off by him. I’m hoping that in the upcoming episodes he will grow on me, otherwise, this will affect my interest in the show.
Paige was a confusing character as well. When Walter started commenting about her son, I expected more of a reaction from her. Paige was told by a man she rarely knew and his friends that her son would never connect with her, let alone other people. Yes, Paige did understand that her son was different; however, to hear a complete stranger point that out can sometimes be hard to bear. She didn’t seem one bit offended. I was a bit skeptical with how accepting Paige was of her son’s casual diagnosis. Also, she seemed a bit too naïve, completely believing what these people were telling her. If I were her, I would have done more research or spoken to professionals to confirm that these strangers were correct. The character of Paige just seemed off.
The dialogue in the pilot episode was very serious which made the acting feel a bit too forced. The words and phrases didn’t flow naturally. Sometimes, it felt as if the actors were just reading their lines off the script. The acting was either underdone or overdone. No one seemed to be on point.
Going along with this, “Scorpion” was just a bit too serious overall. I could tell that there were a few lines placed in the script to ease the tension and provide some lighthearted humor. However, the jokes weren’t funny which made the episode all the more serious.
My biggest concern with the pilot was that I did not understand the conflict. I understood that the planes couldn’t land because of a software malfunction on the ground. I have no knowledge of how software works, but this situation just seemed unrealistic to me. It was hard for me to believe that hundred of lives could be in danger because of a software issue. If that can actually happen, then that is just frightening. Because of all of this, I just didn’t understand the severity of the conflict. Nothing was laid out and explained to the non-genius minds. I felt like the writers just assumed that I knew what they were talking about. Because I didn’t understand what was going on, the situation itself didn’t seem serious enough to me. I couldn’t understand why it was worth the panic.
Something that probably added to this was the fact that none of the passengers or pilots showed any reaction to the situation. Even if the passengers didn’t know what was going on, they should have noticed that the plane didn’t land at its scheduled landing time. If I were flying in circles for an extended period of time above the airport I was supposed to land, I would be concerned. And safety on a plane is a big deal. I’d think at least one person would be freaking out. There’s at least one nervous passenger on every flight who would notice something wasn’t right. But no, everyone appeared calm and relaxed. The pilots themselves didn’t seem at all nervous with the fact that they and all their passengers may fall out of the sky due to lack of fuel. They seemed relatively calm when speaking to Walter about his impossible plan. This is life and death people, why aren’t you freaking out? But since they didn’t freak out, it eased me a bit, thinking the situation couldn’t really be that bad.
While the show relies on suspense, the pilot wasn’t entirely gripping. It was confusing and overly serious. I will give the production team the benefit of the doubt, blaming these issues on the fact that this was the first episode. It can sometimes be difficult to introduce new characters and a new concept. Here’s to hoping the next few episodes feel a little less amateur.