Some college students pledge frats, and some college students pledge to save the American economic system.
Credit: Neil Jacobs/CBS
S2 E11
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If Good Will Hunting taught us anything, it’s that a ragtag genius can stumble his way onto a college campus, find his full potential, and then literally drive off into the sunset. And if Scorpion teaches us anything, it’s that life is a little more difficult than that. This week, #TeamScorpion is thrown back onto campus to uncover a hacker and save the American economic system…because all the spots in English 101 were taken.

The Backstory

But we start in the garage, six weeks after Megan passed away. Ralph is hanging out with Paige and the team and working on his time capsule project. Sylvester, Happy, and Toby take turns offering contributions for the project, but when Paige asks Walter if he wants to add to the capsule, he scoffs. He tells them that life is about moving forward, not looking behind.

In the six weeks that have passed since Megan died, Walter’s clearly forgotten that whole hand-holding with Paige thing. He’s back to shutting people out, but Paige calls him out because that’s what Paige and I do. We’re pushers. Finally, Walter admits that he was “put off” by his sister’s death, but he’s more focused on Ray’s partner’s death anniversary. He’s hoping to prove that Ray’s partner’s death wasn’t actually Ray’s fault.

BUT KATHERINE COOPER IS HERE. And that means it’s time for a mission.

The Mission

Katherine tells the team about a hacker who is using ransomware to threaten a Federal Reserve System shutdown that will crash the American economic system. The NSA was able to track it to a Professor Cooley, who was found shot dead in his apartment. The computer he was using is linked to a room, which was used by four different groups: a wrestling group, a sorority, a drama club, and a psychology group. The team members have to wear a communications device that will go off if it picks up any signal that they are near the hacking equipment.

The Execution

Each member of the team gets to tackle a group. Sylvester is assigned to the wrestling team, though all he admits to ever wrestling is his emotions. Oh, Sylvester. You deserve all the love. At first it seems like he’ll fit right in with the group when they give him the (best) nickname: Tyrannosaurs Sex. But it’s quickly followed by them dropping a load of old jockstraps on him because boys are gross until they’re, like, 27. No hacking signal, though.

Walter is assigned to teach a drama class full of overly politically correct students. They eventually tell him to take his trigger words and microaggressions elsewhere. Walter doesn’t mind because they don’t set off the hacking signal either.

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Toby’s assignment is the most personal — he gets chosen to apply for a psychology teaching job under his old nemesis Quincy Berkstead, who once stole his fiancée. In the waiting room, Toby happens upon former NFL linebacker Willie McGinest, who just happens to be working on a project focusing on positive attitudes. Toby does anything but offer a positive attitude, but he’s able to swallow his pride long enough to get close to Quincy to get a read, setting off the signal. Paige is able to alert Cabe, who is working as a campus cop, and Cabe shows up and chloroforms Quincy.

The problem is, even once they get Quincy back, question him, and run his phone, there’s nothing tying him to the hacking. Quincy does take the opportunity to throw Toby some harsh love and let him know that the only reason his fiancée left him was because he wasn’t a good boyfriend to her and that all he’s done is blame Quincy.


NEXT: Happy just wants to be normal

Last on the roster is Happy, who has been enlisted to rush Pi Upsilon, which Paige happens to be an alumnus of. I don’t mean to be harsh, but is anyone else super surprised that Paige went to college? What happened between college and her latest waitressing job? Maybe a degree in musical theater? A failed attempt at starring in a Marilyn Monroe-themed musical? I DON’T KNOW.

Regardless, Paige works with Happy to prep her for sorority life so that she can raid the sorority house for a signal. Happy is possibly the worst sorority girl ever, but that’s also why we love Happy. She’s practically given up when one of the pledge sisters confronts her and asks her why she wouldn’t want an extended family like this. In true college form, it causes Happy to have an existential crisis and ask herself in the mirror, “Why aren’t you normal?”

But then she overhears a boy and a girl discussing Professor Cooley, so she makes a listening device of a hair dryer, breaks into their room, pulls them out along with their laptop, and makes a run for it. They escape just as a gunman named Ryder approaches, who chases them into a garden. They hide in a shed, and as Ryder approaches, Happy fixes nuts on a chainsaw. As soon as the door opens, she shoots the nuts off and hits the gunman in the face.

The two kids worked with Cooley and reveal that the ransomware is being protected by a Quantum, which is a ridiculously smart computer. Walter is going to upload his anti-code to the Quantum, but the problem is, it’s kept in a vacuum that is kept at a specific temperature that, if tampered with, will almost certainly lead to the computer exploding and killing everyone around it.

The Revised Execution

The team puts on astronaut suits and work on the computer from within. Even against the odds, Happy drills into the computer. She’s able to break in, allowing Sly to set up a mirror to redirect the computer’s laser, which lets Walter get his coding into the computer.

Sylvester begins to panic, causing his body temperature, and the room’s temperature, to increase. They have to find a way to calm him down, so Paige brings up Megan, which Walter hates. Her plan works, though, and Walter completes the mission. It works, but there’s a bigger problem now. Paige is being held at gunpoint by Ryder, who recovered quite nicely from those chainsaw nuts.

Ryder, who worked to put the ransomware in place, demands his money. Ryder holds Paige out in the campus quad, allowing Cabe’s rent-a-cop friend to swing by on his Segway for a chat. Cabe sneaks in from behind, tackling Ryder. Ryder tries to grab his gun, but Paige utilizes her superpower, which is stepping on people’s wrists when they’re causing issues. Is it understated? Sure. Effective. YOU BET.

Walter and Paige begin to walk back, and they pass the drama kids, who make a snide comment about Walter not being able to act. He snags Romeo and Juliet away from the kids and throws down a scene like it’s his job (which, you know, it is because Elyes Gabel is an actor). It’s another step in his emotional journey, even though Walter assures Paige acting is not emotions, just practice. Oh, Walter.

But the moment of the week happens when Happy stops Toby and tells him that even though he didn’t get to re-create college the way he’d hoped, she could at least give him his dance. For a moment, she gets to be normal and tells him that she’s “letting down her shield.” When you’re done being a total Paige, wipe your tears away and listen to that wonderful song they danced to.

Walter and Paige come back and find Ray looking at Walter’s project. He was trying to prove Ray’s partner’s oxygen tank was defective and that it wasn’t his fault. Ray looks defeated, but as he turns away, a trail of bubbles form, proving that Ray wasn’t at fault, after all. Ray says, “I never thought I’d have another friend like Danny,” and hugs Walter, who gives in and hugs Ray back. Ray decides it’s his time to leave the old garage but not before telling Paige, “You know how he feels about you. You need to go to him; he’s not able to do it on his own.”

Paige tells Walter that she knows there are things that matter to him and that a time capsule is a good place to put reminders of those things. After Paige leaves the room, Walter picks up the picture of Megan and him that Sly tried to give him at the beginning of the episode, puts it in the time capsule, and walks away.

After all of that, it appears that college campuses aren’t so bad for geniuses, after all, or maybe, just maybe, the most practical genius of them all is starting to truly open up and find the emotions buried deep within his heart.

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