Lucky attendees at CBS’ Scorpion panel at San Diego Comic Con 2014 were treated to the world premiere of its pilot before the stars of the show and producers were paraded out.
Scorpion is based on a true story and the pilot opens up in Callan, Ireland when a SWAT unit descends upon a cottage to take in a notorious computer hacker known as Scorpion. However to the team’s surprise it turns out that Scorpion is just a 10-year old boy named Walter O’Brien who promises to tell those bringing him in how we hacked into NASA.
Just before Walter is carted away, Agent Cabe Gallo has a word with the young lad with what seems to be a proposition to use his intellect for the greater good. One of the reveals at episode’s end is Walter developed software tor relief efforts but it was instead used to bomb Baghdad and killed 2000 people.
We flash forward to the present were we see a grown up Walter (Elyse Gabel) at a diner. Walter is breaking up with his girlfriend of 3 months and because of his intellect (he has a 197 IQ), he lacks social graces so the breakup is more methodical to Walter down to were he documented for his now ex-girlfriend her emotional reaction and what she will go through.
Walter chose the diner because he was also on a job to repair its wireless network. While on the job, Walter takes an interest in the young son of one of the waitresses, Paige (Katherine McPhee). Walter notices something special about Ralph but keeps it to himself for a bit (more on that later) and he leaves to return to his company of fellow geniuses.
It seems that Walter’s company is in financial trouble and is taking odd jobs to keep afloat. Walter’s team consists of Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas) who is in trouble with some criminal elements but is brilliant and deducing people’s personality and behavior, Sylvester (Ari Stidham) a human calculator and Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong) a kick-ass mechanical engineer.
Gallo comes crashing back into Walter’s life as he requires his and his team’s unique set of skills help. It seems that a LAX software upgrade has introduced a bot that has caused a shutdown of systems. This means that planes are flying blind in the air and can’t land safely thus are in danger of running out of fuel. Everyone on the team will get $50,000 for their troubles.
Walter deduces the solution is to revert LAX’s systems back to a point before the software upgrade was applied however their path to LAX is not feasible so Walter redirects to the diner where we recently installed a reliable wireless network.
Gallo empties the diner so Walter and his team can do their magic. When one thing that Walter tries doesn’t work, he decides to retrieve the old software back at LAX’s datacenter and tasks Happy and Toby to retrieve it. There were some complications in getting said disk as the doors were locked but Happy figures a way to get them to open and Toby deduces where the LAX disk drive is.
When the arrive back at the diner, the drive becomes useless as it was near a speaker that caused it to be wiped. Walter starts to panic and become defeatist until Paige tells him to buck up and find another solution. As each obstacle comes across the team, Sylvester keeps on reducing the odds of success.
What Walter comes up with is to get one of the international flights that originated before the software upgrade was applied to go to a smaller airport where Walter will use the planes wireless and his laptop’s wireless to try and download the old software which then can be downloaded to LAX’s systems.
However, when they try and do that, the plane was flying too fast for any download to happen. The only way that a download can happen is through a hardwire connection.
Showing that the pilot was directed by Fast and Furious franchise director Justin Lin, we get a pretty sweet action sequence that involves a Ferrari going at top speed to meet up with a low flying airplane and McPhee trying to connect an Ethernet connection to the laptop. Of course it works and planes are now able to land safely.
The end result is Gallo has formed a task force and wants to hire Walter and his team to be part of it where they will get a spiffy new setup and do things like they did today. Walter agrees but wants Paige to also get $50,000 for her part in today’s rescue mission. Walter then shares this news to his team.
Throughout, Walter observes Ralph and tells Paige that her son is a genius and can prove it. When we first see Ralph, we see him randomly playing with salt and pepper shakers and creamers but he is actually playing chess and even beat Sylvester at a game, Paige is relieved to know that is way she is having a hard time connecting with her son.
After everything has calmed down, Walter visits Paige’s apartment to offer her a job on his team. How Paige benefits is Ralph is exposed to geniuses like him (we see Ralph taking a shine to Walter) and in return Paige will help the connect with the real world and provide them with some social graces.
So that was the pilot. It seemed well-received by the Ballroom 20 crowd. It was a bit predictable as you knew obstacles were going to be thrown in their path. Gabel is actually quite winning as Walter and nice to see McPhee on TV again and in a role, she admits in the panel afterwards is a departure from anything she has done. I have video taped the panel (where the real Walter White was present) so watch out for it on my YouTube Channel in the coming weeks (can’t upload it now as I don’t have enough memory on my PC to import it).
Scorpion will air on CBS this fall on Mondays at 9pm ET/8pm CT. Here is a first look at the show courtesy of CBS: