Television: Scorpion, "Plutonium Is Forever"

This episode gives us our Moriarty character—or, in MacGyver parlance, our Murdoc.

Meet Mark Collins, former Scorpion member, and the guy with the next-highest IQ after Walter. Mark and Walter are really bad for one another because there is no one to check and balance them; they egg one another on with their ever expanding minds . . . Or something like that.

Think of it this way: If Holmes and Moriarty hung out and got high together, if they worked out amazing plots and plans and in the meantime forgot to do things like eat because they got so wrapped up in their ideas? Yeah, that.

See, geniuses don't need the drugs. They just feed off grand thoughts. But instead of giving them the munchies, it makes them forget the world and basic hygiene.

This is all basically backstory for this episode, in which Mark Collins gets Walter's attention by getting caught wandering around a restricted nuclear reactor and then, when taken into custody, demanding to see Walter.

Collins is into listening to "chatter;" that is, he hacks into radio signals and listens to cell phone conversations, truckers on CB, and also to whatever the guys at the nuclear power plant happen to say to one another. By keeping a log, Collins figures out the plant is pushing toward meltdown. He ropes in Walter, and Walter brings in the team.

But of course the team knows how bad Collins is for Walter. No one wants to work with him.

Throughout the episode it's also pretty clear Collins has an ulterior motive for having called Walter in. Collins doesn't have much interest in whether or not the reactor melts down; he just wants to have a good time and prove he's as good or better than those other kids Walter plays with.

Long story short, Walter is caught between the guilt he feels at having kicked Collins out (and, actually, having the guy committed to an asylum for a couple years) and wanting to do the right thing for himself and the team. Collins is kind of like a drug for Walter. A habit he wants to quit.

In the end, Collins is headed back to jail, but he promises he'll be getting out. And then . . . ? Maybe he'll set himself up as Walter's rival, a true Moriarty.

A couple things about Scorpion in general: (a) I know Walter is technically the central character, but I'm hoping we'll get some episodes centered on others. Because there's only so many times we can do the "he doesn't feel" thing and then force Walter to, well, feel or act on feelings or whatever. (b) Writers, please stop writing lines for Toby that are, in legal parlance, "leading." Things like, "You wouldn't have thought it was possible, but it is," and "Else the team might melt down!" are really sloppy ways of leading the viewers to the exact thought you want them to have. Don't do that. If you've done your job well, the audience will be right there with you without you having to ping them between the eyes with whatever it is you want them to be thinking. And no, Toby being a psychologist is not a valid excuse.

By the way, MacGyver stopped a leaking reactor with a chocolate bar. I remember that distinctly. Doesn't matter how smart Walter and his group is; they can't beat Mac for ingenuity.

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