Television: Scorpion, "Kill Screen"

I'm guessing most people know this, but if the Scorpion audience skews at all older, maybe not: a "kill screen" is a buggy point in a video game that stops the player from being able to get any further.

So, yeah, the episode was about a video game that had hidden levels. And those hidden levels just happened to be mirrors of CIA safe houses and such. Because the hidden levels had been designed by a hacker who'd stoled CIA intel and was selling the information via the game.

The plot was the least of the episode. The real focus was on the group dynamic.

  1. Walter trying to build a rocket as part of a contest being run by an anonymous millionaire. Happy calls Toby a "spiller" and says he shouldn't help because he's not good with his hands, which means Toby spends the episode trying to show what he is good at.
  2. Ralph gets pulled into the Justice Department because it turns out he also found the hidden levels on the video game, and the JD can't believe this 10-year-old is smart enough to "just find them." After a certain amount of hullaballoo (which could have been cut short if Paige had called Cabe first thing), it's revealed Walter introduced Ralph to the game and the "dark net" in general. There's a lot of wrestling over that: Walter taking too much on himself without clearing it with Paige first, Walter needing to use more common sense and act like a grownup rather than trying to be Ralph's friend.
  3. Drew insists Walter and the crew are forcing Ralph to grow up too fast. (More on that below.)
  4. We also discover Sylvester is secretly El Guapo, a famous-in-certain-circles video gamer.
In regards to the childhood thing and Drew saying the Scorpion group is not allowing Ralph to be a kid . . . Look, I grew up with a mother who wanted desperately for me to be "normal." It wasn't going to happen. But she sure as hell tried. She locked me out of the house to try and force me to go play. Since I was fine being alone, this didn't do much except teach me to always carry a book.

So when Drew says Ralph deserves a childhood, I balk. Because Drew's idea of childhood—of things that would be fun, like baseball or whatever—probably wouldn't be fun for Ralph. Those aren't things Ralph would look back on and remember fondly. Instead, Ralph would probably sigh and say, "Yeah, my dad used to make me play baseball. I hated it."

There's this childhood ideal, but . . . One size does not fit all, especially when we're talking people with high IQs. Walter and the others aren't snatching Ralph's childhood. They're enriching it. Just as the pilot program at my school enriched mine. Those are my fond memories: a class of kids like me, all of us exploring our abilities together.

Anyway, in terms of the show, Drew seems to believe moving Paige and Ralph to Portland would "save" them. I suppose it would probably get them out of harm's way, but Ralph would hate it. He'd be losing his support system.

A good episode, though Walter was even more of a jerk than usual. We understand he's fueled by his desire to "make right" the fact he put Ralph in such a situation, but he'll need to tone it down if he's going to be at all likable to the audience for any length of time. We don't want to hate the main character, and last night we came close.

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