Chances At 17 Percent


Do you remember Numb3rs? Well, Scorpion is basically Numb3rs with more nerds and more action. And far less of that brillant mathematical stuff most of the audience didn’t understand. Actually a mathematician so brillant he is called a “human calculator” is part of Team Scorpion, but he only tells things like “Our chances are at 17 percent!” or “Our chances just dropped below 1 percent!” (talking about the mission) all the time. Which is totally absurd because this has nothing to do with mathematics and is pure nonsense instead. He fits the show perfectly which could bear the name “Absurdity” instead (considering the main character is never called Scorpion again after the introducing flashback scene this would at least not be a choice for the worst).

Scorpion totally lacks all kinds of plausibility. There is this group of super intelligent people who are incapable of running a business (a think tank located in a shabby warehouse), incapable of human relationships and in some cases even incapable of caring for their own physical health (for instance the forementioned mathematics guy forgets to eat when he is working). But when a software bug at LAX is discovered which screws up airline communication and forces sixty airplanes to fly in circles above the landing field because there is nobody coordinating their landing, there is only one solution: Team Scorpion has to hack into LAX in order to repair their systems. Sounds a little crazy? Don’t be so fast! So they drive to a nearby diner where Walter, once called Scorpion when he was nine years and hacked the NSA, set up a wi-fi the day before and turn it into the operations headquarter. You know – because there is wi-fi. Walter discovers that every airplane which started this morning has a copy of the working version on its board computers which leads to the simple plan: copy the software from a plane to the airport system. Luckily they reach a passengers phone and are now able to communicate with the pilot of one of the circling planes. So, what to do? Land the plane? No – too easy. Too unexciting.

They get the co-pilot handing over an ethernet cable while he is climbing down the landing gear of the plane still flying in eight feet height above the runway to the diner’s waitress standing in a ferrari driven at insane speed by Walter.

Sounds totally nuts? Just watch yourself if you don’t believe me.

I forgot to introduce the other two members of Team Scorpion (never actually called this in the show, just in promo): an engineer who is special because she’s a woman. An a man with extreme knowledge in psychology. And he wears a hat. The show never tries to make these characters interesting, the whole introduction of the team is sloppy. Talking to his team Walter says things like “we have a combined IQ of nearly 700”. Show, don’t tell! A well-known symptom of todays one-hour pilots: the exposition suffers if you want to tell a whole case of the week story. Time will tell whether the makers of Scorpion are able to develop its shallow characters or not. Concerning plausibility, I think this ship has already sailed.

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