This TV season, there were three shows I was excited about: The Flash, Constantine, and Scorpion. I’ll be talking about The Flash later in June, but for now, let’s talk about Scorpion.
Scorpion follows the adventures of a crack team of geniuses recruited by agent Cabe Gallo (played by Robert Patrick of Terminator 2: Judgment Day fame). The team is headed by Walter O’Brien (played by Elyes Gabriel. It should be noted that Walter is a real person the show was inspired by), who has an IQ of 197, higher than Albert Einstein’s IQ of 160, as relayed in the show’s opening monologue. When he was a little boy, Walter hacked into NASA’s computers for blueprints for a rocket, which he wanted as a poster. He was caught and imprisoned, which is when he met Gallo. Gallo became a surrogate father to him and he later formed Scorpion to assist Gallo. The rest of the team is a follows:
Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham): A “human calculator” who is proficient in statistical equations and is also a grandmaster at chess.
“Happy” Quinn (Jadyn Wong): A whiz at machines. She had a bad childhood and it makes her somewhat hostile towards others.
Toby Curtis (Eddy Kaye Thomas) An expert psychologist who specializes in the criminal mind. He also seems to enjoy pushing everyone’s buttons, especially Walter’s and Cabe’s.
The cast is rounded out by two “unofficial members of the team. One is Paige Dineen, a friend of Walter’s. She has a son named Ralph. Unlike the others, Paige does not have an advanced mind. As Walter says in the opening monologue, “Paige isn’t like us. She’s normal.” She is there to help the heroes cope with the world around them which is designed for people of normal intelligence.
It is Ralph and Walter that I want to talk about. In the pilot, we see that Ralph shows signs that he may be autistic. He is withdrawn from others, usually speaking only to his mother. But in the same scene which introduces him, Ralph is playing chess with Sylvester, using saltshakers for the pieces. Despite the fact that Ralph is much younger than Sylvester, we see that Ralph has checkmated him in eight moves. This is an indication that Ralph is a highly intelligent boy, especially since Sylvester himself is a grandmaster. It is not stated anywhere in the scene that Sylvester is accommodating for Ralph’s age, so it is safe to assume that Ralph has genuinely bested him. Walter calls this to Paige’s attention, and throughout the first season, Walter attempts to help Paige teach Ralph how to interact with the world. They become good friends, and the rest of the team accepts him as one of their own. There’s even a scene in the second episode where Walter tells Ralph that a group of scorpions is formally called a cyclone, and that he considers Ralph part of his cyclone. Later in the season, we meet Ralph’s father, who also wishes to connect with the boy. However, Ralph doesn’t seem to be interested in baseball, which his father enjoys. At first, Walter is understandably jealous of Ralph’s father. But at Paige’s insistence, Walter comes up with an idea. Walter suggests that he show Ralph the statistical side of baseball, such as figuring out a batter’s runs batted in or a pitcher’s earned run average. This connects to Ralph’s interest in mathematics and he shows Ralph how they can determine the outcome of a game.
I also think that Walter may be autistic as well. When it comes to his job, Walter is completely focused on his mission. He is constantly forming strategies for stopping terrorists and other criminals. However, when he is not after criminals and terrorists, Walter is out of his element. He also not good at getting along with his coworkers, especially Toby. Autistics, like myself and Walter, are often at odds in social situations because we are socially withdrawn, even if we attempt to socialize (I myself am actually an extrovert)
I am pleased to announce that Scorpion has been renewed for a second season as of January 2015. I think a show like this can help people to see how beneficial we autistics can be to society. I am eager to see what new adventures lie ahead for the team.