Remember last week when I asked for a bunch of things that I’d like to happen on Scorpion? Well, I love it when Nick Santora & Co. delivers, reads my mind, and wraps it all up in a shiny bow.
This week, a political conspiracy brews close to one of Cabe’s dearest, putting them all in danger and revealing quite an important load of details from his past. The episode is emotionally charged, full of awesome genius and still carries with it a fantastic action twist.
For the full recap and more elaborate comments as to why I loved this episode so much, click on “Read More”.
“Rogue Element” starts with a bang, literally, as the boat Congressman Gostin (John Burke - Scandal, The Bold and The Beautiful) and his assistant are riding on explodes to pieces. This scene sets the tone for the whole episode for me as we go up and down between moments of enormous relief and great angst.
After the opening scene, we join the team who has received a prize for their efforts; an authentic and original “Proton Arnold” cabinet. Geeks rejoice, this would be like having a Galaga arcade game in our living rooms. I’d be this excited too. Cabe looks on from the sides, as if witnessing his children open presents on Xmas morning. It’s endearing.
Following on from last week’s arc, there’s tension between Ralph and his father. Drew takes Walter aside to thank him for helping him improve his pitching technique, and drops the bomb that his help might put him on an AA Baseball team in Portland. This could lead to Ralph and Paige moving with him and he seeks Walter’s opinion: If this were to happen… What would it do to them? What would it do to Ralph? Cabe listens in from the sidelines, sensing Walter’s difficulty to cope with this scenario and following through on his promise to look out for him. Walter needs to think about it, so Drew asks him to keep this hypothetical situation to himself.
Cabe takes Walter out to try and dig into this situation with Drew. Walter claims that he’s fine relating to him, though he’s pretty unconvincing; he’s preoccupied thinking about the “greater good”. Cabe is familiar with this situation.
Meanwhile, he gets a text message from “R” with the code word “Gumbo” in it. Gallo drops everything and rushes them to a dingy looking motel. He instructs Walter to stay in the car and be stealthy, sprints to a room, and raps a code onto the door. The occupant knocks a response back and opens the door to reveal Rebecca Burns (Jessica Tuck - Scandal, True Blood, Castle). Cabe smiles and… is that a smitten Robert Patrick I see? There’s a reason for it; she’s his ex-wife.
We soon find out Rebecca is in danger. She’s a counsel at Barnright, a big law firm. Even though she was resistant to call him after fifteen years of not seeing each other, Cabe reassures her. “You can always call me,” he says. And wow, there’s still a very raw love in there for her. They’re interrupted by Walter, and this will become the running gag throughout the episode. She knows of him, having learned of his importance in Cabe’s life back when they were married.
Rebecca tells them that she monitored a suspicious PAC contribution labeled “CA78SE”, with no donor’s name attached to it. She copied the record to a flash drive but when she tried to print the file, it disappeared from her computer. As she set to leave her office, a guard tried to frisk her but she managed to hide the drive in a planter before he discovered it and she was followed home. Cabe’s glad she contacted him, after all, they established that code word for a reason.
The team deems her a great match to Cabe, and Rebecca is kind to acknowledge what he won’t: He’s so proud of this team. She shares the “translating empathy” with Paige, but she’s tough as nails.
As they set to decipher the code, they catch the news coverage of the explosion of the boat carrying the Congressman. He was assigned to the 78th district of the State of California. His death will prompt a summons to “Special Elections”. That’s the code: CA 78 SE. It was a conspiracy to assassinate him. But why did the conspirators put themselves in evidence?
Cabe doesn’t want to bring in the cavalry on this; they’re dealing with one of the biggest lobbying firms of the US. They’ll go off the grid to retrieve the flash drive. Rebecca is surprised at Cabe’s relaxed attitude, going rogue. He didn’t use to be this way, so what prompted it? Since when is this happening? His answer is simple: “Since someone came after you.” He wants her by his side because it’s the only way he feels she’ll be safe.
Walter sneaks into the firm while Paige, Rebecca, and Cabe monitor from the outside. The women bond as they wait; apparently Cabe has always been really “gutsy” and Rebecca ends up showing Paige a picture of her seventeen year old daughter - Joanna. In her wallet there’s also another picture, one of a younger child… Amanda, Cabe and Rebecca’s deceased daughter.
Inside, Walter delays finding the planter where Rebecca hid the drive, drawing the attention of the man that frisked her. Cabe gives him a set of instructions that he disregards, irritating both the guard and Cabe, but he retrieves the flash drive. He runs and hides in an office, managing to escape, lowering himself from a window on a washing rig and jumping into Cabe’s SUV. Gallo is furious at the repercussions that could come from Walter’s run in with these goons; he could be risking all of their lives.
Meanwhile, Happy sneaks in to take a peek into the Congressman’s boat using Cabe’s credentials. I wonder if this will come back to bite him later on. She finds out a hose had been tampered with, allowing fumes to accumulate which caused the explosion. Whoever did this had the thought to “repair” the hose so that the tamper wasn’t detected but they did it wrong and the brand new part will lead them to their suspect.
In the meantime, they find out their garage has been been ransacked; they’ve taken most of everything, down to their surge protectors. They need to move, they’re onto them, and the team destroys their cellphones to prevent any tracking. I’ve come to wonder, on any given Monday, how many smartphones are killed for the sake of remaining alive in these fake realities across various shows? Is anyone keeping a body count?
Cabe takes them away and Rebecca recognizes the road. According to Cabe, they’re going to “Jimmy’s house” - not much more explanation given - sparking Paige and Walter’s curiosity. Toby jokes that it seems more like a haunted house than a safe house. The abandoned house is like a time capsule to 1997.
Everyone seems unaware of the thick tension that weighs on Rebecca. They set off to find out who bought the hose and match it to the list of clients from the lobbying firm. They also have access to the flash drive at last, detecting that human error provided for the wire transfer to land in the PAC contributions before the date the conspirators intended. Walter also finds another folder in the drive, one full of unsent letters to Cabe that Rebecca has written over the years. For your viewing pleasure, here’s a screen grab of that. Feel the feels. Embrace them.
It’s then that Walter figures it out; the things in the house suddenly look familiar to things that Cabe does every day at the garage. Rebecca’s attitude makes sense, in the way she retreated to one of the rooms with cautious ease: This is their old family home.
Walter seeks out and confronts a distraught Rebecca with this information. This is the place where things fell apart for them years ago, and he assures her that they’ll rush to solve it and get out of there. But Rebecca uses this moment to enlighten him about Cabe: The older man’s severity and anger at him earlier in his hair-trigger response is a show as to how much he cares for him. He’s not just worried about her today, but he also doesn’t want to lose Walter.
Walter lets Cabe know about the letters on the flash drive, and urges him to read them. He goes to her and we find out that when they divorced, he let her keep everything but this house and a ‘73 Lemans. She’d assumed that he’d sell the place, but he couldn’t: this is where Amanda took her first steps, but also where she died.
While Rebecca is impressed by Cabe throughout the day’s events, reminding her of the man she married, the one that made her feel safe with his commanding presence and his “swagger”, being in this house, knowing that he kept it, has brought back feelings that she can’t cope with, from times when she couldn’t count on him. This is a deeply emotional moment… that Walter interrupts. I told you, it becomes somewhat of a running theme. Cabe returns the flash drive to her without checking it out and she goes outside for some air.
They finally track down the person that bought the hose: Anthony Cole, related to Ben Cole, the owner of Sundorna Farms and one of the donors to the PAC. One of Congressman Gostin’s objectives didn’t favor their business tactics. They now have enough evidence to go to the FBI with this, but just then, they’re attacked and Rebecca is taken. They slash the tires of their cars but Cabe unveils a hidden asset: his ‘73 Lemans is still parked in the garage and Happy helps him bring it back to life.
Walter and Cabe rush down the freeway and the team locates the kidnappers’ car via surveillance. They close in on them, but the men fire back, getting out of the freeway. Cabe loses control of the car and they crash into the containment barrels of the exit. Walter fears the worst, Cabe has hit his head, but he recovers and sends him to stop a car using his badge. Once in the next hot car Walter picks from an unsuspecting driver, he calculates a pit maneuver with the team to stop the kidnappers in their tracks. Cabe shoots their tires off and they manage to overpower them, rescuing Rebecca.
Back at headquarters, Cabe and Rebecca fall into the ease of many years spent together. She provided a testimony, and the firm will be going down. She thinks Walter is remarkable, but that Cabe is a bit tough on him and the team. He snickers and agrees, prideful. She also apologizes for the way she spoke to him earlier; she had no right to criticize how he coped with his own grief.
He also apologizes for walking out of their marriage, taking assignments that weren’t necessary so to run away from his pain. He couldn’t do that again to her and wonders, even when all these years have passed, and she now has a family of her own, if she still thinks of them. For Rebecca, he’s the “love of her life”. She confesses writing the letters that she never sent, and struggling to make sense of what happened to their daughter, but things happen for a reason. She’s not there anymore, and Cabe has a new family in Walter and the team. She wants him to move on but throws him one last compliment, remembering how he was always “really badass”. Seriously, Rebecca… you’re making it really hard to believe that you don’t want to be Mrs. Gallo again. She bids her goodbyes and asks Walter to take care of him for her.
Walter is proud that Cabe did good for Rebecca. Cabe recognizes that as much as he was once a great Fed, the only other thing he was ever good at was being a father. Walter agrees, he was a father to him back then and also is now.
When Ralph and Drew come back to pick up Paige, he inquires about the question he posed earlier but Walter doesn’t have an answer yet. They both want to do right by Ralph.
As Walter and Cabe enjoy some rooftop grilling, Walter poses the hypothetical situation where Ralph would have to leave them. Cabe tells him that he was also in a position in the past where he thought that he wouldn’t see Walter again, and yet, here they are. He thanks him too for his words about him being a father figure to him, “even if said in the heat of the battle,” to which Walter replies, “When have I ever said anything I didn’t mean?”. They pass along the ketchup, and in emotionally stunted Men talk I think that’s the equivalent of a few I love yous. Cabe then throws in a “good burger” comment - I’m pretty sure that’d be the equivalent of a kiss and a hug.
Directed by Jerry Levine and written by Paul Grellong and Kim Rome, it is hard to say if this was actually my favorite episode so far this season. They all have different strengths, and I think this is very comparable to “Father’s Day”. What I loved about this one is the nuanced ability that Grellong and Rome had to deliver every emotional blow of Cabe and Rebecca’s backstory. Not only do I feel for them and their tragedy but I also ship them, hardcore. Robert Patrick and Jessica Tuck are amazing together, and seeing the softer side of Cabe is so welcome when you’re generally presented more with the tough side of Robert’s character.
Through Cabe’s story you understand a lot of Walter’s hesitations as he approaches Ralph’s situation. In a way, he’s trying to not have an emotional response to what he knows will be better for the kid, and it should be easy since “he doesn’t do emotions”, but his interactions lately have been wearing down on that perspective on life. Meanwhile, this situation is comparable to Cabe’s, a cautionary tale. He ran away from his own emotions, abandoning Rebecca when she needed him most. At some point the question will be posed, when is abandonment just that, abandonment… or instead, a needed action for the “greater good”.
The other ships this week: We’re in neutral zones on Toby and Happy’s dynamic, though he’s still pretty consistent with his commentary. Paige and Water seem to have hit a dry spell too, with Drew’s presence and all.
Another aspect to highlight this week is the episode’s music by Brian Tyler and Tony Morales. Usually, for me, the music is very noticeable. For this episode… it was just the right amount between what’s become the identity score of the show and the emotional scenes where it supported the narration.
This show continues to expand on it’s charm, and my opinion is that past the shock value of its action scenes, and the rewarding development of touching and relatable stories, there’s now also the fact that there’s a show on television that addresses education and science in a novel way. It’s important for the writers and creators, and it shows.
As always the invitation is to tune in every Monday at 9pm on CBS. For more on the show and it’s behind the scenes, follow them on twitter via their handle @ScorpionCBS. You can also follow the principal cast at @RobertPatrickT2, @ElyesGabel and @KatharineMcPhee.
Photos courtesy of CBS Entertainment