8:00am PT by Merrill Barr
'Scorpion' Bosses: Paige's Kiss Will "Create a Tumultuous Ripple" in Season 2
The geniuses of CBS' Scorpion are ready to go back to work.
The sophomore drama, following the lives of a group of high IQ geniuses as they solve cases of critical importance for the U.S. government and private clients, will pick up a few months after Walter's (Elyes Gabel) stunning accident in the freshman finale as the impact of his smooch with Paige (Katharine McPhee) will "ripple" throughout the rest of the new season.
Here, showrunners Nick Santora — who created the show based on the life of genius Walter O’Brien— and Nicholas Wootton preview season two, what to expect from the group's evolving growing dynamics and more.
The season ended with an intense yet self-contained episode. Where does season two pick up?
Santora: We’re going to start season two a couple of months after Walter’s cliff-side accident. He’ll be getting over his physical ailments, though, as we’ll learn, there might be some residual ailments that may or may not affect his performance on Scorpion. With respect to Walter and Paige, they will be in a very uncomfortable situation when Paige reveals to him that while Walter was unconscious in the hospital she leaned in and kissed him. That will create a tumultuous ripple in the pond that has to be dealt with not only through the first episode, but the rest of the season.
Will there be any more relationship building this season between Happy (Jadyn Wong) and Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas) or Sylvester (Ari Stidham) and Megan (Camille Guaty)?
Wootton: We’re going to see strides in both camps. The theme of all of those relationships — Walter and Paige included — is what is the genius version of love? A lot of what Walter does, and all these guys, it’s like they try to impose logic on love with algorithm and mathematics through their emotions. We see the basic impossibility of that. [With] Happy and Toby, there’s a lot of avoidance and a lot of finding distractions that replace the other because they’re always trying to do the best for their team and for their environment.
How much of an impact will Walter wanting to help Paige's son Ralph (Riley B. Smith) through his childhood have on the team’s work this year?
Santora: Ralph will be involved in some of the adventures this season, but [his] real role on the show is to get to more of the personal and emotional side of our other characters, and to see how someone like Walter reacts to caring for a child and how his relationship with Paige can be affected. Walter obviously has feelings for Paige, but he doesn’t want to do anything that could confuse Ralph or hurt Ralph, because he knows, at the end of the day, he’s not Ralph’s father. Ralph is really the touchstone that kind of reflects on all of the characters, because he also becomes the surrogate little brother for the rest of the team because they really care about him as well.
How will Cabe (Robert Patrick) fit into this season?
Wootton: Last year, we played so much backstory between Walter and Cabe in terms of the betrayal that Cabe had to perpetrate against Walter in order to get the job. Now that that’s been cleared out, Cabe is the Scorpion team advocate and protector when it comes to [the Department of Homeland Security]. He’s the anchor of the team in terms of who’s normal and who’s not.
We’re seeing a lot of different pairings than we had last year. We’re splitting the team during cases to accomplish different missions on each case. We’re seeing Cabe and Paige have a really fun runner in one episode. Cabe and Toby are going to have a story. We’re seeing these guys all interact with each other in different ways than we had last year. It’s always fun to have all of the different team members interacting with Cabe because he’s such a great straight man to their craziness. That’s where we’re seeing a bit of a shift for him. He, as always, will be the anchor this year.
Do you think you’re going to give the team any kind of long-term opposing force this season, be it an enemy genius or some forces inside the government that maybe perhaps don’t like what they do?
Santora: Right now that’s not in the plans to have an outside recurring nemesis or "bad guy" that the team has to deal with. That might happen down the road, but right now we’re just focusing on the characters and the action-comedy aspect of the show. We feel if we can give a lot of action with a lot of laughs and a great deal of heart that people will continue to enjoy the show.
Are you approaching the future of the show one season at a time or do you have a longer-term goal?
Santora: We always talk generally about long-term. There’s a bit of superstition in that you don’t want to start talking about, “Oh, if we can end this show in season six, seven or eight,” because you are just getting ahead of yourself. We try to survive episode by episode and hope that people can keep watching so the show can stay on the air. Any writer, when they start writing a movie, book or a television series, it has to cross their mind at some point: 'How does this story end?' I’ve always had a general thought [about] how I’d love those last few moments of the final episodes to be. We have a general broad idea of where we want these characters and their relationships to go. Hopefully we’ll get enough episodes where we can see them all through.
After going through your first full season, do you still find yourself experimenting at all with what an episode of Scorpion can be?
Wootton: When we start to break an episode that goes against our natural format, we always end up going back to the format because where we really try to push ourselves is in the emotional stories. Because these stories are always so high stakes, once you get into them, you really feel like we shouldn’t be talking about our emotions when the world is about to end or we should put a pin in it. So you see we have a lot of our emotional stuff upfront, and then we end with the case. We find our experimentation with how far we can push these characters.
Scorpion returns Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. on CBS. What are you looking forward to seeing?