- "Wasn't it you that said, the first time that we met, that we save everybody? I am going to save my sister."
- —Walter to Paige
"Area 51" is the eighth episode of the second season of Scorpion, and the thirtieth of the series overall. It aired on November 9, 2015.
To help fund Walter's research into saving his sister's life, Team Scorpion takes a lucrative job for the CIA to find a top-secret aircraft in the mysterious Area 51.
Walter and Sylvester are with Megan, talking about her M.S. and the respiratory infection she’s picked up. She assures Walter that it’s under control. What’s not under control is how upset Walter is with Sylvester for not telling him about her condition. He’s pushing to keep Megan alive, but Sylvester wants her to have the best life possible — whatever of it is left. Walter is convinced that he can make it last much longer.
He wants his work on the rocket to lead him to the Kármán Prize of $15 million so that he can continue research on Megan’s MS and build a mechanism capable of storing her “downloaded” brain until he can “find a new vessel.” The whole plan is a little unfathomable, even to the team, but Walter is willing to do anything. And being willing to do anything is what leads you to taking crazy CIA missions for giant sums of cash. Mark Willis, CIA, appears to let the team know Homeland has lent out Scorpion’s services. Agent Willis, tells the team that they have to locate a top-secret aircraft that is missing inside Area 51.
Initially the team doesn’t want to take it on, but with big money on the line, Walter can’t turn it down. As the group gets deeper and deeper in, they lose contact with Sylvester on the outside, but as quickly as they get to the general Air Force base, they find the aircraft. The plane is still fully operational, but it looks abandoned with no tag number. The team approaches it, and when Toby investigates, he finds a whole stock of AB-negative blood with some zip ties and chloroform. So basically it’s a kidnapping waiting to happen. The team alerts Agent Willis, who offers them $350,000 if they can find who was kidnapped and the people who did it. Nervously, the team jumps from the abandoned aircraft and deep into Area 51.
Anyone who knows about aliens and conspiracies knows that one can’t just waltz into Area 51, but they must so they can reference the rare blood type against the military base’s records. Happy and Walter take reflective panels off the plane and create a laser with a magnifying glass that pops the tire on a passing truck and allows Paige, Happy, and Toby to break in. It gives way to a great Paige and Happy moment — Happy admits that her mom died when she was young, so she understands death, but if Megan succumbs to her MS, it could break Walter and Sylvester.
Once Paige, Toby and Happy break into the sewer system, Happy quickly wires a phone to call Sylvester who cross-references the systems and finds that Dr. Ivan Zahn is the plane system’s creator. Paige, getting a little too big for her genius pants, mocks how easy it was to get into Area 51, and suddenly Air Force officers surround them. Back at the plane, Walter is intensely focused on the previous flight patterns, but Cabe keeps pushing Walter to confront what is happening with Megan. He ignores him, though, and focuses on how the plane has been used to spy on cities and will be headed to Uzbekistan next. As Walter realizes that the man who developed it is the one they’ll likely be kidnapping, an all-terrain vehicle rolls onto the plane, holding Dr. Zahn. Walter and Cabe hide, but the plane lifts off with both of them on it.
The doctor comes to see Sylvester and Megan to report that for the most aggressive treatment, Megan should be intubated. Sylvester fights for Walter’s side, but Megan argues that it hurts too much. Sly caves because it really is her life to live.
Back at Area 51, the Air Force officers head out to the abandoned plane area. Paige tells the officers to call Katherine Cooper, because working girls take care of each other. Katherine, however, falls back on Team Scorpion’s agreed-upon alibi, leaving Paige, Toby, and Happy behind bars with an electromagnetic lock. Happy realizes that she can break it open with a cell phone, and that’s when Toby fashions a hook system with his watch and some dental floss. They grab Toby’s flip phone and pull the battery out. They escape to the roof and try to figure out how to disrupt the dish’s blocking signal. After a couple suggestions, Paige dropkicks it. Sometimes you use math to save the mission, and sometimes you use a signature Karen Cartwright chorus-line kick to distinguish yourself.
In the sky, Cabe and Walter lure one of the pilots into the back of the plane and knock him out into the plane’s belly with Dr. Zahn. Cabe attempts to break into the cockpit and holds the captain at gunpoint, but he pulls his gun, too, saying that the plane will either land in Uzbekistan or crash into a mountain. Cabe and the pilot fight. Meanwhile, Walter applies some aeronautic science by turning everything weightless. The science makes no sense to me, but it does send Cabe and the pilot into full-Matrix mode while Walter regains control of the plane. Unfortunately, the G-forces are causing a little problem — Walter and Cabe have both passed out as the plane nosedives into the White Mountains.
But with a crazy plane, there’s a crazy hackable system that Sylvester can break into, waking up Cabe and Walter and leading them to communicate with the rest of the team. Walter admits that he doesn’t know how to land a plane, but Happy can walk him through it. As she begins, an alien-looking shadow approaches, but it’s worse than aliens. The officers return and try to arrest Toby, Happy, and Paige again. They convince him to let Happy talk Walter through the landing process. The plane slides, a little crazily, to a stop, and officers burst into the cockpit to pull Cabe and Walter out.
Walter asks the CIA to wire the money to him directly and says that he’d love to chat with Dr. Zahn about the plane’s hardware system to help with his own project. Instead, the CIA draws their weapons and tells the team they know too much. Walter mentions that Sylvester’s drone is recording everything that happens. It’s risky, and Agent Willis even calls Walter’s bluff, but the drone flies down, calling the CIA off. Little does Walter know, it’s a total fluke. Sly lost communication with them minutes before, but at the end of the day, Walter takes the plane’s supercomputer with him and the team is safe.
Back at the garage, Paige and Walter discuss that the only part of life that is uncomfortable to the geniuses is the unknown. Walter rebukes that nothing is unknown, and that’s when Paige and him nearly confront the fact that Walter can’t let go of control of Megan’s situation. He says, “Wasn’t it you that said we save everybody? I’m going to save my sister.” When Walter gets to the hospital though, he sees that Megan has refused an intubation. Walter tells Sylvester not to go head to head with him, but Sylvester quickly tells him that he loves her just as much as him. Walters says he’ll take care of it himself and that it’s not over.
- Elyes Gabel as Walter O'Brien
- Katharine McPhee as Paige Dineen
- Robert Patrick as Cabe Gallo
- Eddie Kaye Thomas as Toby Curtis
- Jadyn Wong as Happy Quinn
- Ari Stidham as Sylvester Dodd
- This episode title references the "Area 51", which is supposedly a base where aliens or evidence of them are being held by the government. This is referenced numerous times thoughout the episode.