- "There's no 'I' in Scorpion. It's a figure of speech."
"Once Bitten, Twice Die" is the eighteenth episode of the first season of Scorpion. It aired March 9, 2015.
When a conflict in Eastern Europe threatens to escalate, Team Scorpion is called on to help facilitate secret peace talks to prevent World War III.
There is Breaking News about a situation in Belarus, Latvia, and Lithuania. There is talk of World War III happening if no one is willing to talk. In the LAX traffic control tower, a traffic controller spots an unknown plane in the air on his radar. He reports it to his supervisor who tells him to try to contact the plane. However, as they are both watching the screen, the plane disappears off the radar. Over at the garage, Sylvester, at the behest of Merrick has made the plane disappear. That plane is currently carrying the Presidents of those three countries because they are coming in for peace talks.
Walter is currently sitting in the middle of a speedway track with a car racing right for him. Just before it hits him, he hits a remote and it disappears, showing it was just a green screen effect around him. Paige checks to see if Walter has read the 25 page report she prepared on the customs and habits of the area. Walter, has blown off the report completely, despite the effort that Paige has gone to in making it. Paige tells Walter she's enrolled in college and is taking courses. He asks why she wrote the paper when he didn't ask for it and Paige says she had to write a paper for her European history, so she figured she'd use the assignment for both situations. Paige tries to stress the importance of the information by giving him an example of what might happen, but he still feels it is unneeded. Paige walks out on him without saying a word, slamming the door behind her.
Happy walks in on Cabe watching a western on his cellphone and tells him he's watched it twelve times. Cabe tries to explain that movie was filmed on the senator's compound where the secret negotiations are going on and that he's just studying the layout of the grounds. However, Happy points out that he already walked the grounds with Homeland, so he knows the layout and he's just a fanboy of the movie.
Toby Walks up to Happy and wants to know why she's been avoiding him. She begins listing the things he'd done in the past week that were uncharacteristic of their relationship and she doesn't like it. Toby states she's referring to their kiss and Happy makes a point to say that the kiss didn't actually happen.
A little later, helicopters are landing at the compound. Merrick and Cabe are telling the team who each person is that are walking up to the compound. Toby makes a few of his standard observations as he sees the men and women walking up. Paige points out that the Latvian man is actually their Prime Minister and that their presidents more of a figurehead. Cabe and Merrick turn to look at her and she correctly deduces that they didn't read the report either. Merrick introduces Cabe to Assistant Secretary to the State department René Muñoz, who is supposed to keep things calm between the three leaders. After Cabe and Merrick walk away to prepare to get the leaders in front of the green screen, Paige goes over and offers a copy of her report to René. She takes it and states she'll refer to it if she gets stuck, but she just puts it in her stack.
Walter is inside and trying to make a video with one of the presidents when he calls a cut and asks what the man is typing. When the president replies it's nothing, Walter points out that it's obvious and the President needs to do his job. Paige starts to jump in to try something but, René interrupts and tells the man that he can type whatever he wants and they'll just raise the camera above his hands. As soon as she reassures the president, she pulls Walter and Paige away. She asks Walter what he just did and Walter explains that, since they will be making several videos over the next few days, he needs them to stop bad habits before they start. René scolds Walter for talking to the president that way and tells Paige that she doesn't talk to the presidents at all. Paige points out that she was trying to help, and René tells her to stay on the sidelines.
All of the leaders are sitting at the table not saying a word. Sylvester makes a point of mentioning how uncomfortable it is. After a moment more, the three leaders begin to snipe at each other. René tries to break in to keep them on task with parliamentary rules, but they start arguing about what other things they agreed to over the past year. Just as things are starting to heat up, Paige jumps in and suggests they drink some honey mead. René starts to go over to scold Paige again, but the leaders all agree that it's the perfect idea. Paige explains to René that these nations problems aren't ones you start fixing by procedure, but by a tradition old enough that they can all lay claim to.
René goes to Cabe and states she wants Paige off the grounds, and Cabe makes it clear that's not going to happen. Especially since she just did a better job then René did. He iterates that the leaders are just pouring drinks, but they're working together. Walter is impressed by her knowledge. The leaders raise their glasses and toast the summit. However, the moment the President Kreshanko finishes his drink, he runs out of the room and collapses. Toby comes running up and kneels down to try to help the man. His aides ask what he's doing, and Toby tells them to shut up because he needs to hear the man's breathing. Toby states he's been poisoned. Merrick comes running in and shoves Toby out of the way, introducing U.N. Dr. Chong as assigned to the summit. Just as Dr. Chong leans down to check the patient, everyone gets upset and pull their guns out. Walter jumps in and explains exactly how many people would end up dead if they proceed to fire their weapons and, when Sylvester reaffirms Walters calculations, everyone stands down. Toby states that all four of the politicians would have died, since no one is actually treating Kreshanko.
When the other presidents argue that they were set up, Merrick points out that all of the presidents had access to the mead. He states that someone was obviously planning this the entire time and just used the mead as the delivery system. Merrick locks down the compound, stating that everyone is a suspect.
President Kreshanko is placed on a bed and Dr. Chong starts diagnosing him and decides to give him adrenaline mixed with atropine and nifedipine, to give him some extra time. The team discuss how they can't get an antidote if they don't know the poison. Cabe tells Paige she did a good job with the leaders earlier and send her to see if she can settle everyone down again. Toby offers to go with to see if he can spot some guilt markers on peoples faces. He states that if they can find who poisoned him, then they might be able to figure out the poison from that. Cabe agrees and Paige and Toby take off. Cabe states that if word gets out about the assassination attempt it'll be the start of World War III.
Happy voices doubt about a world war started by this assassination of a random president of a minor country. Sylvester reminds her that World War I started by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a man that 99% of the planet had never heard of. In other words, it's already happened in the past. Cabe suggests they put a blackout on the whole place so that no one can contact the outside. Walter states they'll do it, but Cabe also mentions that they'll know they're being muzzled. Walter says they won't know. It'll look like their messages are getting through and assigns Sylvester to respond to all the correspondence sent out.
Paige and Toby are watching the remaining presidents argue but they can't understand them. René tries, unsuccessfully, to calm them all down but they just keep arguing. Paige asks if Toby can read them when he doesn't know what they're saying. He tells her that the micro expressions are universal, but since they're politicians, and arguing, it's a little harder. He states that when they calm down, he might be able to pick up on something. Paige pulls out her cellphone and says she has an idea. René walks over and begs Paige to tell her what's going on. Paige pulls up a singer from the 1920's, whose mother was Latvian, father was Lithuanian, and she studied in Belarus, stating that all the countries love her. She puts on the woman singing a lullaby, stating it's hard to argue when your listening to a lullaby your mother used to sing to you. René says it's a good idea just as the song starts. Paige watches as all the men calm down, then she states the song is beautiful. Just as Paige is walking away, one of the men makes a comment about hoping a pill-naja-bura doesn't keep them from the funeral and that makes Paige pause. She rushes up to Toby stating that she thinks she knows what Kreshanko was poisoned with.
Meanwhile, Kreshanko is still laying on the bed, now hooked up to health monitor machinery. Sylvester is running the cyber noose which is trapping a lot of email's and text messages trying to go out, all of them just stating shock and dismay at the poisoning. Dr. Chong is just about to give Kreshanko the mixture of adrenaline that he spoke of earlier, when Toby comes rushing in and tackles him before he can administer it. Merrick demands from Cabe to know what Toby is doing. Toby sputters out that the adrenaline would have killed him instantly. He refers to Paige, still out of breath, about a dust storm. Merrick still upset, turns to Paige and she tells them that the guy from Belarus whispered "pill-naja-bura" which means dust storm, which is a curse word in Belarusian that started because of snake venom.
Paige starts to explain the history of the very first war started between the two countries in 1897, when Merrick states he doesn't have time to listen to a book report. René interrupts him and states that he needs to listen to Paige. Paige continues the story about how the the first war broke out in 1897 because the Lithuanian presidents child died after being bitten by a snake. The Belarus diplomats didn't show up for the funeral claiming there was a terrible dust storm, but it wasn't accepted. After that there was a four year war between the two countries and has led to tension between the two countries to this very day. Paige explains that it was a very specific snake that bit the boy and Toby jumps in and explains that Kreshanko has the exact same symptoms from that snake. Toby then explains that the adrenaline would have made the venom work faster and would kill him instantly. Merrick makes a snide comment about Cabe listening the team, calling them loons, and stating that the waitress is actually calling the shots. Walter says that if he's judging people based on past resumés, Merrick was a department store Santa in college.
Merrick states that if Kreshanko dies, it'll be on their heads and refuses to accept Paige's information. Dr. Chong says that he started treatment and he's going to finish it. He goes to get the adrenalin and Cabe steps on the syringe, thus breaking it and making the doctor unable to inject it. Cabe turns to Merrick and iterates that he trusts his team. Merrick yells that the safe call was to follow procedure and if he died, that was what was supposed to happen. He tells them all that he's going to arrest President Sakovich, but everyone is still on lockdown. He refuses to let anyone leave the grounds until Kreshanko is either saved or dead. Merrick also says that he's not going take the blame if things go wrong.
As soon as Merrick is gone, the team discusses how to save Kreshanko. Walter has Sly and Toby try to figure out what kind of Belarusian snake was used for the poison. He, Happy, and Paige are going to the reptile sanctuary to get the venom they need. Happy reminds him that Merrick stated they were on lockdown and Cabe says he might know a way around it.
In the security room, they see a man kneeling with a camera in front of his face outside one of the fences. They rush around ready to head out there. In the bedroom we see that it's actually Toby in front of the green screen and that they've hacked into the security camera. After the security team rushes by, Cabe leads Happy, Walter, and Paige to a secret door they used in the western he was watching earlier. He tells them directions to get through the set to get to the main road and they take off.
Out front, Merrick is questioning the man that was on the camera when he realizes what was done. He goes running and meets with Cabe. He sends out Sly and Toby and starts yelling at Cabe, saying he's committing treason. He goes on about how Cabe trusts the team too much. Cabe makes a statement that their job is to protect people, not their own backsides. Merrick threatens to tell Walter about what really happened with the software Walter created and used in Baghdad that killed a bunch of innocent civilians. Cabe states that Merrick tells Walter anything, there'll be a problem where rank doesn't matter. Cabe himself, will tell Walter when he needs to know.
On the road, Walter hears a car and has Happy punch him in the nose. He flags down a taco truck that pulls over to help him, and while the man is distracted in the back getting ice for Walter, Paige and Happy climb in the front seats. Walter tells the man sorry and pushes him out of the truck just as Happy takes off. Paige asks if they are going to talk to the zoo to find out if they can get the snake, but Happy and Walter tell her they're just going to steal the snake.
Meanwhile, back at the compound, President Sakovich and his men are tied to chairs. Mikko, President Kreshanko's aide threatens President Sakovich for the assassination attempt. Cabe pushes him back and tells him that if he does it one more time, he'll arrest him too. However, as soon as Mikko walks away he sends a text message stating everything is ready. Sly and Toby work out that it was actually Mikko who poisoned his own president. They discover the correct snake based on where Mikko is from in Lithuania, the adder.
The stolen taco truck pulls up to the reptile sanctuary and get a message from Toby about what type of snake they're looking for. Happy tells Walter that in order to avoid security he's going to have to climb through the ceiling to get to the snake cages. Meanwhile, Sly and Toby are trying to figure out how to respond to Mikko's text from his coconspirator. They finally send a simple confirmed. Mikko comes barging in, realizing that the message was interrupted. He demands one of their phones, but Toby and Sylvester battle with him until they fall through a glass door. Mikko takes off running, pushing a Marine out of the way. Cabe wants to know what happened and they tell him that the real culprit was Mikko.
Paige pretends to be a teachers assistant to a class that walked in so that the guide will be distracted, so Walter and Happy can slip by. Dr. Chong is checking on Kreshanko and tells Toby and Sly that the others better get back soon with the venom, because the president is almost gone. Walter starts crawling through the ceiling and says something that makes Happy asks if he's scared of snakes. His answer makes Paige state that she's seen him defuse a bomb. Walter tells her that risk was calculable, but wild animals are unpredictable. The guide leads the kids over to the 40 venomous snakes and has one of the kids press a button that makes it rain. This causes Walter to fall into the pit with the snakes. Paige and Happy rush over, but Walter is near getting bit. When Happy says they need a tan snake with zigzags down it's back, Happy thinks it's the one that is about to bite him. However, Walter spots another Tan snake with a different zigzag pattern right next to his head. Since they can't figure it out, Walter allows one of the snakes to bite him so they can see if it give him the same reaction. The moment the one between his leg bites him, his symptoms immediately match Kreshanko's. Happy throws a trashcan through the window and Walter crawls out with the snake.
While Walter is standing there holding the snake, he says they need a host to inject the venom into to make the antibodies they need. He points to the glass enclosed animal display right next to the snake display, that says the "Natural Prey of Reptiles". Happy uses the trash can to break it and grab a ferret. While Happy is driving the taco truck back back to the compound, Walter gets the snake to bite a covered cup so they can collect the venom. As soon as he has enough, Paige holds up the ferret so he can inject it with the venom.
At the complex, Cabe is searching around the western set to try to find Mikko. They exchange gunfire, but Cabe manages to knock Mikko down by shooting a chain hanging a sign. He walks over to Mikko and quotes a line from the western movie.
The taco truck pulls up in front of the complex and they are immediately surrounded by Marines. Happy tells them all to lower their guns because they've got an antidote. She runs to the back of the truck where Paige is trying to help Walter out of the truck. Paige steps wrong and falls out of the truck, and the ferret runs away. They bring Walter in and lay him next to Kreshanko while Happy searches for the ferret. Just as Paige is about to go help find the ferret, Walter says he's sorry for never taking her to dinner. Happy comes running in with the ferret and hands it to Dr. Chong. He hands the ferret to Sly and says he can't do anything without a centrifuge. The doctor states he'll take a shot and just inject both the men with ferret blood and hope it works. Toby tells the doctor, not kindly, that if he even tries it that way, he'll regret it.
After a brief moment, Toby remembers that they arrived in a taco truck. Happy and Paige run out to the truck and find a salad spinner. They rush inside, where a vial of blood is placed in it and Sly presses the button to make it spin. When they pull out the vial, it is successfully separated and they quickly inject President Kreshanko and Walter with the antivenom. While they're waiting for the antivenom to work, Sly points out that, even if they save Kreshanko, the men are all too distrustful to negotiate. Toby says they'll think of something.
A while later, Walter walks out to find out what's going on. Paige hugs him. He sees the news on the screen that the world is preparing to fight and assumes that Kreshanko died. However, Cabe motions him to look and he sees the three men at a table signing a peace treaty. Walter is wondering how they managed that and Paige explains that they showed the men what would happen if they didn't make peace, before leading him away. Merrick tries to make nice with Cabe, stating that they got the job done and he won't forget it. Cabe tells Merrick that he threated to tell Walter information that he doesn't want him to know, and he won't forget that.
Walter and Paige walk into the room that the team have been using and he sees that they're using his software to project the news shows that are being broadcast. Happy is using Walt's voice software to project the British news anchor voice who is describing the scenes. Walter asks what the men will do when they get back and find out it was fake news, and Toby comments that they won't say anything if they want to get reelected.
Later that evening, back at the garage, Happy calls Toby away from everyone. The moment he reaches her, she yanks him into a kiss. After she pulls away, she explains that the way he stood up to Dr. Chong about the ferret blood was hot. She tells him not to speak or he'll ruin it, before she walks away. Cabe finds Walter in his loft drinking an electrolyte solution that he made to help himself get better. The ferret comes up and Cabe jumps back questioning that he kept it. Walter says it save his life so he figured he'd save it from becoming a snakes lunch. He says that Toby names it Ferret Bueller, but he doesn't get the reference.
Walter questions why Paige kept it a secret that she was taking night classes and Cabe tells him that there are a lot of reasons that people keep secrets. Paige yells downstairs looking for her History textbook or she's going to be late for her final. She finds out that there's a busted water main so she'll never reach school in time. Walter asks Cabe for a favor. Paige arrives at her school with a police escort. Just before she runs in to take her final, Walter tell Paige he is proud of her.
- 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
- The "century-old" conflict in Eastern Europe simply could not be real, because in XIX century there weren't any other Eastern European nations except Russian Empire, Prussia and Austro-Hungarian empire.
- There is no record of a war between Lithuania and Belarus, so there can't be a four year gap between wars.
- The language the three diplomats speak does not exist.
- The names of the diplomats were wrong, as the Lithuanian diplomat had a Russian name.
- The title of this episode is a play on the phrase "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" which means "an unpleasant experience causes caution".
- Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz