- "Luck doesn't exist. Math and science does."
"Shorthanded" is the fourth episode of the first season of Scorpion. It aired on October 13, 2014.
When Team Scorpion goes to Las Vegas on a mission in a casino, Walter is framed for a robbery.
The Scorpion team wraps up another successful case for Cabe, but he reminds Walter O'Brien they have to keep their work secret. Walter tells him they're heading to the Crimson casino in Vegas for a private job, studying the blackjack tables. Gallo isn't pleased. He tells Walter they're not ready to go out on their own without the government, but Walter wants to show the world what they can do. As they pack up, Walter tells Toby to stay behind. Paige argues they're all anxious about the trip, but they need to make it as a team. Walter relents.
Once in Vegas, Walter offers Toby a bet: if he resists gambling the whole trip, Toby gets his paycheck. If he bets at all, Walter gets his. Toby agrees. They meet with Renee Connelly, daughter of the casino owner Bob, who really knows her numbers. She explains that her dad is trying to expand and they can't afford to be losing any money. Renee shows them up to the penthouse, which is fully stocked with everything they could need. Sylvester is thrilled when he scans the bed and finds no germs.
Down on the casino floor, they meet Bob (Corbin Bernsen) install sensors in the floor that will pick up any patterns in people's walking, showing they're ripping the casino off. They watch the surveillance and Sylvester doesn't see any card counting. They zoom in on a table and Walter identifies the problem dealer. They bring in Ronny (Chris Mulkey, Captain Phillips), who isn't doing anything wrong. He has small hands, which means slower deals, which means cumulative loses. Walter tells Bob they just have to fire Ronny to solve their problem. He's emotionless about it, even as Ronny protests. Paige tries to call him on it, but Walter insists they did their job.
Later, Walter says good-bye to Bob after upgrading their computer, but agrees to let his team relax before their flight. As they're splitting off to play, Walter notices two guys going against the crowd, checking their phone. He warns his team that a robbery is about to go down. As the cash cart is wheeled out, a masked man starts firing a semi-automatic into the crowd. Happy tackles Paige out of the line of fire, but several patrons are hit. Later, the police are on the scene. Walter tells Detective Lou Rake what he saw. Rake is suspicious and points out that the cameras they repositioned led to blind spot so they didn't see the robbers leave. Connelly is suspicious.
The team tracks the heat sensors under the carpet, which show the robbers went to a storage closet with no exit. They have audio of Walter warning his team a robbery is about to go down, and Detective Rake thinks that means he coordinated it. Walter agrees to let the police search their room. Walter refuses to let Paige call Cabe. Then they find stacks of cash in Walter's bag. He's arrested. In court, he tries to argue they can't find a jury of his peers since he's a genius, but he only succeeds in getting a high bail. The team has two hours to raise the cash. They regroup in a low rent motel. With about $200 between them, Toby and Sylvester set out to win big while Paige and Happy try to get a peek at the surveillance footage.
At the station, Detective Rake shows them the footage of their room and Happy notices the sight line out the window is wrong, like it was spliced from another floor. They see a notice about a public hearing for the Crimson expansion and wonder if Bob Connelly was spread thin enough to frame Walter. At the tables, Toby reads people and cleans up at poker. After studying up, Sylvester also rakes it in at the sports book. Meanwhile, Walter is put in a jail cell with Ronny, the dealer he got fired. They have half of what they need to free Walter. Toby announces he can win it at the roulette table. Paige and Happy find them and relay that the permit was held up for months. They think the robbery might have been an insurance scam to pay-off a bribe.
They go after Toby at the roulette table and think they have him talked down, when he puts down all their money at the last second. In jail, Ronny is ready to punch Walter when Walter gets called to see his lawyer. It's Toby. Walter figures out very quickly that they don't have the money to bail him out. They lay into each other, with Toby accusing Walter of trying to impress his father figure Cabe and Walter disappointed to be let down by Toby again.
Back at the skuzzy motel, Paige steps up to lead suggesting they try to prove Connelly was in the red and had motive. They can't hack the software Walter installed, but Sylvester suggests a way to get into Connelly's laptop if they can get close enough.
Back in holding, Ronny is ready to throttle Walter with his tiny hands. Walter starts snapping all around drunken Ronny and manages to give him the spins. When Ronny calms down, Walter offers to evaluate his skills and set him on a better career path. On the roof of a neighboring casino, Happy rigs a crossbow and fires a cord across to the Crimson. Then she ziplines across, followed by Toby.
In jail, Walter lays out a marketing schedule for Ronny to sell scones he makes. He tells Ronny about the robbery and frame up. Ronny starts telling Walter about his love of magic and an old timer named Great Scott who used to disappear from the stage of the Crimson and reappear out on Vegas Blvd. The stage was where the storage room is now. Walter realizes that's how the robbers got out. He wants to get a message to his team.
He takes Ronny's rayon sleeve, the chlorine pellet from the toilet and a metal button from Ronnie's pants to create a reaction. He sticks it in the metal door lock and it warps the pins, opening the door. Crawling through the air vents of the Crimson, Toby falls through the ceiling. He runs, getting security to chase him as Happy heads to Bob's office. She plugs in the jump drive from Sylvester and he starts downloading the computer's hard drive.
Sylvester is interrupted by a meter maid telling him to move out of the loading zone. He doesn't drive, so he circles the casino at 5 miles an hour, picking up Walter from the street on the way. Happy thinks she has no way out of the casino without Toby to pull her up, but Paige appears, repaying Happy for saving her from a bullet. The team minus Toby regroups in the van. Happy insists Toby will be fine on his own and they don't want to call and risk giving away his location. Meanwhile, in the casino, security catches him and takes him to Renee Connelly, who doesn't want the bad PR of calling the cops. She plans to drop him in the desert. Back at the seedy motel, Sylvester checks the files they stole and finds all of Connelly's accounts are stable. They could have gotten a loan more easily than staging a robbery.
Walter thinks there must have been an inside man who knew about the tunnel. Whoever used their keycard to access the service entrance at the end of the tunnel and prop open the door to the getaway car outside is the inside man. They check the records and find it was Renee Connelly. Meanwhile, in a car out to the desert with Renee, Toby starts to get nervous. Then he meets the muscle in the front seat with a gun.
Toby quickly psychoanalyzes Renee, figuring out the expansion is cutting her out of the business. She says her dad is letting someone else run it so she's going to take the $10 million she stole and open a new venue to put the Crimson out of business. But first she wants Toby to send a text. Paige gets it. It says security drove Toby to the desert and gives coordinates, saying it's "under Orion's belt". The team goes to meet Toby and meets Renee's hired goons and their guns, who give them shovels.
Renee realizes something is wrong when she sees Walter isn't in jail. A helicopter comes out of the night sky. A bunch of commandos take down Renee and her goons. It's Cabe's guys. Walter called him when they got the text because he knew Orion's belt isn't visible this time of year. Later, Detective Rake joins them and reports Renee was laundering money for the goons for years. Walter asks Cabe to get Ronny out of jail. He plans to give Ronny a cut of his pay to start his bakery.
Walter and Toby start arguing over who is responsible for saving the day, prompting Cabe to tell them to walk home. He leaves them in the dark desert. Toby admits that Walter was right about him being a screw-up, but Walter assures Toby he's an asset. With $12 between them, Walter gives Toby the green light to hit the tables and win them airfare home.
- 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