Scorpion 1×18 ‘Once Bitten, Twice Die’ : or Snake Fiasco

Source: CBS

In a story similar to recent events Eastern Europe is about to erupt into all-out war. However instead of Ukraine being at the heart of the conflict its Belarus, Latvia, and Lithuania. The leaders of the three countries are flown to California, for some odd reason, to negotiate a peace treaty, where one of them is poisoned by Snake venom. Now it’s up to the team to track down who did it and create some makeshift snake antivenom in order to stop World War III.

Well… fact check: Belarus, Latvia, and Lithuania are not at odds, at all; in fact Latvia and Lithuania are Belarus’ biggest supporters in the European Union. The current regime in Belarus is by all accounts, horrible. The European Union keeps trying to slap sanctions on them to get them to stop their human rights violations but Latvia and Lithuania keep going to bat for Belarus. Why? Money, that’s why. Latvia and Lithuania both have access to the coast, Belarus does not, and so the three of them are very close trading partners and need each other financially. War is not going to happen. In fact it has never really happened, at least not in the way Scorpion describes. The history of these three countries is defined more by conflicts with Russia and the USSR then with each other. That 1897 war between Lithuania and Belarus never happened which is absurd because they say an actual date. It wasn’t some tale from the past in the long long ago. They date it. Anyone could google 1897 and see there was no war. Also there was no snake bite death or funeral insult. It’s a completely fabricated history for these countries. That’s like saying McKinley invaded Canada because the Prime minister wouldn’t come to his son’s softball game and we’ve been feuding ever sense. It’s nonsense. Especially when you consider how many countries in the world are actually at each other’s throats. They could have picked any one of them and it would have been more compelling because it would be based on facts.

Source: CBS You are no doubt wondering why I called you all here

Source: CBS
You are no doubt wondering why I called you all here

Now on to the snake part of the tale. The Adder is the only venomous snake common to Lithuania. Check one for Scorpion. While they got that right, the idea of making antivenom from a ferret in a salad mixer is far from right. It takes months to go from snake to antivenom. First you milk the snake. You milk the snake a lot, not just once, over the course of months or even years. Then you concentrate the venom and mix it with a solution to both dilute it and to accelerate the antibody production in the host. Then you inject the solution into the host, several times and over the course of several days. Several weeks later you can extract blood from the host. Rodents have been used, so the ferret is a maybe. The most commonly used animals however are horses because it takes a lot of blood to harvest enough antibodies for antivenom. We’re talking far more than just the one vial they got from the ferret. More like liters of blood. Then you centrifuge it to get the plasma, introduce enzymes to separate the antibodies, then concentrate the antibodies and administer to the patent. It can sometimes up to 30 vials of antivenom over the course of days until they recover. Not one vial for two people and they’re up in a couple of hours.

Source: CBS If we act natural no one will notice the plot holes

Source: CBS
If we act natural no one will notice the plot holes

The episode was fun, but it suffers from the same problem most of CSI does. Nobody bothered to do any research. It just completely falls apart if you know even the slightest thing about the subject matter. Watching the episode I knew it was ridiculous, I did not realize just how ridiculous until a simple afternoon on the internet. If they had just read a Wikipedia article they would have known how absurd the plot was. And they probably did, but just didn’t care. Their job is to entertain and this is the story they wanted to tell. My point is that you can entertain and still be factual at the same time. In fact it is often more entertaining, because it’s real world problems that your heroes have to overcome. That’s a compelling story, a believable story. Instead they just decided where they wanted to end up and just wrote their way there with very little resistance.

Well Scorpion is once again taking a week off, so I will be back in two weeks for episode 19, ‘Young Hearts Spark Fire.’

Paul Choate

was born with a remote control in his hand. He’s a Trekkie and an avid fan of comics as well as equally nerdy fare. When he’s not watching television on the couch he’s working on his new webcomic. Follow him on Tumblr and check out his website:


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