The Wife:

While the central mystery of this episode is pretty unremarkable (i.e. rather devoid of twists, turns and red herrings), I think that this episode is one of the strongest episodes of this series in terms of its sensitivity toward its subject. I’ve already written about how affected I was by the dog fighting episode from this season, but I found this one to be quite moving as well.

The victim was a male-to-female transgendered woman who used to be a zealous television preacher when she was a man, but instead became a preacher in a small community on the Chesapeake inhabited by recovering addicts and others trying to start a new life. I thought the episode provided an interesting portrait of how outsiders deal with members of the transgender community, particularly those with strong religious beliefs. The victim’s ex-wife was appalled by the notion that her husband had “altered God’s plan” by becoming a woman, but the victim’s son, on the other hand, seemed to completely understand that the human body is merely a covering for what’s really inside, a notion that is at the core of the trans community.

Bones and Booth discuss transition, transgenders and transatlanticism. Not really. They mostly just discuss remains of things.

Bones and Booth discuss transition, transgenders and transatlanticism. Not really. They mostly just discuss remains of things.

Brennan cannot understand why the ex-wife would be so appalled at transgendered individuals when, to Bones, it’s no different than having cheek implants or breast augmentation, a point with which I certainly agree. (Although Booth, to save face in the interview, counters that plastic surgery of a non-gendered transitional nature is merely augmenting nature, not completely changing it.) One of my particular academic interests is in the representation of the body in narratives, so to me any augmentation is basically the same and should be viewed as such: making one’s outside fit how one feels inside.

Sweets presented a lovely notion about the connection between the victim’s religious devotion and her position as a transgendered person when he discussed the idea of being trans suggesting a crossing-over, implying something intensely spiritual. Transcendence is divine, and that idea, for Sweets, is reflected in the body of the transgendered individual. His speech made me really happy to hear, and as I’m sure it made any trans fans of Bones.

For as glowing as I may be about the way this show presents my views, I greatly admire how those ideas are framed within the rhetoric of science. They rarely seem to be trying too hard to present one view over the other, generally presenting multiple perspectives of an issue, which I think this episode did admirably. Certainly, the victim’s son is correct: our bodies are like dust jackets, merely a covering for the rich text that lies underneath. It’s an apt metaphor that fits nicely into my own worldview, and I’m surprised to find a sentiment I so intimately connect with on an FBI procedural on FOX.

The Husband:

Despite having watched this episode very recently, I can barely recall any real bits of the mystery, so I have to echo my wife by saying that, aside from the education on transgender theory, it was a pretty low-level episode, so I’m going to go right into:


Vincent Nigel-Murray (Ryan Cartwright): 4

Pros: As usual, very adept at his job despite any shortcomings both brain-wise and personality-wise. Nice British accent and foppish charm

Cons: His tangential nature of both stories and facts rubbed everyone at the Jeffersonian the wrong way and I’m sure many viewers as well. Any Jeffersonian squint should be more focused on the job at hand and less on merely trying to be impressive or neurotic. I can also barely remember him.