Despite the fact that Bones hasn’t found its way into my regular viewing schedule, in part because Fox just keeps shoving Bones around in their schedule in an attempt to either fuck over the show or me, I really do enjoy watching Bones and have no intention to give up this show in grad school. For one, a procedural likes Bones is a nice thing to marathon three or four episodes of when you find yourself with a chunk of free time that you’d like to spend with something funny, thoughtful, emotive and occasionally very grotesque. For another, I appreciate that this show features an academic as its main character. It feels good to see that, when other shows go out to their way to hide a personality’s academic prowess. (I’m looking at you, American Idol, which never once mentioned on the show that Scott McIntyre was a Marshall scholar and turned down a fucking Fullbright to be on the show. Bones fans watch Bones no matter what night it’s on. Telling America that Scott was more than just a blind guy, that he was a brilliant blind guy, wouldn’t have completely alienated them, I’m sure.)
4.18 “The Science in the Physicist”
An academic mystery set in the Collar Institute, in which the titular Collar’s fiancé (and editor of the institute’s journal) turns up dead, chopped into bits in a garbage bag being eaten by crows. Mr. Nigel-Murray discerns that the body was not run through a woodchipper, but perhaps frozen with liquid nitrogen and then broken apart. Ah, but first, the victim was irradiated, developing some kind of advanced leukemia in roughly two weeks, due to a radioactive isotope subtly placed on her desk chair. But before she was frozen and broken apart, she was stabbed in the neck with a pencil and then vibrated apart, leading them straight to the one person at the Collar Institute whose research was on vibrotransportation. (Well, straight to him after he trapped Booth and Bones in a radiation chamber, about to Dr. Manhattan them if it weren’t for Collar’s echolocation device, leaving traces of pond scum in the chamber.)
I liked the sordid way in which academia was presented in this episode, as everyone at the Collar Institute was sleeping with everyone else and that everyone was willing to kill to be published because, well, there’s no point in doing research if you aren’t going to publish it. I did not like, nor understand, why Angela’s dad felt the need to pop up and threaten Hodgins for breaking Angela’s heart, going so far as to kidnap him and leave him in the desert with a fresh “Angela Forever” tattoo.
(Husband Note: Just out of curiosity — are they ever going to explain why Angela’s father is Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top? I mean, it’s cool. But whaaaaaaa?)
4.19 “Cinderella in Cardboard”
There were a number of disgusting things in this episode, the first of which being the manner in which the victim was found, crushed between sheets of cardboard. I can’t fully explain why this was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen on Bones, but it was. Like, that shit was truly gross. And it takes a lot to gross me out. I think, perhaps, this was even more disgusting to me because Wendell Bray, a former pizza cook, spent a large part of this episode trying to convince the squints that the best way to remove the woman from the cardboard would be to follow exactly the same procedure one would to slide a pizza out of an oven. (Think about it. It’s pretty gross.)
The victim was a serial bride, so obsessed with dating and getting married that she routinely broke off engagements and even had her toes surgically shortened to fit into her ideal bridal shoes. She subscribed to a service called Date or Hate, which would cause her cell phone to ring if in the vicinity of another Date or Hate user. Date or Hate ultimately became her downfall as the owner of the company created a fake profile to meet women, met the victim and killed her when she rejected him. Frankly, this chick seemed like a total bitchface to everyone when she was alive. Mean to bartenders, mean to the people making her wedding dress, selling old fiancés’ rings to pay for new weddings, mean to the guy who eventually killed her – not a nice lady. Had she survived to her wedding, I’m sure she would have made that guy’s life pretty shitty.
Booth and Bones spend the episode debating the merits of marriage, which, surprisingly, Bones does not understand, not even from a sociological/anthropological standpoint. She suggests that an intellectually rigorous person would never get married, which is the kind of pure logic that just stops making sense. Bones and Booth see Sweets’ girlfriend Daisy trying on dresses when interviewing the shopkeeper and then spend their time debating whether or not to tell Sweets that he’s the other man. Once Bones finally does, Sweets can’t believe it – which is good, because it’s very much not the truth. Daisy was trying on her cousin’s dress in her stead, as they’re the same size, hugging her cousin’s fiancé – a perfectly reasonable explanation.
“We’re both beautiful people, Lance. We’re bound to get jealous sometimes.” – Daisy
Daisy and Sweets proceed to have make-up sex in his office, while Angela and Hodgins see each other pop up on their phones’ Date or Hate service, and choose to ignore the signs from the universe that they should probably be together.
Here’s a great question I have about this episode, though: why did they hire Blossom (Mayim Bialik) and only use her in once scene? I mean, she’s fucking Blossom. Lame, Bones. Lame.
4.20 “Mayhem on a Cross”
Bones’ foray into Black Metal and Death Metal subcultures was strangely punctuated by the return of Stephen Fry’s Gordon Wyatt, who announces that he’s going to retire from the field of psychology. Nevertheless, he is most useful to help Bones and Booth confront the case at hand and the terrible truth she realizes about Sweets when she sees the scars on his back at a death metal show. (Death metal Sweets is pretty adorable, by the way.) Gordon Gordon effectively explains Sweets’ past (as an orphan saved from abusive foster homes by an older couple) as his reason for entering into the field of psychology and how the field can be just as useful for understanding the world as empirical evidence.
Plus, death metal kids are pretty funny:
- “I ate his face off before I killed him.”
- “They consider themselves deathcore. I consider them crapcore.” –Darryl
- “No, I’m a forensic anthropologist. I know how to say skull in almost every language.” – Bones
4.21 “Double Death of the Dearly Departed”
What a super-silly, super-slapstick-y episode, complete with a body being secreted out of a funeral and Booth leading memorial songs in order to distract the funeral goers from all of the body shuffling. David Boreanaz may be a lot of things, but a singer he is not. I did, however, appreciate the use of the code word “translate” as a substitute for “murder.” It was actually quite reminiscent of John Donne (only “death” is “translation” for him), which is a nice metaphysical note to add to an episode that’s basically a slapstick comedy at a funeral. I did, however, learn that I can fit a corpse in my Matrix if need be.
4.22 “The Girl in the Mask”
This episode really got to me, for some reason, and I think its strengths lie in a moving score and Brian Tee’s excellent work portraying Booth’s old friend from police exchange in Japan, Ken Nakemura, who calls in his friend’s help to find his missing sister, Sachi. Tee played this role with quiet reserve, but there was such a depth and power in his voice and diction that every time he spoke of his sister or the case, I couldn’t help but cry a little bit.
Bones always tries to capture as many facets of a culture as possible, and they definitely got a good cross-section of Japanese culture by including the Lolita subculture, as well as the androgynous Ke (with Dr. Haru Tanaka acting as Intern of the Week), some old school shogun tactics in the murder and some Shinto/animist beliefs.
“The Girl in the Mask” certainly doesn’t add up to much in the long run, but as a self-contained episode, it’s probably the most affected I’ve been by this show sing the dog-fighting episode. And I truly treasure television that can be so moving. Truly.