Bones


The Wife:

Bones finale, while I enjoyed your silly alternate universe mystery that could have been Booth’s coma or Brennan’s erased fantasy manuscript or both at the same time, you were a weird, weird way to do a season finale. Although, really, how else would you have managed to solve a murder while Booth lay in a four-day post-surgical coma? If I accept the fantasy manuscript as what that story was, then I appreciate that it functioned to subconsciously illustrate Brennan’s feelings for Booth, as she would never be able to say them in real life. And I wonder if the crux of next season will be Brennan dealing with those feelings in light of the fact that Booth, tumor-free, now doesn’t know just quite who this woman he’s spent the last four years of his life with is. Memory loss is a bit of a hoary trope, usually relegated to daytime television, but I have faith that Bones will transform it into something useful next season.

Incidentally, I am 99% percent more likely to go to a bar called The Lab than a bar not called The Lab.

Incidentally, I am 99% percent more likely to go to a bar called The Lab than a bar not called The Lab.

That said, let me talk about things I enjoyed about this weird alternate universe:

  • Excellent use of every intern (save for the woman from the airplane caper and Michael Badalucco), even Zack.
  • Fischer as the chef made me long for Kitchen Confidential, which was better than FOX thought it was.
  • I am sad that Eugene Byrd’s Clark had to play entirely toward type as a hip hop superstar C-Sync, who wants to play at The Lab, the club run by Booth and Brennan.
  • I am, however, happy that Pej Vahdat’s Viziri got to play away from being defined by his religion and got to be a slick rival club owner, which is still kind of a Persian character type, but a much cooler one.
  • Daisy is a sloot in any universe.
  • It is perfect for psychologist Sweets to be a bartender, as bartenders are just as good as listening as shrinks are. And charge less by the hour.
  • Wendell Bray is the perfect bouncer, as I think this kind of 100% street-smart tough guy is exactly what he would be without his medical knowledge.
  • I have never loved Mr. Nigel-Murray more than as an adorable British DJ in this episode. He should always wear a hat in the lab. His best line? “I’m not going to fare well in jail. I’m lovely.” Yes, sweetheart. You rather are.
  • Zack was apparently Brennan’s assistant. I guess a club owner might have an assistant, but it seems like less of a fit than the rest of the characters in this episode.
  • Alternate universe Hodgins is a crime writer, and that’s pretty cool.
  • Alternate universe Angela was basically Angela, but without computer skills. She wore a super cute pink-striped dress at one point though, and I just found it: It’s Marc Jacob’s Crosstown Sleeveless Dress, and it’s at Neiman Marcus for $428. I. Am. Awesome.
  • I loved that Sweets band was called Gormogon, and yet played lovely, sunny pop-rock music. JFD is a fine singer, and I also loved the callback line: “Some people think that I’m Gormogon, but I’m not.”
  • I totally believe that Booth would run a club if he weren’t in law enforcement, because that’s probably what his little brother should be doing now that he isn’t in the military anymore. They switched roles!
Will commence hunting down that dress after I post this!

Found this! It's at Neiman Marcus!

However:

It is completely unbelievable that Brennan would run a club and remain so logical and fastidious. I could see her running a business, yes, but something that makes medical devices or computer parts or something. I do not see her as the kind of person who makes a business of entertainment, and that rang through loud and clear to me as her character said things about how she prides herself on being logical throughout the course of the investigation by Cam and Jared Booth. Everyone in the alternaverse was an alternate version of themselves, except for Booth and Bones. Booth’s transition made sense, Bones’ didn’t. And if she wrote the story, I’m not really sure why she would choose to insert herself into that character, other than to pair herself with Booth as husband and wife.

I guess the ‘shippery moments were pretty hot, although I find the alterna-Booth and Bones pregnancy discussion less cute than false. I don’t know, gang. This was a weird one. And Mötley Crüe was there. Why? I’m mostly just kind of confused as to how this functions as a season finale.

By the way, my pick for Interns next season would be a rotating schedule of Vincent Nigel-Murray, Colin Fischer and Wendell Bray, because they’re clearly the best. And we’ll get enough of Daisy since she’s all up on Sweets 24/7.

The Husband:

I was going to wrap up my intern-of-the-week for this season by stating my preferences for who should return, but my wife pretty much nailed it. Fischer is great comic relief for a geek like me, but Bray is the best character and Nigel-Murray is the most interesting in terms of sheer knowledge. I would have loved to see Badalucco return, but that Emmy-winning star is just too expensive or busy, I guess.

So I’ll just have to settle on a quick commentary of the final episode. I think it was cute but ultimately disappointing. If this was an attempt at trying to turn into Moonlighting, a show that constantly shifted realities for random episodes just because they could. (One episode starts with a dude reading Shakespeare while watching Moonighting, so the episode had Willis and Shepard solving a case while being characters from The Taming of the Shrew.) But Bones, while often subversive of the modern standard procedural, is still far more serious than that show ever was and still has a reality to maintain, a reality millions of people love. And so, this episode was not nearly as interesting as my new iPhone. (Not a whole lot is, technically, but I make sure to use it as little as possible if I’m watching something I really give a shit about.)

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

I also don’t really care what people have to say about whether or not Brennan and Booth had sex in the real world or in a fantasy, because goddamn it, it’s supposed to be ambiguous. Just like the final sequence on Grey’s Anatomy. We’ll find out this fall. Stop freaking out with your theories, online douchebags.

And hopefully, this fall will also see Zack’s return to the Jeffersonian. I miss that apprentice twerp.

The Wife:

Given how important “The Critic in the Cabernet” is, it is completely unnecessary to discuss any facet of “The Beaver in the Otter” other than that Bones herself had some really funny lines regarding the sociopathic nature of fraternity hazing and that Booth’s brother receiving a dishonorable discharge from the military and setting off to bike through India serves as an emotional starting point for Booth’s decision to donate his sperm to Brennan’s sudden desire to have a child in next episode. And, you know, other than the fucking brain tumor that makes him hallucinate Lucky Luc Robitale, his dead friend and Stewie from Family Guy, I can see his loss of one less person to care for contributes to his hesitation to acquiesce to Brennan’s request that he not help her raise their child.

Booth, even with the brain tumor, is intuitive enough to admit that he’d give Brennan a child to make her happy, because he does love her and care about her, even if he isn’t willing to admit to a romantic love between them. He loves her enough to give his life for her, and to help her bring life into this world, and it is incredibly frustrating for everyone else in the lab that Brennan cannot see that. And even if she could see it, I’m pretty sure Brennan wouldn’t allow herself to reciprocate. Even when she drags him to the hospital and announces to the rest of the team that he’s having an operation to remove a brain tumor, she cannot admit to be anything more than logical and professional, although she’s fighting back tears the whole time, reminding everyone that the situation at hand isn’t about her.

I told you it wasn't normal to hallucinate a talking cartoon baby.

I told you it wasn't normal to hallucinate a talking cartoon baby.

Man, I thought the Family Guy crossover was going to be totally and completely weird, but it ended up being not only done in a way that made sense, but also somehow made this one of the most memorable Bones episodes ever. Cue me short of breath and teary eyed because I can’t handle when Brennan can’t handle things. It often takes events of this magnitude to break through even the most rational amongst us (see Spock losing his mother in the new totally and completely awesome Star Trek) and make us realize certain facts we’d repressed or ignored, and while I don’t want to ruin the shippy chemistry of Bones, I hope Booth’s near-death experience pushes Brennan to a point where she acknowledges that there is something other than logic that lies, to borrow from Sweets’ book title, at the heart of the matter.

The Husband:

Something weird happened during the episode “The Beaver in the Otter.” My wife and I watched it two Sundays ago, the end of a weekend where I was pretty much on a codeine-laced cough medicine the whole time. Even though I hadn’t taken any of the medication since around 11 p.m. the night before, I was still feeling the effects of the codeine the next afternoon. And so when we started the Bones episode, I knew I was going to be drifting in and out of sleep. And simply from the ads and the aired clips leading up to the show, it seemed like it was going to be a pretty aggressively stand-alone episode.

But yes, the weird thing. As I drifted in and out of sleep, I would always catch just enough of the mystery to keep it all together in my head, and by the end, I felt like I hadn’t missed a thing. Only now, reading my wife’s recap, do I realize that I missed all of the Booth Brother drama, but that one sentence is just about all I would have needed anyway.

So while I don’t want to say that Bones is the kind of show you could sleep through – because you shouldn’t – I do appreciate it that I was able to follow the mystery dead the fuck on.

The Wife:

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”

Do not adjust your televisions.

Do not adjust your televisions.

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.

Nake with the Sake.

Nake with the Sake.

The Wife:

Oh my . . . so many Bones posts to write . . . why do I do this to myself where I let a procedural pile up and promise myself I’ll do a double post, only to end up with a stack of four of them? With Criminal Minds, I know it s because there are a whole bunch of other great things on Wednesday, so I’ll usually save CM for the weekends, but with Bones, FOX never seems to keep it on consistently enough for me to make a date to watch it. And thus I wind up doing this:

4.13 “The Hero in the Hold”

The Gravedigger returns and captures Booth, locking him inside a submarine that’s about to be demolished. He fights his way out with the help of a spectral form of a cadet who died in his arms back when he was in the military. You know, I recently watched an episode of Angel where the military borrowed Angel to rescue a crew that had captured a Jerry sub, which was filled with vampires because the Germans wanted to engineer an army of them. Between these two episodes, I have decided that the one place I do not like David Boreanaz is on a submarine. Both episodes were terrible. Please, never put David Boreanaz on or around a submarine ever again. I would much rather see him in ladies’ underwear, tied up in Christmas lights being tortured by Alan Cumming.

4.14 “The Princess and the Pear”

How fortunate were the squibs to have Intern-of-the-Week Mr. Colin Fischer when a dead Booth Babe from a sci-fi/fantasy convention turns up? Oh, they were very, very lucky, for, you see, Mr. Colin Fischer loves all kinds of sci-fi fantasy stuff. “I even watch Fringe,” he states, marking the notable exception that he never watched Angel. You wanna know why that’s funny? Because actor Joel David Moore was actually on Angel once, and even though he was in vampire makeup, I spotted him. That vamp had one line before Angel dusted him, and I instantly knew that the long, bony face under all that makeup belong to Moore. One of my chief joys in watching Angel at the moment is finding other actors that Borenaz has worked with turning up on the show. TJ Thyne has a small recurring role during Angel‘s 5th season, and you can’t imagine how cool that is to someone who only knows Thyne as Hodgins.


I really enjoyed this episode, perhaps because I am greatly amused by the kind of fandom that occurs at conventions (in fact, this episode aired during SF’s Wondercon, which I was too lazy to attend, even though the last event was a sing-a-long of “Once More, With Feeling”), and also because, like many great sci-fi/fantasy narratives, the murder of this poor Booth Babe had everything to do with a priceless weapon, an original prop sword used in one of the first fantasy epics to grace the silver screen, Mort D’Arthur. She had it, and someone killed her for it. The first suspect is Miss Valerie Daniels, a dominatrix, who makes Sweets delightfully uncomfortable when he questions her. After which, he realizes that it might be best to set a trap at the auction of said priceless sword to force the killer into revealing himself. Sweets takes up the mantle of the bidder and brings Fischer along as a camera man. Most excellent part of the auction, other than Miss Daniels hooking up with Mr. Colin Fischer? Spotting one of my favorite Amazing Race teams, Goths Kynt and Vyxen, as extras in the auction crowd! (Hi Kynt and Vyxen! I miss you guys!)

Sweets’ plan fails, though, and the highest bid goes to the Arthuria Consortium, the largest collection of Arthurian memorabilia in the world, but he does not go unnoticed by The Black Knight, who eventually runs Sweets and Bones off the road and tries to steal Excalibur from them. Bones bests him with her strong anthropological knowledge of swordplay, although I had hoped she would cut his legs off:


Fischer discovers the murder weapon, the Pear of Anguish, during a discussion of medieval torture implements he has with Miss Daniels post-coitus. The Pear, typically used on heretics and inserted into the organ that caused the sin (vagina, mouth, anus), was placed in the victim’s mouth and cranked open, crushing her jaw from the inside out. Although pleased he has found the murder weapon, Cam is ready to fire Fischer for sleeping with a suspect until Hodgins saves his ass. Judging by the way her assailant used his sword, Bones postulates that the only person who would have had as a thorough a knowledge of swordplay and know how to make authentic chain mail would be the blacksmith. He gave the dead Booth Babe the sword as a gift, but she wanted to sell it for rent money, not realizing its true value as a gift, which, to him, was a betrayal. He killed her, he claims, because he loved her so much.

In retrospect, that psychology doesn’t make any sense, but otherwise, this was a totally delightful, geeky episode.

4.15 “The Bones That Foam”

The hallucination-plagued David Boreanaz-helmed episode of Angel was weird and somewhat unsettling, but certainly filled with odd comedy, and I think with this episode, I’m starting to see a trend in terms of what Boreanaz likes to direct. This was one of Bones‘ lighter mysteries, involving a dead car salesman who works at gimmicky Jungle Jim’s, where all of the sales personnel have to wear safari uniforms and the shop has its own monkey mascot. While back at the lab, they’ve got their own share of comic scenarios when the bones start to foam and the lab gets put on lockdown. The team ends up racing against the clock when they realize that the bones are foaming because they are breaking down and they’ll need to solve the murder before they lose their evidence.

This is how Borenanaz looks when he directs.

This is how Borenanaz looks when he directs.

Once the bones are no longer under lockdown, Hodgins declares King of the Lab when he finds some strawberry lust dust on the victim’s body, indicating that he had been at a strip club before he died, which leads Booth and Bones to visit Miss Strawberry Lust and Bones buys Booth a lap dance so that they can talk to the girl, who, by the way, is a criminology major at Georgetown. Anthropologically speaking, Bones is so impressed with her seduction skills that she asserts that Miss Lust will surely be able to pay off her student loans very quickly. This is all part of Bones’ continued attempt to become better at interrogation and reading people, but she still can’t seem to shake her extremely logical side, completely failing at understanding humor in a later interrogation of one of the victim’s coworkers from the car dealership, who tells them that the victim gave all of his sales to his sick brother two months before he quit to work at another dealership, which brought her up to number one seller by default.

Meanwhile, not all goes well with the bones when Mr. Nigel-Murray finds out that they’re secreting hydrogen after accidentally setting them on fire. The hydrogen reaction is a byproduct of the bones breaking down their own calcium, so Hodgins tries to stop the process by coating them in an antacid, which works . . . until they petrify. From there, it’s up to Angela to digitally recreate the bones, which leads them to the murder weapon: tailor’s shears and, thus, the murderer, Chet’s wife, the seamstress, who killed her husband’s brother so that he wouldn’t blab about her affair with Jungle Jim – her way of helping Chet keep his job.

Funny lines from this one:

  • “I’m secreting adrenaline!” – Mr. Nigel-Murray
  • “You should stop using cartoons as a scientific reference.” – Bones
  • “What’s a sensitive way to say ‘murdered?'” – Bones
  • “I think it shows an innate lack of humanity, to push a monkey.” — Jungle Jim


4.16 “The Salt in the Wounds”

Desiccation, teenage pregnancy pacts, rehydrating flesh? This episode was all kinds of uncomfortable, and I once again have to point to this show’s amazing ability to pass very little judgment on controversial matters. While I look at a group of teenage girls who intentionally decided to get pregnant and raise their children together, I see crazy. But Bones? Bones sees a long-standing cultural tradition based in our hunter-gatherer roots where women of about that age often did the same thing. And while, from that perspective she’s correct, she also realizes that in a society where birth control is made very easy, there is something going against the cultural norm when a teenage girl gets pregnant. The most uncomfortable thing, though? Booth’s conversation with the loser stud-muffin who impregnated three of the teenage mothers, as well as the victim. I jumped out of my skin a little bit as Booth drove home a message about paternal responsibility by telling this poor boy that he has three children that he should want to be responsible for, because at any moment, their mothers could take them away from him. And worse? That his son died along with its mother. Fuck, dude, Booth lays it on thick! Which, in retrospect, is exactly the advice I would expect him to give, considering how much he lives for Parker. (This message brought to you by fatherhood.org.)

Not much mystery in this one, but it was cool to watch Cam et al rehydrate the corpse to work with the living tissue, and to see the new Intern-of-the-Week get around Bones need to see the bones without compromising the flesh by making a giant digital X-ray. Also, Roxy breaks up with Angela because, even though Angela wants to get a dog, Roxy thinks she lives too in the moment and can’t sustain a real, long-lasting relationship. Although Bones accuses the new intern, a devout Muslim, of not understanding Angela’s relationship because it’s probably forbidden by his religion (I never expected her to hate religion quite as much as Dr. Gregory House, so that was odd to hear), he actually does something incredibly sweet by making her a break-up mix CD, filled with songs he listens to when he feels heart-broken. I like new intern. He’s very kind.

4.17 “The Doctor in the Den”

As Angela begins her foray into celibacy — a suggestion from Sweets about how to find alternative things to value in her relationships – Cam’s former fiancé turns up dead in a tiger enclosure in the zoo. She goes on a journey I never quite got into as she spends the episode trying to solve the murder and reconnect with the victim’s daughter, who Cam helped raise. Beautiful Dana Davis plays Michelle, but as good of an actress as she is, she doesn’t get much to do in this episode except shun Cam’s attempts to love her, which is perhaps why I found this plot so bland. Monique Coleman had more to do in her brief role in “Salt in the Wounds” as the pregnant best friend of the dead girl, so it was especially disappointing to see Dana Davis so underwritten. Pity. And because I wasn’t invested in Cam’s quest, I wasn’t invested in the mystery, either. In the end, though, Michelle does decide to live with Cam, only after Cam brings her half of the set of antique salt and pepper shakers she gave the girl when she left her father (because he could never love a woman as much as Michelle’s mother and was a habitual cheater, offed by a nurse who couldn’t handle that he saw other women besides her, the fate that always befalls cheaters). I hope to see more Dana Davis in the future on this show, possibly growing interested in forensic science and getting a Jr. Internship at the Jeffersonian? Surely, they’ll write her better then.

The Wife:

As my husband mentioned in my last Bones post, this episode saw the return of Veronica Mars‘ Michael Grant Terry as fan-favorite intern Wendell Bray. (The rumblings I see on the interwebs indicate that many Bones viewers seem to like him the best. I’ve also seen rumblings that indicate that some people think that Ryan Cartwright’s Vincent Nigel-Murray is actually Joel David Moore’s Colin Fischer. This is incorrect. You would know Joel David Moore if you saw him. In fact, I just spied him on Angel the other day, in full vamp makeup. He is that recognizable that I know it’s him even when his face is covered. And yes, this does explain how Joel David Moore got the gig on this show.) Wendell and Booth are teammates on in a local hockey league that seems to be largely comprised of dudes who work together who like to do a little friendly beating up on other dudes out on the ice.

In the cold open, a member of the opposing team, The Firedawgs (volunteer firefighters), beats up on Wendell, which causes Booth, as the “enforcer,” to further beat up on said Firedawg. I’ve mentioned before how, sometimes, this show becomes a way in which the actors/executive producers can speak about themselves a little bit. Most notably, the anti-dogfighting eulogy that still makes me tear up from “The Finger in the Nest” as a testament to Emily Deschanel’s animal activism. In “Fire in the Ice,” we get a glimpse at just how much David Boreanaz loves hockey. I remember him talking wistfully about how much he loves to play hockey with his son in an interview, so I was not at all surprised to see an episode dedicated to the star and producer playing hockey. If I were to say that David Boreanaz looks good on the ice, it would be meaningless. But that’s because I don’t know anything about hockey. And I think he looks good all the time.

Later, the player that Booth threatened turns up dead in the lake, discovered while two ice fishermen bored a hole in the ice and, consequently, the body. Delicious blood and guts. Just how I like them. Things become complicated when Booth sees the crossed hockey sticks that the dead man wore around his neck and suddenly realizes that it’s Pete Carlson, the Firedawg with whom he recently fought, automatically making Booth a suspect. In order to work the case, Caorline brings in Special Agent Peyton Perrota. Bones refuses to work the case with anyone but Booth, and Peyton accommodates the request by allowing Booth to tag along and help during the investigation. This episode was really light on squint work, and all of the evidence keeps pointing back to Booth (or, you know, ANY OTHER HOCKEY PLAYER!). Everyone at the Jeffersonian was pretty convinced that Booth would never kill anyone, except for Sweets, who worries that Booth has spent his life finding ways to take back the power he lost as a child of abuse, all of which manifest in avenues for controlled violence: his army career, his FBI career, his devotion to recreational hockey. Booth shrugs all of these suggestions off with a venomous, “I’m not my father.”

And you're not my father either!

And you're not my father either!

Basic forensics confirmed that the victim was killed and then drowned and frozen. It’s clear that he died when an unknown object was jammed into his eye socket, but no one can figure out what or whom. Carlson had numerous gambling debts, but he always managed to pay them off quickly, thus ruling out any foul play on the part of those he owed, leading the team once again back to the hockey rink and a potential crime of passion. Luckily, Bones, Perrota and Booth find the spot on the ice where the victim was killed, along with an additional blood streak. Because their best hope to find the killer is to match the extra blood, this leads to a fun little hockey sequence where Booth and Wendell try to get players to bleed so that Wendell can secrete blood samples out to Bones. Unfortunately, this process turns up nothing. It does, however, get Booth knocked pretty hard on his head. So hard, in fact, that he starts hallucinating that he’s playing hockey with his favorite player, Lucky Luc Robitaile. Luc reiterates that Booth is, in fact, not his father. He urges Booth to stop looking where he’s looking and start looking at the team.

Wendell and Hodgins did get to have their own special Side Squint adventure trying to figure out why all of the fish in Carlson’s fishtank were belly up, but hadn’t eaten each other, as they would naturally do if not fed for days. In this protocol-breaking Side Squint adventure, they discover that the victim, who had severe gambling debts, hid jewelry cleaned in ammonia in his fishtank. All of the jewelry, it turns out, was claimed as damaged in a fire.

Heeding Lucky Luc’s words, Booth starts doing some old fashioned detective work and looks up the Firedawgs roster. He realizes that four of the Firedawgs played hockey together in high school. Taking his otherworldly sign into consideration with the evidence, he brings the three remaining Firedawgs in for questioning, and one of them nearly instantly confesses to killing his teammate, the very man who ruined his chances of ever going pro. I guess sometimes, when you’ve residually hated someone for ruining your life for so long, you really just need to stab them in the eye with a boot lacer.

I’d definitely call this one of Bones‘ weaker episodes. It was too light on policework and never fully realized either of the things it wanted to do with character development. I’ll accept Booth’s realization that he isn’t his father via his Lucky Luc fever dream, but only grudgingly. That scene is really just another way for Booth to continue to avoid confronting his past. This episode also tried to establish a bit of jealousy and possessiveness on Bones’ part, by introducing Agent Perrota, who was not shy about asking Booth if he was sleeping with Bones and also not shy about flirting with him. Yes, Bones is possessive of her partner, but that’s because she trusts him and knows they work well together. However, she’s also willing to let Perrota join their investigation because it’s the right thing to do. She follows the rules because they’re the rules. She would never do otherwise. Even in the end when Booth teaches her to skate down at the rink and she asks him how working the case with Perrota was, she asks because Booth hasn’t worked a case with an actual agent in a long time. It’s not because it’s another woman he might prefer to her, but that he might prefer actually working with someone trained in law enforcement, not science. She’s too logical to succumb to petty jealousy. Temperance Brennan just doesn’t work that way.

If they ever make The Cutting Edge 4, we totally have to audition.

If they ever make The Cutting Edge 4, we totally have to audition.

The Husband:

Yes, Perrota may be a good addition to the cast if she sticks around, but to me, actress Marisa Coughlan will always be the fearless comedienne who basically embarrassed herself several times in the completely despicable – but compulsively watchable – Tom Green film Freddy Got Fingered. I will never forget her role as the wheelchair-bound girl who, to paraphrase her, didn’t ever care about jewelry, because all she wanted to do was suck Tom Green’s cock.


The Wife:

How excited was I when Bones revealed that the two female corpses found wrapped in a white sheet, somewhere in the panhandle, were conjoined twins? Oh, man. I think my level of excitement falls somewhere between that of a cat with a new feather toy and a child on Christmas morning. It’s that kind of excitement that you can’t adequately explain to someone. The kind that causes uncontrollable outbursts of the word “Squeeeeeeeeeee!” I love the idea of the circus and narratives about the circus. And I especially love stories about sideshows. And even more than that, I love stories about conjoined twins. (Should any of the graduate programs to which I have applied accept me, I will happily be writing about all of those things for the next several years.) As you may have gleaned from my posts about shows like Fringe and Nip/Tuck, I’m very interested in narratives of the body. Essentially, the idea of decaying bodies being the source of narratives is one of the reasons I like Bones so much. That and David Boreanaz. So to give me an episode of Bones about conjoined twins that also has Emily Deschanel in a skimpy outfit and David Boreanaz wearing a silly mustache? That’s exactly like giving a whole bunch of really awesome feather toys with bells and shiny bits to one very lucky cat.

Because the victims this week were a pair of conjoined twins, the case led straight to the circus. Booth and Bones are all set to question the traveling carnival at which the Van Owen sisters were employed, but Sweets, revealing that his birth mother was a carnie, warns them that the carnies won’t talk to them if they’re gillies, or outsiders to the circus. Circus folk protect their own, viewing those inside the circus as family, a notion which derives from the fact that many circus members ended up there by leaving family situations that were in some way unsatisfactory. To that end, Booth and Bones rent a trailer and go undercover as Buck and Wanda Moosejaw, a couple of Canadian carnies looking to get their knife-throwing act into the traveling show. The “Knives of Death” act was conceived out of Booth’s military skill, despite Brennan’s many, many mentions that, while she did some anthropological research at a circus back when she was in school, she learned to become quite proficient on the highwire. Ringmaster Andy Richter (who, for some reason, I could only imagine as the deranged little lemming he voices in Madagascar) and the show’s 24 Hour Man, Lavalle, agree to let Buck and Wanda in to the show, providing they stick with the Russian gimmick Bones insisted they use for their act. (No sane anthropologist would have agreed to a cowboy-Indian princess act, right? I mean, Russian was the only way to go here.)

I think a lot of people's strange sexual fantasies were fully realized in this episode.

I think a lot of people's strange sexual fantasies were fully realized in this episode.

While at the carnival, they try to get close to the carnies while making their cover look believable (by strategically rocking their trailer back and forth so no one comes a-knockin’). But none of the carnies are willing to hand out information about Jenny and Julie Van Owen. They all stick with the story that the girls had decided to leave and took off, citing a handwritten note they’d left behind. They all seemed to agree that the girls were looking to expand their juggling act, something they might be better able to do at another circus. Outside of their cover, the girls’ mother tells them that Julie and Jenny had been considering separation surgery (which would have been entirely possible given that they were connected at the posterior and did not share any segments of bone or any vital organs), and then they learn that the milder twin, Julie, had been dating the doctor who would have performed the surgery.

Back at the lab, Angela discovers that the handwritten note was a fake, as the handwriting with which the names were signed did not match up to the way the twins stood. They also struggle to find out exactly how the twins were killed, as both girls seem to have an identical fracture on their skulls, but no other bone damage, save for some stress fractures in their feet. Angela and Mr. Nigel-Murray (back to annoy Cam with more useless and marvelous bits of trivia) realize that the girls’ heads had to have been conked together, but with something soft that wouldn’t lead to external tissue damage or other bone damage. Something like, say, clown props. With this new information, Booth and Bones, in full Russian costume for their show that night, start rifling through clown props to find something that could have been the murder weapon. This angers the clowns, especially lead clown The Greg Wilson. One thing you don’t do at a circus is fuck with the clowns. Sometimes, they’re considered lower than the other acts and so they’ve formed their own sub-family. You do not fuck with a clown. They will fuck you up. (Incidentally, I am quite disturbed by clowns. And while my strange fascination with the circus continues to shed more light on the functions of clowns within the circus and circus narratives, I am no less freaked out by them. Perhaps it is because I now know that, in addition to being very scary things with obscured faces, they will also totally fuck me up if I cross them.)

With some intervention from the Ring Master, Buck and Wanda Moosejaw go on to perform their act that evening, watching the clowns from behind the curtain to observe how, with proper force, their props could be used to kill someone. They perform their act with no rehearsal, and a nervous Booth manages to hit every balloon without incident. Adorably, Bones, completely outside of herself at the circus, keeps egging him on, drawing out an inflatable apple for him to pierce off the top of her head and, finally, attaching a rubber nose for him to slice right off her face. He hits every mark perfectly. This scene is both a testament to these partners’ trust in each other, as well as an interesting look at their characters. It’s a rare moment when we see the ever-confident Seeley Booth hesitate, but he does here, knowing that any false move could seriously injure his partner. He barely trusts that the socially retarded scientist will be able to keep still, but in the process discovers that while she may not relate well to people directly, Brennan knows exactly how to play a crowd.

I don’t know if this is something she’s picked up in her studies of anthropology, or just during her time studying the circus, but Bones is a natural showman. She works the crowd with grace and confidence, prancing around in her sexy outfit. As Sweets explains, by its very nature, a knife act has a kind of psychosexual component to it, where the knife is . . . well . . you get the idea. It’s this aspect of the knife act that Brennan plays up the most. She titillates the audience with her body, and teases them, and Booth, with each smaller and smaller object that she begs her partner to slice off of her. The danger, of course, is that he will get too close and end up penetrating her. But the act, while seemingly about penetration, isn’t really about it at all. It’s about the tease of it. This act is a perfect metaphor for Booth and Bones’ relationship. I don’t care if they ever will become partners in another sense. It’s all a knife act. I’m in it for the tease.

I say it again. This woman is hot. Why won't you look at her????

I say it again. This woman is hot. Why won't you look at her????

After their act, the Moosejaws realize that the only person who could swing a clown prop with enough force to kill someone is the show’s strong man, Magnum. They try to question him after the show, but end up getting trapped in a net. Eventually, they come clean to the other carnies, who turn away from them the minute their FBI badges are drawn, reminded Booth and Bones that they’re nothing more than gillies and that they’ll never, ever be accepted there. “You’re not one of us,” Lavalle says as he turns away. That phrase really resonated with me, as the idea of being “one” of the collective circus “us” is very important to the idea of a circus family. In Tod Browning’s Freaks, all of the freaks exclaim this as they sit around their newly freakish chicken-girl creation. This phrase is notably reiterated in Bertolucci’s The Dreamers when Theo and Isa skip through the Lourve with their new American friend, happily chanting “We accept him! One of us! We accept him! One of us!” as this very scene from Freaks is inserted. In a place comprised entirely of people who don’t belong, who have been, as a collective, othered, it’s very important to be accepted into that community. I could go on about facets of the circus that are not accepted as “one of us,” but that would just be a rehash of a paper of mine on the sideshow as community in Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man and The X-Files episode “Humbug.” All you gillies really need to know is that there’s an important and interesting structure for what is and isn’t accepted in the circus community. Outsiders are a definite no-go.

Knowing that their undercover stint is over, Bones isn’t yet ready to leave the circus. She begs Booth to let her try the highwire, at which she was quite proficient once. As she does, the bones in her feet start to hurt and she loses her balance halfway out and falls to the net below. In doing so, she realizes exactly how the twins died. No one killed them; they simply fell off the highwire while trying to improve their act. A set of juggling conjoined twins is cool, but they would be the only conjoined twins in the country who had a highwire act, something they knew would make them a big ticket draw. Unfortunately, as they fell to the net, they hit their skulls together hard enough to cause bleeding in the brain, rendering them brain dead and, shortly thereafter, fully dead.

As the agents are about to leave, Magnum approaches them to tell them that he didn’t kill the girls, but that he did help dispose of the bodies. Everyone at the circus loved them, he explained. And at the circus, you protect your own. In homage to their brief membership at the circus, Bones and Booth tell Magnum that they will get him a good lawyer and that he must be sure to explain that he hid the bodies in the desert and wrapped them in a white sheet as a sign of respect to the girls.

I loved this episode, and I really hope to be able to write about it again soon! (Dear grad schools: Please accept me! One of you! Please accept me! One of you!) This was a wonderful episode to bring us back from the break, and a wonderful reminder of why we love Booth and Bones so much – especially seeing them so far out of their element, in the topsy-turvy world of the Big Top.

The Husband:

As we are now only seeing returning interns trying out the Jeffersonian for the second time (with a big gaping hole where Michael Badalucco should be), I find it somewhat unnecessary to continue rating them, as I have already done so in the first place, and despite a few initial changes in ratings, I rarely have anything new to say about them. I dig Badalucco, I love Joel David Moore, and Michael Terry – especially now that we now of his awesome hockey prowess – seems to perhaps be the frontrunner for regular appearance status.

(It does not bode well that, for about a day, my wife and I could not agree upon whether or not Vincent Nigel-Murray [Ryan Cartwright] even appeared in the U.K.-set season premiere. He, in fact, did not, but he is British, so I can understand the confusion.)

As for this episode, it was very gleeful and fun, even if that did limit much of the drama and science we’ve come to expect from Bones. Both episodes last Thursday, actually, were both very low on really damn good police work and heavier on the let’s-have-Boreanaz-and-Deschanel-just-dick-around goofiness. Which is fine. I just want some giant Gormagon-type mystery soon, and very much desire more of Squintrifficness.

And I miss Zack. Is he done yet feeling responsible for helping the Gormagon? He didn’t actually kill anybody, remember? Get that fool back. Maybe see if he can do his job handcuffed to a railing. That’d be sweet. Not to be confused with John Francis Daley. That’s be Sweets.

The Wife:

I realize that this episode aired a few weeks ago – so long ago, in fact, that my notes for this episode are actually in a different freakin’ notebook – but I still think it deserves a little write up. Maybe today I’ll get around to writing up the backlog of Criminal Minds posts that I’ve been hanging on to. I dunno. A bunch of other important stuff happened on shows people read, so some of my procedurals fell by the wayside.

Nonetheless, this was an interesting episode of Bones that ultimately questions the relationships between parents and children when Cam hires Brennan’s father (who, mind you, is a convicted felon) to lead science tours of the Jeffersonian labs for elementary school children. Max Brennan was foremost a science teacher, after all, and was directly responsible for ensuring that his daughter grew up with a good basic science education, ultimately forming her into the forensic powerhouse and genius she is today. But Brennan, ever logical, cannot see the merit in having her father in the Jeffersonian’s employ. No matter how good a science teacher he is, as a convict, he shouldn’t be in a government laboratory. Max strikes a deal with his daughter: he will simply lead the science tours and will in no way interfere with any evidence in Bones’ investigations. As long as he can keep those two things separate, he can stay.

Phalanges!

Phalanges!


Booth, on the other hand, traces the victim and the suspects in his case to the Woodbury School, where he begins to question if he’s doing right by his son if he can’t send him to the prestigious private school. The victim was an ex-soldier who now worked as a janitor and a manny for the suspect’s children, privileged asshole kids who speak Mandarin, play outside on a giant chess board and take horse riding lessons in addition to advanced placement elementary classes. Parker is the opposite of these children. School is not something he necessarily enjoys, but does fine at, preferring to, you know, be an actual kid. Seeing these asshole kids and working with Dr. Brennan only makes him feel like he’s a failure of a father if he doesn’t provide his son with the best educational opportunities possible.

Max can’t keep his promise to his daughter, though, and she catches him helping Hodgins and Wendell Bray (hooray!) set up a wind turbine experiment to determine the wind data for the day of the murder. (There was some stuff about aviation gas in this case, leading the team to need to determine if a small plane, possibly flown by flying dermatologist Gina Torres, was involved.) While Max doesn’t have a hand in the experiment at all, merely supervising and offering suggestions, Bones cannot stand her father’s attempts to help, considering them interferences (from a convict) in a secure government case. Max’s presence, she feels, compromise the data. For the sake of pure science, she fires him. Even without Max’s help, though, Wendell Bray manages to crack the case when he discovers that the body was dragged on a doggie choke chain be a person no taller than 5’5″, leading the team to call in the wife of their prime suspect, the victim’s employer, Mr. Richard King.

But in the hotseat, Sweets notices that Mrs. King isn’t telling the truth. She’s covering for someone, especially because the shotgun blasts that actually killed the victim were person much shorter than 5’5″. She admits that her daughter shot her manny and that she helped cover it up, feeling that it was better for her daughter to have a “future” with her mother in jail than no future at all with a juvenile murder record. But, really, for all the educational opportunities this child was given, she seems to not be at the right place in terms of her emotional and moral development, if she can outright murder someone and feel no remorse for her actions. Perhaps her mother is not serving her best by not letter her take the fall. Murderous children are perhaps the scariest murderers of all. (Subverting the paradigm of innocence, and all that.)

It'll be just like that YouTube video you saw. Watch.

It'll be just like that YouTube video you saw. Watch.


Ultimately, the case makes Booth realize that he’s already the best father he can be to Parker and that perhaps letting his son experience some extracurricular academic enrichment is all he needs, not an 8th grade diploma from a school for diplomat’s children. Max offers to show Parker a few science experiments, and Parker’s joy at learning about the chemical reactions between soda and Mentos makes Booth ask Bones if she’d consider rehiring her father for the teaching position, so that Parker could have a chance to learn from the same man she learned from.

Really, other than that whole crime thing, Max Brennan seems like a great dude. I hope he sticks around on the show for a little bit, at least to give his daughter a glimpse of intellect edged with humanism.

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