The Wife:

There’s a certain kind of storytelling I’ve come to expect from Mad Men. It was admittedly a show that took me some time to get into. It took my husband and I forever to get through the final four episodes of season one, having TiNoed them after even taking our time to get through the first episodes of that season. (Husband Note: Not because I didn’t love them, but MM is quite intimidating television.) But those final four episodes of season one were so strong that I was wholly prepared to launch myself into this universe of careful, subtle, deliberate storytelling.

The show feels more like a novel than a television show. We’ve grown accustomed to a certain kind of story style as viewers: stories fit neatly into their hour-long format, characters are constantly moving forward, the motivations and themes within the work are very accessible. I’d be selling short a lot of great television to say that most things on TV just aren’t that deep, but not even shows with great depth tell their stories as slowly and poetically as Mad Men does.

I was happy to have “Out of Town” as a season opener. While I didn’t feel that this was one of the shows most subtle episodes, every moment of it was riveting. The producers have spoken much about how this season will really strip down the characters we’ve come to know and love/hate to answer fundamental questions like, “Who is Don Draper?”

Fittingly, the episode opens and closes with stories about birth. Don reminisces about his own less-than-upstanding origins while warming some milk to help pregnant Betty get to sleep. The Whitmans did not have a happy marriage, and Don’s mother was unable to bring a child to term, for which her husband squarely blamed her. Just barely peeking into the bedpan holding her stillborn child was almost as terrifying as the stillbirth nightmare that opens Orphan. Across town, a working girl has found herself in a troublesome situation, having offered her services to a service man for 85 cents, because he didn’t have the extra quarter to afford a rubber. She promises him then that if he got her in trouble, she’d cut his dick off and boil it in hogfat. She mutters these words to herself as she lays dying from complications during childbirth, echoing across town as Mrs. Whitman’s midwife delivers little Don Draper to her in a fruit crate.

“His name is Dick, after a wish his mother shoulda lived to see.”

Though Don meanders on his business trip in a manner befitting his birth mother, he returns home to his wife and children and tells Sally the story of her birth after scolding her for breaking the latch on his briefcase.

On a non-birth related note, I am pretty sure Sally is going to grow up to become some coked-out rock groupie for all the scoldings she gets and the childhood mistakes we’ve seen her make. Her mother announces the broken latch to Don by saying that their maid “saw Sally hitting it with a hammer. She’s taken to your tools like a little lesbian.” Don’s punishment for the broken suitcase is for Sally to find out the cost for repair and to have that amount deducted from her allowance. “I don’t get an allowance,” Sally meeps. “Then don’t break things.” Last season, she drinks herself to sleep at Sterling-Cooper. This season, she’s committing acts of violence against inanimate objects. She’s about three steps away from ODing at Studio 54, if you ask me.

Missing from this picture: Grant Shows pornstache.

Missing from this picture: Grant Show's pornstache.

But between those birth stories of the Draper family, Don and Sal jetted down to Baltimore after the firing of Burt Peterson to take over his London Fog account. A couple of very randy stewardesses, recognizing Don’s brother-in-law’s name on the tag (Betty’s brother, it seems, loves to put his name on anything he can get his hands on), invite themselves to dinner with Don and Sal, all of which is just a precursor for dalliances. It’s clear that Sal is not so used to playing the “pick-up-a-stew” game, though he puts on a show for Don, exclaiming that he’s never seen stews so eager as Lorelai and Shelly, only to let Don take the lead at dinner, letting Lorelai go back to her room alone (or with the pilot, perhaps?) while Don takes Shelly upstairs.

Having caught the eye of an attractive bellhop during a brief glance in the elevator, Sal takes a chance and “breaks” his air conditioner to get the young man up to his room. Sal has been one of my favorite characters on this show, and my favorite episode from last year involved his flirtation with “author” Ken Cosgrove in “The Gold Violin.” I was so much more excited to see Sal finally get a little action, rather than sitting at home pretending he’s happily married to his beard, and I thought back to a line he tossed out at the London Fog meeting as he writhed in ecstasy: “Our worst fears lie in anticipation. That’s not me. That’s Balzac.” But it is Sal. His entire life is lived on the down low, both fearing and desiring to give in to his homosexual attractions.

But a slightly-too-convenient fire drill prevents Sal from fully giving in, just as it keeps Don and Shelly from cheating on their respective significant others. (Honestly, I think Shelly reminds Don just a little too much of the Betty he married . . . the hopeful model. Not the one who breaks chairs and gets upset over serving Heineken.) As Don descends the fire escape, he pauses outside Sal’s window and sees his companion redressing, as well as the young bellhop hurriedly handing him his pants. Don, being a gentlemen, doesn’t cause a scene about what he’d just witnessed. Instead, ever the clever ad man, he saves his advice for Sal for a London Fog sales pitch on the plane ride home. He describes the ad he’d like to see, a woman in a short trenchcoat, standing before a businessman on the train. Her coat is open. “Her legs are bare,” Don continues. “We know what he’s seeing. ‘Limit Your Exposure.’” Sal knows just as well as we do that this pitch is also a warning. He gulps back all of his anticipatory fears. “Yes,” he breathes. “That’s it.”

Back at the home office, the British Invasion is in full swing. Pryce appreciates Bert Cooper’s new hentai painting, not because he agrees with Cooper’s vision of ecstasy, but because he sees it as a metaphor for what his company is doing to Sterling-Cooper. That painting isn’t about giving oneself over, but about being overthrown. And Pryce is executing that notion by firing loads of people . . . and playing chess with others.

Case #1: Pete Campbell is named Head of Accounts to replace Burt Peterson. I suppose he’s gotten over the world of hurt Peggy threw on him at the end of last season, because he immediately calls Trudy (who has given up on having a baby and has decided to throw her worth into charity functions) who happily shares his joy. Unfortunately for my favorite sniveling bastard, Kenny Cosgrove has also been named Head of Accounts. Neither one of them is told that they’ll be sharing the job, but both are eager to subtly gloat to one another through subtext-laden conversations in elevators about how they admire one another’s work and think they’d each be good for the job.

There’s really nothing funnier to me than indignant Pete Campbell, and throughout all of his conversations with Ken, I kept thinking back to a line of his from season one when trying to return a duplicate wedding item. The item in question is a chip-n-dip, a new bit of entertaining ware from the 60s that he constantly has to explain to the men he works with. His indignance is always wearing this mask of civility, though, so whenever I think of Pete Campbell, I feel like the best way to explain the kind of man he is is simply to grit your teeth and say, “It’s. A chip-n-dip,” in the clipped way only Vincent Kartheiser can. I was waiting here for his chip-n-dip reveal, and it came in the first Heads of Accounts meeting in which Ken, being empty-headed as usual, thought nothing of Pete’s presence and was merely happy to write down his list of clients, bobbing along to the lilt of Joan’s voice. But Pete sat across the table from Kenny, utterly livid, unable to hold back his anger and letting his mask of civility slip.

Case #2: Pryce has brought with him his secretary, Mr. John Hooker, who insists, of course, on being addressed among the other secretaries as Mr. Hooker, not as John, because, frankly, he’s not that kind of secretary. Pryce and Hooker are like an acting dream team imported from FOX. Pryce is played by Fringe’s Jared Harris, while Hooker is played by the adorable Ryan Cartwright from Bones, who, in my mind, will always be referred to as Mr. Nigel-Murray. (Cartwright, it seems, enjoys playing characters who enjoy being referred to with a degree or two of formality.)

Mr. Hooker is distracting Peggy’s secretary, which makes Peggy angry, and making ludicrous demands of Joan, regarding his method of address, how he won’t do his own typing (making Peggy’s secretary do it for him, actually) and demanding his own office. He’s sort of a douchemeat, really, but Cartwright’s voice is just so adorable I can’t help but love him. Maybe Lola’s right: there really is something about that accent that makes you want to listen to him read the phone book.

It’s great to have this show back. I’ve missed looking at gorgeous suits and beautifully furnished rooms. And on a fashion-related end note, what am I to make of the fact that Trudy’s black hat mimics the hairstyle of the girl being ravished by an octopus in Cooper’s hentai painting?

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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:

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:

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:

INTERN OF THE WEEK

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.