Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Finger in the Nest

I found the humor in this episode so delightful that I was keen to identify the writer, Lyla Oliver, and see which other scripts she'd been responsible for (think this is the first on Bones), but then I realized it doesn't matter. No matter how good the shows are, most of them don't stand out. They just blend into one another, like largely identical hedges in a labyrinth.

Some things stand out, like Brennan and Hodgins being buried alive in that car, or two of the gormogon shows (including Zack's exposure), or Brennan's father killing that priest, but if I've seen over 60 shows so far, less than 55 of them were memorable, which is not to say they weren't enjoyable at the time. They're simply fungible. When one thing is too much like another, neither is special. I would think the problem is that Bones is a procedural. There's a crime, an investigation and a resolution. Does that format automatically give series a mechanical air? No. Cagney and Lacey has been off the air for 25 years and I still remember many of the plot points. Same with NYPD Blue. I remember Sylvia's death, Andy Jr.'s and how it made Andy, Sr. turn back to drink, Bobby Simone's death, Danny's death . . . ok there were a lot of deaths on NYPD Blue, but that's not why I remember their emotional impact. Booth recently "died" on Bones and it was annoying, rather than moving. I had no real sense of the characters' connection to each other, so their loss didn't translate into my caring, beyond the length of the episode.

They try to resonate with Brennan's orphan background, but that subplot is stupid to me and when she cries over her disappearing parents, I simply can't buy it. I also hate her brother, as I do Booth's son. So, their family moments don't appeal to me. Bottom line is this show is all gloss and no penetration. I fell in love with Buffy, which led me to Angel, which has led me to Bones. When I got here, I loved that the ride was often amusing, but I thought it would be meaningful as well. It's not. And that's ok. It's just an adjustment.

The show starts off with Booth playing in the park with his son. He's trying to teach the kid football. Isn't the football hold beautiful? Well, Parker has been told that a sunset and the Mona Lisa is beautiful, so he doesn't know about football . . . Booth gets a little impatient when he constantly hears "Mom said..." They see a bird's nest and Parker's first instinct is to throw the ball at it, but Booth tells him there's a living creature inside and he shouldn't hurt it. For all my complaints about them TELLING us stuff in the last episode, I like this one because we are left to infer so much, about Booth's parenting style (although Bones does tell us he's a good dad) and his hopes. Later on, when Sweets tells him how Parker brags about him, Booth beams. It's just David mugging a bit, but it's also touching, because Bones is touch. Booth got tired of hearing what "Mom said," but when he's not there Parker boasts a lot about what Dad says too and it's a nice way of conveying what father means to son, without giving us mushy scenes.

Booth lifts Parker up to see into the nest. There's a finger inside. The bird flew it there from some unknown murder scene. They start an investigation and Booth is afraid that Parker may be scarred for life by the digit discovery. He takes him to Sweets for a diagnosis, but Sweets resists, saying he's not some radio psychologist who dispenses advice for a dime. I don't know why he has this reaction, since he's always giving out unsolicited therapy. Why so shy now?

Bones says she found her neighbor dead when she was 5 and it didn't scar her for life did it? Well, she makes a living digging up dead people, so Booth things it might have impacted her. She says after she found the body, she played dead for weeks after that, pretending to hang herself, etc. And she really thinks she was unfazed, Booth wants to know??

The gang eventually finds the rest of the corpse, realizing that a bird would only bring things to its nest, based on a certain radius. There's an opossum by the gravesite and I realize that that's the thing I saw crossing a busy intersection (Michelson) a few weeks ago. I'm not that good on identifying critters, so I'm glad this show did it for me. When the opossum appears to die, Booth says that the corpse must have been poisoned and it died after nibbling on the body. Bones calmly points out that it is merely "playing opossum" and is alive and well. She corrects Booth's pronunciation. It's O-possum, not possum. They learn that the victim was mauled to death by a dog. They go looking for the canine, who has distinctive, filed teeth as an identifier. When they get to the dog owner's place, there's an unchained pit bull in the yard and Booth says that they'll sit in the car and wait for the owner to come out. Bones notes that he's afraid. He denies it and says that that's just common courtesy in the country. You wait in the car. Well, he was scared then, but later when he goes to arrest the owner, he has no problem getting out of the car, without a thought and I liked that. It was a nice way of showing that when there's danger in the air, he's fearless, but he was cognizant of a threat when things were normal and quiet.

Zack's newest temporary replacement is Brennan's oldest grad student, Scott Starret. He's held every job known to man and is versed on every subject. Hodgins finds that it's the same man who sold him a bum car when he was a kid and he lashes out at Scott every chance he gets. I'm surprised that no one tells him not to keep letting a 15 year old car transaction interfere with their current case, but they just ignore his fuming. When Hodgins finds a pivotal clue he says that he would call "King of the Lab" but that would just bring back painful memories. Scott looks quizzical. Finally, after Hodgins and Angela rejoice over a break through, both compliment each other and then feel very awkward and withdraw, Hodgins admits to Scott (then Sweets) that he hates everyone, because his best friend got himself into trouble (well, Zack did a lot more than that) and then Hodgins lost Angela and feels that it was his fault. I can predict that Angela and Hodgins reunite, but if it's because he apologizes to her, I won't be happy. It wasn't his fault. Her behavior with her ex was wrong and if it pinpointed any problem in their relationship, that problem wasn't Hodgins' lack of trust. My opinion is that Angela is not such a prize. Sweets actually thinks that Hodgins' feelings of "hate" are a good thing. He's independently wealthy and he's still coming to work isn't he. So, his anger is not crippling him. He's working through it. Now that they've talked, does this mean that Hodgins is Sweets' patient, Hodgins wonders self-consciously? Nope. They're just co-workers. Hodgins is relieved. I wish Sweets would just be co-workers with Bones and Booth too.

Cam still has to remind someone she's the boss every single episode. Why IS this? Last week it was Daisy. This week, when Scott's presence is bugging Hodgins, he calls Cam over. She sends Scott away. Hodgins then reveals he has nothing to tell him, he just wanted her to get rid of Scott. Well, that's not a wise way to use your boss, she cautions. But it worked, he answers.

As they move closer to the killer, Bones and Booth uncover a dog-fighting ring. Bones can hardly bare to look at the remains of the dogs who died. This is just maddening, since she has no qualms about dead people. I think that those who torture animals are more mentally depraved than other criminals, but it's because it's not even really a power trip with them. It's not about dominating. It's just the pure joy of inflicting pain. That's frightening, but I'm not one who is more moved by the suffering of animals than I am the suffering of human beings. Bones' tears over the dogs are designed to show her tender heart underneath the analytical exterior, but the vulnerability now only makes me resent her clinical detachment at other times.

Cesar Millan, the real life Dog Whisperer, comes and helps them tame the canines used in dog fights, so they can find the one who was used to attack and kill the victim. It's somewhat humorous when Bones recognizes him, he says thank you and she retorts that just because she knows him from television doesn't mean she was giving him a compliment. Television exposure itself is no sign of achievement. But then he is able to quiet the dogs, when she can't, even when she tries to mimic exactly what he did, so that must have been humbling for her. She must have realized that he wasn't just famous for being famous, at that point.

Booth leaves an unwilling Sweets alone with Parker long enough to discover that the kid has been exhibiting symptoms of trauma because he's being bullied by a large girl, not because of the finger. He thought finding the finger was cool and wishes Booth had let him keep it. The girl is another story. Booth told him never to hit girls (Booth says he told him not to hit anyone, with some qualifications) and he doesn't run away from her because his father never ran away from anything. Booth is happy to hear, from Sweets, what Parker actually thinks of him. But clarifies that unlike his son, he was never carried around by a girl. Boreanaz's comical facial expressions never fail to steal a scene. In the end, he tells Parker that it's ok to walk away, when it's for himself, but when it's for anyone else, then that's when he should stand his ground.

Booth and Bones find the dog that killed the man, Ripley. Ripley's trainer sicced the dog on a vet who was about to expose the dog fighting ring and made the canine a killer. Cesar is full of compassion, telling the dog, Ripley, "I'm sorry buddy. I'm so sorry." The dead man wasn't the killer's only victim. Brennan goes out and buys the dog a collar and a "Ripley Brennan" tag, planning to adopt him. Booth stops her, saying that the dog had to be put down, since he attacked a human. "You killed him?" Brennan asks? Booth nods. Is he the one who gave the order? I guess. I doubt it would come directly from him, but the fact that it did -- or Brennan takes it that way -- and she doesn't blame him personally for it, knowing that he was only doing his job, reminds me of how he had to turn her father in. Trust in the implicit fairness of his character, even when it hurts her personally, is the best thing I can say about their relationship so far, in that it's a fundamental relationship building block and a more complicated bond to express for the writers than their so-called sexual tension is. So, I respect it more.

Booth takes her to dig a grave for Ripley. He makes the whole and she wants to close it up. An equal division of chores. He tells her to say a few words for Ripley. She speaks to him and he says it's not his fault. She says, but he's the only one there. He tells her to speak to God or to Ripley. Well, she's not spiritual and she says there's not much she can say to Ripley since he was a DOG and there was a limit to what he could understand -- but she says he had to suffer for the wrongfulness of others and that it's not right. Did she say enough? He said her words were a fitting tribute for anyone, Ripley too. They hug.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Man in the Outhouse

Three seasons down and this show hasn't grown any more organic. Maybe that's what you get when you watch a Fox drama instead of HBO, but then again The X-Files was on Fox, so . . . Still, Bones and Booth often act more like Peg and Ed than Mulder and Scully.

I don't understand it, when you have actors who are talented enough to convey a lot through subtlety and are appealing, why do you need so much mugging and exposition? Sometimes, it seems that this show is written both to be performed by nitwits and watched by them.

Booth shows up at Brennan's apartment to take her to their latest case and she is entertaining a gentleman caller. Of course, Brennan, ever logical, isn't exactly discomfited by his presence, but she does think he should call first. Booth wonders why. He didn't even know she was dating. Booth enjoys making Mark, her toweled date, feel awkward and, suggesting that things are not as big of a deal as they should be, Booth wonders if Mark is chilly. Of course, he can only be joking because Brennan assures us that Mark is well-endowed and an excellent lover. He's a deep sea diver and an expert bobber, traits she praises so excessively that Booth has to clarify that she is actually talking about Mark's talents below the water.

Now, this is cute, but once they had "bobber" in the script, we could have imagined the rest. We would have implied a double meaning to all of Brennan's comments on our own. Booth didn't have to rub the joke in by actually asking if they were still talking about deep sea diving. 1) It might be funnier if they never said whether they were or not. Brennan could mean one thing and the audience could think another. 2) If Booth needed to ask, David Boreanaz could have easily have done so with a raised brow. No dialogue necessary.

Just as too much kneading removes the air and makes dough heavy, too many words explaining the obvious leaden a show.

Brennan says that Mark is a way on dives for a long time and that absence sharpens his sexual needs. So, he's very exciting to be with physically. But she sees (she fines the word "dates" too confine by traditional expectations) another man, Jason, for mental stimulation.

Booth says he believes in monogamy, the way God intended. Bones counters that monogamy is unnatural. I don't mind this discussion because I haven't seen the show in a long time, BUT I know they've had this conversation many times before. I don't know that they should write the series expecting that people will watch episodes months apart on DVD like I did. If you are actually watching week to week in real time, I think that Booth and Bones conversations became repetitive a long time ago and I'm only on the 4th season. There are 5 seasons of identical character-defining proclamations to go.

Their case ties into Brennan's personal contretemps. A reality tv host, Bill, has been found dead. He framed cheating spouses by having a beautiful woman lure them into a hotel room, video-taping them as they became amorous and then "busting" them on camera, revealing that the whole thing had been a set up and their infidelity was now proven. Bill's murder contained so much malice (he ended up having his body dumped in an outhouse) that his killer was probably one of the angry men he entrapped. Sweets watches tapes from Bill's show to see which one of them fits the profile of a savage killer.

As Sweets describes the mentality of a cheater, Brennan objects. She doesn't think the urge to have more than one lover is wrong or unnatural. Sweets wonders how Booth feels about Brennan dating. Even looking at Sweets as their therapist, considering all the past sessions they have had and the many times he has asked this same question in a different form, I simply don't understand why we're still getting scenes like this. If Sweets had never been created -- and he's growing on me now, but sometimes I still wish he never existed -- the audience would have asked what Booth's true feelings were without prompting from a psychiatrist. It's best just to have Sweets working on their cases and to stop have him commenting on Booth and Brennan because his doing so is just a reminder of how dumb the show thinks it's audience is. Moreover, presenting their relationship as something to be analyzed week in and week out, is a barrier to its being something that viewers simply enjoy.

Ironically, the writers realize this in a subplot. They bring in Daisy, Brennan's newest assistant. It would be comical if Brennan continued to get a new one each week, just like having Murphy Brown's secretarial temp change each week became a running gag on that sitcom, 25 years ago. Anyway, Daisy is so eager to please Brennan, her hero, that she can't stop preening and emphasizing her own skills, to make herself more attractive to Temp, who barely notices her -- or would have it appear so. Daisy chatters aimlessly to Jack and Cam trying to convince them how alike she and Brennan are and what a good fit they will make. The fact that she has to say it, proves that her conclusions is entirely wrong. Camille dryly advises Daisy not to talk so much and to leave an air of mystery. Daisy is intelligent, but tries too hard, lacks perception and cannot see that the very traits she boasts of so often, along with the boasting itself, are the ones Brennan will find the least attractive.

Although, she definitely helps them break the case, Daisy is summarily fired. But not onscreen. We learn that Daisy's a done deal casually, in passing at the end of the show, making it all the funnier. Bones, Hodgins and Cam never discussed Daisy together. They never talked about how their residual feelings for Zack may have motivated them to give Daisy a harder time either. Daisy rubbed them all the wrong way, for reasons the audience can consider on it's own. We didn't have Sweets analyzing why the squints rejected her (although he doesn't, not after she flatters him). We know enough about them and their past and Daisy's obnoxiousness is so patent, that the inherent conflict between them does not need to be voiced. I wish this was true in the main plot as well.

Many of the problems in Daisy's pushy, perky personality are symbolic of the show's flaws in general.

Booth and Brennan get Noel, a stalker from a past episode, to help them track a suspect. It's strange because since this guy has focused on Brennan before, you'd think they'd want to steer clear of him, rather than encourage his perverted tendencies. I mean, I guess in the past they made him seem more dangerous than he actually was, just so we'd suspect him as the villain, but even so, his obsession is not exactly harmless. Why wouldn't they just put a detective on the trail, rather than paying a weirdo 50 to follow someone? Booth cautions him not to zero in on Brennan again, but actually a cautionary word is not enough to deter a true psycho. It's funny, but too screwy for a show that is actually supposed to be a drama with humorous elements and not a surreal comedy.

Talking with Cam and Angela, Brennan and the women discuss how men think they're the only ones who can be interested in seeing more than one person at a time. They always have to sympathize with male feelings and Angela notes that you end up cradling them and telling them, "don't worry, it happens to everyone". That makes me wonder how she and Hodgins are coping since her ex came to town. They don't seem awkward when they are in scenes together. On the other, they don't interact and seem at ease either.

Learning that Brennan is going to meet her platonic suitor for dinner, Booth leaps at a chance to interrupt their meal. He takes Sweets with him to the diner to interrupt them. Of course, Sweets has to ask if Booth knew Brennan would be there. Not only is the question unnecessary, but I think Booth already told Sweets that Bones had a date back at work. So, Sweets should have had express knowledge of the rendezvous, if not implied.

Booth grills Jason lightly. Has he ever been married? No. Does he have children? Well, Jason said he'd never been married, how can he have children, he asks of Booth? Sweets interjects that Booth has a child and has never been married. Of course, Booth doesn't seem self-conscious about this fact and maybe it would have been funnier if he was. Hard to say. The people on this show often say invasive things to each other that get no reaction and you wonder if the "joke" was supposed to be that they don't respond. For instance, when the squints get too personal with Booth and Brennan. The thing is, if they don't care, then it's not really too personal is it? But sometimes they will care. They'll say, "mind your own business" one week and spill all of their pillow talk the next. Sometimes, they're embarrassed. Sometimes, they're completely indifferent.

After meeting him, both Booth and Sweets quickly conclude that the reason that Jason is satisfied with only a platonic relationship with Brennan is because he is gay. He consumes fruit tarts, mint tea and listens to Coldplay. Does Brennan need any more proof that Jason is a homosexual they wonder. Coldplay. The mens' jocularity combined with the effortless way Bones both ignores their taunting, while providing seriously responses to comments which don't deserve them is quite charming. Emily plays several layers at once. She's nerdy and unaware one second, sexy and vain, the other. Over-confident, insecure. The transitions are quick and seamless and when an actress can do that, then you don't need to broadcast them.

Why does the fact that Jason enjoys her company without sex so strange, Brennan wonders. How can it not be, Booth counters and looks to Sweets for affirmation. 'Well, you are very hot,' Sweets comments. He is embarrassed by his schoolboy candor. Booth gives a look that says, "I wanted back up, but not that kind. Way to expose yourself, buddy." Brennan changes the subject. It's so smooth and enjoyable you wish all the scenes could work like that.

When the case is solved we learn that the killer was not a stranger that Bill busted. It's a jealous co-worker who wanted to get back at Bill for dating the guy's old girlfriend. Brennan too feels the sting of jealous lovers.

Mark and Jason run into each other at work. Mark wonders why Brennan never wanted to do anything with him outside of bed. Jason wishes they had a more intimate relationship and is insulted when he meets the brawny Mark, because Temp never gave him the chance to stimulate more than her mind. And what is Booth in all of this, both of them demand to know. Booth insists that he is just the business partner, nothing more. "Gay Jason" dumps her and after a failed "outside" date between Mark and Brennan, Mark breaks it off too.

In their therapy session with Sweets, Brennan says that maybe monogamy isn't so bad at all, if it reduces the frequency and pain of being dumped. Booth consoles her and Sweets wonders if they often discuss their private lives with one another, again a question he's already asked. Are we supposed to forget all the discussions Sweets had with them last year?? Booth says he just has to counsel her, because she has bad taste in men. True, she does. Brennan says that she sees nothing wrong with being open about her sexual life. (Not this week anyway. Next week, she'll be complaining that her privacy is invaded). Sex is a natural physical urge. She wonders why should she be as secretive as Booth is? He never discusses his lovers, but she assumes that he has them. Booth replies that he does ok. Sweets says that they use each other as surrogates and that makes it harder for them to form outside relationships with third parties.

Booth asks Brennan if she'd like to go to dinner to cheer up. She agrees. Sweets wants to go too. They retort that they use each other as surrogates and that makes it hard for them to form outside attachments, so he's out in the cold. Nice.

Left alone, he calls Daisy and says that now that she's no longer working with them, would she be interesting in going out on a date. Well-played.

There's some nice blocking when Booth and Bones go through doorways. They both try to go at the same time (meaning he's not letting her through first as a woman and she doesn't expect to get through first as a woman, but demands immediate entry as his equal -- or better). The door frame can't fit them both and they end up almost colliding. This happens twice during the episode and will give me cause to watch their entrances more closely in the future.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Yanks in the U.K.

If the Tower Bridge opens and you're present, but not paying attention, does it still bring good luck? Technically, probably not, but I don't think that will hurt Brennan and Booth any.

These were my first episodes watching on Blu-ray dvd and the English scenery was breathtaking.

Having Booth and Brennan work with theie London counterparts, Wexler and Pritchard was amusing. Since Brennan usually falls pretty quickly for jerks, I was glad she didn't succumb to Wexler, but not for the reason she gave: that Booth wouldn't like it. When does he get a say in her sex life? He can have one, if he admits an emotional commitment that would make him feel bad about her romantic dalliance with someone else, but that paternalistic nonsense about him not wanting her to be a notch on someone's belt was ridiculous. When Brennan thought his tense driving could be due to the fact that he thought she slept with Wexler and she tells Ian that one hour of pleasure with him is not worth upsetting her partner, I think she felt that Booth's objections were more deep-seated than what he stated: that she's special and Ian is not.

However, Brenann is usually embarassingly good at blurting out exactly what she thinks. If she thought that Booth was jealous, she would normally say so. She didn't. So, it irks me that she did what he wanted for reasons he had no right to feel. It could be that she did not want to sleep with Wexler herself and used Booth as an excuse, because he's the reason she declined -- not because he told her not to, but because she wanted him not to want her to do it. Even if that's the case, I would think Brennan would be more self-aware about her true motives. I hate to admit it, but maybe I needed Sweets there to analyze them. I'm happy to have Brennan make a choice in her personal life simply to avoid hurting Booth, but I want them both to be honest about why he would have been hurt.

As for the case, Booth's insistence upon having a gun reminded me of Brennan's back home. Although she investigated with Booth (something that Ian did not do with Pritchard), she didn't ask for a gun herself, until almost the end. She pointed out that she was responsible with a weapon and found out that killing didn't bother her as much as she'd thought it would. Booth, not really wanting her to have a gun, said it bothered her some. But Brennan said not that much!

Pritchard told Booth if he did something reckless, she'd be the one who would hang, not him. That's how Brennan's reckless use of her gun gets Booth in trouble, back at home.

Since the deceased heiress' mother had died 21 years ago, I'm not sure how Brennan knew she hadn't inherited the generic bone disease from her. Maybe she looked at the mother's medical records, but I didn't hear that part. It seems like she found out about the genetic defect, had observed the American billionaire didn't have it (just by looking at him), deduced the aristocratic family did have it (because the father used a cane and the grandmother was in a wheelchair, which looks like normal aging to me, not a birth defect) and assumed that the Duke was the heiress' real father. When she confronted the family with this news, the Duke's wife didn't seem too upset one way or another. Didn't care that her husband had cheated on her, that the truth had been revealed or that her son had slept with his half sister. Also, whether the Duke or their butler killed the girl, how come no one seemed that sad that someone who turned out to be a blood relative was murdered. Wouldn't the grandmother care more about the lost granddaughter than about getting the butler the best defense team money could buy?

The fact that we didn't know whether the Butler really did it or was just protecting the Duke and they were happy to leave that story ambiguous was a bit troublesome. If you care enough to write a mystery, at least wrap it up for the audience. I thought that would be explored more in the second part of the episode, but instead we got another murder. Considering that the last one was so scandalous, Duke's family implicated in murder and incest, you'd think we'd hear about fallout from that investigation in the 2nd part of the opener, but not a peep.

When Ian died, it sort of annoyed me that Brennan was rattled. She didn't know him enough to be almost as upset as Pritchard was. The most upsetting thing, which no one mentioned is that she could have been in bed with him. She was thinking of going home with him that night.

As for Pritchard and Wexler, they illustrate something about our lead couple, just as the other agents in Detour informed us about Mulder and Scully. Even though Wexler and Pritchard were sleeping together, they didn't come close to having the bond that Bones and Booth did, because theirs is based on so much more than sexual attraction. For Mulder and Scully the sex was quite an afterthought, way down at the bottom of the things that bound them together. With Bones and Booth it's rather higher up in the mix. Since Booth was just "killed" in the last episode (which surely must have been on Bones' mind when she talked to Pritchard about Ian's lost) and Bones didn't show that much emotion, it's hard to argue that she would be much less objective about Booth's death than Pritchard is, but I think she would.

The distinction Bones makes between her and Pritchard -- that Bones is not sleeping with her partner -- is meaningless. Bones and Booth are obviously closer friends and more respectful than their doppelgangers were to each other.

Odd that they get a call about something being wrong with Ian and when they get to his burned abode, Brennan still has to ask if a shellshocked Pritchard thinks its his body inside. Well, duh? Why else would they be there in the first place? Why would Pritchard be looking like that? Maybe Brennan was just in denial. Booth didn't seem in doubt.

Back at home in the lab, the romantic denials are 10 times more frustrating. If the writers just wanted to break Angela and Hodgins up for plot purposes, I could have found 50 more believable ways for them to do it than this. As it is, I don't like Angela any more. She jumps up into her ex's arms and kisses him lingeringly on the mouth. We don't see her lower torso, but in order to bring herself level with Grayson, she must have wrapped her legs around him. Can't get more sexual than that. She doesn't even do it with quick, eager "Oh, I'm so happy to see you after all of this time," squeals. Those would have told me she was acting on pure impulse. No, she moves with a slower, "you're so delicious" swagger, which makes me think she's hot for him. Then, she doesn't tell Hodgins that she kissed him that way. THEN, she does get mad at Cam for sleeping with Grayson. Not only was she divorced from Grayson at the time, but she hadn't seen him in years and it had never been a real marriage in the first place.

She slept with a guy on vacation, got high and married him in a ceremony she can barely remember. It wasn't like they had a shared life or had been together long enough to feel possessive -- or hadn't been apart long enough to both sleep with many, many others. Why would she care about Cam? Yet, she does and has kissed him with desire, yet feels it's a dealbreaker that Hodgins is eager for Grayson to leave, because it means he doesn't trust her. What is there to trust? He can trust that she wants another man, but has decided to spend her life with him, anyway. That means they can probably have a happy stable life together, even if it doesn't compare to the primal excitement she shared with Grayson. So, I can see why he'd still want to marry her, but not why he'd be happy to find out that Grayson is still in town. Why should Angela be telling him he has no right to feel uncomfortable about (if not threatened by) that, after the way she's acted?? Brennan said she had physical reactions to Ian that let her know she was attracted to him. Why couldn't Angela just say this and then talk about whether or not Hodgins had a right to be threatened by that attraction, rather than not addressing her own reactions at all and telling him he was wrong to have his.

The fact that she uses that as an excuse to break up with him, tells me her feelings for him are not that deep and also makes me resent her for trying to put the blame on him. "All you had to do was trust me." Well, all you had to do was be trustworthy. She's a free spirit, free love kind of woman (they tell us as part of her backstory). So, she's decided to be monogamous. I understand that she wouldn't have slept with Grayson, but she should understand that it doesn't feel good for Hodgins (and the audience) to know that she wanted to. She tells Brennan that she broke up with Hodgins and she won't be able to understand why until she talks to Temp. That gives me hope that maybe Brennan will make her see that she was the problem, not Hodgins, but if she doesn't, then I can't root for them to be together. Instead of Hodgins sitting there saying nothing as she walked out of the restaurant (I'm glad he didn't stop her, which is what she said he would have done if he trusted her), he should have TOLD her exactly why Grayson still being around gave him no reason to celebrate and turned it back on her, instead of accepting her, "you've betrayed me" rant. He proved he could push all his doubts aside and trust that she wanted a future with him, when he kissed her and the bells rang (bells on passing bicycles), oblivous to Grayson on the other side of the street. He didn't have to prove that he's ok having her continue to be courted by someone she has the hots for.

As for her feminist claim that her heart was not his to claim, but hers to give, give me a break. When that fraud made a play for Hodgins last season, Angela was quick to tell her he was taken. If Hodgins has the same urge, it's human, not misogyny.

I don't know why people think a kiss is not a betrayal or why they don't take responsibility for compounding a loved ones insecurity through their own less than loyal actions. It's my Twilight problem all over again.

As for Cam, it bothered me that she slept with a guy she'd known for 15 minutes who was in love with someone else. I don't understand how the need for recreational sex can be that strong. Of course, her reactions were very humorous. Even the speedy way she offered to drive him to the airport was funny -- which made it strange when he asked for a ride from the airport and she walked in and coldly told him that she thinks that his "code." Well, it's not like he hoodwinked her. When she offered him a ride, she had sexual intentions in the first place. He did not seduce her. Why chide him, as if that's his modus operandi later? Hilarious when Hodgins asked her if she made sure Grayson got off and she's like, "I'm sorry??"

As much as I have hated her bossiness over the last seasons, Angela and Hodgins telling her off was really maddening. I understand that they were only angry over Grayson, but it's bothersome because there have been times in the past when they needed to stand up to her micromanagement of highly skilled adults and they have said nothing. This time, when she was not even doing anything and was giving them utmost professional respect and had not really insulted them personally either by sleeping with an ex Angela hardly even knew, for them to go off like that was infuriating. They would have been suspended had I been in her place. She needed to be told to go regulate herself 2 years ago.

Kind of amusing that Clark wanted to work and not get involved in everyone's personal life, since the Smithsonian group does like to entangle themselves in the other's business. At least the writers realize that this is not the norm and gave us an outsider's perspective. Since they do do that regularly, it always puts me off when one of them tells the other they have done something off limits or wandered into territory that is none of their business.

In England, loved it when the guy told Booth off, reminded him the FBI had no authority there and head-butted him. Booth barely flinched, but his attacker got hurt and remarked on Booth's hard noggin. Booth just crooked his neck to the side as his only response. DB was cute. Also talking to the Buckingham Palace guard whose sister Ian had slept with was fun.

Nice moment when Pritchard reminded Booth that she was in charge and, because he knew that she was distraught, he accepted it, but Bones took up for him and said Pritchard shouldn't talk to him like that, since he was staying for her benefit. Her power play was a way to keep control of her emotions and Booth realized it.

She made a pass at him in the end, but he didn't seem interested. Bones had to point out that Pritchard liked him and she did so without jealousy. He just didn't have eyes for her and hadn't been flirting back. Hadn't bothered to notice anything but her pain in losing a partner.

Nice when Brennan was taking home all of those packages, gifts she'd received and Booth was satisfied with his one goofy bobby bobblehead.

As a season opener, this two parter had looks and laughs, even if it did not probe very deeply into the characters. Well, it probed Angela and I didn't like the results. Other than that, fun romp over the pond. It did not feel like just a location shoot for ratings. Although the juxtaposition of all the London monuments with our own Washington D.C. landmarks told the story of how what Booth and Brennan share is constant on both continents as are the relationship problems of those who surround them.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Pain in the Heart

Brilliant, exceptional, episode. Emmy-worthy.

Written by Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan.

It's funny because since I knew that Hodgins and Sweets were still part of the cast, I was pretty sure they weren't Gormagon (though I was hoping Sweets would be and a recent tweet from DB saying that Booth was gunning for Sweets made me think that maybe the Gormagon story was still alive in current episodes). Yet, even though I also knew that Zach had left the show, I never suspected him.

When the show started, I figured Booth's funeral was someone's dream and Brennan would wake up thinking how close she came to losing him. I was surprised that it turned out to be real and don't actually like the comic way that was handled. Booth had been shot two weeks ago. While I think Brennan's initial response would be to numb herself to the pain and while her outbursts at the funeral were both in character and revealing of her feelings of guilt and regret, her angry reaction to finding out Booth was alive was played for laughs that I found unrealistic and unentertaining.

He said he assumed she didn't cry because she knew the truth. No kidding! She didn't have to cry, but at least she could be relieved to see him and we should have seen her heart jump, before we saw her punch him.

I also think that Booth and Brennan have already come too far for her to correct Sweets when he called Booth a loved one. Although she said that he was her "partner" and, as with Mulder and Scully, I think the word partner comes to mean a relationship as close as husband and wife, closer for the MSR, actually. So, in a way saying partner expounds on Booths' being a loved one rather than contradicts the notion.

I agree with Brennan that Booth should have personally told Brennan he was alive, rather than just put her on a list. But come on, where were his ex-wife and kid at that funeral? She should have caught on that it wasn't the real thing.

Also, why didn't anyone else show any particular joy at him being alive or anger at having been deceived? One moment Angela is telling Brennan that going to the funeral was one of the hardest things she's ever done (which seems a little much) and the next, she has basically no reaction to Booth being alive, other than to smile a bit.

The show is noteworthy for its humor and I applaud it, but it really hit on territory that was a little too serious and sacred to be played for laughs.

If I hadn't been mildly spoiled and known it wasn't Sweets (although I still had lingering doubt) or Hodgins (I never thought it was him), this episode would have had me tense throughout. As it was, I was on the edge of my seat. But the suspense would have been stellar if I'd been watching this first run. I'm sorry I missed that opportunity. The episode was already basically a 10 for me, I can't imagine how much more my appreciation would have been enhanced, if I'd approached it entirely unspoiled.

I am enjoying the Booth, Brennan, Sweets trio a bit more and chuckled when Sweets insisted that they were deliberately not commenting on the fact that he'd been on tv (for the Gormagon story), but I was livid when it was revealed that he decided not to tell Brennan that Booth was alive. He said he did it for security reasons. If the FBI thought it was ok for Brennan to know, what right has he to think otherwise? Booth believed that story and should have been more upset and indignant on Brennan's behalf and sorry for what she went through. He didn't seem to much care, except to the extent that her not knowing made her grouchy. If not for that, whether she thinks he is dead or not doesn't seem to phase him.

I was so relieved when Brennan told Sweets that she knows when she is being experimented on and she said Booth would have beat Sweets up if he'd known the truth. Well, she's more violent than Booth. Why didn't she beat Sweets up? That's what Booth wanted her to do. I hate the fake feelings and frivolity that mark the first half of this episode. Yes, it's fun, but it undermines the characters in the end. Of course, the touching last half is remarkable. And I guess it's supposed to make you not take the earlier levity seriously. But if you do, you'd have to conclude that Brennan liked Zach a whole lot more than she does Booth.

Yes, the comment about Booth trying to force pie on Brennan as a form of seduction was funny. I wasn't sure that Booth heard what Sweets said, because he just came back and told them to stop talking. He didn't react to what they had been talking about. But later in the diner when he refuses to get pie himself, much less try to ply her with it, we see that he did hear and it's hilarious. It's not that the jokes in the show don't work. They really do. It's just that some of them shouldn't be there, perhaps.

Brennan coming into his apartment and walking into the bathroom was not as funny as the writers probably thought. It was just too ridiculous. But I did like Brennan commenting on the fact that Booth didn't react to her presence with modesty. He didn't cover himself up -- much. Her noticing it kept me from having to complain about that. Brennan's unfiltered outspokenness is really a distinct character trait and Hanson should be proud of his creation. I find her quite original. I like Emily. If I loved her, I might think as much of Brennan as I do of Scully. Booth is not as unique as Brennan, but DB is so funny that Seeley is easily a stand out among tv FBI agents and police officers. When Hodgins tells him that he expected to see more ex-girlfriends at Booth's funeral and Booth says, "so did I" I'm bowled over. It's a throwaway line. It's over in a second and Booth's facial reaction is just to raise a brow, but DB does it so smoothly. His comic timing often rivals that of great comedians.

When Sweets says that Hodgins might be the killer, Brennan objects and insists it could just as easily be her. Sweets says no, because of her deep emotional tie to Booth. Well, it's fine that he is ribbing her about that emotional tie, but it's stupid, since Hodgins is ENGAGED to Angela. So, that should exonerate him too, especially since he's much more social than Zach. I can see why Zach didn't occur to me, but why did the psychologist miss him too, since he exhibited a lot of loner, serial killer traits. He even discussed his social isolation when he came back from Iraq. I guess they intended to make him the killer even then. It's been a theme since the show started. Why would Sweets not suspect him immediately? I can see that the hand explosion probably threw them all off, but Sweets should have been looking askance at Zach even before Gormagon's latest move.

In the hospital room when Hodgins gives Zach the painkiller, which shuts him up, I really don't think it would work that fast. And even if I didn't know that Hodgins was still with the show, I don't think that would make me suspicious of Hodgins. Too obvious.

As for the denouement: it was artful. Brennan realizes that Zach must have known that Gormagon didn't use dentures and that the teeth were real. She says this, but Cam doesn't realize the full import of her words. When she's in her office and says it to Booth, even though I knew where her mind was headed back in the lab, to hear her speak the truth aloud still hit me, as does the time it takes for Booth to catch on. Zach is so far off of his radar that it has to be spilled out. Zach lied. "Why would he do that?"

Cam's the same. Even though Brennan's reaction in the lab should have clued her in, when Booth comes to the door of the hospital room and says he needs her to leave, I got a chill.

The confession was perfection. Booth says he needs a name. He is urgent, impatient. Would he have threatened Zach, if Brennan hadn't been around? Or would he have remembered how Zach always looked up to him and played upon that? Well, I didn't initially think that would be an option because I guess I didn't know that Zach would still be himself. I thought he would be a killer who had tricked them all and wasn't really the man they believed they knew. I didn't know that he would be unmasked as just the Zach he'd always been, though a murderer. As she approached his bed, I thought that Brennan would react with anger and betrayal (an extreme version of her anger with Booth over his faked death), with a "so you fooled me" attitude and go cold towards Zach, but the way she did just the opposite, but while still playing to his logical side was very moving. The greater good is more important than one human life right. Then why did he risk everything just to avoid hurting Hodgins. By the time she gets to that point, I gasp a little (and I think Booth does as well). His love for Hodgins means something.

It doesn't mean I hold him less culpable. Um, they all think he was a victim and want things to go easier for him, but HELLO. First of all, I never thought his mind was that weak that he would succumb to a homicidal mastermind. Second he's not that much of an unworldly loner. He came from a big Michigan family. His family loved him and even if he didn't have friends, he grew up interacting with other humans. I don't think he would be such easy mental prey. Third, he didn't just fall victim (or apprentice) to an ordinary killer. This guy was a CANNIBAL. Even if he only targeted people who were part of a secret cult hurting society, like the lobbyist that Zach killed (aha, so Zach is the one who jumped out of the closet at the end of the last Gormagon episode, which was really effective), how can you believe that the murderer you've chosen as master is really out to help the world, when he is eating dead human flesh every night?? I mean, Agatha Christie made both Hercule and Miss Marple killers in their last novels. They did it because they knew the suspect would have gotten away with the crime and they were the only ones who could intervene. I might not have approved of Christie's decision, especially to have both of her series' lead characters do the same thing, but I understood the rationale and I suppose Captain Hastings understood too. But if Hercule Poirot had sliced up his victim and fried him up for dinner, I think Hastings would have been horrified.

It's not the murder or association with a serial killer that should have turned Zach's friends off, but the alliance with a crazy cannibal. How do you fall under the thrall of a loony pervert like that? Maybe the audience could have given Zach an out as the characters did, had Gormagon been any less . . .gormy.

The ending was fine, but anticlimatic, almost pedestrian, compared the hospital confession, peaking when Brennan pressed her forehead to Zach's and he laid out the details of what he'd done with their mouths nearly touching.

Cam says forget Zach and Sweets points out that she's lashing out angrily only because she cares. It makes me think of my failed hopes for a Cam/Zach romance. I do remember when Cam wanted Zach off the team, but Brennan fought for him. She thought he would not make a good trial witness, could not engage enough with the jurors. The past episodes do play in nicely with the revelation of Zach's crimes. I'm glad they didn't rewrite history to make him bad the whole time, but let us know he was only approached by Gormagon a couple of months ago. Since we know he had emotional problems in Iraq, we can say that he was particularly vulnerable then. Might even have been suffering from PTSD. So, I can really accept him being a murderer as consistent with the continuing story -- just not maneater's assistant.

Constituting Zach's prized possessions were the gifts that he had gotten from them. I guess the writers want us to forget that big Michigan family, who loved Zach and were loved in return. Brennan says she never gave Zach anything. Hmmm. I bet if I rewatched the series, there'd be a Christmas show or something when she gifted him with a token. When he left, when he returned. I bet she gave him something, but I'll take their word for it for now.

Great show. I trust this made their emmy reel for that year. Although, I'm not sure you could appreciate how well-written this script was unless you'd been a longterm, regular viewer of the show and understood all of the characters. You need that background to fully grasp how expertly all the pieces of humor, affection and suspense were so seamlessly fused together. The combination makes a pièce de résistance.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Wannabe in the Weeds

Written by Josh Berman. I was quickly taken by the sharp wit in this episode and noted the writer's name to see if it was a hallmark of his. The more I saw, the more assured I was that this was a delightful entry, with emphasis on the "light." So, the conclusion took me by surprise, though I should certainly have seen the signs.

As the show opened with amateur night at a local nightclub, I thought of Lorne's bar in Angel and felt a little nostalgic. I half expected to see Booth on the stage before the episode, ended, but we got Brennan instead.

I used to make a point of noticing the gestures Brennan and Booth share, but by now they aren't movements, they're part of the relationship. Booth doesn't have any particular reason for fighting with Brennan over who knocks on the door first or for pulling her away from an interview other than that it's reflex. I finally understand that it's always his territory, not just in a particular situation and he's always going to vie with her (or with Hodgins who barges into the interrogation room, where Booth is supposed to be in charge, no squints).

They don't just jockey for position verbally, they do it physically and it's a nice component to the interaction.

A wannabe singer and fitness addict winds up dead. I'm not sure why these fresh bodies are always decomposed beyond recognition when there's no logical reason why they should be. I know Brennan only works on special cases, but why not just write special crimes for her team to solve, rather than create routine murders and then do something weird with the body that requires her expertise, but would never happen in reality.

As Brennan and Booth investigate the murder they find that the singer had an obsessed fan, "Fat Pam." Booth interviews her as Sweets and Brennan look on. As the conversation ends, Booth puts his hand on Pam's shoulder and Sweets screams for him not to. Of course, Sweets is indicating that Booth is sending the delusional Pam the wrong message with this act of physical contact. From the way that Sweets never actually explains his objection initially and still doesn't lay out his concerns about Pam having transferred her obsession from the deceased to Booth, I should have known that it would mean trouble later. I did think it would, but once the crime was solved, I wasn't thinking about Pam the loose end and wondering what happened with her. She had not crossed my mind again by then.

I felt, of course, that the story was building to something, the way Brennan and Booth kept laughing Sweets off. They wanted him to do profiling for them, so I don't know why they don't listen to him when he tells them that someone is dangerous. I understand that they ignore him when he tries to analyze THEM, but why would they disregard what he says about Pam? Of course, even though I am on the third season and have learned that Sweets is still around 4 years later, I still somewhat suspect that he might be the serial killer, so I am not fully paying attention to what he says about Pam either. When he talks about someone becoming dangerous when they lose their tenuous tie to the object of their obsession, I still try to apply his words about the killer in the case, to his own life and relationship with Booth and Brennan. So, I'm not totally focused on what he says about Pam any more than Booth and Brennan are.

There is a serious moment that moves me when Pam goes to Booth's office. When she asks about his son and he puts his body between the photo of the boy and Pam, it's a nice move. Then when she gets close and he says this is very inappropriate, I think DB is excellent. He's wary, concerned and firm for a second and I think he puts on this face in a split second, impressing me with an acting prowess that was not as controlled, apparent or "spin on a dime" on B/A. But then Booth drops his guard as Pam walks out and just thinks of her as a wacky woman, not the danger that Sweets said she was.

Of course, later when Brennan and Sweets learn that Pam has visited him, that's Sweets' moment to let them know this is not a laughing matter, but he doesn't, because the writers want to maintain the suspense of the show's ending and do it at the psychiatrist's expense.

Of course, I didn't realize this was also a May sweeps show, the pentultimate one of the season. If I had known that, I might have expected that it would be something more than fun and funny, when all was said and done.

In an army jacket and t-shirt for most of the show, DB's physique is very thin. Also something we didn't see a lot of in Angel.

A highlight of the show was the scene with Pam calling Brennan "scrawny" and Booth not wanting to say that she wasn't, in order not to antagonize the witness.

There seemed to be a lot of looks between Hodgins and Brennan and I wasn't sure if there was supposed be significance there. I guess not, but it was weird.

Nice bit when Brennan tells Booth to knock down a locked door (as is so often done in police dramas) and Booth answers that it hurts his shoulder to knock down a door. Mulder didn't shoot his gun, but he loved to knock down a good door. Angel never met a door he didn't want to knock down, but he was a lot stronger than Booth. In Skyfall, Bond also shows similar reluctance to try to knock down a door, telling Q (safe in a laboratory that he should come down and knock the door in himself). Although, many lives were at stake in Bond's case, including his own. He could have made the effort and worried about the pain later.

The part where the women were attracted to Zack because he could sing "Love is a Many Splendoured Thing" in a nerdy voice was totally unrealistic and not particularly funny. It would have been fine to have him turn them on unexpectedly, but not with THAT song. Of course, I still harbor hopes of him and Cam doing something, so the fact that her eyes lingered on him, as well as Angela's was a plus.

When Sweets was trying to explain body language to Booth and Brennan and talked about facial muscles in technical terms and Brennan said he didn't have to translate, he knew what they meant, it was funny the way Booth scooched forwared and said HE didn't know what part of the body Sweets was talking about.

The conversation with Booth saying he thought Brennan thought she was smarter than him (and her explaining that she admired his expertise in some areas and acknowledged his intelligence in areas that weren't her speciality) was a little repetitive, because we've heard this before and know how they feel on that score, how he feels about her and the squints in general. But it was cute the way she kept explaining how people exceed, because they want to stand out from the crowd and be noticed and kept pointing out that she dominates in her field as he does in his. She excels in science, but not just science, she reminds him. She excels as a best-selling author too.

Of course, the end pays off because of the concern she exhibits when he is shot. Even when I saw Pam point the gun, I didn't expect Booth to be hit and for the show to go from a comedy to -- well, not tragedy, because I knew he wouldn't die -- drama in the last 2 minutes. I also loved the way Brennan shot Pam dead. Of course, Pam still had a weapon and Brennan could have done it in self-defense. Pam was going to shoot her and would have, if Booth hadn't jumped in front of Brennan. Still, the way Brennan shot, she looked more vengeful than defensive and I loved it. Her holding Booth as he gasped and clutched her hand was nice. I liked the way the others scurried and looked concerned too, especially since there thoughts were on Booth and not the dead Pam, but as Angela gaped at Brennan and Booth, she looked more curious than worried, I thought.

Good witty show, with an ending that took me by surprise, even if it probably should not have.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Verdict in the Story

While this episode was well written (by Christopher Ambrose) viewed as a standalone, for me it was irritating and alienating, seeking to tug on heartstrings that not only weren't there, but for which it was just wrong to grasp.

Booth and Brennan show up at a crime scene and find a skeleton, on its stomach, hand clutching its legs from behind the back, so that the abdomen on the floor curves like a rocking horse. Brennan finds it hilarious and can't imagine how it happened. How could someone die in that position? Bones said maybe they were killed and buried in a rug. Then, where is the rug? It maybe disintegrated along with the meat on the bones, he theorizes. That would take thousands of years to occur she informs him, further amused by his naivete. As they start to gather clues, Caroline comes and orders them to stop working together. Why is that, because Bones laughed at him, Booth says "that really doesn't bother me" [and I think it's cute that it really doesn't]. No, Caroline says. It's because Brennan has been suspended from her work with Booth, since her father is about to go on trial [Didn't they know the trial date well ahead of this? Why is the first she's being told of the suspension]. She can't work with Booth, since Booth arrested her father.

They both say that they continue to work and it won't impact their relationship, but Caroline won't hear of it.

Bones goes to meet with her father and Russ. Clarke is going to be the forensics expert, because Booth is considered too biased to do it. Max is wary of Clarke's ability and Russ is grumpy and sarcastic as usual -- for reasons unknown. He should be nothing but grateful to Brennan, Bones and everyone else EXCEPT his dad, yet he has a perennial chip on his shoulder. He is annoying. The actor is not charming. And I have no use for this character.

At the lab, they all discuss having to work against Bones and for the prosecution to give testimony at trial and they (Zach excluded) are all bummed about it which brings me to the crux of my problem. They all feel guilty about having to participate in putting Max away. WHY!!!! He not only killed the Deputy Director of the FBI, he cut out his intestines, tied him to a stake and set him on fire, to send a message to all of Max's other enemies. And the director was not even the only guy that Max assassinated in this horrific manner. He did it because the crooked Director was after Russ and Brennan, which may explain why they don't want to see Max in jail, but why should the rest of the crime fighters feel the same way -- especially since Brennan is not crying on their shoulder and begging them to spare her dad, sobbing that she doesn't know how she can make it without him. Instead, she is calm, practical, doesn't understand their guilt and doesn't fully realize the extent of her own latent concern for Max's fate half the time. She's certainly not wearing it on her sleeve. So, where's all their sympathy coming from. Max may love his kids, but he's not a likable person, in general.

If I had seen him reluctantly kill the director in self defense, maybe I'd be on his side. But all I saw him do was flambe the corpse in a manner that was thrilling -- and made that episode shocking and exciting -- but definitely cold. The reason his actions were so good to watch is because they were so dispassionate and diabological. This is a man you want to have protecting you, but if you are not one of his loved ones, the idea of knowing he's safely locked up and away from society is a pretty cozy and secure one. Having this guy in jail is not a bad thing, so why does this show pretend like it is and try to make us root for his release? I not only fail to understand why the lab crew feels bad, but I think somewhat less of Brennan, for wanting him free as well. I'm not empathizing, I'm criticizing her. Sure, she can love him and visit him in prison, but I want her sense of justice to outweigh or --at the very least resist-- the filial weakness. In the past, she was determined to turn him, if he showed up as fugitive on her doorstep. But since then, she not only failed to do that, but urged Booth to help Max too. Of course, the flip flop is not out of character, if one considers that she is battling within and only vacillates because her heart is in conflict with her conscience. Fine, that reveals the doctor and makes her a more dimensioned person. Let her waver. But don't try to tell us our emotions should lie with hers.

As the lab crew watches Brennan, Clarke and the defense attorney examine the evidence, they struggle. They hate seeing Brennan alone. Zach says she's not alone, she's with those two African American men. I don't get why he says this. Yes, I know he is a very literal, unemotional person, much like Brennan herself. But why would he need to describe those men as African-American. How does their race figure into her not being alone? What's worrisome is that Cam looks at him and says they shouldn't be competitive about the trial. They should all just do their jobs. Zach says trials wouldn't be considered an adversarial process if they weren't supposed to be competitive. He does feel like the defense is the opponent. So, since we know he feels that way, he must notice their race as an aspect of that competition. He thinks their being black somehow influences their proficiency as sparring partners. For me, the implication is that race makes them inferior opponents in Zach's mind and I don't now why they have decided to present him in that light. Why present any character as having those thoughts, especially when it's not a prejudice that the script is going to deal with. Instead, it is just touched on and left unexplained. I feel uneasy about it. This show goes out of its way to be equal opportunity and casts more than its share of minorities. It's clear to me that the producers (and DB himself) are very fair-minded and the characters usually don't seem to notice race. If the show thinks that is unrealistic and wants to tackle racial tension as a storyline, I have no problem with that. But don't just throw out a line that strangely addresses such tension and comes from a character who usually doesn't exhibit any race-conscious behavior whatsoever.

I had been rooting for Cam and Zach to come together and that would still be interesting to see, but I'd also be interested in knowing why Zach gratuitously pointed out that the men were African-American and would like to have that resolved as part of a pairing with Cam.

Anyway, back to the trial at hand . . . Bones and Booth meet at the diner with Sweets. Booth gleefully fires Sweets, telling him that since he and Bones aren't partners (but Bones' suspension is only temporary, so I don't know why Sweets is permanently fired), Sweets doesn't get to analyze how they work together any more. Sweets protests and also reveals that he is the profiler for the prosecution against Max. He wonders how Bones feels about that. Surely, it effects her to have everyone, her staff, her partner and, "including your therapist" working to imprison her father, even if she doesn't admit it. Booth happily points out that Sweets is Bones' "former therapist" and they have fun mocking Sweets together, but Booth feels that it is upsetting to Brennan. She denies it and Sweets says, "this is a golden opportunity for you to feel the situation rather than simply rationalizing it." She says she is fine. Sweets says if that were true she'd be balled up in the corner weeping or catatonic. Booth agrees. That's too much. Not everyone would be as removed as Brennan, but to insist that every normal person in her place would be an emotional wreck just assumes too much and generalizes human reactions in a way that I would hope a therapist would refrain from doing.

As for Sweets, I'd have to go back and look at message boards from Season 3 to see if anyone else suspected he might be the murderer that early on. Is it just me? Did other viewers think the person who jumped out of the closet to kill that guy was Sweets, as I thought it might be? Anyway, much of what he says about personality types has a double meaning to my ears, as he talks about himself. I think the writers intended this and were planting seeds, but I don't think they thought the audience would catch on. I think it was still the ptb's secret, the way the show presents Sweets. It's not as if the characters don't know he's bad. It's like the objective POV for the show doesn't know it either. It's strange, because murderer or not, I've found Sweets kind of creepy from the beginning and definitely wanted him gone -- or at least I wanted him to stop diagnosing Brennan and Booth.

Booth gives Sweets the brush, sarcastically saying it's been a pleasure. Brennan says, "I too find him intriguing in a non-rigorous, pragmatically irrelevant kind of way." Booth agrees with what she said and leaves Sweets with the restaurant tab.

In a meeting with Caroline who tries to scold the lab crew into being good witnesses, Caroline asks if Cam has any control over them. Cam says she has absolutely none at all? What? Really? Any other time she is riding herd. Angela says she is not going to testify. She is convinced she is doing the right thing when everyone else is not. Um no. She's the one who told a victim's father who she erroneously thought the murderer was, causing the father to kill the wrong guy. If she wants to "do the right thing" why not pay penance for that, rather than insisting that everyone who testifies against the savage killer who happens to be Bones' dad is disloyal.

The trial is cute, comical and maddening, in turns. Booth and Brennan sit across the aisle from one another, but chat constantly across the aisle, until the judge separates them like school children. I like the fact that they are inextricably aligned even while on opposite sides and feel the need to be together no matter what the circumstances. On the other hand, this talking in court gets out of hand, especially when Brennan repeatedly talks to witnesses on the stand from her courtroom seat. The judge mildly reprimands her, but she does it so much, without being removed that I begin to wish that she (or the writers) be given the death sentence for her illogical interruptions.

Also, the fact that Angela goes to prison rather than testifying against Max really makes me want to see her lie in the bed she's made. I want that woman to do time. Max is not innocent. If the murder hadn't been such a violent one, then maybe I'd hesitate to take the stand against him, but as it is, Angela's moral ground is as solid as quick sand. The show suggests we, the audience, agrees with her and that's what I resent the most. I'd rather have Max go to jail and break out, than to have to be told that the Brennan family somehow deserves the happy ending of his acquittal.

Brennan and Booth sharing coffee outside of the courtroom when they have been banned from talking to each other about the case is very cute. They keep the coffee cups in front of their mouths to shield their conversation. DB is adorable and Emily is square-faced and lovely for this scene. As he leaves, Booth sheepishly tells Brennan he hopes she remembers who gave her the (awful) coffee, since he's the next witness against her dad. This is a surprise to her, but something the prosecutor would have told her anyway. Before that happens, Brennan applauds Zach for being the only one who was not hesitant to testify. Hodgins asked for her permission before doing it. She doesn't now what's wrong with being a witness for the prosecution. Booth says, it's not what's wrong. "It's what's right." Like Angela, he seems to feel that those who support Max are on the side of right. Ugh. Booth tells Brennan that it's all right to want her dad to be released. It's ok for her to think as a daughter, with her heart, rather than as part of law enforcement. I don't mind him giving her this advice as a friend. I just don't want the script to hand that same advice to me. Nothing about Max has touched my heart, so why should I be thinking with it?

When Sweets testifies he says that Max kills without hesitation, without remorse. Does Sweets kill in the same way?

Outside, he says he wants to keep working with Booth and Brennan. The way they talk to each other, refer to him in the third person and exclude them is fascinating. He wants to study them some more. Brennan says he wants to observe them, because he likes them, he really likes them. She sing songs, in a playful manner with which I didn't think she was familiar. Booth says that he'll let Sweets study them if he'll give them free profiles on the cases. Can't Booth get Sweets to do this as part of his job, since Sweets works with the FBI? Bones has no objections to this deal, even though she doesn't find profiling useful. So, Sweets strike a bargain and the writers have forged a plot device that explains Sweets continued presence.

Zach watches Clark worth with the evidence and openly admits that he wants to know if Clark is seeing something that Zach missed. Clark is impressed by Zach's candor and is surprised that Zach is not bluffing him or making any attempt to save face. Facades are foreign to Zach. It turns out that by looking at the fissures in the skull, Clarke sees that Zach pinpointed the wrong murder weapon. Zach did miss something. Zach is stunned by his own infallibility. This is the writers way of checking the air of superiority he expressed early on. I still don't understand why they had him express it in racial turns, since he's a character that never exhibited prejudice before. He knows he's brilliant and has vied with Hodgins. They could have had him compete with Clarke in the same manner without the unaddressed racial overtones.

When the murder weapon is thrown out, the prosecution is left scrambling and there's hope for Max. Booth shows up with a search warrant to look for the true murder weapon at Brennan's apartment where the murder took place. As Zach executes the warrant, Booth and Bones talk. She's surprised at her own disappointment when the chance for Max's release is snatched from under him. Why is she so sad when Booth and Bones both know Max is guilty, she asks. Booth tells her she has a right to be sad as the daughter. Don't fight it. He tells her to take out her brain and put her heart in drive. She says sometimes she thinks he's from another planet and sometimes she thinks he's very nice.

Booth is caring towards her, while still reluctantly doing his job in clinching Zach's find of the true murder weapon.

At the prison, Brennan says that her crew was just good at finding evidence. The horrible Russ tells her to gloat about her employee's proficiency some other time. The prosecutor says that it's all over except for the shouting. If only they could have given the jury someone else to blame. A boogeyman. A light bulb goes off in Brennan's hand.

She feels Booth out. Isn't Max's guilt just a hypothesis? Why should he go to jail for just a theory? That makes me mad, since she knows it's more than a theory and has said so several times in the episode, prompting the prosecutor to tell her to keep her incriminating thoughts to herself. But now she says that Max being the murderer is just a hypothesis. And Booth tells her that she doesn't really "know" that Max did it in a legal sense. She lets him persuade her this is true. Can she proffer another hypothesis? He says they aren't supposed to talk about the case, but she says he's the only one she usually discusses criminal theories with, so she has to bounce it off of him. If she finds another scenario for how the deputy director was killed can that get Max off? Can she do it without lying, Booth wants to know. She says she can. Then Booth says that could work. "And is it all right for me to take advantage of this?" Why ask him. He knows criminal procedure, not legal or moral right and wrong. Why get his permission for her own subterfuge? But he gives consent.

"Brain and heart, Bones. Brain and heart." She must let the latter guide her.

Booth takes the stand. The prosecutor questions him about who else was in Bones apartment. Who else could have killed the Director. Booth sees where the prosecutor is going. Caroline was around, but not all the time. She could not have killed the director. So, the other person left is Bones. Booth does not want to answer. He looks towards the judge [stupid, like the judge can tell him he doesn't have to answer absent an objection from Caroline and why doesn't Caroline object] Booth says that Bones was with him the entire day and could not have done it. The prosecutor says that Booth left to take his son home. He was gone for 45 minutes. Bones could have done it then. Booth says that he has stood over death with Bones. He has faced it with her. She is not capable of murder. The prosecutor says that's not what he asked. He asked if Bones had the TIME to do it [actually not what he asked the first time, even if he's asking it now]. Yes, Booth grudgingly admits. She had the time. I don't like that Brennan makes herself the scapegoat for her father's brutal murder through Booth. I'm sure he doesn't think she could go to jail for a crime she didn't commit. So, he shouldn't be in deep pain over having to testify that way, but he doesn't want to say those words. DB does a good acting job and Booth's misgivings are clear. It's not easy for him and I don't like the way Brennan is being used.

Sweets gets on the stand and says that Brennan is perfectly capable of murder because she has a rare ability to compartmentalize her feelings. Again, is he speaking about himself?

We see Brennan on the courthouse steps. Booth comes out and hugs her. Then, our anxiety is supposedly relieved when a triumphant Max emerges, a free man. The jury acquitted. Brennan is happy. The lab crew is happy for her. Booth looks on as the family hugged, glad he helped them. Just gag me. Let Brennan have her hugfest, but at least give her a slight pang. Have Booth walk past her an bypass an embrace, still unsettled by the trick the prosecutor played on him. Why make him the unwitting tool of Max's release? Well, I guess he owed her one. He told another prosecutor about her past, so that she could be stripped bare in front of the jury and forced to show emotion. She didn't hold it against her. Now, he is pleased that she made him act against his will to save Jack the Ripper. All's fair in love, I guess.

Not troubled by what the characters did, so much as in how the show itself viewed what they did in an approving way. Main characters in a plot are often biased, so the characters outside of the action represent the "reasonable man" and express the objective viewer's point of view. In this case, the objective view was a skewed and disturbing one, cheering for those who least deserved it and promoting a result that left me smarting from the injustice. I love villains. I don't care if they win. Just don't tell me they're right.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Baby in the Bough

They are driving and Bones tells Booth she is thinking about opening an account in the Cayman Islands. Booth wonders how loaded is she? She is offended by the phrasing, but says she just got a 7 figure advance.

He wants to know what the first number in those seven figures is. She says, it's a prime number but won't specify and asks what he does with his money. He says he uses his money for food and rent.

At the crime scene, someone asks him if he's agent Booth and he says, "Special Agent Booth." They are picky about those specials, aren't they?

Talking to the first responders at the scene, Booth begins with, "this is my partner" and she says she can introduce herself. Three years in and she just decided to get touchy about being introduced?

They are at the site of a car crash. There's a dead driver and a baby in a tree. Booth hears and recognizes its cry first. Bones thought it might have been a cat.

Booth tells Bones to cuddle the baby. She says just because she has breasts doesn't mean she has magical powers over infants. She says that he is the one with a son, anyway.

As Booth is trying to change the diaper, an awkward Bones puts the key they found in the diaper bag down next to the baby and the baby supposedly swallows it. They say they have to keep the baby, until the key passes through its body. So, Booth tells her to get used to the baby, because he will be with them awhile, as they must preserve the chain of evidence. They don't even mention the hazards to the baby of having a key in his digestive system, much less explain how he managed to swallow the thing without choking. It apparently went down as smooth as Pedialyte. Ridiculous.

The lab crew is taken by the baby, although a brusque Brennan tells then to get back to work [obviously, she is going to soften towards the baby by the end of the show and be all cooey and cuddly with it; you can see that coming from a mile away -- but she didn't get as sappy about it as I expected]. They say that Brennan is the official guardian of the baby while he's in their care because she's registered as a foster parent. She did it for Russ, so she could take care of his stepdaughters if anything happened to him and his girlfriend. Has he ever thought of getting married to the woman, if he's going to make his family obligated to those kids?

Angela tells Jack she wants about a million babies. He says, "Cool."

They hear the baby crying on the monitor and Brennan says she'd figured that Booth would go, since he's "the baby daddy." That is, he has prior experience. Bones had just told Angela that she would go sit with the baby in her office, since he is her charge, so I'm not sure why she didn't actually go to the office, rather than stop to gab with Jack as they heard the baby crying and then tell Booth to go.

When they are looking at Angela's rendering of the child's mother, the baby seems to react to it. Booth says, "he misses his mother. He's sad." That's why he was crying. This seems to move Brennan and she reaches for the tot.

They drive to the city where the mother lived. It's been half abandoned due to natural disasters and a poor economy, The baby is in the back seat. Brennan frets that no one filed a report for the baby. No one is worried about him. Booth says, "well, you are." I can see that they will begin to think that Brennan might have to take the baby permanently and just when she cottons to that idea, then a loving relative will show up for the tyke and she will be sad, experiencing a sense of loss for something she didn't even know she wanted. You can see this plot coming from a mile away. [Well, that didn't actually happen. She wasn't going to let the baby go into foster care because, she said, his medical needs were too great, but they didn't get to the point of her considering keeping him permanently].

Interviewing a homeowner, they immediately find someone who recognizes the baby, whose actual name is Andy. Meg Taylor is the mother.

Neighbors haven't seen the baby's father in a long time. They find the couple who babysat for Meg. Prediction: the woman killed Meg so she could have the baby for herself. [I was wrong]. On the other hand, they might just have the woman there so the baby can go to a loving home at the end of the day. [I was right}.

At the lab, looking at the baby's feces, Zack thinks he might be on epileptic medicine. Booth snaps, "don't say that. He's going to be just fine." Epilepsy is not a death sentence. Why did they have Booth react that way? I mean, no one wants a baby to be an epileptic, but it is a treatable condition and Booth didn't have to freak out at the thought.

They get to the trailer where Meg lived. The door is open and Booth tells Bones to stay in the car and to drive away if she hears gun fire. She wouldn't do that normally, but he tells her there's a baby involved that she has to protect. She says, "I'm not leaving you here." He says it's about the baby not him. Promise him she'll drive away. She pauses and reluctantly promises. Well, I'm glad she was so loathe to leave Booth, but hope she wouldn't really keep that promise, if push came to shove.

There's a guy riffling through things in the trailer and Booth cuffs him. Turns out it's the baby's father.

Cam talks to Angela about having kids and says, "it't not worth giving up this body for that." Well, she does have a nice, tight thin body. We see the curves as she sashays away.

Brennan gives the baby a charm to play with, which I think is stupid, but Booth points it out too, asking what's wrong with her and telling her that the baby has already swallowed a key. She says she is watching him. But why watch him play with something that he can put in his mouth and choke to death on?? Why assume you can fish it out before it's down his windpipe? When the charm was on a chain around her neck, she told the kid not to touch it, but then she disconnects the charm (about the size of a half dollar) from the chain and hands it to him. He was safer when it was around her neck! What a nut.

When she discusses the baby's breast milk, Booth is uncomfortable. Really? Over the word breast? Even for a single man, that's no big thing and she asks if Rebecca breast fed and he said he's not discussing it. She wonders if he'd rather she used the word "teat."

When the key comes out in Andy's diaper, Booth prepares to take him to family services, but Bones objects. The baby has a medical condition and she doesn't want him cared for in an underfunded, understaffed facility. She's been in Andy's situation and she's not turning him over until she's satisfied he's somewhere safe where he will get the care he deserves. I predict that she will give the couple who babysat Andy money to care for him -- provided the wife is not the murderer. If the baby hadn't had health needs, I wonder what excuse she would have given not to turn him over to child services.

Cam comes in when they are fighting over who talks the most baby talk. I wonder if they looked domestic to her. In Brennan's defense, we never hear her talking gibberish to the baby. Booth just claims that she was doing it, when she wasn't.

Now Bones is calling her congressman to develop the city where Andy is from so that it will be back on the scenic highway route and the people there will have jobs based on the tourist trade. So, I guess she's going to do more with her money than just help the babysitters. She's going to help the whole town.

One of the guys at the tire plant where Meg worked was the killer. Meg knew he was embezzling, so he killed her. He said he needed the money for his family and you do what you have to. Brennan grabs him by the collar angrily and says that there was a baby in that car, "you SOB."

The baby had rickets, not epilepsy and will be fine. Booth, apparently terrified of epilepsy, is relieved. There's a letter from Meg to the babysitter. Meg wanted the baby to go to that couple, the Grants, if anything happened to her.

Booth says, "it looks like our little guy will be fine." Bones stares at him and he revises, "THE little guy." Bones says: "Andy." They felt like parents together with Andy. An omen of things to come.

Bones gives the baby to the Grants with tears in her eyes. Booth looks down, moved as well.

Talking to Booth later she says she's not ashamed to say she developed a certain affection for Andy. It's a byproduct of caregiving. He wonders if she changed her mind about having kids. She says, "Booth!" Not eager to answer.

He says that's ok. She has some time. Then adds, "Not THAT much time." She exclaims again and knocks coffee all over him, when she tries to jab him. She says, "look what you did." He says she is the one who hit him. How did he do it?

She tells him that she's rebuilding the bridge in Huntsville and hired the babysitter, Carol Grant as the project manager. It's a fortune, but she can afford it with her advance and selling the movie rights to her book.

Actually, they mentioned the Alaska "bridge to nowhere" in this show, but that bridge could have put Alaskans to work and developed the state making it more accessible to non-residents as well, just like the bridge that Bones is going to build will. So, I don't think that the bridge to Alaska should be considered as much of a joke as the world (or US media) has made it.

Booth says that towns live and die like organisms and sometimes we should just let them go.

Bones: And sometimes all it takes is one thing -- like a bridge -- for a town to start recovering.

When it's on the scenic route again, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and gas stations can reopen. He is proud of her, says "good for you" and smiles.

But he says, since she has no kids, there is no one to be proud of her (even though he clearly is). She says, "I don't do it for that."

He tells her for her next book she should buy a home in the city. Because Andy will miss her and they can come to visit. They could all go fishing and then all go home hmmm, his home too) and plop themselves in front of the 103 inch screen she will buy. Heaven. Football! He enthuses. [Glad he sees himself vacationing with her.]

He says she can make a 5 layer dip for the game She corrects that it's seven layers. How would she know that? How many Superbowls has she gone to? How many dips has she prepared?

He says seven is perfect and she can talk to Andy and he starts to mimic the way (he claims) she was talking to Andy. Goo goo, gah gah type words. She sticks a pacifier in his mouth to shut him up. He sucks.


Reading DB's twitter, I have been spoiled enough to know that Booth and Bones get together. Someone claimed that they are the only couple on tv who were even better when they paired romantically than they were before. So, the inevitable seems to have happened in 2012. I don't mind this result. I like the domestic byplay between them already. They are good and funny. However, they don't have this eternal passion, burning, yearning, like people like to imagine that Mulder/Scully, Buffy/Angel and even Edward/Bella have. Bones and Booth live in the real world (sort of) not the paranormal one and maybe their relationship is that much more special because it's closer to real life. Although the trust that Mulder and Scully enjoyed was very real too, even if their alien abduction problems weren't. Anyway, I am happy with them being together, but not so anxious to watch it happen that I want to speed through to the current episodes like I sped through Buffy just to see the last (ccokieless and disappointing) scenes between Buffy and Angel. I'm ok with them, but I stand to be more upset than pleased if they start to have unnatural conflicts designed to keep them apart artificially and ruining what has been built up between the characters with petty jealousies, misunderstanding and accusations. I'd rather couples not get together at all, if they have to hurt each other in ways that betray their history, just so the writers can ratchet up and prolong viewer anticipation for the eventual union.