Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bones Episode Review - 3.11: 'The Man in the Mud'

I don't want to do a full story recap. Fox does a great job of that on the official site. This is more opinion and perspective from a fan, as well as how I think it fits into the greater Bones landscape. When season 3 ends I plan to review all the previous episodes over the summer, starting with the 'Pilot'.

Master list of all episodes and links to my reviews can be found here.

This episode marked a great return of Bones after a forced 5 month hiatus. There was much expectation of 'kiss' aftermath but we didn't find it here. What we did find was a strong, fluid non-couple couple in an episode that shined with humor and wit. As always, the Booth/Bones bits are saved for last.

Most people seemed to dislike this case. I don't really have an opinion on it. It didn't seem tight, I guess. Focus seemed to jump rather sharply from person to person and, like the hard-to-ignore family lawyer (Mr. Friendly! or, um, M.C. Gainey to the rest of you), the case scenes seemed more about showboating than a criminal case. It was more about cool motorcycles than a dead guy that no one seemed to miss besides Lenny: and that seemed to have more to do with business than anything. Additionally, the bit at the end about DNA and twins is a bit weak. Maybe Smalls was trying to say that juries are about perception, and fraternal or identical it doesn't matter - twins and DNA screws cases. I don't know.

I have to say...mud and sex? Eww! Totally unsanitary and gross to boot. Just eww. Couldn't they find a water hot spring? Again, eww.

I don't mind that this case is arguably shaky. This episode was a relational episode, for the most part. The case fit around lab scenes, Booth and Bones scenes, and therapy scenes. It's pretty high on my Booth/Bones favorite show list. (I can't hide my hopelessly romantic nature. Why try?) I love that there are so many threads running through the date scene - Booth and Bones, Sweets and his patients, Sweets and April, April and Bones...That's rich writing and one of the many reasons I love this show.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

There were at least 2 great scenes with all, or nearly all, of the lab people together as a group:
...Just after Zack and Hodgins with the metal weapons...
Zack "Sharper than round but blunter than sharp."
Angela: "What?"
Cam: "That actually made sense to me."
Angela: "You two have been spending way too much time together."
(They have some case exposition and then Cam succinctly lines up all that they don't know which happens to be pretty much everything.)
Cam: "What exactly made you two come in here crowing "King of the Lab?" (Hodgins points at Zack.)
Hodgins: "I'm going to go back and look at very small things under my very large microscope."
Zack: "I can probably identify the type of tool off this cross-section."
Cam: "Do it and call Booth. See if it's of any use to him."
Angela: "Boys"
Cam: "Wow."
Such a fun scene. The lab guys are excited because they figured out the shape of the weapon. Cam and Angela both are quick to bring them back down to earth that they don't know jack. Lesson learned that guessing didn't get them much?

Angela's 'choke' schooling scene...
Sometimes the 'normal' person has to teach the scientists something. It's nice to see the flip. They can't figure out why there's no blood on the lower part of the shaft and she knows instantly that it's a baseball/softball type maneuver. It's fun to watch the information trickle from person to person. She explains it and Hodgins gets it first, quickly followed by Zack. The smartest person in the room is the last to get it and she only gets it after Zack rephrases 'choke up' in a way she can understand: "to forshorten the fulcrum."
Angela: "Now, when I batted, I always had to choke up. Then, of course, I kicked ass."
Hodgins: "Cool." Aww, he loves his sweetie.

-"braised like osso buco."
-Cam had a couple of scenes where she shut down her poor lab boys, fast. First Zack with his Neanderthal reference, "I'm thinking not so relevant in this case." and then both boys with, "What exactly made you two come in here crowing "King of the Lab?"
-She had a few funny lines, but didn't have much to shine with in this episode. Not that much to say about her.

-Angela: "Is that skull ready for me yet?"
Zack: "It should be ready. You can take it out of the boiler any time."
Angela: "Or, you could do that for me because I will never do that."
-Never pigeonhole Angela, she won't stand for it! Booth: "I forget sometimes I'm talking to girls." (She then goes to disprove his rude statement by showing how much she knows about Tripp Goddard's last race.) "Girls, huh?" You go, girl.
-Angela is often the voice of the viewer. Angela: "Alright, now I'm back in a Physics class I want to ditch." Admittedly, I thought that was a lot of force too when they first gave the number.

-Zack telling Angela to put her hands into a steamy boiler that was just used to remove the flesh off the skull she wants was classic.
-Zack: "Putting chrome on a prybar is not a good example of functionality."
-Common term usages means nothing to the pure scientist. Zack: "So the particles could have gone from the bicycles to the tools to the victim?"
Hodgins: "It's not a bi-cycle; it's a motorcycle."
Zack: "Bi-cycle. Two wheels. The term applies."

-"Death by yoga?"
-The metal weapon scene was good to me. I love the semi-normal scientist, Hodgins, forcing the Vulcan to guess, basically, without letting the Vulcan know he's guessing. Or he'll refuse.
-"I do bugs and slime. I don't do arithmetic."

Poor, poor Sweets. In so many ways he is most definitely still a child. I'm not sure why a 22 year old has so much responsibility unless he was a child prodigy. I have a BS in Psychology and I'm pretty sure I couldn't have gotten a job like that without at least a Master's, if not a PhD. (Note: The Verdict in the Story addresses this. Turns out he has multiple Doctorates.)

While he's knowledgeable, he most certainly still has a lot of growing to do. He sees the closeness of Booth and Bones and he wants to be a part of that. He looks up to them, especially Booth, even when he's attempting to tear down some of his idol's emotional constructs.

There's a definite love/hate divide on Sweets. Personally, he's grown on me. You can't fault him for having to follow Stephen Fry as Gordon-Gordon Wyatt. That's a fruitless hope to think he could possibly fill those shoes. I'm glad they took the new therapist, and the therapy, in a completely different direction.

He definitely does things that wouldn't necessarily be sanctioned by his colleagues. But 1) it's a TV show and 2) he's 22/23 years old in this season. How much maturity is to be expected? He's a great plot device. He is young enough that, unlike Gordo, he's very happy to pull the two closer together rather than keep them apart for the FBI's sake.

Hard not to feel bad for him in the end when he's 'got that dumpee look'. On the one hand you want to hate him for swooping in to interrupt what could have been great bonding between Booth and Bones but on the other he just looked so sad. And young. How can you not want to do exactly what they did and take him under their collective, non-couple couple, wing?

Bones: "Get a tanker truck out here and suck it up."
Cop: "Is she serious about the mud?"
Bones: "Serious as a gas attack."
Booth: "Heart attack, Bones. Serious as a heart attack."

Bones: "Why was Tripp so much better than you?...I'm not taunting, Mr. Smalls. I'm restating an objective fact."

I like episodes where Bones grows. There wasn't a lot of that here, but there are a few notable scenes for her, individually.

The 'date' scene - I'll talk about the couple part of it below but the part between her and April shines a light on Bones. As we know, she's totally literal. At the start of the interaction Bones completely misses what April is saying and tries to correct her and then relate to her (while again correcting her). When April returns to the topic a moment later Bones finally finds a way to tie what April is saying into her own experience (and still manages to correct her). April: "We all share the same stuff that makes life so beautiful, and precious." Bones: "On a quantum level, that's true." It's not at all what April meant. Bones can't understand the 'stuff' to which April actually refers. She can't measure it and she immediately searches for something she can. "Although the word 'stuff' is not accurate." It's not what April meant, but it works. It, at the least, makes each of them believe the other understands.

The office counsel with April -
April: "I, uh, wanted to talk to you woman to woman, if that's possible."
Bones: "It's possible because we are both women."
Great, funny play here between very artistic, earthy woman and clinical scientist. They still manage to find a way to communicate, mostly. Bones: "Could you be more specific in the question?" The scene is mostly for humor value but it has meaning too. On the one hand it's another way Bones can learn to speak to more emotional (read normal) women and hopefully learn from them and on the other we have another person here who sees what Booth and Bones have and wants that. She came to Dr. Brennan for that, just as much as she came to her for her "objective eye."

He's so adorably shy about the human body. He can't talk about sex, breast milk, the anus or 'girl bits' without nearly jumping out of his skin. What other hero do you see that's like this? Most classic All-American heroes will say anything and everything and definitely not express shyness. I am forever impressed that they willingly chose to rough up their hero with unique tendencies. They write it and David Boreanaz delivers it wonderfully. Comedy suits him so much more than dark and brooding. (Don't hurt me, Angel lovers.) Our Agent Booth is no less heroic than any other out there, but he's far more reachable.

-"Does he want me to get you a corsage?"
-"I thought the whole point of therapy was to give us peace of mind, not drive us crazy."

Booth is all about the nicknames in this episode, nearly going overboard. I don't know if it's writing or DB ad-libbing it but there are an abnormal amount of nicknames bandied about. "Alright, don't sweat it there, princess.", "Lets cut to the chase there, Mr. Wizard.", "You can suck it up, Buttercup." and I thought there was another one but I can't find it now. Maybe I'm remembering Mr. Friendly, err Smalls, calling Booth 'cowboy.'

Booth: "Look, I got it about the girl the minute I saw her, okay. We all do things for the girl." My romantic heart hopes he was thinking of his Bones there!

Kid: "How'd you know that?"
Booth: (points at nameplate) "Special Agent Seeley Booth. Special."

I loved the horse. Booth again shows his unexpected artistic side, a la the Origami for Goodman in Season 1.

This was a hotly anticipated show for the Booth/Bones romantics. It didn't quite turn out like one would hope, but it was still good in it's own way. The hopefuls thought that maybe the 'date' would lead to something, but like the kiss it was contrived by others. That's not to say it wasn't good but unfortunately the two people in the middle of it, Booth and Bones, still don't see what those around them do.

Therapy Scenes with Sweets -
Sweets poses that the two of them have an inability to share their personal lives. Now I'm not sure about this. We have seen them share a lot about their personal lives and they have a lot of discussions, even on stakeouts (where she lets Sweets assume they don't). Is it that they don't let Sweets know that they do it? They don't seem to care at all to let other people in to what they have. The only way it gets out is when something is really seriously wrong - like post Sully or after Zack leaves. Other than that I guess I can see how those around them would believe that they don't share anything but work.

Danny asking Bones out -
Danny: "Now here I like. You want to go out sometime?"
Booth: "No, she doesn't want to go out with you."
Bones: "Let me speak for myself."
Booth: "Murder suspect here, Bones."
Even if he won't voice it out loud or even to himself: Bones is his.

Booth wants to share a little info with her at the track about motorcycle racing but this time someone else screws up their bonding: the guy blows up. Temperance didn't even get a chance to offend him!

Date -
How could you not love this scene? Even aside from the Booth/Bones part this was a great, rich scene. No matter what the situation, no matter what is going on around them Booth and Bones are always in tune, even though they don't consciously realize it. The looks on Sweets and April's faces when Booth and Bones were having a clay fight were so sweet. It wasn't the romantic date we all want to see but it was definitely meaningful.

Car Scene -
Booth: "I'll tell you what; Sweets didn't get any last night."
Bones: "In agrarian societies, young couplings made sense. The partnership was for survival, but today...:
Booth: "You know you can play the field and not plow it..."
Bones: "That was distasteful."
He at once seems both self-satisfied and like he's looking for a fight. This is the Booth version of 'Anthropologically speaking...' and she doesn't rise to the bait.

Cuteness about the frontonasal suture - He really wants her to know that he listens and learns from her and all the squints! And then they both say it together. Aww

Car again -
Bones: "That whole business with changies and takebacks - it's not real right?"
Booth: "No."
Is it just me, or was there more to her question than whether case theories are allowed to change? I'm going with a big yes.

I love that they pull this out in the interrogation with Philipa. It's a very cute play between them.

Final Scene -
So, thanks to the intervention of darling Sweets, Booth and Bones have planned to go bowling together. But leave it to Sweets to come in and interrupt this development. It's very mature of their characters, however, how they absorb them under their collective wing. There was a lot of important communication between them and much of it nonverbal: is he lying? do we take him? is April pretty? This end scene ties up nicely what the entire episode showed: how close this non-couple couple has become.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

There is an abundance of silent communication between Booth and Bones in this episode and that's a big part of what endears it to me. They are one in so many ways. Sweets and April are actually a couple, at least until she dumps him, and they don't have what Booth and Bones have. And they want it. I eagerly await the time when the characters realize what we all already know - they are meant for each other and they already are each other's better half.


jeannie55 said...

I rewatched the episode last night and I have a couple of questions. Maybe somebody can explain a few things to me, that would be great.

First, I am very irritated by the whole "Sweets can't really tell if somebody is lying" discussion. Huh? Isn't that EXACTLY was Booth does all the time? Why did it seem so impossible to them?

Why does Booth ask Brennan if he needs to get her a corsage for that 'social outing' with Sweets? And what are 'changies and takebacks'? With English not being my native language, those two things went completely over my head. Any help would be appreciated!

Wendy said...

Booth doesn't want Sweets infringing on his territory. Reading people is his domain! Additionally, Booth will disagree with most anything Sweets says, just on principle. If Sweets says the sky is blue and the grass is green, Booth will find a way to argue with him on it.

The corsage is an American joke. It's something teenagers buy for their girls for high school prom dates. It falls out of favor quickly after the age of 18.

Changies and takebacks refer to changing your mind. As I say in the review (or should have, if I forgot) - that has deeper meaning. Booth has said before that he can't be with someone he works with. I'm fairly certain we're supposed to think of more than just this case when she says that. She wants to know that, between the two of them, everything is always open to discussion.

jeannie55 said...

Thanks Wendy! Ok, this is making so much more sense to me now. And could the changies and takeback thing/discussion/implication be the reason they decided to show this episode after Santa in the Slush? Aftermath of the kiss? I always wondered why they held back the baby episode even more, and why there was no obvious 'post-kiss' scenario.

Wendy said...

I think the diner discussion between Booth, Brennan and Sweets is all we're going to hear about 'the kiss'.

I think they aired this first due to programming issues. They needed to end on a high note before Christmas and I think the rearrangement fulfilled a multitude of programming, plot, and audience needs.

I don't think anything shown-post kiss could be considered them "dealing with it", unfortunately. I hope we see it referenced in some humorous moment with Sweets, or as a joke when they finally kiss and mean it, but I wouldn't be surprised to never hear about it again.

Louise said...

I forgot about how much I love this episode - great review as always.

I LOVED the date scene. It was just so wonderful to see Booth and Brennan look so happy, relaxed, and enjoying each others company, completely away from work. They look even more of a couple than Sweets and April. I think this is the best glimpse we'll have of what they'd be like if they were together - supportive, playful, happy.

And Booth is adorable in this whole episode. Love the way his face lights up with childlike pride when he realises how good his horse is ("look what I made!"), and how Brennan praises him.

I disagree with one point in your review though. I don't think Booth and Brennan actually were going to go bowling until Sweets came along ... I think Booth just made it up because he knew Sweets needed some consoling. Brennan then realised what he was trying to do, which led to her fairly bad acting ... "oh right, yes, we're going BOWLING, do you want to go BOWLING Sweets?". She might as well have stuck a wink in there :)

I love that despite Booth's teasing, he's still willing to spend his evening cheering Sweets up. And I love that Booth is rubbing off on Brennan enough that she knew what he was trying to do (she's still not quite there though ... hence 'bowling rink').

That's what that scene means to me anyway.

jeannie55 said...

Yes, I totally forgot to mention that earlier. That was my first impression, too. Like Louise said, I think they totally improvised that to help Sweets, which was sweet. Even though Booth is very sceptical regarding those therapy sessions, he is a good guy and will help make Sweets feel better.

And I have to say, I really didn't like April at all. I thought it was really mean of her to act like that during the pottery. I rewatched the episode and didn't think the stuff Sweets said was all that condecending, it seemed he was more trying to save the 'date' after she had gotten all worked up. And since he knew he was with patients (or 'people' ;-)), she should have discussed her issues later at home, out of earshot of those two. That really bothered me, especially since Brennan said that she liked April.

Wendy said...

Interesting thought. Had not considered it that way. Nice!

jeannie55 said...

And it actually makes sense, because if they had really planned it ahead, he would have surely told Sweets about it, just for the "See, we do things outside work together" factor, no? I remember thinking that when I first watched the episode. Does that make sense to anybody?

Anonymous said...

I was re-watching this episode, and I noticed something. Bones says that there is a five year age difference between her and Booth. Which one is older? Just wondering. haha

kba said...

Nice review. I agree with the poster who said that the idea at the end to go bowling was not an outing B/B had planned but rather something Booth came up with to distract Sweets...and Brennan follows his lead well.

Have to air my big beef with this episode...who on earth could possibly belive that the motorcycle track was anywhere but CA??? There is nothing in the DC area that even remotely resembles the landscape in this shot! Way too much suspension of disbelief required on that! I have enough trouble everytime they trot off into the CA chaparrel/dry forest, which looks nothing like the mid-Atlantic forests, for an outdoor scene.

To answer previous post, I think in one season 3 episode, Booth says he is 35 (car scene).

Anonymous said...

I'm spending some of my unemployed time re-watching Bones from the beginning. I've been reading the reviews as I go and am quite enjoying the added insight of a second viewing and the excellent reviews/comments.

I just watched the MitM episode and noticed that Booth is not wearing his 'cocky' belt buckle. This is the first time I have seen it missing from an episode since it was introduced. I am curious if anyone has noticed other episodes in which the infamous belt buckle is missing. I can see why Gordon Gordon said that a flashy belt buckle is 'provocative' because my eye certainly IS drawn to it! ;-)

JL from Canada

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