Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bones Episode Review - 0.79 "The Pilot"


This is a bit of a unique review. It's my first of (hopefully) many steps in filling in reviews for the older Bones episodes. I like comparisons so this particular review compares our current point (post The Pain in the Heart) with the Pilot. If you haven't seen all the Bones episodes, you might not want to read my reviews.

As always, comments are welcome and even encouraged!

Going from Pain to Pilot is kind of like going back in time...Oh wait. That's exactly what is is. Or, it's like blowing something up and then suddenly having it back together again (Those of you who want to erase Zack's transformation just yelled in agreement, didn't you? You don't have to admit it.)

However you want to characterize it, it's definitely different. Nearly every character, every relationship...is different. On the surface, Booth is stuffier, Brennan is less sophisticated, Zack is skinnier and Cam is...oh, right. She's not been conceived yet. Booth and Brennan are antagonistic and just using each other while Angela and Hodgins are no different. There is that little fact that they aren't sleeping together yet. But if you put that, and Hodgins' not inconsiderable nest of pull-able curls aside, those 2 characters have barely changed.

But I'll get to all that in a minute.

As Pilots go, this one is very good. It's a bit over-written and full of it's own virtue, as most Pilots are, but unlike the greater portion of the Pilot pack this pilot still feels like Bones, even nearly 4 years after it first aired. You recognize the same wit, banter, intelligence and insight that is seen now and you don't have to ask questions about major character, scene, or tonal changes that occur between pilot and show as often happens in other productions.

I don't mind that it feels overwritten. That's the luxury of a pilot. If you have months, or even years, to write and refine a script, vs 2 weeks or so once a show is in production full-swing, you're obviously going to make it the best you can. The luxury of such time also allowed them to present a good case. Unlike most Bones episodes, it's a 'ripped from the headlines' case, of sorts. It's Lacy Peterson meets Chandra Levy presented in an interesting and engaging manner. It doesn't have as many red herrings as some but it does present an interesting triumvirate of possibilities. The most interesting happens to be the least likely candidate in the 'flighty' Oliver Laurier (who's very well played by Chris Conner and one of my favorite recurring guest-stars). Corruption in Washington is overplayed across the board in Hollywood, but it was necessary to give an excuse to give Hodgins to call Monica Lewinsky a "KGB trained sex agent mole." So worth it.

So, let's start there, with Hodgins. Aside from the hair, he's not really that different. I don't feel they've developed his character at all in 3 seasons and I'm okay with that. As a whole, people don't change that much. Who doesn't know a crotchety old guy who's not changed a bit in decades? That is Hodgins to a T. He is opinionated and obstinate. It fits. The show would feel unreal if every single person was evolving as Brennan does. The varying degrees of change provide a rich dept to the ensemble that lends well to real life.

Angela is the fiery, opinionated, insightful girl we see even now. Back at this point though, she was also Brennan's sole human connection outside of work. She had no family and no friends but Angela. It's only changed now through Booth's persistence. She's still important, vital even, to Brennan in the present but now she also has Booth, Max, and Russ. The Pilot is back in the good ole days of their friendship, glug glug whoo-hoo and all, when Angela is her sole connection to the 'real world' and her heart.

She makes the perfect best friend to Brennan. Brennan is in her head, while Angela is in her heart. Brennan relates to the 'hard' parts of people while Angela relates to the 'soft'. Brennan is great with the dead and Angela with the live. The comparisons go on and on and all of the comparisons also apply to Booth and Brennan. In the Pilot and beyond they are both feisty and assertive but Angela has a feminine flair that Brennan lacks.

One nice thing about going back to Season 1 is the fun of revisiting characters no longer around in Season 3. Along with Oliver Laurier, this episode gives us healthy doses of Goodman and Cullen.

I miss Goodman. I can see the writer/producer stance that there's not a lot of conflict or interest there between his character and the rest of the group. But I still love this guy. Maybe it's the 'deep African American tone'. (I'm not being offensive, I swear! Check 'The Boy in the Bush' quotes here.) He's stuffy in the way of a favorite teddy bear. He's a very lovable, fierce and protective Father to the group. He helps Brennan mature and learn to play political and work games.

I didn't think I would, but I missed Cullen too. Admittedly, it's a bit much to have such a strong connection to Booth's work environment. They were probably right to end that and center things more on the Jeffersonian, but he's a cool gruffy character. Now, outside of a few glimpses in Charlie, Kirby, the faked death Booth seems to be a bit of a law unto himself. Maybe I miss Booth having a little more accountability. (Sweets so does not count there, even if the premise of his original introduction had great importance.) Or maybe I just feel bad for the guy after what happens in 'The Graft in the Girl'.

Zack is very different in the Pilot. I think it's 50% writing and 50% character evolution. Often with Pilots something changes dramatically by the time the show makes it into episodic production. One of the things I like about this one is how closely it actually parallels the show once it's in full swing. Zack however, is different. He's still very smart and a bit odd but he seems a bit too mainstream in early season one. He's heated when arguing. The eco-warrior comment seems for too 'cool' for Zack and the way he calls bodies by slang names is very different than his later attitude. Evolutions post-Iraq makes sense but he does a major shift during Season 1, or at the latest between seasons 1 and 2. So, either he evolved faster than anyone (which I don't believe at this point in the show) or the writers were still figuring out his character for a bit. This is not to negate all the evolution Zack does go through, I just don't believe that alone explains the changes.


Obviously, the Booth and Brennan relationship is very different at this point. The characters themselves are different, even in their appearances. Booth's hair is slicker, his ties more sedate and his shirts louder. He's never seen out of a suit. Brennan is less sophisticated with her clunky shoes, tousled casual hair and mostly form-hiding clothes. At it's as if they've each melded to a middle line with he dressing down more and she dressing up. I don't know if it's intentional or not but it works very well and I like it.

Booth, in the Pilot, is more of the 'Alpha Male' loner Brennan later accuses him of being. He was a sniper which is by it's nature a loner occupation. Used to relying on only himself, he tries to continue to trend through his time in the FBI. he has decided to atone for his past killer occupation by trying to catch 'at least that many murderers', but he hasn't yet gotten over that 'I-work-alone' mentality.

He's very dedicated and focused, not unlike now. He wants to advance. He's used to being good at anything he sets out to do and he'll use whatever means necessary to attain his goals. It just so happens, that Brennan is a very good means to an end. Her genius will lead to solved cases which will lead to both advancement and completed goals on his atonement 50-something step plan. At this point, even if he is attracted to her on some level, he only cares about winning her over for purely selfish reasons. He even goes so far as to fake a bad shot, worse than hers, so she'll think she has the upper hand and be more open with him.

Brennan is far from a victim here, however. She wants to use him just as much. The principle is the same - he's a means to an end - but she has a different end in mind. Brennan wants to get out of the lab. We don't know why she's decided this but it's very clear; she wants full participation. It's couched as full participation in cases but it's so much more than that. She wants full participation in life and case work is just step one of the journey.

She doesn't know it at this point, but she's getting far more than she bargained for in Booth. She doesn't even like him here, finding him condescending, among other things. He's like Angela in the way he can push past her barriers and that makes her uncomfortable. One can only guess how long it took Angela to get so emotionally close with Brennan and she's not at all happy with his intrusions into her bubble. She's oh-so-quickly finding out that Booth isn't one of those people she can control. She thinks she can keep him at arm's length but even so early as the end of this episode when she gives him a playful shove we can see glimmers of the closeness they will achieve.

Note: Brain and Heart has got to be stamped on the Bones show Bible. They have a brain and heart discussion even back in the Pilot after Booth is nice to her even though Cullen just reamed him. Bravo! I love that theme.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

There are so many great snippets in this episode. From Booth's efficient and funny take-down of Oliver Laurier to the scene with Goodman, Zack and Brennan walking around the museum. I just decided to run with a 'Quotes' section with scattered comments..

Brennan: "And yet, I was never reduced to flashing my boobs for information."
Angela: "Flash them for any fun reasons?"

Brennan: "Guatemla, genocide...how are you scary after that?"

Cop: "Sociopaths." (How can you not love that line from the same woman who later brought us the bus driver in Enchanted?)

Booth: "A decomposed corpse was found this morning at Arlington National Cemetery."
Brennan: "Arlington National Cemetery is full of decomposed corpses. It's a cemetery."
Booth: "Yeah, but this one is your type of corpse. It wasn't in a casket."

Brennan: "If you drive one more block I'm screaming kidnap out the window."

Brennan: "I find you very condescending."
Booth: "Me? I'm not the one who has to mention that she's got a doctorate every 5 minutes."
Brennan: "I am the one with the doctorate."
Booth: "Yeah, well, I'm the one with the badge and the gun."

Booth: "Spit in my hand, we're Scully and Mulder."

Booth: "Cops get stuck, we bring in people like you. You know. Squints. You know. They squint at things."
Brennan: Oh. You mean people with very high IQs and basic reasoning skills?"

Booth: "Eh? What does that even mean?"

Goodman: "What's the rule, Mr. Addy?"
Zack: "You only converse with PhD's. You realize I'm half way through two doctorates. Two halves make a whole so, mathematically speaking..."
Goodman: "Go polish a bone, Mr. Addy."

Angela: "Who you captured perfectly is Booth: buttoned down but buckets of sexual confidence which I, for one, would love to tap."

Brennan: "You didn't come for your TV. You timed this for a booty call." (Wait, even her boyfriend calls her Brennan?)

Hodgins: "Is it paranoia that Monica Lewinsky was a KGB trained sex agent mole?"

Booth: "If I line all my ducks up in a row I can maybe head it up."
Brennan: "I don't know what that means, but I think I could be a duck."

How harsh is it of Brennan to be so willing to completely screw his chances of advancement? But in this scene they are both trying to screw the other over for their own goals - he for glory, she for her experience.

Booth: "You do that I'm a dead duck. What are you trying to do?"
Brennan: "Blackmail you."
Booth: "Blackmail a federal agent?"
Brennan: "Yes."
Booth: "I don't like it."
Brennan: "I'm fairly certain you're not supposed to."

Booth: "Getting information out of live people is a lot different than getting information out of a pile of bones. You have to offer up something of yourself first."

Brennan: "I hate it when you make paranoid plausible. It's like sliding off a cliff."

Angela: "Want to get a drink? Non-topical application, glug-glug, whoo-hoo."

The Brain and Heart scene
Booth: "You okay?"
Brennan: "Don't be nice to me after I got you in trouble."
Booth: "Your heart was in the right place."
Brennan: "I'm not a heart person. You're a heart person. I'm a brain person. You vouched for me."
Booth: "Forget it."
Brennan: "No, I won't."

Brennan: "We can - what do you call it - roost him?
Booth: "Roust."

Booth: "You know, homicides, they're not solved by scientists. They're solved by guys like me asking a thousand questions a thousand times, catching people telling lies every time. You're great at what you do, Bones, but you don't solve murders. Cops do."

Booth: "Temperance, partners, they share things. Builds trust."
Brennan: "Since when are we partners?"
Booth: "I apologize for the assumption."

Brennan: "Stalk me, Oliver, and I will kick your ass."

I love the climactic scene. Brennan runs in with full self-righteous confidence in her rationale and intelligence. She's neglected all common sense and all fear. She simply knows she's right and that's enough. Even after she shoots him she doesn't get it and Booth comes in to explain it to her. I love all the interactions here with Oliver and between Booth and Brennan. It always makes me smile to watch him wearily disarm her.

Oliver: "Okay then. I'm down with him bleeding to death."

Angela: "Is the FBI gonna lay charges against Brennan?"
Hodgins: "She only shot him in the leg. Once."
Booth: "She didn't give him a warning. She just shot him. With alcohol on her breath."
Goodman: "It was her first shooting. You can't expect her to be perfect right out of the gate."
Zack: "How much warning did you give people before you sniped them?"

6 comments:

ADDhole said...

Being the resident old guy I am going to have to go with Hodgins and suspect conspiracy, here. Grumpy sometimes means tired of being the only one that knows they're right . . . But, a good review and I miss Goodman, too.

CupcakeBean said...

Another great review! Keep up the good work!

On a side note, I think you made a typo in one of your quotes:

Brennan: "You didn't come for your TV. You timed this for a booth call." (Wait, even her boyfriend calls her Brennan?)

A Freudian slip perhaps? :D

Evi said...

Oh God, totally! It's better that way, don't you think? =)

Thanks for the heads up.

ADDhole said...

After all - the blog is entitled Obsessed with Booth ... Isn't it?

Ms. Feasance said...

If you thought the Zack characterization was off in the aired pilot, that's nothing compared to the characterization in the pilot script, as the initial character description is "Brennan's assistant, ZACK ADDY, very early twenties, boy-wonder, rumpled, cute-but-obnoxious behind his IQ"; although it's the description of his first interaction with Booth that kills me:
"BRENNAN: Agent Booth, you remember my assistant, Zack Addy?
They remember each other, they don't like each other, they barely nod, much less shake hands"

Anonymous said...

I loved your review. The only thing that I noticed from Brennan's reference of Booth in her book and general attitude is her desire to be with him. She found him sexy but because Booth was not interested at her at all, she took it into fantasy world of her book. Also I think because of her interest in Booth, she wanted to enter his world and see how a hot man like him sees the world and discover more of him.
Overall she looked to me as a proud teenager girl interested in a collage boy. I think even all of squints were like her, wanted to spend more time with him - the popular cool guy - in his cool environment. But all were too proud to admit it.

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