Monday, June 2, 2008

Bones Episode Review: 3.10 "The Santa in the Slush"

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

I feel like Cam trying to stop Zack from tearing apart Santa...only I'm playing both roles. I'll start by saying that I LOVE this episode. Like Cam says, "Santa [in the Slush] is MAGIC." It is. This episode is a feel-good fluffy sweet ride. I am, for the most part, a feel good fluffy sweet person. It fits. So when I start to dig into this episode and begin finding the little detail threads that don't match up I'm distressed. I don't like it.

I've messed with this review for a week. Thankfully (or not, depending on the P.O.V.) it's summer and there's no pressure to get a review out quickly. But here I sit, determined to deliver.

Programming note: I'm probably going back to S1Ep1 after this. Start at the beginning. "It's a very fine place to start." (Thank you Maria.)

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

The further away from the viewing of the episode I get, the harder time I have reconciling the reality of the episode with the emotions it provoked. It's a happy Christmas story that shows adults learning that beautiful Holiday message: ignore the 'pragmatic routines', for just a moment. Christmas is about heart. And this episode is full of it; Brain takes a far deep left position and sulks in the corner while Heart does a tap dance.

The Case
Angela sums the case up well: The evidence actually adds up to an old fat man with a white beard in a custom-made Santa suit who smoked a clay pipe and got kicked in the ass by a reindeer?
The set-up for the case is great. I love the back-story for the victim. I also enjoy what it provokes in the lab...but it loses me in the dissection.

I think the crime side to this case is terribly weak. The red herrings weren't that thought-provoking or even that plausible. They had only 1 likely suspect before the real killer was revealed and who actually believed that the respectful Coptic, proud to be a law officer like Booth, could have truly hurt anyone that badly? That man was highly respectful and he lost just enough control to blacken an eye. Killing anyone didn't seem remotely likely.

And in the final reveal scene with the roiling mass of Santa suits: at the least they could have put the bell in the wrong hands temporarily, or had it mixed in a pile of bells which would leave open exactly which Santa was guilty until they came up with a more definitive test. And the actual guilty guy? Also, weak.

The biggest case detail irritation for me is the 8 50s Santa had. How did he get them? Addhole and I discussed options but nothing makes sense. They can't be from his own check because it wasn't cashed at a check cashing place and how can they be from the Coptic? How would he have gotten them? It strikes me as a cheap plot device to throw up a red herring that doesn't hold under the tiniest bit of scrutinity, which bothers me. This is Bones, live up to the rep!

Okay, that's mostly out of my system. I do have other detail issues but they're sprinkled throughout the meaty character section of my review and therefore seem far less angsty.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

The Squints
The squints operate together in this episode. They are an ensemble backdrop to the feel-good message and the case details are greatly overshadowed by their humor and skeptical banter. They really mix and match the roles with sometimes one speaking against and then flipping to humored support. Zack gets a slight standout role as the biggest skeptic. His pronouncement that children would have to be stupid to accept the Santa myth is classic for this 'rational empiricist' and is a perfect intellectual ground in an episode where even Brennan sidelines her brain.
Zack: If you take into account all believers of the myth, factor in timezones, rotation of the Earth, and assume Santa travels East to West he would have to make approximately 822.6 visits per second to reach every child. Children have to be stupid to accept that.
Cam: First of all, children are not stupid. They're just children. Second, Santa is magic.

Hodgins: Cycle of life my friend. Quite beautiful if you get into it. (Said while in a dumpster)

Cam: This is why Booth hates talking to you.
Hodgins: Wait, Booth hates talking to me?
Cam: Not you, specifically, lab people.

There is also a very small nod to Hodgela with the short scene between them involving making ornaments. It's a sweet touch and a nice reminder of the continual progress in their relationship.
Angela: You know, this is our first Christmas as a couple.
Hodgela: Aww. Too bad Santa's dead.
...Hodgins: Are, two people a family?
Angela: Isn't that how every family starts?
Hodgins: Then, I think us making decorations is just corny enough.

Zack: Evidence is evidence, whether anyone is there to hear it or not.

She's always slapping skulls, tickling funny bones or pulling heart strings (sorry I couldn't find a skeletal reference for the last one). If Caroline is in an episode good will come of it. This episode contains her most memorable moment thus far - the puckish instigator the very first (of a lifetime, this romantic hopes!) Booth and Brennan kiss.

Caroline, for her own amusement (and ours), offset her good deed to Brennan and Max with a self-gratifying demand. She can't actually be seen as completely generous and kind; that would ruin her reputation. She actually does favors for one person though: Seeley Booth. She acts as defense for Brennan in "The Man in the Morgue" and later she risks her job and her car on Seeley's word.

This could be considered another favor for Seeley. He may not have requested it on it's own but who's to say that a good friend can't see exactly what he needs/wants and set it up anyway, even if Seeley would never do it on his own. Or...she's truly just a manipulative self-centered lawyer.

Whatever her reasons, she is front and center for one of the most memorable relationship moments to date and her surprised look and quote at the end of her scheme says that even she was surprised to see the kiss in the flesh. Even though it's forced, it's not innocent.
Caroline: I have a puckish side that will not be denied.

Caroline: No Christmas tree. No way. Not even if you squeeze his buttocks.

Brennan: Was that enough steamboats?
Caroline: Plenty. A whole flotilla.

Sweets is part of the diner conversation that makes up the crux of this episode, where both The Kiss and Christmas magic are discussed and decided. I imagine that he jumped at the chance to resolve 'the crisis.' His look at the end of that scene is screaming for praise and a head pat.

I'm a bit surprised Sweets has never brought up the kiss again but I would guess it's just one more piece of information he's storing away, to be addressed as needed or convenient.

Brennan, Booth, and Brennan/Booth
I love any appearance by Max. Where Caroline signals humor, Max signals meaty Brennan character depth. Christmas is such an emotionally charged time for her. In Season 1 we saw her pain as she allowed her friends into her past trauma and it was the first step in healing. Christmas was ignored in Season 2 but here in Season 3 she finally meets Christmas head-on.

Preferably, in her world, Christmas would be nothing more than convenient vacation time, where she could jet across the world and immerse herself in science, doing "bone things with bone people" and completely ignoring anything emotional or 'mythical.' Between Max and Booth, however, that Brennan tradition is coming to an end: separate but equally determined to prove to her that "Skeletons and Christmas do not mix."

Booth, who loves Christmas more than most, really gets repeatedly screwed at this time of year. In Season 1 he's excited and happy, dumping a body on Bones so he can be free to spend time with Parker, but he gets quarantined in the Jeffersonian for days, through all of Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day. This year he's dejected with lack of son time and he's further drug through the mud with the death of the secular symbol of the holiday and arguments with Brennan.

Making him depressed opens the more cynical people to cheering him up and therefore opening their own minds to his beloved 'Christmas magic.' This probably has a lot to do with Brennan's acceptance of the lie-to-kids directive. He has to learn a bit about his interaction with his son but she has much more to learn.

Brennan does not believe in God. At Christmas she likes nothing more than to tear apart the Christmas 'myths', much to Booth's annoyance. But when Booth is disillusioned with the Holiday Season thanks to circumstances outside his control, the resulting conversations have the effect of opening her up to the idea that Christmas means more than just another date on the calendar.

She seems almost giddy when she proclaims to Russ that it's both okay and right to lie to kids at Christmas. Everyone around Brennan (well, except Zack) in some way condones lying to kids or does it directly.

Max - lie in the leaving
Squints - lie about Santa
Russ - lie about his whereabouts
Booth - lie about Captain Fantastic, Rebecca and his own happiness
Sweets - Just do it. It's a duty.
Agreeing to do so herself should be completely against what Brennan stands for. I keep mulling over how she could justify this to herself rationally and I don't have a good answer, which is one of the biggest annoyances I have with this episode. Maybe she doesn't. Maybe she just accepts it like one of those pop culture references she doesn't understand. It's one of those societal mores that just 'is.' She does say that she's 'hazy on the details' which leads me to think she's not even thought it through entirely herself. How unlike her.

For Booth and Brennan 'shippers' this is a fluffy and sweet episode. We have her science vs his belief. He asked her in "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" why she's taking meds on faith but not giving God the same chance. He knows he can't get her to open up to God but he's going to try to at least get her to open up a bit to the people around her and accept a little of the joy inherent in the people and the holiday.
He wants to be with his son and she's trying to keep her emotion-less, hurt-free Christmas science traditions. Together they manage to heal on both accounts through bickering and simply being there for each other. They're pretty mean to each other in the process.
Booth: Christmas is about making the impossible happen.
Brennan: You mean like you getting to spend Christmas with Parker?

Booth: You just want to go to Peru without feeling guilty.
Brennan: You need to accept that you won't have Parker this Christmas.
Booth: You know what? I am not enjoying this holiday season. At all.
Brennan: Neither am I.

I love the short scene on the street where she's in her head and he's protecting her from the realism of the world (the car that's about to hit her). He protects her from harm, she protects him from ick.
Brennan: Do you really want to know?
Booth: You tell me.
Brennan: No.

Then we have this big built up kiss. For a steamier version go here. Here is the kiss that they've been promising and though they didn't take the route of a dream it's still not real, at least in intent. What Caroline sees between them, however, is very real. And very much all we're going to get right now. I was of the mind that they really should have made a bigger deal out of the kiss. Angela should know, they should feel uncomfortable, and so on. But I don't think that anymore. The conversation with Sweets in the diner is likely all we're ever going to get about the Kiss unless Booth and Brennan crack a joke about it when they kiss for real.
Sweets: I don’t understand. Has there been some kind of crisis?
Brennan: Yes. I have a crisis.
Booth: Bones, it was just mistletoe.
Brennan: Not the kiss. That was nothing.
Sweets: You kissed?
Booth: Mistletoe.
Brennan: That’s not the crisis.
Sweets: Was there tongue?
Booth: Alright, you know what? Get your own sex life, alright Sweets.
Brennan: Well, that has nothing to do with sex.
Booth: Nothing.
Brennan: No.
Booth: There was no se- it was - mistletoe.
Brennan: Totally sex less.
They addressed that it was fake and that it brought up sexual ideas but that since it was faked it had nothing to do with sex, end of story.

The gift Booth gives to Brennan is amazingly thoughtful and intimate and not his only instance of such wonderfulness. Though depressed by his own troubles he still thought of her, having it planned even before Parker showed up. This is a man heavily in love and unable to admit it or act on it for multiple reasons and the look he gives at the very end of the episode (Brilliantly done by David Boreanaz) screams love and a thank-god-she-can't-see-it panic in one big snowy package. Brennan, on the other hand, looks happy and grateful but not in love. "Don't you know by now you can't rush her?" had to be stamped on his forehead long before "The Pain in the Heart."

Random quotes
Booth: Murderers and thieves, they get Christmas too. In fact, it's kinda the point.

Brennan: That was intended to be a scathing and incisive comment.

Max: You never were good at sugar-coating anything.

Brennan: Anthropologically speaking, what exactly would it mean to be numero uno Santa? (Why would she ask this to a random, non science person?)

Caroline: Congratulations. I hear you have a suspect in the Santa slaying.
Booth: Yeah, the Easter Bunny has nothing to worry about.


Geenes said...

Hi Evi,

I have been cathing up on all the bones episodes in the last two weeks. It's been a hell of a ride and since I barely had time to sleep I've been The. Worst. Employee. Ever. the last two weeks at work...
Since I live in the Netherlands I couldn't catch them all on tv, so long live the internet!

I love this site and I'm so glad there's finally someone with some decent recaps.

I just wish you'd descibe more of you're own feelings on funny or sad moments. I mean that it's fun to read something and relate to the emotions...

I'm looking forward to your reviews on the earlier episodes.

again, great job on the site!

Amanda said...

I love the picture of Booth pouting. Cracks me up.

One of my favorite moments in this episode (so many to choose from) is Parker tracking Booth down at the FBI.

I'm also a sucker for the moment when B&B are in Santa's apartment and Booth has that kid-at-Christmas look on his face. Even Brennan got caught up for a minute there *G*.

Evi said...

Geenes...does posting that I cried in the "Pain in the Heart" when Cam realized Zack was their killer count? I'll try to keep your point in mind! I'll be going back to the Pilot next.

Hokulea said...

AAAHHH!!! I am so in love with this episode. Even thought it wasn't real (meaning the kiss), it was still nice. :) I am going to have a Bones season 1 - 3 marathon and i am so excited. :) This is the episode that sticks out to me the most because i think Booth wanted a longer kissing time. Don't you think? The way he looked at Bones after they kissed. Awe. I felt sorry for the guy. Wonder if they'll be another "love" scene now that Bones lost one of her people, Zack. Anyways, I love the review and keep on the good job. :)

Jess said...

Well I was searching around while at work and found your blog. Actually I found it after posting a DB related thing on my blog which I started up again after a year long or so break. ANYWAYS I shall now be making your blog a regular stop. 1)I adore this episode, 2)I adore BONES, 3)I adore DB 4)I adore DB (yes I said it twice), 5)I adore everything Bones

I really like how you get into depth of the episodes in your reviews, I'm more of a short review writer, sort of the icing on the cake, your reviews are more like the cake itself.

Anonymous said...


I just recently found your blog and I love your reviews! Great job, you captured a lot of things that I loved, too, and I am looking forward to reading even more of them. I've been following Bones from the beginning, I guess that makes me one of the lucky ones who watched this relationship develop. And I loved every second of it.

Anyway, I may be able to help you with figuring out some things regarding the case here.
First thing - yes, it was very confusing but mainly because they edited out a good part of the story. Supposedly, Kris was such a nice guy that he loaned money to other Santas when they needed help. He gave some money to Jeff (who was the pickpocket). Jeff was then dumb enough to pay Kris the $ 400 back the very next day, all in crispy new 50s. Kris got suspicious and followed him into the alley, where he discovered Jeff discarding the wallets and got into a fight. Making more sense now? ;-) (Hope I explained that fairly decent, English is not my first language.)


Anonymous said...

Unless I'm mistaken, Booth removes blue chewing gum after the kiss. However, Bones had white chewing gum!!! Is it a goof?

Anonymous said...

Hi! just been rewatching some of the old Australia we're still hanging out for the airing of season 4!!!!

I love this favourite scene is Bones telling Booth (out of professional courtesy) that she is going to kiss him. I just love the changes of expressions on Booth's face. When he says that he will talk to Caroline, and Bones screams no at him...He looks like a happy man! His look goes from a 'woo hoo she wants to kiss me' look to a 'what the?' look after she starts explaining! And then after the big kiss it's a 'holy cow!' look. well done db!

PS. i love ur reviews!

Becky said...

yeah, you really can see everything Booth is feeling on his face, which makes him infinitely more lovable than if he was the standard hardfaced, show cop.
When Bones goes, "no!" he gets excited for a minute, thinking that she really does want to kiss him.
and he's so shaken after the kiss.
I just wish that Bones would have showed a little emotion (maybe too much to ask for).
Excellent review by the way.

I also noticed the chewing gum thing but dismissed it--the moment is just really funny when Booth doesn't know what to say. He's like, "thanks for the. . ." (gestures)

p.s. Love. This. Blog.

Cheryl said...

I disagree that the kiss was fake. As I told a friend of mine "Friends DON'T kiss friends like that!".

Yes, Caroline forced them into it. But the fact that _both_ B&B are so affected by it that both of them are groping for coherence & the usually intellectual Brennan is saying silly things like "Yes! I have...bone..stuff to do..." is more than enough evidence that the kiss shook both of them to their core.

All of that "Like kissing my brother" and "Totally sexless" stuff is their way of _pretending_ that kiss didn't completely curl their toes. Denial is Brennan's strong suit & Booth is simply joining her. If Ange had seen them kiss, I assure u they'd not be able to live it down.

And Booth avoiding the "Was there tongue?" question? Plz! They swapped gum for crying out loud. He just doesn't want to talk abt it for fear he has to deal with the reality of how deeply her kiss rocked him.

Do I love them? Of course. Are they in denial? Like a junkie before rehab. Will they progress into a romantic relationship? Not without an INCREDIBLY strong external force.But they better! They'd be able to really help each other heal & grow that way & I'm sure it'd make for highly entertaining TV;)

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