Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bones Episode Review - 3.19/3.20 "Yanks in the U.K."

I'm with Cam when it comes to mulling. I had to mull this one for awhile.

At first, I liked it, but it was too packed.

Then, I didn't like it.

When I realized why I didn't like it, I started liking it again. Re-watching it cemented this.

I realized that I don't ever like season premiers. It's fundamental in their design to be irritating to show veterans. The hope, from the show's perspective, with every season premier, is that new viewers will join the fray. Add that to the tendency for even the show faithful to forget details and you get the dreaded necessity of rehashing old news and reiterating relationships. Was it necessary for Cam to again talk about how everything goes through her? For Booth and Brennan to say what Zack did? Well, yes.

The finale, much loathed, of Season 3 undeniably did something good for the show. Ratings for this premier nearly hit the same level as the finale, which is a huge jump from the Season 3 premier ratings. Fox has promoted Bones heavily, even off-network, and all of that leads to the undeniable truth: new people must be watching.

And new people need info. What does each person do? What happens in the lab? Why are two of the people outside, and the rest in? You don't want to offend the vets, but you don't want to lose the new people. And, one of the most irritating things, the characters may not act exactly like themselves. In this case, I think that is very apparent in some of Brennan's lines. She's the hardest character for many to relate to, and therefore the most likely (and most necessary?) to be tuned down just a bit for the newbies.

But I'll get into her in a second. With all that said, there is a part of this episode that I dislike, and can't be laid at the feet of "It's a season premier."

It was far, far too packed. Typical episode structure is an A story, which in Bones is virtually always the Case, a B story, which is a character arc and occasionally also a C story, a lesser character arc. Limiting to 2 or 3 story-lines to follow makes the episodes far easier to understand and follow. I feel that Yanks was drastically over-packed. And that can't be blamed just on dual locations. They've done that before and not had such a problem.

How many thread were there?

  • Case (one or two, they were done separately so I only count that once)
  • Booth's cultural problems in England
  • Angela & Hodgins
  • Birimbau
  • Clark Edison
  • Brennan and Wexler
  • Dealing with the death of a partner
This bothered me. They left out so many great parts from spoiler clips, like Booth interrupting Brennan with his funny demonstration and "I need a spanking", they left out the double-decker bus scene roundly discussed by both David Boreanaz and Hart Hanson, and I felt like they left out many important details for every aspect of the show. They reference things that we didn't see over and over and that just didn't feel like a real episode of Bones in that respect. It didn't flow as well, have the comfortable structure, and wasn't as easy to follow.

But, I still liked it okay. I'd probably give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. I do hope that most of this can be attributed to it being a Season premier, the funky order of writing and shooting, etc. I hope that now they have pulled people into the show, they can keep them, but also show them what Bones really is. Love your veterans too!

One more note: it had to be light. Post-finale we needed an easy, fun jaunt, and I think Yanks did that. The touched on Zack lightly, wrapped up Birimbau quickly, had a lot of fun and tried to move us all back to the joy of Bones. They needed that. I needed that. It's exactly what I hoped for coming into the premier. It wasn't completely satisfying but it was a good ride.

On to the long part!

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Bones has traveled before - to Washington state, to the desert, to L.A. (hah) but never so far as in this premier. The jaunt across the pond created special challenges, beautiful scenery, and a whole lot of humor. It could have been handled poorly, but I think it worked out well. Both Indira Varma and Andrew Buchan talk about having to adjust their lines just a bit to fit true British manner of speaking, but both are very firm in stating that the basic writing was very good. As my travel has not extended that far, I couldn't possibly speak to the accuracy of the cultural representation but I think they heavily laid the silliness and mistakes on the Americans, giving honor to the Brits where possible. Well, other than the codpiece. But, c'mon, who wouldn't make fun of that?

The English version of Booth and Brennan made a great mirror to our American pair. On the professional level, they simply work differently. Pritchard investigates, Wexler analyzes. The find it odd that Brennan investigates with Booth. On a more personal level , they also show an opposite relationship to that of Booth and Brennan. Where Booth and Brennan are exceptionally close, but not romantically involved, Pritchard and Wexler have been sexually involved but don't seem all that involved, or even interested, in each other's lives. That distinction is just just for us. Booth highlights his dislike of sex-only relationships, which we have seen many times before, but Brennan is still on the fence about it. She appreciates Pritchard's attitude but also deeply respects Booth. Booth is very firm in his attitude toward the subject, Brennan still wavers.

Individually, I had different reactions to the British counterparts. I loved Pritchard, for the most part, and greatly disliked Wexler, though he did make me smile on occasion. Pritchard was fun, confident, and human. She admitted how much Wexler's death had knocked her off her game. She was honest, but not obnoxious, frank in her opinions and appreciations (including Booth), and very open to working with the Americans. (Something to do with Booth, maybe?)

Wexler, however, grated on me from the moment he opened his mouth. I found him utterly obnoxious and irritating. He wasn't the lovable rogue to lived by charm. He had charm, but it was the forceful kind, that just pushed at you over and over until you gave in. He had to say how good he was. I found him rude and I was not sad when he died. Whew, how's that for harsh?

Case-wise, we have 2 different ones to examine: the murder of Portia Frampton and the subsequent murder of Ian Wexler.

The first time I watched, I barely paid attention to either. I'm always focused on the characters first and this episode was so packed with so many different threads amongst the characters I had little capacity to think about the cases as well. Someone died? Check. It took awhile and a few turns to figure out who did it? Check. That was it.

On re-watching, I paid a bit more attention. I felt that the second case was better than the first. Mostly because, the first case wasn't actually solved. The butler confessed, but did he even do it? Was he ordered to do it? It was a lightly humorous wrap-up to the case but unsatisfying. They catch the real bad guys. They aren't supposed to just accept a confession. I think we're supposed to assume they worked to find out the truth but, yeah, still not a fan. Funny, but don't like it in the end.

Wexler's death had a better story, I feel. First, we start out with a new twist on the crime scene investigation - they know the victim. Brennan almost slept with him. Pritchard did sleep with him. Pritchard is off-base and upset and Booth and Brennan together comb the crimescene and figure out the clues. There is a healthy group of suspect options - the father of the first victim, radical preservationists, his mates, an angry palace guard, and even Cate herself. The reveal of the student killer was far more interesting than "the aristocrats did it" resolution from the first case. Even Granny felt that the murder motivations in the first case were blasé. I agree!

Skipping back to D.C. (Booth and Brennan are forever the coup de grace) we have a lot going on.

The first Zack replacement is a familiar face, Clark Edison. Opinions are divided on him, but I love him. I not-so-secretly want him to be the end-choice replacement for Zack, but I'm not sure he will be. Hodgins has said before that Zack is irreplaceable and it's true. But I think in Clark's case, he works a little too well. He didn't make for the fun, goofy experiment pairing of Zack and Hodgins but you could tell that Hodgins liked him. I think he worked a little too well. There wasn't enough to keep the dialog interesting between him and the others, in the way that Zack did. They had to resort to creating a plot-line to accomplish that: his dislike of the atmosphere.

It's a running debate among fans: more science, or more characters. I love the characters. I want a good backing of science to keep it from becoming too soap-opera-ish but a little drama is prevalent in most every workplace. Clark hated it though. He's firmly interested in science and winning the game. I'm not sure whether we should read more into his departure on that note or not. Was it just a funny ending? Were the writers just trying to highlight that constant tug-of-war between science and characters to the new viewers? Were they trying to say something about which way the season will head on that debate? I don't know.

But, like I said, I like the guy. He's funny in his own way. Mostly, he's just brutally honest.
  • That's a big dude.
  • Today I'm alone and happily dating multiple women so I can focus on my work.
  • I don't have to be included in everything.
  • I just want to work in a regular lab.
Even if he doesn't join the regular cast, I hope we continue to see him around. At the least he provides the accountability the lab lacks when Brennan isn't there. Cam provides some, to a degree, but in general she's no longer nearly as intrusive as she was in this episode and the soap opera continues unabated without someone to give it perspective. They didn't listen to him, like they listen to Brennan, but at least someone was there to say it.

Alas, we have met, and said goodbye to, the elusive Birimbau, or Grayson Birasa, as he prefers to be known. In Season 3, he was forever the unknown, god-like mystery husband. God-like in the flesh, too, apparently:
Angela: I don't need Hodgins seeing everyone gawking at him like he's some kind of god.
Cam: He is some kind of god. The best kind.
He swoops in and instantly brings the foreshadowed strife. Did anyone else find it odd that Angela jumped him like that? She's a free-spirit and all but, seriously, why?

I think they cast him well, and he was very well played. I really don't have much to say about him. I found his character's actions consistent with pre-conceived notions and faithful throughout. He was governed by 'the Universe' and the universe spoke. He committed completely to any action - be it Angela, or giving up Angela - and followed through accordingly.

That said, I'm not a fan of his aftermath.

Hodgins was classic in Yanks. I loved him from the start.
  • British slime! So much more proper than American slime.
  • No worries, our lips meet all the time.
  • You're a saint, I get it.
  • I thought women liked it when we fought over them.
  • I see no holes in your logic.
  • Regulate yourself.
  • I'm a grown-up. I don't need a middle-man.
  • I'll have our all-powerful leader send the request.
  • Oh, God. So now everything is fine?
And my favorite:
  • I am sorry to be so cranky. Which is my basic personality so it seems stupid to apologize for.
He seemed to like Clark. He's not a fan of change, but then, he has been around the guy before. Clark already proved himself to the team in Verdict, by assisting Dr. Brennan. I felt that he and Clark worked very well together. Too well. Bye bye Clark.

Angela felt somewhat off to me, which makes sense with Birimbau around. As free as she is, I just found the jumping in his arms off-putting. I won't be too hard on her though, this was a big angsty pile of no-fun for Angela all around. Which leads me to Hodgela.

She did get to be the cool chick with toys, for at least a scene, though. For a moment it was like old times, she was figuring out something very important, using her cool technological tricks...but no one got it. Booth finally connected but it fell flat for everyone else. I loved it, Angela. Keep it comin'!

I make no secret of my feelings for Hodgela. We even discussed it fully in the recent podcast rumble. I don't like them. I think they came together very sweetly and naturally but since then I really don't think they've been realistic at all. Hodgins has forever been a doormat, with Angela just steamrolling him. They never have a real fight like a healthy couple.

They've also never been really tested.

And, when they were...they fell flat on their faces. They don't know how to deal with adversity together. They don't know how to say "we have a problem, let's fix it." It's just "We have a problem. Bye." I knew ahead of time they were busting up in this episode, but I still found it dissatisfying, at least in execution. It was so unemotional. They are more emotionally invested in work-place arguments than they were with the relationship-ending fight. I am fully behind the fact that we needed a quick resolution to the much, much drug out story of their quest to get married, but this just left a bad taste in my mouth.

I hope the followup and fall-out is much more interesting.

I feel that we took steps backward with Cam, in this episode. Cam finding someone other than Booth to sleep with is drastically overdue and I was really looking forward to her finally getting a solo plot and some fun happiness. But, alas, it was just used to make everyone dislike her.

I didn't like her self-described introduction of parachuting into Booth's bed 2 seasons ago. But she's earned her way back from that with most fans. But here, in the Season 4 premier, we take her back to a controversial, annoying, intrusive figure. She's in everyone's faces about their work and yet again sleeping with someone she shouldn't. Can't she find a decent date? She's a very attractive woman.

Is she forever supposed to be the person we hate? Can't we bring Bancroft around, from time to time, do do that? He works really well for that. Most of us really wanted him to be Gormogon, he's so roundly disliked.

She did have a few good one liners, as always.
  • Women is an unacceptable generalization.
  • Are you saying our victim was attacked by an abalone?
  • Booth shouldn't be behind the wheel. He isn't adaptable.
  • Security cameras, people. The building is full of security cameras.
  • Earth-shattering sex, and breakfast? I can die a happy woman.
  • That's some kind of code for you, isn't it?
  • It was tough to take you seriously at first. You con't even look ald enough to drive, so I thought 'how could you possibly have any valid insight.' ... doctorates don't teach you about sexual matters, and being so young...
And, I did like her overhearing the "you're special" exchange between Booth and Brennan and smiling about it. I don't think anyone should worry about her going for that bed again, at least not emotionally. She knows the truth there.

I like Cam, please don't make her the one to perpetually hate.

From recently saying that I'm still somewhat on the fence about Sweets...the man-child owned this episode. He rocked every scene. He gave great advice, was made fun of, tripped flat onto his face on the street, and did very funny things. How could you not love Sweets here? Granted, I still hope Booth and Brennan have it out with him, but with everyone else...he proved his worth.
Sweets: Oh my God, poor Hodgins. Wow. Look at that guy.

Sweets: Angela, men are idiots. Seriously.
Angela: Just to be clear, are you a man or a boy? ...
Angela: He had a little gay crush on you.
Sweets: He did? Oh man. That explains a lot. ...
Angela: Which brings us back to "all men are idiots."
Sweets: See how I worked that? It's because I'm so good.

Sweets: Can I touch the brain, just once? As a reward?
Cam: Just once.
Sweets: Squishy. (Eww, seriously)

Cam: Is there no better way to put that?
Sweets: Everything else sounds worse.
I found him the perfect mix of boy and intelligent doctor. Without Booth making him look like an idiot, he seemed less annoying. Though, he still did a fantastic job of doing that himself, with a little help from Angela. It will be very interesting to see how his dynamic fits once Booth and Brennan are back and he's back intruding into their partnership and relationship.

He does seem sort of listless. He's just always hanging around there. And, to a question from the live chat - he's still in the same FBI office. I think Hodgins, Angela and Cam just carted themselves over there.
Sweets: Thank you all for coming.
Angela: Cam said we had to.
Hodgins: Or lose our jobs.
Cam: For insubbordination.
Sweets: I was kind of hoping you all came of your own volition.
Unfortunately, they put all the cultural mistakes and gaffes of the trip to England on Booth. It makes sense, to a degree, but still felt off balance between the partnership.

Booth is very comfortable on his home turf. With his gun and his procedures nothing slows him down. Take him across the pond, give him different regulations, a different culture, and most importantly, take away his gun and Booth is a bit off-kilter. I felt like he was a bit odd, at least professionally for most of the first half, being far more concerned with bad coffee and the like. I think he regained himself a bit toward the end, and was fully back in gear by the time they were in Wexler's flat evaluation his murder.

I wish we'd seen some of the cut scenes. I think his interruption of Brennan's speech would be pretty classic, and who wouldn't want to see him in the described double-decker scene? He was funny and very Booth-like throughout. But he lacked the perception we normally see.

I liked his characterization of Wexler. Booth believes sex is part of commitment, it's not something to enjoy for it's own sake. Every time he tries, he ends up wanting to commit more to the woman he's with. He may still be very conflicted about Brennan but he's not wavering on his principles.

In that light though, I'm not sure what I think about the mutual flirting with Pritchard. Cate is obviously very interested in Booth, in the same way she was interested in Wexler. Booth returned the interest, at least to a point, almost inviting her to come to him. He didn't pursue the easy conquest while there, but would he follow through back home, if given the chance? I don't know. I kind of felt like Booth was all over the map, relationally, in this episode. He was intent on keeping Wexler and Brennan apart, while claiming to be there to help her pick out a guy, and he was espousing his dislike of one-night stand pursuits, while flirting with exactly that in the form of Cate.

Quotable Booth:
  • He's better dressed than I've ever been. He'll get all dirty.
  • Getting out of this thing is like being born.
  • I need a spanking. (I don't care if that was only in the promos.)
  • I hate London. I hate Englad. I'm glad we had a revolution. Bollocks...What is so hard about making a cup of black coffee?
  • Hold on girls, lets get out of this toilet swirl.
  • A real butler would offer to take my hat.
  • That's one large cup. Probably to scare the sissy French.
  • What is this place on the weekend, a dungeon?
  • England is not good for my personal dignity.
  • Fine it (putting his gun away) just feels wrong.
  • Without a gun, I'm practically naked.
  • Tomato, potato.
  • You and me, we're the real deal.
  • I thought the British were all frustrated and sexually repressed.
  • Think they ever made a Frankenstein in this place?
  • Live by the bone, die by the bones...s...sorry.
  • Don't you start explaining things to me now.
I felt that Brennan was sometimes perfectly on target for her character, and sometimes way off in right field.

Obviously Brennan has traveled for her work. Anthropologists are rarely confined to one location and travel to offer expertise. She must be used to dealing with different cultures. I thought they did a good job in finding other ways to make her social awkwardness clear in the U.K. The class dissertation in front of the aristocracy was classic, very in-character, Brennan.

I didn't like her disregard for having killed again. The first time she killed, it affected her greatly. Now she claims to be able to put it aside.
Brennan: I want a gun. I'm a very good shot and I've killed before. It didn't bother me as much as I thought.
I just don't buy that! I really want there to be some moment where they deal with that but I doubt they will - the most logical person to bring it out of her is Booth and for one thing, I doubt he wants to reopen the "you should have told me" debate and for the other...if those two were to have any really deep discussion of the night it would be disingenous for it to not be a step forward. Ain't happening. I'll just go grumble in a corner.

I loved quite a few of her lines:
  • Keen as ketchup. (She's an equal opportunity offender when it comes to colloquialisms.)
  • It's a polite country.
  • Tell him he can have a gun. (I found her defensiveness of Booth across the pond very interesting.)
  • I noted several physical responses to his presence that can only be explained by sexual attraction.
  • I turned down my chance to sleep with Robin Hood?
  • Is that bad? To congratulate someone on a divorce?
But especially the answering machine. As pointed out in the live chat, it's not professional, but holy cow, it's funny.
Brennan: Technically you have not reached Temperance Brennan. But if you leave a message it will reach her. Me.
It actually seemed that, at least after Wexler's death, she spent more time in the lab (British style) than she does at home anymore. She was responsible for all the examinations and coordination, while Booth went out without her a few times. It worked well.

I thought that her willingness to reject sleeping with Wexler, simply because Booth said not to, very out of character for her. She's never asked Booth who she should sleep with and always been very clear that she enjoys sex simply on it's own merits, she needs nothing more. She admires Cate's attitude: "You have a strong sexual appetite, and you're not hamstrung by social moralizing." Why would she put that aside for Booth, while not pursuing Booth in the slightest?

As always, I feel that Booth and Brennan are two people dancing around the truth. Everyone around them is trying to get them together but the moment they have intimate discussions, go through something trying, etc, they push apart.

I am glad they maintained their fluid partnership. It even seems to be kicked up a notch now. More than once in this episode they work together silently, or with a quick word, to deal with something. All it takes is a quick whisper from Booth and the plan moves forward, they change course as one, or take over a situation.

On the converse of that, Brennan was very defensive of Booth. She wanted him to have a gun, she disliked Cate's treatment of him at the start, and she was completely deferential to his relational advice.
  • Brennan: Why are you talking to him like that? You asked us to stay. You gave him a gun and everything.
They had some really telling moments in this episode.
Booth: News flash for you: There's not a guy in this country who wouldn't want to have sex with you. Probably half the gay men too.
Brennan: Are you being nice about me or awful about British men?
Booth: Wexler is not special. You are. ...
Brennan: You think I'm special?
Booth: Of course I think you're special. Yes.
Brennan: Thank you. I will take your romantic advise under advisement.
I have a feeling Brennan is getting closer to something, but it's not something Booth is going to like. She seemed to greatly consider Cate's advice.
Cate: Word to the wise, Dr. Brennan. I'd encourage you not to forgo Everest.
Brennan: Well, it's too late, Ian is dead.
Cate: Yes, of course. To whom else would I be referring, other than Ian?
She didn't at all try to push it away. She didn't say that we don't do that, Booth would never, I would never...nothing. She simply considered it. I wouldn't be surprised to see her push toward exploring Cate's open sexual relational model (which we've already seen via promos, so I'm not great prognosticator there) and even possibly become open to the idea of the same with Booth. I don't see him jumping on that.

I loved the use of two different locations, in lieu of the dinner. They had a dinner-esque encounter at both the Tower Bridge and a lighter version at the pub near the end. That's a cultural necessity, of course, since they were thousands of miles from the dinner, but also may be setting us up for scenery changes this season, after a few episodes. I'm a dinner fan, but as long as they keep the intimacy, I'll live with it.

Fun Booth/Brennan:
Booth: The royals hate bastards.
Brennan: Only the ones who don't make King.

Booth: She's having a tough time with this. I would too, if you were killed.
Brennan: Well, yeah, you're sentimental that way.

Cam: Booth shouldn't be behind the wheel. He isn't adaptable.
Booth: I'm Mr. Adaptable and the mirror is the size of a thumbnail.
Brennan: What do you expect when you rent a car the size of your thumb?

Brennan: I can take the wheel, I'm an excellent driver.
Booth: Thank you, Rainman, no.

Wexler: Does your cowboy want to tag along?
Brennan: Don't call him that.
Wexler: Why, would he find it insulting?
Brennan: No, he'd love it.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~

I could say so much more, and I'm sure the moment I post this I will think of 5 other things I wanted to talk about. But I will spare you.

For those who don't care about the reviews, apologies for the long wall of text in your face (though you're unlikely to read this line anyway).

For those who enjoy them, I'm sorry it took a few days to get this one up. I hope you enjoyed it. And now, off to read all of your thoughts!


Mella said...

Thanks for your characterization of A/H . Totally agree with what you wrote

Jeannie said...

I see your point on how season premieres have to be different in order to attract new viewers. I actually thought that might be the reason why they have seemed to "sex up" the first couple of episodes. But I very much disliked how dismissive Booth spoke of Zack during the speech, especially since he knew that it caused a great deal of pain for everybody. And I'm very glad they cut the re-enactment of the killing.
Re: Cate. I didn't get the impression that Booth was out for some mountain climbing with her. I actually enjoyed the attraction between her and him very much, and I thought it was healthy and handled well. Booth is an attractive man and I would have seriously worried about him if he had been left unaffected by that very attractive (physically and emotionally) woman while Bones is out deciding if she should sleep with a guy. And I took the invitation to the States as a sign of respect and of newly found understanding.
As for Wexler, can I just say eww on all the talk about how he was so awesome in bed because of all his practice? While that is probably even true, I thought it was a major turnoff. Would have been for me. ;-)

Milky said...

Mhh.. Well, I do have a few things to say.
* I totally agree with the 1st case being weaker and that it wasn't really closed up... But I'll add it was completely distasteful to me they way the evidence was presented when they reached the Palace for the 2nd time: "Oh, look at this. The soil (or whatever) matches, there are the roses and Oh! there's the scooter, too!". Please.
* The way she said that killing wasn't as bad as she thought it would have been... well, it's just a typical rationalization (Do I sound too much like Sweets? lol). Since she doesn't have the overwhelming feeling now and she'd time to process, it's far easier to just put it aside as something not-so-terrible. Accepting she did feel bad is accepting she can be weak.
Not that I'm ok with it; I'm still waiting for her to be able to accept her feelings. This was a reminder to me of how hyper-rational she can be, and still is.
* I agree with what Jeannie said; I didn't think Booth was on for the ride. He was atracted-obviously and healthily-and was even flirting lightly with her, but he didn't take the opportunity and I think he wouldn't... It would have been little more than sex. And, like Wendy said, if Booth had wanted something with her he would have wanted to commit himself to her. I don't know if I'm making myself clear or not, but I guess you know what I mean.
* I'm sorry to reapeat this, but I'd really like to know if it was only me sensing a 'special vibe' between Sweets and Angela during the 'little gay crush' conversation. To me, there was just a 'something' in him when he told her he was Hodgins in the metaphore he used and then says, sotto voice "think about that".
Or was he only trying to make her see 'how good he was' in the way he worked the story up?

Anonymous said...

Another excellent review! :) I couldn't agree more with all you've said.

The only thing I had a slightly different take on is the end scene when Booth says to Pritch, "If you're ever in the colonies..." It bothered me the first time I watched it because I don't like the suggestive looks they gave each other. After re-watching it though, I noticed Booth's reaction to Brennan saying that Pritchard liked him. He was really uncomfortable with her thinking there was something there. Maybe it's just my shippy imagination, but he seemed annoyed that she was trying to push him toward another woman. He sighed, rolled his eyes, and shot her a little sideways look, seemingly exasperated with her. I like to think he was annoyed at how clueless Brennan is to his feelings for her (that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!). :)

Milk Mama said...

I also like Cam. I think she's a fantastic character. She's actually one of my favorites on the show. :D

I didn't find it odd that Angela jumped Birimbau. I was shocked, yes, but like you said, we've lost a bit of her free-spiritedness from season 1. I think we'll see more of that this season since she'll be single (for most of it, I hope).

I think I have to stand up for Brennan for saying that killing someone didn't bother her as much as she thought it would. For one, she was much more concerned about Pam killing her partner (maybe more?)--I think if I shot someone for killing my DH, I'd be upset, yes, but not nearly as much as if DH survived.

I think that the first case was weaker because it was more of a building-up to the second case. I thought both were interesting in their own right. =)

Anonymous said...

Great review, as always.

I agree with your points for the most part. Just a couple of things:

* Like Milk Mama I don't find Brennan's comment on the shootings was out of character at all. She's extremely rational. I see her seeing it as legitimate self-defense (which it was, Pam WAS gonna kill her), and moving on. Especially having had to deal with Booth pseudo-death. I think her attitude about it might have been closer to "good riddance" and not so much "I can't believe I took a life".

*On the mountain climbing convo: I love the way they cut the dialogue just prior to that, when Pritch asks if Bones wouldn't do everything she could to find Booth's killer and Brennan goes "Yes, but I don't sleep with Booth". I don't know if it was intentional but there's a noticeable beat where it seems like the "yet" goes unspoken. ED does this tiny smile and turns to IV before the conversation continues. From the first time I saw the ep, it struck me, that odd pause. I know it was probably a cutting room accident, but it still rather tickles me.

Jeannie said...

Milky, I personally didn't get that feeling from Sweets and Angela, and I really hope they don't go there. I for one don't need to see everybody hooking up with everybody in the lab. Good friendship is all I'm asking for! ;-)

I'm going to copy a couple of things from an email I wrote right after I watched the episode. So here are my 2 cents:

I thought the first case was actually pretty interesting in itself and had a lot of red herrings. However, I thought it was resolved in a very anti-climax way. Surely there has to be some more intense reaction to the fact that the Duke (or the butler) killed his own daughter because his son had impregnated her? That the son had slept with his own sister? The only interesting character was the grandmother in the wheelchair, and I thought the case fell flat and felt rushed in the end, like everybody was glad that the case was out of the way, even though it really had potential. That was a shame. Also, why in the world would he give her the letter to read out loud??? He knows that she’s a bad liar. It was so obvious that they were bluffing, so the confession conveniently came out of nowhere. Nah, didn’t like it.

Also, I did not like the way Booth was portrayed here. He was arrogant for no reason (other than comedic effect, and I must say, I didn’t really laugh at those ‘English’ moments at all), and as I have said before he would not be so narrow-minded, having seen his share of the world as well. In previous episodes, his arrogance was sometimes justified, so to speak, but here it was simply based on the fact that he was American and thought things should be handled differently and I didn’t like that. I felt the same about the scene in Death in the Saddle where they confront the English lawyer/horse guy in costume where Booth is also very condescending and gets put in his place, and rightly so. It just makes him look like an idiot, I think.

[Wendy said, the jokes were on the Americans. Actually, I thought they were only on Booth. Didn't like it.]

I did not feel Booth and Brennan tonight, at all. In fact, I got a much more intense vibe from Pritchett and Booth during the scene where she gives him the gun, but I’m totally glad they didn’t follow that through. We don’t need everybody to sleep with everybody this season. I even didn’t like the ‘you are special’ and ‘there is no guy who doesn’t want to sleep with you’ scene; it felt off somehow. Shoehorned in to provide a moment that passes as relationship progression or something. Show me, don’t tell me! I’m really looking forward to see more of the darker side of Booth this side because I think that will hopefully bring out more real emotions in Brennan than all those “you are special” remarks.

I like Booth much better during the second part. I liked how he dealt with the Lady Inspector after she had lost her partner and how he made constantly sure Bones was ok with the case. Did Bones ever mention anything about how she knew what it was like to lose a partner? Because I was waiting for her to do that; maybe I missed it. I also found her comments about killing and not being bothered by it to be very strange. What was up with that? That scene was totally odd. In fact, she seemed a bit OOC for me tonight. Too “playful” with Ian and too arrogant and ignorant during other scenes. Strange, given that Hart wrote that script. Or I’m totally missing the meaning behind it.

I don’t want to see any more of JealousBooth, I want JealousBones. I hope they don’t go there too much even though it looks like it from the new promo. And I hope we get more Booth-Max moments this year. I totally love that sort of father-in-law/son-in-law thing they have going on.

One scene I did love, though, was the phone message. And the fact I loved most was that she was not saying “Dr. Temperance Brennan” but simply “Temperance Brennan”. I took that as a sign that she was progressing to the point where she didn’t think that academics and titles were what mattered most in life. Or the writers simply forgot about that and I’m totally wrong. ;-)

Ian was a good character because he was not 100% likeable and not totally despisable, so to speak. I liked that he was multi-layered. And he had some pretty funny lines, too.


Oh, those two. I was not been a fan of Hodgela last season because I felt that their relationship had made the characters boring. While I’m glad that husband finally showed up (that storyline has been going on much too long) I thought it was overdone. Ok, he did look good but everybody awing over him felt a little contrieved. When he first appeared I kept thinking it was a dream sequence because can people actually just show up in the lab like that? And Angela’s reaction was totally off. Last season she barely remembers him and now she’s kissing him like she just left his bed this morning? I didn’t buy that at all.

Cam’s akwardness with Angela – now that was realistic! And well done. I really like those scenes, and Angela’s “just because I don’t want him doesn’t mean you can have him” attitude.

The break-up was totally rushed. Like they had been waiting for a reason to break up. And you don’t just break up that easily after you’ve been together for a few years, that was just peculiar. Too rushed. They should have had one or two more episodes where they should go from “ok, we are free to marry now” to “Do we actually still want to get married?”, I think. The hunt for the husband has given them a common goal last season and now that that was resolved they should have had time to see that there was not much they had in common besides sex. That would have been realistic, in my opinion. What I did like, though, was that Angela tried to talk to Brennan about it. I hope they go back to having more of the girl moments on the show.

Sweets. I enjoyed his scenes but I need to be given a reason why he is there, at the lab. Was that during his time off from work? Because he does work for the FBI, right? His presence needs to be justified somehow, even it is just one line. Please. Something like “I’m appointed to assist Agent Booth in his dealings with the Jeffersonian”, something like that, a real reason why people like Cam would ask him for advice.

I did like that they mentioned Zack but didn’t really go there. That storyline might have to be dealt with again but it would have been wrong for that episode. And I loved Clark, and I also loved how he quit at the end of the episode because the drama was too much for him. That was a good twist.

Overall, it was ok. Maybe my expectations were too high because there haven’t been any new episodes for months. And sometimes I think that I’ve just become too nitpicky.

Sorry for the long post, people, but I'm really interested in everybody's thoughts.

Cordy said...

Great review and I totally agree with your characterization of Angela and Hodgins. I think the break up was lame, but fits their so far unsteady relationship.
I really much liked the mutual attraction between Booth and Pritchard whereas I strongly detested Wexler and the way he tried to hook up with Brennan. Brennan simply was not special to him, just another conquest or if you like mountain to climb. And so to me he was simply annoying.

Milky said...

Ok, since Jeannie was the only one to dignify my question with an answer, lol, I choose to feel relieved-- It might mean no one else saw that 'vibe' between them, just as Jeannie, which gives me pleasure.
I don't want that to happen. It'd be fun to see them as friends (and I read someone read on a side that they'll start spending time together); let's hope Writers keep them that way.

And reading about the need to explain Sweets's presence in the lab made me realise I need that too. It did ocurr to me to ask why he was hanging there as if he had nothing else to do... My own reply was lame: he was just too fascinated by what happened in the lab and by the people working in the lab. But that's not enough!

Brianne said...

I completely agree with the issue over Angela/Hodgins breakup. It just bothered me, there seemed something very wrong about the whole scene in the diner.
And Sweets-I really feel like he's starting to come into his own, I hope they continue to develop him more.
I disagree a little about the Bones giving up the opportunity to sleep with Wexler on the principal that it would upset Booth - she's built respect for him as her partner, like she said at the end of the first part, "you don't offend your partner for an hour of fun." That, and about her not pursuing Booth, well I think that's a sign of repressed, completely unacknowledged feelings on both their parts. But who knows, she's the rational one and he's the emotional one - sooner or later something's got to give and one of them should figure it out. They're too bright not to - let's just hope they don't rush it and spoil everything!

Mom2ABnTB said...

Thanks Wendy for the awesome review. I loved almost everything about the episode except for the way Hodgela's breakup was handled.

firefairyangel said...

In response to Brennan saying that it didn't bother her as much as she thought when she killed... I think the key words there are "as much as I thought." She never said that killing , I'd assume she's referring to Pam, didn't bother her. She only said that she thought it would bother her more than it did.

Having said that, it's possible that the circumstances under which she killed Pam played a role. Maybe it didn't bother her as much because she was shooting to save her own life, and possibly Booth's. Pam had a gun, and Pam intended to shoot Brennan. It's not unlikely that she rationalized killing Pam as saving herself.

Eva said...

I'm new-ish to your blog, but I've really been enjoying reading your reviews (I try to avoid the spoiler-ness)-they're so thoughtful.

This was definitely a great review, even if I didn't agree with you on everything! lol Wexler amused me-he reminds me of guys I know; if Bones hadn't encouraged him, I'm sure he wouldn't have been so obnoxious! I think he validated himself through how women responded to him, so he's never going to say no. But, if a woman shuts him down firmly, he'd back off. Does that make sense?

And like many commentators here, I found the Booth-Pritchard flirting harmless and cute. They've said it better than me, though, so I'll just say "hear, hear!".

I've liked Sweets since I accepted the fact that he's not Gordon Gordon (it took a few episodes), and I agree that they let him shine in this episode! I don't mind his relationship with Bones and Booth; he's young enough to want to fulfill his curiousity by seeing them as a real couple (not in a voyeur way, just in a psychology way) and he doesn't see the bad things that could happen (the way Gordon Gordon did). Plus, I think he tries to throw them together-even manipulate them-as a way of showing to himself that Booth isn't always better than him. A consolation for the way Booth constantly emasculates him, if that makes sense.

I thought they were heavy-handed with the Grayson-worship and Booth's British culture-shock. It's really not that confusing to drive on the other side of the road (I've lived in both countries). I prefer the intellectual banter humour more than plain slapstick (I mean, Hodgins getting thrown in a dump truck?! really?!), so I hope that the next episode gets back to that.

As far as Bones deciding not to sleep w/ Wexler based on what Booth said, I took it as a hopeful sign that maybe, just maybe since she thought he was dead (that's the mini-arc I truly hated in the finale since it was so rushed, and I still don't think they've explored that nearly enough), she's beginning (very, very slowly) to realise just how much she values him. And she's always appreciated his insight into peoples' characters. And although Brennan has said she values sex for itself, the only people we've seen her sleep with are her ex and Sully. So I think there's a difference between being open to sex and being willing to sleep with any cute guy who comes along, especially one who's pretty much a man-slut. Anyway, I guess I didn't see it as being out of Brennan's character so much as a hopeful sign that she's letting Booth more and more into every sphere of her life.

Um: can you tell none of my friends watch Bones?! Sorry about the crazylong comment; I haven't been able to talk about the finale at all since I saw it. But I'll stop now!

Looking forward to reading your reviews for the rest of the season. :)

Jeannie said...

Eva, I liked how you explained why Sweets seems to be pushing Booth and Brennan together. Makes sense.

Ok, I have a new theory on the "why-Brennan-didn't-sleep-with-Wexler-because-it-would-upset-Booth" issue.

(Spoiler alert!!! Even though I'm not sure how much of a spoiler this storyline still is; I know about it and I'm usually trying to avoid spoilers.)

I kept thinking why she would see that sleeping with Ian upsets Booth but obviously doesn't feel the same concern in the next episode where we see her having a purely physical relationship as well. I have two ideas about that. First, it could be that she believed Booth's opinion that she was just another woman to sleep with for Ian and nobody special, hereby objectifying herself, downgrading even, while the guy from the next episode might be somebody who is truly interested in her, and Brennan knew that she might have lost some of Booth's respect if she had slept with Ian.

Second theory: Sleeping with Ian in England is different than sleeping with somebody at home because it would have made Booth the third wheel in England. He would have been the odd man out because both women would have had a special relationship with Ian then, one as a partner (we didn't know about their affair in the first part of the episode yet), the other one as the current affair.

Cordy said...

Well jeannie, I tend to agree with you. Both of your theories make sense to me. I think possibly both affected Brennans decission not to sleep with Ian.

And Eva, your explaination of Sweets attempts of pushing Booth and Brennan makes also sense. So let's see how they will interact in future episodes. I'm very curious about the relationship between Sweets on the one hand and B/B on the other.

Wendy said...

I like the third-wheel theory, Jeannie.

Welcome, Eva :) Agreement is no requirement. I'm glad you enjoy them.

I want to make clear one thing about Sweets. A lot of people dislike what he does with Booth and Brennan, and therefore find him annoying. I kind of like it. I think I was trying to say that he should have been liked by pretty much everyone in this episode, without his BB interference to stand in the way for those who dislike it.

No one should ever apologize for long comments. You saw how long my review was, right? =)

Cordy said...

Usually I like Sweets and what he does with BB. I only disliked him during PitH. What he did to Brennan by conceiling Booths fake death was a really cruel experiment. And could never be justified by sheer curiosity. Apart from that I enjoy his character and the role he plays in the BB relationship very much. It can only be good for them to have someone around constantly pushing and poking.
But in season 4 he needs to verify his attendance to the rest of the team and show that he can be valuable. IMO the season opener was a first step on that part.

Jeannie said...

This is from an older post I made right after the season finale at a friend's journal when some people claimed that his character served no purpose.

"As for Sweets: I think he was introduced as a character for multiple purposes. First, he's geeky enough to be a little Zach-y sometimes, but tries desperately to be/appear all professional with his job. Since he is basically still a kid, wunderkind or not, he seems to raise sisterly or brotherly instincts in Brennan and Booth sometimes (like after his break-up with April) but also gets some professional respect (for his degrees and profiling abilities). I think from a writer's point of view, he is a very flexible character to use for various scenarios. I believe he will grow closer to Booth as the new season starts, to give Booth somebody to play off of, since Hodgins will have his own story arc to worry about."

So I'm fine with him being there. But I really hope he has to work hard to re-gain the trust of Booth and Brennan after PitH.

Speaking of trust: At first I thought there was only a small aftermath of the Zack story in this episode, but the longer I think about it I feel that the entire episode was all about trust. Who can be trusted anymore? Obviously, nobody. There were serious trust issues in D.C., with the people involved in the cases, even with the two British. The only 2 people who were downright honest with each other all the way through the episode were Brennan and Booth, so I'm inclined to think now that there actually was a lot of progression for their relationship.

Also, I think Eva is spot-on with her characterization of Ian; after all, he was only known for horniness, not harassment. But I still can't get past that horrible analogy with the brain surgery. Honestly, when I heard him say it, my first thought was, 'Oh my gosh, hope you regularly sterilize your surgical instrument after using it so much.' (Sorry for the eww-factor, people. ;-))

The Next Ninja Anthropologist! said...

I have something to say about what Cate said, when she referred to Booth as "Everest". Did you notice that for the episode tonight, Bones is dating two guys at once? (Seriously girl, how can you not know that's wrong?) I keep thinking about that comment and I agree. It seems as if she's climbing other mountains to prepare herself for "Everest".

Shep said...

Yep - the whole thing about Wexler being good at sex was bleeargh! The way he asked Brennan about having sex - and the fact that he openly asked her about it was a real turnoff. I don't understand how Brennan saw him as charming - a guy says that to me and I'd deck him! I agree Wendy, he constantly stated how great he was and was irritatingly smug - a large part of me was cheering when he died!

And I agree with Cupcakebean - Booth did seem annoyed when Brennan told him that Pritchard liked him. It was an awww moment for me since Booth could see Brennan was completely oblivious to his feelings!

And I just realised - this is where the 'earth-shattering sex' part came from. That's dissapointing as I was hoping (like many others I'm sure) that it was something to do with B&B!

I found Clark Edison was great too - his honesty and the way he felt uncomfortable around them at times was funny and I'd like to see him return for some episodes though not as a Zack replacement - there can never be a replacement for Zack!

On the Angela/Hodgins hoo-hah, I was also a bit shocked with the Birimbau kissage - it didn't make much sense. But although I was upset at the break up, this is the first real test in their relationship and I hope they will overcome it in time.

I also agree about Cam but as long as it's not Booth's bed, I can deal!

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