Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bones Episode Review - 3.18 "The Crank in the Shaft"


The first time I watched "The Crank in the Shaft" was my worst Bones-watching experience ever. I wasn't seeing it live. I'd come home around 8:30, achy, tired, and grumpy. I finally sat down to watch it on the DVR around 9:15 with all that baggage and my residual angst from last week.

I didn't enjoy it. It was boring. It was silly. Blah. Blah.

About half way through, I realized I was being unfairly harsh on the episode, but I kept watching, finished it, and went to bed disliking it, but vowing to watch it again.

On a second viewing, I loved it. It feels like a great Bones episode. The character screen time is very well balanced, everyone is funny, you get to laugh at both strangers and regulars, Booth and Brennan are wonderful...Sure, there's nothing dramatic and no big reveals. But you laugh (at Booth, the office culture, Queen Bee, the depressed intern, Sweets), you cry (with the sobbing accidental killer), you smile (at sweet Booth/Brennan, at Cam's lines, at Angela's tornado of "I'm fine") - isn't that what Bones does? This felt like Season 1 Bones, before the flashy explosions, plot shakeups and pains, and I loved it.

Having worked in an office and corporate environments, I loved this case. They captured so much of that atmosphere. (My desk has willow statues. At least I didn't pain them myself.) Offices, or similar environments, always have the domineers person everyone hates, and information always spreads like wildfire. I loved the moment where Booth and Brennan just want to know if Patty checked in, and suddenly they lose complete control of the situation as the juicy news quickly spreads to the entire group.

On first viewing, I had no idea who the killer was, but it irked me slightly, on second viewing, to realize how prominently they featured Chip and Christine int he first two scenes involving office workers. I don't know why, but it just felt like they were being shown off: "Neener neener, here are the killers, but you don't knoooowwwwww it."

Maybe
I have a twinge of residual angst from last week.

Kudos to the disgusting body. Again, pregnant and couldn't look, but I heard other viewers have said the same thing. Eww. Gross. Go Bones.

I loved Hamid. From him photographing Cam:

I wasn't taking a photo of the leg. I was taking her picture. You're the most beautiful woman I've seen in the elevator.
to his response to Patty's death:
No, not Patty. Pretty Patty?
to his irritation at the assumption he has in an with the Indian employees:
Just because tech support is in India, doesn't mean I get special treatment.
He always made me smile.

The grad student of the week, Mr. Fisher, certainly made an impression. Cam called him Eeyore, but I'm not sure that lovable donkey ever enjoyed his funk like this guy does. Some of his most morose statements were accompanied by the warmest smile, as if to say 'this feels good.' About half way through the episode, I started to like him, but that passed quickly. I'm not interested in seeing him again, but he did provide more funny moments and quotes than almost anyone else in the episode:
Fisher: Sad. A woman's life reduced to a bunch of glorified sanwhich bags.
Hodgins: Not the woman's life, Fisher, just her body. Big difference.
Fisher: Whatever gets you through the day.

Fisher: Dr. Brennan left me with exactly 1,263 bone fragments, each one screaming pain, violence, and hopelessness. So, how about cutting me a little slack?

Fisher: The hot chick is doing a sketch...
Cam: Hot chick?
Fisher: Sorry. The other hot chick.

Fisher: I got the idea at my summer job.
Cam: I'm afraid to ask.
Fisher: Suicide hotline.
Cam: Were you for, or against.

Cam: Very impressive, Mr. Fisher.
Fisher: Well, I'll still wind up like her one day.
Cam: You ever think of finding a girlfriend, Mr. Fisher?
Fisher: I've gone one.
Cam: She's very beautiful.
Fisher: Yes, now.

Fisher: I told you, man, I suck.

Fisher: Which would make her death an accident and our pursuit of a villain merely a cry for justice in an unjust world.

Fisher: So, what caused them? Snake fangs? Eastern Pipistrelle Bat? A vampire?
Okay, maybe I did like him just a little. He just cracked me up, with a lot of his statements. but overall, he definitely was a downer.

Can I just take a moment now to do a happy dance for so quickly getting my wish of less Sweets and more Cam? This balance felt perfect!

The level of Sweets in this episode felt right. It was almost like mid season 3, when we were starting to see him outside his office a bit, but not so much that he seemed listless and in the way.

I did feel kind of bad for him, though. No one respects the poor guy. That is very early Season 3. I'd forgotten what that was like until my husband (who hasn't seen the first 2/3 of S3) pointed it out after Sweets' dinner scene with Angela.

From the beginning, when Booth and Brennan can't wait to get away:
Sweets: The conscious mind represents only one sixth of our brain's activity. Now, I want you to both appreciate the power of the subsonscious in our quest fo rit's secrets as we...
Brennan: Stop.
Sweets: Dr. Brennan, you can't dismiss over 100 years of psychological research.
Brennan: I'm not even actually listing. (to Booth) Your leg has not stopped moving since we started this session. (to Sweets) Something you should have noticed.
Sweets: I assumed he was anxious to leave, as he is every session.
to the diner scene with Angela where she runs all over him and his fries...the poor guy can't fit in.

And this is how I like him (yes, apparently I am a sadist). To me, he's far more interesting when he's the grubby kid behind the dirty glass, looking in on all the fun all the other kids are having. That's the Sweets I love - the man-boy trying to be a grown-up crime fighter and join the club. When he's right in the middle of it, for the most part, I quickly lose interest, or even get annoyed.

Cam. Oh how I love Cam. She's the boss. she should be involved in everything. How many times has she stated that? Is it not much more fun to see her actually doing it? She should be out at some crime scenes, and does need to discipline, and she still gets to have a little personal interaction. On paper, that sounds like starring-role level of screen time, but they did it so well, so subtly, that it felt perfect.

Some Cam lines, not quoted with others:
  • I'm going to need a spatula to scrape off allt he flesh and the organs.
  • Buck up, Mr. Fisher. You give me cause of death, I give you a Kierkegaard T-Shirt.
  • Have you considered Prozac?...Then double your dose, because you're really bringing me down. And that's hard to do, because I have worked with death for years and you are making it all look like good times now. So, get it together, okay, Eeyore?
I still miss "The Truth is Out There" Hodgins, but he was good in this episode. Great reactions to Mr. Fisher:
Hodgins: Did you discover cause of death yet?
Fisher: Life, man. Life is always the cause of death.
Hodgins: Okay. Now you're just a tool.
and perfect discomfort levels about, and with, Angela. But I still don't like his doormat approach to their relationship. He lets her do all the talking, and then accepts whatever she says.

I'll play devil's advocate though, and hypothesize another theory for his behavior: He always seems in awe of her, like she's a force of nature that he wants to admire, without attempting to alter behavior or get in the way.

But, even if that's true, if that's all he's got, this seems much more like lust and infatuation than long-term love. He should see some flaws, he should stand up for himself, he should...

I really could go on and on. Even though this couple is far more interesting now that they've broken up, they still irritate me. I love them both individually, and I loved the sweet start of their relationship, but together they're a sex crazed couple that burns brightly and fizzles. You need more than what they've got (or what we've been shown) to make it last.

Which brings me to Angela. She, at least, is sure of herself and willing to stand up for her chosen course. I don't buy the ease with which she adopted the path
Sweets: First, I think it's important to find out what wen wrong, why you were involved in an unsuccessful relationship.
Angela: What said it was unsuccessful?
...Angela: Sometimes you have to move on, whatever your feelings.

Angela: Look. This tension between us, I hate it. I know that we broke up and everything, but I've experienced loss before and lived through it, and you have too. And I'm not going to pretend this didn't happen because it might be easier to break up that way. I'm going to relive us huddled last winter in that cabin in Montana when the lights went out and the heat went out and laughing our assess off when you tried explaining that spectrometer thingie to me. So, I'm not going to hide anymore. and I'm not going to walk on eggshells. I'm just going t accep that this whole damn mess happened and, pain or not, I'm glad it did.
but I admire her complete commitment to it.

I hear some rumblings of a Sweets/Angela relationship from some fans. It's growing on me, but I'm much more interested in seeing a Sweets crush, I think. I don't see Angela getting into him at all, but I can absolutely see him going blushing-schoolboy over her.

One of the best scenes in this episode is Angela and Brennan talking about Hodgins.
Angela: I don't know how to act around Hodgins.
Brennan: I beg your pardon?
Angela: We just ended a relationship that was intense, both emotionally and sexually. Now, rather than intense, we're just plain tense. We don't look at each other. Everything is fraught with meaning. Brennan. You're supposed to say something.
Brennan: Oh. I'm sorry. What am I supposed to say?
Angela: Something that will make me me feel better.
Brennan: Huh. Well. Both Hodgins and you mean a lot to me. But, since you're my best friend, I guess I could fire Hodgins.
Angela: What? No. Huh? I don't want you to fire him.
Brennan: Well, that's good, because I would have disliked doing that.
Angela: Yeah, of course. Thank you, though, for the offer. It was very sweet.
Brennan: So I helped?
Angela. Oh, absolutely sweetie. Thank you.
Brennan is so proud of herself socially. She helped! In her own way, she probably did. Angela needed an ear and support, and Brennan gave both, even if her solution was no solution at all. It was very cute.

Brennan didn't have anything specific to her in this episode. But she did participate heavily in stories for Booth, Angela, and Mr. Fisher.

On one hand, I feel like this Booth storyline is a bit silly, especially the very last scene. Why would he be so blindly obsessed about a chair? A dead guy's chair, no less. But, on the second viewing, I appreciated the storyline far more.

1) I think Brennan is right - Booth wants a throne. He's an alpha male, and status symbols matter. And, like the flashy accessories, this is another way he can stand out in a homogenized organization like the FBI.
2) Booth does a lot of things for other people. and he doesn't pursue some things he wants *cough* out of self-imposed restrictions (or fears). This, for the previously listed reasons, is something he wants, and something he can pursue.

Bingo. Quest time!

I love the ways he tries to pull in everyone who can help.

Brennan:
Brennan: I'm not a medical doctor.
Sweets:
Booth charm smiles him.
Sweets: The answer is no. You're obviously trying to enhance your status with your co-workers by acquiring something that they all covet.
Cam:
Booth: Hey, Cam, you're a real doctor. Maybe you can do a pal a favor and write me a note for my back.
Cam: The chair?
Booth: Yeah. This is a chance for you to be creative.
But, of course, it's not a smooth road.
Booth:I appreciate the Doctor's note, but you can't send it in.
Cam: Too late. That's just a copy.
Booth: This note...it makes me sound like an invalid.
Cam: You want the chair, don't you?
Booth: I want to keep my job....This leter's going to get me a gourney, not a chair.
Cam: I'm a coroner. Tell them I confused you with a corpse.
Booth: Am I the only one taking this seriously?
Cam: You are now. You're welcome!
Wanting it for a special status symbol doesn't mean compromising his image. In fact, the two completely contradict each other.

Brennan eventually realizes the importance of his quest, as well as why he deserves it., and gets it for him in a way that only improves his status, and prevents him from further lowering himself to get the symbol. Like him setting up mic time for her, this felt very mate-ish.

Some say their interaction has become too buddy-buddy now, but actions like that speak to depth of respect and emotion. I think they're continuing to get progressively closer to and comfortable with each other (notice how Brennan initiates an intimate hand on his shoulder in the office) but I don't think the heat is lost.

That's not to say they aren't cute. The ongoing bickering in this episode kept me laughing.
Brennan: You want a throne.
Booth: Back support, okay? I'm just looking for a little back support.

Booth: When you work for 'the man' he buys all the office furniture.
Brennan: Which man?
Booth: You're kidding me, right? There's no actual man.
Brennan: Then, who buys all the office furniture?
Booth: Never mind, Bones, just never mind.

Brennan: So, Cam is actually going to write you a letter so you can get the chair?
Booth: That's right. She understands how the game is played.
Brennan: She work fo rhte same man as you?
Booth: That's right.
Brennan: The man who doesn't exist.

Booth: Wow. Can you imagine working in a place like this?
Brennan: No. It's not sterile, and there's no room for diagnostic equipment or sufficient bone storage.
Booth: No, Bones, I meant the little cubicles. Look at them. they look like caged animals.
Brennan: Throughout history, you can find examples of human beings adapting to virtually any environment.

Brennan: Nice chair. (Love the smug dig at him.)

Brennan: See, Booth, some people accept their position as a drone.
Booth: are you calling me a drone?
Brennan: Well, it's not a pejorative statement. Without the drones, the hive would die.

Brennan: This is a very efficient workspace, don't you think? It affords the minimum amount of human interaction so the workers can concentrate solely on productivity.
Booth: It's demoralizing. Don't look at me like that. I'm not some kind of a drone.
Brennan: You have superiors to whom you must report, protocols you must follow, all of your actions are documented and reviewed.
Booth: Look. I don't work for some faceless bureaucracy, oaky? I work for the United States Government and so do you. which makes you a drone too.
Brennan: No, I'm a completely independent contractor, operating out of the Jeffersonian. In the hive, I would be the Queen Bee.
Booth:...Still in the hive!
Brennan: In which, I am Queen.

Booth: I tell you what. I'm going to be the King Bee in my departments.
Brennan: There's no such thing as a King Bee.
Booth: Sure there is. and he's going to have the finest chair in the hive.

Brennan: So, fraud and bribery.
Booth: No. 12 years of service and lumbar support. It's all a matter of perception.
Brennan: Okay.
Booth: Don't say it like that, 'okay', like I'm some kind of a kid.
Brennan: Okay.

Booth: There's no way that I could keep that open long enough to dump a body, and I'm in shape.
Brennan: Must have been some one that was stronger than you.
Brennan: You're kidding me, right? Have you seen the people in these offices? Compared to them, I am Hercules.
Brennan: Apparently not. Maybe you do need that chair.

Brennan: I see you got your throne.
Booth: That's right, the chair.
Brennan: Nice. Another victory for the hive.
Booth: HR said you called.
Brennan: Yes, but I didn't lie to them. I wouldn't do that.
Booth: Well, you must have siad something, because she didn't even eat her cupcakes and the chair was here.
Brennan: I just told them why I felt it was important fo ryou to have it, that's all.
Booth: And why is that? Because even a mindless drone deserves some perks?
Brennan: No, because of how important you are to them. I mentioned your dedication, and courage, and sensitivity.
Booth: Sensitivity?
Brennan: Yes, even today, with that young woman who killed her boss. Very impressive.
(The smile at each other)
Brennan: Anyway. I said that a chair is a good way to show the other employees in the office how much those qualities are valued....I'll never understand why you felt you had to lie to get the chair. You could have just told them about yourself on your own.
Booth: Well, 'cause that would have been bragging, even though it's true.
Overall, I found this a comfortable Bones episode. It's like the old sweater you love. It brought out all the emotions, but didn't make any big controversial leaps. Enjoyable ride.

Additional screencaps from the Bones Fans Online Gallery.

12 comments:

Liz said...

Thanks for another excellent review! I completely agree that less screen time for Sweets was a good thing, and I also enjoyed the new grad student's interactions with Cam. It was a cute episode which gave me warm fuzzies, and a great improvement over last week's illogical mess.

L said...

I hear some rumblings of a Sweets/Angela relationship from some fans. It's growing on me, but I'm much more interested in seeing a Sweets crush, I think. I don't see Angela getting into him at all, but I can absolutely see him going blushing-schoolboy over her.

Haha, yeah that'd be me... I think you're right about Ange probably not going for Sweets, and I guess I could also go for a one-sided crush - except that then it'd be like every relationship in the Jeffersonian has to be that way: Booth and Brennan (Booth loves her; she seems oblivious), & Ange and Hodgins (for a while she wasn't interested). Oh well. I guess for now I'll take what I can get. ^_^

Still waiting for some kind of *something* from Brennan showing some kind of care for Booth other than as a shoulder to cry on/partner. :/

katjem said...

Great review. It was a solid episode. Enjoyable. Funny. Great interactions with the whole team. I have the feeling it was a neutural episode in readiness for bigger things later in the season - Booth's back story, the introduction of Jared, the introduction of Roxy. "I" you may even get your wish of some kind of *something* from Brennan.

Anonymous said...

lovely review. i don't know...maybe it's just me, but does anyone else feel like the new season isn't really going to start until november? this is when all the storylines that we keep hearing about are going to start and so far we haven't really had too much to get excited about...zack is kind of innocent...angela and hodgins broke up so they can get back together later (probably). i just want to get to the interesting part of the season. if this was school the first part of the season has felt like "busy work" from the teacher. i totally love bones and i know they can really deliver some powerful episodes---like "the verdict in the story" from last season. anyone?

Shep said...

Great review as always Wendy.

I really liked teh Cam/Fisher moments - he is a bit of an Eeyore but you have to be a bit odd to fit in with the Squints.

I also didn't think Booth's obsessing over the chair wasn't over the top. Like you said, it was him being all alpha male-ish and focusing his attention on something attainable rather than what he is really keeping himself from.

I'm not sure whether to go for Sweets/Angela or Hodgins/Angela. The Hodgela relationship did pretty much run on sex and something is being hinted at between Sweets and Angela. I think Hodgela could still work if they learnt a bit more about each other and started a more mature relationship but Angela is a free spirit so I'm unsure as to which way this should turn.

I loved this episode for it's light-hearted approach and the woman's remains pasted on the wall in the shaft was just brilliant as was Booth's reaction to it!

RMF said...

I guess any episode after a big reveal risks being something of a letdown, and this was just a fluffball anyway. Still, taken on that basis, it was fun.

The irony of Sweets' current existence: the one no one listens to is the custodian of the big secret. Well, if he wants into the group, he has to earn it like anyone else.

I think Hodgins is just giddy that he has some kind of rapport with Angela again. I don't think he's thought it through. Doubtless not the last we'll hear about this.

brennanite said...

I think Angela is in heavy denial about why she ended things with Hodgins, and that he is just reeling. He is so heart broken that he can't even really be mad or anything, he is just trying not fall apart when he talks to her. Meanwhile, she is just running as fast as she can from her feelings and trying not to notice that SHE HAD NO GOOD REASON to dump him. The girl has got issues. Hodgela has a long way to go before they are resolved.

This grad student was the first one that I thought was a potential keeper. I especially loved the way he responded to Brennan: he found her inspiring and uplifting! Not many people respond to her that way, but he is an odd duck and she is an odd duck. Interesting.

Most of the episode, Brennan was needling Booth just for the fun of it. He does this to her sometimes too. Bickering is their established way to be close without being too close.

firefairyangel said...

It seemed to me like Angela was being evasive when Sweets started talking about going more in depth. Probably a set-up for an upcoming storyline.

all i want said...

All in all I just want Booth and Brennan to kiss.(cuz if she doesn't soon, no one knows who will take that adorable sexy dude)

Croatian girl said...

Hey, liked the review, but why don't you like Sweets?
He's so funny, one of my favourite charachters!

BonzGirl said...

4.06, not 3.18. VERY insightful!!!

Wendy said...

Thank you :)

The reviews are numbered with production numbers (not aired numbers) on purpose.

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