I don't want to do a full story recap. Fox does a great job of that on the official site. This is more opinion and perspective from a fan, as well as how I think it fits into the greater Bones landscape. When season 3 ends I plan to review all the previous episodes over the summer, starting with the 'Pilot'.
Master list of all episodes and links to my reviews can be found here.
What I didn't like:
This @#*&!#^$ American Idol bit. That just ran all over me. Ace Young played his part well but I'd have much rather seen some unknown do it. It screamed stunt and while I'm sure it was good for both shows it just irritated me. Brandon Rogers has a much better voice but got far less publicity than Ace. Grrr. Okay, hopefully that's out of my system.
The Checker Box. It was just odd. The set itself was what bothered me. All grey and brown with nothing to focus your eyes on. It felt like a closet. I think a seedy looking bar would have been much better and appropriate.
What was okay:
The case. It wasn't stellar but they did do the red herrings well. We went from Pam, to Chris Calabasas, to the manager, to Dax, to Jason and then finally to the real killer. That's a lot of jumps and high marks for that. Even after they found the murder weapon, in general idea, it still jumped from a guitar string to a fitness wire of some sort before finally resting on the clay wire. I love the misdirections in Bones and they did that well with this case.
I was a little let down by the actual killer. It's more fun when the killer gives you a reason to hate him/her. When the killer is just plainly unstable it's a bit of a mixed bag. You can't quite get on the 'he's bad' bandwagon well when the killer just gives you the willies and provokes sympathy.
What I liked:
The Bones/Booth interactions. There were a few great moments. It wasn't top of the line but it was good.
What I loved:
Pam. That was a good creepy villain!
Cam and Zack together seem to have replaced Brennan in the lab. Cam does the leading and the sheep herding and Zack does the solid science bone work. My husband doesn't like this change at all. He wants Brennan back in the lab being the smart chick hero. I, however, love her evolution though, and I think they always intended for things to unfold as they are. Brennan is still a hero but she's forever evolving and forever reaching toward her full potential. While she excels in her field, she is more than just a scientist now. Zack is what she once was and we can't have two of them. Zack fits well into that role she has vacated and I think because of that we probably won't see a lot of character development for him (more's the pity).
Okay, on to the character breakdown!
I'll just go ahead and start with Pam, played by Jennifer Hasty. Her site is here. I don't plan to often highlight the guests, but she deserves it. This is possible the richest single-episode villain they've ever had. And she wasn't even guilty in the case! We have to be catching on her way up. She played that so well. Who wasn't creeped out when Booth touched her shoulder and she got that sly look? And at the end? "I'm doing this for us!" and the pure evil when she began to try for a second shot...If it wasn't absolutely necessary for Brennan to drill her, she could have made a great freaky return.
She had a few things I loved this episode.
Zack: "I am deceptively strong."
Cam: "I'm deceived."
There are people out there who want to see Zack and Cam get together, even for a one night stand. I just can't see it. They are so completely different it would be like an asparagus and a chicken breast trying to mate. I love how they play off each other.
Cam: I bet he was hot. (as the camera pans up his gruesome remains)
Angela: Yeah, well, now he's totally not.
It's amazing to think anyone could see his remains, get a bit of stats on him and think of him as 'hot'.
I loved his description of working out. "I am deceptively strong." I can just imagine him robotically exercising. Somehow I see him doing it in complete silence, just counting out reps. He'd probably have it down to very specific times. Weights reps take 12 minutes, the treadmill takes...
"high degree of robusticity." I don't know why that line struck me as funny. Maybe anything like that coming from Zack would strike me that way.
Of course Zack had to be the victim again in another murder re-enactment. At least this time he had a valid reason for being the victim since both he and the victim are singers. Another nice point of that scene was a rare moment of everyone together and then they turn around and do it again at the end for Brennan's moment.
There was a lot of speculation as to whether the character would sing and a lot of desire to see it. Great choice in having the Vulcan sing about love. The gathering of most of the lab was priceless, as was watching Cam and Angela rooted to the spot in amazement and awe.
Eric Millegan is an accomplished vocalist who began his musical career at age 7 and since then he's done everything from Jesus Christ Superstar to Harold and Maude.
Hodgins had a few quotable moments but he really shined in the interrogation scene.
"You're totally going to be cleared."
To be so worldly, he can occasionally be clueless. Or possibly it's that he just doesn't care. His intellect and his money both give him a sense of entitlement and pure 'rightness' that lend him a tendency to be overbearing. Not only does he bust in on an in-progress interrogation but he continues to push further and further into Booth's space. Booth even says "This is my place." but Hodgins doesn't stop. He tries to touch the case file on the table and even picks up Booth's pen as a prop. I loved the humor in that scene.
However funny that scene was though, it highlights one thing I don't like about Bones. They have serious secrecy issues when it comes to case details. They give out very vital information in front of people who shouldn't be privy to it. At best the infractions are with people like April (The Man in the Mud) and at worst they are in instances like this where the information is given in front of a possible suspect. This even happened in the actual interrogation room, no less. I know it's a TV show and they do take creative license but this is too much, in my opinion. They have to work with suspension of disbelief but with this repeated occurrence they take it too far.
She was very much a background character, on par with Cam. I guess it's understandable since they was fairly central in The Verdict in the Story and is likely to be important again next week in The Pain in the Heart. There will be some hard issues, I think, next episode and who better than earth mother to comfort everyone? (Especially Brennan). I know it's impossible to give everyone solid face time. To do that they'd have to air a new episode every weeknight and while many of us could happily watch that the actors and the rest of the production crew do have lives!
Angela was definitely cute in the scene where Zack sings. It fits that she would be enamored with his love song and ability. She often seems like a proud parent where Zack is concerned. (Zack/Angela romance anyone? I could see that more than Zack and Cam.)
This poor man-child. He so wants to be a cool kid and he's sooooo not getting close. He tries to interact with both Booth and Bones and meets varying degrees of failure. He does prove his worth in the case. He gives them good advice about Pam that, unfortunately, goes unheeded. He tries to do the guy shoulder pat with Booth and gets firmly rebuffed and intellectually spar with Brennan where he sometimes is rebuffed and sometimes eagerly debated. I would say he's getting further with Brennan than with Booth but she still doesn't respect him anywhere near the level he desires. She hates his field and thinks him immature but she does respect his intellect and his credentials.
He definitely shows that his advice is worthy of respect, even if that knowledge is only gained in hindsight. He is weary of Pam's mental state and instantly realizes the mistake Booth has made by touching Pam. He has given Booth and Bones everything they need to know about Pam on a silver platter but they disregard it and pay the price. In the future I'd imagine they should learn the lesson from that but because the messenger is Sweets they are very likely to continue to often disregard it.
"Mocking will not change my opinion. I've been mocked many, many times before. That...came out wrong."
Boy they really put her ego on display here. She even got to add a new item to the list - singer! (Or 'Diva' as Booth said)
I think that there were a few good scenes for her, mostly talked about in the joint section below, but that this episode is a setup for what she'll have to deal with in the season finale and beyond. She's killed, again, and again to save Booth. I hope she has to deal with that a little. It would seem callous, as much as it affected her before, if they passed it over like she didn't even care the second time around. It should matter that she's killed, no matter who ate the bullet. Both of her kills were of people who fully deserved it but as Booth said to her before: there's always a cost when you take a life, and it's high.
However, I don't think she'll be focused on that at the start of next episode. Her partner has been shot. Is he dead? Is he alive? Is there a time where she might think he's dead or likely dying? That's some heavy baggage for her to deal with and it's emotional and Brennan hates emotions, especially hers. Nice foreshadowing from Sweets about her dealing with emotions and how it's painful. I don't think she'll react well, sadly. I just hope she lets Booth help her put the pieces back together.
I'm not sure what I think about her Pam conflict. In the past Brennan has been completely intolerant of weight issues yet she seems to bristle at the crazy artist calling Pam 'Fatpam'. Is that simply because it's incorrect? The initial impression is that she thinks he's insensitive but on a re-watch I'm starting to think she's far more offended in the name of accuracy than sensitivity.
She did seem a bit sensitive about the singers when they confronted the manager and the fake talent scout. "You lied to them. You exploited their need for attention. That's cruel!" and there was a lot of emphasis on 'cruel' from Emily Deschanel. I don't mind Bones being sensitive it's just a bit odd to see. She doesn't often care about the emotions of people who aren't clearly disadvantaged and somehow touching her (like the little boy foster child in The Boy in the Bush.)
All that seriousness aside, there were some great funny parts for her in this episode.
"How does a former sniper have a grass allergy? I mean, wouldn't a sneeze give away your position?"
"There is a fine line between health and vanity."
She's totally clueless on modern pop culture references.
Bones: "Who's Kelly Clarkson?"
Booth: "American Idol...Because of You..."
Bones: "Because of me?"
It's subtle but there's a fine line of divide. She seemed to have been a normal teenager with friends who kept up with pop culture while her parents were still around but after they disappeared she became a serious-minded scientist with blinders on.
Booth and Sweets: "That's not funny." (as Bones snorts)
Bones: "Then why did I laugh?"
Still saving the Booth/Brennan moments for below...Booth had a few things of his own to deal with in this episode and they weren't at all light - you'd think stalker alone would be enough of an issue but, oh, yeah, he gets shot trying to save his partner!
Booth sorta sets himself up for the tragic ending here. He likes to identify with witnesses, especially those he perceives as vulnerable women. Sometimes he loses his 6th sense for people's true natures and in this instance that, plus his kind heart towards Pam nearly gets them both killed. Parts of him are very aware that Pam is a psycho nut-job but it's either weakness, or pride in his own abilities, but he continues to let her ride the Crazy Train until a nightmare happens. I can imagine him having a few nightmares about failing to protect Brennan. (I feel a fanfic coming on right there...) He starts to see it when Pam insists on meeting him alone: he steps protectively in front of Parker's picture and he even points out that it's inappropriate. But he still doesn't realize how truly insane she is.
It was odd to hear him call her 'Pammy' and more than a little disturbing. I'm not sure they meant that he was making fun of her or that he was too close to her. I hope they meant the first but they really should have had a different tone of voice. It sounded intimate and therefore very wrong and out of place.
While I really, REALLY want to see Booth and Brennan as a couple I like that they don't forget he's a man. And a man who hasn't 'gotten any' in a long time. The ogling shots in the gym fit perfectly into that. On the flip it's funny to watch him be so shy about sex. He can't even say it when interviewing someone, instead making a bunch of hand motions until Brennan steps in and asks the question.
He had a few great lines, like calling Brennan a "Diva." and:
Bones: "Hey, break down the door."
Booth: "It hurts my shoulder when I break down the door." How anti hero! And how awesome!
More of a funny line from PsychoPam but straight man matters too.
Pam: "P A M, do you know what that spells?"
"One more show tune and I was gonna start shooting."
"I'd say you're kidding but I don't think you know how to kid."
"Why, because it cut the cheese?" He's such a little boy at times. It's a good character trait.
"Okay, I'm just going to break you two up. (Drags Sweets chair to the side) You're giving me a headache. You keep this fighting up and no one's getting desert."
I love how Booth tries to be so off-putting to the guys who want to be close to him. Sweets tries so hard to become best buds and Booth puts him off every time. The look he gives Sweets at the end when Sweets has his hand on Booth's shoulder...classic. And the scene with Hodgins is well played by both of them - Hodgins comes in, Booth pushes him away. They both play physical comedy nuances off each other well, hearkening back to the byplay in 'Two Bodies in the Lab' in Season 1.
There are some pretty good BB interactions here but I think the real point of this episode is to set up for what's ahead. I think these two are truly at a crossroads. They are so close to crossing his relational line (see 'The Man in the Cell') that they will either have to cross it or have something happen to that causes them to temporarily step back. You can't keep that tension forever. I think it will be option 2, for a time.
The fact that the normally episode-ending diner scene was in the middle this time should have been a big sign that something else even more important was going to take over the ending. The dinner scene was great. They alternately bickered and fished for compliments. They both got to glow that the other person admires them which was sweet and it's always good when Brennan says something nice about Seeley. We see very powerful looks from David Boreanaz but with Bones we need to hear the words. She rarely seems to do it without qualifications like "Well, objectively, I'm more intelligent...in certain areas." but it's nice when she does it, no matter how she finally gets out things like 'superior mate' and 'superb agent'. Booth may be an a-typical hero but he still needs to hear that he's heroic especially from her.
Booth calls Bones 'well adjusted' and doesn't reassure her in the first scene with Pam because he's told her before that she's well constructed and such. I want him to step up and defend Bones more than he defends Pam but I think it's been well established how he views Bones and he doesn't feel that he needs to say it.
The setup at the end is very intimate. You don't do something like that for a casual friend. That's what a mate does and only a mate would realize how important something like that could be. And he is definitely her biggest fan when she gets on that stage! He's giddy with excitement and dancing in his seat. The lighter was a great touch It's an amazing and powerful scene to see such intimacy between them and such happiness and then go to such high drama and fear. He set this up as a gift to her and finishes with the biggest gift anyone can give: laying down his life for her. He stepped in front of Pam's gaze when she looked at Parker and here he again puts his body in front of what he loves to shield. He's not stepping up to talk Pam down, he's drawing his gun to kill her and in that split second it takes him to do that he's put his body up as a shield for Bones. If he'd had time to think it wouldn't have changed anything. He may be a-typical but never doubt how heroic he is.
Booth: "Nevermind. Just stay here (with him, focused on the case), not up there." (ignore the singing)
Sweets: "The corrugator muscles are..." (pointing to his forehead)
Bones: "We know"
Booth: "I don't know. I don't know that."
It's cute that Brennan is sure that they would both know that and at the same time very anti-hero of Booth to say that he doesn't know it.
I'm just going to cut myself off there. I could find so may bits in this episode to talk about that are significant, despite my general blah attitude about the episode as a whole. This is already far too long. Just draw your own conclusions! I eagerly await next week's season finale and fully expect it to be one of my favorite episodes.