I give you big kudos if you've avoided the big spoiler for this episode.
Check out the episode description at The Futon Critic.
And here's the promo for the episode, as shown at the end of The Finger in the Nest.
If you have managed to stay unspoiled, well, close your eyes and scroll right past these big fat spoiler pictures and stay blissfully unaware.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I give you big kudos if you've avoided the big spoiler for this episode.
I've known about this Ryan O'Neal arrest issue for days, but been highly resistant to posting anything. I could write a very long post about this but just on basic levels - the US is a country of innocent until proven guilty. People are arrested all the time for things that turn out not to be true and until there's more on it I didn't want to get into just posting all the latest gossip and maligning a man for something that, in the end, may or may not turn out to be true.
But, it's out there, everywhere, and if you've missed it, you can read about at the following links:
And that's probably all I'll say about it until there's a development one way or the other. It feels dirty to start getting into stuff like this.
I loved this episode. They tackled the important issue of dogfighting very well. It wasn't cheesy. The story was well written and they worked in plot elements well without being melodramatic. Heartstrings were definitely pulled.
One of only two episodes I can think of, the other being the Pilot, where the initially introduced known, long-term characters are not Booth and Brennan. But hey it's Booth and Parker. What's not to love? And Brennan comes shortly after.
As much as I love the Booth and Brennan stories, it always stands out when we get a story that focuses on another cast member. And it doesn't disappoint. Hodgins is so rock solid in his characterization that we rarely see inside it. And when we do...it's always a big deal.
I'm of mixed feelings on Cesar Milan. He did well in what he was there for, including being the 'stunt cast' of sorts. I believe the would call in an expert on something like that, but not necessarily a TV expert. It worked, it was good, I don't have much more to say about that other than...at least they didn't stunt cast Britney Spears, like Hart threatened!
I thought the case was great. I really didn't know who it was until they highlighted the sutures in Brennan's office. I did think that something was off with the med student when he said that the victim was a meth user. It just seemed strange, but I didn't connect that with him as the killer.
More please? Not only is Ty Panitz adorable, the character brings great stories. There's always the element with Booth where he wonders if he's a good dad. But they also use his interactions to bring out emotions and stories in Brennan, the discomfort in Sweets, and more. And, did I mention he's adorable?
- Sweets doesn't look like a baby's behind.
FBI Tech Marcus Grier
In his, I think 7th, episode appearance he really shined. I can't some people wanted him to be Gormogon's apprentice! I loved his interaction with Hodgins as one person who was't going to be so easily steamrolled.
- I feel better. You treat everyone like crap.
I was very much looking forward to Michael Badalucco. And, I loved him! He's just so huggable - the teddy bear father figure. His references to his kids were funny and I enjoyed his 'seasoned' perspective in the lab. The show definitely emphasizes youth, which I think is unrealistic (but classic Hollywood). The cast could use a little aging.
That said - I will be mad if they keep him as the father figure for the lab. We had that in Goodman, and it was fantastic, and they ditched him. I loved MB, but Goodman is the only father figure that belongs in the lab. If you want that, bring HIM back!
But hey, I wouldn't mind a return stint or two for Badalucco, because I don't think they want the father figure back in the long run.
Cam was in full support role this episode. I hold out hope for another storyline for her this season, but, in the meantime, lines like -
- Body parts in the park, mystery needs solving.
- Not an appropriate use of your boss, Dr. Hodgins.
Not much here either. We had the awkward moment with Hodgins:
Hodgins: You're a genius.Which was very much overdue. If they could have cut that into the last episode, instead of their lovey-dovey smiles, all would have flowed so well.
Angela: No, you're the genius.
The classic Angela:
- I hate this job. I'm quitting to go run a gallery in Dubai.
- Dubai people. I'm going to go sell Inuit art to Gazillionaires.
Unlike last week, when Sweets seemed out of place in the lab, this week they used him in a very logical and believable way. I do still wonder about his 'other duties'. We did see him working on a computer and...um, reading a magazine...but most of the time he's just hanging out in the Jeffersonian.
But this time, it was useful. His 'pick, pick, picking' at Hodgins served a great purpose. And his interaction relating to Parker was also needed. He wasn't at all comfortable interacting with Parker.
I find it funny that he's 18 years older than Parker and 14, or 15?, years younger than Booth. He almost has the same age difference between them both.
To me at least, the reasons he didn't want to interact with Parker weren't completely clear. It seemed a mix of being unsure about how to deal with a child, uncomfortable with childhood issues, and just the desire to only do 'big boy' case duties. Dealing with Booth's child makes him more a flunky that a colleague, though he's missing the point that Booth doesn't trust just anyone with his child - huge, and he wants to be taken completely seriously in a professional, cool crime-fighting manner.
Like Brennan...he has a lot of his own psychology, and it flies right by him!
I love it when Sweets is the butt of the joke. He thinks that Booth surely had the same childhood issues - everyone has their girl bully, right? - and Booth shoots him down quickly. I'm not sure he'll ever wear the big boy britches, but his persistence is admirable, and JFD's portrayal, hilarious.
Sweets: Could it be because I'm the dupe of an organ of the shadowy forces that secretly run this country?Hodgins
Hodgins: You got the dupe part right.
Last week I complained that Hodgins wasn't himself and now we know why. TV and subtelty, as well as multi-episode character stories, often don't go well together (or I'm just dense) but I'm glad to see them address him now. His progression ran from quiet and sullen, to stepping on everyone, to a bit of despair, the last of which finally allowed him to ask for help. He's hurting, and we should see that from someone in relation to Zack. Brennan can't be that direct, Angela would be expected...but when you show it through Hodgins, his best friend, his 'King of the Lab' buddy...it's all the more powerful. I'm glad they went that route.
And as for Angela, well, I think we'll see more of this soon. Like I said above, the awkwardness needed to be shown. And it's great to see that it affects him. He's emotional about it, which can be a great catalyst to actually do something about it. I wonder if we will see the same from Angela?
He was, however, back to himself in one manner of speaking. He was extremely quotable. And after the dearth of great lines last week, I'm all about his statements this time around.
- Freeze-dried bovine phallus.
- The problem isn't finding you, it's avoiding you.
- See how annoying that interrupting used-car salesman thing can be?
- Deal with it.
- I found a...Excuse me, the crack FBI team found...
- Wow. That is an absolutely wonderful idea. That could only have sprung from the time tempered mind of a man with your life's experience ripping off unsuspecting car enthusiasts.
- Less paranoid, and less vain. Again, sounds like a good thing.
- I'd rather drive a motorcycle into a bridge abutment.
- I'm more homicidal in nature.
- Yeah, I don't know what it means either.
- Mostly on my mind is: I hate everyone...To varying degrees, but yeah, everyone. Angela, most, because we had something great and now it's dirt. Zack, for being such an idiot. Brennan, for bringing us all together. Cam, for making us efficient. Booth, for giving us a mission. You (Sweets), for pick, pick, picking at me. Should I go on?
- Intense therapy? Heavy medication?
- Did you get your degree on the internet? Let me see your diploma.
- My coping technique...of hate.
- So, are you like my therapist now or...
This plot allowed Brennan to express some of her pent up emotions in an acceptable way. She can't let herself relate well to those around her, and a helpless dog is the perfect outlet for things she's not dealing with on the surface.
Namely - Zack. Z-man. Zacharoni.
The not so subtle play at the end screams his name.
She can't do anything for Zack. She can't stop the law, she can't take back what Zack did, and she can't protect him. And after the fact, she can't let herself deal with it all emotionally. A dog, who truly is at the whim of it's master, is a perfect way for her to deal with it all and rationalize out a story that helps her release those pent up emotions.
Her childhood story was rather interesting. I can't take credit for this connection (at least one of you pointed it out and Jamie explained it to me), I know a few people pointed it out, but the fake deaths are likely an homage to Harold and Maude, in which Eric Millegan has played on stage. In that story the young man fakes his death in multiple ways, as a bid to get attention (see another homage in Better of Dead, a fantastic John Cusak movie from the 80s).
Brennan is just an odd girl. And they bring that out in surprising ways. I was not expecting her to say this at all, and if it had been any other character I would have waited for the punchline. But she meant it, she did it, and she was very matter of fact about it, even in the point that Russ had to see the school psychologist. She was so deadpan in talking about it, I was just a bit slack jawed at first. But, when it comes to Brennan, the norm is rarely the norm. It worked.
I was surprised that she seemed to get the Xena reference. Maybe she was just laughing at his attitude? But her lack of social tact, as usual, was well on display in this episode, especially in the interaction with the receptionist. The woman is upset, she just lost her lover and her job, and Brennan chooses that moment to correct her on the usage of the word enervating.
Brennan quotes -
- You afraid you're going to get in trouble with Rebecca?
- That's a dog, Booth.
- May I hold your dog while you cry?
- I don't care about tone. I just care about results.
- Yes, always men.
- I only stated a fact. There's nothing inherently complimentary about being on TV.
- You didn't do anything.
- Could I see your teeth please?
- He reminds me of you...He's got warm and reassuring brown eyes, and he's capable of great violence.
- Isn't it always better to walk away?
- You're a very good father.
- Ripley is dead. Plus, he's a dog, with limited vocabulary skills.
- Ripley was a good dog.
- Like all dogs, Ripley only saw the good in people. Dogs are like that. People should take a lesson.
I love how they are willing to show a flawed hero. Usually heroic male portrayals have no 'weaknesses', or very predictable ones, like bull-headedness, when they do. Giving your male hero an irrational fear of dogs - perfect. Bones continually takes stereotypical portrayals for lead characters and spins them on their heads and I love it.
Also, we get to see very real portrayals of fatherhood. Booth isn't pushing his child aside to be the steely workaholic while a woman (wife, girlfriend, other) takes care of the offspring, if he even has any. Booth is a real father, spending quality time with his child, and as worried as any parent should be. You just don't see that very often with the males in typical portrayals. You see them basically ignoring their children until they are old enough to drive, have sex, and get in trouble. Again, glad to see a more real and hands-on portrayal of being a parent.
I do think, however, Booth was a little over the top in this episode. The fear of dogs was a weakness, and very funny, and I don't think we needed to see him being such a dunce. 'Playing possum' and canine are very common words/phrases, and he didn't know either? And he got the Xena reference wrong? Please. Too much. It bothered me. Idiot Booth in England, fine. Idiot Booth in the lab, fine. Booth not knowing such simple things as playing possum? Not fine.
Whoa. Look at that. The possum's dead. I got it! The victim was poisoned. The possum at the victim, got poisoned, and died. That's it.is where Booth shines at being outgunned. He tried to butt into the lab side of things, and figure out the crime. That never goes well. (Remember the carpet?) But it's always funny.
Booth quotes -
- A perfectly thrown spiral is way better than any of that stuff.
- Your ear, not your chin, silly.
- That's somebody's home.
- Look, is my son going to be suffering from some kind of post-traumatic stress, you know, like suppressed memories, feelings, all that hooey?
- You spend your life with skeletons.
- He's going to realize that he had a dead finger in his hand and he's going to freak out.
- Whoa. Look at that pit, huh? Muscles like canteloupes.
- It'll be enough for me to get a warrant...if the judge had a glass of wine, or two, at lunch.
- Cure him.
- No one's ever carried me around like a monkey. Especially a girl.
- I told him to walk away, if it's for himself, and to stand up and fight if it's for someone else.
Sweets: A child's brain can't process death as an end. That's why we tell children that their deceased loved ones are looking down on us.Booth is trusting Sweets more and more, as evidenced by his trust in Sweets to help Parker, but it's nice to see that he never compromises on his core beliefs, including his faith.
Booth: Which, they are.
Sweets: Excellent coping technique. Grandma isn't worm food - she simply moved on to a better place.
Booth: Which, she did.
This episode is a great balance of Booth supporting Brennan, Brennan supporting Booth, and a bit of cute fun.
I love the possum vs opossum scene. It's almost a classic married couple scene. They take the clichéd idea of the woman nagging and directing the man and twist it into a funny portrayal, all played out over a very dead and very gross body. She picks up the opossum, has it in her hands (while lecturing Booth), and then puts it down and tells Booth to go get it. Which, of course, he does. (He's so whipped!)
Brennan: You should go get him.Clichéd or not, I found it a funny opener between them.
Booth: What do I look like, Ranger Rick?
Brennan: He could have evidence in his digestive tract.
Booth: C'mon, Bones...
Brennan: Booth! Evidence!
Booth: Fine. I'll go get your possum.
But, the episode had a lot of importance, for both of them, and they each supported the other in their time of need.
Booth has a lot going on with Parker. He's the worried father, and Brennan does everything her power to help him with that. She tells her own childhood stories, she asks him pointedly if this will cause problems with Rebecca, she tries to relate to the dream stories...it's all really great interaction.
She even does this in her lowest moment: over the grave of Ripley. She is often accused of being unemotional and uncaring, which is patently untrue. Yes, I stand by that she can be rude, selfish, and worse, in her lack of social skills, but I would never call her uncaring. She just cannot relate in the same way as others. But she does relate, she does care, and she does reach out. She tells him exactly what he longs to hear: You are a very good father. And it couldn't have come from a better person.
On the converse, Booth also supports her. From the start, when she objects so viscerally tot he dog fighting, he's there for her. He's assuring her that they will solve this, they will get everyone involved. And when he begins to connect to so strongly to Ripley, even though he doesn't want to see her hurt, he supports her connection to the dog. And in the end, when she falls, he's there to catch her. Not to rebuild her, but to help soften the blow and lend her a bit of his strength to rebuild her emotional safeguards. He gets her what she needs, takes her way from everyone else, and provides the brawn, the ears, and the embrace she needs. No pressure, no judgment.
This was not a flashy relationship episode. There weren't any huge steps or big declarations (though who else thought they were going to kiss instead of hug?!) but they did what couples do. They supported each other when each needed it, they worked through real life issues, and larger social ones, and came through stronger.
I loved it.
Epilogue: Thoughts about Zack
I'm trying to keep an open mind about the resolution to his story, which will hopefully start next week. Yes, I wrote a fan script where he did it, and they have to deal with it. Jamie wrote one where he didn't even do it. I'm interested to see how that plays out, especially after Eric Millegan's hints at his NYC cabaret appearance.
I hope that what we saw at the end of this was simply Brennan's way of dealing with her hurt, and not foreshadowing of a big "not Zack's fault for stabbing someone" plot. If they find a good way to turn it around to where he didn't do it, and it's well written, that's fine. But if Zack stabbed someone then it is his fault. Zack didn't latch on to a master who tricked him. Zack bought the whole story, and knowing what the Master did. It's not the same as that dog. The moment and idea was a great way to show Brennan's emotional hurt, but I hope that's all it was. Zack should be accountable. We will see soon!