Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bones Episode Review - 4.03 "The Skull in the Sculpture"

I have mixed feelings about this episode. On the night it aired I ended with two thoughts - love the subtext at the end between Booth and Brennan and I laughed, in this episode.

Neither bad thoughts, but were kind of light and vapid for the end of a Bones episode.

So, the more I thought about it, I was't surprised to have my opinion swing into the negative column about this episode. In the most basic sense, I feel like the show is becoming more narrow. It's becoming more stunty, more like everything else out there. Early seasons were quirky and unique, with a perfect balance of character and procedural. And, along my time with this show I have defended the character stories. Tell us more! as long as it's backed by plenty of science, and never too much of a soap opera.

This felt like a soap opera, I'm sad to say. It's too much character. Episodes like "The Verdict in the Story," which are almost entirely character-driven, are great. This did not have the power of character, to me, that merits a drop off in the balance of science. It felt like - it's sweeps month and we regular viewers should just sit on our hands and roll our eyes until we get our real Bones back soon.

And I'm not even talking about the girl-on-girl, here. There's a whole can of worms there. I always thought that bisexuality fit Angela's character well. It's never been a secret, and always seemed a subtle, but clear part of her history. No problem with her character re-exploring it.

But I felt it was cheapened by her whining that she hadn't had sex for SIX WHOLE WEEKS. Give me a break. That statement, and the accompanying attitude that love is NEVER permanent, suddenly made her more unrelatable than Brennan, and that's hard to do. All I could think, when they kissed was - "She's just using Roxie for sex, when Roxie is clearly still in love with her." Okay, maybe that's not *entirely* fair. In the scene where Angela first sees her art, there is a connection. But to me, her flippant attitude toward relationships now overshadows any sweetness in a specific scene. How can we, as viewers, trust the moments and the emotions we see, when she has professed her assurances that it's all transient anyway?

This is the first episode where I can say I didn't like a regular cast member. They've always made her free-spirit fun and enjoyable, but this was neither. (Don't confuse dislike of the character with the actress. Michaela Conlin played it all very well.) I don't even buy her statement that she requires a spiritual connection "I do require an emotional connection. Spiritual, actually. It's spiritual to me." - some of her past exploits seemed purely for fun and that certainly seems like what she's after now..

The lone saving grace, for me, was Sweets badly telling her how wrong she is, and why she acts like that. Of course, she completely ignored it, discounted it, and didn't like it. But if he hadn't said it, I think I would be even more irritated than I am right now with the entire sequence.

The other big thing I didn't like is the bar set they have hinted at for awhile. In "Yanks in the U.K." they go to a British pub. It feels crowded, but still airy with the outside lighting. More importantly, it completely fits. But to move the intimate scenes from the corner diner, something many people can relate to (we all have to eat, right?) into a bar, again, feels narrow. This show has very broad appeal and I feel like it's a step backward in sets, not to mention how dark and crowded it feels. I want to use my elbows to get them some room. I don't mind them going more 'adult' than the dinner, so characters can have a little drink. But, can we go hybrid again, like Sid's Wong Fo restaurant? Some conversations are far more appropriate in a more open, airy environment. But then, hey, if this gets Booth and Brennan into more intimate settings such as the woods for their talks, where it truly is just them, that will pacify me a little. But, overall, it felt like this set took them in a totally different direction, as a show, and I'm not sure I liked it.

Alright, one more thing. Angela should not have been allowed to work any aspect of the case. In "The Man in the Mansion," even before the association became known, Hodgins knew that a declaration of his past relationship with Clarissa Bancroft would instantly result in his removal from the case. Where is that type of investigative integrity where Angela's past relationship is concerned? They were all oh-so-admirable of her intention of clearing Roxie, where Hodgins had been roasted on a spit for his own good intentions of solving the murder of an old friend. Nothing that Angela touched would have been admissible, and she was all over this case. The others are more concerned with upsetting Angela than following the details.

As for the rest - I really didn't feel strongly about the case. I did enjoy the aspect of the challenge for the squints. How do you collect evidence when you can't get to the corpse in front of you? I thought that added a nice new aspect that made things a bit interesting and definitely provided some great humor. And who actually recognized Beth from News Radio under all that scary make-up? Well-played by Vickie Lewis. Angela with a new scanner, and the Angelator! were huge plusses for this episode.

Much of that humor came from Daisy. When we first saw her, she annoyed me completely. She felt very flat, and entirely annoying. She was a one-trick pony. But now, they gave her much more to say and do. It was along the same lines, but not entirely so *only* annoying.

  • Luckily, I took the initiative and got those samples before the injunction.
  • Did you have, like, buckets of coffee this morning? You're very shaky.
  • A little more. Just a little more. Like tiptoeing mice.
  • We could have been here hours ago if Dr. Saroyan would have given me the endoscope sooner.
  • I will think about it until my head explodes.
  • Amazing it is, this machine you have. (She and Sweets both love Star Wars. Now *that* is adorable.)
Daisy: It seems that any viable examination pre-extraction is impossible. Unless somebody has X-Ray vision.
Cam: I meant to warn you that Miss. Wick came up in the rotation.
Daisy: This time you'll be glad that I'm here, Dr. Brennan. I promise.

Brennan: We need cause of death.
Daisy: Of the Caucasian male?

Daisy: Everyone here is so nice. You know, I think I may have initially come off as a bit too needy. My family was pretty dysfunctional, so I tend to want a work environment to fulfill certain needs. (Sweets' influence?)
Cam: Perhaps some therapy might help.
Daisy: What a thoughtful suggestion. I always wanted a sister.

Brennan: Very good.
Daisy: Really? They were *really* small.
Brennan: Micro-fractures are, by definition, are small.

Daisy: (breathlessly) She agrees!
The breaking of the skull was fantastic.

Brennan: Now, what we want to do here is remove the skull very carefully.
(breaks)
(Brennan and Cam stare while Daisy looks petrified.)
Cam: I can't believe you did that.
Hodgins: (snicker) Bummer.
Daisy: Usually when you say 'we' you mean 'me.' I am so sorry. I'll put it together. I will stay up all night.
Brennan: (shaking her head) I'll do it.
Daisy: Well I will assist you, every step of the way. I will not leave your side.
Brennan: I would prefer to do it alone.
I loved Sweets taking care of her, in the end. I had assumed, since his phone call in "The Man in the Outhouse," that they have been dating. When he said that he wanted to take care of it, I immediately thought that he was going to admit their relationship. But, I loved how it actually played out even more.

He was brutal, but, by doing it himself, very protective of her. He knew how to address her and it allowed her to express herself without worrying about impressing anyone. It was endearing. And then very cute.
Sweets: I've got some good news, and some bad news. Which would you like first?
Daisy: The bad news.
Sweets: You're toast here. Nobody wants to work with you.
Daisy: Why?
Sweets: You know why, Daisy. There are some things you have to work on when it comes to interpersonal relations.
Daisy: Does anybody like me?
Sweets: No, I'm afraid not.
Daisy: What's the good news?
Sweets: There is absolutely no reason for us to be discreet about our relationship any more.
Daisy: Really?
Sweets: Yeah, why'd you ask me that?
Daisy: Well, because I thought we were being discreet because you were a little bit ashamed of me.
(Sweets looks up at the group, then kisses her.)
(Daisy pats his butt as they walk away.)
I am liking Sweets more and more. Like Cam said, they all respect his opinion and he should be flattered. He can be a catalyst for these personal stories, without being such a pointless lab annoyance. His case appearance in the interrogation fit well, and wasn't intrusive. (Though, as I've been watching old episodes with my husband lately - it really made me miss the BB interrogations we used to have constantly. But, hey, at least we get one at the end.)
Sweets: I suggest you start with the mundane, and then work your way up to the sexual stuff.
Booth: So, did you have a sexual relationship with your boss?
Sweets: That's the total opposite of my suggestion. ... Prevaricate, keep her guessing. ... Why am I here?

Booth: That's why you're here.
Booth picks and chooses which of Sweets' advice to follow, which drives Sweets crazy. And that's a good thing.

Like I said before, Sweets' interactions with Angela are the one thing that saved that sequence just enough for me to not write her off. People may not always like him, and he can be annoying, but in the end, is he often wrong? People don't like his prying, understandably, but it usually serves a great purpose. I hope that, if we're going to continue a lot with Angela's mad rush to 'get some' that he is allowed to continue to tear into her reasoning, just a bit. If they are going to continue to go to him for advice, he should get to act in their best interests, not just give them what they want to hear.

Sweets: You think of me as male company?

Sweets: It's totally understandable that you don't feel like sex.

Angela: You're right. I have been protecting myself. Without the risk of pain, there can be no possibility of pleasure or joy or love.
Sweets: Yes, yes. And regaining that willingness to take a risk, that can take time.
Angela: No. I'm done protecting myself. I'm ready to move on.

~*~

Sweets: This is the exact same situation as the last time we were sitting here, except, you're quieter.
Angela: No, that was about Hodgins. This is about Roxie.
Sweets: You want to have sex with Roxie?... I'm not certain that you're being guided by your brain, that's all. Need can be confused with love. Fantasy can convince us that what we're feeling is love.
Angela: So you're saying that this is all rebound.
Sweets: Yeah.
Angela: No. You don't understand love, Sweets. (Um, does she?)
Sweets: I'm not as innocent as you might think.
Angela: You have this bourgeois nothing that in order for love to be real it has to be permanent. Nothing is permanent, that's just a fact. We move in and out of loving other people but that doesn't make the love any less real.
Sweets: Perhaps you're saying this because you've never met the love of your life.
Angela: I have, actually, many times.
Sweets: Fine. It seems to me that you always leave yourself an escape hatch in your relationships because you're afraid of commitment.
Angela: Nice try, but no. Actually I commit to every person I love.
Sweets: You marry a man, and then conveniently forget that you marry him because you got zonked on Kava kava.That compromises your relationship with Hodgins, so that ends, along with the marriage. Now you say that you have these intense feelings for an ex-lover who's heart you've already broken. Don't you see the potential for disaster here?
(I feel more connected with Angela in the vulnerability she shows here while he's laying into her, than with anything else she's done in this episode.)
Angela: Look, you said that without the possibility of pain there can be no joy, no real love.
Sweets: I said that, that's beautiful.
Angela: I don't want to hurt Roxie again.
Sweets: Then don't. Put her wellfare first. Let Roxie decideif she's ready to pursue a relationship.
Angela: And what if she doesn't?
Sweets: Then I'm afraid you'll have to live with that pain.
One thing, that's not Sweets fault, though - this is two episodes post Zack's revelation, and we heard not a peep about Sweets knowing it? Are we going to get some in the immediate followup, "The Bone that Blew," when it airs at the end of the month? How are those of you that love Zack so much not screaming about the complete shut-out of info on that plot?

Cam was great in this episode. She was the boss, but not oppressively so, and she was brilliantly comedic in her interactions with Daisy. I loved the look she gave the back of Daisy's head after handing over the endoscope and her continued moments of restraint toward the girl. Her reaction of firing her was perfect, and I loved the scene with Sweets.
Daisy: That's so beautiful!
Cam: And so...inappropriate, over a decomposing body.

Hodgins: This heap is considered art.
Cam: Well, it's...gorgeous.

Cam: Don't scratch the crushed automobile, which encases a rotting dead body?

Brennan: Am I fired?
Cam: Au contraire. Remind me of this moment around Christmas bonus time.

Cam: Nice. Now maybe you'll be able to rescue the princess.

Cam: Youth doesn't excuse everything, Miss Wick.

Cam: Well, I've programmed my phone to get the 5-day forecast.

Cam: Thank you so much for seeing me.
Sweets: I didn't agree to see you. How come none of you people ever book an appointment. Frankly, it's annoying.
Cam: Annoying, that's exactly why I'm here. I've done an unofficial, confidential survey of my people and ...
Sweets: And they find me annoying, no, it's worse, they hate me. You know why, don't you? It's because Dr. Brennan undervalues psychology, and all of you have picked up her vibe. I know that sounds paranoid.
Cam: And the word 'vibe' is a little dated.
Sweets: But it's true.
Cam: I'm not here about you being annoying. It's Daisy Wick.
Sweets: Daisy?
Cam: Yes. She's very smart, and very able, and she has a knack for turning reasonable people into flaming gas balls of fury.
Sweets: You want me to talk to her?
Cam: No, no. I need your advice on how to tell Daisy we can't have her at the lab anymore. I'm very comfortable with incompetence, but when it's just a matter of personality...

Cam: I'm not psychologist, but I think you should be flattered that we all drop in on you and ask your advice.

Cam: That's a method of termination I've never tried.
Nothing bad to say about her, and I definitely look forward to this character-driven bent swinging in her direction sometime soon. Tell us more!

Hodgins, man, poor Hodgins. Understandably uncomfortable with Angela's unfortunate idea to push her dating on him in front of others, I felt awful for the guy. It was incredibly insensitive of her. I actually wish he'd reacted with Anger. What has bothered me so long about their relationship is the imbalance - she is allowed to be herself, while he constantly oppresses his own feelings on everything. If they have a hope of ever getting back together, he needs to stand up to her. If, in the end, they get back together just because she says 'Let's do it.' their relationship will still be just as unrealistic as ever. They really need to fight some things out. Ideally, she'll say that, and he'll push back at her. In her current state, she would simply walk away, crowing that it was just an impermanent love that is now over. I am hoping that, with Sweets intervention, she can learn more about herself and not be so self-involved in it all. Without some change in her attitude, she has no cause to fight for anyone she loves. She just walks away.

But, give me more of Hodgins with toys. I love it. It is old-school Jack, where he's actually enthused about something.
Hodgins: It looks like someone with a crooked nose was trying to get rid of our friend here.
Brennan: There's no way to know that the killer had a crooked nose.
Daisy: Do you mean the mob? It was a mob hit.

Hogins: 23,000 pounds per square inch of raw prying power.
Cam: You really want to be the one to use that, don't you.
Hodgins: It's not displaced sexual frustration.
Cam: Of course it's not.
Hodgins: I am totally cool if Angela wants to date already, I mean, again.

Hodgins: Best way to find out is to crack her open, baby. ... I didn't mean baby.
Cam: Carefully, Dr. Hodgins. Like removing a baby bird from an egg.

Hodgins: Stand back, ladies, this is about to get medieval.

Hodgins: It's a hard car shell, with a gooey corpse filling.

Hodgins: Excellent. Next you should learn the concept of personal space.

Hodgins: Do you ever listen to yourself?

Hodgins: Only because Angela asked for a personal favor and I am powerless to resist.
So caught up in everything else, I almost forgot about Caroline! I was so happy to see her, but man she needed more screen time, if anything.
Caroline: We'll see how artistic people are feeling when it starts stinkin'.

Caroline: ...A federal judge who turned red, and then blue, and then some other color I have never seen before when he heard that flesh-eating beetles had somehow infested said work of art.
Brenann: Dermestid beetles were not specifically forbidden on the injunction.
Caroline: I don't suppose 'spirit of the law' means anything to you?
(Brennan shakes hear head and Daisy follows suit.)
Caroline: That little kabuki lady started screaming like you peed on the Mona Lisa that you compromised the integrity of the piece.

Caroline: This one's a keeper.
Booth's respect of Angela was very in-character for him. He's a mix of faith and family, and you never know which will triumph. His faith says one thing, but his familial experience with his favorite Aunt gave him a different perspective. Angela is probably not the only one who expected more push-back from Booth on this story-line, and I think they wrote it very well, and very in-character, for the two of them. It, coupled with Booth's explicit defense of Angela, and Roxie, in the field, versus DeLuca, made for some very sweet interactions.

The heart-to-heart between Brennan and Angela is a nice reversal of the typical scenario where Brennan needs council. She is there for Angela, and she points out that Angela has a pattern of breaking people's hearts in intense relationships.

Brennan had plenty of problems with colloquialisms, which is always fun to see. She's been much more mainstream lately and I like the return to awkward Brennan. It fits more. There's no reason she can't always be that out of touch.
Booth: Do the math...It's a figure of speech.

Brennan: Oh no, there was no 'before' before the big bang, because time didn't exist. If there are no organizing properties...
Booth: Bones, I'm just going to write down that it's been awhile.

Booth: Thanks, Caroline, you are da bomb.
Bones: Why is she a bomb?
Booth: Da bomb.
Booth and Brennan have a classic feel in this episode. She has her problems with colloquialisms, they bicker over the gun, he's breaking the law and she's not getting why...it's old-school, fun Booth and Brennan. There will be plenty of time for pressing issues. Sometimes, it's nice to just see them as companions.
Booth: If this is mob related, and we bring down the big boys, we will sell the movie rights for a fortune.
*What happened to "The Woman at the Airport" Booth who hated the other agent for selling out her job in the slightest?

Booth: Whoa, whoa, whoa...what goes first?
Brennan: Gun goes first.
Booth: That's right.
Brennan: What if you get shot?
Booth: Don't say things like that. You're gonna jinx me.
Brennan: Well, if you're relying on superstition for safety perhaps I should carry the gun.
Booth: You are definitely not carrying the gun.

Brennan: Is that legal?
Booth: Look, if anybody asks, that door was open.
Brennan: No it isn't. ....Ohhhhhh, right.

Booth: What the hell are you supposed to be?

Booth: Yeah, art - a nice bowl of fruit, dogs playing poker...

Brennan: You are an extremely unlikeable woman.

Booth: Alright, someone I understand less than you.

Booth: Why don't you just say it's pretty?

Booth: Simmer down Picasso. You get a compliment, you be polite.

Brennan: (as she pours in the beetles) I was going to say that I had an accident over here. But...I don't like lying.
*Is she being 'corrupted' by Cam and Booth? (In a good way.) That's very sneaky of her. She looks a little guilty as she walks over to the 'art'. I call progress for Brennan here.

Brennan: She says she's a lesbian.
Booth: Delicacy, Bones.
Brennan: It's not an affliction, Booth.

Brennan: I don't understand, and I'm not used to not understanding things.

Brennan: Booth tells me that people sometimes say the exact opposite of what they mean. ... Are you saying the opposte of what you mean now or before.

Booth: Whoa, Jeez. Okay, Bones, you know, you almost lit my butt on fire. ... That was a great trick there, Bones.

Booth: Excuse me, tiny little woman.

Booth: Sweets is a lot more sneaky than that. He'll use some kind of psychological Jedi mind trick to make her think that it was her idea to quit.

Brennan: They should not be doing that on the forensic platform.

Booth: They'll never work. They're like complete opposites.
Brennan: I agree. For all her faults, she is a woman of science. Sweets bases his life on the varies of psychology and emotion. There's no common ground. You need common ground. What else is there?
Booth: Absolutely.
Tons of obvious, and subtle subtext to that scene. It's a very clear comparison between Booth and Brennan, as the two of them lay out their own fears about such a relationship. Maybe they haven't admitted to themselves their possible feelings, making it more of a subconscious subtext, or maybe they both have, to themselves, and they were hoping the other would disagree. It's not a fulfilling scene, for a 'shipper, but it is a nice one. Hints of the relationship, and any level of acknowledgement from the two of them, are always a good step.

Next Episode: The Con-Man in the Meth Lab


Recent discussions have shown that this episode is heavily anticipated, and not always for good reasons. But, within a few days we will know more about how everything plays out between Booth, Booth-lite, and, of course, Brennan, when "The Con-Man in the Meth Lab" airs this week.

I've already posted both the press-release description and the spoiler photos, but it never hurts to check them out again!

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