Advance apologies for typos and such. I had 95% of this complete when my laptop decided to stop connecting wirelessly. After fussing with that for awhile, this pregnant chick is screaming for her bed. There are, I'm sure, spelling and grammar errors that will just have to wait 12 hours or so to be addressed, and I will definitely do some additional formatting. I just wanted to get this up as quickly as possible this week, so, here you go!
After my uncharacteristic dislike of the previous week, I am simply floored by how much I loved this episode. I am not kidding that, before this one I had two favorite episodes - "The Killer in the Concrete" and "The Verdict in the Story" - and this episode has tied them. I am a sucker for the deep character development, and "The Con-Man in the Meth Lab" delivered, and then some.
I will try to keep to my normal format here, but at times it may run more like a recap with commentary. That's the only way I can make sure I don't miss something in such a packed gem!
Traditionally, though, I would like to start with a case. First off, there's a chance that the flaming body is the worst body they've ever had that looked completely realistic. Until now, the grate-goo basketball player held the award for me, but man, the gaping lower half of this guy's face, and the ashen skin tone and....gross. Kudos. Bones should have gross bodies. The kind of death they investigate should be so startling. It's not often that, after so many bodies, one can stand out, but this one did.
The case itself -
Hmm, the main thing I can say about it at this point is that I was seriously confused with all the switching of identities, and the names, and the important locations. I felt like I needed a piece of paper to keep up. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it was surprisingly complex for an episode with such intense character action and layers of stories. I can't call good or bad, still.
Can we keep him, please? My husband pointed out to me, first, that Clark was completely wasted on this episode. That's not to say he did a bad job, not by a long shot. He was fantastic! But I want more of this man. Everything that he said had me laughing, he knows his job, and...he and Hodgins did an experiment together! Awww. It wasn't Zack-level as you can never attain that, but it was still endearing and fun.
- Oh God, here we go. (As Angela hugs him)
- No, I said my preferred working style tends toward the professional. See my tie?
- This is the finest forensic facility in the world.
- H-You wanna fly MiGs, you fly MiG Alley, right?
- A Korean war reference? you do know that we have a brand new war right, it's been on the news
- Good. Work! Not work...Am I the only one who can tell the difference here?
- The only Ex I care about are X-rays. (Though, he sure did look interested in the girl-on-girl for just a moment)
- You have got to be kidding me. (When Brennan appears in her date clothes)
- I only indulged in this diversion after he asked for help. I wasn't wasting time.
I want him to stay. Screw the rest. I said in Yanks that I wanted him to be our permanent choice and this episode just confirmed it. Keep. Him.
There's not much specific to say about him other than he is really okay with Angela now.
"Aren't you impressed that Angela and I can work together so well now?
As I re-watch, I really feel that we missed something vital in "The Bone that Blew" that we won't see until the end of the month. God, why does the construction and execution of this particular relationship have to be so annoying?!!!!!
- "Things in a toilet bowl should not move."
- "Aren't you the least bit curious about whether Hodgins and I are back together or not?"
- "Whoa. There's more than one Booth?"
- TB: Are you thinking of leaving lesbianism behind?
- A: I prefer not to be labeled.
Cam was amazing in this episode, as she has been for most of the season. She is the hardened modern career woman (and cop) with a seriously gooey inside. I'd love to know more about how she's known the Booth boys for 15 years, but at the moment I didn't care. The way she dug in to take care of Booth, and Booth *and* Brennan, was beautiful, heartwarming, and really made me love this woman even more.
She was very perceptive of Booth's feelings, Brennan's reactions, and in turn what that meant for both of them.
- "He's getting so big. Soon he'll be wanting a later curfew and a car of his own."
Alright, here is where I really have to go scene by scene to make sure I catch everything for Booth and Brennan in this episode. I will mix in my observations about Jared as we go. They are just too intertwined to split.
Beginning scene with Sweets -
Poor guy, he really is doomed where those two are concerned. When they are together, unless they are pissed at each other, he's hardly in the room. Does he get any results out of them anymore at all?
Sweets really does want to be in the middle of them, and that is not a place anyone can survive. He knows this, on some level, but he keeps trying. Multiple examples of how close they are in this scene - the case, the brother, the way they leave together...I like these moment where they are a fluid pair, without anything sappy. It's very real and natural. They've worked together so long that many things should come naturally to them. Later in this episode, we see it again when she pulls out his gun from his side holster. He doesn't argue, they never miss a beat, and it just fits.
Booth, in this scene, is uncharacteristically reaching for glory. In the past, he has seemed to revile those who look for glory in the job. The job itself should be enough. I think that he does long for some recognition for what he does, and his efforts, but he usually won't reach for it. He will readily put his own concerns aside for anyone else who needs him but in this moment we seem to see him saying - everyone is good, everything is going great, no one needs me...I can do something for myself. He's working on this case, he's celebrating his birthday, and he's treating himself to a very nice trip. It's like the lone time we've ever seen him take some time for himself.
Too bad his little brother is about to show up and ruin it all...
My initial impression of Jared is not a nice one. He's cocky in the unfeeling way that is either something you fall for instantly or you hate. I...hate. I can reason out that it's a defense mechanism for the little boy who never really grew out from under his big brother's shadow and now he reaches out in unrealistic, disingenuous cockiness to cover up and strike back and what he sees as something that's not his fault....but I'm not feeling that generous for him just yet. He's going to have to make some strides in upcoming episodes because, from start to finish in this one, his head is firmly up his arrogant rear.
I thought, going into this, that Jared was likely to call her Bones. I'm glad they did it, it fit his characterization well, but I'm even more glad how quickly Booth objected to it. As he's slipped before...she's "his" Bones. That is his nickname for her only. Jared's intrusion into that space is the first of many.
TB: "Your facial structure is even more symmetrical than Booth's"
I don't think I need to go into that. We've talked it to death...in more place than one!
But as Brennan first walks up to Jared, Booth looks awfully tense in the background. Romantically or not, she is his in many ways, and he looks really uncomfortable with their interaction. Nervous Brennan will throw herself at him? Nervous of what Jared will say? Nervous of being usurped? I don't know, but Booth looks like a wound up string every time he's around Jared. That speaks volumes about their history.
Booth's ways of taking care of Jared are not just in the negative, bail-him-out, moments. In the way he tries to mediate the date with Cam, you can tell he's used to doing everything for Jared. Maybe one day we will find out how that started, but for now it's partly endearing and partly frustrating to watch. Jared chafes under it sometimes, but for the most part seems to take it as his right, like his older brother is there simply to do what he needs, good or bad.
The second scene with Jared just reaffirms my first impression...
Jared: More important than catching a murderer...I'm dateless tonight.
He's gone from not wanting Booth to control him to demanding that Booth fix it. It's very like a father and son where the son will resist the father's influence in one moment, and expect it the next.
It is patently obvious that Booth *does* mind Brennan going to the ball with Jared. That is exactly something he does not want to happen. Jared's actions screw up his life, they never make it better. Brennan is the best thing that Booth has going and he knows it on some level. Jared costs him good things.
Brennan's look is a mass of emotions. She looks liek she thinks she knows something, but has no way to confirm it with the second opinion she craves. Where people are concerned, she would most often ask Booth for an opinion, but since it involves him, and part of her knows that it really does matter to him, she can't ask him.
If you doubt at all that he minds, from his words, the look out the window should confirm it.
At the dinner party...
Yep, still not liking Jared. But we're not supposed to, at least not yet, so that's okay.
I did like how, even though she was there, effectively on a date, she was still thinking of Booth. "How would Booth fit in here?" Unfortunately, she didn't come up with a good assessment, which leads me to my thought of why she jumps on the Jared bandwagon, and all it's negative assessments of her partner, so quickly, and so completely.
It's Anthropology, baby! I originally felt that she jumped on him too fast, but in light of her end speech it made perfect sense - she viewed Jared as the ultimate alpha male. At times, you think she hates that, in some of her conversations with Booth, but it appears that's what she believed she should go after all along, and could explain a little bit of why she's never gone for Booth - feelings or not, she was making an anthropological decision on who she should pursue. Jared, for all appearances, fit that perfectly. But she got a very hard lesson in what a real man is. Anthropology can't teach her everything, and it's still HUGE that she admitted that.
Seeley is not afraid of success - he finds family and friends more important. Glory for himself is rarely his goal. When everyone else is taken care of, he can let himself reach for some personal gains, but the moment someone needs him, he will drop it, personal pain or not.
Jared hardly knows himself and his own faults, how can he be going after someone elses? It seems to me that Jared is stepping into his father's shoes, while Booth has spent his life ensuring he is the complete opposite of a weak man. He may not stick his neck out for the glory, but he sticks it out for what, and for who, matters. He is honorable, where Jared is fake, he is honest, where Jared can hardly be honest with himself, and he is perceptive, where Jared only really looks inward. If they wanted to show how much of a man Booth is, they picked the perfect way to highlight it in a glaring example of opposites who came from the same background. Booth isn't perfect, but it quickly becomes obvious which brother is the better man.
Cam's first intervention...
Cam: You're the one who said you didn't mind them going out together.
Private man is not about to get into it without a serious show of force.
(LOVE the bobble headed bobby. I yelled out when I saw it.)
Booth's honor is not without a cost. He doesn't like to play politics or break laws when it's not necessary. Back-scratching is not his thing. If he did that Judas on a Pole would have been a much shorter story and Russ might be dead. It will cost him dearly, but it's not surprising that Booth does not make a deal with the state police.
SB: Why don't we just tell the truth, and take our lumps when we have to?
Cam's second intervention...
Cam: Did you just get in?
TB: I haven't been to sleep.
(If they didn't' have sex, what did they do all night?)
Cam: Can I offer you a little insight into Booth's little brother?
Clark: Oh God, why am I always standing precisely in the wrong place?
TB: I didn't have sex with him Cam.
Angela: Didn't have sex with who?
Cam: Jared Booth.
TB: Why good?
Angela: Because he's booth's little brother and it would just be a creepy way to have sex with a Booth without having sex with the real Booth.
Cam: Kudos, Angela, I would not have had the guts to say that out loud.
TB: Jared is a real Booth.
Angela: Jared is Booth-lite. Booth is the real Booth.
TB: What if Booth is Booth-lite?
Brennan has definitely put Jared as the better Booth simply because he fits her Anthropological model. To me, this speaks to her having some level of interest in Seeley Booth for some time, but feeling like something was missing. She has yet to figure out, at this point, that nothing is missing. She just can't see the truth that's right in front of her - yet.
Booth is incredibly private (duh), even when it really matters and he should share. He will tell Brennan everything, but hides Jared's problems from her. Jared is family, and it's a private matter, even from the person he is closest to. I think that by the end of this, they are both able to put Jared aside, as something that can't come between them, and I would be surprised if Booth hides much from her again. One of the unsaid lessons in this episode is that they share so much and those things that they choose not to share can end up hurting them deeply. I think both of them realize in the end that is not something they want to risk again. That's not completely a romantic notion, it is something that applies even in close friendship, but I do feel it has very deep meaning for the two of them.
The moment Booth gives up his case is heartbreaking - I was a little slow about what was happening, though, because I missed the line earlier about the connection between the Rico case and that guy. When he tosses all his vacation plans and such...Really made me want to slap Jared all the more.
Cam's third intervention...
Cam: What happened? (love the face)
Cam: Don't you lie to me big man. I'm your friend.
SB: Cam, just let this one slip by.
She can't stand watching the same story again, after 15 years. She knows what Brennan has yet to figure out - Seeley Booth is the real deal. Jared is a sad shadow of the strength in his big brother. She loves that Seeley is such a good man, but her heart breaks to watch him continually fall into Jared's shadow out of love and a misguided protective streak that is doing Jared far more harm than good.
Jared: My brother doesn't like birthday presents.
Two-fold...the family-life may have made birthdays pretty terrible times. How much fun could an alcoholic father have been at such moments? So I can give the benefit of the doubt to that.
But...I think it's the opposite. Not asking for presents and special treatment is the complete opposite of not desiring them. Jared doesn't see very far beyond himself. If his brother doesn't overtly ask for something, subtlety has no affect on this boy and it's totally lost on him.
The one true thing he says is that Seeley is like his father. He gets that, but he doesn't see any reason to come into his own as a man outside the superficial markers of success and pride. Seeley does not help this with his actions, but ultimately the real responsibility falls to Jared.
The only thing I liked was sSeets ability to find camaraderie in being another kid-brother to Booth. Only Sweets is more like the kid-brother Booth should have had - the kid brother you can tease, but who still stands on his own, and isn't a constant screw-up.
Interrogation ante-room BB confrontation...
Additional thoughts to go with what I said before:
Why does she believe Jared so fast, when up against the man she's known closely for years? I think that she's been longing to know more about Seeley, but he's not been forthcoming, so she's jumped on a plausible explanation (with ZERO EVIDENCE I MIGHT ADD, unless you include the kiss) because it's the first explanation to come along. In the absence of information (evidence) from Booth she chose to believe Jared instead. I felt horrible for SB when he demanded to know if she thought him a loser, but she never responded. Later we learn that she actually did think he was a loser, which is also heartbreaking. It felt a little rushed for her to not be jumping instantly to SB's defense, but in this light, I can believe it.
I think that the Anthropology reason is the most important, but this is another part of it.
Booth's question to her meant a great deal. He needs to know he's a good man, good father, good agent. Usually, we see this with Parker. He constantly wants to know he's a good dad, and Brennan has worked very hard, and been very forthcoming, in supporting and affirming him in that role. But here, he's asking one of the most heartfelt things he ever has - Am I a good man? And her silence is deafening. I don't think he'd ever doubted for a second, up to then, that she believe he was a good man, which makes it all the more painful that she didn't affirm him instantly, or at all, at this point.
Booth identifying with the wife...
"We do whatever we can for family." Brennan thinks it's odd how strongly he's taking her side, but she has no idea why he's doing it. SB needs validation for his own choices. This woman was willing to risk her freedom to help her family, something even stronger than his own loss of glory.
If he can't get affirmation from Brennan, he needs what he can to feel a little better.
TB: People make stupid, irrational decisions
SB: They act from the heart sometimes, Bones. It's not a crime.
More subtext about both his, and his brother's actions.
Cam's fourth intervention...
This woman is happy to call 'urgent' on non-case stuff, and I love it! It *is* urgent that she resolve this situation, though - at first - she's the only one who sees that. At least she's got Sweets!
TB: Are you my loved ones?
(Love Sweets with the coffee tray)
SB: We're all scientists here, right? Well...not you.
Brennan is seriously bull headed about this...more proof for the Anthropology explanation. If she can align anything with her science, she is very much unwilling to believe anything to the contrary without very compelling evidence.
Cam - give SB the benefit of the doubt, not Jared. She's known them for 15 years.
God that woman rocks. The shift in how her character is portrayed, though I don't think it's inconstent with the character in the slightest, just deeper, is wonderful. I want to know more and more about this Cam. She cares about the whole crew - Brennan can't go after the bad boy brother both for her own sake and Booth's, and Cam knows what happened to Booth because she's known them so long. She can't stand for people around her to be in pain and she will happily throw the offender - in this case Jared - under the bus to protect the innocent.
TB: That is an anecdote.
Um. SO WAS JARED KISSING YOU!
But, hey, again, I am rolling with my theories. Jared's anecdote confirmed Brennan's thoughts, while Cam's contradicted. Brennan isn't always as fair and impartial as she would like to be.
Bar scene with Jared...
Cam and Sweets didn't give her evidence, but they did get through enough to encourage her to seek it herself.
She enters the bar with the thought that Jared is right, but his simple phrase - It's between brothers - flips her all of the sudden.
She got her evidence. I think I would have liked to see things drawn out a bit more between the intervention and her realization. It did seem a tad rushed, but then...she's flipping back to the basic "It's Booth, of course he's a good man" that has been part of her core for some time. It feels slightly rushed, but not illogical.
I love her passion when she first verbally, and then physically, lays Jared out. He deserves it, and she now knows it, and her own guilt over her actions and beliefs is just the catalyst she needs to give it to him. I always say that I want to see a jealous Brennan, but this kind of passion from her, when it comes to Booth, is a close second in importance. She likes to stick to her cold facts, but its obvious that emotion always lies simmering just below the surface. Anger is still, by far, her most comfortable choice, emotionally, but where there is passion and anger like that there is extreme depth of feeling. Like her reactions to Booths' faked death early in Pain - it's telling.
(I laughed so hard when she pushed him too.)
I admire that she instantly wanted to set things right with Booth, but I'm glad she didn't get the chance. The speech at the end was so much more perfect.
The Sheriff trashing Booth is just one more way Booth can be kicked in this episode. Poor guy! But it's a nice continuation of the theme and correlation between the case and the character development.
I'm not sure why Booth is using his shotgun. I assume it's his because I know local cops usually carry both their sidearm and a shotgun in the trunk or even up front in the large amount of equipment and supplies that fills the front passenger seat. I can't imagine FBI agents are any less armed and Booth definitely has the space in that gigantic SUV. Why he's carrying it is another story, but it does look good! And it gives Brennan the chance to grab his gun so easily, arming them both.
SB: You are not a good shot.
Okay...wrong. I know he hasn't seen some of her best work, but she has been very precise in her shots, especially the dead on, center of the neck, kill on Pam. She is definitely a good shot.
(My husband is sitting next to me at this point while I type and we got sidetracked into a discussion about how many people each of them has shot and their kill count. Interesting...)
It does seem a bit much that Booth went wild on the escaping car with the shotgun. It seemed abnormal. Is it overreaction to Brennan getting shot? I really can't answer that, but it's obvious he is desperate to know she is okay.
(My husband and I just got sidetracked on another discussion - the kill itself. We agree that its not very likely that a shotgun would have been able to kill him. A rifle or pistol, sure, but the shotgun pellets had a lot of material to go through to get there and aren't likely to do so much damage, if they made it at all.)
The birthday toast...
TB: I know who he is, but I forget sometimes because he never shines a light on himself. He shines it on other people.
TB: Yeah, right after I conked them on the head with it.
Anthropology teaches us that the Alpha Male is the man wearing the crown, displaying the most colorful plumage, shiniest baubles. He stands out from the others. But I now think that A. may have it wrong. In working with Booth, I've come to realize that the quiet man,t he invisible man (Sweets looks like he wants to shout KISS HIM!),the man who is always there for for friends and family - that's the real AM. And I promise that my eyes will enver be caught by those shiny baubles again.
SB: Thanks Bones.
Obviously, this statement is huge. I think that Brennan just lost a major barrier to having a relationship with Booth. From a normal person, that would be tantamount to a declaration of monogamous love, but this is Brennan. While it is a step for her to remove a mental barrier, and admit her own guilt, it is not a declaration of undying love at this point.
And on the other side - Booth has a long way to go yet to really make a big leap forward. I think she really leapfrogged past him here and it will be interesting to see what happens with it now. I'm not sure anything that happened here changed his attitude towards her. Right now this is more about him. He is need of affirmation, and she gave it to him. That built up his psyche, but didn't really say 'she's the one'. It's not the first time she has done something like that so I'm not sure how much it will stand out to him. They got different things out of that speech, though it is important to both of them.
The brother talk...
TB: What you're doing for your brother, isn't fair.
SB: C'mon, Bones. Don't get me mad at you after that great speech, alright? Not after I got you shot.
TB: You didn't get me shot. I got me shot.
SB: I don't want to talk about my brother.
TB: Would you prefer Sweets do it?
SB: I'm listening.
TB: Well, I forgot all the psychological stuff but basically, when you rescue somebody all the time. If you keep getting them out on bail...
SB: Bail them out, Bones. If you bail them out...
TB: You're thwarting their ability to help themselves. Now you're angry.
SB: C'mon Bones, you have to admit - getting a psychology lesson from you is like...
TB: Getting an A lesson from you?
SB: The Rico case...I traded my one shot at glory to keep my brother from being arrested. For drunk driving.
TB: Booth... what if he does it again? What if he kills someone next time? You shouldn't have done that.
SB: Right. Says the woman who got her father off murder charges. Face it, we do things for family.
TB: You're right, you're totally right.
SB: No I'm not.
TB: What, why?
SB: There's no risk that your father will kill again.
I love that she's giving him psych lessons. As she says, it's perfect parity to what she just learned from him. She actually got it from Sweets and Cam, but what matters is that she took it to heart, and is taking it seriously enough to repeat it for its benefit. Not sure why - maybe because they were right about Jared as he related to Booth, so just maybe they are right about the rest of him too?
I also think it is very important that he listened to her. Cam admits that, despite knowing him for so long, he refused to talk to her after she criticizes Jared. Yet, Brennan can do it and not only get away unscathed, but actually have him listen.
She is the only person to make it through the shell. She didn't just criticize Jared in this night. She told him - I see what you're doing, and it makes you the better man, but you still shouldn't do it. She sees the whole package, and that's a first for him. Brennan lives for what she can see, and as long as Booth keeps showing her parts, she will keep taking them in, assessing them, and showing him the good. It's when he hides things that they go wrong.
The brother talk...
J: Bringing me out here to give me advice about your partner? Because I think that ship has sailed.
S: No. It's...what I gotta do. I gotta stop.Do you understand?
S: Yeah. And you should stop too.
J: I gotta stop what?
S: The drinking. Stop it
J: I'll take that under advisement.
S: I'm serious, Jared. No more stepping in to make things go away.
J: I carry my own water, Seeley. Now you should go back inside and enjoy your birthday party.
S: Yeah, happy birthday to me.
Brennan comes out...
TB: Hey. You gonna come back in for cake?
SB: Bones, I just need some time.
TB: Do you need time and space?
SB: (big smile) Just some time.
SB: My dad drank.
God that was a powerful ending. Perfect simplicity and yet amazing power in that one line. This episode didn't need to end with any declarations or sappiness. It ended with the perfect level of closeness that kept it genuine. Booth saw what Brennan would give him in return when he shared with her, and he's now willing to open up a little more. There was no gush of emotion, but the emotion that must lay behind that simple admission is huge for someone so private.
Did I forget to mention that this is officially my longest review...ever? With that, I will call it a night. I don't usually try to find every single thing I could address, but this episode just begged for it. I hope you enjoyed, and I look forward to the discussion!
Other quotes that I liked, but that didn't quite fit in with the analysis...
SB: Squint, huh? One of your own.
SB: That back there, is a squint. (Clark rolls his eyes)
TB: I'm quite intelligent.
SB: No. Not that you're not intelligent. You're quite intelligent...
SB: Don't give up your day job, kid.
Mike: Making predictions based on statistical models clears my head.
TB: Makes complete sense.
TB: Is the stool out?
SB: What the hell are you wearing? (And, yes, the outfit does look very similar to Buffy's restaurant outfit, which cracks me up.)
TB: Why am I a genius?