Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hero in the Hold: Spoiler Thumbnails

Giving credence to the claims that "The Hero in the Hold" will be our first episode when Bones returns in January, we now have some thumbnails available for the spoiler stills for the episode.

Click here to see them all. I would not click that link if you avoid spoilers as it gives quite a bit away. Here's one of the good pictures, that spoils nothing, though.

Should have the full-size pictures for you soon!

Bones Episode Review - 4.02 "The Bone that Blew"

Again, apologies for the delay but 4 family gatherings in 5 days tends to cramp your free time a bit!

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I have mixed feelings on this episode. I think the good outweighs the bad, in the end, but I definitely had some problems with parts while thoroughly loving most of it.

I have to start with a basic issue I have - can we please get some tight writing that doesn't mess up some straight forward facts?
  • Max has been Max Keenan for 2 seasons now, since Booth told Brennan of the alias adoption by her parents. Let's keep it that way.
  • Brennan has killed 2 people, not 1.
  • Max has killed two people as well. (This one I can let slide because he said it. He really doesn't have to admit to the other killing, for which he was never even charged, if he doesn't want to. And it's probably smart not to, in a place like that.)
Please, please - is there not a show bible that keeps up with this stuff? It instantly takes me out of the flow of the story when I hear a big, glaring inaccuracy in a plot point.

The continuity error potential of the misplaced show order wasn't as bad as it could have been. At least we didn't see Angela saying something about not dating anyone else for awhile, or Booth suddenly telling Brennan he has a brother, right? But it still would have flowed so much better to see this before Con-Man. The progression of their characters coming closer here, like they did at the end of the episode, followed by the painful moments immediately following would have made Con-Man all the more powerful. Kid killers back to back was a little much, but the one thing that really stood out...

Hodgins. Experiments. Do Fox studio people watch this show before re-ordering episodes? In one week, we have Hodgins experimenting with Clark, and now we see Cam forcing him out of his no-experiment-without-Zack shell? That is so frustrating!

Both of these things speak to the high standard we all have for Bones. The writing on this show can be so amazing, but when we get stuck with things like factual errors for character histories, or glaring continuity problems, it undermines the great foundation set from the beginning. I would never give up the semi-serialized nature of the character progression, but something needs to give here.

A different problem I have is with the case. It was like an odd mashing of the setting for A Boy in the Tree and the family, and completely lack of care for the victim or families involved, from the first half of Yanks in the UK. While it had plenty of twists in it - from the Dr. to insider trading - nothing felt well-substantiated. Were there not servants around to see the little girl murder her manny? How would the mother move a body with the sole assistance of a choke chain? If she were going to drive it all the way to the country house, why would she barely move out of site of the home to burn it? I have plenty of problems with how the case played out, but...

I do thoroughly like what it brought out in everyone. From some unique science, to interactions with Max, to some great Booth, and Booth and Brennan, growth - even stories you don't like can have happy results.

Did anyone give Wendell more than a passing thought when he appeared on the screen? He barely rated more time than FBI Tech Marcus Grier. He just felt...irrelevant. Now, I'm not sure that's a bad thing. The rotating 'not-Zack' crew do much better in the background, but, at the same time, I feel sort of gypped that I have had his back story forced on me already, when seeing him this way first might have made me care more to find out about his history.

Could we have cut him out entirely, and given Parker some more face-time? It's a horrible to tease to have that cuteness around, and barely see him. More Parker please!

Max though...that was gold. Bring him on! I have loved every single Max appearance. Ryan O'Neal is fantastic, and the character always signals that the episode will have some depth, character-wise. I was not disappointed. I love that he just wanted to be near his daughter, but would never push her beyond what she can handle. He left her in the past and he never wants to do that again - if only she would believe it.
Max: That's not magic, that's...
Kids: Max K, the science way!
Max: Science squad, meet my daughter.

Max: Guns of steel.

Max: Don't tell me she hasn't got the authority because, believe me, I feel fired.
Sweets: Likeable sociopath.

I have mixed feelings on Sweets appearances in this episode. With Max and Brennan it seemed a bit out of place that he just 'happened' to show up for their first scene in the dinner. I think he was right, as he usually is, in what he told them. I also believe that Max did agree with him but verbally disagreed to keep Brennan from feeling too uncomfortably. (Like Booth, he knows what will make her bolt.) But that doesn't excuse the theme that, seemingly, no adult in this group of people can get by without Sweet's advice, solicited or not.

When they intentionally has lunch with him later, I lost my last shred of acceptance in his involvement. Why would they have that meal with him? Why would Brennan agree to it? I felt that having Brennan's hangup laid bare was a good thing, but at most they should have confined it to the first scene.

Additionally, it was great to have Sweets have a moment with Booth where he was able to be useful to the case and also reaffirming to the doubting father. But, that doesn't mean they get a pass for the rest of the scene. Booth does not need to be told when someone is confessing falsely to protect another person. Hello? "The Boy in the Shroud?" "The Priest in the Churchyard?" Booth isn't just capable - it's his strength. Why, all of the sudden in this season does he need everyone in his ear, correcting him, inside his own domain?
Booth: You don't think I'm a lousy Dad for not sending my son to private school?
Sweets: No, but you'd be a louse Father if you didn't torture yourself about it.
Basically, I feel a bit annoyed by the use (but no the individual portrayal) of this character. He started the season incredibly annoying and useless, but it was getting better. Now, I once again find myself asking questions like "Why is he here? Again? Where he's not needed? Again?"

I could do a lot with his statement of "Nothing I say has any impact." but I think I'd rather move on!

Angela - consummate artist, and tech savvy genius. It's nice to see both sides of her skill set in action. Far too often she has been relegated simply to sketch artist. It may be a stretch to think that one person can be both a free-spirited artist and yet good enough with technology to design the Angelator but, if you're going to give those traits to a character, you definitely need to show off the entire package!

Despite my issues with the continuity of problems with Hodgins experimentation phobia, I did like the scene. It should matter to him that Zack is not around anymore to be the partner in the fun. The experiments always belonged to both of them, no matter who proposed the action, and it's understandable he would be protective of that, and not want to share it with another lab partner. But, we've already seen how great it is with the all-business Clark (experimenting with Wendell has no where near the same spark). It's not the same as the Zack-Hodgins fun, but it has potential. I wish we'd seen this scene first though! It was funny - from Cam's facial expressions to Max's involvement - and endearing to see him have to be forced into it by 'Mom' (Cam) and 'Dad' (Max): the two people who 'know best' for the younger crowd. A sprinkling of some realistic age and mentoring never hurts.

Cam was very light in this episode, but it flowed well. She mentored Hodgins a bit, somewhat supported (and insulted?) Angela, and had a very odd conversation with Hodgins about her behind-the-scenes anal micromanagement. The first time I listened to that conversation I said "That is the dumbest conversation I've ever heard (in Bones)." But, on the review, I actually appreciated the banter, even if it was stilted. It was nice to know a little more about Cam's process, without having her use it to browbeat someone into submission. Even moreso, though, I appreciated Hodgins trying, in his own backhanded way, to say something nice about someone else. He has long butted heads with her over her (over) involvement in their procedures, but he's moving past his anger now and he's willing to reach out a bit. I found it a nice, subtle, nod to his own evolution in this season.

When you get to Booth and Brennan, however, there's plenty going on!

Brennan has obvious Daddy issues. That's been well-known for sometime. I think this was a good way to bring Max back into her life, without the disbelief of her suddenly welcoming him with open arms. Sure, she got him off of murder. She loves him. But that doesn't mean all her issues are squared with him, and definitely does not mean she has forgotten the large chasm between her life, and the one he has lead. I hope that, eventually, we see the gap close a bit with her making her own overtures, or at least accepting Max's directly. For the moment, we'll have to settle with Booth's intervention.

Brennan was a bit harsh in this episode, though. She had no problem firing her Dad from the outset, or being incredibly, brutally tactless with Booth as he struggled with raising his son. Did your heart not break when she said "In what academics are you qualified to offer enrichment?" Boy, that just cuts right to the heart of the man - his own skills and abilities to take care of those around him. There are simply some things he can't do by himself. While biting, and maybe harsh, she did something good for him there. He doesn't like relying on others, when it really counts, and her statements forced him to examine that, admit his own shortcomings, and find a new way to handle the issue at hand.

I have no problem with Booth having a completely different reaction to this school for the rich. Whereas the previous school in season 1 focused on allowing their students to get away with anything, to protect the parents, this school had something different, which spoke directly to Booth: a very stern honor code. This was a place for people of means, absolutely, but not a place intent on turning out entitled kids with no sense of the real world or personal responsibility. Honor means a great deal to Booth, more than fancy degrees or equipment, and that had to instantly attract him to the school.

I enjoyed the debates between them, which sprang out of Booth's dilemma. It had the fervor of one of their intense religious debates, but brought up completely different issues for a change. It was very close to a couple talk, really, in that they were discussing their own beliefs about child rearing. As usual, they completely disagree, but in the end, with that beautiful family scene, they have reached an accord.
Booth: Don't fire Max. Let him keep his job. He's a teacher, not a janitor.
Brennan: I can't overlook the sanctity of the forensics lab, Booth.
Booth: Yeah. Maybe you can overlook it for me.
How about that end scene? It was romantic, without being over the top, important, without being sappy. It truly was a three generation 'family' moment. Parker was hanging out with the 'grandfather' while the 'parents' watched. (The closer BB you ever think we'll see Rebecca again, or will Brennan progressively inch closer to the role, at least symbolically?) Even if they aren't anywhere close to being a real family, they have definite shades of the possibility. I thought it was a great nod to that tentative future that so many Bones fans want to see.
Brennan: Look at my Dad.
Booth: Look at my little boy there, with your Dad.
It's no secret that it is absolutely a future Max wants for his little girl. He gave Booth a very express blessing, and I think it was an intentional conversation on Max's part. He wasn't questioning Booth to manipulate him into helping with Brennan and the job situation. He really wanted to know. The 'gay' line seemed a little cliche, to make sure it didn't get to serious, but I think the serious intent was there and he assumed he already knew the answer. His simple statement of how Booth was a good man, and he wanted that for her, was powerful - to both of them. Booth respects Max's code of honor, and that's a blessing that I'm sure he doesn't take lightly. Max spoke from the heart, just as Booth did when he sincerely complimented Brennan's beauty. He's a man. He's definitely noticed.

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Like I said, overall - I liked parts, and I didn't like others. This one was a mixed bag for me. I will remember parts well, especially for Booth and Brennan, but I can't rate the entire package highly.

Some people just don't know how to kill a vampire... has a photo essay of classic spin-off shows, and includes Angel in the list.

"Angel" spun off of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and lasted five seasons before it got the silver bullet.

Ausiello gives a lot of time to Bones

The most recent Ausiello Files has 3 different references to Bones. I'll leave you to check out the full scoop directly, to save the spoiler-phobic, but I'd love to hear what you all think!

Question: I'm so sick of seeing the words "Grey's Anatomy" in your column every week! How about you dig up some dirt on Bones for a change? -- Jordan

Question: I'm skeptical about Bones and Booth being in bed together naked. Is this a big fake-out? -- Kelly

Question: I've heard more Bones scoop from my dog than you, Ausiello. Please give me something! -- Emily

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