Sunday, July 12, 2009

Guest Episode Review - #105 "A Boy in a Bush"

Time for the next Bones Season 1 Episode review: A Boy in a Bush! If you want to start at the beginning here are my Season 1 Bones Reviews from last summer:

# 079 - "Pilot" - My Review
# 101 - "A Boy in the Tree" - My Review
# 102 - "The Man in the SUV" - My Review
# 103 - 'The Man on Death Row" My Review
Guest Reviews so far:
# 103 - 'The Man on Death Row" - Meryl
# 104 - "The Man in the Bear" - ForensicMama
This review was written by Bekka.

If you have committed to a review, please check the list and, if your time is coming up soon, please email me your review or an eta on when you might have it, thanks!

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A Boy in a Bush

In addition to this being the first Bones episode I ever watched, this is my favourite episode of Season 1 and one of my Top 10 for the whole series. It has everything in it: the realistic science, the drama and intensity, the light-hearted comedy, and tons of character development. In my attempt to write a well-rounded review, I have noted some things that I didn’t like, but they are more like pet peeves:

* For some reason in Season 1 the writers felt the need to address in every episode why the current case has fallen to the FBI. Does it really matter?
* The Angelator has sound effects. Why is this necessary? Considering Angela is already squeamish with these things I don’t really think she would have programmed the Angelator to have sound.

As for the case in itself, I can’t decide if I like the way it played out or not. It was definitely not as unique and engaging as some cases (such as “The Man on Death Row”) but it wasn’t exactly the standard “red herring” plot either. Something I do like about the case (and some of other earlier ones) is how Brennan pieces together missing clues from random personal incidents, such as Booth crushing a pencil. Something that in retrospect is totally obvious – Charlie’s ribs were crushed instead of smashed – is completely overlooked by everyone (including Brennan, who is not infallible) until something happens that triggers a “Eureka!” moment. Coming to conclusions that way is much more realistic, I think, and I’m glad they throw that in once in a while.

Now onto the heart of the episode, which is the emotional aspect. Every episode balances the emotion with the science, the brain and the heart, but one always dominates and A Boy in A Bush is a heart episode. This entire episode is all about the humanity and empathy the characters have for the cases and for each other. The drama in this episode is just brilliant. This episode really plays up the character aspect of the show, and the actors all did a great job. What highlights this for me especially is Brennan and Sean in the interrogation room at the end: it is just so intense and sad. Also we really get to see a lot of Brennan’s true character, unfettered by the need for objectivity and detachment, but I’ll talk about that later.

Zack is showing a little more of his human side in this episode: he is obviously disturbed by working on the bones of a murdered child. Brennan helps him figure out a way to get past it and work towards solving the case. He wants it to be easier, he wants to be able to dismiss it, but as Brennan states, it never gets easier. But she helps him to pull back, to use rational thinking, focus on the details, and become the objective scientist we know and love. He then tried to pass on that wisdom to Booth later. But it just shows that he cares about his friends and wants to help them, like he was helped. Side note: Love the frilly purple shirt at the end! He is so dorky! Also I love his nonchalance at describing Hodgins’ house, as if everybody lives like that and it’s no big deal.

Speaking of Hodgins’ house: we learned something big about Hodgins in this episode. So far all we have seen is the goofy conspiracy nut, but in this episode we also learn he is sitting on quite a bit of money. With this development we also get some insight into his personality. He may be rich and sometimes obnoxious but he is a good guy and he doesn’t want to boss anyone around. He just wants bugs and slime, just to be Jack Hodgins who works in the lab. He doesn’t want anybody to treat him differently just because he has money that he inherited, and obviously he has strong emotions about this, which is evident when he snaps at Angela for poking into his life. He doesn’t like when Angela threatens that attempt at normalcy. Also, his threat to Zack and his plea to Booth and Angela to keep his secret demonstrate the passion he has for his work. And of course, Angela steps in to save the day for Hodgins at the end by backing up Booth, which shows how she is kind and helpful, even when Hodgins burned her. She understands how he feels and doesn’t question it. That’s why we like Angela.

Normally Angela is the spark and the spunk of the episode, and she brings in her wry humour to make the grotesque bearable. Maybe I’m just used to the newer Angela who learns to cope and make cheery comments on gore, but she just seemed too much of a Debbie Downer in this episode. Most noticeably: her cringing away from the Angelator sequence and then apologizing for it. Everyone was sad, but her reactions just seemed a bit too extreme to me. However, it did provide the possibility of Angela leaving the Jeffersonian, which gave more chances for Brennan to show what a good friend she is. I did like when we saw Angela’s empathy and her ability to read people. She is totally observant with Hodgins and his rubber band, and she even tries to talk to him about it. Also, her flirty attitude when trying to get information from him is so perfect. She knows she’s got sex appeal and she uses it to her advantage. But Hodgins is (supposedly) a ladies-man, so he knows what she’s doing and throws it right back at her without giving any information. Brilliant. :) I read somewhere that Hart Hanson etc. wrote in the Angela/Hodgins relationship for Season 2 based on what had budded in Season 1. I never saw it before, but now I realize this episode is full of little hints.

Finally, we reach Booth and Brennan. Booth is always the emotional one, so this is nothing new. In fact, in this episode he seems a little more detached. Everyone else seems so hung up on the youth of the victim, but Booth seems to be treating it like a regular case. Normally, he makes some comment like, “We all die a little on this one,” but not in this episode, which seems especially out of place considering that we now know he has a four-year-old son. But perhaps it is just relative to Brennan’s intensity and fervor: their roles seem reversed. I like how sweet and goofy Booth gets with the Cook kids; he is a family man at heart. (And he still gets information from them). Booth gets the most passionate about Bones in this episode. He is afraid he will lose her because she doesn’t follow the rules, and she won’t be allowed to work cases anymore. He is obviously flattered when she says she will respect him if nothing else. That scene, plus Booth flirting openly with Bones at the college talk and teasing her about her car, plus the obvious ogling her in her evening gown and stumbling over his words equals enough sexual tension to satisfy my desire for romance.

And now to Brennan. For someone who prides herself on emotional detachment and putting aside her feelings, she really didn’t set a good example in this episode. At first it is a regular case for her, but she is expressing her empathy as a good friend and mentor, comforting Zack and Angela on a difficult case. But when Margaret Sanders becomes suspect and the Cook kids are taken away, she gets fired up. This is one issue where she can’t let go. She is too emotionally invested in the foster care system and the children who suffer through it, and that motivates her throughout the case. The epitome of this fervor is her argument with Booth in his office. She knows that Margaret Sanders did the right thing by saving the baby; she knows using her feelings and her empathy from the Cook kids is what is driving her. So there she is using her heart, and Booth is using his brain against her, “I bet you can give me a dozen examples of societies that have killed their own young.” He’s Booth, and he knows that Ms. Sanders didn’t do it but he knows it’s possibility that he has to eliminate and he has to go through channels. She has to be reminded what side she is supposed to be on. So he uses logic and she doesn’t like that. “Do you have any idea how bad the foster care system is?” “Do you?”

This is not the typical Brennan that we see but it is true to her personality. Her scene in the interrogation room with Sean was moving; props to both actors. This scene is just so good, so powerful. Her connection with Sean and David… she knows exactly what has happened because she has felt the same things that they have. Also, her complete and utter faith in Booth to do the right thing and to help her; already she has a bond with him and a great trust in him. Their relationship is solid now.

There is so much more I love about the episode, but I’d have to go through line by line and not all of my joy can be written down. So I will leave you with some awesome quotes:

Booth: I have a question regarding the role of the FBI in your book. Who do you base brilliant and insightful Special Agent Andy Lisser on? Because, you know, I’m pretty sure it was me.

Brennan: (on suburbia) It’s fascinating.
Booth: Fascinating to who?
Brennan: To whom.

David Cook: How are you gonna figure it out?
Booth: Oh, I’m in the FBI. We always figure it out.

Booth: You’re actually one of them, aren’t you?
Angela: One of who?
Booth: A squint! I mean, you look normal and you act normal, but you’re actually one of them.

Angela: I’m a good time girl.
Brennan: We have good times.
Angela: Cracking jokes over murdered skeletons is not good times.

Booth: Kay, you can’t see the guy’s face… maybe you can grab a reflection.
Zack: Now that’s a workable idea.
Booth: I’d say thanks, you know, if you didn’t say it like it was some kind of miracle.

Hodgins: I recognize that look.
Brennan: What?
Hodgins: You’re writing another book. When you write you get this stunned look on your face like you just stuck a fork in a toaster.

Angela: I thought we were close. All of us. What else don’t I know? Is Zack from another planet?
Hodgins: Oh come on. That one’s obvious.

Hodgins: Zack has been informed that if he tells anyone who I am, I will kick him out on the street like a stray dog. Sadly, there is nothing I can threaten you two with.
Angela: Yeah, that’s a shame.

Goodman: You are the best of us, Ms. Montenegro. You discern humanity in the wreck of a human body. You give victims back their faces, their identities. You remind us all of why we’re here in the first place. Because we treasure human life.

Goodman: Oh for God’s sake!
Brennan: What happened?
Zack: Apparently all Angela needed was to hear her job description in a deep African American tone.


amc815 said...

I agree with everything!!!
Only one thing, the closing song by Starsailor... Loved!!!

em-jay said...

Thanks for the review. I don't rewatch this one very often because the case makes me sad. So thanks for reminding me of all the good parts! Now I want to rewatch it!

ForensicMama said...

Brilliant review! Oh how I love and miss Dr. Goodman!!! His quote are awesome!!! :D

Denise said...

Thanks a lot for this great review, I really enjoyed to read it. I absolute agree, the scene in the interrogation room with Sean was very moving, to me still one of the most memorable scenes at all. It always left me moved to tears.

Yeah, I also love and miss Dr. Goodman!

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