Sunday, September 27, 2009

Guest Episode Review - #217 "The Priest in the Churchyard"

Another Bones Season 2 episode review, courtesy of Kate: "The Priest in the Churchyard."

Season 1 Reviews - all done!
Season 2 Reviews - still waiting on at least half!

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The Priest in the Courtyard Review and Commentary

Teaser: Brennan and Booth investigate a parish after a flood reveals an extra body in the church’s cemetery. Naturally, things are not as they appear and it’s up to Brennan and Booth to solve the mystery. Their abilities are hampered by unusual tension, causing Dr. Gordon Wyatt (Stephen Fry) to step in and set things right between the duo. Meanwhile, Hodgins asks Angela to move in with him and she seems oddly reticent.

Review and Commentary: The scene opens with Brennan and Zach looking over the remains (literally) of a flooded church cemetery. They’re accompanied by the local priest, Father Matt Sands, who offers Exposition for the story and also foreshadows later developments. A more senior priest, Father William Donlan, begins to complain about lack of respect for authority and the interlopers just as Brennan identifies recently buried body and bluntly suggests foul play. Nothing like getting off on the wrong foot for maximum tension in minimum time.

Arriving at the lab, Booth informs Brennan that Father Donlan formally complained about her comments. Her attempts to clarify only dig her into a deeper hole and once again she dismisses religion as irrational superstition. Booth throws up his hands (metaphorically) and refuses to work the case. Brennan takes offense and the two bicker while revealing what is really at the heart of their disagreement: Sully. Poor Zach in the background keeps on rattling off information about the victim, but neither party is listening. Booth declares they should see Dr. Wyatt to get to the root of their issues. Brennan reacts defensively and changes the subject back to the victim. End scene and roll opening credits.

Still in the lab, Hodgins is updating Cam on his exciting discovery: the flood was caused by someone hitting a water main with a shovel. Since there are few, uh, wholesome and innocent reasons to be digging in a cemetery in the middle of the night, they assume the digging is related to the murder. Angela comes up with a sketch of the victim and Hodgins estimates the time of death around three years ago. Oh, there’s some mushy Angela and Hodgins banter, which is now like a dagger in my heart. Dagger, I say!

Booth and Brennan call again on Father Donlan, who is busy gardening. He refuses to believe it was murder, but before Bones can insult him too much, the parish administrator, Lorraine, comes out and smoothes things over—kind of. Father Donlan proves his mental prowess, which Brennan has called into question, by naming every plant in the garden. The yew tree has a curiously prominent place in their discussion; why ever could that be? Hmm. The conversation concludes with B&B getting whisked inside to have tea “with the hippie priest.” I’m pretty sure a priest—especially an old-school one—would never refer to another priest in such a disrespectful manner (particularly in front of company), but it does serve along with the previous scenes to establish Donlan as The Old Curmudgeon.

Inside the parish offices, Father Matt discusses how he’s “younged up” the parish. Brennan mistakes progressive for non-believer, which Father Matt quickly corrects. He’s trying to attract people to the parish, not to change Church doctrine. Bones again equates intelligence with rationality, putting her foot in her mouth. Booth tries to apologize for her, but Father Matt is unflustered. Booth tends to try to cover for Brennan or at least excuse away her offending comments, but his failure to do so here highlights how high tensions between the two are. Lorraine explains her background, but neither recognizes the victim. Lorraine’s pound cake offers Father Matt the opportunity to again mention his stomach troubles. If you don’t see this as An Important Clue, that’s a merit for the writer but it is. Booth asks if there’s anyone else the sketch could be shown to and Father Matt suggests showing after Mass. That’s pretty unorthodox, but Father Matt insists.

In the car, Booth again complains about Bones insulting the priests. She responds, quite accurately, that it was Booth who felt insulted. He again raises the issue of therapy. Brennan becomes very defensive, calling Booth “bossy and judgmental.” He switches tactics and lays on the charm—and the guilt. She agrees to go, but reminds him that she will not hold back any opinions at the time. Booth is pleased.

Meanwhile, in the lab Jack has uncovered a clue, but gets distracted by Angela. She’s ready to go home and that leads Hodgins to ask her to move in. She balks; he reminds her that “over half [of closet space] is the common law definition of living together.” She goes on about her own place, how she needs it, etc. but Hodgins is unconvinced. As am I. If it’s just a place where you crash sometimes, rent a room. But I digress. They start smooching it up and Cam throws some cold water on them (metaphorically). They’ve all been exposed to some disease with a dreadful name, but which is really just Valley Fever. You may remember valley fever as the disease which caused the lab to be quarantined in the first season episode, “The Man in the Fallout Shelter.” It’s dealt with here much more logically (valley fever is a non-communicable disease that’s rarely fatal so the quarantine makes no sense), though giving shots to healthy adults is a bit aggressive.

In the diner, B&B are talking to Dr. Wyatt about God. Well, it’s really more like bickering in the presence of Dr. Wyatt. He offers a line from Blake and wins over Brennan with his declaration that psychology is a poor excuse for a science. Dr. Wyatt astutely observes, as Booth did earlier, that religion is the symptom, not the cause of their problems. Also, how funny is it to hear Stephen Fry say “issue”?

Taking Father Matt up on his offer, Angela and Booth are at church. Booth is actually participating in the service, while Angela is questioning why she is there and not Brennan. They’re having some work troubles, according to Booth. Angela asks if they slept together. “Do you see where we are?!! You don’t talk like that at church!” Booth replies. She, unsurprisingly, doesn’t take that as a no, insisting that “this sounds like a couples thing.” Booth maintains the party line, it’s a work thing. Finishing the service, Father Matt introduces Booth and Angela, who show the sketch around. After some modifications, the victim is identified as Father McCourt, the previous priest. Booth talks to Father Donlan and Lorraine but they aren’t very helpful, only offering that he was secretive, often gone, and left a note one day saying he was leaving the priesthood.

Back in the lab, Zach has noticed postmortem injuries on the other bodies from the cemetery. They realize the water main was probably broken by a grave robber and theorize that Father McCourt was killed after catching the robber in the act. This doesn’t really jive with what Lorraine said in the previous scene, but the writer is hoping we forgot that (or forgot that herself). Booth and Bones meet with Father Matt to inform him of the grave-robbing. He once again complains about his stomach and Bones suggest he may have Valley Fever. That’s not a good guess, since upset stomach or nausea aren’t symptoms (despite what Cam said earlier), but Bones isn’t a medical doctor, so we’ll let it slide.

In Angela’s office, she and Hodgins are pouring over photographs of the deceased, trying to trace the stolen goods. She asks him about Booth and Brennan and stuff. Hodgins is always up for some good gossip, but says he didn’t notice any extra tension. Of course, he apparently is inept at reading women, so…. Angela promises to discuss the moving in thing at lunch. Cam interrupts saying valley fever is rare enough for the CDC to record cases (it’s not) and they need to give samples to confirm the strain. Outside in the center of the lab, Booth is showing Dr. Wyatt around. Dr. Wyatt keeps negatively analyzing the position of Booth’s hands, much to his chagrin. But, this is not about where Booth’s hands are. (Or is it? I’ll come back to this.) This is about how Booth feels about the lab. And he has a lot of feelings for the lab (which symbolizes Brennan, as you’ll undoubtedly conclude); my favorite being where he expresses his desire to rip it all down with his bare hands and set it on fire, except there’s nothing flammable. No, no problems or repressed desires there.

In the interrogation room, B&B are questioning Enzo, a boy from church, who is revealed as the grave robber. He stole from the graves to support a drug habit. He suggests that Father McCourt was a pedophile who was abusing another boy at church, James. He suggests they talk to him. The level of bickering goes up a notch during the interrogation, which Enzo seems to find a little amusing. Meanwhile, Hodgins and Angela are getting it on in the Egyptian storage room. Apparently, this is “lunch.” He attempts to talk to her about moving in together as she promised, but she says she’s too distracted and puts off answering the question.

Booth and Bones are interviewing James in Booth’s office. Booth mentions that he too was an altar boy and liked his priest, but…. James gets upset and says that it wasn’t like that. His dad was nowhere to be found, so Father McCourt became his surrogate dad. James also added that Father Donlan believed he was being abused and intended to punish Father McCourt (harshly, it’s implied). This could easily have been a very trite scene, with James as the abused child seeking vengeance on his abuser-priest, but instead “Bones” goes for a more subtle approach. David Boreanaz is very restrained in this scene, particularly in his facial expressions and tone of voice, which keeps the mood appropriately somber and gently guides James (and the viewer) to the obvious meaning behind his statement. This also lets James himself voice the most serious conclusions, which make his questioning more palatable.

Back in the interrogation room, Father Donlan is being interviewed. He expresses his conservative beliefs: churches should be firm and not be moved by the winds of the time. Bones says that religions that fail to adapt are demoted to mythologies and ultimately fail. (“Nobody worships Odin anymore.”) Needless to say, neither Father Donlan nor Booth are amused. He kicks her out of the room (“All I can think about now is giving you catechism.”) and she leaves in a huff. It’s revealed that his parish has a history of dealing with troubled priests. It’s also revealed that Father Donlan once caned a child—who was, granted, drinking sacramental wine from the chalice. He says he no longer uses corporeal punishment (which is also what he told Zach in the opening scene). Booth asks whether Father McCourt paid too much attention to James. Donlan says to ask James, dodging the question. When Booth repeats their conversation, Donlan expresses remorse for frightening the boy. This scene is the first time we’re given a look beyond at his character beyond Curmudgeon and it’s quite interesting. Here, Donlan is shown as a man who keenly feels his responsibilities to the church and to society. He may be old fashioned, but he takes seriously his role as a leader/teacher of both the congregation and the troubled priests he’s sent. He’s a moral exemplar, for whom there can be no grey areas or doubts, only firm convictions and clearly defined boundaries between right and wrong.

Back in the lab, Zach’s found additional fractures and abnormalities in the bone matrix. Cam agrees to run a tox screen, while Hodgins identifies the murder weapon as being antique silver. Back in the interrogation room, Brennan is complaining to Dr. Wyatt about being kicked out. He reminds her to be “kicked out,” the space must belong to someone else. Counterpointing to Booth’s feelings about the lab, Brennan feels frustrated in questioning suspects. She wants to figure out how Booth does it and replicate it on her own—except according to Bones, she doesn’t. She wants to figure Booth out completely, “be one with him” as Dr. Wyatt puts it. Bones catches what he’s doing and amends it to include “in a scientific sense.” Again, no problems or repressed desires here folks.

B&B pay a visit to the parish to trying to get more information. Bones notices the sacramental chalice is made of antique silver and argues it needs to be tested. Booth is understandably concerned, but after weighing the situation in his mind, he picks up the chalice and out the door they go. Guess he figures God would spot him this one. Hodgins concludes it is the murder weapon, but Zach says the blow was struck peri-mortem, so maybe not. Luckily, Cam breaks the stalemate by saying the victim was poisoned.

B&B return again to the parish, this time to the gym. Booth is concerned that Father Matt failed to mention he knew Father McCourt from school. They interrupt wrestling practice, the most suggestively homoerotic of all the sports. I’m not kidding; it’s quite clear the writer wants the viewer to perceive Father Matt’s actions in this scene as straddling the line between acceptable and uncomfortable. “Use it to smite your enemies” is a good line, though it only works as a transition between the wrestling maneuvers and the questioning because David Burke plays Father Matt so sincerely and earnestly innocent. Father Matt restates that although they went to the same school, he didn’t know the victim and that he was sent to revitalize the parish, nothing else.

At an impasse, Booth and Brennan are at the diner. Brennan attempts to create a motive for Father Matt to have killed Father McCourt. She fails miserably, but she does admit to Booth that she has no intuition. He agrees. Booth offers his argument: Father Donlan is sent troubled priests, but he is getting too old to deal with them properly so he takes action. Dr. Wyatt pops in, quipping “Quarreling? Yes, of course you are.” He declares he knows their problem and can set things right. Of course, he always knew what the problem was; he was just having fun. They are both worried that Bones didn’t leave with Sully because of Booth. We the viewers know this is true, for B&B can no longer look at each other. Dr. Wyatt definitively declares this to be quite wrong and states that the true reason was that Brennan can’t lead a purposeless life. With the status quo restored, they can finally focus on the case and realize that Father Matt has been sick for a long time and perhaps has been poisoned too. The scene end with a high five, the way all scenes should end.

Bones shares Dr. Wyatt’s insights with a skeptical Angela. Angela asks if Brennan really believes what Dr. Wyatt said, which Brennan deflects with a comment about expertise. Either she’s really that naïve or, as I suspect, she’s deliberately choosing to believe what she knows cannot be true. Makes a certain season four episode very interesting, no? Angela, meanwhile, relates her own tale of relationship woe to Bones, who sets up a meeting with Dr. Wyatt.

In the FBI conference room, Booth and Brennan confront Father Donlan with the evidence against him. He confesses, but Booth believes he is lying. Donlan agrees to name the killer, if he gets to take the confession.

In the interrogation room, Father Donlan is talking to Lorraine. It was all an accident, she didn’t mean to kill Father McCourt, just weaken him so he couldn’t abuse anyone. He fell and hit his head, she hit him with the chalice just to be sure he was dead before burial. (Because checking for breathing and pulse is so unreliable.) Donlan tells her that there was no proof that McCourt abused anyone and Father Matt was merely a replacement. She asks for absolution, he says “this is not that kind of confession.” I am 100% sure this would never, ever happen in real life nor would Lorraine think that attending confessional in a FBI interrogation room was normal. Still, it’s TV land and wordplay, so they let it slide. The musical montage is nice, though.

Ahhhhh! Sorry, for a second there I was blinded by the inappropriate lens flare that transitions into the final scene. If you’re not being blinded between scenes, it’s not the second season! In the diner, Brennan brings Angela to Dr. Wyatt, saying “We need you to do it with her.” At the risk of being relegated to the role of advice columnist, he suggests that Angela wait to make a decision until Hodgins has an equal amount of stuff at her place and remove a bunch of her stuff from his closet in the meantime. Brennan leaves to meet Booth, but Angela lingers. Once Brennan is out of earshot, she calls Dr. Wyatt on his bull. Brennan didn’t go with Sully because of Booth. He told them what they needed to hear to be able to work together, which is his primary interest since he is employed by the FBI. Wyatt acknowledges Angela’s insight and the scene ends. End of episode, roll credits.

This is an episode that seems to be a lot more important in the evolution of Brennan and Booth’s relationship, in light of the fourth season. Let’s return to Booth’s conversation with Dr. Wyatt in the lab. The lab is symbolic of Brennan, as I stated earlier and I think we all agree with that. Wanting to rip down the edifice with his bare hands can be interpreted to mean he’d like to tear down Bones’ emotional barriers. Set it on fire; passion is often described as fire. Nothing is flammable=she is incapable of passion (at least with him). Of course, this is highly speculative. More likely, Booth is just questioning where he fits in Brennan’s world, especially with her break-up with Sully in mind. Still, I think it is a valid reading of the scene, particularly if taken in strict parallelism with Brennan’s conversation with Wyatt. As for Bones, I think she starts to realize that she has feelings for Booth that extend beyond the professional. She chooses, again in my opinion, to ignore them and believe a lie rather than cope with them. All of which (Booth’s and Brennan’s feelings) will be explored more fully in the fourth season.

18 comments:

Jessica said...

Very good review and how it's explained that Booth wants to rip down the lab probably means he wants to 'rip' Bones apart makes me look at this episode in a different way so I probably have to watch it again I also thought that in this episode Bones' feeling for Booth became clear at least that's my opinion especially after the episode before this one when she decided not to go with Sully I always thought she didn't really loved Sully or else she would have gone with him

Leeloo said...

Good review! I was wondering as well about the thing with Sully. I never really believed what Gordon Gordon said.

You mention a 4th season episode in which Brennan lives a purposeless life, which one? Unless I misaunderstood your hint.

BB Shipper said...

Please explain! Which S4 ep? Great review by the way (love the interpretation of ripping dowing the edifice with bare hands BTW)

"Angela asks if Brennan really believes what Dr. Wyatt said, which Brennan deflects with a comment about expertise. Either she’s really that naïve or, as I suspect, she’s deliberately choosing to believe what she knows cannot be true. Makes a certain season four episode very interesting, no? Angela"

Kate said...

The fourth season episode in question is "Mayhem on the Cross." I'm alluding to the well-discussed exchange between Gordon and Sweets where Gordon says that one of the pair (B&B) is very much aware of his/her feelings for the other. Here, I'm arguing the person Gordon refers to is Brennan, not Booth (as might be expected).

Jessica said...

To Kate,

I always thought it was Booth who was aware of his feelings because of all his actions towards her I couldn't really find an example that shows Brennan is the one who is acutely aware of it, maybe you can give me your point of view on this btw I liked the episode Mayhem on a cross the end scene was so beautiful and because Bones made Booth share his past that is something he wouldn't have done to please Sweets he is looking at Bones while sharing this and that's why I always thought it was Booth who was aware

alexandra said...

Nice review Kate.
I'm sorry, I know this is not the right place to post it, but Wendy is today Tamara Taylor's birthday or am I wrong? (feel free to remove this comment).
Sorry kate. ;-) (don't be mad at me).

Alessandra.

Anonymous said...

Great review Kate loved this episode and you are right about the season 4 episode. I have watched all the seasons after the discussions regarding b&b since mayhem and I have got to say there are small subtle things that point to Brennan having feelings for booth so I agree with this point of the review

Petit Chat said...

What small subtle things? :)

Anonymous said...

I am with Kate. I always (even in s1) thought that Brennan is in love with Booth but because of her fear of rejection, despite her forwardness decided not to show her feeling to anyone. She was afraid that if she told Booth, he would leave her just like everyone else did.

We all know that she didn't go with Sully because she couldn't stand being away from Booth. On the other hand everybody else including Booth knew that Brennan has feeling for Booth. We saw the evidence of it in s5. Nobody questioned her feeling but Cam and Sweets warned Booth about his feeling.

Jessica,
One of the proofs is in the end of "The Truth in the Lye" episode. When Angela and Hodgins entered on B&B locked eye to eye, Brennan had a successful smile afterward but Booth went to have sex with Cam!
The second is in the end of "The Man in the Cell" episode. When Booth told her that he had a relationship with Cam, she just focused on had a relationship part with a smile.

sai said...

One of my favorite episodes ever... can never tire of (re) watching it... my favorite line and expression - Brennen saying 'Hitler did pretty well by himself'.She turns her nose up in the air and rolls her eyes in an abosolutely adorable manner.

Thanks for a nice review :)

Jessica said...

Thank you all for giving me the examples I will watch it again it's a big sacrifice ;) I love the Bones series and I've watched it a million times so one more time won't hurt :) it makes me look at Bones in another way I also thought it was Booth but you made it very clear it's Bones though I also think that Booth has loved her for a while now and not because of the brain thing

Petit Chat said...

It should not be forgotten that in girl with the curl Booth chooses a platonic evening with Brennan over sex with Cam. :)
I think he didn't have sex with Brennan because of what he said just before: with some people (Brennan) there is too much at stake, too much to loose if not done correctly, and not with Cam.
I don't think either of them was in love in S1, that would have been too fast.

Petit Chat said...

At the end of man in the mansion he said he need a flashier tie, why? To deal with the fact that Sully is more privileged than him cause Sully sleeps with Brennan. Well, that's how I understand it.
In boneless Booth seems sad that she wants so badly go back to Sully.
I don't think their feelings for each other were ever one sided.

Petit Chat said...

And Booth seems very disappointed when they kiss at the end of bodies in the book.
Etc.....

Anonymous said...

Petit Chat,

We always assume that the normal one is Booth, so he was supposed to be the one aware of love attraction. But as we see in s5, it is not true.

Booth's heart was with Brennan but his head forbids this love with full force. So he wasn't acting on it. He knew that he has to be with Brennan but he thought it is possible only as a partner. He is a very disciplined guy, so he never allowed himself to even dream about Brennan in that way.

If you accept above assumptions, everything is explainable in all episodes:
The girl with the curl: his heart won over his head. Let's not forget he had a strong desire to spend as much time as possible with her.
The Man in the Mansion: he was concerned that sex with Sully means less time with her.
The Bodies in the Book: he lost his quality time with Brennan because of the passion between Sully and Brennan.

As for s1, it looked to me that they had sexual desire since day one. But she got more draw to him in The Man in the Morgue when she saw his loyalty. And we all know about the dedication of her book to him.

--Rosi

em-jay said...

Interesting conversations about the season 4 episode. When I read it, I tried to figure out right away which one you meant. Since you said she was "deliberately choosing to believe what she knows cannot be true..." I took it to be Con Man in the Meth Lab when she chose to believe the lies Jared fed her about Booth being a loser. Her way of coping/justifying her time spent with Jared is by believing that he is the better man, which she KNOWS cannot be true. It seemed like a safety mechanism to protect her heart.

Sorry, off on a bit of a tangent, but I thought I'd share some thoughts on your review. Great job!

jenny said...

Great review!I love this episode so much for all that it means for the relationship between Brennan and Booth and of course for Gordon Gordon.I so love to watch Stephen Fry on this one,his acting is so on-the-spot,every expression of his face,every change of tone,every smirk and rising of an eyebrow,means something.I also love the bickering about religion,especially in the scene before the opening credits-and Brennan's line about the chalice: "Can we take it with us now or do we need to serve a warrant on God?" LMAO!
And of course congrats,Kate,for talking about the foreshadowing of events,in regards to Mayhem.I too am one of those who believe Wyatt is talking about Brennan in that epi,and people above have pointed out certain moments that justify that-and of course I agree 100% that Brennan realises whast Wyatt means when he says "be one with him" and CHOOSES to cover it up with reason.
But mostly,High-five again and again to em-jay!!!What a great comment/intervention!I always believed Brennan CHOSE to believe Jared's words,not only because of a protection mechanism,as you said,but also because the things he said about his brother,about "liking to keep his head low" and stuff seemed to her a way to explain something that had been troubling her for years,a question she couldn't find the answer to(as Avalon told her in the premiere-it all seems to add up as the series progresses :)-at least in my opinion):why Booth,even though he has shown multiple times that he's interested in her more than as a partner,has never acted on that,why has he always been hesitating,taking a step back at the very last moment?Jared's words seemed to be some sort of explanation-and he proved her right even more when he(who is not like his brother)KISSED her AND added "I bet Seeley never did that" (or sth like that).
I've been thinking about this since the first day the epi aired,but everybody was so angry at Brennan,blaming her for not showing faith in him,that I didn't openly share my thoughts...I would love to hear what other people think about that...
Well done again,Kate!

Carthy Calder said...

Jibe not "jive."
Poring not "pouring."

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