Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bones Episode Review: 5.07 "The Dwarf in the Dirt"

The promo for this episode did not do it justice, in most ways. For those who's greatest spoilers are the promos, there was no hint of the depth in this episode.

Just to get it out of the way up front... The Simpsons references... Dan Castellanetta, Homer's Brain, the signings, the bumblebee man

The first, I loved. Dan Castellenetta cracks me up when he appears in non-animated guest spots. I loved his Stargate SG-1 episode, especially. He can spout corney jokes on Bones anytime!

The brain I totally missed.

Bumblebeeman struck me as goofy and odd and it didn't make any sense to me at all until I found out it was a Simpsons reference. It seemed so demeaning. I mean, people dress their babies up as bumblebees. We could have done that to Noah this year! (We are far too geeky for that though. He was a dragon.)

The signings drove me CRAZY! I actually thought "is that Nancy Cartwright?" on the first one but discounted it. The machine-gun signings during Cam's conversation with Mr. NM drove me up the wall and I still don't like it, even knowing it was a Simpsons reference. It should have stayed much more subtle and it kind of irks me that it ruined that scene for me.

Mr Nigel-Murray

He is completely flat in this episode, which is sad. He has always had a twinge of fun and interest about him but the other interns have just shot ahead in that department this season and he didn't go anywhere but more bland with Cam's assertion they are developing a shorthand to cut off his factual ramblings. This is not progress, to just reign him in! He needs something unique to make us actually care he's there and I just don't see it. Daisy, Vasiri and Wendell are waaaaaaaay ahead of him on the 'do I care?' meter.

Cam's statement "Keep looking, Mr NM" is a direct reference to his waning level of interest, to me.

Mr Nigel-Murray: A super-strong dwarf, such as might be found in The Lord of the Rings.
No, no no! Gimlii can never die, ok?

But apparently midget wrestlers can. I actually like this case and I never get tired of them having fun with their victims, in a manner of speaking. It is becoming a bit formulaic, possibly, for them to do this, but it always works. Thanking about that, and the time of year, does make me miss Zack though, and his protestations that Santa is impossible and children are foolish for believing in him...and Cam simply saying "Santa is magic." (Sorry for the tangent. And the run-on sentence.)

This episode (or maybe my current state of mind) is bringing so many references to mind. The idea that the Iron Leprechaun is a franchise makes me think of Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride. Now that was a sweet gig!

"Gidget is like the Vince McMahon of our world." I really liked her character. she was plucky and you really didn't think about her size at all. She completely transcended it through both personality and the honest, non-stereotypical portrayal (unlike one of my favorite scenes ever, from "The Girl in Suite 2103" where Brennan discusses the actual physical possibility of kicking the state department guy out the window).

Even though the midget wrestling can be a demeaning bit of humor, I like that the main point of this portrayal of little people is not about their size. This is a real plot that, with just a few tweaks, could have played out with average sized people. It wasn't gimmicky; it was smart. The dwarf might have actually gotten the girl someday too!

Side note...I hate to even write this, but I'm going to anyway because I try to include everything that occurs to me when I watch episodes.... I hate lover-lady's hair! It's awful. It's like a bland, female version of the mullet, without the party or the business done properly. It' brain is in overdrive with a plethora of negative adjectives and analogies. It looks a little better near the end when Booth takes her to the crime scene, but it's not enough. I'll just say that, if you are one of those people who hate's Emily's wardrobe this season, which is worse? Her wardrobe or that hair? It's no contest!

I love so much about this episode but there is one major aspect of the writing that bothers me a lot. I think that many of the jokes, for most every character, are far too similar. There's no character differentiation and it seems like the writer is doing an episode of the Simpsons instead of Bones, where it's just about packing the jokes. How horribly obvious is Booth's line about getting little blue pills to solve his 'gun' problem (ie, Viagra), the suspect's joke about the cell feelng roomier with Bryce as his bunkmate, Booth completely OOC quipping to the victim about 'short stick' being a pun.....and on and on and on. I like the story, I like the character issues, I love Gordon-Gordon.... but while watching this again to review these lines stand out and they just bother me as too much about laughs and too little about the actual Bones characters and their specific characterizations.


In most respects, Cam could have been taken completely out of this episode and no one would have missed her. I hate to see her so underutilized. She was little more than Mr. Nigel-Murray's teacher here, which isn't really her job.

Those were mostly beautiful boys wrestling around all oiled up and naked.
Not much to say except that is exactly right for her to say that.

I like the parallel of Angela and Gordon-Gordon back at the table in the dinner, with her again wanting to talk about BB and pushing the relationship angle on him. But this is a more mature Angela, at least in this moment. She's not all "I am woman. Listen up you stupid man!' and 'just accept what I'm telling you' to him. She speaks with a touching depth about how Booth has changed. Brennan may be able to list every minute overt detail that has changed about Booth, but she's still blind to so many issues of the heart. It takes people like Angela to spell them out.

Does she really think that Booth 'just' fell in love with Brennan though? She's been pushing this relationship for a long time and I don't think it has always been simply because they'd be 'hot' together, though I am sure that's why she started it.

Overall she seems very at peace in these scene with Gordon-Gordon. Like the sleek, well-centered, mature woman she can be. Is Wendell doing a girl good?

Rubble... that's a word I loathe.
Hooray for a field trip for him. He should always be let out of his ooky room from time to time.
Hodgins: I am back. King of the lab, right?
Brennan: No, not King of the Lab.
Someday, Hodgins, someday! You will reclaim all your various bits of self!


I love his mutterings and his overt outbursts. His new career move has certainly changed him.
Gordon-Gordon: Is this something to do with the jumbling your poor boggled noggin got last year?

Booth: Maybe you can just pretend like I'm a recipe that needs fixing.

Gordon-Gordon: You've suddenly become an indiscriminant homicidal maniac.

Suspect: "You look like a substitute teacher and a fry cook"
What about Gordon-Gordon's appearance looks anything like a fry cook? That joke is reaching far beyond it's limits and I wish they'd found a better, more plausible way to again bring up his 'cook' angst.
Sweets: The cops are in there
Gordon-Gordon: Yes, in case you annoy us and we want an arrest made. Any more cracks about fry cooks and I'll have them come in here to rough you up.

Gordon-Gordon: There's more than one way to feed people, you know?
He's so delightfully quotable. I've skipped so many of them as it is.
Gordon-Gordon: I look forward to consulting with you on the strange case of the man here and after referred to as Agent B.
How conspiratorial. Let's have much more of this discussion between the two of them about "Agent B" this season.
Gordon-Gordon: You know what I said about the eggs? It doesn't extend to the potatoes.
That was one of those moments where your brain does a double take, wondering if he really did literally spit out his potatoes onto his plate right in front of our eyes. On the one hand I want to say that should never have happened and I am totally grossed out. But I'm not. I'm not sure why. Stephen Fry's magical spell? The fact he's a Brit and we let Brits get away with all kind of things simply because they *sound* so intelligent? Or simply that he's Gordon-Gordon and he's allowed to be a bit eccentric?
Gordon-Gordon: That's what I get for using Quigly Down Under as a reference.

Gordon-Gordon: ... that you may be born aloft on the trembling wings of giglion angels.
I appreciate the intelligence of the writing of Gordon-Gordon. He has changed considerably since we first met him, as he casts of the mantle of psychology (as much as it is possible for him to do such a thing) and embraces a less proper and 'British' version of himself. I say that with the tinge of American idealized British. We tend to think they are all perfectly schooled, mannered, and attired, as that is mostly how we see them portrayed. Gordon-Gordon has become quite scruffy and even quite crass!


Sweets: Agent Booth has had me conduct more interrogations lately. (more confidence in Sweets or less in himself?)
Gordon-Gordon: That's quite the vote of confidence
Sweets: I know why you're here. Agent Booth left my office and immediately went to you, didn't he?
He then has to admit that his list of 'change's actually came from Brennan. Sweets is so often getting one-upped, even at his own game...

Even Gordon-Gordon has to explain to him exactly why Booth couldn't talk to him about his problems - it would cause a conflict of interest in Sweet's job. Sweets is like the most naive shrink in the world, with a few shining moments of clarity and brilliance. He's the child prodigy (literally) who seems to have no idea how much of the world works. I hope we see a few steps forward for his character in maturity and self-knowledge before it's all over. Just an episode, or two, where he has some serious growth and it's not just for comic relief or a momentary storyline like in "A Night at the Bones Museum." I loved that story, but it didn't change him at all, in ways we will see, at least.

Yes, the bar is set high for character development on this show. No stale people!
Sweets: What are we looking for?
: Lies and guilt, Sweets. What else is there?
"Excuse me. Obviously got the wrong guy"
Booth's inability to shoot robs him of his fundamental nature as protector without question. That has been his fall-back skill for many years. Who cares about plumbing, or lying people, or any of that stuff. If he can't shoot straight, what is it?
Booth: If I ask you a question, can you answer it in plain language

Booth: So, FBI first, me 2nd... You just called me "Agent Booth", Doctor Sweets. You know - I learned the importance of vocabulary from you.
I think most of Booth's issues figuring people out have very little to do with his brain and much more to do with his complete lack of confidence. he didn't end up in that hospital bed doing something heroic. He was cut down by something he couldn't see or fight or fix. That is far more damaging than the injury and recovery itself.
Brennan: Why are you not cracking lines?
Booth: Why? Because it's not 1945 Just let it flow naturally, ok, Bones?

Booth: I just had a bad day on the range
Brennan: Is that a cowboy metaphor?

Brennan: Obviously you just need more practice
But she quickly gets to the real problem before anyone esle does. It's psychological. It just takes Gordon-Gordon to get it fully worked out. It is huge for her to admit it might be psychological, isn't it? Booth doesn't want to consider that option and certainly doesn't want the FBI to look a it (He doesn't mind discussing it with Brennan though).
Booth: Why's he green?
Brennan: Well, that's not really our highest priority
Booth: How can being green not be a priority, Bones?

Brennan: Rather than counting on superstition to make you shoot more accurately, you should just practice more.
It didn't take her long to return to an explanation she can easily wrap her mind around. She was smiling after him when he got mad at that though.... deliberately bating him?

Chef's food is not Booth food. Or rather, it confuses him. But he enough of a 'bloke' (I've been watching way too much Top Gear and James May solo work and it seems to be a great night for random tangents) that he will go along with Gordon-Gordon and he actually enjoys it.
Booth: I just need ya to help me fire my gun.
Gordon-Gordon: That sounds desperately phallic
The truth is all over this episode and I think they make too many jokes about it, 'blue pills' and all. It's too quippy, as if all the lines are coming from the writer and not the characters.
Gidget: Something goes wrong in the heart department, it always shows itself in another way.
TOO OBVIOUS! Booth looks really uncomfortable when she says it. Booth obviously needs to be hit over the head with the realization of why he's having a problem... but we don't!
Booth: Why are you asking Bones? (about what's different re: Booth)

Brennan: Fraud - look at his femurs!
That made me lol. It's the Brennan equivalent of... that can't be the same guy, his hair cut is different, or he's not tan enough.
Booth: He came at me like a rabid ferret.... What was I supposed to do?
Sweets lists the changes in Booth...
Gordon-Gordon: How wretchedly observant of you.
Sweets: Not me. Dr. Brennan.
Brennan: I prefer good boys.
Booth: Really?
Mmmhmmm, his look says...
Gordon-Gordon: I think perhaps a crisis of the heart and loins.
Again, directly tying in with Booth. It is a bit over the top, how many references there are to what Booth's real problem is.

Kind of funny to think of the 'head and heart' Bones them being replaced with 'head and loins' though... I know a bunch of shippers wouldn't mind that too much!
Angela: I think he misses that dream. It's like he's heartsick for that place, and those people. (or just one part of it...)
What, I'm not allowed to chime in? I'm a law enforcement professional. (Another SitS reminder... Booth was extremely respectful of that security guard and his association as another law enforcement professional.)

Sweets book concludes they love each other, but he told Booth that he's not in love with Dr. B? How very Gordon-Gordon in Season 2 of him: keep them apart for everyone's good. Including the FBI.

-Brennan armors herself with her intellect, Booth won't make a move on her b/c it's tantamount to assault (I said something very similar recently, didn't I?)
Booth: Remind me again how great I feel after talking to you?
Brennan: Who else would always tell you the truth?

Brennan: Maybe I should start packing heat again.

Booth: Did you just call forensic evidence crap? (joshing around)
I love joke-y Brennan. More bad jokes please!!
Brennan: Ratting out is an accurate phrase, but somehow it doesn't seem true.
Gordon-Gordon: You've come quite a long way since we last met if you can now see the difference between accuracy and the truth.
It is nice to see her uncomfortable with an issue but not completely stonewalling it. She understands the connotation of ratting him out but she knows that her motivations were nothing of that sort. Not that she wants to admit it, and she did quickly deflect. But I see progress - she definitely didn't argue!
Brennan: I can't think of anything I wouldn't do to help him
(Shipper awwwwww)

I do like Booth's clothes. And Brennan's - especially the coats. If he has to 'rediscover himself' he can make a few changes, right?
Booth: If you've been in love with another man for 10 years, your husband knows.

Booth: When a man can't have the woman he loves, he gets a bit crazy.
Every bit of this episode just screams the truth, even from Booth's mouth, and by the time they spell it out it's like ' uh yeah, we've been hearing that for the whole hour! The dialog is just too... obvious. I don't see the subtlety we're used to.
Brennan: We're good at this.
Booth: This is what we do. We're the best.
That line feels like a return right back to Harbingers, where Booth tells Avalon that sometimes you need to just accept 2nd best. I don't think he had the same adamant attitude about it this time, though. it was more like "I will enjoy 2nd best" instead of "i refuse to think about more than this."

End scene with Gordon-Gordon and Booth...
Gordon-Gordon: When you were in an coma you got a glimpse of another world
Booth: Right. And how does that help me aim my gun?
Gordon-Gordon: Temperance Brennan (Booth sighs) Youre in love with her. You're building a world around her. A family
Booth: We're not compatible. She's sees the world one way. I see it the other.
Gordon-Gordon: No of course, it's absolutely ludicrous the idea of the two of you together. But the heart chooses what it chooses, doesn't it? We don't really have any say in the matter.
Booth: She doesn't love me. I would know if she loved me.
Gordon-Gordon: May I counsel patience on this front? Hope and patiences.
Booth: So, about my marksmanship certification... Any advice?
Gordon-Gordon: Grow a set. Be a man. Step up. She's your partner for heaven's sake. The job you do together is a highly dangerous one. She counts on you for protection. So you damn well better protect her... When it comes to a man and his gun, a woman is the natural cure. Take Dr. Brennan to this shooting event. You won't fail in front of her. Trust me.

Booth: It's a thing. Just go with it. (nice attempt at 'growing a set')

Brennan: I'm becoming quite amusing.
I have loved a lot of Bones music but I think I have played this one to death. What a beautiful choice.

As I end this review I have a feeling similar to how I felt when I reviewed Santa in the Slush. I did not enjoy picking at this episode because it lessened a bit of the 'magic' of the character points in this episode. I don't want to think abotu how the writing, or lover-lady's hair, annoyed me. I want to ohhh and ahhh over the character hints and bold-faced admissions and just enjoy the glow of a very sweet and meaningful bit of BB. And a thoroughly enjoyable Gordon-Gordon!


salu said...

I understood the "Substitue teacher and fry cook" as Gordon-Gordon as the teacher and Sweets as the fry cook... But GG took it all wrong!

Anonymous said...

I took the "fry cook" comment as a combination of the previous cook/chef arguments and a play off of Stephen Fry's name, but that's just me. :)

Anonymous said...

i laughed so hard i cried when gordon-gordon spit the potatoes back onto his plate. it was so childish and i wasn't expecting it at all. good review. i agree that they were being a bit too obvious for my taste with the "they need to be together" lines, but it was soooo cute, so i overlooked it :)

Kate said...

I think you hit on something very interesting and important when you mentioned Booth losing his most basic protective ability and losing it (in his mind, initially) to an intangible, uncontrollable foe.

In many ways, it seems like the writers are really stripping Booth of his most identifiable characteristics the last two seasons, from his family and his ability to read people to tiny rebellions and sniper skills. I think the only thing left is his Catholicism!

Also, it's very telling that as a character Brennan has to compromise and accomodate, but Booth has to be remodel for the two of them to get together.

Not sure if that's all clear. It's late and I am VERY tired.

Jeannie said...

Did anybody else think that spitting out the potatoes by GG was totally ad-libbed by Fry?

And this is so silly, I'm almost embarassed to admit it but towards the end, when Brennan complains about sitting in the kitchen, she says it's hot and noisy. Well, I'd assume it's even hotter if you leave your coat on as she did. Must be the mother in me but I thought that was really rude. After all, it was a sit-down dinner, not grabbing a burger at the drive through (which is called McDrive here in Germany, btw).

Also shallow, but I loved Stephen Fry's haircut in this episode! (Hey, Wendy started this talk about hair, right? ;-))

Loved that they addressed the ridiculousness of a psychatrist and a chef interrogating a suspect. I mean, that's so implausible (and probably illegal as well) in regard to how things are really handled that I felt that the fact that they addressed it totally made it work for me, if that makes any sense.

And I completely agree, the blunt remarks about what happens to a a man if he can't have the woman he wants etc. were completely unnecessary. I even found them to be a bit insulting to the viewer, as if I couldn't figure out their meaning on my own if I wasn't hit over the head with it.

ama said...

No, Jeannie, you weren't the only one who found her comment about it being hot and noisy pretty rude. My first thought after she said that was, 'well then take off your coat, for god's sake.'

And Wendy, you're not being shallow in really not liking that woman's half-mullet. It was all I could think about in the scenes with her. It was as if Kate Gosselin's hair had grown out on this poor woman's head. *shudders, and is shallow*

I know it's a TV show, but I too wish that we weren't banged over the head quite so much with the really blatant quotes. I thought this about the following episode, with Booth's grandfather, as well. I love B&B and the recent eps, but my initial reaction is always to roll my eyes when the writers more or less flash in big neon lights 'B&B ARE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER'. I think that Brennan and Booth are very smart people who will eventually figure things out in their own way.

When it comes down to it, I care about how Booth and Brennan feel. Not what other people say they feel. We see that they care very deeply for each other in all of their interactions and definitely don't need a comment from the suspect of the week to convince us of that.

Anyway, this might very well have been my favorite ep of this season, even with the really minor quibbles I've mentioned. The end was so beautiful. The colors, their expressions, the music. Love, love, loved it. Thanks for this review, which allowed me to revisit the ep!

Wendy said...

Ama - you said it perfectly. What matters is how they feel, not what everyone else says about it.

Jeannie - I was watching Brennan say that at the table thinking that I wanted to say something about that line but I couldn't figure out what. You are so right - take off your coat!

Anonymous said...

You didn't mention the last look between them, and the look on Booth's face - it reminded me of earlier seasons, so much said without words, the intensity of the connection in the look. It was in contrast to the frequent verbal quips that everyone stated that referenced their feelings for each other.

em-jay said...

That's true, Anon 8.50. I liked the last look between them, but I hadn't thought about the fact that it was so Classic Bones for them to communicate so much with very little words. Love that aspect of our show!

Denise said...

Can anybody tell me the reason why this episode was filled with references to the Simpsons?

Denise said...

As always I was looking forward to your review, Wendy. And as always I'm grateful for your thoughtful insight, it helps a lot to understand what is going on, or to catch several tidbits I didn't notice while watching the episode for the first time.

Anonymous said...

Great review as always, Wendy. I, too, especially loved the Angela-GG scene. And as you and others have said, the closing was pure magic (as is the music, which I continue to enjoy).

I thought Brennan's line when they arrived at the sinkhole, though, was "Why aren't you cracking wise?" (not lines). I was thinking it was her typical mangling of "wisecracking," and that it was a measure of Booth's melancholy that he didn't even bother to correct her this time.

Wendy said...

You are all making such great points! Especially about the 'no words needed' look at the end.

Kate said...

@Denise--The Simpsons references were part of a contest Fox was running.

As for taking off the coat, evidently Brennan's not allowed to take her coat off this season. It really, really bugs me. Accept the weight gain, dress her appropriately, it's not rocket science. Millions of women are a size 8 (or larger, gasp!) and manage to dress in manner that does not make them resemble small cars in size without resorting to open trench coats.

(I told you it really bugged me.)

Anonymous said...

Wendy, I hate to be predantic but what Gordon Gordon said was "born aloft on the wings of giglion angels. THis is a reference to an Italian renaissance art historian called Vasari. It's very intellectual, very educated and very, very Stephen Fry.

(I am an art teacher and English)

Wendy said...

Thank you for the correction. I was just going by my American ears and the closed captioning which also got it wrong!

bbshipper said...

@ Anon 11:57, good lord! That was my fave qoute and I have been misqouting it all over the place! The BY, Twitter, here ... Lol thanks so much for the correction!

Destiny said...

I know this episode was very, for lack of a better word, unsubtle but you know what I think? I think that the plot is a B/B shipper. I think that it's sick and tired of nothing happening for 4 seasons and decided to throw subtltly out of the window and start beating Booth and Brennan upside the head with the Clue Stick until they get it. Personally, I don't blame it.

Cheryl said...

I'm with Destiny. (That's an awesome name btw). Remember guys, Bones always fluctuates: it can be funny/sad/very high tech/subtle/obvious all while bldg the various character r'ships. As Destiny said, this was a Clue Stick ep. Goooooooooooooo STICK! I'm all for whatever it takes to move toward an _actual_ (not implied nor the type that takes Sweets & GG to discern its existence & nuances) r'ship between B&B.

Bones and Brennan said...

I loved the part of the episode when they say:

Booth: Why's he green?
Brennan: Well, that's not really our highest priority
Booth: How can being green not be a priority, Bones?

I think that the show had a lot more depth then we all expected. Booth actually accepted his own emotions.

JL from Canada said...

I loved this episode! But the nit-picking aspect of my personality has two issues to mention that have not been brought up yet:

1) Brennan says to GG that a real marksman keep both eyes open, then at the end of the show Booth closes one eye when he is shooting!

2) After Sweets is finished interviewing the little cougar woman, they walk out and Booth says, "Jesus, Sweets, what took you so long..." Does the religious explicative not seem out of character for Booth?

Just my two cents, but I still LOVED this episode! :-)

Cheryl said...

@ JL

Wondered abt the eye closing but I think when I re-watched it, I noticed he starts with both eyes open & it's as if the recoil from the gun kinda makes his eyes squint, almost involuntarily. And saying "Jesus Sweets" does seem OOC.

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