Monday, September 28, 2009

Bones Episode Review: 5.02 "The Bond in the Boot"

Sorry for the delay. Still working back into the routine. I have updated the Master List to reflect last week's reviews as well as link to Bones Season 1 and Season 2 guest reviews.

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The Bond in the Boot

So, last week I asked for a few things and it seems we got them in spades! The ick train has left the station and it's not stopping any time soon. Stephen Nathan must have had a huge hand in this one. It was so gross you didn't know if you wanted to cover your eyes or laugh (I did both). I know a lot of people cite "The Truth in the Lye" as the grossest body ever (I disagree - except for the skull cap). Do you still feel that way? If it wasn't bad enough we get squirting blood as a hand is cut off (the bodies are rarely so 'fresh' on Bones), we also get broken legs and a bouncing head as the car passes. On top of that there are cats feeding on him (Jamie, are you fist pumping that?). And THEN we get a disgusting mass in the trunk. With nasty eyes. And face slide!

Bravo.

Sort of.

It was so far out there I began to laugh, a lot, and wonder if Bones was swinging too far into the silly side of things. This thought lasted about half an episode, until Booth got serious about the case and its impact and then Bones swung back to its roots and by the end of the episode I thought: Wow, this one captured it all!

We had ick, we had fun, we had laughs, we had connection with the victim, connection between Booth and Bones, a real family feel in the lab (anyone think Wendell might be the keeper after this treatment?), and basically everything that makes Bones the show we love. Short of a guest appearance by Caroline, Max, or Gordon-Gordon this episode seemed to have it all. Does it make you who feel Seasons 4 and even 3, plainly, sucked, think this one just might redeem the show?
The case - once you get past the eww...

Once you get past the icky beginning, I liked this case. Mostly this had to do with the (2nd) victim and the old-school Bones connection to him. They didn't just dismiss him. They saw deeper and respected what they found. It was an interesting twist to actually see the first murder happen on screen and figuring out the connection between two bodies was a plus for audience interest and the lab's detective skills.

However, is it just me, or is it a bit weird they lauded a guy who murdered a courier, cut off his hand, and ran over him? That struck me as waaaaaaay past ‘brave, rule-bending dreamer.' They connected with the guy a lot more than I did, as a viewer. On second viewing I can reasonably see the connection with the dreamer, especially as Wendell specifically points it out but, maybe I’m still reeling from this ick, he’s just too far out there for me as a victim.

I liked the girlfriend and her mousy/backbone mesh. I liked that she, like her boyfriend, stood up for what she believed in and spoke out against the CIA establishment (albeit off the record after Booth sort of forced her) in support of her dead man. She made me smile.

I love the Bond element. We’ve had Santa as a victim, a ‘real’ pirate on the table and now James Bond as the murderer? They do get to have all the fun!

As Hart Hanson asked, what do you think was on the USB drive? Do you think it's just a mystery for this one episode, or something that might come back later?

One beef: the intro, very first scene. I know they were going for a ‘Bond’ thing, but it was just too CGI for me. I hate being taken out of the story, especially as it is just beginning, by obvious computer work.

Another note: Brennan’s security clearance. I think someone has mentioned a beef with that area of the story. Yes, she mentioned having higher clearance than Pickering but that doesn’t mean that she has nearly Booth’s clearance as a Special Agent in Charge. It was a weak part of this story but not a huge continuity hole, to me.

Wendell - the 'comfy' one

If I didn't 'miss' the interns last week, I didn't 'mind' having him around this episode. I have to say that the boy is definitely carving himself a home He fits well with the team, doesn't cause too much ruckus since his rocky beginning and has a 'homey' feel to him. Everyone seems to have completely taken to him and he fits well with the group. Booth talks hockey. Cam mothers him (I think that is the 'affection' some people notice). Angela seems to treat him like a little brother and Hodgins looks on him as the friend Zack could have become with a few more years of acclimation (maaaaaaaaaybe).

(I seem to be full of questions - the hallmark of a good episode, in my mind). Do you think this is a good thing? Is he going to be horribly killed off or become the new guy? If he does become the new guy, is he TOO comfy and thereby boring? How do you make Wendell interesting in the long term without having him sleep with Angela? I honestly don't see it. He has a great niche as the 'favorite' for many people and I could see him keeping the crown indefinitely but do you feel there is enough there for long term commitment? Hart Hanson clearly said he didn't think Zack had anywhere else to go as a character (which I STRONGLY disagree with - I still want to see the boy develop socially and think it would be incredibly fun to watch) and if Zack is at a dead end, what does Wendell have? He's already got friendships which could have developed more slowly but already seems strongly established. We know his basic history and that he's close to his Mom. We know he's the street smart, work hard proto-Booth. I just don't know that he has the 'integral character' quality that would make us really miss him if he were gone.
  • Sometimes dreaming is the way to go.
  • Don't often get to say 'ergo.'
Angela - the girl just about has it all

Angela's wardrobe has really matured a lot. I miss the bo-ho free spirit who has become almost a fashionista, albeit a casual one. She is wearing some nice stuff, a la Cam, though looser fitting, and it actually bothers me a little as does Cam's. This is a forensic lab and things like this just scream 'network notes' or interference. Of course I have no idea who said they should wear stuff like this. It semi-makes sense for Cam because she's not only a scientist she is also an administrator and would likely have considerable office hours. Angela does not work directly with the goo, but she does handle bones and goo-covered items. Seeing her wear such outfits stops the scene for me and makes me remember I'm watching a show. I never felt this way about her hippy gear. It seemed more in character. I just don’t see free spirit Angela turning into quasi-downtown Angela. We just haven’t seen that kind of character shift. And, as she points out, she’s on a budget!

Rant aside... I do so love it when she's doing her thing and being an integral part of the case, from bone analysis to computer work. I think someone in the episode discussion complained that she couldn't possibly have done so much with that image file. That has always been the conundrum of Angela. Remember, from the outset she has been portrayed as the free spirit artist who can also design the Angelator. Sticking with that characterization, breaking down a computer file is not remotely a stretch. She frequently recovers data from goo covered old-school floppies, images, hardware, etc. Girl has skills and she's not afraid to use them!
  • Pussy Galore? That's never going to happen... Boys and their spy fantasies.
  • Like there's an acceptable protocol for crushing someone's soul.
Sweets - he actually does have a backbone!

Sweets is getting a little snarky and it's wonderful. He's taken a beating the entire time he's been with the team and I think he's finally reaching the end of his tolerance. He may not quite be ready to take on his actual tormentors, but he's confident enough to snipe other people in a quest for the affirmation (even if internal) that his idols will not bestow.

I am tired of Dr. Brennan being so in his face about his profession. I guess she’s not really a subtle person (they tried that last season to fan uproar that she was changing too fast when, I think, she was just being unusually subtle and quiet in her observations) but it just rings as pointless now. She even asked him for advice last season so, in some ways, she accepts he knows SOMETHING. His take on this case was very accurate and he got no respect for it – she admits that she hates to admit the accuracy of his assessment. The fact that she did take is advice where Booth was a subtle admission of his knowledge, even if she would not admit it directly (as well as an admission of the importance of Booth, that she would take Sweets’ advice in order to help him).

I love his shift into true couple’s therapist in this episode. He discusses their income disparity and it’s affect on their relationship and encourages Brennan to adopt an extremely uncharacteristic submissive role. It’s always been apparent that Brennan does not understand the expected male/female roles in a relationship (or necessarily appreciate them on whatever level she does understand the expectations) and I think it is good for her as a character, and enjoyable for us as viewers, to see her explore that.
  • At least I tuck myself in at night.
  • With a dummies book? Is that wise?
  • Do we have to go through this every time?
Hodgins - he's gettin' his mojo back

Never one to be daunted by criticism, rolling eyes or retreating backs, Hodgins is again spouting his conspiracy theories. I LOVE it! As much as it was nice to see him truly develop as he went through upheaval last season, I missed this guy a lot. He dipped his toes in last week, but now he seems to have jumped full steam ahead back into his conspiracy theories and I hope it is permanent.

I know, I'm so demanding, but... I would love to see him ATTEMPT to return to his old life of short term girlfriends. That is something that could definitely highlight his emotional maturity after knowing he was ready to settle down with Angela and it falling apart. I am all for the two of them getting together eventually, but the speed with which they broke up shows how much BOTH of them, not just Angela, have to work out. It seems to be her turn right now, but I hope he gets his chance too and isn't just portrayed as the doormat waiting on her to figure things out. If he was completely sure himself, I think he would have fought harder, or something.

The way he has attached to Wendell is endearing and I wouldn't mind seeing more of that as a way to explore both characters a bit deeper. Experiments are great (hey, I knew something was missing!), especially for Hodgins' bonding, but there are a lot of ways he could open up, especially to those who took Zack's place, and Wendell is a good place to start.

PS Loving the returning curls!
  • Everybody poops. Even wrote a book about it.
  • We're going down the rabbit hole here people. The CIA has no problem silencing people who poke around in their business.
  • Hey, a lot of people would like to see me dead.
  • We got drunk together last week. That carries great meaning for men.
Cam - Momma's in the house

I never mind Cam SUBTLY asserting her authority. It's been her 'thing' all along: I'm the boss, hear me rawr! The willingness to do whatever it takes, including attempting to thwart a CIA investigation is still there, but she seems to be a very different Cam this season, at least so far. I am remarkably spoiler free this season so I have no idea what the plans are, but I would certainly expect a lot of exploration into her newfound role as mother. I think that is greatly affecting how she views her team and how she treats her team. She's no longer the diva in a dress barking orders but has softened tremendously and even adopted quite the caring attitude.

Her sentimentality is a great foible to Brennan’s (apparent, but not really) lack of it. Cam immediately wanted to fix Wendell’s problem, even without telling him it existed, while Brennan appeared incredibly cold as she broke the news. I don’t feel, however, that appearances told the whole story there. Her demeanor screamed out ‘control’ rather than detachment. She was brisk but truthful with both the harsh reality and her compliments. I think she delivered the news exactly how SHE would want to hear it and that showed respect for Wendell. She has come a long way after basically being forced into complimenting her interns in the past. She has, however, been hurt by the loss of Zack and I feel that issue (as loss of connection is also a recurring theme in her life), as much as her belief they will disappoint, guides her attitudes and her attempts to keep her distance from each new face.
  • Michelle has been asking for months if we can get a kitten. I'm thinking 'no.'
  • Anyone who can take that kind of abuse makes James Bond look like a weeny.
Booth and Brennan - Heart and Soul

Since Cam’s section was basically taken over by Brennan talk, we might as well get down to it!

Most of us look for some balance of the private and the social as we seek affirmation for ourselves and our lives. You want a good job with a good house and good income but you also want your family to love and respect you. Brennan has been scarred deeply by the personal connections in her life and her continued reliance on the professional accolades and attained wealth speak clearly of a psych far out of balance, heavily weighted toward measures that are attainable with her skills and completely under her control. With her skill, intelligence, and honor she will never lose this standing. She can rely on it and feel comforted the same way that most of us would by the attention and caring of loved ones. His barbs, at least on some level, are attack her most basic measures of self, creating another disparity between them.

Booth is the complete opposite. While he admits that he wouldn’t mind the creature comforts that money like hers can buy, to him, it would not enrich his life because it would not give him one more iota of validation than the relationships in his life provide. Two relationships in particular: Parker and Brennan. That speaks volumes! As a man, he does see himself as the provider and protector. Brennan’s wealth knocks a little of the shine off that because it is HER wealth. If Cam or Angela were the wealthy ones he would in no way compare it to his own ability to provide and the accompanying social standing. Alone, what he has is enough. When he compares it to what Brennan has he does come up short and it bothers him.

Booth’s need to relearn plumbing goes right along with this. He sees it as the mark of a man to not only be able to take care of the people he loves but also his domain. It is not just about the plumbing. It is about what the action represents to him and even if he were to marry Brennan some day he would never become the kept man. It’s just one more thing they have to deal with as a non-couple couple that most couples explore after they’ve already made some type of official commitment. I love that running theme in the show. These two may bicker like an old married couple but they have a LONG way to reaching that level of complete comfort.

A big part of that has to do with the last layer (or layers) of secrecy between them. They each claim, out of fear and uncertainty, to be utterly honest with each other. I don’t know how they did it without more slinky shoulders and sideways glances. Seriously, they looked more uncomfortable when the victim’s girlfriend thought they were a couple. They are not honest with each other! This episode made me realize that I believe Gordon Gordon was actually wrong about the two of them. He sparked much debate amongst fans by claiming that one of these two was acutely aware of his/her feelings and the other was not. I would argue that they are both aware of them on different levels and have had completely different reactions to them. Sexual attraction clearly came about for both of them first. Offhand, I could tell you who I think realized it was more first. I do think they both did some time ago and while Booth hide from it, even deeply burying it, Brennan simply rationalized it away as something illogical to follow for a plethora of reasons.

The last scene is adorable, heartwarming, and infuriating. “I’m glad we don’t have any secrets”…..?!?! At least they do follow that up with some good revelations about how she feels close to him, he doesn’t think it matters (between them) and she ‘almost’ believes it. And, for once, I don’t mind how the moment was ‘ruined’, her watch being ruined and all.
This episode truly left me with a smile on my face, plenty of questions, and knowing I had an enjoyable hour. What more can you ask for (realistically…:) )?

Booth quotes:
  • It's okay, Ms. Rolex, I'll be fine.
  • An ex-Army Ranger with multiple commendations and a pristine record at the FBI isn't good enough for you or them?
  • It was a mechanical clown. You tell me you never wanted to do that?
  • Want some s'mores?
  • That's going to kill the blue book value.
  • It's a book for dummies, not imbeciles.
  • You smell dead bodies, and that stinks?
Bones quotes:
  • I think the car is bleeding.
  • It's like reconstructing the circulatory system.
  • I was told that I'll never have to work again.
  • Whatever he says is a guess.
  • I am a wealthy, accomplished woman. Why would I want to learn a menial skill?

Guest Episode Review - #210 "The Headless Witch in the Woods"

Another Bones Season 2 episode review, thanks to Sai: "The Headless Witch in the woods."

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

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The Headless Witch in the Woods

Yayy! Season 2. My favorite, favorite season. Now I may be biased, but everything – from how the actors looked, to how they acted, to how the character stories were built, to how good the cases were, to the gentle mix of the serious, the macabre and funny – Perfect. And I include McFloppy (Sully) and Cam here.

Any bonehead (Pun unintended. I think.) would realize why I chose this episode to review – the first ‘official’ guy hug! I shall get there and wax eloquent in a bit. But let’s proceed systematically, shall we?

“Let’s place some garlic around the remains and chant the Hmong rituals for the preservation of souls”

A bunch of hikers run into a gruesome (what else) dead body in a wood that is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a woman called Maggie Cinders. She is supposed to have been be-headed in the wood because of her being a suspected witch. The legend is that Maggie Cinders is supposed to haunt those woods and would kill anyone who came looking for her.

Your browser may not support display of this image. The episode starts with B&B in the forest looking for the body and Booth getting creeped out by the forest and its legends. As Booth and Bones move along with the ranger towards the body, Bones drifts away looking at some strange talismans which have caught her attention. Booth is as usual protective (and dare I say big brotherly?)and tells her to stay close. David Boreanaz/Booth (I sometimes can’t tell the difference in my head) has this amazing, gentle voice – even when he is man-handling a suspect - and he uses it to great effect here.T hey find a broken video camera along with the remains. What they don’t find however, is the victim’s head.

Angela reconstructs some of the video and it looks like a Blair-Witch-Project kind of movie – lots of grainy black and white film, jerky camera movement, screams and of course blood.

A past injury from the bones confirms the identity of the body. The body it turns out belongs to a missing film student Graham Hastings. They talk to the brother Will Hastings and realize that the family background is similar to that of Brennen’s. The boys’ parents died at an early age and Will Hastings became a fire fighter and looked after his little brother, instead of letting him get into Foster care.

The case moves on. And it’s a great one by the way – filled with a number of smart details and red herrings. Did the kids do drugs in the forest? What else explains the hallucinogenic ramblings on the back of a script in Graham’s backpack? Why is the girl – Lori – who was in the forest along with Graham – so freaked out that she had to check back into the psych ward? ( A quick shout out to the actress’s amazing acting – she was creepy good or what?) Is she faking it – did she kill Graham due to Your browser may not support display of this image. her jealousy because of his playing around?

What is the significance of the script that Brian Andrews (the third person in the team that went into the forest) stole from Graham? What is the role of Nate Gibbons – the teacher who is helping Brian produce the film made on the stolen script and taking it to Sundance? Who made the chopping sounds with the axe and poured blood (cow’s blood it turns out) on Lori in the forest? And lastly, what is with the 200 year old skull that they find in the forest – Maggie Cinders’ skull maybe?

As it turns out, the victim, Graham Hastings – was no prince. In order to make his movie more realistic he gets his professor to steal a skull from the University and asks his brother, Will, to set up the creepy atmosphere in the forest. Complete with blood and chopping sounds. To make Lori’s reactions more realistic, he slips her some mushrooms which given her already fragile mental chemistry made her go berserk. Will Hastings – his elder brother, gets all upset after realizing what a monster he has raised and well chops off his own brother’s head. Though he insists that it was the ghost of Maggie Cinders who made him do it. Ah well. Just as we thought that Bones found a good, handsome one.

Your browser may not support display of this image. “I find your imagery both colourful and accurate.”

This great episode also gives us some great insights into the supporting cast’s characters. Whether is it Cam talking about how her mom ‘came back’ to her and pointed her towards a keepsake or Zack admitting that it would be nice if people could come back. Angela and Hodgins’ romance slowly moving forward.

It was also a great episode for cool detective and forensic work. Angela and Hodgins reconstruct the exact place where the body was placed by freeze framing a scene with Lori’s watch in the video and finding the latitude and longitude through moon’s shadows (Phew! and Wow!). Angela also finds the fact that there was someone else (6 foot tall) in the forest on the night of the murder in the shadows of the video. Zack discovers the serial number on the older skull that identifies it as a specimen from the university. And of course the experiment which proves that the body was moved post-mortem.

“Because essentially you know – you are a guy like me. But not really. “

Early on, while watching the disturbing video Cam grabs Booth’s hand in a moment of fear and Bones notices. I have always wondered – was this the first time she realized that there was something between Cam and Booth? I feel she probably had a clue when she saw Booth all flustered in the ‘Girl with a curl’ when Cams heels were clicking away to the lab’s exit – but this confirmed her suspicions.

After their meeting with Will Hasting, as Booth and Bones drive back to the lab, Bones wonders what it would have been like if Russ hadn’t abandoned her and looked after her instead. Booth tells her that she probably turned out as well as she did because of that. Bones casually mentions that she plans to have coffee with Will Hastings when Booth reacts in his Booth-y way she tells him that she too needs to connect – just as he has obviously connected with Cam. Booth’s reaction is priceless as he realizes that Bones knows what he has obviously been trying to hide for a while. Through the rest of the episode Booth is still trying to get over his embarrassment of being found out and trying to explain to Bones (and himself) on why he hid it from her. He is snippy and defensive through the episode.

“What am I a cheater?”

“Yeah I know it gets cold when the sun goes down. You should have gotten your blankie” – To the hapless FBI forensics guy looking for the bloody clothes in the forest.

“But you are looking at me like I am in trouble and you are a teacher.

The conversation where the poor man tries to explain himself is totally priceless with my favorite line being: “No. I’d prefer not to be a woman. If you don’t mind.”

Your browser may not support display of this image. At the end though there is no awkwardness. Booth’s face as he is arresting Will Hastings, as he see how shattered Bones is about picking another weirdo (Albeit a very handsome weirdo – sorry I had to insert it in here!) speaks volumes about how much her cares about her. Later in her office, he tries to explain to her why she chooses who she does, letting her know that she is not as clueless about people as she thinks she is – hey she saw through him!

And finally, just letting her know that she is not alone and giving her that ‘guy hug’ – knowing it will make both of them feel better. The look of absolute peace and contentment on both their faces. Siiiiiggghhhhh.....

As if we needed any more reasons to love this episode. And the season. And the series.

Hart Hanson on Booth's Grandfather

Ausiello asks Hart Hanson about Booth's grandfather and gets a non-response response that's so vague it hardly qualifies as a spoiler. (Entire page is about spoilers for various shows, however.)

Fox Stars: Poker Faces

Fox asked their stars to show their Poker Faces. Includes Emily Deschanel and Michaela Conlin.

Couples Who Should Do It

TVGuide has a list of fan choices for Couples Who Should Do It. Bones is listed at #3.

Booth and Brennan (Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz), Bones

"A must ... but not anytime soon. I enjoy the writers playing around with the aspects of their relationship, and getting together too soon would probably kill the show. It worked for Mulder and Scully, so it should work for them!" — inemorrigan

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