Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Episode Stills: The Gamer in the Grease

Album of episode stills for Bones Season 5 Episode 9 "The Gamer in the Grease" can be seen here. Spoiler warning.

Bones Episode Review: 5.06 "The Tough Man in the Tender Chicken"

The Tough Man in the Tender Chicken

I love how this episode begins. When most co-workers walk into the building, do they talk about work, or how much fun they had outside of work? Hodgins has always loved his bugs, so I guess it's not a huge surprise, and Brennan would always want to talk about work above all else (she used to spend her off time there, and maybe still does, doing things like catalog old remains). It just strikes me as a commentary on how different these scientists are from your average, I don't know, office worker?

I would have to say that having that kind of passion about your work, that it truly is one of the most important, fulfilling aspects of your life, is something to envy. How many people can say that?

In this episode, the cliffhanger ending to the opener actually works. It doesn't take itself too seriously. It's funny, and it doesn't make anyone look stupid.
Booth: So you want me to go ask the Defense Department if their experimental super solider is half man, half chicken?
I could have even stood a little more funny, with quirky music, but I understand that they seem to want a more cliffhanger like ending to the openers.

I don't normally like for TV to get too preachy with agendas. I'm with Wendell, as an unapologetic meat-eater. But I think they did it well, Bones-style. The chickens were actually taken to the same level as a human victim, despite Brennan's protestations that they didn't deserve it. I also appreciate that they didn't have Emily playing herself here, and being the strong advocate for vegetarianism or veganism. No one truly advocated that and said 'meat is wrong.' (Though it did cause some continuity issues by saying that Brennan is a vegetarian due to health reasons. Pfft. Pig farmer anyone?)

I wasn't impressed with the case itself. They only mentioned the Angelator as a possible tool (not even naming it), but we didn't see it in action. (Yay, recession?) Every new step in the science was overshadowed by all the wonderful chicken jokes.
Angela: Half man, half chicken?
Hodgins: That's why we couldn't find his so-called fingers. They were transformed into talons.
Booth: Getting a hit of Angela's chicken man picture. Probably from the animal shelter.
Protesters: Cluck you, cluck you, close down Clucksten's.
Cam: Do not tell me we're back to super chicken soldier again.
Booth: Precautions to keep from turning into a chicken?
Protester: Save a Chicken! Fry a worker!
Booth: How do you treat your chickens?
--- Like delicious birds that people love to eat.
Josh: You are working as a tool of the poultry lobbyists.
Protester: Here's your feathers. Why don't you fly back to Washington?
Cam: The chicken man was killed by having his neck wrung?
Angela: If it turns out there was some kind of chicken revolution and they offed this guy, I am with them.
Sweets: Maybe she was just sick of kissing a guy with a beak.
Sweets: Today's special, Chicken. Ironic, hah.
MacNamara: Bet you didn't know there was something worse than plucker.
Not that I minded. There was so much heaviness in the chicken storyline, the Angela fight, and the meaningful Booth/Brennan moments that the case simply had to be light to balance it out.

Did anyone else notice the head shot of the body and it's huge grin? I don't do gross as well as I used to and sometimes the bodies are just too much for me but I busted out laughing at that image at the end of the body examination around 7 min (Hulu time).

Hodgins: Woodchucks are very industrious marmots
That line actually cracked me up a bit. Sly attempt at geek humor? If Brennan said it I would take it more seriously as a logical connection in her brain but for Hodgins?
Cam: You couldn't have just let them have that one? Let it slide by?
Brennan: Then they'd never learn
I really want Hodgins to bust out with some snarkiness once in awhile. Too many times he and Angela simply look at each other in reply to something Brennan has done. Too quiet! Too straight-man, especially for Hodgins!
Wendell: Hey, should we call the military theory into Booth?
Hodgins: Yeah. Oooh, just leave out my torture theory.

Booth: I thought Hodgins might have something on this whole suspended animation thing.
Angela: Hey, you listened to Hodgins?
Booth: I listened to Wendell.
Another quip that made me laugh. The dump-on-the-crazy-conspiracy-nut-Hodgins theme is one of my favorite aspects of the character. We have a smart, rich guy who has absolutely no problem being the 'crazy' one. Everyone knows it. Most of what he says is passed off with an eye roll. But no one can discount him entirely because sometimes, he's right. And he knows it.

I am glad to see Hodgins refuse to break Angela's fast. Revisiting that intimacy isn't going to gain him anything at all. It's off balance and honestly not healthy for either of them. There's too much history for the 'NSA' moment Angela desires. (Will Wendell be any more than that?)

Judging by his smile and deep breath as she left, I don't think it was a completely easy decision, however.
Hodgins: Fortunately, I am extremely thorough and tenacious.
Sweets: Booth figured it out, I was just sitting there.
Poor kid didn't even see the sad commentary on his skills with that comment. He can be perceptive in the right setting, but he can miss some big ones too.
Booth: You know, the way you say "very interesting" is very irritating.
Love Sweets comment on his surprise that Brennan is 'not used to not getting along with people'.

It is easy to forget his very deep and thoughtful discussion with Dr. Brennan, however. I don't think he was the deciding factor in Brennan's flip, but he set her up nicely with some deep food for thought and he made a nice commentary on the differences in how they two of them view the world. Through his eyes and words I can actually relate to Angela a little better. I like how he summed up Brennan's world view and how she covers the ugliness of the world in rationale so she can handle it. I just wish he'd defined Angela with the same clarity.
Sweets: Sometimes you just make your friend happy.
Cam: Perhaps you should throw them a bone. Not literally. Metaphorically.
I don't have anything to say to that. I just made me laugh.
Cam: Let's break this down as though we aren't in a comic book.
C'mon, Ma!

Sometimes, being the mother of the group means being the boring disciplinarian and attempt to reign in very fun discussions about comic-book super soldiers (chickens or not). At least she's still shy of purely barking orders and throwing her weight around. Realistically, you need balance like this to keep the character from becoming flat. She can't 'just' zing people and be a character that matters. It is aspects of the writing such as this that I truly appreciate.

You would think, from the way she usually speaks, that everything she thinks comes sailign rifght out of her mouth. But she can be quite the silent observer when she wants to be. It doesn't take her long to figure out something has changed between Angela and Wendell. But what's the point of bringing it up? ... yet.
Hodgins: It's OK kid, around here we step in for each other as needed.
Ohhhh. The look on Cam's face says it all there. This just makes any impending Hodgins/Wendell/Angela blowup all the more painful to contemplate. The longer I think about it, though, the more I feel that it will be H/W who's relationship suffers most. I actually like their growing bond, though!

The way she taunts them in 'spin the intern' is great too but, again, poor clueless Hodgins... I also appreciate the pained look as Brennan abuses Wendell, who has no clue she's beating the boy.

If only it were Zack in that chair. (No, Hart, we haven't forgotten and as someone who didn't really mind the Zack plot that much - the one shot episode where he tells Sweets he's not a murder and then NOTHING EVER HAPPENS CONCERNING HIM AGAIN sucks. Thank you for your time.)

Angela: Taking sex out of the equation made me relate to people in a totally different way.
Yeah, no kidding!

On the physical level, what has truly been life-changing for her? Was the fact that she wasn't getting the physical act of sex the most important, or the fact that she wasn't coloring her interactions with people by the challenge of whether or not she could get sex out of them? Have we seen Angela learn anything, really, over this 6 months (or nearly 6 months, since it seems she didn't hit the mark...)?

As I mentioned in the last review, since it, too, was late, and I already knew this... Angela is not the sort to get passionate over causes. She just doesn't know how to handle it. She would much rather be open to everything and committed to none. When she decides to save this little Piglet (I vote Hoggins for it's name! or at least Pablo Pigcasso) she goes waaaaaaay over the top. I agree with Sweets 100% that her perspective was skewed. And this also reinforced my belief that she didn't learn anything. She replaced sex with the pig, and then jumped back to sex when the pig was too much. To her credit, she didn't completely let go of the pig either. I don't think that's a sign of growth on her part, though. She's loyal, if anything. She has decided to save that pig, and save it she will! No matter how many sad eyes and hearth-felt pleas she must make.

I knew in advance that Brennan and Angela would fight here, one of the few spoilers I have read, and I am quite surprised at the topic. I don't think anyone expected it to be a silly fight, per se, but I'm glad it was not one of the bandied ideas such as a fight over a man.

Part of what makes this an over-the-top reaction from Angela is how she completely loses perspective, not only on the pig, but also on Brennan. She knows very well that Brennan is not cold, but she tosses that in her face.
Brennan: I'm sorry the chickens make you feel bad.
Obviously Brennan was not being cold. She may not have understood Angela's point, but she did still wish to comfort her, in her own way.

But, for off-the-deep-end-for-a-piggie Angela, that wasn't enough. She desperately wanted to do SOMETHING, anything, to make a difference. Calling Brennan cold because she disagreed was unfair and I think a further symptom that her need to connect to people through sex could not be so easily discarded by simply setting it aside. Has Sweets done her a disservice by not delving a little deeper? It's like saying....... You don't know how to drive a car properly. So don't start one, or even get in one, for 6 months and we'll see if things improve.

The Angela and Wendell relationship is not a favorite of mine. I hope that it becomes more interesting and gives me a reason to care one way or the other beyond my desire to not see Hodgins hurt. From Angela's perspective I can't really relate to her motives at all. "Did she just take money for sex" option on the right came out of a discussion my husband and I had about that scene. The thought isn't much of a stretch! But, I do think it's much deeper than that. Sweets covers it pretty well, but I think the jist just might turn out to be that Angela can't connect to most people without a physical connection or at least desire. Which takes me back to the question - what has she learned from her celibacy?

I really want her to learn something. It just feels like she swings wide, and then always returns to the same spot. She gives both positive and negative changes a try and then goes right back to her center, which isn't all that healthy, in many respects. Am I seeing this right or being unfair to the character I can least relate to? I would like to know!


I love the fact that, at first at least, the most interesting thing about the corpse was that it smelled like a fart - to both Hodgins and Wendell. The fact they get along so well just makes the Angela/Wendell relationship that much harder for me to take. A good portion of us can't even get past that fact when we consider this pairing. Roxie had nothing on this, when it comes to Hodgins. I would feel like they really cheated the character, and fans, if Hodgins just breezes through this like it's nothing, with a raised glass and well wishes for the couple.

That said, I do like Wendell. Unlike Daisy and Vasiri, they really didn't advance his characterization much for me though. I do appreciate the glimpse into his character. He's not selfish or even self-serving. He has no money to spare (I can attest to that!) yet he gives everything in his wallet. It's not even to do something truly 'important', you might say, but just to answer the plea in Angela's eyes and do something nice for her.

How many places are funding his education though? Is it the neighbors, a scholarship, or 40k in loans? Or all of the above? Did he get a grant too? It's just strange to hear so many sources cited. Do they want to show his ambition to get ahead any way he can or are they not fact checking again?

When Angela kisses him he is clearly surprised and holds his eyes open for the first one. But it doesn't take him long to jump right into the grove with a big grin. It felt so abrupt. Maybe the two of them are more alike in their sexual attitudes than we have seen. I don't know. It did not feel like a huge leap for her at all, but it did for him. For someone so focused, why would he become so impulsive and jump headlong in? I hope that things are fleshed out a bit more (har har) when they revisit this relationship. Though the shoulder touching at the end speaks to greater intimacy, it just feels like a fling that is going to leave far more substance strewn in it's wake than it ever had at its core.

I wonder how it will end up for all of them. Will it be the funny 'we're all friends' chum fest? Or will there be more serious emotional fallout for 1, 2, or even all 3 of them?

Booth and Brennan

Hodgins: What I want to know is why they aren't all freaked out and getting trauma counseling.
Cam: Because, they're the type of children who idolize Dr. Brennan.
Are Parker and Andy the only kids she can relate to? I wouldn't even call Parker smooth sailing. He just doesn't get, or hear, all her attempts to correct him. Or is that he's enough of his Dad not to care? He likes the bone lady just fine and maybe doesn't view her in the same harsh light as others? (Also emulating his Dad's attitudes toward her as well...? )

That could turn into a very long discussion...

As for Andy. Well, he was just a baby. And even my baby loves him some Dancing Phalanges. Yes. We've done it. More than once.

In her own way, Brennan is trying to do exactly what she didn't accomplish - encourage the girls to become scientists in her mold. She understands the point of the Woodchucks, and that they want to emulate her path. What she can't understand, despite her strides and attempts at being humorous, is how to truly encourage people. Especially the young. To her, tearing down wrongs is more important than praising the rights. If Cam hadn't prodded her, I don't think she would have said anything positive to them at all. What would be the point in that?
Booth: If I were going to combine human and animal DNA with an eye toward creating a super solider I'd go with a flatworm.
The woman has no idea about 'cool.' That's just X-files creepy. The fun part about super soliders is making them cool! As Wendell points out, it couldn't even be a chicken, right? It must be an eagle that just went wrong.
Booth: You make a super soldier, you would think it would be like a robot or something invisible.
Brennan: Now you're just delving into pure science fiction.
Booth having to ask PhDs if they lost a mummy in one case, and in the next he's trying to track down a chicken man. This has to do wonders for his emotional and psychological recovery. It seems small and just 'part of the job' but I would think that any embarrassments right now, even the minor ones, just heap onto his traumatized psyche and magnify ALL the troubles.

Not that the 'experimental super solider' victim discussions are not funny!
Booth: Wow. Is Angela good, or is she good?
Brennan: Those are the same question.
As for the lovely lovey bits...

The diner scene with Sweets had some great aspects, and some not-so-great ones. The fact that Booth instantly knew Brennan was upset - very natural. His speechy lines, though, were not so natural:
Booth: Everything okay there, Bones? I know when some is wrong with you and something is wrong, alright? What can I do to help?
Brennan: Angela and I had a fight.
Booth: Nothing I can do to help.
Brennan: You want to hear about it?
Booth: No... because her and Angela are best friends. and Bones is going to want me to take her side and agree that Angela was wrong. And then, you know, the two of them are gonna make up and then they're gonna be mad at me. So, no, thank you.

: Listen, Bones. You know I would do anything for you. I'd die for you. I would kill for you. But I am not getting between two best friends.
: Okay.
(He feels bad about not supporting her)

Booth: Listen, Bones, everything is gonna be okay between you and Angela, alright? You two are like sisters.
Brennan: I'm just not used to getting along with people.
I liked that he supported her, that he was overt about it, that he wasn't afraid to touch her, and that he was genuinely bothered by not being able to step in and make it right for her, but the words felt forced. Like someone told him to say them, instead of it coming from Booth's heart.

The hand grab to stop her leaving was very natural, and sweet. Loved they continued to hold. But the way they showed it to us was AWFUL!
Brennan: I know you trust your gut, but it's wrong this time.

Booth: You know, he fooled me. He fooled me.
If Booth has trouble reading people, does this mean his 'read' on Bones that he mentions in this next episode is wrong? ... Booth still doesn't know his place, especially with her, on both a personal and professional level.
Booth: I'm the one who is supposed to know when people are lying. Who do I call up for that?

: I'm a full speed kind of a guy.
: Well even at half speed you're twice as fast as anyone else.
She really spends a lot of time bolstering his confidence now. That is a big change for her, and something she does with very few people. Booth and Angela are the only ones she will do it for without strong prodding, right?
Brennan: Would I like one of those fruity drinks?
Booth: No.

: You want to see the fastest draw in the west?
: Sure.
Booth: You want to see it again?

:You noticed somethng. See? (another easy touch) You still got it.
: You're not going to ask me what I saw?
:Do I want to know?
: No. Do you want to know anyway.
:Nope. It can wait. I trust you. (Dude, she trusts you. Go for it, not this it, IT!)
Sweets set Brennan up to help Angela, but she wouldn't act without Booth's approval.
Brennan: Sweets thinks that I should humor Angela.
Booth: Sweets is a bright kid.
Brennan: But I want to know what you think. As a full grown man of experience (poor Sweets). I need to know what you think.
Booth: I think you should let her have this one. ... I didn't mean this second!
She jumped up immediately with no further thought. His approval was all she needed.

I love how close these two are becoming, on all levels. They've always bickered like an old married couple, and the attraction came early, long before the love. Now we have the physical comfort increasing as well. I can't imagine that some sort of revelation, of the more direct sort, can be that far away. Either revelation or some new kind of step back, which would just infuriate fans to no end if it's not at least precipitated by something positive and/or scary first.

I look forward to what the rest of the season brings!

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