Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bones Episode Review: 5.10 "The Goop on the Girl"

The meaning and spirit of Christmas, Vol 3.

There are so many themes and threads to this episode that I have had a very hard time organizing my thoughts. I apologize for any scattered thoughts, but am happy to be caught up!

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

I would have thought by now that Brennan would be less inclined to run from Christmas, but I guess she still had a lot to learn.

Brennan: If I stay, then there will be two of us alone. Which is twice as pitiful
Max: Well that's interesting math.

Brennan: Why do people hate to spend Christmas alone?
Max: Because it means nobody loves them.

Brennan seems genuinely uncomfortable at that statement. This is the 3rd Christmas where she has been thrust into fellowship during the holiday from which she most wants to escape. I think she's running out of excuses! She's dealt with parental abandonment, Max, and now her inner 'lone wolf' desires. (And we can only guess what happened on the Christmases in between.) Each time, though, (at least in V2 and V3) she ends up giving up her own desires for those she cares about. She really doesn't get enough credit for the gestures.

This year, she has genuinely embraced at least some aspects of the holiday, though I don't believe that she truly understands them.

The Case - He's an exterminator. By definition he hurts flies

Christmas may get ruined for others emotionally but, well, you can't compete with Santa's level of suck here.

Booth: Maybe you should think about saying something worth hearing.

Booth: When I say heartbreaking, you say that the heart is a muscle so it can't break. It can only get crushed.
Brennan: Isn't it heart crushing?
Booth: You want to go to his funeral?
Brennan: yes, I would. Then she won't be alone.
Booth: You know what, Bones, sometimes I think your heart muscle is bigger than some people give you credit for.

While Santa's life was sad in so many ways, it was a great way to show the big heart muscle in each of them. They could be involved in their own pursuits, but they spend Christmas paying respects to someone who will never know what they did, just because it was the right thing to do.

Zooey - There's no resemblance

Underused, underused, weird, and underused.

I appreciate the desire to do something unexpected with the character, but did not enjoy what they presented. She was barely in the episode, despite some major hype, and her character was almost completely unappealing. I love her as an actress, and do hope they have her back but, like the interns, hope that the 2nd pass is much improved!

Margaret: You don't strike me as someone's who's flexible about their schedule
Brennan: Well, I took advice from someone who knows more about families than I do.
Margaret: He that raises a large family does stand a broader mark for sorrow, but then, stands a broader mark for pleasure, as well.

That is a true commentary on family, but I don't think that hearing it 10 different ways from 10 different people is going to get through Brennan's walls completely. That's the heart of her relational troubles - not being willing to risk the pleasure, for fear of the pain.

Brennan: There's no resemblance
Booth (sarcastically): You're right, there's no resemblance at all.

Brennan: You have got to stop quoting Benjamin Franklin at me... I have no evidence of this, but I feel that every time you do that it's not actually communication. I feel the same way when people tell jokes.

Brennan: I'd rather hear what you have to say than Benjamin Franklin
Margaret: That's the nicest thing that anyone's ever said to me.

Max - Families always give unwanted advice.

Employee discount? Where does he work now?

He was also underused. It was such a tease to have him in the episode, really! His moments were good, and he pushed Brennan in all the right ways, but it was far to little Max for my tastes.

Daisy & Sweets - Thank you, Ebeneezer

Daisy: I'm not used to having evidence that talks.

Their text-speak love chat was truly sickening, as Cam points out. I did find the first 1/2 of that conversation more tolerably sweet, however, as they make plans for their first Christmas together. Anyone have a moment of remembrance for Hodgela at that point?

Booth scaring the pants of Sweets was a great moment.

Sweets: Was that strictly necessary?

Nope, but it was great. Meh, on Sweets being back behind the glass. He's useful and the reasoning for having him there holds up. I appreciate it when they use him well, but I don't exactly have a bunch of Yipee in me about him being there, for the most part.

Cam: What happened to the "Down with Christmas, let's hump like bunnies" thing?


Her monitor reconstructions may not be as 'magical' as the Angelator, but I like 'em alright.

I really love the season 1 callback with the skull. They each had their own take. Brennan was the obsessively dedicated crusader, out to do her job at all costs. Angela is more at peace and relaxed, and she works with her materials. In some ways this seems like a passing of the baton, as Brennan continues to rely more and more on her associates to complete the scientific work necessary to catch the killer.

Loved the song too!

Angela: You don't think that sometimes we forget those bones out there are people?

That's another old-school callback. I do think they are trying to revisit, in small moments, one of the aspects of the show that endeared many people from the start. We will never go back to Season 1 Bones. Some say they want the whole package, but no one really does. Moments like this are a great way to remind us that this part of these characters has never truly disappeared. We may see more of other aspects, as they do change in their relationships to each other, but the core is still there.

Hodgins - There's more than one kind of family.

Hodgins: These are so going on my Christmas list.

Daisy: It's very difficult to work when someone's looking over your shoulder.
Hodgins: It's more difficult to work when you have nothing to work ON. Snap it up.

I guess recreating a bomb on a table isn't fun enough...

Angela: You didn't actually get permission to recreate the bomb, did you?


I absolutely love her standing up for her new little family.

Cam: You and me - we're the closest thing we have to family. And family spends Christmas together. We're spending Christmas together.

Cam: I know deep down you care. I just hope not too deep down.

Cam: It's my job to prove to you every day that you are loved in this world and if doing that makes you angry, well then that's the price I pay but you will know without a doubt that I cannot just have you flying off and have it absolutely ruin my Christmas... there's no Christmas without you.

Michelle: I love you too


Brennan: He's very hard to resist
Brennan: I have to admit, I find him pleasing to look at.

Some pretty nice, flirty statements...

There are a lot of great comfortable Booth/Brennan moments in this episode - the invite, the family talk, the take-down of the radio guy...

But the indelible moment of moments for this episode is obvious: Evidence!

Angela: Are we doing experiments on Booth because, if so, I'd like to help out.

There were many endearing layers to that scene - the overt comedy of it all, from Cam's appearance, to Angela's comments, and Booth's uncomfortableness held up against Brennan's obliviousness (at least until Cam appeared and shined a light on it all).

Beyond the comedy, Booth's uncomfortableness and reactions actually made it a very intimate scene. Change the lighting and clue Brennan in and it would be a very, very different scene. That was a man who really wasn't thinking about evidence...

Why does something bad have to happen to Booth every Christmas? It's truly 'his' holiday and it's rather sadistic to have it ruined for him every year!

Booth: To family, friends, lovers, family, and food
Brennan: You said family twice. It's repetitious
Booth: It's a good toast though.

Brennan: No prayer, not in my place.... maybe just a moment of silence

I don't think that Booth's eye-crack was anything remotely romantic. I think it was child-like curiosity to see if she closed her eyes during the 'moment of silence.' Did you ever do that as a kid? My brother and I used to get in trouble for peeking to see if the other person was peeking. It was a catch 22 though - call out another peeker, and they know you were peeking too!

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Despite criticisms that the show has gotten far too light over the last seasons, I find this by far the most serious of all the Christmas episodes and in that respect, one of the most enjoyable episodes period. The funeral scene, especially, takes us right back to the early episodes where the entire group did go to funerals at times, where the victims truly mattered, where relationships and people took precedence. This wasn't about dares, or spending Christmas locked away with a beautiful woman, or a joyful Santa's workshop. In some ways you might even call it depressing, with the man who died senselessly, alone, leaving a heartbroken mother behind, but in other ways it speaks loudly for hope. The man who spouted anger and hate is redeemed, the Mother who never expected to be thrust into that role fights for her fledgling family, and Brennan reaches out to draw in her 'family' ever closer.
"My religious beliefs tell me that Christ did not die in vain, that He died to redeem us all. And i intend to show that this good, simple man, also did not die in vain. That he redeemed one angry, shouting man. So these are the last words I will ever broadcast, and I hope they are the words you remember best: Peace on Earth. "


Jeannie said...

Congrats on having caught up before the new episode tonight!

I loved this episode but then I have to admit, I started out watching it determined to like it since I had been so nitpicky about the previous episodes.

Side note: My heart goes out to Ryan O'Neil. He has been trough a lot last year and it showed. He looked 10 years older than when we last saw him. That made me incredibly sad.

Onto the episode.
First I have to admit (and I do realize I'm in the minority here) I couldn't have cared less if Zooey ever starred on Bones. I'm not a fan of that kind of casting (or any crossovers between shows for that matter) and I was close to being annoyed by all the hype about her appearance. I have to say, I'm very glad they "underused" her, or used her moderately as I'd say. ;-)

Her character felt a bit unnecessar to me at first but I later saw a deeper meaning to it. Maybe I'm overanalyzing the Christmas theme but to me, Margaret was Brennan's spirit of past Christmas รก la Dickens. Substitute science for the Benjamin Franklin quotes and you'll have the Temperance Brennan we met in season 1: a bit arrogant, picky (about Booth's appearance for example), awkward around others and relying on quotes/sciences as the ultimate explanation for everything around them.
This became especially apparent in the scene in the diner where they talk about marriage - Margaret kind of dismisses the concept while Brennan explains that she simply hasn't found a good reason to enter one yet. (Um, say what??? Big change of heart here compared to the 'archaeic institution' speech we are used to hearing from her, right? I thought that should be worth noting.)

Also, Brennan hosting a Christmas dinner is a big thing for her. Remember how she used to absolutely hate everything remotely connected to Christmas? I felt that was huge, even more though that she allowed a 'moment of silence'.

Love the fact how they are using Daisy as a mini-me of the 'old' Brennan.

I very much enjoyed the nostalgic 'flashbacks' to season 1. I can very much appreciate that kind of thing and still be cool with the fact that the show has moved on.

Yes, it was a busy episode but I found that very realistic. Christmas time is like that for most people, isn't it?

This episode made me both laugh and cry and that's never a bad thing.
Wendy, I completely agree with your last paragraph. Those words summed up the Christmas message perfectly. I hope a lot of people heard it.

Anonymous said...

My thanks too for catching up (do you think you'll add pics - shamelessly asking - cause I love rereading your reviews and they do add a little something).

I loved this episode, and agree that the show can't be like it was (nothing stands still), but I think they were true to the characters as they are evolving now. Agree with Jeannie that the shots that brought back reminders of how they used to be are great, and were well done.

Booth naked - absolutely gorgeous! I think they could have played Brennan a little more flustered, just a tad subdued for me, but probably in character.

So excited to have new episodes again!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the catch up!!

I so agree: there was a lot going on in this one but it worked, for me.

Besides the things you and others mentioned, I also loved how Booth was hard edged and blunt with the radio guy -- one of the things I feel he and Brennan share (he as FBI/Ranger/straight shooter guy and she as pure logic scientist)--that can be forgetton (and shouldn't be) when all the emphasis is on how they are with each other. Only with/to each other do they show their softer more vulnerable sides. It makes what they have more special somehow, for both of them.

Can't wait for tonight!


em-jay said...

Beautifully written!

Definitely too little Max.

Loved the funeral and radio broadcast combo. Wonderfully done and bittersweet. Which is exactly what Christmas is to some people: bittersweet. Mostly I appreciate the clear message.

Jeannie: lovely comments! Hadn't thought about the progression in Brennan's character for her to be willing to host Christmas dinner. I LOVE to see them showing growth in the characters. Stagnant=no good. =)

Vanessa said...

Loved the review Wendy, thank you so much, it was realy worth reading! =)

I agree we have been seeing changes in the characters, so, like the others, I liked the scenes that reminded previous seasons. The funeral along side the radio broadcast was a beautiful scene, real and emotional, just perfect I'd say.

The evidence scene just cracked me up! xD It was so funny, the look on Booth's face and when Cam showed up "Anyone for mistletoe?", oh God, simply priceless! But my favourite line is "I'm just going to start reciting some saints now!"

Jeannie, I have the same opinion about Zooey being on the show, but in my case is probably because I don't realy now her or her work, but for those who are fans of both sisters, I get the appeal.

About Ryan O'Neil, I wish we had seen more of him in this episode, but maybe in future ones.

Felt the same about the last paragraph, it's a Christmas message very well witten and a great reminder of a great episode! =)

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