Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bones Episode Review: 5.12 "The Proof in the Pudding"

"The Proof in the Pudding" has turned out to be a surprise hit for the season with Bones fans. I really had no pre-conceived notion of how this episode would unfold, which gave me ample latitude for both positive and negative reactions.

Like "The Santa in the Slush," at least for some people, this is not an episode you want to pick apart. I, however, am expected to do just that and I actually have no qualms about doing so in this respect.

I really don't have anything negative to say, character-wise. I do not think everything in this episode ran smoothly though. The lock-down, for one thing, felt uncomfortably forced, like no one involved actually wanted to be doing it. I think Mr. White should have been a little tougher, a little less approachable, a little more G-Man. I would have preferred for this to be even more contained in the team. Let what they're working against be irrelevant, not so vague and untenable. Throughout the episode my dislike of that aspect of the story kept me on edge and disliking the entire plot (again, nothing character-wise). What was really bothering me didn't click until they flashed the news message that the hearings were called off and JFK would not be exhumed. Then it was like "OK, the JFK aspect was great!" and I knew that the lock-down, and associated strings, should bear the brunt of my dislike.

I like the lock-down idea. It makes sense that the government wouldn't go into something like publicly without already knowing the outcome, but I don't completely like how they executed it.

The JFK aspect, as a whole, was very well done I think. I had a personal problem with continually trying to make assumptions about this case. Blame the million and one movies/shows/documentaries that examine the assassination. (History channel junkies unite!). I probably could have enjoyed it a little better as a fictional assassinated leader or something, but that's OK. I think it had to be JFK for the character side of this episode to develop.

More about each below, but I will say that I agree with the assertion that this is much more like a season 1 episode. It's all about the team. They stick together, they connive together, they lie together, and they solve murders together. You can't lock any of them out of the team, literally or figuratively.


Cam: I was going to, but there was real work that needed doing.

Professionally, does anyone appreciate Sweets? They are happy to run to him for interrogations or personal problems but ridicule him at every turn when he needs something.

Did anyone else find him surprisingly suave and in the face of the lock-down? He acted much older, more professional, and more calm than he usually does when he called Booth. Okay, not exactly calm, but it was a calculated action to contact Booth and it surprised me that he was the one to do it.

Booth: What do you want, Sweets, I'm working out, building up a sweat.

Liar, liar! Since when does Booth need an excuse not to talk to Sweets? It's just indicative of the lack of respect they show him. I don't even have to tell you the truth about why I don't want to talk to you!

Booth: Can you talk? Is anyone else there?
Sweet: Only the good guys.

Booth: Attaboy Sweets, attaboy.

Only, Booth has discounted all of Sweet's contributions, effectively. The only thing Sweets has on him is that he's actually there while Booth is not. And we know that's about to be rectified...

Sweets: It just feels like a test.

I guess he gets closer than anyone to the truth, at least at that point, but none of them are the subjects of the test: Science is the subject. Science wins, and the public loses.

Cam - I'm not crazy. I'm... not.... crazy.

Angela: What makes Cam crazy?
Hodgins: When I do experiments.
Angela: And?
Hodgins: Michelle.

Cam: Fire in the hole ... HODGINS!!
Cam: I'm not really the good solider type.

Nope, and that's why she got the job.

Hodgins: I never knew you could yell like that
Brennan: She scared the guards
Hodgins: I find that so hot.

Cam: You are so cheering me up right now.

Cam: Is there any way I can just persuade you to look at these remains and guess cause of death?
Brennan: Guess?
Cam: I need to get home to kill Michelle

If they'd only gotten Daisy in on the speculation they could have covered everyone. I am very glad it wasn't Michelle.
1 - that would have felt like a cop-out. We would only care about Michelle's pregnancy through the lens of Cam.
2 - she's 16!

Cam: We don't do half truth here.

Cam: You're a good person. I will never forget what you did for him.

What's that get Brennan? Is she fully passing the Booth baton to Brennan? Can Brennan get more 'free passes'?


I have to say that in one episode I could suddenly relate to her and LOVED the turn her character took. I was incredibly happy to see her admit Wendell was "not the right guy". That felt like a huge revelation for her character, to be the one to see the whole truth and take the emotional high road instead of just hiding. Yes, the false pregnancy test was a weak plot point for this all to stand on. As someone who has taken a lot of pregnancy tests and read about them and researched...false positives are stupid-rare. For the most part, the test has to be borked. False negatives - very common. False positives - no. Am I giving them a grudging pass because of all the great aspects that followed it? Yes. (until Cam says she retested the sample... from a home pee-on-a-stick test....argh)

Something I didn't pay much attention to the first time is how Angela and Cam's relationship seems to be firmly boss-employee. They are friendly enough but there was absolutely no confiding going on when Angela claimed the test to Cam. She was simply being nice enough to end Cam's frantic worry over Michelle. That done, out she went.

She immediately then goes to tell Hodgins and the mood is totally different. She truly is confiding in Hodgins, as well as placing him above Wendell in the pecking order of her life. Again, pregnancy test - weak, results and revelations - good.

Angela: You're linked through another human being. A soul.

Hodgins - This is America, baby. We can conjecture all we want.

Sweet and heartbreaking at once. I adored him stepping up to say "I'm your guy." It was beautiful and sweet and brought back the spirit of the man who has been crazy about her for years, expensive perfume and all. It was as if he simply could not hold back the tide any longer when he saw her need. How could you not grin when he said those things?

Sure, you also kind of want to say "you're too good for her", but that didn't last too long for me. I think Angela needs unconditional love, just as she needed to be set free in order to agree to his proposal in Season 2. In these moments, the latitude he gives her is perfect. If he would only stand up for himself the rest of the time, and not just 'yes dear' himself into the ground at every turn I would have loved their relationship all along.

Hodgins: I'm your guy... I love you... I wanna help you in whatever way I can... I'm here for you, and for the baby, in whatever role you need.

Hodgins: That must be a big relief. Everything goes back to normal... how it was before....

Aww. Maybe it won't. Will this spark a turn toward growing up, settling down, and maturity for Angela? She's so sophisticated and progressive but she also seems so alone, emotionally.

Hodgins: How do we know these guys aren't terrorists?
Booth: They're standard federal issue agents
Hodgins: Standard federal issue cover up
Angela: This is the first time I've been as paranoid as Hodgins.
Booth: You're FBI property. If anyone's going to lock you up it's going to be me.

I love conspiracy Hodgins.

Cam: You look like you're about to explode... Hodgins, you're vibrating.

Hodgins: It's naive of us to imagine that Kennedy's remains were actually ever interred at Arlington.

Booth: Was Hodgins the first to say it was JFK? ... Then it's not JFK.

Hodgins: Since this was based on the official record we can't believe it.

Hodgins: The highest form of patriotism is to be skeptical of the official truth.

Sweets: Ok. I'm going to say something that's going to make you think I'm as paranoid as Hodgins.

Hodgins: Nice job with Bush and the whole flying show incident. I want to compliment you on that one.

Is this the ultimate experience? Normally they are 2-person deals, but he's got everyone but Angela involved - even Booth - in this one. I think that definitely makes him King of the Lab. (It also REALLY highlights the team aspect of this episode.)

Brennan: You know who can do jibberjabber? Me!

How cute was Brennan volunteering to jibberjabber and Booth looking so proud and happy of her?

Booth & Brennan

Brennan: Seeing patterns where none exist is a symptom of schzophrenia

How adorable is this wooing? He brings her food and they have a cute nonsense discussion where she just barely stops short of crushing his inner boy.

And Booth gets to show off his mad skillz. Too bad the audience has absolutely no clue...

Brennan: You're holding a home pregnancy test. I assume it's positive and you're worried about losing the most important person in this lab.
Cam: No, very modest...

Modest, indeed. Nice revelation that Brennan has not been sexually active in some time, either... Keep it that way! Please, no more Brennan tramples Booth plots! Please?!?

Cam: Dr Brennan doesn't make life choices without a Boolean flow-chart.

Cam: I'm not as good as you at doing what I'm told.
Brennan: Thank you.

Once again, Booth has an adversary (non-criminal) who is taller and bigger than he is. Of course the bigger part is getting easier and easier, skinny man, but he still has a large presence. And yet he must look up at Mr. White.

Booth: Why'd you lock up my people?
Mr. White: They're not actually your people

Oh yes they are.

Hacker: You mind telling me why it's so important that you get in there?
Booth: They're my people.


Hacker: Not stopping you is not the same as helping you. But I will help after, when you're in some non-existent CIA prison.

When Hacker gets to develop his own personality, and not just be the puppy dog after Brennan, I actually like him. This is playing slightly more toward Dietrich Bader's strengths, and he's a much more interesting character.

Hacker: Oh God. Now you're going to prove that you're a better man than I am too, that you care more about your people? How am I going to get anywhere with Temperance if you keep making me look bad in comparison?

His annoyance at "their arrogance" is kind of endearing though.

I have to admit I was disappointed in how the Booth-shoots-the-glass scene played out in the episode. The marketing department made it look WAY cooler. It turned out to be only a small part of a more humorous scene. Another instance where expectations lessened my enjoyment unnecessarily.

His point is quickly apparent - he's not there because his people are there. He's there because his Bones is there...

Mr. White: How'd you get past the guards?
Booth: Sniper training. They trained me to walk really, really quiet.
Mr. White: You are now restricted to the building, of course.
Booth: Damn. Who saw that coming.

Booth: You want to try me instead of some big-mouth scientist?

The whole line about Booth's career in law enforcement being over was also a big nothing. I'm tempted to swear off promos. They made it look like a big to-do when it was a throw away line as an empty threat. Mr. White didn't even show any passion behind it.

Cam: Big man always comes through.

Then Booth actually does the butt-kicking the promo promised.

Sweets: That was totally ninja. Maybe some anger issues there. But you kicked ass.

Brennan: Being the best doesn't mean being perfect.

That's kind of a funny comment for her to make.

When it comes to Booth and the government lying...

Brennan: Why do you know so much about the Kennedy assassination?
Booth: Bones, I'm a trained sniper. How quickly you forget.

Booth: Two shooters. You know what that proves to me? That those remains are not John F Kennedy.... If it was him, he was killed by two gunmen. And if he was killed by two gunmen, then the government lied.

I think the John Wilkes Booth tie-in should have been left out. I know they've always intended that connection to be made, but it really clouded the issue here, I think. Sure, he doesn't want to be linked with that, but I think his issues are far more current than a long-dead ancestor, even an infamous one.

Booth: Bones... You promised you would never mention that
Brennan: You told me not to. I never promised. I promise now. I promise now!

I think the civilian house in combat was more a case of an individual cover up. The real reason this case hits home I think is the sniper aspect. He killed a lot of people on orders and I don't think he wanted to be associated with someone who may have killed JFK on orders. It would make him question every single one of those kills and he's already got more than enough guilt about them. He NEEDS to believe they were justified.

The fact that Brennan is willing to lie to protect Booth in this respect is both unbelievably sweet, and meaningful. The lines are continuing to blur between his heart and her brain. Neither completely owns their concept anymore. She's getting a bit of heart, he's showing more brain (thank God - he really shouldn't be portrayed as dumbly as he often has been shown)... ever closer they draw in their painstaking, beautiful, heart stopping dance.

Booth: You kept looking because of me. Thanks, Bones.

That was a GOOD hug :)

Booth: I was able to take those guys down because they were not working as a team.

And his 'people' most certainly were working as a team!

Angela: You do realize that, all these tests, everybody failed.
Brennan: Not me! I figured out the truth.

Brennan's definition of 'team' sometimes needs a little tweaking...

It's endearing to see both Angela and Hodgins and Brennan and Booth walk off with arms linked. Foreshadowing?

Brennan: I'm very impressed. You wanted the truth even if it was going to hurt you
Booth: I learned that from you
Brennan: Really?
Booth: Sometimes you have to go with your brain over your gut
Brennan: That's nice, but I'd prefer you ALWAYS go with your brain over your gut

Blurring lines, blurring lines...


bbshipper said...

Great review Wendy, I so appreciate how grounded and thorough you always are! It balances me and my exciteable fangirl tendencies.

I agree with your assesment of Angela (the ep redeamed her for me). I also agree that this ep harkens the team focus of season 1 ... which makes me happy.

You also noticed skinny Booth so I feel I'm not crazy. ;0)

Eli said...

Nice review.

A lots of people seems to rate this episode high and as high as Alien in a Spaceship. For me it is a good episode and I can't decide which episode is better A Night in the Bones Museum or this episode. But I'm Hodgins/Angela's team so I guess this episode rank higher.

Mr White and the teams not too strict about the communications and let the squints, Booth and Sweets wandering around the lab among the weakness plot. The reason of Sweets being there is not convicting. It seems that the bff between Brennan and Angela became cold. Not discussing about the pregnancy. Even when they watched Booth shot, they didn't stand closer. Or during the breakfast at the diner.

And applause to TJ Thyne for being Hodgins that sad, caring, excited, irritating etc on this episode.

Anonymous said...

please, PLEASE let it be foreshadowing!!!
Great review! I look forward to reading them every week. Hodgins broke my heart and put it back together again in this episode. Besides the "definitely-not-a-guy" hug, Hodgins talk with Angela was my favorite part. Definitely one of the best this season! We are getting closer and closer! I can feel it!

Liza said...

Great review as always!

Anonymous said...

Love your website, love your reviews--I really enjoy reading them--please don't stop writing them! They usually express my feelings about the shows, but you say everything so much more eloquently than I ever could.

Jeannie said...

Great review. (And I say this as one of those people who have decided for themselves not to pick this episode apart but love it unconditionally. ;-))

I really liked the decision to let Hacker do the goofiness instead of Booth. Worked so much better this way.

Also, once I again I'd like to thank the wardrobe department for listening to our pleas for better clothes for Brennan! I'm really glad she gets to look pretty again.

Loved the little continuity bits, like Hodgins mentioning Angela's psychic.

And as a side note, I felt a bit sorry for Wendell. Hodgins' feelings aside, I'm sure Wendell would have risen to the occasion, given the chance. But I do realize that the point of this was to show that Angela is very aware that Wendell is actually not the right guy for her.

I'm one of those few people who didn't mind the false positive on the pregnancy test. Hey, it served it's purpose, right?;-) I'd rather not try to imagine what other plot device the writers could have come up with instead...

Anonymous said...

I also love reading your reviews, and have been checking in everyday waiting for this one.

I loved TJ Thyne/Hodgins in this episode. I also love the conspiracy theorist Hodgins. He played his part Perfectly in this episode.

I thought the false positive was a bit weak, but I can see what it achieved was more important than the means of achieving it (if that makes any sense!)

Hacker - I'm a bit undecided on him, I do like him doing more of the goofy stuff, I think some of the parts were a bit over acted though. I do like Dietrich Bader though.

As always a great review. Can't wait for the next episode (We are so far behind here in Australia, so thank goodness for the internet!!)

(I also really noticed skinny Boreanaz in this episode, was he sick around the time of filming this with the flu?)

pfenix-goddess said...

You do such amazingly insightful reviews; I love waiting for your weekly breakdown. Great job!

I was particularly happy with your insights on Angela. I haven't really liked Angela since the Roxie storyline last season -- not that Roxie was a girl, but that Angela jumped back into it so lightly and then jumped right back out and was so completely blase about how she "loved" everyone she was with...Come on. This episode, I *finally* felt like Angela Montenegro was back in the Jeffersonian, and it was an extremely positive change. I'm glad that she's not going to treat Wendell as badly as she treated Roxie, because I actually *like* Wendell (if it were up to me, they'd have killed this retarded "intern of the week" formula last year and just kept him).

I thought that the BB moments were masterfully played out and it was fantastic to see some real team play between everyone. Cam was an awesome general again, of course, but I think DB played his part really well -- I actually enjoyed the John Wilkes Booth comment because Booth seemed so incredibly hurt that Bones would even bring that up knowing how patriotic Booth was.

They haven't touched on the patriotism thing since he flipped out on the radio person in the Christmas episode (an episode I *really* disliked) and so for me it was wonderful to see American!Booth and have it be both natural and used to draw Booth and Brennan together as she understood why he actually *needed* that body to *not* be JFK. Even if she isn't religious, she's starting to understand how much he is, and it's so believable that I love it even more.

All hail the return of "Bones," I say, because this season is actually (for me) starting to pole vault back up higher than it ever was.

Sarah said...

Wendy, your reviews are excllent! They really help me think about the episodes without swinging between excited fangirl or person who is outraged by [insert flimsy plot device here].

Speaking of which, thanks for mentioning the bit about the false-positive, it's such an overabused tv move. There are other ways to have a pregnancy scare that are more realistic (like a miscarriage, which can happen within a week or two of becoming pregnant) without actually having to follow through on the whole pregnancy plot for months. Though, it is the easiest way to fit it into one epsiode, I'll admit that.

I loved the John Wilkes Booth reference, but that's mostly cause I'm a huge fan of Assasins (anyone else familiar with the musical?). Overall, it was great how they used aspects of the show to remind us of the characters: Booth as a sniper, Cam as a mom, Hodgins as a conspiracyc theorist, and Angela as someone who isn't always head over heels in love with the person she's with.

I don't know if it's on Aliens in a Spaceship level, but it was certainly a great episode!

em-jay said...

Wonderful review, as always!

I loved this episode! I was ready for an intense episode, so I was surprised at how much I laughed, especially at the beginning. Great, great, great episode!

Vanessa said...

Once again, I loved the review, Wendy, thank you! =)

I realy loved this episode, I wouldn't put it at the level of Aliens in a Spaceship but it's one of the best of this season. I think the case was very interesting, I liked the lockdown thing and loved to see the dinamic of the team, they were all working together and supporting each other, they're friends and I love that.

I didn't realy mind Angela's false positive test but I think it was unnecessary. If the meaning of it was to bring out her feelings for Hodgins, then there were other ways to do that without the whole meaningless pregnancy thing. But it's ok. I'm glad it wasn´t Michelle, because that would have been even worst, the girl is 16 and just now bonding with Cam, why mess that up?

I also liked the fact that no intern was in the episode. Just the "core" characters of the show. I hated the interns thing at first, then I got used to it and now I like it, but this episode should be about the bond they share.

Hacker is kind of irelevant as how I see it...as long as they don't put him with Brennan! He's some sort of "competition" for Booth but without realy competing much, because...realy...it's Booth and Bones we're talking about! =D

Even though I appreciated Brennan's action of not telling Booth about JFK's bones, I think in this case she should have told in the truth. But since her reasons were well intended and so different from what she would have done, I can appreciate what she did and see it as an important step in their relationship.

The final scene where both Angela&Hodgins and Booth&Brennan walk together in the street was great! I realy, realy hope Angela and Hodgins get back together because that relationship with Wendell...argh! As for Brennan and Booth I'm not even saying anything because it's obvious! =D

Kate said...

Just a head's up--HH posted a bunch of pics from the 100th episode celebration and a few comments on the event as well. There's a very funny one about DB and him in particular.

Please resume praising this fine review now.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this episode. It covered it all, I think, from humor to drama to heart crushing character development.

On the latter, all hail TJ Thyne! Good lord that man can act. Hodgins "owned" this episode. I have missed him -- and fell in love with him all over again.

Great review. As always!

Anonymous said...

I think it was a very good episode.

One thing about Brennan. I think she wasn't actually lying. This goes with the episode, real world things are another story which I don't know.

If JFK never had that 'osteo...' (or whatever it was) or it wasn't diagnostized in him the only thing which Brennan did was that she didn't tell Booth about the other ilness he had which had 1 to 100 possibility to cause 'osteo...' (Cam pointed out to Brennan in the end).

She didn't tell to Booth that there was a possibility of 1 to 100 that JFK could have osteo... and so it was 1 to 100 that the skeleton could have been JFK.

If she did some sort of 'scientific evaluation' over the possibilty in her mind she could have got to a conclution that with high probability it wasn't JFK.

Booth didn't ask if she was 100 percent sure that it wasn't JFK. If he had it would have been another thing.

Deepa Dev said...

Loved your review Wendy, as always! This reminded me how much i loved the ep and you're totally right about the S1 thing... We've now heard both sides - Hodgins, Cam, Caroline & Wendell calling themselves Booth's people in FitI and now Booth acknowledging that they are his ppl ^-^

Amy said...

That was an amazing episode! I loved it!

- Amy


kba said...

OK, nobody has mentioned this so I'll throw it out there. Yes, Brennan said she hadn't had sexual intercourse in a long time, but, if you think about what she was contemplating and what Booth did, it doesn't mean she isn't/couldn't be pregnant! She never actually said "I'm not pregnant" did she?? With that thought I was taking the Booth "you've gotta eat" comment slightly differently.... at least until Angela fessed up.

The other thing that narked me about the home pregnancy test is that, as I remember, you are supposed to do those things first pee of the morning, so why was the kit in the trash at work??? I don't believe they get there _that_ early...

Otherwise, an enjoyable episode. :-)

Cheryl said...

I just wanna say ALL HAIL WENDY! You were behind in the reviews for a bit there, but then u just blazed thru the backlog & r fully up to speed. Plus, the only thing better than ReviewDay is BonesDay;)

I wanna echo a few of the commenters here & just say, I adore Hodgins. I may marry him when I grow up. Srsly, I first really noticed Hodgins in TBITL when he delivered such classic lines as

"There's not much difference between a corrupt gov't & organised crime"

"This conspiracy thing is a _lot_ more intense when ur in the middle of it"

"Maybe u shouldn't have had all that pudding"

I LOVE Conspiracy Hodgins (as long as they don't make him look crazy). And those baby blue eyes going all intense *swoon* In this ep we get Conspiracy Hodgins and Big Heart Hodgins & I fell in love with him all over again. I love how he put his feelings out there for Ange & offered to be there for her however she needed him to be. And it was _unbelievable_ how his face said so much on the platform...he conveyed tense & bursting & vibrating so believably. & it was sooooooooooo Hodgins to say "Yea Mr White I'm leaving now. You can't stop me. I'm American: I have rights.".

And Wendy, I've been feeling like the lines between Booth's worldview & Bren's r merging more & more too...it's getting harder to say where each character will go...they keep surprising me when they cross over into what used to be the other person's way of thinking.My only concern is if they will trip & fall into a non-platonic r'ship before season 6 cuz c'mon, I would LOVE to see how a friendship this solid blooms into a full on romance.

Anonymous said...

This episode is the gem of the season so far. It contains the perfect mix of drama, comedy, character development and case intrigue. I've re-watched many times and enjoy it more each time I watch.


Anonymous said...

There was more than 1/100 chance, because of all the other evidences that were pointing to JFK too.

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