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.



Sweets

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'?


Angela

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.

See?

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...

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