Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Guest Episode Review: The Woman in the Sand

We kick off our summer reviews with Megan's take on "The Woman in the Sand".

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The Woman in the Sand:
"Underground in America's Frying Pan"


I will begin with a confession: I am a complete sucker for 'undercover' episodes. I find it absolutely delightful to watch familiar heroes being placed in unfamiliar surroundings and take on new personas. I especially love the romantic undertone these episodes always have. New surroundings equal safe flirting almost all the time. So of course, this one had me at hello! "The Woman in the Sand" did not disappoint.

As long as you are willing to allow for a certain level of implausibility (as is true with any TV show, so really why dwell on that) this episode will take you on a very fun ride. We begin with Booth and Brennan being called to the Nevada desert to examine the body of a prosecutor who disappeared 5 years prior. As happens more than you'd think, Brennan discovers yet another body, out there in the heat and killed in the same way. Brennan immediately wants to accompany the body back to the Jeffersonian, but Booth insists she stay. They determine this to be the body of Billie Morgan, who is originally thought to be a victim of domestic abuse, but turns out she's a no-holds-barred ultimate fighter. Brennan and Booth decide the only way to get to the bottom of her death is to infiltrate the world of underground fight clubs as Tony and Roxy: a loosely committed couple of high rollers! Let the fun begin!

I love all the colorful "Vegas" elements added to this episode! Booth's clothes (did everyone notice his Guys and Dolls t-shirt?) and the poker chips sliding across the screen and scene breaks add such a cool charm. For a show overflowing with characters unfamiliar with pop culture, it’s a nice balance to throw those references in.

Brennan is concerned about Booth being in the Vegas casino, as he has a past gambling addiction, and her remark, "it's like sending an alcohol to a distillery" is priceless. I also love when she smacks his hand over a Keno card- always watching out for him! Of course, Brennan, can't just "observe the culture" for too long and gets into a game of Blackjack, and does very well counting cards. So Bones!

Getting dressed in the hotel room, Booth reminds Brennan the style they are going for, and can't help checking her out when she comes out in THAT dress. Let’s also not miss Cam's face when she hears Booth zipping Brennan's dress and exclaiming it “hot”!

While "Tony" is not a far cry from Booth’s everyday personality, "Roxy" comes out of left field and I love it! I find it delightful watching Brennan live it up when she has "permission" to not be herself! She may be all business, but tell that gal to play a role and she goes gangbusters! Even when she is out of character, I find “Vegas Brennan” just more fun all around. All of a sudden, she who trusts only science believes in jinxes and beginners luck. Put her in a hot red dress and serious Brennan is calling the Jeffersonian staff "squints" and talking betting odds like she grew up in a casino. The walk, the talk, the wad of cash in her bra- I love seeing what a top comic actress Emily Deschanel is- she really does not get enough credit for her impeccable timing!

They visit the gym of ex-fighter Joe Nolan, and thanks to Brennan, get the 1-800 number needed to locate the fight. Like Booth earlier in the night, Brennan can't quite hide how much she likes watching Booth punch the bag. And as a viewer, I didn't even try to stifle my grin when Brennan leans into Booth to say they are "engaged to be engaged". Sigh.

Back at the Jeffersonian, science continues as usual. Angela gives us a picture of what the victim looked like after her last fight. "Ah, the sweet science” as Hodgins shares. Hodgins uses his knowledge of The Godfather to figure out the prosecutor was killed with a wire garrote. Thanks goodness he owns a DVD player! They also find the steroid on her body of that of the prosecutor, which will end up being the big break in the case. The side story of Zach (described nicely as a "Vulcan"), who has never been in a fight is awesome. Hodgins eggs him on until Zach pops him one right in the nose. Hodgins, once again, has the best delivery: "Dude, you got pissed"!

At the fight club, Booth finds out he is not the only FBI agent undercover there, but gets knocked out for his trouble. This other agent is almost out of the fight club due to multiple losses and Brennan suggest he fight Booth so he can win and get back in the gangster's good graces. Things don't go quite as planned, unfortunately, and Booth ends up having to fight the biggest dude they have: Monroe!

Perhaps it is the school girl in me, but I always delight in watching Booth pummel some guy and this scene is no exception. What makes this one stand out, however, is how Brennan uses her anatomy skills to help him win. And we all win when she dashes across the ring to hug her Tony after the fight!

The last time Billie stepped in the ring, she fought a girl named Marisol, and Brennan arranges for this fighter to travel to DC for a live "autopsy" using Angela's fancy computers. I think the effect of intermixing Booth's fight with the examination of Billie and Marisol's wounds was a nice touch. In the end though, the fatal blow came from a baseball bat and likely because Billie bet on herself in the ring.

Brennan, testing the theory, decided to bet on Booth. In the end though, she admits there is another reason she placed that wager. She had used her "beginners luck' to help Booth win, and we get a nice bit of eye contact here between the partners. There is also a bit of sadness here on both their parts, and I really do think both will miss these alternate personas and the escape they provide. I know I’m always a bit sad to see them go!

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