Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Guest Episode Review: The Boneless Bride in the River

Today's review is "The Boneless Bride in the River", by Cheryl

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"The Boneless Bride in the River"

Evidence that whoever is in charge of making the victims is having WAY too much fun.

This has to be one of the freakiest bodies recovered in the history of Bones, but let’s start at the beginning shall we?

First of all, how old are Booth & Brennan in this opening scene? Bicker, bicker, bicker. They’re even talking over each other. I secretly already think Booth is happy there is a reason to remove Bren from Sully’s arms on this supposed vacation they’re taking together that does not involve leaving DC. I’m with Booth on this: if you're taking you're lady friend on vacation, GO somewhere, preferably outside of Booth’s jurisdiction. And his “Why don’t we wrap this up fast so we can get u back on your vacation?”? Yea, he is TOTALLY unhappy that she’s off somewhere with Sully, I’ve decided.

Back at the lab, Angela gets as creeped out as I am that this person’s entire skeleton was removed & Booth looks decidedly uncomfortable with that and the fact that she was boiled & sewn back together. In fact, Booth may need to throw up in the nearest flowerpot if Cam & Bren keep going over the details of what was done to this poor woman.

I’m not gonna throw up I’m not gonna throw up I’m not gonna throw up

Bren decides she’s going back on vacation since

Bren: No bones, no Bones. I was the second “Bones".

Cam: That’s very witty.

Yes sweetie, we got it the first time...no need to explain. Booth is still nauseated but I feel it safe to assume he wants his *cough*girlfriend*cough* partner to not be so happy to leave him for Sully.

Where are you going *cough*honey*cough* Bones?

Meanwhile Jack & Zack have put a bladder inside this poor woman’s head and inflated it in what they assume is a brilliant way of getting her face. Cam & Angela are not amused & the boys (& the lady’s head) are deflated.

Bren heads back to Sully’s boat and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her as open or as happy as she is in these scenes. She is fairly glowing & it’s beautiful to watch. Booth comes a-looking for Bones since they have *gasp* a whole patella! Bones you have to drop everything for one single kneecap! Jealous? Why would you think Booth is jealous? He is an FBI Special Agent hot on a lead; emotions have NOTHING to do with this.

Were you guys making out before I got here? ewwwwwwwwwww!!!!

Back at the lab, Bones, Zack and Booth go through what the kneecap tells them about their unfortunate victim and I am thoroughly convinced that this ep’s BB interactions are all about Booth subtextually singing “Don’t gooooooo please staaaaaaaaaaaaaaayy don’t gooooooooooo”. Bren lets him know that he didn’t need to call her in because Zack is capable & Booth deflects by saying she said to call if they found a bone. But Bone lady is gone again since Zack knows what he’s doing and she’d rather be with Sully. Here we go with another SadFace!Booth:

Come back Bones!

Booth & Angie have a little discussion about Sully buying a boat & how that means Sully is a romantic who lives wide while Booth is a romantic with a narrow focus. Booth brings out the swagger & states that there is NOTHING wider than Seeley Booth and its quite adorable. Both Angela and I know he’s just saying that because he doesn’t want to be bested by Sully but we let it slide. Ange gives him the murder victim’s identity & he’s off to speak with her fiancé, a Mr. Harper. Fiancé is into all things Asian, including martial arts, Chinese brides and weapons. He gets uneasy & takes off running like a ninja so he eludes Booth. Aside: why do people pull guns & not fire them? I mean, if Booth had shot this guy in his foot I’m pretty sure it would have leveled the playing field & Booth could have caught him.

At any rate Booth swipes a Chinese ledger from the Harper’s place and since he can’t read it he figures someone at the Jeff might be able to since it is the home of The Brain Trust®. So dear old Seeley heads over there to...wait, Booth? The Jeffersonian is this way...Booth actually ends up at Sully’s boat to ask Bren to ask someone at the Jeff to translate the book for him. Booth is exactly 4 years old in this episode (I don’t want you to play with any other boys! You're MY friend!). Bren refuses but Sully has Booth pegged: he tells her they should help because Booth will just keep showing up ‘til *cough*they break up & he’s the only guy she’s spending copious amounts of time with*cough* they solve the case.

Go awaaaaaaaaaay Booth!

Bren enlists the help of Prof Chi to translate the ledger & they conclude that the bones of their victim may have been used for a ming-hun (spelling?) which is an ancient practice of burying an unmarried male with the bones of a young woman so that he’ll have a bride in the afterlife. “you mean like a burriage or a marial?” says Sully, chuckling “Deadding” chimes in Seeley. Prof Chi looks at them like he thinks they were spoon fed heavy metals as babies & the brain damage was irreversible. Bren asks him to let her know if he comes across a ming-hun where the origin of the bride’s bones is unclear.

Booth and Bren have a discussion about The Perfect Wife agency which brought Li Ling-Fan to the States to get married and go off on a tangent about things Booth has been learning in therapy. Bren shoots everything he says down, whereupon Booth, realizing he can’t win by sharing anecdotes from his sessions, reverts to being 4:

“You know we talked about u in therapy.”

“You did?”

“Mm”

“What did you say?”

“Well, u know, since it was ,uh, my therapy, I don’t have to, uh, share the details. Sorry. *grin*”

BB question the lady from The Perfect Wife which pretty much disintegrates into Bren doing everything in her intellectual power to tell this woman that her matchmaking is stupid & unscientific.

More funniness ensues as Prof Chi comes back to tell them about a ming-hun where the origins of the bones of the bride are unknown. He can only get Bren in if she poses as his gf (Booth laughs) and if Booth poses as her brother (joke’s on you Booth).

In the lady’s home where one of the bride’s bones is being stored (& Bren is Prof Chi’s “girl”), she speaks in fluent Mandarin & Bren asks the Prof to translate. Booth chimes in

Booth: Don’t need to speak Chinese to get that. She don’t think Bones is good for you.

Bren: You just made that up

Prof: Nail on the head.

Again, the problem with Booth is we really never know the extent of his knowledge because he so often plays dumb to throw people off-guard. Bones finds the ilium in a special container on the old lady’s mantle & promptly tosses it to Booth who is freaked out that he may be holding part of a dead girl in his hands while Bren calmly replaces it with the ilium from a chimp & Booth frantically tries to figure where to stash the ilium before the old lady comes back.

Sully buys the boat & wants Tempe to sail away with him for a year. As soon as he says it, he knows, she knows and we know that she’s not going. It makes Sully feel vulnerable & her sad enough to cry. Meanwhile, BB shippers everywhere are dancing in spontaneous displays of glee. Bones asks Ange to tell her what to do which literally is Ange saying “Go” every time Bren pauses for air but she’s already decided that she can’t go even though she claims she’s here for advice. (Insert more spontaneous displays of glee here, as BB shippers worldwide wave goodbye to what has been her most serious romantic relationship that we have been privy to).

Bone analysis of the stolen ilium reveals that it belonged to a man who died of cancer. The fiancé’s weapons were not used to cut anybody, reports Cam, but the bride was poisoned with a Chinese poison that loosely translates to “walk seven steps and die”. lol. I love it when names are explicit. Booth gently interrogates the Chinese couple whose son’s bones are a part of this ming-hun. I use “interrogates” very loosely. Booth talks but the parents don’t actually ever say anything. They just look very, very sad.

While they’re exhuming the body of the Chinese couple’s son (William Chang), Bren brings up that Sully wants her to go away with him. I love that she values his opinion. Watching Booth in this scene, he switches easily from playfully mocking his pal’s decision to buy a boat, to instant concern for Bren when he thinks Sully’s leaving for the Caribbean without her, to being The Big Boy when he assures her that she should go with him, effectively hiding his own shock and distress that she’d be gone for the year. Love is proven by sacrifice, and Seeley? Is willing to sacrifice his own desire to be with her if it means she would be happy without him. He even justifies it by reverting to Ange’s argument about needing to live wide while solving murders all the time is a narrow existence.

They figure out at the Jeff that William Chang was buried in a shallow grave in an improperly sealed casket to speed decomposition so the ming-hun could happen faster and bring the funeral home directors in to the FBI for questioning. Booth agrees to let the ming-hun proceed if they let them examine the remains and they find the bride is not Li Ling-Fan. Alas, the bride was the murder victim so the bones of both bride and groom end up at the Jeff where Cam & Zack share their findings which basically add up to “the funeral home set this whole thing up...they removed the bones of this girl for use in this ceremony and they did what they could to speed William’s decomp”. What they don’t know yet though is who killed Ling-Fan?

Angela, bless her heart, is of the opinion that William and Ling-Fan were the exact same level of hotness and both had illnesses and they really should have met. In fact, maybe their spirits are, as we speak doing their level best to get their bones together since they may be wildly in love in the afterlife. Angela is off to draw them a wedding portrait while she insists that Cam & Zack lack whimsy since neither will entertain her romantic notions.

Sully, Bren & Booth head off on a sting operation to catch the Harper. They discover that he had no motive to kill her since The Perfect Wife refunds their fee if the bride doesn’t turn out to be the woman you want to marry. This leads them back to The Perfect Wife lady who wasn’t smart enough to get rid of the poison which the FBI found stashed in her fridge. I love the way the fiancé is nonchalant after they apprehend him.

Harper: You have the Flying Horse [ornate Chinese dagger]?

Booth: Yea.

Harper: That is a very good item. [to Sully] Maybe you still wanna buy it? I’m gonna need bail money.

Dude, buy the dagger, I need bail money. Plz?

Yes Mr. Harper, OF COURSE the FBI Agent is going to buy the Flying Horse from a known fence in front of witnesses. Because career suicide in on his list of things to do before he dies.

Booth’s interrogation of PerfectWifeLady reveals that she killed Ling-Fan so she could sell her bones to the Changs for the $25,000 she lost when Harper decided to send Ling-Fan back. Is it just me, or are ppl who would poison a Chinese immigrant with no ties to anyone in the US except the fiancé who just dumped her to recoup a $25,000 loss NOT the kinds of people who should be telling others about happily ever after? I’m just saying. Sully and Bren watch the interrogation and Sully tries to find out what is holding Bren in DC when all the important ppl in her life think her sailing off with him is a great idea. I request permission to enter into evidence Exhibit A.

Please, tell me what is holding you here.

For those of you who do not have this ep in your recent memory, Bren just glanced left, AWAY from the man she should be in love with and toward one Special Agent Seeley Joseph Booth, presently interrogating PerfectWifeLady and blissfully unaware that this charged conversation is happening on the other side of his one-way mirror. I submit, Your Honour, that this Freudian slip of sorts, reveals that Bren is refusing Sully’s offer because to take him up on it would mean leaving Booth. (That noise you hear is spontaneous celebration of BB shippers everywhere). This is complex. One would assume that if she’s in love with someone else that she would be able to up and leave. After all, it’s not as if when Sully leaves she & Booth are going to end up together. And yet, she can only be with Sully as long as he does not take her away from Booth.

Oh Gordon Gordon, how we need your help to elucidate this quandary! I suck at these things, but I’ll give it a try. Somewhere in her heart, she wants to be near Booth. She has gotten used to their friendship, has come to value his opinion and rely on his judgment. They work smoothly together now, their differing styles blended in a fully functional symbiosis, he’s saved her life thrice (TBITL, AIAS,TMITC) they’ve comforted each other through some terrible upheavals (her finding her mother, his dealing with guilt over killing a man who was involved in genocide at his son’s birthday party), he’s threatened a gang leader to get him to call off a hit on Bones, he’s helped her when Angela’s boyfriend went missing, she’s helped him with the first Epps case as a favour, he went Federal when she woke up with amnesia in New Orleans, literally bleeding and broken although she told him not to come to her aid, he’s been privy to the scars that being a foster child have left on her soul, she’s helped him deal with his feelings of inadequacy as a father, they’ve gone under cover together and somewhere in the midst of all of that he has become a cardinal point in her life. I won’t say true north at this point but he’s definitely on her compass. And although she refuses to act on her attraction to him at this point, she will not let herself be separated from him, even if it means breaking up with a man who clearly means a lot to her and who is truly a good guy.

And in further confusing behavior, she assures Sully that he’s definitely worth the risk of leaving it all behind for, that logically she wants to go and knows that she should go but she can’t. She’s still crying when she gets to the forensic platform and sees Angela’s wedding portrait of the deceased couple (Ling-Fan and William). She could be wondering if she will ever have the kind of relationship that is as permanent and wonderful as a good marriage. And they’re playing “You” by Fisher in the background.

And you
You make me run
And you
You make me want to live

Your smiles
Well they make my day
You don’t know it yet
But you’re everything

And then we see her crying while waving goodbye to Sully (more boisterous BB shipper celebrations are the reason ur screen is jumping). He even renamed his boat “Temperance”, though why you’d want a daily painful reminder that Temperance refused to sail with you remains unclear.

Awww I’m sorry sweetie.

It’s sad, really, someone should give her a hug. And as soon as I’m done thinking that, who should appear out of focus in the next shot? I’ll give you a clue in the next screen shot.

Who’s shadow is that anyway???

It’s Boothy Booth Booth! The day is saved! Well, not really but at least The Reason She Can’t Leave With Sully is here in the flesh, proving yet again that if she needs him he’ll be there playing whatever role she needs. Right now he’s pretending he’s on the docks to tell Sully goodbye but really, he’s here because he knows she’s hurting and to say that aloud may be too much for her to stomach at the moment so he’s going with a white lie. And then he delivers the lines that have sustained me through all the upheavals of season 5:

Everything happens eventually Bones. All the things you think never happen, they happen, you just need to give it time.

And just like that, she’s no longer sad. See?


I close with the last bit of music we hear from Fisher, in case HH is trying to give us a hint:

And you
You make me run
And you
You make me want to live
For you

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