I don’t recall seeing it discussed anywhere, but I have a theory that part of the reason Bones is still performing so solidly (in season nine!) is the variety in the episodes. They all feature a dead body, forensic and FBI work, character moments (particularly between Booth and Brennan) and humor. But after that, all bets are off on the overall tone of the episode and where the emphasis is.
For example, there’s been three very different tones. or feelings, we’ll say, to the first three episodes of the season. The Secret in The Proposal was so character-focused, even the title referenced Booth and Brennan’s situation rather than the case of the week. Following that, The Cheat in the Retreat was much lighter, both in terms of the characters and the case – with the rather sympathetic killers winding up providing some of the humor, even as Booth sends them off toward prison, still believing they’ll be sharing a cell.
The contrast between that and El Carnicero en el Coche is marked. Gangs, Booth and Sweets caught in the cross fire of a drive-by gang retaliation shooting, a bright little boy destined toward a violent life, Sweets struggling to find his place amid his Pelant-caused guilt…it’s a much darker episode.
(Especially that scene in the interrogation room, where the truth comes out. Wow, I really wanted Booth to slug that woman…)
I’m one of the lucky fans who enjoys the full spectrum of stories the show tells, so this was another solid episode for me.
If the overall theme of the show is ‘there’s more than one type of family’ – and I believe it is – this ep shows the darker side of that, in the gang, (especially with what the mother says to the boy at one point) and contrasts it with the team-as-family, seen especially in their responses to Sweets. (Team!Ep! FTW.)
This was one of the two episodes filmed last year, and given that, I thought it very well done in terms of fitting in with the overall arc. The Pelant references were perhaps a bit numerous, but still, given that next week sees the return of the serial killer, it makes sense for them to use this as a springboard for that, to remind casual viewers (you know, the ones who can’t rattle off the names of every episode Pelant has been in with hardly a thought?) of who he is and what he’s done.
One of the things I think they’ve played very close to the chest is whether or not Sweets knows Pelant is responsible for Booth calling off the engagement. It seems like he must, given his warning to Booth after the proposal. But Sweets is very much off his game, so it will be interesting to see if that comes out in the next few weeks.
This episode feels like a turning point of sorts to me in respect to the relationship between Booth and Sweets. I’ve always loved the sibling dynamic between them (well, more so when Booth’s in protective older brother mode – I have to admit to not always enjoying Sweets in the role of annoying younger brother because, you know, annoying) and here, what it feels like we’re seeing is that moment when the older brother realizes the younger one is ready to fly. It’s there, in the scene before the interrogation, where Sweets doesn’t back down about going in alone, and again, at the end, when Booth is the one who says, ‘let him go.’ He gets it, and lets him go.
I do hope they build on that at some point, or at least, don’t revert to the earlier dynamic. (Or, to take what Caroline says a step further, I hope they let him keep his cojones.)
The other thing that really struck me in this episode is the scene between Booth and Brennan in the diner. I’d seen it before, in a promo, but watching it last night, I realized that it’s something a lot of fans have whined about not seeing: Booth learning something new about being in a relationship.
I confess to not really getting the whole tit-for-tat aspect of personal growth, that every time we see Brennan grow in some way, we have to see Booth do the same or it’s ‘not fair!’ But I think this scene shows us that Booth doesn’t always get the relationship thing perfectly right, either.
There’s no ulterior motive on his part in not calling her – as he says, he gets shot at on a regular basis – but she’s right: she shouldn’t hear about it from someone else. He acknowledges that, and apologizes, and given the slightly goofy way he stares at her, I think he’s struck by the wonder of having someone his being shot at matters to that much.
So I found this a solid episode telling two different stories about family while showing that Booth, too, is capable of growth on the personal relationship front. What’s not to love?
Bonus quotes, just because:
“You’re one of the Avengers, man. We need you.” (Hodgins)
“I’m of two minds, but that might be the alcohol.” (Caroline)