I know I sound like a recording on this point, but while watching this episode, all I could think about was how easy it is for the show to charm me because there are so many things I like about it. The serious stories? Check. The funnier, lighter stories? Check. The dialogue? Check. The characters? (Not just one or two, but all of them?) Absolutely.
For me, this was a great week for a lighter episode, because I needed a good laugh. At the moment, my life in a nutshell would be, ‘family drama, work drama, moving house, general exhaustion, and, oh, yeah, the world is generally a crappy place to live in right now.’
But even when largely played for laughs, there are moments which touch me deeply, and that, more than anything, is what I can always count on with Bones.
My favorite part of the case was Booth as intern. We know he’s smart; it’s just a different type of intelligence than what the squints have, and it was fun, again, to see his abilities and knowledge taking center stage in the lab (as they did earlier in the season, in The Monster in the Closet.)
I particularly enjoy Brennan’s absolute confidence in him. As soon as she realizes that hockey is a factor, he becomes her go-to resource, enough so that she refers to him as the intern of the case. He makes it clear he doesn’t appreciate her doing so, but if he keeps on knowing things/seeing case-related things that she doesn’t, the next thing he knows, she’ll be handing him a gray lab coat. (*snicker*)
Competition, particularly between guys, is the theme of this one, popping up in a number of places. (And leading to one of the funnier tweets I saw Thursday evening, posted by @maracev: “So I see tonight’s episode is sponsored by testosterone.”)
It’s not quite all about the guys, though – as there often is, there’s a mild bit of competition going on between Booth and Brennan over de-cluttering. In addition to some thoughtful moments about Brennan, which I’ll get to in a moment, that subplot also gave us call backs to the beerhat, Cocky, and wildly colored socks:
While I’m glad Booth has been shown as having grown out of Cocky, I think the call backs are wonderful. I expect we’re going to see a lot more of this kind of thing as the show moves toward its finish, as a tribute to the characters, the fans, and the show’s journey, and I love that beyond telling.
Hodgins, Oliver, Aubrey:
Although much of the competition between the guys focused on Hodgins and Oliver, watching Aubrey hand Oliver his ass over the video game playing was pretty sweet. (No, I’ve still not forgiven Oliver for the report card fiasco from The Fight in the Fixer.)
I was also cracking up at Aubrey coming over to ‘scold’ them when he plainly had no plans to actually do so. (I’m fairly sure Booth knew that’s how the reprimand would go, as well, if only because I think if he’d really thought they needed to be raked over the coals, he’d have done it himself.)
But what I kept coming back to while watching this is how much seeing Hodgins happy delights me. In the past, his lab shenanigans would sometimes elicit an eye roll on my part (despite my love for him); but now, having seen him lose that joy, moments like this make me tear up a bit.
Did you notice they don’t reference the wheelchair at all? It’s simply not a factor – he’s not defined by it, and I cheered during the head’s victory lap around the lab set to soaring music. Go, Hodgins!
When we see Cam clearly in charge, but in a way that’s respectful of her team’s eccentricities, is when I enjoy her the most. She’s not fazed by the video game competition between Hodgins and Oliver; only firmly gets them on track to the case; she asks Brennan and Angela about the book unpacking, but her priority is on letting Brennan know that she understands the books – while also taking the opportunity to show off her engagement ring to her friends.
Meanwhile, she lets Aubrey know that she’s onto him, too, in terms of knowing he didn’t really come to scold Oliver and Hodgins. I love, love, that they can’t pull anything over on her. She’s a great boss… and friend.
It’s a lighter, sillier episode, and yet it still gives us Brennan’s dilemma over the books, and Angela’s insight into why they’re important. While I doubt anyone is surprised that books were her lifeline after her parents left, it’s interesting to watch her acknowledge that from the perspective of where she is now, no longer needing books in quite the same way.
(Much of this bit hit home for me because I’m moving in a couple of weeks and am trying very hard, and mostly failing, to reduce the number of books which I apparently can’t live without. What this means is that I set myself a goal of keeping half the books on any one shelf, only, like Brennan, to get to the end of the sorting and find I’m holding a single book that I might be able to part with.)
That moment where he looks at all the people who’ve come out for Daryl to see the re-match and responds with such compassion makes me teary. Aubrey’s right: Booth has had a long series of heroic, life-defining moments that count much more than the hockey championship he won against Daryl’s team. But Daryl is still stuck back on that one failure, and Booth, proving that he’s so much more than a good hockey player, loses so that Daryl can put it behind him.
We don’t really get to know Daryl very well, beyond that he’s a murder suspect obsessed with a high school sports failure. But all those people cheering for him, coming out to support him? You don’t have that unless you’re a decent guy, and I think Booth couldn’t bear to humiliate Daryl in front of them. He could have – his earlier goal with the watching players established that – but chose not to, because sometimes being a hero means letting someone else win.
And while Daryl has a crowd of people cheering for him, Booth has Brennan, who knows perfectly well what kind of man he is, and is proud of him for that choice.
“Look at all those books.”
“Books are educational, aesthetically pleasing, and great to have around children.”
“But you already read them. Get rid of them.”
“You don’t get rid of books, Booth.” (Booth, Brennan)
“I find imbeciles amusing.” (Brennan)
“I’d totally understand if you wanted retribution.”
“Totally? So you admit to wanting retribution?”
“Yeah…what does retribution mean again?” (Aubrey, Drew Poppleton)
“Guys, this is not a drone-measuring contest. Just find the missing head as soon as possible.” (Cam)
“Whoa. Good thing you got that huge bag of socks back there. Never know when there might be an emergency and you need seventy pairs right away.”
“I thought I’d take the initiative and donate mine first.”
“You’re being the bigger man. That’s great. I’m just saying you should probably throw them away. Socks, they’re like Social Security numbers and diapers. Should only have one owner.” (Aubrey, Booth)
“As far as well-marketed minerals masquerading as good investments go, this is exquisite.” (Brennan, about Cam’s engagement ring)
“You’ve gone on to a series of heroic moments; he became an equipment manager.” (Aubrey, comparing Booth and Daryl)
“I’m getting rid of all the books I can live without.” (Brennan, holding three books)