episode, however, are the victim’s underlying message, and the concept of personal evolution as highlighted by the stark contrast between Dr. Oliver ‘I am a douchebag’ Wells and Dr. Temperance ‘I don’t know what that means’ Brennan.
In short, here they are: The interactions between a dejected Sweets’ with Booth, Cam, and Brennan individually over ‘Val’, the artificial profiling system. The bucket list Angela makes for Dr. Oliver ‘I don’t have a single friend’ Wells. Hodgins’ vocabulary lessons.
This episode was surprisingly light on carnage with the exception of the dangling corpse in the opening scene and the sickening face peel by Cam shortly afterwards. As for experiments, there weren’t any. Regardless, the episode didn’t suffer for these slights as there was sufficient discussion of skeletal evidence, cause of death, and weapon. Granted, these discussions were mostly use as a vehicle to highlight Dr. Oliver ‘My last girlfriend was an transistor radio’ Wells’ (Brian Klugman) severe personality quirks. Just a note: If Dr. Wells is as smart as all that, why didn’t they invite him in the help with the Pelant case? Hm.
A key component in the Bones elixir from the very beginning has been the ‘lightning in a bottle’ chemistry between these two main characters. Whether they are sparring or making love, whether it is intense or jovial, it is always a focal point for the viewers and an element that can make or break an episode. ‘That Lady on the List’ managed to incorporate several moments of Booth-Brennan sweetness without turning out a saccharine wedding-centric product at a time when it would have been all to easy to do.
The most touching moments of Bones’ fifth episode belong to Brennan and Angela. The first of two brief yet poignant scenes brought to closure what could have been a bone of contention (pardon the pun) going: Brennan’s steadfast faith in Booth, and Angela’s acerbic and temporary lack of it. Deschanel and Conlin play their parts expertly: Brennan defending her man; Angela doing the mea culpa thing. Later, Angela’s tenderness and Brennan’s subtle desperation to do the right thing are masterfully delivered as Brennan reveals a childhood desire and Angela commits to making it happen. This scene, through the revelation of a childhood dream so out of character for what we know of Brennan as an adult, gives us a rare glimpse into the pre-anthropological Brennan; the unblemished eight-year-old girl before the world rushed in and bruised her tender heart. In an exchange which could have become mawkish, Brennan and Angela portrayed the perfect mix of vulnerability and affection.
Though this week’s criminal case was interesting and complete, its most compelling component was the message delivered posthumously by the victim, high school principle-turned-motivational speaker, Charlie McCord. By way of a series of conversations with his associates, and clips from his inspirational videos, we discover along with the team that all who knew him genuinely loved and respected McCord. He was a terrific, yet humbly charismatic man. He’d have to be if he’d managed to earn the respect and admiration of Lena Silver (Kristin Ariza) a school bookkeeper he reported for embezzling $6,000 and who, as a result of McCord’s righteous accusations, went to jail and lost custody of her children.
At first blush, one might assume McCord’s message is about throwing caution to the wind, releasing your true potential, and experiencing the grandeur of a life worth living. Granted, these are fine messages, but look deeper. The underlying message here is one you can’t get for $2 a pop on the internet (Though you’re getting it for free right here!).
The final message we hear during the ‘The Lady on the List’ is about how you address your failures, how you treat your family, how you forgive, and how you love, rather than fulfilling a list of wishes that will never be complete. He infers this in his final message, but, more importantly, he models this in how he lived his life. Coincidentally, the one person who learns nothing from McCord’s videos, his friend and colleague, Martin Proctor (Patrick Heusinger), is the one who murdered him and lost everything.
The Character Evolution
It was refreshing to see Dr. ‘It’s a curse being superior’ Wells as the squintern of the week. In ‘The Lady on the List’, Wells’ character is used to illustrate the differences between Brennan’s exacting brilliance and Wells’ obnoxious superiority complex.
Brennan, who has been accused, ad nauseam, of being socially awkward and pretentious, has evolved a great deal. Lena’s comment during her interrogation that people change serves to put the concept of change into our heads in preparation for the read message. However, change is abrupt, a complete turnaround; evolution is about adaptation and growth. That is what we’ve seen in Brennan. As brilliant and awkward as she may be, she has always possessed a humanity that we have yet to see from Wells. 1) She’s never been one to interrupt constantly in a race to capture credit for findings, 2) She is quick to guilelessly (usually) appreciate the truth and assign attribution, and 3) She acknowledges and values expertise in others (except psychologists, although she’s still working on that.)
The Move to Friday
When we return from the hiatus post-wedding, Bones will be moving to a time slot on Fridays. So far this season Bones has delivered four phenomenal episodes, and one palate cleanser (El Carnicero). It behoves them to front-load their season with heavy-hitters if they intend to entice viewers to join them on the other end of the business week for the second half of the season. Though some would say that the accuracy of extrapolated viewer reports is questionable, those who fund tv base their decisions upon those matrices. After traveling all over the weekly calendar and succeeding, can Bones hold its own on a night when most viewers is the 18-49 demographic are out socializing? If the first half of the season has been any indication, then, yes. But a lot will hang in the balance for ‘The Nazi On the Honeymoon’.
First, however, we look forward to next week’s ‘The Woman in White’ and the Bones wedding of the century. Tune in next Monday as the Jeffersonian team investigates the murder of Nancy Handelman, whose body was discovered at the time of Brennan and Booth’s wedding rehearsal.