The Rest of the Review:
“The Repo Man in the Septic Tank” took a U-Turn down an unexpected back alley to surprise us yet again. Let’s discuss.
Business first. Though there was a great deal of surprise, “The Repo Man in the Septic Tank” did meet the formulaic standards of a) a new and brilliant intern rubbing Brennan the wrong way, b) some rather acerbic interplay between Brennan and Booth over a topic they both feel adamantly about—religion, in this case, and c) a disgusting item (an enormous septic tank) brought into the lab, to name just a few of the key elements. Has anyone counted the number of times Bones episodes have included poop in one way or another? I digress.
Was it a good episode? Let’s break it down a little further using a ten-point scale.
One point for a decent murder. The remains of Benny Jerguson, a recently paroled auto thief who found work repossessing cars are found in a septic tank. The case centers around the car accident which immediately preceded his death by drowning, an accident which involved an unidentified passenger who is most likely the killer. The lineup of suspects include a disgruntled street vendor whose truck Jerguson repossessed; Jerguson’s foul-mouthed boss, Georgia ‘Record Your Repos To Keep Your Nuts Out of a Vice’ Grace (Dendrie Taylor); childhood friend and auto theft cohort, Horatio Mancini (Shahine Ezell) and Jerguson’s parole officer, Martin Fowler (Kevin E. West). Skanky and suspicious are they all.
Grace takes home the award for delivery of one of the episode’s best lines: “I didn’t like you the minute I saw you and you’re just getting uglier by the minute.” Mancini turns out to be a fairly decent guy … for an auto thief. Eventually Fowler’s guilt is confirmed when Booth hoodwinks him into walking through an x-ray machine at FBI headquarters manned by Security Guard Dr. Temperance Brennan who identifies evidence hidden under the culprit’s skin. Was it just me, or did Deschanel totally rock that security guard uniform?
Two points for an interesting new intern, swarthy and presumptive lothario and Cuban defector, forensic anthropologist Dr. Rodolfo ‘Who can say no to love?’ Fuentes (Ignacio Serricchio). Fuentes charms the Jeffersonian team, but tries Brennan’s patience more intensely than anyone in the past, allowing for several comedic comeuppance instances throughout “The Repo Man in the Septic Tank.”
That’s three points so far. Add two points for humor based upon the comedic restaurant kitchen swordfight, Brennan’s smacking of Fuentes’ head against the light table, and the … all my male interns want to have sex with me … conversation which included another of the episode’s best lines from Booth: “You do realize you’re talking out loud, what you just said right there?”
Another two points for loads of B&B screen time together; do we ever really get enough of that? That was a rhetorical question, by the way, put your hand down, Bonehead. We’ll award Brennan and Booth an extra point for extreme romantic goodness in the car and playful cuteness later at home on the couch. #CouchTimeRocks
What’s the tally? Bones’ 183rd episode gets an 8/10 score. Fair enough.
More interesting than these predictable elements are the messages available in those back alley U-turns that took this particular viewer (yours truly) by surprise.
“The Repo Man in the Septic Tank,” like every episode of every show, every story ever written or told, and every movie ever projected onto a larger-than-life screen, was 50% intent and delivery, and 50% subjective experience. Writers, actors, producers and advertisers put their messages out in the free air, but viewers brains take and make whatever they want with it. In 1968, Paul Simon righteously declared, ‘A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.’ Simon was onto something.
So, about the predicted and the unexpected. Following are the instances where it seemed we were going down a familiar path, but then the Bones fairies yanked us sideways, confirming their finesse in the realm of surprise.
Expected: Brennan will be obnoxious toward the new intern, but then turn it completely around by the end, finding some kind of fault within herself. Unexpected: This episode wasn’t about finding fault with either anthropologist or about the clashing of arrogances; it was more about change and adaptability.
The Jeffersonian Medico-Legal lab is a small pond where Brennan is the biggest fish, but ponds are stagnant without change. Brennan has to accept that her team’s evolution will stagnate if it doesn’t change and adapt. However, subjugation of herself or her colleague is unnecessary for that to occur, as we saw in this episode. Bones executive producers have teased that the winds of change are blowing such that Brennan and Booth’s crime-fighting modi operandi will undergo a transformation. If Brennan is to be out of the lab more (?), she needs to feel that her quasi-equal will be there among the guppies in her stead. Could Dr. Fuentes be a marlin in disguise?
Expected: Booth would counter Brennan’s sexual desirability assertion with his own statement of the same about himself and his female colleagues. Unexpected: Instead, the conversation went in an entirely different direction. And contradictory to Brennan’s usual non-emotional affirmations, which come with caveats attached to cover unpredictable circumstances. Instead she positively effused about the interdependency of their loves. Wow. #BestSpeechEver
Expected: The somewhat awkward and dangerous but precious B&B kissing-while-driving manoeuvre would lead Brennan to realize that the victim was turned to his side while driving because he was kissing his passenger. Unexpected: This just didn’t happen. The B&B kiss was for the joy of it, not to further the case. This was refreshing.
Expected: Fuentes’ cross medallion, like Arastoo’s faith, would be a plot device for introducing the fervent religious belief in something by an empirical scientist despite the lack of evidence of its existence. Unexpected: Fuentes admitted to not believing in God, but believing, instead, in the right to have the choice. This was a powerful message for Brennan, which influenced her compromise in the final scene.
Were these Bones’ intended messages? Your guess is as good as anyone’s. You are 50% of the equation, after all. Feel free to weigh in down below in the comments section. #PleaseAndThankYou
The evidence is clear that Bones will continue to keep their delivery and content novel and fresh, a constant surprise.
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