vanquished and a highly anticipated wedding followed by a honeymoon that promises equal parts romance and intrigue. Perhaps a palate cleanser was in order?
The case in question involves the charred remains of Jamie Delcampo, a high level enforcer for Las Estrellas Locas gang, who, quite frankly, deserved much worse than he got. Delcampo, known as ‘El Carnicero’, or ‘The Butcher’, for chopping off his victims’ hands, feet and head—all parts that would lead to a quick identity—is killed and set ablaze immediately following the dismemberment of his latest victim, Adrianna Garcia. The gun used to fell Delcampo is identified as a ‘library gun’ from an arsenal of unregistered weapons belonging to Las Estrellas and managed by Delcampo’s girlfriend, Maria Alvarado.
Delcampos charred remains and vehicle provide the only humor present in this episode. Hodgins repeatedly attempts to retrieve information as the evidence crumbles under his touch, frustrating him immeasurably. Finally, he constructs a Peter Pan-esque harness to suspend himself above the debris and is able to get at the goods before they disintegrate completely. That, and a fancy reenactment of the bullet’s Newtonian trajectory inside the brain, is the extent of the cool experiments and fun science-y stuff in the lab for the duration of the episode.
Of great redeeming value in the lab, however, is the peeling off of the stapled together face of Adrianna Garcia. Now, that is the queasy grossness Bones fans have come to expect! Brennan and Angela observe as Cam does the honors with the kind of aplomb and chic only Cam can muster in such a situation. Angela, bless her, turns in a stellar performance making a series of fantastic facial expressions of exactly what the viewing audience is feeling—rapt disgust. Way to go, Angela!
Sweets’ walkabout provides a focal point for this Bones episode as he continues his search to find meaning in his professional life. He’s become a volunteer at Adams’ Community Center where he helps underprivileged youth find something to do with their lives that doesn’t involve guns or violence. It’s there that he comes into contact with young Javier Alvarado, the son of Delcampo’s girlfriend, Maria.
Sweets seems to find his work at the community center fulfilling. What we don’t know is if this respite will bring back his mojo. Carolina comments on his newfound bravado, but, as a long-time Bones fan, I expected more evidence of growth even though it has only been three weeks in the hood for Sweets. Perhaps he’s still getting his feet wet? Brennan and Booth each attempt to assure Sweets that he wasn’t responsible for Pelant’s use of Sweets’ research. Their assurances fall flat, having no bolstering affect on the psychologist, who still seems to be dealing with a great deal of insecurity. To give him his props, Sweets did take the reins in a couple of places, but none of them were with enough gusto or moxie to display a returned sense of self-power. If Brennan, Booth, and Caroline did have such faith in him, why were they all less than supportive (except Booth, but even he thought it was going nowhere) when Sweets wanted to interrogate Maria Alvarado’s son, Javier? In the end, the confession Sweets coaxed out of Javier surprised everyone, including Sweets.
It turns out that, and as Sweets suspected, the young Javier knew more than he was saying. In the end, Javier confesses that he was the one who killed Delcampo because he didn’t want him beating up his mother anymore. This was a shock to everyone on Bones, though some viewers saw it coming. What shocked everyone—I don’t care who you are—was the response of Javier’s mother when she learned of Javier’s actions. First, she threatened in Spanish to beat him if he didn’t shut up. Then, when Javier describes what he did, Maria knocks him to the ground and screams at him that she never wants to see him again. The most chilling exclamation: “I can make more children, but Las Estrallas are my family.”
Throughout Bones’ third season nine episode, Sweets, on an experiential level, and Brennan, on an anthropological level, warn about the gang-centric perception of family in cultures who have endured decades of harassment, underemployment, and inadequate education. That is the tragic message of this week’s Bones episode, and it’s a frightening one. That Bones would shine a light on one of the nation’s great needs is no surprise.
Despite the subdued tenor of the entire episode, including later during toasts at the Founding Father, (Bones long ago set the bar high in regard to their after-case toasts; this one, however, was forgettable) two wonderful things did emerge. First was the heartfelt exchange between Brennan and Booth at the diner. This scene demonstrated the new dynamic one would expect in a romantic relationship, that of the responsibility to keep the other informed, especially if one is shot at!
Once again, (we love this about Brennan) she calls Booth on the carpet for avoiding informing her post haste when he’s been shot at. “A call. One call. One minute,” she tells him. And what does he do? He apologizes. And that is what we love about Booth and this relationship. They are mature. They don’t step over what looks like it could be sticky and uncomfortable. They face it. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. And then they move on. Just a note, wasn’t that, ‘I love you and it’s so great to have you loving me this way,’ look Booth gave Brennan before leaving the diner fantastic? That was almost worth the rest of the episode.
Today’s television schedules are filled with contrived drama and mayhem. Some viewers predicted that the uniting of Brennan and Booth as a romantic couple would be the undoing of the show. This reviewer is here to tell you that that is not at all the case. This is a strong couple. And they are going to need it for what’s coming up next. The preview for next week’s episode, ‘The Sense in the Sacrifice’ sees the Jeffersonians using a donated human cadaver to lure Pelant out of hiding. Agent Flynn reappears to assist and is suspected of collusion with Pelant by a returning Dr. Sweets.