Injecting a touch of levity into the back-home terrain while Brennan and Booth are out galavanting about a Virginian reservation, Sweets (John Francis Daley) endures a crisis of faith played out in several slapstick sequences, which glide along the hairy edge of absurd, but culminate in an understated, yet emotional exchange between himself and Booth. Okay, so a crisis of faith isn’t funny, but Sweets’ continually way-off-base diagnoses of everyone around him is kinda funny. Surprisingly late in the episode, Pelant, in name only, resurfaces as the source of everyone’s lingering malaise, and of course, of Sweets’ insecurity.
So much Bones-y deliciousness to cover, and only so many column inches to cover it all—where do we begin? With the case, of course! Though satisfying in the gruesomeness of it’s opening scenes, this week’s case served as vehicle for the interactions between characters, and is mightily overshadowed by the strength of the portrayals all around. However, one must follow protocol, so, here goes.
Resplendent in hot pants, gold diamond-encrusted ingot necklace, and bright red lipstick, Brennan’s Roxie, accompanied by Booth’s greased-back, jauntily-sauntering Tony, in dark sateen trousers, pinkie ring, and mobster-on-holiday Guayabera shirt-over-wife-beater tee, pursue the killers of Adam Pak, a philanderer with the tenacity to bring his faux-wife to the New Dawn Retreat to work on their faux-marriage under the tutelage of what turns out to be a Faux-Shaman Little River (Yancey Arias).
Attending the weekend-long therapy session for anger-challenged marrieds while working the case, Brennan (Deschanel) and Booth (Boreanaz) catch a glimpse of their future in the caricatures of adorable and lighthearted, mutually-captivated, and long-married Bill and Evelyn Schumacher, portrayed by Millicent Martin (Frazier) and the immortalized Cheers’ postal jockey, John ‘Eh, it’s a little known fact—’ Ratzenberger. Coincidentally, Bill and Evelyn turn out to be burglars-turned-killers when the victim catches them in the act of attempting to return his house keys. Startled, Pak attacks the elderly couple, inciting each of them to violence in defense of the other. There. Case closed. Onward!
First, let’s take a moment to list some of the best of the best comic relief in Bones’ second season nine episode.
1) The mention of Booth’s bathtub beer hat
2) The countering mention of the African fertility statue
3) The OMG sweat lodge scene with Brennan, er, Roxie, spouting Latin and gyrating hysterically as she ‘channels’ the faux-wife’s ancestors? E-P-I-C!
4) Booth in the bloated-tick suit biffing it on the obstacle course
Next, enough can’t be said about the interpersonal chemistry exploding all over the place in this episode. Though not all of it was romantic, it was all flawless.
Brennan and Booth
Despite the elephant standing between them and their vows, these two respected their tacit agreement to guilelessly have faith in themselves and each other. Flirtatious banter without rancor notwithstanding, paradise is not yet fully regained, folks, but the serpent has been banished from the garden. We’ve yet to see how Pelant will react to his failed divisiveness. *Queue ominous adrenaline-producing music and chew on fingernails.*
For dessert, director Alex Chapple—God bless him!—serves up some cinematographically goose bump-inducing close-ups of Brennan and Booth’s faces as they gaze beguilingly into each other’s eyes. Then, low and behold, the couple who seemed loath to touch each other on screen, much less lock lips, back in season seven and a lot of season eight—they kick propriety to the curb and surrender to their desire to break the laws of physics, leaving their bathrobes in a pool at the foot of the bed as they wrap themselves around each other, their limbs colliding deliciously as they bounce onto the bed. Can I please get a glass of water to pour over my head?
Camille and Arastoo
Hats off to Cam and Arastoo (Pej Vahdat) who, despite this reviewer’s misgivings, have firmly established that they have chemistry, good chemistry—enduring relationships are made of. These two work incredibly well as a couple—finally. Managing to maintain their professionalism at work, they subtly support each other without making anyone uncomfortable (And by anyone, I mean us). Arastoo couldn’t have been sweeter in the scene where he closes the blinds and massages Cam’s shoulders as she demurely falls apart, as much as she has ever allowed herself to, that is. Arastoo gently and masterfully offers support without crowding Camille several times through the episode. This was a pleasure to see. For a moment there, when he admitted he loves her, I thought a marriage proposal was going to jump out of his mouth … Hm. Interesting.
Is this the beginnings of a deeper, broader characterization of Camille Saroyan? And, could that perhaps mean that Bones writers are hedging their bets just in case a married Booth and Brennan cease to offer sufficient intrigue and drama to carry the franchise to it’s tenth season? This is tv, people. Things mean everything and nothing, and only in retrospect. As of this episode, let’s just say the deepening of Camille’s character is a welcome surprise. So, speculate all you want, I’ll let you know what it meant after watching the season nine finale.
As the focus is always on Brennan’s quirky, controlled behavior, the psychology of Camille Saroyan is never scrutinized. She’s sort of a control freak, people, and has been since day one. Note the demure hairstyles, the streamlined and geometrically designed dresses, her ballerina-like poise, her insistence on keeping things professional and, by God, according to protocol. This is what makes her so good at what she does! Tossing more than just a wrench into her beautifully manicured life, this week’s episode sees Cam’s tightly-wound composure weaken and begin to unravel like a mummy caught in a flood in what executive producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan promise to be the beginning of a several-episode arc of life-altering devastation brought on by the theft of her identity. So, not just Cam’s love life, but her whole person may grow in ways unpredictable.
Camille and Hodgins and Angela
Though she fights it, Cam finds herself on the receiving end of several quite moving gestures from Hodgins and Angela. Hodgela manipulate Camille into reception of their affection and support by couching helpful details between case data and by conducting useful research to help her begin to put her life back together. In doing so, Angela redeems herself somewhat despite the ill-fated and awkward warpath she’s skating down where Booth is concerned.
Booth and Sweets
As Sweets’ mojo, which we established last week is certifiably on hiatus, continues to dissipate, Sweets decision to take a leave of absence. At present, he questions the impact of his work as profiler for the FBI. What he’d set out to do when he became a psychologist was to help people, heal people.
Booth needs Sweets now more than ever. Pelant targeted Sweets by planting these seeds of insecurity because he fears Sweets. As a cohesive team, the Jeffersonian and FBI can beat Pelant, and he knows it. It’s just a matter of time. Hence the strategy of divide and conquer.
When Sweets approaches Booth about taking a leave of absence, Booth’s anxiety is palpable. He needs Sweets, but he can’t tell him! How will Booth take down Pelant so he can marry Brennan if he doesn’t have Sweets’ expertise at his disposal? However, Booth intuits Sweets’ need for a Walkabout. So … he releases him. But at what cost? We can assume that Booth will somehow demonstrate that Sweets’ insights are invaluable to the team—but Booth understands that a boy’s gotta do what a boy’s gotta do on his way to becoming a fully-functioning man—mojo intact. Let’s just hope Sweets has a growth spurt, and fast, because we’ve been promised a wedding in three weeks and we won’t take no for an answer!
In the final analysis, the underlying theme of this episode seems to be that family and friends lovers and spouses, these are what it means to have everything. Hodgins states that he knows what it’s like to lose everything because of Pelant, but he’s wrong. Perhaps Hart Hanson is doing a little reverse psychology on us in that scene—making us see that in that statement we know that the opposite is true. Despite what Pelant may hold as his own twisted truth, Hodgins does have everything—Booth has everything—Cam, Brennan, Angela, Sweets. They all have everything that matters, a supportive and loyal family of friends, fulfilling careers, children—and faith in their collective power. This is something Pelant may think he gets academically, but he can’t understand in reality. He’s incapable of doing so. And this is what will be his downfall.
When Bones returns next Monday, September 30th (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX, we’ll see the Jeffersonian team looking into the murder of Jamie Delcampo, a member of the Estrellas Locas gang, whose barely-there remains are found in a burnt out car in “El Carnicero en el Coche” (The Butcher in the Car). See you then!