According to Garth Brooks, it’s important to have friends in low places, and in this case it is true on more levels than one can count. Where better, or more appropriate, than a sleepy tavern—ironically named Paradise Lost and surrounded by cheap liquor and naugahyde—for Booth to seek absolution? Presiding over the scene is none other than the man of the hour, Booth’s military chaplain turned-bartender and confidante, Aldo Clemens (Mather Zickel, Hou$e of Lie$, Newsreaders).
“Forgive me father for I have sinned,” begins Booth, crossing himself in the practiced manner of countless encounters prostrate before his Maker. “It’s been eight years since my last confession.” Sequestered in the bar storage room, a ‘tinfoil hat-paranoid’ Booth, portrayed masterfully by David Boreanaz, receives this advice: Get ‘er done, my son. Okay, not in so many words, but you get the picture.
Bones executive producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan take us next to an impromptu intervention at FBI headquarters where Caroline Julian (Patricia Belcher) and Dr. Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) confront Booth about the pervasive malaise overshadowing everything in the Boothy Universe. MYOB, he commands in response, rendering the same advice later to Dr. Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor) who accuses him of cold feet and warns he will lose Brennan if he doesn’t get his shit together soon. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the wrath of Angela, Brennan’s BFF and most stalwart protector. If Booth isn’t careful, Angela might scalp him and turn his chestnut coif into a fanny pack! One has to wonder, though, if the frustrated artist isn’t doing a bit of projecting here?
Oh, yeah, and there’s a murder too! Distraction from melancholia emerges in the form of murder at the swanky Lightfoot Hotel where the remains of Jason Siedel, an accountant for the state department, are found sprayed all over the inside of a six ton air conditioner. Hallelujah! Er, gross, I mean. This is a crime procedural, right? The crime scene has been mysteriously ‘sanitized’ be someone—perhaps the killer? Perhaps the accomplice? We shall see!
We continue to watch uncomfortably as Brennan, mightily flabbergasted by Booth’s jilt, looks like her puppy died. A defeated and tongue-tied Booth, who looks like he’s got a terrible case of irritable bowel syndrome—which he probably does, considering his circumstances (This reviewer certainly would!) —meanders with his un-betrothed through several environs, exuding as much harmony as a fifth grade orchestra practice. Emily Deschanel seemingly overplays the jilted lover, moping through her day, and grousing at Booth for numerous transgressions—but one must remember that Brennan has no poker face. What. So. Ever. Which is precisely why Booth can’t tell her this is all an evil plot divised by the pointy-tailed evil little troll himself, Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds) So, look again, gentle viewer, Deschanel’s portrayal is nothing if not authentic and gut-wrenching. (Pass the Kleenex, please. #NotJoking.)
The good news is that Brennan repeatedly calls Booth on the carpet. (You go, girl! Er, I mean, extraordinary adult female!) In ‘The Partners in the Divorce,’ they made a pact to never pretend copacetic-ness when in fact the poo has been hitting the propeller quite consistently. Three months of fecal matter all over the place would put a major dent in even the most committed relationships. Ugh. Brennan sticks to that promise while Booth furtively seeks an opportunity to spill when the stress becomes unbearable.
As Brennan seeks a logical explanation for Booth’s behavior, the case unfolds with Booth and Sweets finding that the victim’s condo has now also been sanitized! In a hilarious feat of physicality, Sweets is catapulted across the bathroom by an unseen assailant who we soon discover is another military friend of Booth’s, Danny Beck (Freddie Prinze Jr.) With a sophisticated yet understated ‘catch me if you can’ aura, further enhanced by an Amaretto timbered tenor, an amused Beck reveals the victim’s CIA status, and sends Booth about his merry way without further ado, never to appear again until the end of the episode.
Well, voila! Siedel is more than he seems, it appears, and so is his Girl Friday and state office colleague, Miss Lily Thorn (Lucy Walters, Splinter Cell: Extinction). As a matter of fact, Lily, affectionately called the ‘patriotic prostitute’ by her criminal attorney mother, Marianne (Kathleen York, The Client List, West Wing), lays the honeypot which Heinrich ‘Winnie the Poo’ Gloeckner (Alastair Duncan, the voice of Alfred in “The Batman”) can’t possibly resist.
In a super cool science-y scene, two things happen. First, Hodgins assures Angela that Booth must have a reason for what’s going on—and gently insinuates she needs to cut Booth some slack. Second, Angela and Hodgins devise a plan to extract a negative of the last image printed off equipment that has been sanitized by the CIA. How? They put triturated laundry detergent into the printer drum which somehow made the ghost image appear on the page.
Queue the suspects. Lily ‘Patriotic Prostitute’ Thorn—though Booth excludes her almost immediately. Gloeckner, of course, is a suspect as well, but Booth eliminates him. Marianne Thorn, the floozie’s pickled mother, is also a suspect because she gave Siedel a cranial-mandible adjustment with her beloved $5,000 briefcase. Marianne, by the way, has one of the best lines of the episode: “It’s cruel and unusual punishment not to let a girl finish her drink after the day I’ve had!” Then she gracelessly bends to slurp another gullet-full from her martini as Booth holds her cuffed from behind. Another great delivery in the humor department: Hodgins having fantasies about sparring with a government bent on infiltrating D.C. with their hypodermic needles full of untraceable CIA poison. Five seconds later, he’s sorely disappointed when his conspiracy theories are felled by—wait for it—a boo boo. I digress …
Finally, we learn what the murder weapon is, which leads Booth and Brennan back to the state department! Turns out a different employee there, though one who wasn’t included in the CIA’s reindeer games, Ted Norman (Rich Ceraulo), had been secretly Jonesing for Lily ‘Honeypot’ Thorn. Drunk on unrequited love and prone to delusions of grandeur, Norman believes himself to be Lily’s White knight on a Steed—though how he planned to do that on a Schwinn is beyond me.
Norman follows Lily to the swanky brothel suspecting Siedel has been abusing his authority over Lily to coax sexual favors from the saucy seductress. To his utter dismay, Norman looks on while Siedel hands Lily ‘Honeypot’ Thorn over to another guy. WTF—Now Siedel is a pimp? Thinks Normal flying into a frothing rage. (Use your imagination—none of us got to see it actually happen) and smacking the crap out of Siedel’s head with his cat-o-nine-tails—or was it his katana? No! It was his bike lock assembly! Doh! That had to hurt.
Okay, Robin Hood has been captured. Back to the drama. In the middle of working the case, Brennan (Deschanel) seeks information from Angela and Daisy, who are no help at all except when Angela puts the kibosh on the science of love lecture to assert that love is more than chemistry. Where have we heard that before, boys and girls. *Furtive Nod to Sir Seeley* Brennan, however, suspects Booth has fallen out of love, and produces proof that he’s been going to a bar called Paradise Lost. Oops. Paradise certainly does look lost at this point.
On the bright(er) side, when approached, Cam assures Brennan that Booth still loves her. The proof? He’s miserable and so is she. If he weren’t in love, he would be relieved, not miserable. This gives Brennan pause.
On the flip side, an overwhelmed Booth (nobody does enamored lovelorn anguish like Boreanaz, btw, I don’t care who you are) considers calling Pelant’s bluff, hereby putting an end to this necrotizing farce by coming clean with Brennan. He drags Padre Clemens back into the closet and gets his world turned on its side with one question: How will Temperance feel if she were to learn that you put her life ahead of five innocent people’s lives? Bam! In two seconds flat, Booth knows that, though she doesn’t know it, Brennan is on his side. He needs to stay the course and do what he knows is right.
One question though, Booth Buddy. Why aren’t you enlisting the help of the rest of the team?! That’s what they are there for! You should all be working on Pelant concurrently with other cases until that socially marginalized narcissist with delusions of grandeur and a malignant anti-social personality disorder is put away for good! Oh, but wait, Angela is pissed at you, Hodgins waxes murderous and gets an eye twitch every time the topic of the little troll comes around, and Sweets seems to have lost some of his mojo. Yeah, I said it—he’s lost some mojo. How do we know? Because he was quite verbal about not being blamed for his inability to gather psychological intel from the victim’s sanitized condo. So, what happened to the mojo? Pelant, that’s what. Last episode, Pelant has been using Sweets’ research to take down his victims and antagonize Booth. No wonder Sweets is a little gun shy.
Okay, so Booth has his head on straight. Now it’s Brennan’s turn. She visits Clemens at Paradise Lost and he sets her straight as well. Clemens left the priesthood because of the absolution he had to provide to people, including Booth, who had to do terrible and difficult things—like killing other human beings. Aldo saw how it destroyed these men and he couldn’t take it anymore. But, did he stop believing in God? No.
Aldo Clemens shares with Brennan that Booth confessed his love for her to him, and explained that, to Booth, not being married to this woman he loves—the woman he has a child with, the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with—for Booth, that is a sin. “I’m not sure a nonbeliever can understand that.” Booth, he explains, never does things unless he is compelled by a really good reason.
And Brennan believes him. She’s smart. And she gets it.
Case closed, Booth is visited once again by ‘Danny ‘Cool as a Summer Day in June’ Beck who congratulates him and offers him a job at the CIA. “We owe you one,” he says, with a manly handshake. Put your helmet and knee pads on, people, Pelant can’t out run the FBI AND the CIA, can he? You got get him, Booth, and take that government cutie with you! Your welcome, ladies.
When Booth returns home that evening, he’s met by a serene Brennan whom he fears, momentarily, is about to kick him to the curb. In the final painstaking moments of ‘The Secrets in the Proposal,’ Deschanel and Boreanaz deliver an exquisitely emotional and gut-wrenching exchange where Brennan surrenders herself into Booth’s care assuring him of her absolute faith in him. The tenderest, most emotional moment, though this scene is rife with them, is when Brennan, glassy-eyed and repentant, apologizes for losing sight of her faith in him.
And finally, Booth agrees that the next proposal will be his responsibility. Oh. My. God. There is a Boothy proposal in the future! I can barely contain myself!!!!!!!!
That’s maturity and love, people. What binds these two is their indelible marks on each other’s hearts.
All is still not perfect in Paradise. Will Brennan chafe from Booth’s continued refusal to tell her what’s going on–which she could interpret as a lack of trust? “Truth is best, Booth. You taught me that.” Ugh—way to go straight for the jugular, Brennan. How will Brennan handle Angela’s animosity toward Booth now that she’s agreed to stand beside him, no matter what?
The very last thing we see after the lovely couple plays a relieved game of kissy face (thank you, btw), is the cabinet-mounted radio clock which briefly flickers a time change to 4:47. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. What’s next?!
If this premier eis any indication, this will be a ‘wedding at Cana‘ kind of season, for more than the obvious reasons. Hanson and Nathan have saved the best for last.