OK, so I made a decision. It’s a quiet period, of necessity, just now, thanks to the writers’ strike. We’ve talked a lot about the episodes we like and I have spoken about the reviews we used to write weekly when I was a frequent visitor to tv.com/bones. Well, pitilessly regardless of length, I am going to re-post my reviews here, with the intention of stimulating some much-missed Bones discussion. Hope they give you pause for thought!
I'm doing major theme-spotting at the moment. Instinct. How many of us trust to it in our daily lives? Because that's what this ep is mainly about. Hard work and reason may get the results as a rule, but, as Booth is forever telling us, it's not just a case of positing the most rational outcome of a given scenario. Sometimes, when you can't rely on the temporarily distorted senses that would normally serve you well (as with drugs, or being in the desert), you have to turn to Angela and Kirk's near-religious and definitely spiritual belief that to discover truth you must stand still long enough for nature to speak to you. There are various other scattered ideas in this piece too, including huge character development, and frankly the plot suffers a little from the multiplicity of points to be conveyed. The planting of the sheriff as a red-herring suspect is far too unsubtle and obvious, for instance.
Examples of the power of instinct are many. To start with, there is Angela's unspoken persuasion that the skull is Kirk's. Booth tells us about his own reliance on instinct: 'We're looking for what we always look for - something that doesn't fit'. Then there are Angela's assessments of people ('It'd take a lot to make me change my mind about Ben Dawes') and Booth's hunch about the body being attached to the front of Kellogg's vehicle. There's Brennan's sending of the engraving plate photos via her mobile, even though she could not have known how relevant they would be; and of course the ultimate mystic moment, when Angela 'knows' where Danni went.
Relationships come under the microscope big time. As has been said, Jack is pretty dismissive of Kirk, which may be subconscious jealousy (!), but Angela's 'arrangement' raises eyebrows everywhere (Brennan has to call Booth a 'stodgy traditionalist' to halt his comments on it) and even she wonders whether 3 weeks a year over a 5-year period is 'crazy'. Brennan is very supportive here - she seems a bit more 'real' than in S2 at times - and makes the very poignant point that 100% of someone 3 weeks a year is more than she's ever had. According to sheriff Ben, Angela's worth more than that. Angela thinks it is Kirk who deserved more and better, since it was she who called the shots, but Ben is insistent that no man could have done better. Rare praise indeed. Then there's the Brennan/Angela relationship. Their mutual affection is underlined even in the discussion of the subtext of a friendly hug, but the emotional final scene is fantastic. Angela worries about her lack of giving and failure to form long-term relationships and her best friend reassures her movingly that nothing in this universe happens just once, and she will have another shot at happiness. This is unusually spiritual for Tempe, especially as she offers the comfort not just from her head, as usual, but also from her heart. It's an ep in which the beliefs and spirituality of different cultures are particularly important.
Sub-theme, emerging during every lab visit, as well as in the main story? Moving on. As the same time as Angela is learning to move beyond her grief and accept that at some stage she will be ready for not just another commitment, but a less limited one, Goodman and Hodgins are trying to bring Zach to the same point. Jack palpably dislikes having to overrule Zach and get him into trouble, particularly as Zach refuses to tattle on him, but, as the paternal Goodman observes, 'It's time for Mr Addy to grow up.' It's a cruel lesson, but it is true that Zach's love of his grad student work and admiration of Dr Brennan is standing in the way of his own progress to his doctorate and beyond, and the development of his 'first-rate mind'. It's an episode that makes you stand back and say wow, yes, this is a real family group where everyone cares for and wants the best for his/her colleagues.
There is much to enjoy in the sparkling dialogue again. The Booth/Brennan exchanges have a wonderful lightness about them. I do like Jack's dismissal of a desert holiday as 'lunch at the dump' and his facetious enquiry as to what Angela is wearing for sunscreen, and this is followed by such treats as '100 miles past where Jesus lost his sandals', 'the plate, not the muffin' and 'who are you, Dr Phil?'
We understand so much about Angela's character by the end of this. It's a turning point in her romantic life and maybe the curtain on the insouciant bohemianism which she has projected thus far. We learn what she needs in a relationship. Someone prepared to accept her for what she is, without pressure. Someone who is a yardstick for every other guy she meets. Someone who makes her feel that the world is a beautiful place and that she belongs there. Sound familiar....?
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"We make our lives out of chaos and hope. And love." - Angela Montenegro