Well, Sherry, there is indeed quite a bit of footage of me singing, but very little of it is solo enough for anyone to pay much attention. I've actually been on TV with various choirs 3 times, but I always seem to be hidden behind a pillar or somebody's head. The one time I was right in the centre of a very small church choir they panned across the row left to right and right to left, leaving out the middle person each time! Soo, definitely not exposed in the Aubrey fashion. That was a nice ending by the way. I like it when they are all together laughing or celebrating. It shows genuine team feeling.
I'll just respond to your points first before I go further, since you have been so thorough (as usual!). First off, yes, that was a LOT to squeeze into one episode, and I did feel as if I was being pushed around like a cue ball from one rapid scene to another. Although most of the themes were not obviously linked, I was happy with the way the destiny of the rats became an important part of the Hodgins/Angela interaction and that they talked about the value of life. When Jack was wheedling Angela into letting him take the rats home he sounded so much like his old self it was a tonic for the big fan.
I too felt strongly about the lack of any empathetic reaction to Scott Hill's death - with the honourable exception of Ian Johnson's horror. Especially the lack of any parental comment or involvement. What was going on there? And as we moved through scene after scene of seeming indifference to the loss, I began to get a nasty feeling that a lot of it, at least from the Whippersnaps (“they sound like a breakfast cereal,” groans Booth), was all in the name of humour. The guilty roommate’s reaction was unpleasant and unforgivably dismissive, but then we moved into the a cappella groups themselves and any mention of death seemed to become an excuse for a witty crack or some solipsistic reference to the difficult situation Scott had inconsiderately created by being so self-centred as to be killed. A rehearsal is interrupted “because you apparently killed Scott”, one of the singers flounces at the current director. And Jake, target of this catty aside, proceeds to interview with such gems as: “I just found out one of my friends is dead. Plus we got Nationals coming up. We just lost a tenor right before Nationals.” William Johnson, a parent himself, displays very little reaction to a killing within the precious group of which he is an alumnus, considering that his son might also be under threat. And as for the interview with Julian Kline and Ted Gibbs, played shamelessly for laughs, words fail me. They talk very fast at the same time and in very high voices; Julian hyperventilates hammily like an overplayed diva (“I cry at the end of Legally Blonde 2, does that sound like a murderer to you?”) and, again, there’s not an ounce of sympathy because it’s all intended as farce. The stereotyping telegraphs it as such. Which reminds me, I don’t like this constant presentation of choral singing as if it’s something effeminate, even ‘gay’. The bitching can be quite objectionable. “You look like Mariah Carey’s skaggy little sister” says Ted to Jake. “It’s called passion” retorts Jake, “Something no-one has ever felt for you”. “Really?” coos Ted, “cause your Dad would disagree.” Cue high five. Yuk. When we got to the point of Aubrey asking Angela not to reveal his illustrious singing past because he wants to protect his ‘manly reputation’, I threw up my hands in despair. And not my diva hands either.
Scott is not portrayed as a character who would excite much sympathy, of course. He was prepared to blackmail people pretty nastily to obtain the group directorship, he threatened William Johnson with the re-naming of the choir if the former didn’t accede to his demands; he used Liz Dervan as a means of promoting and publicising his group – luckily she was well aware of his manipulations and was using him likewise! I don’t fully understand why Scott threw Ian out in order to bring Liz in, incidentally. Even if there was a strict number limit, could he not have picked someone less good?
I don’t know why on earth the strep infections were brought into the equation. What did the involvement of the egregious Esther Hines, positively creepy in her assured knowledge of her powers of sexual persuasion, tell us apart from the fact that only William Johnson is entitled to change the bye laws of the group? We already know that the ensembles are ruthless in their competition and determination to take out the opposition, so this added nothing apart from an unlikely attempt at bioterrorism by a research fellow in a highly unlikely way (wouldn’t she have the bug too if she’d put it in her lip gloss?) and with barely credible evidence (where did they get all those photos from? Was she keeping them? Why would Booth even think to look for them?).
THINGS I LIKED
A lot of the humour was spot on and often character defining.
Boy to girl in first scene as they gaze at the ravenous rats on the ravaged remains: I guess a hookup is off the table?
Aubrey to Cam: I always thought you were a little less squinty than the other squints.
Cam to Aubrey: I just hide it better.
Aubrey to Booth (about Ian): He has a voice like butter.
Booth to Aubrey: It always comes down to food with you, doesn’t it?
Hodgins, on the rats: The sound of a bell can make a lab rat do almost anything.
Cam: Well, they do have very small brains.
Cue ringtone and simultaneous pickup of cell phones.
Aubrey’s increasingly evident ex-membership of an a cappella group revealed a lot more about his personality and showed at the end how firm a niche he has found within the team. At their best, our people definitely work together in harmony.
Aubrey’s previous experience helps massively with this investigation. You can see him mouthing the words as the Whippersnaps sing: he it is who makes the intuitive leap of looking at Scott’s recent playlists and arrangements to interpret his state of mind, and his challenge to Booth’s scoffing at those who freak out about being up on stage is telling: “Let’s see you get up there and try it”.
As already mentioned – all the Hodgins/Angela material.
It’s like the old days! Hodgins is very much in character, with that stirring of anger and frustration when Angela tries to get him to think again about Dr Amir Hoffmann’s experimental nerve surgery and the follow-up, when he is finally convinced she is right, is willing to admit it to her and then uses that as leverage to get his rats a safe home. Great stuff.
Seeing Parker is always good.
It was only a small thread within the episode, but it kept us in touch with Parker in England, his developing writing talents and his relationship with his dad and stepmum. The fact that he asks Brennan to intervene for him about his preference for a creative writing course in Oxford over the Appalachian trail with Booth shows how much he trusts her instincts and that he has a lot in common with her. And the tactful way Brennan approaches the issue with Booth says much about her sensitivity.
Two young people enter a building that’s off limits to make out..or so he thinks
Very Buffy again. I was surprised the girl didn’t morph into a vampire then and there.
(MORE) THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
I have listed above a lot of my irritations, but just a couple more:
The instant assumption
.. by Aubrey and Booth, that the Whipperspace is the crime scene simply because of the ladder in the room. This turns out to be wrong (the rat faeces contain more than one type of wood, and the ladder is solid oak), so why are they SO sure about it?
The Sammy portrayal
This could have been slightly less coarse and farcical. Her parroting of Brennan and her eagerness to please were emphasised to seem ludicrous - sympathetic character though she was and evidently much-liked by the team. We anticipate her dismissal because she is barely in the place five minutes before she has broken Brennan’s dearest rules, jumping to conclusions about a finding, almost compromising remains with her clumsiness (a quite unnecessary piece of slapstick imho) and making serious errors which impede an investigation. She hadn’t a hope.
‘Prone’ means lying on the front, not the back
We’ve had this before and it annoys me intensely!
In the end I do love anything to do with singing, and those two groups were really gifted and good to listen to, even though it all felt a little boy-bandish (and girl-bandish of course). A crowded episode with some irritating flaws, but ultimately feelgood.
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"We make our lives out of chaos and hope. And love." - Angela Montenegro