Bones 11.16 The Strike in the Chord

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Bones 11.16 The Strike in the Chord

Post by Sinkwriter72 »

Oy, this episode's writing was all over the place. What on earth?? :D

They had so much going on, I don't even know how they managed to tie it all up in the end. It was very unfocused.

I mean, you had the a cappella groups, then it was about a bio lab and rats being mistreated, then there was a lab-created strep virus being spread, a guy who got kicked out of the group who just wants to sing, a dad who was ridiculously insistent that the group remain all guys, girls wanting to be part of the guys' group, guys being written as if they're all some ridiculous stereotype, Hodgins and the parallel between his taking care of the remaining rats and his wanting to find solutions for his own paralysis, Hodgins wanting to try an experimental treatment, Aubrey being a former singer, Brennan being extra-hard on someone who lasted only one day as an intern, and Booth finding out that his son wants to spend the summer with a creative writing group instead of hiking with him.

There was just SO MUCH GOING ON. Consequently none of it really got good enough attention. Some parts were better than others (I liked the conversations between Hodgins and Angela a lot and I thought Cam's reactions to Hodgins bottle-feeding the rat and putting it on his shoulder was pretty damn funny). But overall, all these story pieces just wound around way too much. They really didn't need all of that going on in one episode. It was so all over the place, it became hard to follow and focus on what was supposed to be an important detail. A lot of it ended up not being important at all.

And once again I feel like they wrote Brennan as robotic just to create moments between her and the intern and that part where she very awkwardly pats the girl on the shoulder and says, "There, there." Come ON! Brennan is better than that. Especially when it seems as though they all knew this young woman pretty well, like she'd been working there a long time in a different capacity. So where's the compassion? Surely she could have sat the intern down and explained better that she holds the highest of standards for her Jeffersonian team and how they examine criminal evidence, and while she's sure they can find a different place for her, it's not going to be with such a challenging area of work. I mean, Brennan is more compassionate than that. "There, there"? This is the same woman who can hug Angela and reach out and squeeze someone's hand and tell them how much they mean to her, and how much the victims mean to her? She can't see how cold she's being? *sigh* Come on, writers.

I also think this is another one of those episodes where the victim gets treated like he doesn't matter. This show used to be SO GOOD at making us care deeply about the victim and/or the victims' families. We knew how deeply Brennan cared about each and every person she examined. Even in this episode, I liked the detail where she told the intern not to wave around pieces of evidence. That's a good detail.

But I feel like once again the showrunners / director and writers aren't remembering the reason why Brennan does what she does, that she cares about these victims and cares about giving them a voice.

Where were the parents of this kid who got killed and dumped in a lab, only to be eaten by rats? Why wasn't that one parent more freaked out that if one kid got killed, maybe his own might be in danger? Why weren't ANY of his classmates more upset about his death (especially because some of them seemed to genuinely like him and think he was talented)? Not a single one cried? Not a single one seemed shaken up? I don't know about any of you, but I was in a lot of music groups in school, a lot of choirs, and if any of my classmates -- even ones I didn't like as much -- had been murdered, I would have been shaken up. I would have been distracted and stunned. And to be taken into custody, to be interviewed on FBI premises like that girl was, or those two a cappella guys were, I would have been terrified. The only thing we got was that one kid having an anxiety attack, and they did that for humor. I just feel like the compassion for the victim has been lost, in a lot of these more recent seasons. What I loved about the early seasons was how deeply I ended up feeling for the one who was killed, and how gratifying it was to see Brennan and Booth and the whole team band together and solve those crimes and bring the "bad guys" to justice. Instead, in this episode, we got a poor kid being eaten up by rats and no parent to claim him or mourn him, no classmates to cry about losing him, nothing. It's baffling to me. Why isn't that important? Where is the believable human behavior? Where is the heart?

P.S. As a former vocal major, I appreciated Aubrey's enthusiasm about a cappella music. I would have liked to have seen Angela appreciate it more, not because she should like that style of music but because as an artist I would hope she would appreciate knowing that one of her colleagues has an artistic bone in his body as well, in his own way - hers being art, his being music. There's a camaraderie to be found there. So I'm sorry they wrote her talking to him like he was a little crazy and weird. I did like all of them clapping for him, even as they teased him about his performance from long ago. That was funny and sweet. And I can relate, because boy do I have pictures of myself and my big ol' late 80's hair, back when I was in high school show choir. I have videos that people could use to tease me, just like they teased Aubrey. LOL. As I'm sure you must as well, STEPH. ;) I do have to note that I laughed when Aubrey insisted that a G-flat was not a note most singers could hit. Did he mean for a guy? Because if the guy is a tenor or especially a countertenor, he could hit that no problem. And if he was talking about in general, or as sung by a girl (which was the person they were talking to when he made the comment), he's way off with that comment. Because any soprano should be able to hit a high G-flat without too much difficulty. Even if she's a mezzo soprano, that might be the upper cutoff part of her range but she should still be able to hit it. And if she's a lyric soprano, forget about it - she'd be able to hit way higher notes than a G-flat. So... I'm guessing the writers weren't singers in high school or college? *GRIN* That part made me giggle a little. But I appreciate music being highlighted. :D
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Re: Bones 11.16 The Strike in the Chord

Post by ThyneAlone »

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?).

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.


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