“The Sense in the Sacrifice” – Bones

Screen Shot 2013-10-12 at 11.03.51 AMWell, after two seasons of Pelant, it looks like his time on Bones has come to an end. We wish we could say that this was one of the series’ better episodes, but we’d be lying. It was fine, for what it was. We got a conclusion to a long-running arc, we got romance, we got joy and, most of all, we got a frankly stellar devious plan from the Jeffersonian team (was anyone else a little in awe [but also freaked out] at how easily they faked a murder?). And yet something was missing – that sense of satisfaction that should come from any episode that ties up a storyline like this. As our lovely PHGer, B, pointed out, it all felt too easy and too quick.

A little background. (Spoilers!) The squints decided to draw Pelant into the open by creating a fake murder scene and pinning it on him. The plan was that he would be unable to let a copy-cat get away with besmirching his good name (or something) and would come forward to argue against it. Needless to say, that didn’t work. Agent Flynn, who they wrangled in to plant the body, became the body because, of course, Pelant was on to them. The episode became a dual feature – proving Flynn wasn’t working with Pelant (he was, but without realizing it) and catching Pelant. Somewhere along the way, Sweets decided that Pelant was obsessively in love with Brennan (okay, yeah, sure…) Then we got an abandoned warehouse, some spying from Angela that somehow Pelant didn’t cotton on to, a showdown, a death (Pelant’s) and a proposal. So, like we said, way too quick and way too easy.

Why too easy you say? It was kind of similar to Continue reading

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“El Carnicero en el Coche” – Bones

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 9.36.18 PMNot quite sure what to make of this week’s Bones. It was enjoyable enough, but it also exhibited (in stark contrast to last week’s) the very worst of the show – predictability. We may not have called the killer from the first moment but, as is so often the case, there came a point somewhere in the middle act where the team at the Jeffersonian got one piece of information that pulls everything together. After that point, we get irritated. If we could figure it out, how could they not? This is (supposedly) a team made up of some of the most intelligent minds in America, all top of their fields, and they get routinely bested by an underemployed journalism graduate. (Attention potential employers – I am available for work.)

The other major problem with the episode was its setting. Seeing Sweets in this run-down part of DC, and seeing him and Booth knocking on doors in gangland, only served to show us that it’s the first time we’ve ever seen Bones going to a neighborhood like this. Up until now, if Bones were the foundation of all of your knowledge about DC, you would have been forgiven for thinking it was some kind of utopia for the upper middle class. Though we understand why they’ve avoided the poorer areas before now – there’s no way you can look at any of those streets or projects and not see LA. In fact, we recognized the suspect’s neighborhood from an episode of Southland. Maybe Bones is better off sticking to the wealthier parts of “DC”.

Where this episode excelled was with Sweets. This was really his episode in a way few others have been. Focusing on Continue reading

“The Cheat in the Retreat” – Bones

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 8.59.30 AMThoroughly enjoyable episode from Bones this week. “The Cheat in the Retreat” gave us a little bit of everything we love about the show – mystery, humor, tension and real life. And Booth and Brennan undercover. Tony and Roxy, our two very favorite alter-egos, made a welcome return to DC in this episode, bringing some much needed hilarity after last week’s more somber tone. And yet our favorite aspect of the episode, as it so often is with Bones, was that the case was secondary to the people. Bones may be a cop show on the surface but, at heart, the characters always matter more.

This episode moved on to new issues – some of those character arcs that we just mentioned – allowing us to (almost) forget for a moment the situation between Booth and Brennan. Of course, we couldn’t possibly be allowed to forget altogether. Angela’s continued animosity towards Booth, as well as a couple of other references, made sure it was never far from our minds. But it wasn’t the focus. New issues (ones that will likely feature heavily over the rest of the season) are the theft of Cam’s identity, and Sweets’ career break.

Sweets’ arc, at least, is tied to Pelant – he Continue reading

“The Secret in the Proposal” – Bones

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 2.45.47 PMA relatively strong season opener from the team at Bones, if a little tepid in places. A slow (and more or less insignificant) case served a dual purpose. First, to give the characters something to do while we focused on the main story of Booth and Brennan’s suddenly tense relationship. This case was a prop to allow us to see how the central couple’s dwindling happiness affected the lives of those around them. It allowed us a realistic glimpse into the ‘choosing sides’ aspect of any relationship ‘failure’ (although Booth and Brennan have not failed yet) – Angela’s fierce protection of Brennan, Hodgins’ and Cam’s more tempered desire to give Booth the benefit of the doubt. Second, the case was clearly seen by the writers’ room as a means to bring in an integral character in Freddie Prinze Jr’s Danny Beck, a CIA agent whom we will discuss a little later.

But the case always felt almost an afterthought to the rest of the episode. Out of three possible killers (chosen by us out of the usual line-up of red herrings), it was the very first and for the exact reason we thought. Confronted with a predictable, ‘there because it has to be’ case, it was the narrative licks centering on Booth and Brennan that made us glad Bones was back. The FOX show has always excelled at painting human relationships, and we were pleased to see that that hasn’t changed over the hiatus. The fallout of Season 8’s finale was always going to create problems for the writer’s room – how would they show a disintegrating Booth and Brennan without losing their audience – but it was handled with aplomb. A believable and fractious situation was painted from the very opening, and the closing scenes (while reassuring for fans) hint at anything but a happily ever after. Booth and Brennan may be back on track, but that doesn’t mean the trouble is at an end. We can expect more drama from the couple’s disengagement. Brennan’s ‘trust’ won’t change that.

The real foreshadower of what we can expect from the rest of the season came right at the end – that Continue reading

“The Secret in the Siege” – Bones

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 11.14.55 PMIf we’re honest, we didn’t love this episode. Which surprised us. We have historically always enjoyed the Pelant episodes. They bring an added drama and tension to the usual murder of the week format, providing real stakes for our leads to deal with, resulting in real and long-reaching consequences, and offering us an overreaching arc that ties months (and seasons) together. The specter of Pelant has lurked in the background throughout this season, rearing its ugly head twice with spectacularly great results each time. This time it fell flat. Perhaps it was because Pelant almost felt like background to the episode. The murders were committed by someone else and, as such, lacked the terrifying brilliance of Pelant’s usual efforts. This episode saw Pelant as puppet master, not true antagonist. And even that small involvement was almost eclipsed by other elements of the story – Crystal Creek, cult survivalists, and… Brennan and Booth’s engagement! Yes, we thought it would never come, but Brennan finally proposed. It was sweet and adorable. And it pushed Pelant even further from our minds.

The episode was almost entirely saved, however, by the closing scenes. Here was the Pelant we’d missed throughout the episode. While his actions during “The Secret in the Siege” were tamer than his usual efforts, the end results were (in our opinion) the most devastating yet. Just when everyone thinks that he’s disappeared and that they’re safe, Pelant contacts Booth. He tells Booth to break off the engagement, without telling Brennan why, or he will kill five innocent people. Of course, Booth can’t let that happen. What follows is one of the most traumatizing things we’ve witnessed so far on Bones – the dissolution of their engagement, and Brennan’s utter devastation. As the episode (and the season) draws to a close, we’re left wondering if Booth and Brennan can ever bounce back from this. Will Season 9 see our central couple torn asunder? Is this the beginning of the (temporary) end? We know Brennan will eventually discover why Booth did what he did, but will that be enough to save them?

So the episode was by no means perfect. And yet Continue reading

“The Pathos in the Pathogens” – Bones

bones-season-8-episode-23-the-pathos-in-the-pathogens-1An acceptable effort from Bones this week. Lots of tension, life or death situations, a palpable sense of urgency… And yet it all ramped up to the most disappointing conclusion we’ve ever experienced from Bones. Mostly because our theories were better than the actual resolution (if we do say so ourselves). Though, as with this week’s episode of The Following, we have to admire that the show managed to keep us guessing right up to the end. If you’re a regular reader of Pond Hopping Girls, you’ll know how often we rail against the predictability of cop procedurals. Well here was an episode with the greatest red herring of any show this season. The final moments twist was such a surprise to us that we never even considered it. We were so convinced that we were right that we never even looked at other suspects and, we reckon, even if we had we wouldn’t have picked the culprit out.

Even aside from the case, the episode wasn’t without faults. What should have been a gut-wrenchingly sad episode, featuring all sorts of soul-destroyingly depressing moments between Cam and Arastoo, mostly just fell flat. We didn’t really feel the ‘imminent death’ sadness from either of them. We’re not sure if it was the acting or the scripting, but we never got the sense that either of them would be distraught without the other. As a result, an episode that should have had us weeping over our notes merely garnered a resounding ‘meh’. All in all, a mixed bag of an episode. We’re hoping that next week’s Pelant-fueled finale will make up for it. – K

Quoteworthy:

“I understand that when someone is blindly subservient to institutional authority their judgment is frequently compromised.”

“That was an eloquent insult…”

“I thought so.” – Brennan, Dr Jacobs

PS There was one saving grace. One Continue reading

“The Party in the Pants” – Bones

bones-the-party-in-the-pantsWe don’t often get a lot of insight into the character and past of Booth. In a show that one would think would be divided equally among the characters, he does not get his fair share of back-story. This may be intentional. As a somewhat terse and private fed, he doesn’t share often or much. So it’s a rare pleasure when we get a whole episode devoted to him.

This week saw the reappearance of Booth’s mother (Joanna Cassidy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Blade Runner) 24 years after she ran out on him and his brother to escape his abusive father. The episode focused more on this reunion than on the murder, which was welcome. We got some great scenes of Booth bonding with his long-lost mother and then, to prevent it from becoming overly saccharine, we got a large dose of anger and resentment. It turned out that Booth’s mom had spent a vast amount of that time away from him and Jared raising another man’s kids. Booth is understandably furious. It’s not all bleak, though. After some (surprisingly) supportive and insightful words from Brennan, he starts to make steps toward forgiving his mother, including attending her wedding and meeting his new step-sibs. We’d like to see more of Marianne, but we think the writers could stand to spread it out a little. There’s no need for Booth-family overload.

As for the murder of the week Continue reading

“The Maiden in the Mushrooms” – Bones

My irritation with Temperance Brennan grows. I’m all for parents standing up for their children, supporting them above all others, and being doggedly determined to protect them, but her insistence this week that Christine was ‘innocent of all charges’, and her wasteful use of Jeffersonian resources simply to prove that because Christine isn’t average she couldn’t possibly have bitten another child, was insane. As was her decision at the end of the episode not to rain holy hell down on the principal of the pre-school – made not because of a moment of enlightenment or a lesson learned about ‘average’ not being a dirty word, but because Christine bit her. As lessons go, that’s quite instructive, but for Brennan, a highly intelligent woman to all intents and purposes, to be so lacking in logic and common sense prior to it was remarkable. I’m beyond ready to start seeing some changes in her personality. It’s Season 8. It’s time.

The story itself was without excitement. Most notable for being a fairly accurate satire of Judge Judy, the murder itself was surprising but less than thrilling. The focus of the episode, as with much of Bones, was on the Jeffersonian team, not on the murder. Not that that’s a criticism. As you may have noticed if you’ve read many of our reviews for Castle, The Mentalist and Bones, here at Pond Hopping Girls we love when murder-of-the-week isn’t the be all and end all of an episode. We love a little character development, and a little acknowledgement to the audience from the writers that they listened and they know what we want – more people, less crime.

We got a healthy dose of people this week, and not just from the aforementioned Brennan debacle. We also finally addressed the fallout from Pelant’s last outing – Angela and Hodgins’ newfound (relative) poverty. We learn that Continue reading

“The Blood from the Stones” – Bones

This week’s Bones had positives and negatives. Positives: the killer was surprising, and Caroline getting a love interest was fun and funny. Negatives: I hated it. Like, hated. Something about the documentary-style nature of the episode felt like I’d seen it a hundred times (I have), and this wasn’t even a particularly interesting or well-dealt-with version of the trope.

I didn’t like the characters. Any of them. And, yes, I’m including our favorite team of forensic sleuths in that. I felt like they were barely in it, in any case. The focus was split between the documentary (mind-numbingly terrible) and Brennan, which would have been fine even a few weeks ago but, now, was enough to make me want to skip the episode altogether. I’ve always had great time for the forensic anthropologist but today may have been the end of that run of benevolent feelings. Within the first few moments, something snapped within me as a direct result of her character. I finally reached my tether.

It’s her social ineptitude. It’s starting to get me down. It made sense in the first season – she never left the lab, her only friend was Angela, she didn’t know her father or have Booth to lean on. But now? It’s been at least eight years. Eight years in the field, eight years dealing with other people, eight years around Booth, and Cam, and Angela, and Hodgins. All people who can understand social cues. And she still can’t understand irony or sarcasm or dry humor? That just seems implausible. Yes, she’s a literally minded and factually-driven person. But this seems to just be taking it too far.

I’m not saying she should change over night but, perhaps, an episode where they don’t rely on the old favorite – someone makes a witty comment, Brennan takes it literally, ‘hilarity’ ‘ensues’ – and allow Brennan to actually get the joke. Without having to explain it to everyone afterward. That’d be nice. – K  

Quoteworthy:

“Likeability is so subjective.”

“Not always. Pol Pot couldn’t have been likeable.”

“Maybe at parties…?” – Cam, Brennan

“The Doom in the Gloom” – Bones

      

After months and months of complaining that casting directors are too obvious with the casting choices for their murderers (Castle, Bones, and The Mentalist), I find that I don’t like it any more when they throw in red herring casting. Is it really too much to ask that they pick complete unknowns for their murderers and suspects? Would that really hurt them so much? Watching every episode and wondering if that person is the killer because you’ve seen them on Studio 60 and a few other shows (JD Walsh) completely detracts from the murder mystery aspect of a show. Viewers should be trying to piece together a person’s guilt based on evidence and statements, not on whether or not that guy was in Grey’s Anatomy and The Mentalist (Vilmer Calderon).

Though, aside from this usual gripe of mine (I’m becoming almost as predictable as those casting directors), “The Doom in the Gloom” was a relatively strong episode. Like so many of my favorite Bones episodes, this one focused almost as much on the personal lives of the team as it did on the murder. This week, it was the turn of Sweets, Booth and Brennan to be examined a little closer. As Sweets finally prepared to move out of their house, we were treated to glimpses of how Booth and Brennan felt about him leaving. Booth’s terse and staid reaction was, perhaps, most telling, showing a man with separation anxiety, a man who’s afraid of losing his friend, a man who’s trying to convince himself that he doesn’t care, a man who’s too used to being the tough guy to admit that he’s sad.

It was sweet. – K

Quoteworthy:

“I’m going to miss the free child care.”

“I hope he doesn’t take all of his DVDs.”

– Brennan, Booth