"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bones: Player Under Pressure

Brennan: "I don't know what that means."Angela: "Are you serious?" - When Cam reveals that both seminal fluid and saliva were found in the basketball player's shorts...

This episode Booth and Brennan teamed up (get it?) to find out how a college basketball player, who was found squashed into an accordion under the bleachers, was killed. First things first: Find out whether his skull experienced "powdering" as Zack called it from strikes to the head or from being mashed through a grate. See? A little gross. So, in classic Squint Squad format, Hodgins and Zack set up a little experiment. They stuff a turkey carcass with a skull mockup and some ambrosia salad and push it through a grate. Of course, they and Cam, who has come to see what experiments they are doing now, end up covered in the salad.

It seemed that the lab served mostly as comic relief in more extreme ways than it has in the past. First, there is the ambrosia salad. Then, there is the deliberately obtuse Hodgins mashing up maggots in Cam's personal blender. Cam exacted her revenge not on Hodgins but on Angela: First, she treated Angela like a secretary; then, she made her point about Angela and Hodgins being too demonstrative in the workplace by giving Angela a DVD of sex in the storage area. Naturally, as much as Angela is horrified, she also thinks it's pretty cool to have her own Hodgins sex tape.

The major tension between Booth and Brennan was about the inside glimpse they get into collegiate athletics. Brennan has been boning up on her Chomsky: She finds sports to be, anthropologically, a way that boys pretend to be warriors; it is a way that stunts their development. Booth, who is a consummate athlete and sports fan, takes offense. Where was Sweets to mediate this disaster this week? I bet Sweets would have agreed with Brennan about sports, but Zack and Hodgins were front and center with the basketball stats when it turned out that the victim was one of the season's highest rising stars.

Of course, the case unfolded much like an accordion itself. The show seems to be moving away from what the actual bones in the lab report about the body, though, in favor of the investigation in the field and the relationship between Booth and Brennan. Naturally, this relationship is a central focus of the show, but I am just geeky enough to really like what the bones can say about the crime, so I hope this isn't a continuing trend.

What I learned from the bones this week was that R.J. was struck and killed by a 25-pound weight. However, the crime was essentially solved with the discovery of seminal fluid, a "loogie," saliva, blue lipstick, and a case of the clap. Steroids and an over-involved alumnus were red herrings.

Booth is usually absolutely stellar about reading people. This week, though, he actually had the murderer aiding in the investigation and playing good cop/bad cop with him in investigating "other" people for the murder. The murderer was a cop, and he was obstructing the investigation and trying to pin the murder on someone else. The fact that he was a stellar college athlete before he turned cop was the only thing Booth seemed to care about, even after Cutler confessed.

Granted, I will cut Booth some slack because he was trying to keep Cutler from killing himself, and you pretty much have to say what you need to say in those situations.I was surprised that Brennan didn't nail Booth for that pretty serious lapse in judgment; instead, she stroked his ego by telling him he really is a warrior. That might be true, but she doesn't usually bolster him like that. It must be love.

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