With baseball over and the US presidential election season ending tomorrow, Bones is back on Fox and ready to deliver a few new episodes before the holidays. “The Method in the Madness” opens on a high note. Literally. A garbageman is eschewing the finer points of opera with his partner – who prefers Kanye West – as they’re out on their daily route. Their joint attempt at an aria, however, dissolves into a pair of high-pitched screams when a meaty skeleton is caught dangling from the top of the truck. Time to call in the experts.
Thankfully, viewers aren’t subjected to Booth (David Boreanaz) attempting an aria too as the G-man is at the Hoover, rousing a sleep-tousled Sweets (John Francis Daley) from his couch. From the looks of it, Booth surmises that the younger man has moved into his office following the recent breakup with Daisy (Carla Gallo) and Booth offers to let Sweets crash at his place until he gets back on his feet before dragging him along to the crime scene when the call comes in.
The usual goopy guts and remains await Booth, Brennan (Emily Deschanel), and the rest of the team when they arrive, but the couple manages to discuss Booth’s impulsive invitation. Waving off his concerns, Brennan assures him that she realizes “it takes a village” to care for Sweets. This is a lesson she learned from Booth back in season 5 and it appears she’s mastered the metaphor as she doesn’t feel the need to point out the exact number of people necessary to comprise a hamlet (800 or less, if you were wondering). From this point on the driving story of the episode centers on Sweets’ presence in the Brennan-Booth household, with a strong undercurrent of a growing restlessness from Angela (Michaela Conlin) concerning her role at the Jeffersonian.
The Sweets story is, by and large, lighthearted and funny. When the news hits the squints, Hodgins (TJ Thyne) is quick to start up a betting pool for how long the shrink will last as a houseguest and while he doesn’t have a category for infinity – Angela claims the couple will adopt Sweets as a permanent fixture- his thoroughness is worth a smile or two. Meanwhile, Sweets earns his own laughs for everything from his comment about how kids from broken homes make out on the material goods end to his and Brennan’s conversation about his stint in a vinyl shop while he casually folds Booth’s Captain America underwear to the awkward moment when Booth discovers Sweets has been hogging the master bathroom.
Amongst the Bones fandom, there seems to be a dichotomy when it comes to the Sweets character, so there may be some debate about whether or not his extended stay in the Brennan-Booth household will be a welcome one. Nevertheless, it does fall in line with the natural progression of the show. While Sweets may have begun as a tertiary character, his role has been an ever-expanding one since the illustrious Stephen Fry’s character, Gordon-Gordon Wyatt, pointed out in season 4 that Sweets came to them at a time when he’d lost both of his parents and had imprinted on Booth and Brennan much like a baby duck. This theme is carried over in “The Bones on the Blue Line” from season 5, and in the closing moments of “The Method in the Madness,” there is definitely a maternal side of Brennan that comes out; though Booth’s role feels more like that of a protective older brother. As long as it doesn’t become too heavy-handed, this should be an interesting thread to follow as the remainder of the season unfolds.
Meanwhile, there is a case in this episode as well and the further the team delves into it, the more Angela questions her usefulness to the lab. Perhaps it has to do with the gruesome nature of the case. Even though Cam (Tamara Taylor) outright lies to Ange about the victim being gutted and skinned after she was dead instead of before, the artistic side of Angela doesn’t stomach that well at all. It also can’t help that she has to literally piece together skin to make out the victim’s face; and when that’s done she discovers it’s someone she recognizes: Jess Pearson, one of the women who makes the organic applesauce Angela buys. Either way, it appears that the track Angela is on for this season is similar to her first misgivings about the job back in season 1. If she progresses any further down this rabbit trail, it may be time to hunt down Jonathan Adams to reprise his role of Dr. Goodman and reassure her once again in his “deep African-American tone.”
However, it turns out that the artisan community Angela envisions isn’t so utopian after all. Jess, we discover, doesn’t have lupus like her business partner believes she does(it’s never lupus), but rather she is a prostitute and one of her Johns also doubles as the town’s family practician. And in the end it’s her partner and best friend Brooke who gets a tad too zealous in her wish to preserve the purity of the artisan culture and pushes Jess into the ribbon spice mixer. Like many before her on the show, she decides the best way to deal with an accident is to hide the body and pretend it never happened. And like her predecessors, she ends up having a lot more to worry about than a simple call to the police.
This episode is a good return for the show, but having previewed next week’s “The Patriot in Purgatory,” it pales in comparison to what’s to come. Next week is a special homage to the 9/11 tragedy, with some powerful moments. Another good example of a strong ensemble piece, paired with excellent writing and even better acting.
Bones returns next Monday with “The Patriot in Purgatory” @8pm on Fox.