Anyone who got a look at the promos that have been airing for Bones since last week may have been under the impression that “The Cheat in the Retreat” was another in a long line of episodes in which Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) go undercover to catch the bad guy. But it really isn’t. The preview also hinted that the couple might learn something about themselves in the process. But they really don’t.
As a matter of fact, the funnier scenes between the lead couple are pretty much confined to what was shown in the preview, though the obstacle course montage is longer in the episode. No, this episode isn’t about the leads, it’s about two of the lesser-known characters in the ensemble: Sweets (John Francis Daley) and Cam (Tamara Taylor). Mostly Cam.
The episode opens with Cam riding into work with boyfriend Aratoo (Pej Vahdat) when he’s pulled over by a blatantly racist cop. But it’s not Arastoo who’s arrested, it’s Cam. As the episode unfolds it’s clear that she’s a victim of identity theft and that whomever assumed her identity is intent on running it into the ground. Her character journeys from stubborn and aloof in the beginning, to accepting help with moist eyes by the end.
This seems redundant. The show has already had one main character go from cool and detached scientist to a warm, empathetic person. Just as they’ve also had a tertiary character lose everything he owns to digital identity theft, yet not once does anyone wonder if Pelant could be the culprit again. Or maybe it’s a statement on how difficult overturning identity theft can be? It could be to help prove the close group dynamic at the Jeffersonian, but that’s also been firmly established and in much better episodes. At least this time the relationship between Cam and Arastoo didn’t feel so forced and awkward. Really, there’s nothing wrong with this storyline, but it’s far from compelling.
Ditto for the Sweets storyline. Out of nowhere, the shrink who never misses a beat is making one bad guess after another. While Cam’s story is somewhat dull, Sweets’ grows more and more annoying as the writers try and convince us he no longer has what it takes. They did a better job last year when they did almost the same thing with Angela (Michaela Conlin) throughout the entire season. Next thing you know, he’s shaking hands with Booth and taking a leave of absence for an undisclosed amount of time. Let’s hope this means more screen time for last week’s barkeep.
Then there’s the case, which mirrors all of the character story threads in that it is filled with the unexpected: The married guy who takes his mistress to a couples’ retreat to work on their anger issues. The random discussion on “best fight ever” in the boys’ sweat hut and Brennan’s howling in the steam and talking about dead ancestors over in the girls’. The killer could have been anyone, but it turns out to be the happily married folks who moonlight as robbers on the side. Not only are they blithely chipper as can be about the robberies, they’re equally glib about the murder and their impending prison sentence.
Did these blind turns and segmented storylines appeal to you after the depth and pathos displayed last week? Or did you end up scratching your head and wondering what show you were watching?
Bones returns next Monday with “El Carnicero en el Coche” @8pm on Fox.