There are always hits and misses in the world of scripted TV and tonight's episode of Bones proves that sometimes these two worlds collide.
By and large, the case elements of the show fall squarely into the "misses" category. The plot is lackluster and the villain easy to spot if one is familiar with the show's storytelling method.
Also disappointing is how hateful the victim herself proves to be. One of this show's greatest strengths is when the writers take time to craft the victim's tale, but here we have the story of a vengeful woman killed by a "friend" who caught her stealing from her roller derby teammates. She did boys and drugs on the side. There is nothing redeeming to be found in her, making the eventual discovery of her killer anti-climatic.
Another unfortunate miss is Angela's (Michaela Conlin) undercover stint. Her tryout is abysmal, making one wonder why she got on the team. The lie she tells when she's caught wearing forensic glasses is weak. The same is true of her "girls' night out" with new teammate Susan (Sydelle Noel) at the Founding Fathers. Tipsy Angela has been played well in the past, but here it feels more like a housewife trying to be hip as opposed to a free spirit in her element. Kissing Booth (David Boreanaz) was also awkward and need not be repeated ever again.
But the episode isn't a total wash. Planted in the middle of the case are two subplots, each with a secret to reveal; one revolving around Wendell (Michael Grant Terry) and the other around Booth. The young intern is pestered by Hodgins (TJ Thyne) throughout the episode because it's his birthday and he's not celebrating. Turns out Wendell's brother bet him that Wendell would still be a loser when he hit 29, and in Wendell's eyes he is exactly that. This could've gotten very awkward, very fast - especially when the writers reminded the audience what the two men have shared in the past - but it doesn't. This is a testament to the actors and the good rapport they have onscreen.
But the final moments once again belong to Seeley Booth. One by one the members of the team questions his sudden, mysterious appointments that he insists he has to keep but refuses to divulge the details of. Sweets (John Francis Daley) and Angela are more than happy to speculate without pushing the issue, but Cam (Tamara Taylor) is not. The two share a history together and she's not content with Brennan's (Emily Deschanel) assurances that everything is fine. Realizing Cam is like a bloodhound on a scent, Brennan chooses to reveal what Booth has been up to: planning a carnival for sick children. This, she explains, is something he keeps hidden because he believes that true generosity is not something you go around boasting about.
It's a nice twist, made even more poignant because the episode's author, Michael Peterson, has a young daughter with neurofibromatosis - the disease highlighted at the carnival. The statistics and factoids given about the disease are sobering, especially that it affects one in every 3,000 children. It's a beautiful thing when a television show steps outside of itself and does something of merit for one of its own.
For more information on neurofibromatosis, you can visit a special page set up by The Children's Tumor Foundation just for tonight's episode.
Bones airs Mondays @8pm on Fox.