[This is a review of Bones season 9, episode 14. There will be SPOILERS.]
This week Bones steps into the world of competitive chess, and who better to play the frontman than resident prodigy Sweets (John Francis Daley)? Actually, either Sweets or Brennan (Emily Deschanel) would have been a good fit to scope out the chess world for a murderer, but Brennan has issues of her own to sort through on the forensic end of the investigation.
Sweets channels his inner geek and assimilates back into the local chess federation quite nicely. And lest we doubt those singing about past glories, he gets a long montage showing him mowing down one opponent after the next.
The lone exception is the killer. Their game is shown in regular time and we get to see Sweets playing both chess master and shrink with him; enough to deduce that Tim Levitt (Joseph Fuhr) is his man. The interrogation and forced confession are extremely well-played.
And while Booth (David Boreanaz) and Sweets use chess strategies to trap the killer, there is a whole sub-discussion going on elsewhere about the merits of winning and losing. Brennan disapproves of Christine's award for 15th place - out of 15 - stating children should learn to lose.
She is not the most gracious loser, however, when she learns she has been passed up for the prestigious "Outstanding Woman of Science" award in favor of her colleague, Cam (Tamara Taylor).
To be fair, Cam isn't comfortable with it either. In her mind, they work as a team and benefit from each other's strengths. As a compromise, she suggests the award be granted to herself, Brennan, and Angela (Michaela Conlin), too. The foundation is built for such a great conversation between individual versus group achievements and the "gold star" philosophy in modern culture.
Unfortunately, it takes a sharp left turn and the gals are presented with bikinis and told that they, along with 9 other top female scientists, are going to be in a calendar. There is a funding need to be met and bikinis sell better than lab coats. Brennan seems to be assuaged, however, since all of the awardees are, in fact, the top professionals in their respective fields.
Amidst the chess talk and bruised female egos, Dr. Douglas Filmore (Scott Lowell) is also down visiting from Canada. The forensic podiatrist has come a long way since he first crossed paths with Brennan and company and the newest feather in his cap is a PhD in forensic anthropology. Insert innumerable, self-flagellating Canadian jokes. At the end, he also learns to stand up for himself and be more assertive.
All in all, "The Master in the Slop" is your basic Bones fare and a decent way to spend a Friday night. Next week's "The Heiress in the Hill" promises to be more intriguing, however, when Hodgins (TJ Thyne) uncovers an old family secret that will rock his world.
What did you think? Will you be adding shots to your next family game night? Or yawning at friends and family to test whether or not they are sociopaths?
Bones returns next Friday with "The Heiress in the Hill" @8pm on Fox.