Bones 10×14 ‘The Putter in the Rough’: Did someone say Daddy Issues?

Source: FOX

We all know Brennan and her father have a contentious relationship, but it comes to a head this week when Max disappears yet again and won’t fess up where. Meanwhile, Wendell’s got some ‘splainin’ to do of his own about his girlfriend’s family heirloom, and everyone else in this episode says “mini-golf” so many times that I never want to see another putter ever again.

Tonight’s case dealt with a murdered champion mini-golfer (is that seriously a thing?!), and oddly enough, it seemed a lot more “old school” than the show’s felt in a while to me. Maybe it’s just the absurd concept, mixed with people taking themselves much too seriously, and the zany music, but it all combined to feel right at home circa season four — complete with Brennan and Max on the outs yet again. With Brennan spending a lot more time in the lab (or nowhere at all), it was nice to see her out in the field with Booth, especially because he spent most of the episode defending her genius to skeptical suspects. (Unlike last week, when he was Mr. Crankypants.) At this point, no one should ever doubt if she’s certain about her findings, but it’s fun to watch her bust out the old stink-eye on occasion just to keep everyone in line.

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

Which brings me to tonight’s side-plot with Max. I confess up front that I’m a huge fan of his relationship with Brennan, despite (or maybe because of) the hurdles they’ve had to overcome. I’m admittedly a Brennan apologist, so I tend to believe her reactions to her father’s behavior as completely justified, because let’s face it, Max is a shady guy. (Let’s not forget he’s the guy who took off for fifteen years, only to reappear undercover as a priest, after having gutted — literally gutted — a man.) It’s like Brennan told Aubrey earlier this season in that wonderful conversation of theirs: she hasn’t gotten over the pain and anger, and likely never will in some ways. Yet, she’s done her best for her family’s sake, and I thought they’d more or less buried the hatchet back in season 7, after the last time Brennan worried about his whereabouts.

Which is why her panic here didn’t quite work for me. I get it on a basic level: when Max starts lying, trouble is likely afoot. (I always thought he enjoyed going on the run with Brennan in the season 7 finale a little too much…) Yet, for some reason, all of her anger towards him just felt like a rehash of the same arguments they had in season 7, under similar circumstances. I can understand, in theory, why Brennan would have a knee-jerk reaction to Max stating that he’s going somewhere he can’t share with her, because part of her will always be the fifteen-year-old whose parents abandoned her without looking back. But like I said, the explanation here felt repetitive, in my opinion. (I just remembered he used a similar excuse in the wedding episode last year, too.)

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

When the writers teased that they were delving into Max’s past, I was thrilled, because I love backstory (especially when it relates to Brennan), but again, I’m not quite sure I followed, here. He had to go rob a grave in Ohio, to steal back a ring from a bad guy who once stole that very ring of Brennan’s finger when she was a child? It’s not that I don’t believe Max dealt with crooked people who would threaten his children (in fact, we know that’s why he left in the first place), I just don’t really get the urgency of doing this now. (Besides, Brennan said Max lived in Ohio before he went on the run, but hasn’t the show said repeatedly that the Brennans lived outside of Chicago at the time they disappeared?) Moreover, I feel like there’s a bit of revisionist history going on here: they’re making it seem like Max abandoned the family on his own, when Brennan was a child, but past seasons have claimed that it was a team effort, so to speak, by both parents. I know I must be nitpicking, but it seems like there’s a puzzle piece missing. Which is unfortunate, because I am genuinely curious about their history.

All this being said, the final scene with Brennan passing the ring on to Christine as they went off to play board games with Max, at Booth’s urging, was really touching, and I do like the symbolism of that. Particularly since we know Brennan got her cherished ring from her mother, too. (Between that one, this new ring and the dolphin ring from season 6, Brennan has amassed quite the collection.) Despite my feelings towards the story tonight, it’s always heartening to me to see Max insist on not repeating his mistakes with his granddaughter, and that his way of making amends with Brennan is to make sure her daughter never suffers the way she did.

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

In less emotionally-wrought times, Wendell’s girlfriend is back, with a malfunctioning clock! Which is not a euphemism. Of course Wendell would break it, then go to great pains to fix it, only to break it some more, because this is what Wendell does. I liked how he and Hodgins teamed up to try to fix it (of course gadget-loving Hodgins would know how), but I’m wondering if the Craiglist replacement he bought for $9 won’t end up being a prized antique after all. I’m also glad that we’re at the point in his recovery that we can make jokes about Wendell’s cancer now, and not have it make us weep. (Naturally Hodgins would tell him it’s his “get out of jail free” card.) While I find Wendell and Andi a tiny bit too sappy for my tastes, I’m happy that they’re happy, because it’s about time, darn it.

How did you like the episode? Am I being too hard on Brennan, or is Brennan not being hard enough on Max?

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