Nothing like a little magic to throw a wrench into an investigation. From victims to suspects to scientists to the Tooth Fairy, everyone is apparently an expert at sleight of hand in this week’s episode of Bones. How does one dazzle even the most skeptical of squints? Apparently with a lot of exasperation.
I think my favorite part about ‘Promise’ this week was watching Clark and Hodgins try in vain to impress Brennan. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for character growth, and I’m happy that the former intern is now a permanent employee of the Jeffersonian. Yet, I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that his constant struggles with Brennan amuse me greatly most of the time. Particularly since more often than not in the last few years, they’ve led to unexpected moments of bonding between the two scientists, something I didn’t think I’d ever really be able to say when in the early years of their relationship.
Tonight was no exception: admittedly, I found Brennan to be a downer (towards everyone) about the validity of magic at the outset, and the story a bit of a character regression for the sake of the plot. However, her rants were quickly worth the price of admission for her reaction shots alone. What I’ve truly appreciated about the last few seasons is that we’ve seen Clark develop into a bit of a softie; he’s still a stickler for rules and protocol (remember the binders, everyone?), but he’s unveiling more of his personal side to his coworkers, and I enjoy his kinship with Brennan.
Case in point: his genuine desire to share his love of magic with her, through the guise of solving the case of the week. It was amazing to watch Eugene Byrd shed Clark’s stuffy persona for a few minutes and fully embrace his character’s adolescent self, throwing himself into the magic show as a way of coping with being ostracized for his intelligence at school. That might be the freest we’ve ever seen him, yet it still made sense in the context of the case of the murdered
magician illusionist escape artist.
I love that that was the turning point for Brennan, too — no, she didn’t suddenly believe in make-believe (if anything she scoffed even more), but it was sweet to see her understand where Clark was coming from, and even sympathize with his teenage self, given that she too was an outcast at the same age. With each passing interaction, I feel like their friendship deepens, and their similarities become increasingly apparent. They might not ever go to a Penn & Teller show together, but I think they share some core traits, namely in how hard they fought to get to where they are now. This empathy is the side of Brennan I’m grateful to see eleven seasons in.
All that being said, I’m not one to ever deny a good zinger, and there were lots to be had at both Clark and Hodgins’ expense, the more they tried (and failed) to win Brennan’s approval in the realm of magic. The guys are overgrown kids in this respect, let’s be honest — and it’s hilarious to watch two adult men strive so fervently to impress their boss, who can see through all their tricks without batting an eye (but definitely with some epic eye rolls). There’s no doubt that when it comes down to it, they’re one big dysfunctional family.
Amidst all the snarking, I was pleasantly surprised at the heartfelt conversation between Booth and Brennan while getting ready for bed. It’s the quiet scenes like these that set Bones apart, shifting from the usual zaniness to revealing the true heart of the matter in a matter of seconds. To be honest, I’ve hoped for more of these, especially after last season, so I was thrilled to see them discuss their stances about how they’d want their partner to move on (or not) if something happened to the other, given the nature of their work. The fact that they managed to seamlessly incorporate a mention of both Sweets’ (!) and Jared’s deaths into the exchange about the unpredictability of life made it all the more meaningful, and contextualized Brennan’s reactions to both the nature of “magic” and the inherent deception of the Tooth Fairy in regards to Christine.
(Sidebar: Christine is already old enough to lose her first tooth, and Michael-Vincent has apparently lost a mouthful. My, how time flies!)
Brennan’s staunch stance on the Tooth Fairy initially felt like a bit of a retread of her Santa Claus tirade in season 3, to the point where I questioned the necessity of such a debate. Yet, when she explained her biggest gripe — that it deceives children and insults their intelligence, not to mention endorsing Stranger Danger — I kind of saw her point. Still, I’m glad she relented, once she realized that smoke and mirrors are required once in a while, whether it’s to crack a case, help a lonely teen, or stretch out childhood fantasy that much longer. A little magic goes a long way, folks.
In other news, Cam is single, but not sure if she’s ready to mingle. I admit, I was fooled by the show’s misdirection in assuming that Angela’s new photographer friend Sebastian was making a play for the artist. So color me happily wrong when the person he was really wooing was Cam! Again, I’m very thankful that we’re actually allowed to witness Cam’s thought processes this season, from her concern over not feeling guilty about choosing her career over her boyfriend, to here wondering if it’s okay to start dating again, or if she’ll ever feel the way she did with Arastoo. Cam’s been an unsung hero for years and it’s about time she gets a little bit of the spotlight, and I love that Brennan and now Angela are her soundboards. I’m sorry Cam is sad about the breakup, but on the other hand, I sure hope she indulges herself a little now, too.
What did you think of ‘Promise’?