Bones 11×16 ‘The Strike in the Chord’: Aca-kward

Source: FOX

Bones jumps on the Pitch Perfect craze this week, exploring the seedy underbelly of college glee clubs. It turns out they don’t just kill performances, but each other! Closer to home, Hodgins’ fortunes may be turning, the Jeffersonian has yet another new intern, and Parker’s got a secret.

To be brief, the case this week didn’t sing my tune. I was very intrigued by the A Capella hook; I’m not immune to a little levity, and I too have sung along to the Bellas once or twice in the car. However, I found that the musical portions of the episode went on just a tad too long, and detracted from my following of the story. (I may have reached for the fast forward button at some point.)

In retrospect, I think I would have been more invested in the story had the regular cast been more heavily involved in the music plot. Yes, we learned that Aubrey was once an A Capella champion — because, of course he was — and that was indeed a neat factoid. In fact, the end scene where Booth surprised him with the unearthed video of his championship performance was straight out of old-school Bones family time (remember Cam’s b-movie past?), and was an endearing display of their family-like unit.

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

I guess I would have liked to have seen his background inform the investigation a little more. Or even gotten to hear him sing for real — not to mention some of the other cast members. It’s an odd point to argue, I know, but I suppose what I’m saying is that I wish we’d seen a little more of our guys, and a little less of the lip-sync battle on-screen. That being said, the members of Pentatonix, the band posing as the musical rivals here, were a big draw, and I get that the show wanted to feature them prominently.

Outside of the case, I was really pleased by the personal threads woven in ‘Strike’. First of all, Parker makes a reappearance this this week, via Skype. I enjoyed the dynamic between Parker, his dad and stepmom, and I think Bones struck a really nice balance in their roles in each other lives. I really loved that here, Parker chose to confide in Brennan when he had a secret. They’ve always had such an honest relationship, that it’s nice to see how that’s now evolved into a deep respect now that he’s sixteen (?).

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

Needless to say, I liked that Parker chose to go to Brennan first when the opportunity for the summer creative writing program arose, asking her to help break the news to his dad since it would mean that he wouldn’t be able to go on that camping trip Booth had been planning. It felt like a very nuanced way of establishing their bonds, while also giving us a glimmer of grown-up Parker. He’s every bit as smart as we knew he was as a youngster, but he’s now applying that intelligence to a field all his own.

I found it a great callback to some of his more artistic pursuits as a kid (like how he loved painting with Angela), and it gives him another connection to Brennan (as an author), while allowing him to flourish as his own person. I definitely wouldn’t have called this twist myself, but I thought it was a brilliant way of giving Parker a bit of character development, in the limited time we see him. Plus, it was great to watch Brennan gently broach the subject with Booth, while giving him the space he needed to assess his feelings. (All blended families should be so lucky.)

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

On the flip side, Booth feeling nothing but pride in Parker’s accomplishments and supporting his decision, instead of festering over losing his summer with him, was really heartwarming too. We know he fought hard for all of his visitation rights, but Parker’s old enough to start making these choices on his own. (Maybe Booth can go spend a few weeks with him in England this summer in instead?)

The other development this week was our new intern, Sammy, played by B.K. Cannon. While I wasn’t sure what to expect by yet another student of Brennan’s, I’m once again surprised at how different they made her from the others. This time, she’s a work-study intern who the lab all loves, and it was impossible not to pull for the girl. Which made her eventual failure to keep up with the science so heartbreaking to watch.

Brennan was so patient and kind with her (by her standards), but it became painfully obvious that her student had more catching up to do before joining their ranks. It was devastating, but all too realistic, to witness her realize that her dreams weren’t going to be coming true that day, and I sincerely hope we do eventually see her return once she has a little more experience under her belt. (I think Brennan’s cheering for her, too.)  I love watching teaching moments like these, because Brennan is entirely in her element, and though she’s tough, she ultimately wants what’s best for her protégés. (Also: three cheers for more women squints!)

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

Lastly, Hodgins learned he was accepted into an experimental nerve-regeneration surgery program, but like Sammy, his joy is cut short when Angela brings him back down to earth about the risks. Just when we think these two are back to normal, we’re once again reminded that their normal is forever changed. Angela pushing the emergency stop on his chairlift to get his attention was absolutely painful for me: it harshly exposed his vulnerability, highlighting from his perspective that she still has power over him in this state. They may be nicer to each other now, but they remain fundamentally at an impasse: Angela wants him safe at all costs, while Hodgins would do anything to walk again, risks be damned. I’m glad they’re at least talking these things over (eventually), but it’s clear there is still a conflict between them no matter how they sugarcoat it. I’m intrigued to see where this leads, to say the least.

Did ‘Strike’ have you singing in the rain?

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