One Bones staples over the years has been revealing the seedy underbellies of such high-stakes countercultures such as coupon-clipping or competitive eating. (Yes, those were things, look them up.) With all the focus on returning to its roots and calling back to just about every notable in-joke in ‘The Final Chapter’, we couldn’t very well leave the series without another flight of fancy. Needless to say, this week’s episode takes on the cut-throat world of lumberjacks, because, obviously.
The case in ‘Flaw’ is classic Bones — larger-than-life characters (sometimes quite strikingly so) making a spectacle for the squints’ fish-out-of-water benefit, like a real-life anthropological study, ultimately uncovering that the victim was killed for the most superficial of reasons. Here, a would-be pro-golfer-turned-chainsaw-expert is murdered for the wedding ring she was saving for her new girlfriend by
Todd Packer a concession stand employee who pawned it to pay off his truck loan. Sometimes the show teaches us about the depths of humanity and tugs at our heartstrings; other times, it reminds us that people do dumb stuff all the time in the name of lust and greed. (Maybe Aubrey should buy the Jack Flap truck and follow his true culinary calling before it’s too late.)
I wouldn’t have pegged a lumberjacking contest as the setting for yet another Booth-and-Brennan tête-à-tête about the unquantifiable, but really, shame on me, because you’d think I’d have learned by now that these two can have an existential debate in a 7-Eleven parking lot. (Have they done that yet?) This time, Christine refuses to get back on her bike after struggling to learn how to ride a two-wheeler, and the ensuing bickering is classic B&B. Both of them want her back on, but for different reasons.
Naturally, Brennan would fall back on science to explain the forces necessary to remain upright on the bike, while Booth believes it should just be a “mystery” she gets to experience, like air travel and flatulence. (… Does Booth know where babies come from? He seems to think things appear out of thin air. Perhaps Brennan was actually being literal when she said he thought microwaves were magic all those years ago.) While Booth’s more whimsical approach was completely in-character and his stance the yin to her yang, I do admit to being flummoxed at his continued mockery of science in general in the episode, as if he forgot that this is actually what they do for a living.
Maybe he was just sticking to his guns to prove a point about their child-rearing, but it definitely piqued my curiosity over the attitude shift, or should I say, the bullishness with which he approached their jobs. What makes their relationship work so well, at home and at work, is how they temper each other’s stubbornness in different areas, and in the end, I’m sure a little of her dad’s enthusiasm and her mom’s technical coaching will make Christine the best darn cyclist on the block. (Besides, I definitely laughed at the scientist’s nerd jokes.)
The episode may have begun with her overly-specialized explanations for childhood rites of passage, but time and time again in the hour, Brennan proved that there is a method to her madness, because science, as always, ends up saving the day, not just for their case, but for one of their own. As she played with her very own ‘murder board’ at home (now we all know what those glass panels in the middle of their dining room are for — case photos!) and figured out just why none of their lumberjacks could be the culprit, Hodgins was a busy bee of his own, reopening Zack’s case file, ultimately discovering a minute trace of anthrax (of all things) in a bone that Brennan and Cam couldn’t have found a decade ago that could potentially exonerate the former intern.
Like so many occasions before, it broke my heart to see Cam break Hodgins’ by accusing him of planting the evidence. Not for a second do I think Cam actually believes that herself, but she has to follow the chain of custody, and as the head of the lab, it’s her responsibility to ensure nothing has been tampered with, and therefore must remain skeptical when the best friend of the accused turns up new results a decade later.
This is the same woman who had to point the finger at Zack in the first place, who had to accuse Brennan of murder when the evidence told her so, who had to fire Wendell for using medical marijuana despite them all knowing it was the best treatment for him— in other words, she gets left with the dirty work, and sometimes has to be the resident Bad Guy amidst the lab full of unruly children. This comes with the territory, and it’s a fact which has probably lost her many brownie points in the past, but it’s also such a testament to her work ethic that she makes these hard decisions so her friends don’t have to. She’s often the unsung hero of the Jeffersonian precisely because she has to navigate these bureaucratic waters in order to uphold the law, and I think the world could use a little more Camille Saroyan right about now.
So this is where we stand now, halfway (!) through the final season: Hodgins has proof that Zack isn’t a killer, but he’s facing an uphill battle to make it count, silver bullet or not. Cam may now be at odds with some of her staff as the stickler who won’t let them have any fun, but just like in every other instance, her principles will undoubtedly save them all. Aubrey definitely needs to buy a food truck. Booth and Brennan — well, we don’t know whose bike-riding approach comes out on top, but they both definitely ended up dunking each other into a log-rolling pool, so maybe it doesn’t matter for now.
Next week looks intense, guys! What did you think of ‘Flaw’?