After 104 agonizing days of winter hiatus (a.k.a. The Longest Stinkin' Hiatus in History) Bones
quietly returns to our screens with "The Psychic in the Soup." With an introspective nod to the dearly departed, Dr. Lance "The Baby Duck" Sweets, and the delightful return of parapsychologist Ms. Avalon Harmonia, portrayed by pop-icon Cyndi Lauper, Bones
denies viewers the plot points Executive Producer Stephen Nathan and Emily Deschanel judiciously tantalized us with leading up to the premiere. Promised were several juicy upsets
including a surprise pregnancy, a hefty dose of addiction and deceit, an enigmatic resurgence of Pelant and a life and/or relationship-threatening storyline for Cam and Arastoo. What the spank, Bones
If fans thought any of those major dramas were slated for "The Psychic in the Soup" they are woefully mistaken. After all, how do you follow-up the shock and devastation of "The Conspiracy in the Corpse
," the tragedy of human trafficking in "The Lost Love in the Foreign Land
" or the divinity of "The 200th in the 10th
" from the first half of the season? Instead Bones
serves up an aperitif prior to the real meal deal which begins in the next coupe of episodes as promised.
You Get What You Get and You Don't Throw a Fit
We may not get all the promised hoopla in Bones' spring premiere, but what we do get is low key and meaningful. A somewhat interesting case is couched between scenes of Christine adorably hosting tea parties with
Jesus imaginary friends and Dr. Fuentes getting caught bribing foreign officials and smuggling contraband into Cuba while the whole team copes with the passing of Sweets' 30th birthday. Sweets never made it to that milestone birthday, but, as Cam astutely puts it, "He made it to happy and that's pretty impressive."
Then we have Avalon trying to assist with the case, but channeling the ex-psychologist instead while Booth attempts to think like Sweets but ends up making some intuitive leaps which he seems to have pulled straight out of his booty. In all fairness, Booth ends up pulling a 'Backstrom' rather than a 'Sweets' because his seemingly absurd assumptions prove spot on. As emotional intelligence and intuition go, Booth's got mad skills, but this is different. Sweets' thought process was linear (albeit way off at times) but Backstrom makes no sense at all until he suddenly does and we're all shocked. That's a Backstrom. Booth pulls two Backstroms in this episode. More on that in a minute as well.
Tea for Two with Christine's Imaginary "Buddy"
We were all hoping for a baby announcement but instead we get Buddy, Christine "Stinkin' Adorable" Booth's affectionate invisible playmate with whom she has tea parties. (As an aside, I still have my childhood china tea set in its original box which I keep tucked away with copious fond childhood memories. I love that Booth participates in Christine's party play; father-daughter relationships are so very important to the daughter's entire development process and self-esteem. Now that we know Christine as more than just a baby, it would be cool to go back and watch his touching video message to her in "The Twist in the Plot." I digress.)
Brennan approves of Christine's invisible pal as developmentally sound. She likens it -- of course - to her circumspect husband's relationship with God, a relationship which he can't deny does include the sharing of a meal. Thankfully, Brennan's part in this scene was written without the irascible crassness she has at times been imbued with in the past on the topic of Catholicism or religious faith of any sort. Fortunately, that's pretty much where this topic ends until the end of the episode when the purpose behind that whole thing makes sense.
Happy 30th Birthday, Sweets
On the tail end of the Buddy versus Jesus discussion, Booth's PDA reminds him to pick up Sweets' favorite doughnuts for his birthday, introducing the subplot (co-plot?) of the episode: each character's response to grief.
Booth deals with his grief by buying and sharing the doughnuts he promised Sweets. Seem weird? It's not. Everyone grieves uniquely, as this episode points out. Brennan is uncommonly distracted at work and acknowledges her own malaise -- neurologically, at least. Hodgins pretty much doesn't want to talk about it. Angela looks to Avalon for insight (and maybe a sÃ©ance). Cam tries to look on the bright side. Sweets death is felt by all, but doesn't overwhelm the episode. Later we learn that Sweets used to buy gifts for everyone else on his birthday to thank them for another good year. Wow. Gulp.
Grief Brings Isolation
Cam and Angela have a passing though precious tete-a-tete about psychics during which Cam's comments resonate with the tone of the whole episode and speak to the alienating nature of grief they are all experiencing to a degree. Cam's grandmother spent thousands of dollars trying to communicate with her husband after he died. Obviously Grandma Saroyan was on a very personal and private journey to assuage her own pain without disturbing her loved ones - which, many times, is how people handle their grief: alone. For many it can be too devastating, embarrassing and overwhelming to burden someone else with. However, as Cam chagrins, if Grandma had come to her, they could have shared their grief and kept her grandfather alive by sharing their memories for free.
I wondered if the crew would get together to celebrate Sweets' birthday in Irish wake style, which they didn't exactly do. The grief is too fresh, for them and for us, but maybe next year it will feel more appropriate. Instead there was a low key sharing of invisible cake in the final scene. More on that later.
The Psychics in His Past
How appropriate for Avalon to rejoin The Avengers for an episode about a murdered psychic, right? It turns out, however, that Avalon's presence is actually due to Sweets' birthday more than the case at hand. Yes, as long as Avalon's not the one bathing in the bouillabaisse, we're happy to see her. Does it seem odd that Sweets, the consummate psychologist-cum-scientist would avail himself of Avalon's abilities? Not at all. In "Harbingers in the Fountain" Avalon directed Sweets to find his father's missing watch in the pocket of a jacket he'd forgotten he'd left at the FBI dry cleaners. Also, Sweets' mom was a circus psychic in Florida. So, this all makes perfect sense.
Hodgins, however, is having none of it (neither is Booth), so Avalon respectfully promises to keep her thoughts (and Sweets' messages) to herself in their presence until Angela plies her husband with an astute scientific argument that has him ceding to her checkmate. King that woman, Jack! #ChessReference #KingoftheLab
An Incredibly Credible Suspect
Roosevelt Park Ranger Alex Dunaway, covered in blood and blubbering like an idiot, opens the case material for the 201st Bones installment. He discovered the decomposed remains of Justine Simmons inside a tree trunk he was cutting down. Every time I watch a crime procedural I'm fascinated with how people respond when they find a dead body or are notified of a death. Rather than screaming and running, I'm fairly certain I would react exactly as poor Alex. Hopefully I'll never find out, but there you have it. Adding to our list of enormous and cool things brought back to the lab is the entire tree trunk full of Justine Simmons bouillabaisse. Squint Squad 200 would be proud.
A Superintendent, A Pastor and a Lesbian Walk Into a Bar
Brennan and Booth visit the victim's apartment where they meet Hilary Featherson, the building's superintendent, whom we later learn had a romantic relationship with Simmons. In the apartment they find a cracked and bloodied laptop and a huge wad of cash. Avalon appears out of nowhere and directs them toward a another slick, self-important psychic, Anthony "Amazing Kreskin" Taylor, Simmons' ex-colleague and a known charlatan. As Booth is shooing Avalon out of the apartment, she asks him if he knows anyone celebrating a birthday that day. Booth almost falls over. You'd think after Avalon helped him save Brennan's life in "Harbingers" he'd have a little more faith in her. Anyway, Avalon is she-bopped right off the case.
Aubrey interviews Pastor Desmond Simmons, Justine's sorta estranged father who turns out to be a reasonably liberal man willing to trade scripture with Aubrey. Pastor Simmons had hoped Justine was returning to the church because she'd decided to give up the dark arts or whatever, but he had been wrong and they hadn't seen each other in several weeks.
Angela arranges for Avalon to give a wary Aubrey a tutorial on the tricks of the fortune-telling trade which include background checks of wealthy clients for the purpose of blackmailing them. Aubrey interviews Taylor who proves highly smarmy, but innocent of murder. Crap. I so wanted it to be him.
Money from Justine's apartment leads to Simmons' client, Alana Jackson. Booth 'Backstroms' that the two women were lovers. She admits to the money and the affair but says it was over long ago. She has an alibi, so they quit considering her. Alana points back to Dad who might have killed her with the tip of his cane anyway. Somewhere along the way Booth also Backstroms the fact that the tree had lovers' names inscribed on it meaning, that whomever killed Simmons must have been one of her lovers.
A Surprising Source of Understanding, Compassion and Love
Aubrey hits Pastor Papa again after some technical research leads back to her father's church as well. Things are not looking good for Papa. Aubrey and Pastor get into a biblical smack down and it turns out Jessica came out to her father when she was 16. So, you might ask, how does homosexuality sit with the pastor and would that be cause for murder? Not in the least, replies the man of the cloth. "The real message that Jesus brought into the world is love and understanding, compassion and love." How refreshing in a world where some religious fanatics would have burned her at the stake. A very well-delivered and convincing line. Papa's cane is innocent so he can go back to church now.
Well, as it turns out, the bloody laptop from before was the result of a nasty lovers' spat between jealous Superintendent Hilary Featherson and the victim. When Featherston threw her carpenter's mallet at Simmons it created a subdural hematoma just inside her cranium but didn't send her down a tunnel following a bright celestial light. Later when Simmons broke up with sugarmama and lover, Alana Jackson, they came to blows as well. Alana pushed Simmons away and she fell over, hitting her head on Alana's daughter's bike chain. That caused the subdural hematoma in her brain to rupture, killing her instantly. Alana then went to the lover's tree and tossed Simmons' body inside. Logistically, how the hell did she do that even if she did use the hood of her car? Well, this is TV, so we'll let that go. Case solved. Featherston gets manslaughter and Alana's 'I didn't mean to do it' defense gets her only probation.
Brennan Helps Fuentes Smuggle Drugs Into Cuba
Cam finds Rodolfo "McDreamy" Fuentes (Ignacio Serricchio) to be distracted and late for work more than once. Upon noticing a sizeable bankroll in his bag, Cam asks him if he would prefer working somewhere more lucrative. Fuentes, (who looks great without the heavy beard), makes a million apologies. Later Cam confronts him with a package filled with prescription medications. Fuentes explains that the cash is for bribes and the drugs were leftovers donated by Cuban expats wishing to send them to Cuba where good drugs are neither plentiful nor affordable. Before Cam can levy a decision about his illegal activities, Fuentes resigns, but defends his actions stating that the law is wrong to forbid him to send drugs to his people who have already suffered enough. #HesNotWrong
Fuentes returns to retrieve the drugs from Cam only to learn that Brennan used some of Booth's contacts at the FBI to get those drugs to their intended Cuban recipients. Fuentes sweeps Brennen up in an energetic hug and Cam is stunned by this turn of events, as was I. Cam then cedes the issue as there is no longer any proof of their felonious actions.
What do you think? Did Brennan do the right thing? Is it okay for some people to break the law if they see fit? How did Booth set aside his love for the law to do what's right for humanity? Okay, that last question answers itself, but what about the others? Hmmm. I feel an editorial coming on.
The Swan Song of Lance "The Baby Duck" Sweets
The final scene at Casa de Booth is elegantly perfect. The first time I watched it I was quietly but fairly moved. The second time I watched it I bawled. (Thank you, Bones fairies). It's a full-circle ending to Sweets' character and his participation in their relationship that. Even though Sweets did his fair share of muddying the waters of their love, all is well that ends well and God bless the broken road.
Angela and Avalon arrive in the middle of the family's tea time with Buddy. Instead of cake, however, Buddy wants Booth to read them a love story. Enter Angela and Avalon to deliver a printed copy of "Parts of the Whole," the novel Sweets wrote about Brennan and Booth's romance. Avalon's psychic abilities led to the manuscript which Sweets had intended to give them on his birthday. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on a copy of that book myself. Say, did you notice that the first couple of pages of the manuscript looked a little used? I wonder if that is the original pile of paper that Sweets threw over his head in "The End in the Beginning?"
Bones airs on Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.