The most controversial episode of Bones'
10th season is upon us and it is a game-changer, folks. Resplendent with masterful performances by David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, and John Boyd, "The Eye in the Sky" opens with talk of babies and sex and peanut butter cookies in the most glorious scene since the season 9 Brennan-Booth wedding. Shortly afterwards, however, a pall is cast across the Bones
universe engulfing Brennan, Booth, and Aubrey as the former sniper is confronted with his worst enemy yet -- his powerlessness over his addiction to gambling.
"The Eye in the Sky" has Brennan and Aubrey fearfully watching over Booth as he breaks his sobriety to solve the murder of a gambler who won more than his fellow card players thought he deserved. As the episode progresses Booth's personality goes through a metamorphosis, one that has been alluded to in the past but never shown on screen. What emerges is a shifty, falsely exuberant and confident Booth whose behavior causes genuine fear in the hearts of the two closest to him -- Brennan as his wife and partner, and Aubrey as his FBI sidekick who knows all too well the alluring and destructive powers of addiction.
Another Booth Baby is On the Way
How adorable was that opening scene with Brennan taking the pregnancy test? It was stinkin' adorable. Absolutely stinkin' adorable. Booth excited, eyes lit-up, talking about which steamy romantic session could have resulted in this wonderful event. Was it the kitchen floor, perhaps another escapade in the bathtub? Brennan, remaining calm and practical, reminding him that the frequency of their love making lately would make it difficult to pin down exactly when one of those Alpha Booth sperm took a dive into the Brennan ovum resulting in their second pregnancy. My favorite part (other than the sex talk) was when Booth excitedly does a cartwheel across the bed, then talks to his youngest offspring through Brennan's clothing.
Brennan and Booth decide to keep this pregnancy a secret, but we all know that is not going to last long. Stephen Nathan and Emily Deschanel
told us earlier this season that Brennan goes through a period of unrest in regard to this pregnancy now that she knows what it means to bring a child into the world. None of that emerges during "The Eye in the Sky" so we can assume this arises later as the couple faces Booth's addiction and another harrowing serial killer.
The King of the Lab Breaks Expensive Stuff
As a segue into a tertiary plot thread, Hodgins is in the lab breaking stuff as Cam reminds him that his own scientific adventures need to be conducted using only his own home and his own materials. This and an intriguing suggestion by Squintern Jessica later in the episode gives birth to the development of a new product which it has been hinted is going to make Hodgins and Angela filthy, stinking rich.
Wait, didn't I earlier say that Bones is realistic. Okay, this kind of stuff is not your run of the mill kind of activity I see in my own neighborhood, but I had been referring to the challenges of humanity, not the outrageous wealth (which Bones does a great job of not focusing on a la the soapy programming elsewhere on tv these days).
An Industrial Shredder Presents a Mission Impossible
Booth meets the team out at the crime scene and shocks them with his delivery of a bunch of coffee for everyone and a profusion of compliments for all. Who are you and what have you done with my Booth, everyone wonders. The remains are a gory mess. Grosser yet are the Frankensteinian face pieces Hodgins finds plastered to the inside of the shredder door. Gag me with a spoon, folks. Gah.
People Can't Be Trusted, But Bones and Boobs Never Lie
Back at the lab, Brennan is cheerful to the point of inviting Jessica (who has become my favorite squint after Wendell) to tell her about a vibe she gets from the remains. This is a new one for Brennan who usually shuts that stuff down faster than you can spell 'zygomatic arch'. Cam notices the connection that both Brennan and Booth have been extraordinarily chipper, but it's Angela who puts everything together.
Angela gets Brennan alone and hugs her, causing Brennan to squeal in discomfort. This tells Angela that Brennan has got to be pregnant because pregnant boobs are sore boobs. Brennan tries to deny it, but Angela sees right through her. Ange, of course, is thrilled for her, but promises to try to keep her secret. Yeah, like that's gonna last.
We've Got a Gambler on Deck
Jeff Dover, a furniture mover, turns out to be the victim. Angela finds all kinds of gambling apps on his cell phone which leads to her uncovering that he's in way deeper than just some video games. Aubrey finds out that Dover had recently been involved in an altercation with another mover and they had possibly come to blows. Booth and Aubrey interrogate Dustin West and find out he'd partnered with Dover to win big. The night he died Dover sent a text to West saying he had won $28,000. Where? West turns over an address.
Booth Once Bet on the Expiration Date of Cheese
Brennan and Booth meet for lunch at the diner. Brennan sees the twinkle of hunger in Booth's eyes when he talks about gambling and expresses her concerns over Booth working on a case involving a poker player. She worries that he will be vulnerable and may find himself in a situation that he cannot easily extricate himself from because of the nature of addiction. Booth insists that he's strong enough to keep a firm grip on the life he would never risk by getting back into gambling other than for the purposes of solving this murder. Brennan remains circumspect, though she wants to have faith in her husband. She knows, however, that people are powerless over their addictions. That's why the only answer to addiction is 100% abstinence.
Joining Brennan and Booth for lunch is Booth's ex-bookie, Jason Samuels. Booth surprises Brennan when he asks Samuels to help him get into a high-stakes underground poker game with the group Dover played with immediately before being tossed in the industrial shredder. Brennan is decidedly uncomfortable, as am I watching the scene.
The Currency of Sobriety is a Coin Worth More Than Gold
Among the victim's remains Hodgins finds a coin that is neither American nor foreign currency. Brennan recognizes it as a sobriety token from Gamblers Anonymous just like the one Booth carries around in recognition of his own decade of sobriety. So, Dover had been on the wagon at one point, then things must have gone south somehow.
Dover Fell Off the Wagon and Into the Shredder
At the Hoover Aubrey and Booth face off in one of the best delivered scenes of an episode with many good scenes. Aubrey brings the news that Dover had been in an accident which killed his wife and child two years previously. He'd lost everything, Booth realizes. That's when all hell broke loose for Dover and he started gambling and couldn't stop. Booth sees this. He knows because he's been there himself. This is the side of Booth viewers have never seen close up.
As we learned in "The Money Maker in the Merry-Go-Round," Aubrey's father lost everything in the market when Aubrey was young. Then Aubrey senior further betrayed his family and countless others with a Ponzi scheme. Then he left the country, leaving his wife and child with nothing. Having had first hand experience with an addict, Aubrey is hyper sensitive to the precarious position Booth insists upon putting himself into. Back in "The Puzzler in the Pit" Aubrey confronted Booth about his fascination with an online gambling site. Aubrey had promised, "You're an addict, Agent Booth, and I'm not going to let you jeopardize your sobriety for this case or any case ... You can take me off the case if you want to, but when a situation like this comes up again I will do the exact same thing." That was early on in the Booth-Aubrey relationship, but that was when we began to see what the new guy Aubrey is made of.
Once again, Aubrey lays it on the line for Booth, hands on hips, nostrils flaring. He reminds Booth that his modus operandi when traumatized is to gamble. So, let's see. How traumatic has Booth's life been since the season opened? Well, (she said, ticking off the offending events on extended fingers) at the end of last season the country he places all his faith in turned against him, he was shot several times, his home was decimated by professional killers, he spent three months in prison where he was regularly beaten, and then he held his best friend in his arms as he bled out and died. Screw the Middle East, Booth, you've had plenty of trauma right here in your own country.
Booth Bows Down to the Beast
Bookie Samuels makes the connections for Booth and he gets ready to go to the poker game. As the episode progresses we see Booth shrugging off the concerns of those around him. His assurances to Brennan are convincing at first, but his resolve wears thin when we hear him assure Aubrey that Brennan is okay with this strategy. His sentences ring false and his posture is one of physical and emotional discomfort. As he tries to convince others that he will be alright, he fails to convince even himself. Aubrey is spot on in his assessment: Booth has had a lot of sh*t rain down on him lately. He's been walking around not dealing with any of it, trying to be the husband, father and agent he's expected to be by everyone who means anything to him.
That's how addiction works. A stealthy pressure builds inside the addict like a feral appetite, a tension demanding release that the body is powerless to resist. The object of addiction whispers lies of satisfaction and normalcy if the addict can just get that fix. The high promises to drown out the unbearable dysphoria of sobriety for the troubled addict. What happens though is that the climax is followed by a wasteland of shame and destruction. The only solution is to get the next hit. And the next.
Booth sees an opportunity to escape from his emotional pain. He craves a moment of relief and he's vulnerable. That's what happens when the endocrine system is depressed for a prolonged period. It's clear that Booth sees what's happening to himself, but he's powerless over his opponent. You can hear it in his weak assurances to Brennan and see it in his inability to hold Aubrey's eye contact for long.
A Sniper Walks Into a Poker Game and Becomes a Dick
Booth goes to the poker game to
gamble read all the players and identify who killed Dover. There he meets ATM, Mustache, Mid-Life, Beanie Guy and Gold Digger, introducing himself as Freddie K, though the players dub him Newbie. He and ATM play chicken, calling each other 'pal' all the time. Booth is having too much fun, though he's controlling his reactions. He notices the surveillance camera and links his cell phone into the system so Angela can get the feed from the camera including the game from the night Dover was whacked.
Booth Sweats Bullets at Home
Booth gets home at 4 a.m. to find Brennan waiting up for him. He's won $12,000, but Brennan doesn't care. He's shifty, defensive and accusatory. He even pulls the "You have no faith in me" card. Brennan turns it around and insists that it's about her love for him. Booth has no argument for that and they turn in.
It's Never the Fault of the Loved Ones
At the Hoover, Aubrey and Booth go head to head again. Booth remains cagey and Aubrey risks pissing his superior off by talking about his dad. He says he always felt that if he and his mother had been enough then his dad would not have had to gamble. Booth then delivers a key message to all those watching the episode: It's never about the people who are close to the addict. The problem is the addiction, and that is all on the addict.
A nearly tearful Aubrey hold his ground and offers to be a shoulder if Booth ever finds himself in need. God, Booth is so lucky to have not one but two people who are so committed to him that they risk angering and alienating him in their efforts to be his lifeline. The whole episode is fairly intense.
What About the Victim?
At the lab it's discovered that the victim had been stabbed and stomped upon before being tossed into the shredder. The team is unable to get financial information on the players, so Booth decides to go back to the table. Once there lots of cards are being dealt. I can't count fast enough, so I can't tell what's really going on but it looks like Booth is doing some pretty big winning. He's been playing for a long time without mentioning Dover's murder. The team discovers that Mid-Life was in big financial trouble and almost had his house foreclosed on. Then he made a huge deposit and was flush. The team finds maplewood in one of his injuries which Hodgins identifies as having come from a baseball bat.
The Stakes Are High
The gamblers are playing with dangerous amounts of money. Mid-Life is the killer. Angela texts Booth this, but Booth doesn't end the game right away. He's dealt one of the best possible hands and fixates on the near $20,000 of winnings on the table. He knows what he has to do, but the allure of the win is strong. At the last moment he does the right thing and we all heave a big sigh of relief. Brennan is relieved and quietly proud. Whew. It's over, right?
Slapping his badge on the felt, Booth arrests Mid-Life. At the Founding Fathers, Angela and Hodgins tell Jessica about The King of the Lab's invention of a matt that glass will not break on when it falls. Then we head to the Mighty Hut 2.0.
Big Sisters and Bets on Cardinals
In our final scene Brennan and Booth are at home when Christine overhears them talking about the baby. She asks if she is going to be a big sister and they let her in on the secret. It's an adorable scene until Booth gets a phone call. Booth lies to his girls, saying it's his sponsor, and takes the call in the other room. To our dismay we hear what starts to sound like a supportive call from the sponsor, but ends up being Booth's old bookie. Booth places a bet. Sh*t.
Will Booth Go Down the Rabbit Hole and Ruin Everything He's Fought So Hard For?
To say this development may be disheartening for viewers who favor white picket fences and happy endings wrapped in sickening little bows would be an understatement, but I say bravo. Bones never fails to reinvent itself or take the road less traveled. Though we knew this gambling storyline was coming, it's still great to see how they played it out. I'm a huge Maeve Binchy fan, for those of you who know who she is. Her novels never end how you think they will ... and they are always interesting, thought-provoking and brilliant. I feel the same way about Bones. It takes brass testicles to show the dark side of Booth in this way. It makes perfect sense, however. What else can you do to a man who's been through what he has? The final frontier for Booth, as it is for all of us, is the internal fight against his own demons.
As you can probably already tell, it satisfies me (actually makes me proud of the Bones) to see that they didn't take the cheap and expected way out. You can't tie a stupid little bow around addiction. It's a daily struggle. Why do you think Booth carries his sobriety token around with him everyday? Because it's an every day decision. It would be disingenuous to portray an addiction as so easily surmountable. Impossibly insurmountable? No, if a person starts out with a robust psyche. But Booth's psyche has been rendered helpless from the repeated battering it has taken over the last year. Cut him some slack, but dole him out tough love ... that's what's ahead for Brennan. And Aubrey. And Booth.
airs Thursdays at 8 pm on FOX.