Bones has really been having a great season. Hannah's turned out to be a fantastic character, someone we can all love -- even Dr. Brennan. Establishing Hodgins and Angela as the "it" couple have helped give the show a more home-y feeling that allows it to continue to stay aloof of most crime procedurals by just being about the characters. And this week, Tamara Taylor shines!
I loved the subtlety of this episode, because call me crazy, but I don't think Bones does "subtle" all too often. This episode, though, was about a lot of things, without ever really forcing those things to work together as one. This is good -- one problem I had with this week's Event and Glee was how contrived the plot's themes were. The stories were deliberately intertwined so as to attempt to make the episode "click" as a singular unit. Unfortunately, when you have a bunch of those to balance, contrivance becomes commonplace.
But Bones has grown to fight contrivances, and it has succeeded mightily. The theme -- of the old adage "never let 'em see you sweat" or the psychological concept of face-saving -- plays out differently in different characters' hands. Cam, faced with identifying the remains of the slave ship that carried her great-grandmother, strives to act calmly and rationally in front of others. As she plays out her leadership role, she cannot care too much about the skeletons that lay their secrets bare before her. But in the end, she gets that one moment -- when she hesitates to say "Hany Beaufort", she solidifies her role as leader by being allowed that one moment of public weakness. And how calmly she moves on afterward. What a beautiful scene.
As for the main case: On the surface, it's about continuing to show viability as a productive human being in the face of humanity's mortal enemy: aging. Booth's body is showing some wear and tear -- which Brennan is only too happy to point out in great detail, including the one time "that obese woman shot you", referencing S3's stalker-lady -- but he trudges on, working the case of a foster kid caught up in a "cougar cruise", which is exactly what it sounds like (and no, I don't mean a spin-off of Cougar Town featuring Bobby and Travis on the open sea). But on another level, this case was about how people perceive you versus how you want to be perceived, regardless of age, gender, sexual identity, and so on. Even the foster kids -- the victim, Liam, and his buddy from the system Hunter Lang -- deal with their self-perceptions, though through wildly different means.
This is sort of what I wish all episodes of Bones were -- but if the horrendous ADR and openly ridiculous cases hadn't come first, we wouldn't have gotten truly touching stuff like "The Hero in the Hold" or "The End in the Beginning" or "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole". As much as people loved him, I gotta say, we've come a long way from Zack Addy. 太好了！(At least three of you just said, "I don't know what that means.")