Now that we're in the back half of Bones season 8, I expected that the uneven story telling that plagued the front half would be over. Especially after coming off of four great episodes in a row. While tonight was a decent outing for Bones, though, it didn't live up to the expectations set by recent weeks.
Aside from references to Hodgins and Angela's newfound poverty, "The Doll in the Derby" almost could have been one of the "bonus" episodes we were handed earlier this season.
So that we'll end on a high note, let's get the bad out of the way first, shall we?
The "Booth visits the hospital" story was, well, not my favorite. Booth raising money for the Children's Tumor Foundation to benefit children with neurofibromatosis felt as product placement-y as Bones crying over a dead tiger. And yes, I realize how awful this makes me sound. But I hope you'll let me explain before calling me soulless.
Something like this is completely in character for Booth. He's a great guy. He loves kids. He wants to make the world better. I can see the character organizing a charity event for sick children and wanting no credit for it. Booth doesn't want to be a hero even if he is a hero. It's one of the things I love about him. He's a good guy for the sake of being good, not because he desires recognition for being a good guy.
But (there's always a but, right?)...
This particular story began as purposefully misleading, came completely out of thin air, and was over-dramatized to the point of almost absurdity.
First, we have Booth and Bones in the car. He says he has to go to the hospital and I'm thinking he's got a sick friend from the military that he's visiting, or a dying relative, (both of which are as out of the blue as the actual story). His phone call to Bones makes it sound that grave as well. Bones can't tell Angela so Angela assumes something is wrong with Booth and then Cam noses around and goes so far as to ask another doctor about what could be confidential patient information. All because Booth didn't want people to know what he was doing.
It was just so clunky and overwrought with dramatics that it nearly undermined the entire point of spreading awareness about a debilitating and fairly common illness.
Here's how this story could have played out: Booth's good deeds for the organization are discovered somehow. Everyone keeps trying to say what a great thing it is and he keeps shrugging it off. The team all comes together to work his carnival to show him - and the children - their support. No heavy theatrics required.
With that aside, I liked the rest of the episode. (And I do like kids! I promise!)
Wendell was back! Aside from Mr. Nigel Murray, Wendell has always been my favorite of the squinterns. He's down to earth and mostly humble, and also easy on the eyes. The conversation between he and Hodgins wherein Hodgins was accidentally reminded that Wendell and Angela are more than a little familiar with one another might have been one of the best interactions of the night.
Hodgins: Posing naked for a hot art student. That is still a big regret of mine.
Wendell: Done it. Not a student though.
Wendell: I don't want to talk about this anymore. | permalink
Happy birthday, Wendell Bray!
I can't roller skate at all, so the idea roller skating in a derby is fun and fascinating. When the previews for tonight's episode first rolled (see what I did there?), I was excited by the prospect of the story that could be told. That aspect of tonight didn't disappoint.
Even if Booth did say she was no good at it, seeing Angela get all dressed up to go undercover as a derby girl was fun and gave the character a chance to get out from behind her computer and live a little. She's been plagued by the gruesome nature of solving murders and, while this turned out to be a bloody venture for her, it put her in the midst of the action instead of recreating it behind the scenes.
I wouldn't hate it if Smackie Kennedy came out to play again. It could be a great outlet for Angela when she's had too much of the gloom and doom in the lab. And now that she and Hodgins are broke, the nightly tip-out of the entrance fees might help buy them some ramen!
Be sure to check out the Bones quotes page and then I'll see you in the comments.
What did you think of "The Doll In The Derby?" Do you think the hospital visitation story could've been better incorporated into the narrative? If you were in a roller derby, what would your name be?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.