I love the dialogue in this. It's very well written and characterful, especially for Cam, which is important as this is where she took over from our beloved Goodman. However, I am not entirely convinced of a storyline which has two men involved in a plot to clean up on falling stock by faking the death of the company boss (Brennan is annoyingly naive on the idea of monetary gain of this kind as a motive for murder - she isn't really convinced by the red herring of sexual jealousy either. These are the two chief reasons for planned murder, aren't they? Wake up, Bones). For a start, were they expecting that no-one would find out? Was Warren Lynch going to become someone different and hide out somewhere? And they must have had to go looking for months to find a dead junkie of the same approximate height (I mean, come on; 6' 7", right-handed, basketball possibilities?) and weight as Lynch, surely. How were they planning to explain the fact that Lynch appeared to be a heroin addict? - it was bound to be questioned. Exactly how and when were the dental records faked? And then Turco panics when he finds out about the senator's high-profile death, beats Lynch to a pulp and chucks him out of a speeding car. How long was this after the initial events; did he think Lynch was dead when he'd dealt with him? Too many questions. Actually, the ep is all about questions, as we will see.
There are two B plots chugging along behind this rather dubious and clunky case. One is Brennan's continuing hunt for her father, the other Camille's arrival as Head of Forensics and her initially somewhat spiky relationship with Brennan.
Let's start with Cam. We zoom straight in on her feisty and authoritative, no-nonsense manner as soon as BB arrive at the crash site. In fact, we are in on everything, like an unerring arrow - one of the first things we learn about her is her 'previous' with Seeley. It's very good shorthand and avoids a long exposition, with Cam and Brennan mutually suspicious from the start. Brennan is slightly annoyed when Booth suggests Cam's appointment over her head while she was on holiday is probably partly to do with her lack of people skills, but, to be fair, she immediately proves him correct by failing to recognise a firefighter she has met at least four times!
In the lab, Angela is speculating on the Cam/Booth relationship. They have history, she decides. Has she not seen Booth at all in the months since Brennan has been away? I would have thought she'd have worked this out a long time before now, if Cam has been installed long enough to be calling Hodgins and Zack Hodgepodge and Zackaroni respectively (Zack likes it - I don't think Hodgins is too impressed). This exchange is notable for TJ's reactions. Angela says she can see signs of a relationship in the way Cam touches Booth's arm when they laugh. Jack protests that she touches him in similar circumstances. "No" retorts Angela, "you touch me - there's a big difference." TJ turns away with a subtle expression of disappointment, which is the sign of good character building - an excellent touch.
There are some wonderful brief scenes when Cam gets to the lab. The dialogue is superb. She is going to keep the management of the lab 'tighter than a nun's knees' and declares "I'm a diuretic seagull - everything goes through me" (doesn't she mean diarrheic? Good nevertheless).
Hodgins is not particularly happy with Cam. "You should be glad they got someone else as Head of Forensics,” he confides to Brennan, "you're strictly a rubber-to-the-road hardball scientist, not a flesh-pressing, ink stained, policymaking wanktard." Inevitably, Cam walks in on this, much to Hodgins' consternation. He starts spluttering endless irrelevancies until she cuts him short "you're chattering me to death because you're hoping I'll forget you called me a wanktard". She definitely knows people, does Cam.
Angela too tackles Brennan about whether she wanted the job - surely not - she is too task-oriented. "Task-oriented", Brennan cuts to the chase, "is a euphemism for 'lacking overall perspective" and proves it straight away by relegating Angela's birthday to the list of facts she leaves to her devices to remember for her!
There's a moment when Brennan semi-'tests' Cam to find out how knowledgeable she is - it reminds Zack of his job interview - Cam comes through with flying colours.
First experiment this season! Zack and Hodgins burn fake bones and Spam together to prove that there must have been extra accelerant deliberately placed in the car. At last we see Cam genuinely angry. Nothing should be done without her authorisation. Brennan has encouraged independent enquiry, but if this happens again, Cam will take 'New York' action. Hodgins' flippant suggestion that this means she intends to make them watch musical theatre does not go down well. She is talking about the "get-mugged-in-broad-daylight" tradition. "If you insist on an organisational pyramid, I will be at the top." Booth understands this attitude. In contrast to Brennan, whose sole goal is to get at the Truth, Cam desires a successful prosecution in a court of law; and that means that she does not want the Jeffersonian thought of an institution promoting goofy science done by squints with no connection to the real world. Such as burning Spam and dropping monkeys down lift shafts.
Later, he confronts Cam with the question "Why did you take this job? It's basically herding cats, and you're a dog person." Cam points out the advantages that up-to-date technology and comfortable working conditions win out over damp basements stinking of rotten corpses, but disingenuously denies that her move has anything to do with Booth. She has her own question; why hasn't Brennan confronted Cam about her being parachuted in over her head? Is she intimidated? Booth actually laughs: "Bones doesn't intimidate. You're human remains and she hasn't made a decision about you yet. Go for the truth and take care of her people." He knows Brennan extremely well, it is clear. He and Cam share a certain instinctive empathic skill and a humour which Brennan does not possess. It’s going to take Cam a while to work her colleague out
Cam takes Booth’s advice, big-time, and earns kudos and unqualified admiration from the team by defending her people staunchly and logically against the Federal Prosecutor, who claims their forensics weren't good enough. Complaints about her people should be registered privately, not by grandstanding in public; and if Ms Supec does her job properly and puts the squints on the stand as expert witnesses, conviction is a 'sure thing' ("Not Zack!!" chorus the others).
The episode opens with Booth driving Brennan to the scene of the crash. We immediately hark back to the end of season 1; Brennan has spent time with Russ over the vacation and is keen that the hunt for her father should not be put on the back burner. Later, she is devastated (Brennan’s tears were a fairly rare event at this stage) when they learn that Vince McVicker, charged with her mother’s murder, has been killed by another inmate in the Alexandria Federal prison – Mitchell Downs. Apparently he was performing a hit for Max. Further horror, that Max would be capable of having another man killed, even for revenge – and of course the side benefit of keeping his kids safely away from any clue of his whereabouts.
There are two really important reasons for this sidebar plot. Firstly, while perusing her family photos and her mother’s dolphin belt, Brennan’s forensic mind kicks into action; she realises that Lynch, too, had a piece of jewellery with such emotional significance (his championship ring) that he was unable to let it go. This indicates for the first time that he was in on the plan; he has relinquished all other identifying possessions. Not for the first time, the writers have joined two plot strands and advanced both, as well as showing Booth’s growing influence on Brennan; she is now able to make instinctive connections. Secondly, the emotional graveyard scene at the end. Doing ‘what normal people do’, Brennan stands by her mother’s grave and asks the questions she needs answering about her father, without believing for a moment in any hope of response – after all, there is nothing here but bones, indeed, bones which she has already studied in detail. She forgets, perhaps, that her job is to make bones answer questions. And then she finds the little silver dolphin charm beneath the gravestone which proves that her father has been there. Really? How does it prove that? I’d have thought Russ could have put it there, if he brought the flowers.
They have already discussed talking to headstones in their earlier stakeout awaiting drugs dealer Eddie Bean, who will eventually, as a result of Booth’s vicious persuasion (Brennan is mildly shocked by this; we see as we move on in the series how very unpleasant Booth can be in pursuit of truth), reveal the real name of the corpse in the car. They had attempted this as something they wouldn’t argue about, given that an initial chat about the drugs war had uncovered radically differing attitudes, but life/response after death proves to be even more controversial – again. Booth, exasperated: “My mouth opens, words come out, but none seem to get across the drawbridge to the princess I know waits within”.
The reason why this is such a lengthy review, in spite of an early mention of the ‘question’ theme, my dislike of ‘telling the story’ and the narrative holes, is that I enjoy the dialogue, economical character-building and plot interplay. It’s a successful and well-paced introduction to the second season. With lots of beginnings awaiting further development.
A few more quotes and details for your delectation.
They seem to be using Cold Case style flashbacks. When did they stop doing that?
Hodgins, reacting to Cam’s urging not to become paranoid about the death of the senator – yet: “As long as paranoia’s on the schedule somewhere.”
When the FBI meets up with the prosecutor to discuss the case, Booth seems to sound far more ‘official’ than usual when giving details of the investigation.
Zack eats macaroni cheese for lunch every single day. Even Brennan’s surprised.
Zack, to Brennan: “You shouldn’t call me Zackaroni”.
Brennan: “I knew that the moment I said it.”
There’s a nice contrasting moment in the lab when Booth is impatient with the use of more specific scientific terms for things such as ‘glass’ and ‘jar’. Zack, in his turn, is bewildered by ‘Turco’!
Booth, at the Royal Diner initial interview with Turco (is this our first view of the diner?): “Nothing says junkie like your gonads axis, Ricky.”
And when Booth and Brennan meet outside the final Turco interview, when they can’t produce firm evidence and Turco knows it:
Booth: It’s that brown, smelly part of the job.
Brennan: Do the lying thing (for some reason Brennan refers to many of Booth’s methods as ‘things’) ..
Brennan: The big, gambling part of you must love this.
Booth: (his face says it all, well done to DB): Right there. That’s the reason you didn’t get Cam’s job.
I wasn’t drawn in by the case, but I really wanted to follow up the Cam/Brennan relationship!