This has a moment in it that I truly enjoyed, at the very end, when Hodgins shoots the egregious Oliver Wells with a tranquilliser gun ostensibly intended for any stray animals that happen to be mooching around, but in fact carried by Jack with the express aim of returning Wells' earlier shot at him, which had left him unusually incoherent and drugged-up. Don't you want to shoot Oliver Wells every time you see that sneering, patronising face of his?
Anyhow, back to the review: maybe a little too much is going on at once in this plot, but the episode was positively a hymn to testosterone theme-wise. Even the pre-credits underline this, as a father takes his kid out hunting to make him more of a man and prevent him from spending his every hour on computer games. In the event, of course, the boy is fairly blasé about the suddenly-appearing corpse, while his father is so shaken that he actually shoots it.The 'little' problem which Oliver confides to Hodgins, along with such subtle double-entendre as "No hard feelings" and "I've not been feeling myself lately", is a very masculine one, and it is fresh air and good manly outdoor exercise (carrying a gun of course) which brings him back to normal function. Apparently. Meantime the whole female contingent in the lab has quickly cottoned on to his difficulty, with much sniggering, and it is the sage Dr Mayer, with her multiple-husband experience ("you get so you can smell it on 'em") who offers him the advice to get out of the lab for a bit. While he's out getting his mojo back (incidentally going half naked with a bit of face paint - very hunter-gatherer, or do I mean Lord of the Flies?), Brennan reveals one of her more masculine traits - competitiveness. She's desperate to outdo Dr Mayer and this is one of the rare eps where she looks very uncomfortable in her laboratory surroundings. The inimitable Betty White, oblivious to all this, bustles round with useful suggestions, making the lab more efficient.
It turns out that the victim was a fanatical fantasy football player - another chiefly masculine pursuit and one which attracts obsessives (though once more Dr Mayer surprises everyone with her considerable expertise in this area). It would be easy to condemn the writers for what is admittedly a series of caricatures - scenes of ritual, fake-hunt humiliation for 'losers' going viral online; a huge, burly man locked in a 'man-cave' with his computer all day, to the extent that his wife has taken a lover (whom he is prepared to forgive if the latter provides him with a particularly useful player!); a scrawny, pitiful little burger-flipper who can exercise power only in his virtual life, where he runs the league - but the fact is that most of us know someone of this ilk and it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that they would carry on playing even when being informed of a death. Though the comedy moment when Booth, while keeping the furious Craig Smith neatly pinned down, looks down at his screen and comments on a poor player choice, is perhaps a little strained.
The too-familiar banal dispute between our two protagonists this week concerns Brennan's books. During her period out of work she has been so starved of excitement, adventure and stimulus that she too has committed murder. Virtual murder, but violence nevertheless - she has disposed of Agent Andy at the end of her latest novel, and for Booth, on whom the character is based, this is nothing short of emasculation. He protests in no uncertain terms. Leave it to Dr Mayer to explain to Brennan the subtext in all this so that she understands her actions and Booth's reaction. Again I'm getting a whiff of masculinity in all this behaviour. And talking of whiffs, Hodgins and Wells bring back their spoils and have some little-boy fun plunging up to the elbows in coy-wolf scat as soon as they get back. It really is all about male fascinations and interaction/bonding, in much the same way as the artfully-named 'Man with the Bone' (aka The Pirate Episode) was. Inevitably, TJ has a lot of fun with it. As I've said, I love his revenge in the last few minutes and the scene where he reels under the influence of the sedative is hilarious.
Discussion of TJ's most popular venture to date!
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