After four episodes of Bones in two weeks, I think I can forgive the show that this past one felt a little… empty. It’s not that it was a bad episode, it didn’t have me cringing or wanting to write angry emails to Hart Hanson, it was just lacking either the goofy or profound heights that I know the show is capable of. Even the title, “The Girl in the Mask,” sounds boring.

The episode followed the murder of Sachie Nakamoro, whose brother is a Tokyo Cop who once participated in a cultural exchange with Booth. These “special” episodes based on age-old friends that we’re only just meeting are kind of 50/50 for me. Sometimes, it gives the episode extra gravitas and layers of emotion. Sometimes, like this week, it just seems like something shoe-horned in because the murder was kind of generic. The subplot, meanwhile, was pure goof, with the four other permanent members of the Jeffersonian (Angela, Hodgins, Sweets and Saroyan) all trying to figure out the gender of the forensics expert flown in from Japan. It was kind of stupid, but not offensively so, unless you happen to be easily offended, and I liked watching four people who all think of themselves as enlightened and above such petty things as gender try and overcome their baser instincts.

Apart from that, this episode featured a more serious Booth than we’ve seen in a while, as he angrily threatened pimps (great Booth and Brennan interrogation scene –> Booth: You’re a pimp. I don’t like pimps. Brennan: He really doesn’t.), and showed a lot of Brennan’s growth as a human being, such as when she very sensitively (and anthropologist-ly) asked the victim’s brother to leave the autopsy room. In fact, there were lots of good tiny character beats hidden within the mystery.

The reason, though, that I consider this a subpar episode of Bones has nothing really to do with its faults, except that I found myself acutely aware that the whole purpose of this episode was to set up future ones with Brennan’s wondering if loving someone is worth it. Thanks to annoyingly omnipresent spoilers, I know this has direct consequences both for her relationship with Booth and for another upcoming storyline (which, since I’m not a jerk, I won’t spoil here). In many ways, I think Hart Hanson shot himself in the foot by telling fans we’d (FINALLY) get some Booth/Brennan action by the finale, because now to a certain extent this season has become entirely about the build to that. In stronger episodes than tonight’s, I can ignore the thirteen year old girl inside me screaming “Just smooch already!” But in otherwise boring episodes, it’s more fun to giggle along with her.

Random Thoughts:

  • Two great Brennan moments tonight in the form of her lack of humility:

Tanaka: Everyone in the field accepts that you are the best.
Brennan: Yes I know. (huge smile)
Brennan (after Nakamoro empathizes with her brother leaving her):
I turned out quite well, actually.

  • How many random people have to explain to Brennan that she’s in love with Booth before she realizes it?
  • I’m not sure how I feel about the mid-show recaps, but Sweets was pretty adorable doing his this week.
  • The show really brought the “EWWWWW” factor this week with the brains melting.
  • What the hell was that airplane noise Booth made while feeding Brennan? Also, how absurd is it the Brennan doesn’t think she has anybody so close in her life that she would talk to them for five-fifteen minutes a day? Honey, if you spend your evenings eating ice cream (which he feeds you) and drinking beer together, you’re substantially more than just work colleagues.