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Bones - Episode 9.11 - The Spark in the Park - Review

This week on Bones, Booth and Brennan cracked the case of a murdered gymnast while grappling with a dispute over Brennan's identification with the victim's father.  Meanwhile, Cam confronted the woman who stole her identity and ruined her finances.  Let's discuss!  Spoilers to follow...

Brennan had a very touching plotline this week as she expressed empathy for the repressed mathematician father of a young gymnast who was tragically killed.  Her encounters with the professor spoke not only to her kindness, but also to the extent to which she has grown in her ability to communicate emotionally with others and verbally express those feelings in an understanding way.  The Brennan of earlier seasons wouldn't have had the emotional and communicative coordination to show her sympathy in such a caring and helpful way.

Booth had a hard time first accepting that the professor could still love his daughter while appearing so cold and work-focused, and then accepting the level to which Brennan sided with Amanda's dad.  I know that it's characteristic for Booth to struggle with understanding those who respond to situations in radically different ways than he would, and I can also see the problem inherent with Brennan supporting the professor so directly during interrogation.  Sometimes Booth's negative attitude about this situation seemed a bit simplistic, but overall, it gelled with who he is and the honesty and correct intentions which are involved with that.

By and large, this was quite a fascinating and difficult-to-predict mystery.  The gymnastics coach seemed like a prime suspect throughout most of the episode, if we were able to bypass suspecting the professor, and a rival gymnast also made for a logical potential murderer.  However, the twist of having the killer turn out to be Amanda's fellow "child prodigy" friend who shared the victim's desire to escape her high-pressure career and became too obsessed with that dream, was potently surprising and frightening.  This case reminded me of the themes in the film Heavenly Creatures, and the extent to which friendship can lead to dangerous fixation and violence when dreams of mutual escape are crushed.  While Amanda decided that she wanted to stay in the world of gymnastics and pursue that difficult but worthwhile journey, her friend was unable to forgive this rescinding of their plan to be regular girls together.  

In terms of the writing and emotional punch, this was one of the better murder-of-the-week format episodes so far from Season 9.  Especially in the ending scene between Brennan and the professor, this hour packed in some very sincere and poignant moments.

Cam finally saw her identity thief arrested and jailed, which was incredibly satisfying to see after the ordeal she went through thanks to her former roommate.  While I agree with the philosophy behind Arastoo's urgings that Cam forgive the perpetrator, he did come off as a little holier-than-thou at times.  Finally, however, it was lovely to see that Cam was better off not immersing herself in resentment that would only hurt her own soul.  It was chilling that Cam's old friend was able to discuss her crimes in such a nonchalant and unapologetic manner (despite that supposed apology at the beginning - which was met with a badass punch from Cam).  This doubles the extent to which Cam's ability to let go of her anger was admirable.

What did you think of this week's Bones?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

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