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Bones - The Puzzler in the Pit - Review

So unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know that this episode was an emotional one for most Boneheads; we finally got to say hello to Sweets's and Daisy's son!

This episode was definitely more personal than many episodes this season, and dealt more with the family-style workplace at the Jeffersonian than the facts of the case (a decision I fully support). I knew I was in for a more emotional ride from the opening scenes, which focused on Daisy, Cam, and Angela first and Booth and Brennan second - no time for the "strangers stumbling on a corpse" or "lab techs scouring a crime scene" moments.

Still, the facts of the case are what drive the story, so...

Here's a recap of the plot:

The body of a puzzle creator named Lawrence Brooks is discovered soaking in a pool of Hydrochloric Acid near a fracking location. His wife, assistant, stalker, former college pal, and online bookie are all suspects.

Brooks's wife hides the fact that his past head injury resulted in the onset of Alzheimers, but that had to do with his own embarrassment as well as the declining quality of his work; it turns out that the wife was selling older, once-inferior puzzles to make ends meet.

Why would a world-renowned puzzle master be strapped for cash? Because his seemingly-forthright assistant has a secret gambling habit. She admits to using Brooks's funds to settle some outstanding debts, but insists she isn't the killer.

Speaking of gambling debts, the Jeffersonian team notices some damage to Brooks's hands that looks like a warning of some kind. Agent Aubrey sets up a sizable bet in order to snag the bookie, but the only thing he's done is scare Brooks - definitely not the killer.

Remember those older puzzles that Brooks's wife was selling? Well, one of them turned out to be the work of a former college pal. Although he leaves a threatening message on Brooks's voicemail, it has to do with legal action, rather than physical violence - another dead lead.

Near the beginning of the investigation, a young man named Henry Stewart is questioned for stalking Brooks. He insists he is just performing research for a biography of the puzzle master, but by the end of the episode, we learn that Brooks had a son with another college friend, and gave the child up for adoption; that child was Henry Stewart.

Caught by DNA evidence, Henry admits that he finally found the nerve to meet Brooks, but Brooks didn't show up for the meeting. Henry describes confronting Brooks, who had (unbeknownst to him) forgotten about the invitation; one overzealous push knocked Brooks to the ground and broke his fragile neck. In a panic, Henry dumped his biological father's body into the pit and doused it with acid. He wept as he realized it was Alzheimer's, rather than heartlessness, that kept him from meeting his father.

Peppered throughout these discoveries were scenes of the Jeffersonian team ramping up for Daisy's delivery; Daisy rambling about her new-agey doula, worrying about raising the baby alone, and eventually going through the pre-delivery woes of contractions, water breaking, and yelling (which was really fun to watch...as I'll discuss in the next section).

Here's what I loved this week:

Even though I'm not a mom and have no intentions of becoming one anytime soon, I freaking LOVE pregnancy/birthing scenes, and this one did not disappoint. A woman in the throes of contraction pains is unguarded, impolite, and totally genuine in both words and deeds, and Carla Gallo (who plays Daisy Wick) did a fantastic job of showing us the spectrum of soon-to-be-mommy moments. She was all about breathing exercises and positive thinking and not mixing energies in the days leading up to the birth, aided along by her trusty doula. But with some practical guidance from Brennan and Angela (along with the pangs of contractions), the veneer of positivity and preparedness gave way to the stressed and excited expressions of an almost-mom: she gives the boot to the doula with the line, "...screw the tub, and screw the birds!"

Here's a few more things I observed (and would love to hear your thoughts regarding):

I bring this up almost every week, but Agent Aubrey has yet to impress me, or encourage me to accept him as a team member. Booth still has to nudge him when he gets insensitive during field work, and Aubrey tends to ignore Booth's authority as a senior agent. This week, he set up an account with the victim's gambling site in order to ferret out the violent bookie.

Even though Aubrey is going behind Booth's back for well-intentioned reasons (keeping Booth away from his former gambling addiction), I can't shake the feeling that at some point, Aubrey's true colors will turn out to be icky. His appearance in the show coincided with all the FBI conspiracy stuff, and even though that storyline seems dormant now, I can't help but wonder if he's cozying up to Booth for nefarious or self-serving reasons. Does anyone else feel that way? Is anyone coming around to Agent Aubrey?

Angela compared the pain of giving birth to "driving a minivan out of you." I won't lie; that cracked me up, and it's one of the few times Angela's done that this season. Moms, how apt is that comparison? And for that matter, how unrealistic/realistic did the birth scene seem to you?

During the birthing scene, Booth seems distinctly uncomfortable - wiping his sweat away with the hospital curtain material, looking for any reason to leave the room, etc. This strikes me as extremely odd, given that he helped Brennan deliver Christine on the floor of a barn back in season 7. Did anyone else think this was sort of out of character? Does it have to do with the woman being someone other than his wife?

And finally, I want to close out this post by talking about the very strong theme of a family-style workplace. The Jeffersonian team (along with Booth, and sometimes Aubrey), are all extremely involved in each other's personal lives; Daisy gives birth surrounded by two bosses (Brennan and Cam) and a senior colleague (Angela)! Brennan tells Booth he will be a great uncle to Sweets's kid. Booth even ends the show by telling the newborn, "Your whole family came out to meet you." While the sentiments are very touching, I struggle to relate to them sometimes. The family-style workplace is a part of the show that I think of as very idealistic and fantastical, rather than realistic. But maybe I'm just too cynical. Do family-style workplaces exist, outside of the entertainment industry? Would any of you Boneheads be okay with giving birth in front of your bosses?

About the Author - entropyki
Ki (aka entropyki) is a UX Researcher, roller derby enthusiast, Star Wars nerd, and road tripper. When she's not at a computer, she's driving, singing, watching TV, and generally being a badass, plus-sized twentysomething.

Favorite shows include Supernatural, Bones, Party Down, Futurama, Orange is the New Black, and the Big Bang Theory.