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Bones - The Cowboy in the Contest and The Doom in the Boom - Review

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The holiday season is upon us, Boneheads, and I'm hoping Christmas cheer will go a long way toward forgiving me for my delayed review of the double-episode showing of "The Cowboy in the Contest" and "The Doom in the Boom".

"Cowboy" treated us to another round of undercover work conducted by Booth and Brennan's alter-egos, Buck and Wanda. There was a lighthearted feeling to this episode: Aubrey strumming on a guitar and Cam discovering new love (in pink silk finery).

But "Boom" took the season's story arch in a darker direction. Ye be warned: spoilers lie below.


"The Cowboy in the Contest" dealt with the dual life (and unfortunate death) of Stanley Belridge, an accountant by day who occupied his time outside the office competing in monthly shooting competitions in Wild, Wild West style. Shot by his own vintage weapon and trussed up on a horse to be carried away, Belridge met his end because he knew too much: High Card Luke was stepping out on Fancy Pants Frannie with her assistant. The assistant didn't want her affair (or her cash flow) to end, so she murdered Belridge and dumped his body.

Of course, it took the course of the episode to tease out this tale, and as I mentioned above, Buck and Wanda made an appearance at the Frontier Games to get it done. Brennan didn't originally intend to reprise her role as Wanda, but she'd noticed some changes in Booth. He was eyeing a jet ski, and then a motorcycle, and Angela suggested that he might be looking for a little fun and excitement after falling into familiar rhythms with Brennan. Buck and Wanda both competed in the Frontier Games, and although Booth had the numbers, he was disqualified for fighting and Brennan took home the prize.

Back in the lab, Angela took multiple opportunities to care for not only her own kid, but Brennan's and Daisy's as well. She and Hodgins discussed the possibility of adding some new members to their little family, but Hodgins didn't seem ready at all. As he explained at the end of "Cowboy", "I love us...we're like a tight little cocoon of love." Take note of this moment, Boneheads. It gets more complicated in the next episode.

The only other story element that crosses over from "Cowboy" to "Doom" is Cam's budding relationship with Sebastian, a photojournalist who entered the picture shortly after Arastoo and Cam split up. In "Cowboy", Cam struggled to open up to Sebastian, until she was given some sage advice from Daisy, who also knew how difficult opening up to new love could be (she lost the father of her child at the beginning of season 10).

In "Doom", Cam's new love is revealed to Arastoo, who comes to the Jeffersonian to help after an explosion occurs at a crime scene (more on that in the next paragraph). While Arastoo's declaration of love wasn't the major cliffhanger of the episode, we do have to wait several weeks to find out if Cam will return to Arastoo or pursue the exciting (and scruffier, more handsome) Sebastian.

The main story of "The Doom in the Boom" started straightforwardly enough; some skater kids were gawking at a body they discovered, and they were joined by a freelance videographer who sells crime scene footage to news organizations for a living. We caught a glimpse of what was going on with Brennan and Booth that week, and then came back to the typical scene-of-the-crime investigation: Aubrey discussing known details of the case, Cam and Hodgins reviewing initial evidence...

Then BOOM - just as the title suggested - a bomb hidden inside the body exploded! Aubrey shielded Hodgins from the worst of the damage with his own body. Both of them were severely injured, but survived to contribute to the case.

The body that exploded turned out to be a police officer in gang-related crime division of the DCPD. Although gang activity is initially suspected, the bomb was too primitive; this was a homemade bomb designed to send a message of hate to authority figures.

Additional profiling of the suspect introduced us to a quirky and earnest new character, Karen Delves. On top of being brilliant and adorably scatterbrained, Delves also shocked us by stealing food right out of Aubrey's hands; I'm hoping she becomes a recurring character.

But of course, the big takeaway from "The Doom in the Boom" wasn't the suspect being brought to justice (it was the skater kids working together) - it was the huge injustice served to Hodgins. Mere hours after changing his mind about expanding his family with Angela, an unknown hematoma caused him to collapse, and we ended the episode on a bitter note: the hematoma had slowly swelled and compressed his spine throughout the investigation, and Hodgins was paralyzed.


It's always so hard when a beloved character undergoes a radical trauma, but it's better than losing them altogether. Hodgins has been a part of the Bones cast from the very beginning, and I'd have a hard time sticking with the show if they killed him off. Hodgins getting paralyzed introduces a number of questions and challenges to the family and the Jeffersonian team: Will Angela and Hodgins have to put their family expansion on hold? Explore other ways to grow, like surrogacy or artificial insemination or adoption? Will the brusque, bitter side of Hodgins resurface as he faces the unexpected challenge of paralyzation? Could the challenge ultimately tear apart the little family they've made?

Angela and Hodgins aren't the only couple I'm worried about, either. Thinking back to "Cowboy" and Brennan's insecurities about Booth getting bored and looking for more fun and excitement, I wonder if there's any truth to that. Booth staunchly denied that he was getting bored, but there was something hollow about that reassurance. His gambling relapse last year and his growing interest in jet skis and motorcycles makes me wonder if he's lying to himself and/or Bones. Do you lovely readers think Booth is getting bored? Or maybe he's on the verge of a little mid-life crisis? It could make for some interesting conflict in upcoming episodes.

Also, I really loved Cam and Arastoo as a couple, but Cam has been flashing a lot of huge smiles as she explores her relationship with Sebastian. Are you Boneheads on Team Arastoo, or Team Sebastian? Or maybe foresee another story arc for her altogether?

And finally, what do you think is in store in 2016? Will Aubrey and Jessica become an item? Will Booth and Brennan weather another emotional storm? Will a case ever stump this crew? Will a new antagonist (or an old one) arise? Comments welcome!

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 You're the Worst, Supernatural, Bones, Party Down, Futurama, Orange is the New Black, and Bojack Horseman.

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