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Bones - The New Tricks in the Old Dogs - Review

The elderly don't get a lot of attention in entertainment media these days. I think we're tempted to think that old folks fall back into an almost childlike innocence - they're too frail to harm anyone, too absent-minded to scheme, et cetera.

"The New Tricks in the Old Dogs" reminded us that the geriatric crowd can be as conniving, corrupt, and occasionally kind as any other generation - for better or for worse.


James Felbeck was a war veteran and a champion boxer with a heart of gold before he wound up in a vat of sulfuric acid. He had a steady girlfriend at the retirement center where he worked, a couple of friends, and a couple of enemies. Over time, the team discovered that his boxing past was a lie. So was his war history. And when another veteran called him out for lying, he couldn't have known that Felbeck's bone density had dropped dramatically, and that a single cane stroke could deal a death blow. Felbeck had been selling his osteoporosis medicine online to hire a Personal Investigator to locate his girlfriend's estranged daughter.

The victim of the week wasn't the only one coupled up this episode, though. Hodgins and Angela were reigniting their passion for each other and considering another kid. Booth and Brennan debated the merits of a vasectomy (a tricky proposition to Catholic, sniper-trained Booth, who insisted 'snipers don't fire blanks'). And Arastoo revealed a desire to adopt refugee children rather than have a baby with Cam. In fact, the episode focused so much on couples and babies and future families that I was a little surprised it wasn't a Valentine's Day episode. Maybe that would've been too on-the-nose.


Again, I was delighted by a casual throwback to past episodes; this time we discovered that Brennan took up a liking for heavy metal after investigating a death we saw way back in season 4, episode 20: "Mayhem on a Cross". Some of these references are throwaway lines that don't really affect the story itself, but for those of us who have stuck around for nearly 12 years, they're delightful little easter eggs. Did anyone notice others in this ep?

It slipped my mind that Arastoo had gotten back together with Cam at the end of season 11. When he showed up on screen working as an intern, I did a double take; I'd truly forgotten we'd be seeing more of him. While part of me was happy, because I've always liked the grounded relationship he had with Cam, another part of me felt like his presence was out of place. Wasn't he Brennan's replacement? Wouldn't a part-time intern gig be a real demotion? Sometimes I feel like the interns stick around longer than they really should, but maybe it's too late in the game to introduce new blood.

Overall, I wasn't blown away by this episode, but I wasn't disappointed, either. It felt a tiny bit like a filler. No contribution to the larger arc of season 12, as far as I can tell. But last week planted a lot of seeds we can expect to see grow, so maybe that's okay. What did you think of the episode, Boneheads? Comment below!

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