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Santa Gets Chunked on Bones

December 13, 2009
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On the first day of Christmas, Television gave to me:

This post is brought to you by Twelve Drummers Drumming – Shower of Love, which you’ll probably need after watching this episode.

Bones got off to an explosive – and disgusting – start Thursday night with their special holiday-themed episode, “The Goop on the Girl.” (Sometimes I think the writers try too hard  to stay within their ‘The ____ in/on/with the ____’ formula when naming the episodes.) Yessir, opening with St. Nick’s mangled limbs really puts you in the seasonal spirit; nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ like picking pieces of Kringle out of your hair.

While not quite as good as Season 3’s “The Santa in the Slush,” this episode does have its moments. Starting with the fact that the very first shot of the episode (Santa and his reindeer in front of the Christmas tree) is actually of The Grove in Los Angeles.

On the left, a screen capture from hulu, and on the right, a picture I took last year at the Grove during the holiday season. Look familiar? (Click to enlarge)

We open on a bank robbery already in progress. I have to say, the second Santa revealed the bomb strapped to his chest, I knew he was just the patsy. Sorry, Bones, Medium got there first. Most bank robbers aren’t prepared to blow themselves up since the goal is usually to make it out of the bank with the money.

While it’s nice to see Ryan O’Neal as Brennan’s dad again, his appearance is kind of sudden. He guilts her into having Christmas dinner at her apartment with an as yet to be determined spare relative from Minnesota. And I’m going to go with ‘ouch’ on the ‘when people spend Christmas alone it’s because nobody loves them,’ bit. Maybe it means they’re Jewish. Or Muslim. Or just want to do volunteer work in El Salvador.

Then Mr. Claus explodes, Booth becomes covered in evidence, and Brennan drags him back to the lab against his will. I enjoy a partially naked David Boreanaz as much as the next person (and his reaction to getting undressed by Brennan even more, not to mention Cam’s reaction to that) but they took the gag a little too far wheeling him across the lab to talk to the witness. Though the episode gets its first, ‘aw,’ when Brennan tells the witness that Booth is very hard to resist.

While Booth and Brennan go in search of the signal that triggered the bomb, we’re treated to a rather pointless scene between Sweets and his girlfriend Daisy, in which Daisy reminds us that Jesus was born in March (I thought he was supposed to have been born in Autumn.) They’ve both got a case of the bah humbugs, and no one cares, though we agree with Cam who’s about to yak over their cutesy netspeak. I really didn’t miss Daisy when she wasn’t in the lab.

On the trail of the radio signal that blew up Santa (in the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine), Booth pulls an Indiana Jones with a mysteriously appearing spool of copper wire, and takes down the antenna that’s broadcasting a very loud anti-capitalism message on the frequency that killed Christmas.

Booth interrogates the ex-military militant Communist, and we join the Brennans at the Royal Diner where Emily Deschanel’s sister Zooey steps in as Brennan’s Benjamin Franklin-quoting cousin Margaret. (Where they dreamed up that character, who knows.) The fact that the ‘cousins’ can’t find common ground in their dogmas is a nice little tip of the hat to the relationship between actresses, and evidence that Brennan isn’t the weirdest one in her family. Too bad they couldn’t include her brother Russ in the festivities.

Back at the Jeffersonian, Daisy delivers the partially reconstructed skull to Angela for identification. Angela begins to sculpt a face on top of it, and since the whole ‘3-D model hovering in a shower of gold’ has been her schtick since day one, I can only assume this old school flashback is an excuse for a holiday song and a way to eat up sixty seconds of screen time. Or the power was out. Which might also explain why Angela then has to hand-draw the man’s face rather than building one on the computer. (All I can think about now is, ‘Why isn’t she wearing gloves when she touches the dead man’s cranium?’)

Angela makes a face for Santa, and we move to Cam’s office and a surprise visit from her adopted daughter, who sees all the stuff Cam bought for Christmas and then declares she’d rather go to Hawaii with a friend instead. Cam tries (unsuccessfully) to hide her crushing disappointment. Michelle is kind of a bitch – I liked her better when she was played by the chick from Heroes.

Booth gives Brennan a little lecture about how you basically have to suffer your family no matter how annoying they are, and then they get a call saying that someone has identified their Santa as an exterminator. They break the news to his mother, who insists her son could never be involved in something like this.

Booth and Brennan discover more evidence on the cab driver who was taken to the emergency room, and want Angela to recreate the explosion. Hodgins hovers over Daisy because evidently he has nothing else to do. He discovers that the bomb-maker used a lightbulb and then takes off with material Daisy collected from Santa’s twelfth rib.

Booth drops by Brennan’s apartment and meets Margaret. He tells both women that they’re beautiful. Aw. He is struck by the uncanny resemblance. After he leaves, Margaret observes that “his eyes are too close together to be really handsome,” and Brennan comes to his defense with, “I have to admit, I find him pleasing to look at.” Aw.

Booth has another confrontation with the anti-capitalism maven, and then learns from Hodgins and Cam that the bomb’s signature belongs to a Malaki Wallace, who’s been quiet since he was released from prison. Cam makes a terrible pun about coming back with a bang. Wallace isn’t their guy, but he has a website – and a mailing list.

Daisy shows Brennan a deep puncture wound on their victim, and then x-rays that prove he had pronounced right-handedness (sounds painful), so he couldn’t have jabbed himself. (I’m not a forensic anthropologist, but just because I’m left-handed, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t jab myself with an instrument held in my right hand, if I were so inclined.) The piece of wire Daisy pulled from Santa’s rib turns out to have been part of a bike lock – the mechanism used to lock Santa into the bomb vest. Ta-da! St. Nick was a victim after all.

Hodgins straps a bomb to his chest to help Angela with her reconstruction (stealing all the soap from the bathroom), and Cam freaks out. She freaks out a little less when she notices the antimony sulfide on Hodgins’ fingers. She’s seen that somewhere before. They all rush to the evidence trays and pull out the fingernail clippings taken from the witness who wore Santa’s remains. Antimony sulfide. Turns out the witness built the bomb. What can she say? Times are tough, but she didn’t blow him up.

Angela shows Brennan her reconstruction on the big screen (I half-expected it to be made out of Legos), and the simulation reveals that even if the cab driver could move at super-human speed, he wouldn’t have had enough time to shield his face from the blast. He was reacting to the crackle of the radio that set off the bomb. He and the lady witness were in it together, picked the exterminator just out of the phone book. Booth explains that they met in a debt-counseling seminar, and Brennan tells him that their victim’s mother is planning to bury her son on Christmas morning. Alone. In what is probably the best moment of the episode, Brennan tears up at the thought of a mother having to bury her child alone, on Christmas.  She tells Booth it’s heartbreaking, and she wants to go to the funeral. Booth reminds her that she’s always telling him the heart is a muscle, and therefore it can’t break, it can only be crushed. Then he looks at her (lovingly) and says:

“You know what, Bones, sometimes I think your heart muscles are bigger than people give you credit for.”

Aw.

In the car, Cam tells Michelle that she doesn’t want her to go to Hawaii for Christmas. They’re the only family each other has now, and family spends Christmas together. Even though Michelle is furious, Cam tells her that as a parent, it’s her responsibility to let Michelle know that she’s loved – even if it makes her angry. Michelle caves, and hugs Cam. Aw.

The rabid anti-capitalist makes one last radio broadcast, apologizing for his role in this mess, wishes peace on earth and signs off. After Santa’s funeral, the Jeffersonian crew head to Brennan’s for Christmas dinner. Sweets gives in to a little Christmas spirit, Hodgins and Angela have a moment over eggnog (I need more of them – especially given last week’s tattoo debacle), and Margaret almost cracks a smile when Brennan tells her that she’s more interested in hearing what she has to say than Ben Franklin. Brennan makes a very short toast, and Booth rescues it in a very couply moment.

The episode had a little too much sugar in its candy cane, and was a little sparse on plot, but at the end of the hour, it left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling, and that’s what really matters, right?

Ho ho ho.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 13, 2009 8:10 pm

    Good catch with the Grove Christmas tree!

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