The episode “The Devil in the Details” was supposed to show us that for Brennan, her belief in science, in reason and consequences, is what she finds reassuring — just as Catholicism comforts Booth. It’s supposed to make us understand that she has faith in something, too, and that’s why she lashes out so vehemently at psychology, which is her equivalent to blasphemy. It worked. But for me, the best moment of the episode was still when Dr. Copeland (guest star Joshua Malina), head of the sanitarium where the horned-and-tailed murder victim was a patient, called her out on belittling his work. At this point, her putting down psychology to people who are (a) trying to help her do her job and (b) good at theirs has gotten so distasteful that it’s making her unlikable as a person. Props to Bones for casting an actor as good as Malina in that role. You believe he’d stand up to Brennan, calmly and articulately: “I spend every working hour of every day trying to help people who are living in hell. That’s an honorable way to spend a life, perhaps more honorable than figuring out what happened to dead people who are already beyond pain and suffering.” Brennan conceded that his intentions, however misguided, do count. But she only apologized for undervaluing his work after she saw him in action, drugging an agitated, delusional patient, Philip, who wanted the “special medicine” nurse/suspect Lloyd gave him and the victim. (Who knew heroin had medicinal purposes?) Anyway, better late than never, Brennan. Let’s hope this revelation carries over into future episodes, and she doesn’t regress. (Note: The next new episode of Bones airs April 1, so she does have time to forget her manners…)
My second favorite scene was when Hodgins did his experiment trying to measure the impact of nun-chuck strikes. People hitting themselves in the head with anything is always funny, but TJ Thyne sold his fall, his awe at seeing intern Arastoo’s mad skills (“What are you, some kind of Persian ninja?”), his crawl to the computer to see the results and rule out the nurse’s nun-chucks as the murder weapon, and his passing out. We’re gonna need to watch that again after the jump…
I didn’t think this episode was as chilling as it could have been considering the victim was found on a church altar on fire (by a priest, who overacted, which I think allowed me to disengage). But the case of Hellboy — a young male schizophrenic born with a tail who believed he was the son of Satan, and had horns implanted when he ran away from home as a teen and went off his meds — did give everyone plenty of work to do, which I always appreciate. Hodgins did his little experiment, and Angela more than earned her paycheck. She psychologically profiled the painting of another patient (Center Stage‘s Amanda Schull!), who thought she was the earthly manifestation of an avenging angel who God told to kill the demon with a holy (and invisible) lance. Sweets questioned the patients, understanding that you have to treat them with respect and honor their delusions if you want them to answer you. And Cam, well, she did determine that the victim was shooting heroin between his toes. I’d really love to see her get a storyline that doesn’t involve her acting like a crazy person. This week, she got scared that Arastoo considered Americans the devil (or Great Satan) that he said he looks into the eyes of every day. When he wanted to discuss what he meant by that, in a totally non-threatening manner, she didn’t want to address it. I’d like to think that a woman in her position, who’s seen all that she’s seen, would have been prepared to have that conversation. Arastoo explained that when he was a translator in Iraq, he had to shoot and kill an insurgent. The evil he sees was in that man’s face but also in himself when he pulled the trigger. He’d found a picture of the man with his wife and son. He’d taken that life. The devil won that day. He would have lost his faith if he didn’t believe that Allah would tell him how to live. It’s brave of Bones to go there with Arastoo, I just don’t see why being a ninny is the one recurring character trait we’re given for Cam.
It turned out the victim’s brother was the killer. He’d come to visit him at the sanitarium. Patient Philip, who was convincing enough to have fooled Brennan into believing that he was a doctor, broke his “patient confidentiality” with the victim and told the brother where to find his “hell” hiding place. The brother struck the victim with a pipe when he saw him shooting up heroin. The victim stumbled backward into an old transformer and was electrocuted. No mention of how the brother got the body to the church and set it on fire without being seen, but whatever.
What did you think of the episode? Did it make you think of Booth and Brennan sitting in a church after he’d rescued her and Hodgins from the Grave Digger? (Still one of the best episodes.) Wasn’t it weird to see Brennan driving? Like, that was freakier than Hellboy to me. And has Brennan really never seen The Exorcist?