I think what I’m feeling after this Bones episode is something akin to what Booth feels when he gambles: a guilty rush. There’s no pleasure in watching Booth relapse, especially as the team worries around him, but there is some excitement in watching this 10-year-old show prove that it’s still got it. The joy of Brennan’s second pregnancy is undercut with such tense precision as Booth goes undercover in the world that dragged him into addiction before he met her. Why did this week’s victim have to be a gambler?
But even with the case as a convenient excuse, the decision to put his gambling sobriety on the line is Booth’s alone, and he is all too ready to risk it. Brennan, by way of Sweets’ writing, is right: A happy life change can be a trigger, too. They’re having another baby! Emily Deschanel’s ill-fitted blazers rejoice. The revelation is a joyful one—Booth literally somersaults across the bed, and Brennan, whose priorities are in line, cheers that she can keep eating cookies. We’re supposed to believe that Brennan’s blazers have been tight lately because she’s developed a sweet tooth, which is the only aspect of this episode that doesn’t land. It’s weirdly insulting to both actress and character, not to mention an unnecessary retcon. We already know she’s pregnant. It’s fine.
Booth and Brennan decide to keep the news quiet for now, because what goes on between them should just be theirs, but they can’t hide their good moods. Booth shows up at the crime scene with coffee for everyone. Brennan, meanwhile, compliments intern-of-the-week Jessica for having knowledge that she would normally expect of any intern, which prompts Angela to pull her aside and ask for a hug. The sore boobs have it. Angela promises not to tell anyone, but that doesn’t mean they won’t figure it out.
Has any group of coworkers ever been worse at keeping secrets? They know each other too well. When Booth wants to join the underground poker game that their victim, Jeff Dover, frequented, even Aubrey knows it’s a bad idea. Sweets said in his notes that Booth gambles to cope with trauma: “You’ve been shot multiple times since then, you spent three months in prison, and your best friend died in your arms. Isn’t that enough trauma for you?” This is personal for Aubrey too; he watched his dad’s addiction to the stock market destroy his family. He also likes Booth and asserts that he would take a bullet for him. It’s official: Aubrey can stay.
Booth says all of the right things to everyone. He tells Aubrey that addiction is never the loved ones’ fault. He tells Brennan that he’s in a better place now. He says that he wants to find justice for a fellow addict—and since Dover got into gambling after his wife and daughter were killed, that no doubt hits home for him, too. The line between Booth and the dead body in the lab is a thin one tonight, and they all know it. The difference is that Booth is willing to take the risk. The difference, essentially, is that Booth is a gambler.
And he’s good at it. Ignoring everyone’s warnings, Booth calls up his old bookie, Jason Samuels, and gets a spot at the poker table. Of course gambling would be his vice. Booth can talk his way out of anything and bond with anyone. He reads people. By the time he gets home from the game, he’s already in deep, and he gets defensive with Brennan when she asks if he’s talked to his sponsor. Booth resents the idea that he could relapse because of her pregnancy, asking Brennan if that’s how little she thinks of him. “No, Booth,” Brennan shoots back, “that’s how much I love you.”
NEXT: Not a bad piece of ash