Everybody stay calm: Betty White is here. But in a way, hasn’t Betty White always been here? Her character, the fast-driving, man-divorcing, science-innovating Dr. Beth Mayer, invented the computer platform that made the Angelatron’s graphic simulator possible — so really, she’s been in the lab all along. If only she’d been here in the literal sense: She never would have let Booth and Brennan wait so long to hook up.
I’d also like Dr. Mayer to watch out for the boy who finds this week’s body, otherwise known as my new favorite person on this entire show and maybe in life. This poor kid was dragged on a hunting trip with his father, and all he can think about is how he forgot to DVR tonight’s Fashion Runway. (“Jasmine’s two-tone sundress last week was so fierce. I can’t wait to see what she does next.”) His dad grumbles about being a man. If his son’s interests have to deviate from his own, can’t he just be into reading books or something? “Oh!” the boy exclaims. “I read the Diane von Furstenberg biography!” Protect him at all costs. Never dull this kid’s shine.
The boy and his father run into a dead body in the woods, and the boy shoots the skull for no reason, which is what you get when you try to fit people into boxes where they don’t belong: They get confused and lash out. Brennan should know. She spent months living a quiet life with Booth, and she thought everything was great — but then she killed his fictional counterpart. In the final pages of Brennan’s latest book, Agent Andy gets shot. Booth, a student of TV cliffhangers, is sure that his character will be saved, but Brennan has no plans to bring him back. Enjoy your existential crisis, Booth.
At least Brennan keeps her murders to the page. This week’s victim is real estate agent Justin Ross. (Booth: “Maybe his wife or editor shot him in the face.”) Justin’s only life outside work was a competitive fantasy football league, and it kept him busy — threatening NFL stars on Twitter and shooting his fellow league members with paintballs when they lost. Money: the leading cause of both murder and viral videos. Justin was due for a huge windfall after a record-breaking week from his team, but league commissioner/sandwich artist Jamie Whetzel assures Booth and Brennan that no one is getting it; the money is all going toward Justin’s funeral.
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In the lab, Brennan and her team begin the task of reassembling a skeleton scattered not only by a gunshot, but by coyote-wolf hybrids (or “coy-wolves,” to those in the know). With Dr. Mayer on hand to offer reinforcement, Brennan sends Hodgins and intern-of-the-week Oliver Wells back into the woods to look for the rest of the bone fragments. If Oliver could just keep walking for a while, it would make things a lot less uncomfortable. He’s suffering from erectile dysfunction, and everything he does sounds too much like a commercial for a purple pill. If this entire subplot was just to give Betty White a reason to call someone’s penis “Mr. Happy,” I’m here to say that it was not worth it.
Even Oliver’s recovery is a cliché: He accidentally (sure) shoots Hodgins with a tranquilizer gun, then takes off his shirt and howls for a while. But TJ Thyne milks the comedy out of drugged Hodgins for all he’s worth, professing his love for Angela on a video chat, getting overly emotionally invested in the case, and trying to sing his wife a song. (Oliver: “No, you have nothing to worry about. I’ve heard the song; it’s not great.”) Angela, somehow the most task-oriented person in this conversation, brings it back to the case: Justin was helping his temp, Chris, get his house out of foreclosure, but he screwed it up by missing an important meeting.
NEXT: Ham and cheesehead[pagebreak]
The league was a kind of addiction for Justin, which has Brennan nervous. Booth’s gambling relapse is still fresh in everyone’s mind. But this is a new Booth: all open communication, all the time. He admits that all of this fantasy football talk is giving him an itch, but as long as he faces it, he can let it go. Not helping the situation? League member Craig Smith, whose entire man cave is a shrine to Booth’s Pittsburgh Steelers. According to wronged-temp Chris, Justin didn’t actually miss his meeting because of the league — he missed it because he was sleeping with Craig’s wife.
Ashlie, the wife, admits to the affair, but she plays innocent with such wide-eyed surprise that her actual innocence is kind of baffling. Did she really just now stop to consider the fact that her husband might be a murderer? He’s definitely got the rage; he attacks Aubrey for interrupting him in the middle of a trade. He’s also got a nail gun, which, thanks to the reassembled skeleton, the team now knows could be the murder weapon.
But Craig claims that he offered to forgive Justin if he’d give him Aaron Rodgers at quarterback — and, as Dr. Mayer figures out, the murder weapon isn’t a nail gun after all. It’s a sandwich meat holder. Sandwich guy Jamie vetoed the Aaron Rodgers trade as collusion, and Justin confronted him and threatened to oust him as commissioner of the league. Jamie stabbed him, dumped the body in the woods, and (unexpected job perk!) covered it with ham to attract the animals.
For all of the addiction talk, this cautionary tale is really for Brennan: Competition can go too far. We’ve heard this one before, and I’m already exhausted; Brennan is too quick a study to keep learning the same lesson. But her ego is a finely calibrated thing. She’s never needed to know everything about bugs or computers or flesh — she’s got people for that — but she knows what she’s better at than anyone, and Mayer might be even better at it than she is. If nothing else, she’s got more experience. I had hoped that Brennan would be so honored to work with Dr. Mayer (whom she called in!) that nothing else would matter, but it’s never easy to quit your job for a while, decide that it’s your home, and come back, only to have someone else tell you that you could really be running your home more efficiently.
That’s also why Brennan needs advice. After apologizing for her jealousy, Brennan asks Dr. Mayer for her insights on killing Agent Andy, and the good doctor tells her what she already knows: They’ll never be meant for the quiet life. Brennan and Booth need to be challenged. “You pushed each other,” says Mayer. “That’s the heat you fell in love with, and that’s the heat that will keep you together. Anything else would be boring. And when things get boring, that’s when you start killing characters.” I’ll take that as assurance that we won’t have to deal with another Sweets situation for a while…right?
Bits and pieces:
- “You can’t kill someone off and then have one character solving crimes all by herself.” Bones is self-aware.
- I’ll be expecting an update on Agent Andy. I need to know how he pulls through this.
- No one thought to keep digital records of Limbo until right now?
- “Dr. Mayer has exceptional bone structure and perfect facial symmetry.”
- “Brinkley didn’t last long. Fantastic lover though.”
- Never doubt Booth in a shooting range.
- “I’m sorry, I’ve never been told someone’s dead before. Can I like, do that again?”
- “He’s a premium quarterback, and I DESERVE HIM.” This is also how I talk about Aaron Rodgers.
- “I think I took about seven steps today.”