We gave it a B
This is the kind of authentic interrogation experience you just don’t get with robots. Randy is so bad at murdering that the nation’s best scientists look at the evidence and assume they’re dealing with someone who is very good at murdering. Only Booth stops to think that the killer might just be a “knucklehead stoner,” because Booth understands that it’s possible to be so much something that you appear to be the opposite. Randy is so incompetent that he looks smart. Brennan is so empathetic that she looks cold.
Brennan knows how she comes across, and she uses her 40th birthday to have some fun with it. She plans her own surprise party, confusing her guests (“Are we, like, supposed to hide or something?”) before unveiling three cakes. One is for her birthday, one is in celebration of Angela’s grant, and one congratulates Daisy on her new job. Daisy has been worrying over her application to the National Forensic Lab, and Brennan has been busy lowering her expectations. But as it turns out, Brennan is the one who recommended Daisy in the first place. She also nominated Angela for the MacArthur Fellowship. We’re all guests at this surprise party.
Like Brennan, I don’t always like to be surprised, especially when I’ve been misled first. I spent most of this episode trying to reconcile Brennan’s emotional openness — she jokes with Cam, embraces Max, and picks up on the fact that her father seems sad — with her jealousy toward her best friend and her inability to nurture a former intern. Brennan has always pushed her squints to turn in A+ work, so it was good to see her put Daisy to the test, but she didn’t have to add that Daisy might be too young for the job. And her support for Angela has always outweighed her own ambitions.
Of course, that’s the point. Brennan’s attempts to throw everyone off the trail felt out of character because they were. It’s too bad that she assumes this is how her friends see her, just as it’s too bad that the writers have actually painted her like this in recent years. But if “The Brain in the Bot” is commentary on that characterization, I’ll take it. Brennan’s gesture might be awkward — poor Angela shouldn’t have to waste any time feeling bad about this honor — but it’s still so genuinely sweet that I teared up. We learned too late that Sweets used his birthday to give his friends gifts. It looks like Brennan is carrying on the tradition.
Brennan doesn’t even want any presents for herself, though Booth obviously gives her one anyway. Technically, he gives her a court date (in a couple of months) for Zack’s appeal, but in a bigger sense, he gives her his faith in her ability to find new evidence in the lobbyist’s murder. Even though she’d rather not presume innocence or guilt, Brennan is flattered by Booth’s trust. And she’s going to need something good on the horizon because her father has bad news. Max keeps dropping hints that he won’t be around much longer, and Christine catches a hospital bracelet falling out of his pocket. She doesn’t know what that means. Brennan, for once, probably will.
Bits and pieces:
- Welcome back, “Hot Blooded.”
- “Life is not a competition, Daisy. Trust me, if I have learned anything being in this chair, it’s that happiness comes from accepting what you have.”
- Hodgins tells Max about Angela’s award as soon as he sees him. He’s telling everyone. He’s probably hired a skywriter already.
- “We didn’t bring you in here because of your blog, Matthew.” I wish this could have been a Booth line.
- “What about one of those chunky stone necklaces you like to wear?”
- I would stake my life on the assumption that Hodgins is into model trains.
- Hodgins has described his emotions by pointing to his heart two weeks in a row now.
- “Same here, Daisy. Except for when you shot me.” “Oh God, will you ever let that go? It was an accident.”
- “Chin up, Gaston.”