By Abby West
Updated November 14, 2007 at 12:00 PM EST

Yeah, yeah, we’re all for personal growth and all that, but you know, there’s nothing we love more than looking back on our past. An episode with a time capsule from 1987 is the perfect excuse to reference all the ’80s stuff that seemed essential during some of our teenage years. (The rest of you who don’t think that decade deserves such loving navel-gazing are sort of SOL here.) The show went straight to a warm happy place, name-checking such things as Betamax, Commodore Amiga computers, St. Elmo’s Fire, big hair, and the Cure (yes, Brennan’s “What did he have?” was one of the night’s best lines, but it would have been even more satisfying if it hadn’t been in last week’s trailer).

Of course, the time capsule also contained the gooey remains of poor sweet programmer Roger mixed in with the trivia. The tale of the brainy kid who got the head cheerleader pregnant and was accidentally killed by his best friend was an interesting new spin on the geeks-vs.-the-cool-kids narrative that’s often a subtext on this show. We’ve always known that the socially-awkward squints might as well be aliens to the charming Booth, and it stands to reason that these personality dynamics wouldn’t be new developments. But having them work on a case that exemplified those dynamics forced at least Booth and Brennan (Emily Deschanel, pictured) to talk about those aspects of themselves beyond the superficial listings from the rest of the crew (Doc Martens, Michael Jackson glove). It manifested in both the big talks as well as the little things like Temperance’s head shake and quizzical look when the 20-years-oldercheerleader asked whether we all didn’t miss the way we used to be, harkening back to an adolescent glory day.

Was anyone else surprised that Brennan had a thing for a jock inhigh school? No big surprise, though, that the varsity lacrossecaptain’s humiliating Christmas gift (Brainy Smurf instead ofSmurfette: disappointing, yes but traumatizing? It’s not like he gaveher Azrael.) soured her on Secret Santas forever. I loved that Boothknew that she hated Secret Santa. (Was it in the Christmas-lockdownepisode?) But any appreciation she might have had that he remembereddidn’t supersede her hurt that he laughed when she shared her personalstory.

But thanks to Booth’s conning Sweets (Yay for Sweets out in thefield! More Sweets!) into profiling the killer, we got to watch Booth’sattempt to find a comparably humiliating story to make it up toBrennan. (I want toknow what that report revealed about Booth, per Sweet’s crypticstatement.) His actual revelation atthe end really did speak volumes about Booth, in that as much as heidentifies with the cool kids, his moral center is sound. His shame atnot stepping up to defend the geek who’d embarrassed him still sat withhim, even though, as Brennan said,he’d evolved (never mind that it takes hundredsthousands of years to do so).I love these ending conversations betweenBooth and Brennan. They’re both collegial and sexual in their intimacy.But when do people ever really talk so closely? I mean, I know I’m alow-talker and will often have to lean in to talk to someone (usuallyafter they’ve asked me to repeat myself twice) but there’s a level ofcommitment to getting so in someone’s face. Maybe I can do it with you guys.

<<leaning in, droopy-eyed, and talking in hushed tones>> I know that you all have your looks and so much more. Don’t sell yourself short guys. <<leaning back>>

That do it for you?

Anywho… even with the writers strike, we’ve got more than ahandful of episodes left, guys, and next week’s looks like a doozy.Danger! Explosions! And Gormogon is back!