BONES 10×11 Debriefing: “Is It Someone’s Birthday Today?

bones cast s10

They’re back, baby!

After what has felt like a couple of lifetimes but has actually been three and a half months, Bones finally returned on Thursday night with an episode that once again emotionally remembered their fallen friend Sweets, while having fun digging deeper into the world of psychics… and yes, this included the welcome return of Cyndi Lauper’s Avalon Harmonia.

Reminder: Unlike most people writing reviews, I don’t get screeners so, as usual, this is mostly written after just one viewing.

THE CASE || A beautiful African-American woman in her 30s named Justine Simmons is found in a tree trunk as body stew. Even though Hodgins quickly determines she was there for about a month, she was only reported missing two weeks ago by her father, a pastor (Steven Williams) who disapproved of her career path. She was a psychic and she had some detractors, including former colleague Anthony Taylor (Gregory Zarian), a fraud. (I have to say — his mannerisms cracked me up.) He alleges Justine stole both his clients and his methods, claiming she was the fraud.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Soon, the case expands from psychics to the victim’s love life (when does it not? Heh): Booth (David Boreanaz) realizes that one of Justine’s clients, Alana Jackson (Gabrielle Dennis), a mother whose husband was deployed in Afghanistan, had feelings for her that went deeper than gratitude. She does point out to both agents that Justine’s dad wouldn’t have liked to hear about this affair — but as he then admits, his daughter came out to him when she was 16 and he accepted it, since the Bible’s message goes deeper than what some might interpret at first glance. It’s about love, understanding and compassion.

Next, we find out that Justine’s landlady Hilary Featherson (Frankie Ingrassia) was also more than that to her and that they had a lover’s quarrel that ended badly when she discovered she wasn’t the only one for Justine — hitting her in the head, but not killing her, since Justine fought back.

However, thanks to some bone evidence in the skull, Fuentes and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) find that a tiny fracture caused the blood to accumulate and that ultimately killed her. Whose fault was that? Alana’s, the preoccupied mother. They had just broken up and, when Justine tried to hug it out, she pushed her. Justine died, due to the head injury she was sustained from the fight with Hilary, the landlady. (She had an accumulation of blood in the intracranial space; a simple rupture killed her.) Yet, I felt bad for Alana, since she wasn’t truly guilty… However, she covered it and that assumes some guilt. (In the capper, Booth updates that Hilary Featherson will be charged for manslaughter, while Alana will be on probation.)

SO BITTERSWEETS || Arguably, the major storyline in the episode was dearly-departed Sweets’ birthday and not going to lie — that reminder made me sad. I echo what Brennan said: I sometimes forget he’s gone, too (and this extends to my recent losses, because it’s an easier way to cope).

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Sweets’ memory is all over the episode: even though Avalon is on hand to help solve this case (she’s the one who refers them to Taylor), she is more tuned into what our favorite late shrink is telling her. A deceased’s first birthday is the hardest for his loved ones, and that’s also true of this situation.

Throughout the day, Avalon mentions how he keeps speaking to her: especially about driving his car with his thumbs… which turns out to mean a thumb drive hidden in his car, which Daisy is about to sell. Apparently, Sweets (a special snowflake who truly was too good for this world) gave presents to his friends on his birthday, grateful for another good year. He happened to have finished his present for Booth and Brennan before he died: his book “The Parts of the Whole” (or a reworked version that is now a love story) about them, including a wonderful dedication. As Avalon said, who better to write about their love than someone who loved them?

(I teared up/choked up watching that scene.)

This storyline actually sparks a few other things:

* Christine (Sunnie Pelant) is throwing tea parties and having cake with her “imaginary” friend Buddy (spoiler alert: probably Sweets). I love how Brennan embraces the whimsy from the beginning, while Booth’s having more trouble. I always suspected Buddy would be Sweets (since the show likes to play with spirituality and stuff like that), especially when there was so much cake involved, but it’s the last scene that makes it clear, with the book reveal.

Bones_ep1011-sc4_0333_hires1* Hodgins (TJ Thyne) and Angela (Michaela Conlin) have an argument over psychics and whether they’re real or not. Hodgins is a science man, so he doesn’t really believe in them, but Angela is the opposite. He’s actually pretty dismissive of Avalon and doesn’t want her to mention anything regarding Sweets at all. However, after a moving speech from Angela (preceded by some scientific evidence on why psychics could potentially be legitimate), Hodgins realizes he approached this all wrong and opens his mind. They are such a great couple and I’m hoping they get some more storylines soon!

*We get some backstory for Cam (Tamara Taylor)! Her scene with Angela very much took me by surprise, but I want more of it. What started as some teasing between the two women turned into a surprising confession: Cam’s grandmother was also a believer and paid many of those ‘frauds’ in hopes she’d talk to her husband again. Cam just wished she had called her, so that they could’ve remembered him and kept him alive together for free. I honestly find this to be a beautiful and honest sentiment that says a lot about how she sees all of this — and probably how Hodgins and co. also feel.


SQUINTERN OF THE WEEK || Dr. Rodolfo Fuentes (Ignacio Serricchio) is our intern of the week and he’s acting pretty shifty, raising Cam’s alarms. He arrives late, and carries large amounts of money. It turns out, he’s smuggling pharmaceutical drugs to Cubans from other Cubans in the US (via his contact, a doctor there). Healthcare might be free in Cuba, but getting the medicine is expensive, so this is for the greater good.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

However, Cam catches him and he resigns as a result… but Brennan, aware her intern has disappeared, smuggles the drugs herself. (Since Cam has no evidence she’s done it, she cannot fire her or Rodolfo. Loophole!)

To be fair, this storyline didn’t add much to the episode but it was a nice reminder of why Rodolfo has been part of the show for more than a year now and how much his relationship with Brennan has progressed since his first episode..

I really liked the couple of twists this case had: first of all, I loved that the victim was a lesbian embraced by her father (especially after the opposite treatment on Empire) and was a person of color, undoubtedly mirroring new Bones writer (and tonight’s episode’s scribe) Lena Waithe. I also liked that the second suspect (I guess technically third, if we count the poor kid at the beginning) was the killer, but not the convicted one. I do wish the episode had had more of Booth and Brennan as part of the case, or in general, (the latter was particularly MIA for a long while), but I imagine the 200th’s lengthy production played a role there, since this episode seemed to start shooting while that one finished. (This explains why B/B were absent.) It also allowed the opportunity to have some nice scenes between the other team members. (More, please!)

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Cyndi Lauper, as Avalon Harmonia, was as eccentric and fun as ever. I liked that the episode essentially underlined she’s the real deal, while Justine and Taylor are two people who would seek you at your most vulnerable to get all your money.

Despite whatever things didn’t work for me, I liked this episode a lot and was surprisingly moved by parts of it. Lena Waithe did a good job in her first episode, especially considering it had to follow two tough acts: the 200th (production-wise) and a long, long hiatus (scheduling-wise). I’m excited to have the show back and even more stoked that it will air for 10 more consecutive weeks (11 more episodes, somehow someway). The teases from the cast sound really interesting and I can’t wait to watch it all unfold on screen.

Odds and Ends

  • I’d totally buy a copy of Sweets’ “The Parts of the Whole” (a great callback to the 100th’s episode title). I know it’s probably something private and just for his friends, but I’d love to read it.
  • (c) FOX

    (c) FOX

    We got a couple of snippets about Aubrey (John Boyd), as well. He minored in Religion in college (and let’s remember he was an FBI History buff, too) and Avalon pretty much nailed his past. (She sees good things in his future… mostly.)

  • I don’t think I want to know what it actually entails, but the concept of a ‘bug autopsy’ intrigues me.
  • I’m not surprised Sweets was such a big presence for Avalon. If I recall correctly, she helped him find his father’s misplaced watch in “Harbingers in a Fountain,” and his biological mother was a circus psychic in the Sunshine State.
  • I know I’ve mentioned this above, but I want to expand upon it: I relate to Brennan’s “I still forget he’s gone” a lot. If you’ve ever lost someone (especially fairly recently) you know how weird and sad it is to remember that they are actually gone forever. I know I do.
  • Too bad this is not another TV show/universe, or I’d hope Sweets would get thrown into a Lazarus Pit… *wink*
  • Next week: #BrennanOnTwitter. I hope someone at FOX creates an account for her but that should be fun.

… is a young graduate student that has been way too passionate about television ever since she was little. While she insists she doesn’t have a specific type of show, they all usually have strong but flawed lady characters, some derivation of the stubborn friends-in-love/friends-to-lovers trope, and they all make her yell at her tv a lot. She just wishes she had more hours in the day so she could actually write about this.
You can usually find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and at cassidy at

2 Responses to BONES 10×11 Debriefing: “Is It Someone’s Birthday Today?

  1. Nels Nels says:

    Great job Cassidy! You always remind me of things I totally missed when the episode airs.

    Dealing with the loss of a loved one is always so difficult, and when these occasions creep up on us, they just throw us for a loop. I loved seeing the characters struggle with that, just because it’s nice to know, in a weird way, that Sweets isn’t forgotten in their lives.

    The callbacks were so great. I was expected something with Booth and Brennan, which is why the book was awesome. But Angela and Cam’s conversation bowled me over, and I think that’s a good callback to Cam talking about her dead grandmother? Mom? and her spirit years ago. Plus, the subtle callback to CIA Danny (who else would smuggle drugs out of the country for Brennan?) and even Daisy! Someone did their homework.

    I kind of love Brennan and Fuentes together now…

    • Cassidy says:

      Aw thank you, Nels! That means a lot.

      I like he’s still present in their lives, in a way. It makes me feel for all of them, seeing how fresh it is on their minds.

      I loved the callbacks! I wasn’t expecting so many. I knew it’d be the book because of the still but that whole reveal stunned me. (Who gives presents on their birthday? He was truly the best.) I think Cam definitely mentioned her family awhile back but seeing her reveal that (and adding some more to the theme of loss/coping) made me emotional.
      I didn’t even think about CIA Danny but it makes so much sense! And yeah, the Daisy mention was a nice reminder most of them are all part of each other’s lives.

      Oh my god, yes. Their dynamic is so good, which is so not where I saw it going after that first episode. I can’t really say what it is — they’re colleagues (they’re both doctors) but his charm has won everyone over. (While Clark took awhile to accept the team as they are? I love him as well.) I have to say, that hug still up there might be my favorite thing, ha.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: