BONES 10×15 Debriefing: Poker Face

(c) FOX

Tonight’s Bones elicited a lot of different reactions before it aired — both because of the very happy news it shared, but especially because of the gambling storyline it dropped on us. I have to say — though the last few seconds were not exactly unexpected, they were still a gut punch.

Gambling (and its addiction) was at the forefront of the episode whether it was Booth’s relapse or the victim’s second life, and that made for some intense scenes that David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel (and John Boyd, as the third person carrying the weight of the storyline) nailed. Those scenes had a realistic feel to them that made them particularly hard to watch (my heart is still in my throat), but that’s probably an encouraging sign that this is going to be dealt with well.

Before I get into too much detail, let’s recap Bones 10×15 “The Eye in the Sky.”

[Note: Despite posting time, I haven’t had time to properly rewatch the episode, so some details might be off. They should be fixed by later today.]

Stakes Are High

The case tonight was interesting, but it was not your usual A plot — it drove one of the subplots, and it was always in everyone’s minds. However, as I watched, it wasn’t the thing I, or the team, were worried the most about.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Remains are found in an industrial shredder, and they belong to a white male in his 30s who was killed in the last 24 hours, before being shredded. The lock was picked — ruling out employees at the site. His shredded face (which Cam is able to put together) gives the team an ID: Jeff Dover, who worked as a mover in a moving/storage company.

The first of the suspects is one of Jeff’s coworkers, who reveals that Jeff had a second life as a high-stakes gambler. They had recently fought over gambling. Jeff had apparently won $28,000 before disappearing.

Booth, a recovering addict, plans to go undercover as he knows what to look for and how to play; he uses his former bookie to get into Jeff’s game. Despite his wife and Aubrey’s concerns, he reassures them he’s strong enough and will know when to pull out. Yet, as Aubrey puts it, gambling is a way to cope with trauma, and he’s had plenty of it with his stint on jail, losing his best friend, and more…. so this is a big red flag. (Just what I mentioned in the recap a couple of weeks back!)

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Needless to say, most of the suspects are at the poker table and Booth quickly hears nuggets of their personal lives for later use. Which, spoiler alert, includes the one that matters for this recap’s purpose: “Mid-Life” had recently gone through a divorce. The first montage is really cool, but the way is edited made me tense — especially since the audience is privy to Booth’s enjoyment. (He’s good at this, so I don’t blame him!)

Another important detail: there is an “eye in the sky” (which titles the episode), or a security camera overlooking the game, for the ‘weird’ plays — so they can be checked and settled. Booth quickly excuses himself to call Angela about this, who tells him to get to the office (where the camera feeds to) to get into the feeds. He does this by questioning the timing of one of his plays — leading them to check the eye on the sky. He eventually gets Angela and Aubrey in. On the gambling side of things, he wins big (i.e. comes out of it with more money than he brought in).

The following morning, while reviewing the tapes from the night of Jeff’s murder, Aubrey brings up Booth’s gambling: he knows what is like to be drawn back, after thinking the feelings are gone. Aubrey’s father’s  addiction was the stock market, and he would still keep going even if he had nothing left; Aubrey and his mother thought they’d be enough. As Booth reassures him, never fault those around you, as the addict only has himself to blame… (I personally find this encouraging for the weeks to come.)

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Meanwhile, at the lab, Hodgins finds that some of the particulates are Thai food — the nearest restaurant to the gambling site is two blocks away. Cam, a sleep-deprived Jessica and Hodgins check it out in person and find blood, some wood and part of the esophagus and throat (i.e. fibromuscular tubing), which gives cause of death: Jeff was stabbed in the neck with the wood, and the killer ripped part of his throat out.

Since there is not enough to guarantee a warrant, Booth decides to go in again. However, there is obviously a change within him: Aubrey and Brennan don’t find it encouraging when he hesitates before answering he will leave as soon as he gets the guy.

In another particularly nerve-racking montage, we see the gambling group peeking at their cards and playing, just as the team is trying to build a case with evidence that will lead them to the killer: whether it’s looking at the bones (there should be some evidence in the clavicle), or looking at everyone’s financial situations (all over the place). Angela finds that Mid-Life was having some financial trouble: for the last month, he’s been broke and was about to lose his house, therefore, he had a motive. He killed Jeff for his 28 grand, so he could reverse the foreclosure on his home. Moreover, they find maple wood particulates — like from a baseball bat (which Mid-Life played), that could’ve been used to stab Jeff in the throat.

In possibly the most stressful moment f the episode, Booth wrestles with the idea of playing a good hand or arresting Mid-life. Eventually, he chooses arresting him, much to Brennan’s relief… Yet, it doesn’t really feel like a victory.

Shattered Glass

“The emergency alarm is just being overdramatic.”

Hodgins has been inventing things at the lab, which doesn’t amuse Cam — he should do that at home.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

However, Jessica’s idea of an unbreakable beaker (while they’re cleaning the victim’s bones) gets him thinking, to the point that he breaks one of the beakers for science.

He makes a rubber honeycomb polymer prototype at home that actually works (!), but once again, Jessica points out a flaw: you cannot heat it but you could baby-proof your house with it. His eventual solution is to make flooring out of it, and as proven by the empty wine glass he throws at the Founding Fathers, it works! And since Cam told him to not invent anything at the Jeffersonian, he is putting this out there by himself.

I tweeted this on our TYLL twitter account but, Hodgins: you should try to get on ABC’s Shark Tank and pitch it to them. I feel like, not only is this perfect in a lab/scientific research environment, but it’s ideal for homes with small kids. I think that if Lori Greiner likes it, she’d put it on QVC immediately… And sell a lot. (Most of the biggest selling articles from the show are her investments.)

Jokes aside, I believe Hodgins’ SquintStarter will be successful, whatever he does. That’s a winner (or as Lori would say, a ‘hero’). The video, by the way, is hilarious and well worth a watch. (His description of why he needs the money/Pelant is so great.)

Having My Baby/Don’t You Worry Your Pretty Little Mind

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or are really good at being spoiler free – for which I’ll commend you), you might have heard this was the episode in which the pregnancy was going to be revealed.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

We open the episode with Brennan taking a home pregnancy test and she and Booth waiting to find out the results — he is already equal parts stoked and anxious to have the confirmation, while Brennan is waiting for the facts before giving in to any future planning. Her scream at finding out the news is so adorable, and is Booth’s flip flops and her “I can keep eating cookies.” I’ll save you all the gushing: it was truly charming. I’ve watched it many many times by now and I just adore it — their happiness brings me pure joy. While the show never addressed whether they’ve been trying or not, they’ve been having lots of sex, and don’t seem too surprised/are truly happy about this. Congrats, you two!

Their happiness is reflected early in the episode: Booth is unusually cheery at the crime scene, throwing compliments to everyone (especially Hodgins) and making them uncomfortable. Brennan is acting similarly, but by praising Jessica more effusively than you might expect. Angela then takes her friend away, and hugs her to prove her hunch — her friend’s pregnant and her sore boobs are proof. (I wonder if this is what happened the first time!)

However, the day takes a turn when it becomes clear the case is about gambling. Brennan, visibly concerned, asks him about his past gambling habits, which doesn’t soothe her. Even if he remarks his sponsor is a call away, and that he’s going to be fine as he’s strong enough — his life is not the mess it once was, before he had a family — she wants to believe him but doesn’t know if she can. I found this to be interesting, because Brennan has as much faith in her husband as he does in her but seems to also know how addiction has affected her husband (despite not having known him back then).

If there is anything I can say about the scenes between them from this point on in this episode is that there was a sense of dread and inevitability to them: Booth keeps repeating he’s going to be okay, when you know he’s not going to be. Brennan’s pretty obvious concern is not reassuring either. Yet, the scenes surrounding Booth’s dive into gambling are just so good, because they feel really realistic and are so well-done.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

The first of these, just before he plays for the first time, is so good (possibly my favorite scene in the episode? Or second favorite since that first scene is too cute). Booth truly believes his own promises about walking out if it gets rough— he’s trying to be reassuring but I don’t think he calms anyone. His comment on how his life is better than any hand he could be dealt was lovely, though; I hope he remembers what he said in this scene (and in this episode) in the future.

Yet, when he gets back (at 4 am) after having won big, his demeanor has changed. He does not want to deal with Brennan’s questioning and a simple mention of Sweets (and Brennan’s reading of how relapses can be triggered by big emotional changes) makes him even angrier, ditto the sponsor mentions (which he brushes off in the most unconvincing manner). He misinterprets her worry as her having lost faith in him, when it’s pure love — that’s the only time you can feel like the Booth from the previous home scene is there as his expression softens just enough. He still doesn’t confront it and ignores it. (We all know that Brennan is right, and so was Aubrey’s assessment at the office.)

The last scene finds Booth back in his “real job”: making pancakes for Brennan! The atmosphere is  seemingly back to normal: they discuss whether they should tell the baby news to Christine or not (“Superstitious?” “Cautious.”). However,  it doesn’t matter as Christine overhears them! That was really sweet.

Yet… the show ends with Booth receiving a call from his bookie Jason, and saying he wants to place $200 on the Cardinals. A tiny detail: Brennan thinks the call was from his sponsor, so… Booth’s lying (he cannot look at Brennan and Christine; he’s literally doing this behind their backs literally and figuratively).

Uh oh.

This episode did a really good job of balancing the happy (and fun!) with Booth’s relapse into gambling. In a way, it reminded me of those days that start really, really well and suddenly turn into your worst nightmare for numerous reasons. I am not sure Booth’s gambling was triggered by the good emotional change (even if he’s known to be a family man) rather than what Aubrey pointed out — all of the past year’s trauma, which had to be nagging at him. Booth’s always been a pretty internal character, so I would not be surprised if he’s been feeling a lot of pain he hasn’t shared with his wife. (Do it, Booth! You know she won’t judge you; she will actually help you.)

Addiction is a serious issue, and so far, it seems as if the show has dealt with it just right; Booth’s actions (and Brennan’s reaction) have rang true to the characters and felt realistic, which added a gut punch to those scenes. Plus, seeing them at odds is always difficult, especially tonight since we saw their pure joy at their big news. Even though I hope/think they’ll come out of it okay, this relapse and Booth’s lies are going to be testing his relationship. As much as the addiction is a personal issue that only Booth can deal with, Brennan’s pregnancy and her general role in Booth’s life raise the stakes. Though he is dealing with recent trauma, his life is not as much of a mess as it was in the past — he actually has a family he adores, and it seems inevitable he’s going to drag them into this somehow.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

I do hope he will find something to get out of this. I think I have an idea of what it might be, based on some future press releases, but it should be a good storyline.

Moreover, I’ve always wanted to see more of the gambling storyline because it felt like a good way to explore Booth’s character and his past — the show has insinuated in that meeting Brennan drove him to stop gambling (whether she drove him to find his internal drive, or if she was just an external factor, might depend on your interpretation). I really liked how tonight’s episode went about the topic – there were some things I don’t want to call foreshadowing or dramatic irony just yet, but there were many hints at the directions this could take. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds, no matter how much it might hurt — if anything, the actors are going to really bring it (they were fantastic tonight).

As for the baby… Most of the people who know me do know this, but I had been hoping for a storyline like this for awhile now. As a big sister, I know the joys of it — and I also know it’s different for the parents. Even if the timing of the gambling storyline is questionable (it could’ve taken place earlier in the season, preferably), the baby ups the stakes while offering a balance to the angst that might come out of it. I don’t expect either storyline to be a huge focus for the show (the gambling will probably remain in the background, instead of hitting similar beats every episode, but there will be reminders for the audience) but they offer actual needed focus for the characters’ storylines going into the last third of the season.

I know a lot of the dissent that comes from the storyline is due to its timing — considering the actors’ contracts are still being negotiated, this might be very well the end— and I won’t argue with that, but I take some comfort in knowing this wasn’t how they wanted to end the show. I digress, but the baby storyline should be pretty interesting as well: we didn’t get to see the first six months of the first pregnancy, but this time we do — but Booth and Brennan’s situation is different. Instead of figuring out their relationship, they are married, have a kid and have a rough idea of what is coming for them in the next few months. Yet, the emotional complications and the actual differences between pregnancies (they are never the same) should make for some uncharted territory I can’t wait to watch the show explore.

Hodgins’ invention seems really great, though. I know that is picked up next week, so I’ll probably discuss it more then but what a good idea. I hope he can patent it and strike some kind of deal.

This episode was really engaging, and didn’t disappoint on all the hype. I’ve talked about it way too much and still feel like I have just scratched the surface, but I really enjoyed it — definitely one of my favorites this season.

Odds and Ends

  • Booth thinks the new baby is a ‘guy.’ I have firmly been in the girl camp for a long while now, so I hope he’s wrong.
  • I know nothing about poker, but the eye in the sky made me think of the Hawk-Eye in tennis. It’s cool!
  • Jessica breaking the glass (since it didn’t fall on the mat) made me laugh so very hard.
  • Pancakes with ketchup? I… don’t know about that. I’m sure there are weirder cravings. Speaking of which… Booth offering to go pick up anything she craves whenever she wanted was really sweet.
  • Even though I knew it wasn’t going to end well (despite going for the arrest), that last scene was devastating.
  • I’m aware of how divisive the gambling storyline was and is, but I am personally very intrigued by it. I liked how it was dealt with tonight and everyone is bringing their A game for it.
  • I can’t stress enough how much I loved the performances tonight. Emily and David knocked it out of the park with the gambling material, especially in the scenes at home.
  • Christine has bunny slippers! It reminded me of when her mom was pregnant with her. And that counter had a bunny in there, too. Is it her favorite animal?
  • I am sorry I took so long to write this. I’m mostly sorry the gambling parts are split!
  • Yes. All the big subsections in this recap are lyrics. I’d have used Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” but that felt obvious.
  • Next week: the historic 206th episode! (More on that here.) Seems like the Diner people are suspects — that refills line in the promo was 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

6 Responses to BONES 10×15 Debriefing: Poker Face

  1. Georgina says:

    I agree with everything you wrote! Last night’s episode kinda broke my heart a little but also the baby part was so much fun and adorable! I want the new baby to be a girl too so Christine has to deal with a little sister 🙂

    • Cassidy says:

      Ahh, thank you so much for this! That means a lot, :). I find it hard to describe the episode because I loved it and had a lot of fun watching it, but I was also dreading the inevitable. In the end, it both made me really happy and sad. 😛 (It was a good balance!)

      I’m so glad the baby storyline was there because it helped balance it out and… Booth and Brennan were adorable at being the worst secret-keepers ever. 🙂 And yay at more people who want a girl! They have Parker if they want a boy to deal with 😉 A girl would just be so much fun, really, and their interactions with Booth would be so much fun.

      This is my longwinded way of saying thank you so much for commenting and being so nice! 🙂

  2. paige says:

    My favorite episode this season. It finally seemed like the old Booth and Brennan were back. The gambling arc hit home. My husband is in recovery. It’s always “just for today”. My stomach was hurting after the last scene.

    • Cassidy says:

      I am glad the arc resonated with you (and thank you for sharing that, really!). It’s always hard when a storyline hits so close to home, so I hope the show does it justice. That last scene was a true gut punch — mine was also hurting.

  3. […] that Booth probably turned to Jimmy after Jason, his former bookie (the one we saw in “Eye“) refused to take Booth’s bet— and Brennan confronts Booth about all the lies […]

  4. […] with Brennan’s secretive call. I never thought it would be anything bad (à la Booth in the last third of season ten), if only because of how funny her expressions were. It was ultimately a really sweet and fitting […]

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