You know what's guaranteed to get me when it comes to Bones? An episode with a kid involved in the storyline. Maybe it's my background as a teacher. Maybe it's because I'm a mom. Maybe it's just because I think kids are neat.
Everything about tonight worked so well I was almost able to overlook the fact that Cam flayed a skull like some people carve Thanksgiving turkeys.
With none of the silly antics and a whole lot of drama, "El Carnicero en el Coche" was a great episode of Bones.
Was anyone else besides me annoyed that Booth and Brennan both tried to tell Sweets how he felt about the two men Pelant killed?
Does he feel responsible? Yes. That's why he has taken a leave. Is he unaware of how he's feeling? Not a chance. That's really my only gripe. I'm tired of characters telling each other how to feel. I want to see characters break down and deal with their demons instead of having their emotions made invalid by attempts to wave them away like they're no big deal.
Lots of Bones fans love to hate on Sweets. Sometimes I don't like the guy either. But when I think back to recent memorable non-Pelant episodes, Sweets-centric episodes stand out in my mind as the ones which have moved me most.
There's something about Sweets, a character with a horrible childhood, helping other children, that grabs me and sucks me in. Sweets has risen above his upbringing, or lacktherof, and survived. He's thrived. Watching him want to help other kids do the same thing is, well, sweet.
It also makes sense for the character.
Yes, he's a top-notch profiler. He's smart. He's capable. He's brave. But none of that really lets him be anything other than the doctor Booth trots out when he needs someone to analyze his suspects or the doctor who analyzes the team and interjects with shrink-talk. Cases like tonight's add depth to the character because we get to see him outside the FBI office.
Sweets-centric episodes tend to be lab-light, which is a welcomed change. Instead of seeing the science crack the cases, weeks that focus on Booth's side of crime-solving tend to be more dramatic and gripping. They're more believable and less silly.
I don't often discuss the cases of the week because most of the time they're just vehicles for characters to discover things about themselves. Tonight's case had that, sure, but it had so much more. It was an emotional and heartbreaking story.
It was clear that the boy had committed the crime when he pulled away from Sweets outside the elevator. His mother's reaction to his admission was not something I expected and to be honest, it kind of gutted me. It's not often I have a visceral reaction to something I see on television, but that got me. And it got to Sweets, too.
Instead of going back to the office, he's going to continue working with the children in the community center because he wants to make a difference. Of course he'll get pulled back in by the FBI at some point. The same thing happened to Angela when she wanted to go off and find herself. No one ever really leaves the team, it seems.
But he's recognized that he needs to do more and that's human. It makes the character more realistic which helps make the show more realistic. I can get on board with that. What would be excellent is if all of the characters could be seen as the rounded versions of themselves at the same time instead of only allowing for one round character a week while the others all remain flat.
And also more Wendell Bray in any capacity at all. That would be excellent as well.
Tonight was a solid episode of Bones, face-flaying with gross sound effects and all. It was the perfect lead-in to next week's return to Pelant because the tension is already high. Here's hoping the momentum from tonight carries through to next week. And also that Pelant is a name we're soon to hear never again.
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.