A sure sign that the show is starting off on the right foot is when I have to pause it to laugh during the first few minutes. Brennan’s concerned statement (“Don’t scare the boy, Booth”) just hit me in a soft spot and made me guffaw, probably thanks to the ingenious setup of she and Booth having to succumb to the tender ministrations of the extremely young Dr. Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley, Freaks and Geeks). Both of them could barely suppress their skepticism as the green psychotherapist had them do one of those “meaningless exercises meant to illustrate the importance of supporting each other.”
I’ve missed the distracted insight that Stephen Fry’s Dr. Wyatt brought to his 3-episode arc last season as he dealt with Booth’s anger issues. But Sweets (or just Lance, if you like) is the perfect model to play off of Booth’s inherent alpha male routine and Brennan’s calm analytical styling. He definitely got their attention when he told them they could be separated because of the perceived tension caused by Booth arresting Brennan’s father. It really wasn’t a surprise that their “homework” showed that they trusted each other, but little things throughout the episode led me to think that Bones might end up sharing with Sweets some of the things that annoy her about Booth: his talking to her when she’s on the phone, his trying to read her answers. But no, what she showed was her protectiveness of him as she leapt to his defense when she felt his humanity was called into question. That last scene, with Booth’s hurt look when he thought she wouldn’t even have coffee with him if they weren’t solving murders, Brennan’s rational yet mindful-of-his-feelings resolution that yes, they would meet for coffee, and Sweets’ knowing look as he witnessed the emotion bubbling under the surface, all portend lively therapy-room scenes to come. This is really good plot device to stir the Booth/Brennan stew.
Now, I have to say that despite my borderline obsessive love of this show, I was fully prepared to come down hard on it if last night’s murder story line faltered. The last two case-of-the-week episodes were a little flawed (one was confusing, the other had an unsatisfying ending) but the show’s many wonderful characters, hilarious lines, and, of course, our favorite partners in crime-fighting more than made up for it. Thankfully this week’s case of the murdered organic supermarket mogul buried in a compost heap with a woman went back to the nuts and bolts of one-offs we like — with red herrings tossed about everywhere. Could it be the wife? The enraged farmer? The daughter and her ex-boyfriend stood out from the time of their introductions, but it really wasn’t until halfway through that I put it together. I had the fleeting thought when I saw the dead girl’s picture that she had similar coloring as the daughter, so it really fit when they revealed that she was not the dead guy’s girlfriend but his daughter. It wasn’t a neck-breaking twist but it was well acted, the emotion on the face of the daughter as she realized she’d accidentally killed her half-sister, Brennan’s supportive grasping of the girl’s hand. I saw it coming but felt it nonetheless.
There was no further movement in the stories of the supporting cast but I didn’t really miss it with the extra Booth/Brennan time. I did appreciate Hodgins’ reference to the Widow’s Son cannibalism conspiracy. It was a nice way to let us know they haven’t forgotten the promise of the season premiere.
So, what do you think of Dr. Sweets? What were your favorite lines? How quickly do you want to see another Widow’s Son episode?