Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bones—Death in the Saddle

In a charming opening to tonight's episode, a boy scout sort goes to take a leak and finds a dead body swarming with maggots. Fortunately I remembered not to have snacks tonight. Mr. Dead Guy has no feet--they find them buried a short distance away. Brennan fusses because there's still lots of meat on the bones, which means it's not her job. This leads to some clunky exposition between her and Cam to catch us up with previous episodes.

Angela is planning to be hypnotized to remember her ex-husband's name. The name she remembers was a nickname that means "little flute." This makes everyone smirk and also makes Hodgins very happy.

The body has sunscreen on it that's meant for horses, and the teeth show evidence of usage of a bit. Plus Mr. Dead Guy's stomach is full of raw oats and things horses would like to eat. And his name is Ed, so of course they start calling him Mr. Ed. Which turns out to be his pony play name.

Ed's wife says he was a fine, upstanding sort of person and doesn't seem to know anything about the horse connections, which leads to a rather awkward bout of questioning for Booth, who is also regaled with terrible horse jokes by Brennan, who of course hasn't heard any of them before.

Angela is skeptical about the hypnotism, since she worked for a magician once. That sounds like a very Angela-type job. Cam gives her a pep talk.

Booth and Brennan follow Ed's credit card trail to a pony play resort, where Ed was a pony. One of the women there is Annie Oakley (her fetish community name), played by Christina Cox--Vicky from Blood Ties. I guess she got tired of vampires. Although if she's tired of vampires why is she hanging with Boreanaz? Anyway, she was Mr. Ed's last "rider." Booth engages in more awkward questioning peppered with sarcasm, which Annie Oakley finds offensive. Annie says Ed's wife showed up at the resort and Ed disappeared the next day.

On the return trip, Brennan delivers a history of pony play. Typically, she's accepting of it from an anthropological point of view, while Booth is appalled.

They question the wife, who is also appalled by Ed's fetish. She was tipped off by a phone call from a man with an accent, but she says she went straight home after catching Ed and Annie together. Brennan doesn't think the wife did it because of the condition of the body--everything about the murder fits into the pony culture, and the wife wasn't involved in that.

Zack works on identifying the murder weapon by making casts of the head wound that killed Ed. Booth and Brennan return to the pony play resort to find the mystery caller. They question Calvin, the caller, who admits to making the call but not to killing Ed.

Ed was murdered with a hoof knife, and the wound inflicted in the forehead parallels the way horses are normally slaughtered. Hodgins proposes to find the killer by tracing the baling twine used to tie Ed's hands.

Angela's hypnotism doesn't work because she wasn't relaxed enough. She obviously has issues about the husband.

Booth interrogates Lucky, who runs the resort, as regards the twine, as it was traced to his ranch. Lucky's ex-wife is Annie Oakley, thus providing motive, but it's only twenty till so I don't think it's him. Booth seems skeptical of Lucky's story. The feet were severed with the hoof knife. Hodgins is bummed because Zack figured this out at the same time he did. Booth and Brennan follow another suspect to a butcher shop. He runs. That's suspicious, I think, but he doesn't seem to know anything about Ed's death, either. In fact, he was a fan. Also a National Guard deserter (thus the fleeing) and a proponent of eating horsemeat as an extension of the pony play fetish.

Angela tries the hypnosis again. This time it works, but instead of seeing her husband she's attacked by a giant dream wasp. This makes her peevish.

Brennan determines Ed's eyes were gouged out. Okay, now we're doing Equus. They go to question Lucky and Annie Oakley, who apparently is a doctor in her day job. Annie turns out to be the killer/jealous lover. A bit predictable, that.

Angela makes a connection between the wasp and the book where she left the Polaroid from her wedding, which has her husband's first name written on it, and she remembers his last name. Hodgela smoochies ensue.
Brennan and Booth have a heartfelt conversation about vegetarianism and lovemaking. No, seriously.

This episode seemed to be trying to walk that line between over-the-top and serious forensics. I don't think it quite succeeded, because it landed a bit too far on the over-the-top side. And yeah, Bones is generally a bit OTT, but the presentation here seemed a little too tongue-in-cheek to quite work the way they seemed to want it to work. Angela and Hodgins had some nice scenes, but Zack seemed flat, almost a caricature of himself. The two scenes at the resort rehashed basically the same conversation between Booth and Brennan, which in many ways was a rehash of their conversation regarding BDSM in "The Girl in the Fridge." The best part, I thought, was Booth's closing monologue about crappy sex versus lovemaking. It was a bit poetic and heartfelt and yeah, kinda hot...

Anyway, overall not the strongest episode, but amusing.