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S11.E16: The Strike In The Chord

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The team investigates the death of the leader of the Lynwood University male acapella singing group, “The Whippersnaps,” whose body was found in the school rat lab. The victim recently kicked out Ian Jansen, one of the group’s best singers. Meanwhile, surprising information about Aubrey’s own college experience is brought to light, Hodgins applies for an experimental nerve regeneration study, Booth tries to plan a summer trip with Parker and a new intern joins the Jeffersonian lab.

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The bad:

  • I know it's almost impossible to sync up video/audio with musical numbers, but wow.
  • Ugh to new interns and the idea that they don't have to be qualified if the Jeffersonians like them. (I do, however, love that actress. She was excellent on Switched at Birth, and her character tonight showed more personality than most of the third generation squinterns ever manage.) Brennan robotically patting the intern was a gag done approximately a quintillion times better in season three when Zack memorized a chart about the difference between open-fisted and close-fisted pats on the shoulder.  Brennan back then was functional enough to know how ridiculous that was but had Booth pat Zack in the "appropriate" way to make him happy.

The good:

  • Parker! Every time he calls Brennan Bones I feel like it's my own personal fanservice. It's one of those little things that makes me very happy. Though I don't get why there was no chance of rearranging schedules so he could have the writing camp and the hike, perhaps in a different place or an abbreviated form.
  • I liked the case of the week.
  • Apparently I needed Aubrey twitching at the thought of his acapella past coming out in my life. It was glorious. (And yes, Aubrey, with that much twitching someone's gonna uncover your secret.)
  • I wish they'd managed to go with this kind of conflict between Hodgins and Angela, where they both have a defensible point of view, all along.
Edited by Panopticon
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My take wasn't that the intern wasn't qualified, but that she was having difficulty making that leap from being a student to applying her knowledge to in a real life situation where speed matters. She might have been fine if she'd been given more than a day (or two?) adjustment period.

Did they re-use a set from Glee? The Whippersnap's rehearsal room seemed to be exactly like Blaine's when he was at the private school. I do enjoy listening to acapella in small doses, so that was fun.

For normal families, I'd say the Oxford class vs the hiking would be a financial decision - the courses are nowhere near cheap, and cost of airflight would add up to a big no. But of course, this is a pretty well off family, so that doesn't explain it. Maybe FBI agents have set dates when they can vacation? (I doubt it, but that's the only thing I could come up with.)

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1 hour ago, clanstarling said:

I do enjoy listening to acapella in small doses, so that was fun.

In spite of the sound quality being really bad for me, I agree. I'm glad the 2 guys weren't killers.

So is that Parker 2 or is there now a Parker 3? I wonder if the actor really was in the UK and had to Skype it in? He did a passable-to-good job emoting. 
The fired intern did have a better sad face. I wonder if her secretly sharing with Cam her smart, independent observations will win her a do over?
Of course I could probably answer all of this with a tour of the Bones IMDb casting pages.

Edited by shapeshifter · Reason: typo
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That's still Parker #2, same version who turned up at Thanksgiving.
 

The reason that I don't give the new squintern the benefit of the doubt regarding her competence is the way they spoke about her internship program. Most of them are PhD candidates in anthropology, usually handpicked by Brennan from a university. This one apparently spent years doing all kinds of work-- including cleaning-- at the Jeffersonian rather than specializing in a field of study. Plus Cam didn't go to bat for her like she did the super young intern who Brennan didn't want, which makes me think Cam agreed that she wasn't up to the job. Even Hodgins' reaction wasn't "but she was nervous" as it sometimes is when Brennan is hard on the interns. It was "but I like her." Having had a little more time to think about it, I'm not annoyed by that comment anymore since Hodgins is obviously projecting hard onto everything from rats on down the line at the moment. But I remain perpetually bothered by the existence of new or underdeveloped interns when the clock is ticking toward the end of the show... unless of course this girl is secretly working for the Big Bad, in which I take it back and admit that she has a purpose as valuable as seeing recurring developed/connected characters.

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She was cleaning toilets as part of her work-study program. Which, if that's all the Jeffersonian has to offer students for work study, is pretty shitty. Pun intended. My own kids did that (work-study, not cleaning toilets - they worked in the college library) so I didn't take that as a lack of specialization. On the other hand, no one jumped up to say she was an excellent candidate and super smart, so you have a point.

Edited by clanstarling

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4 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

In spite of the sound quality being really bad for me, I agree. I'm glad the 2 guys weren't killers.

Me too. I loved them in the interrogation room with Audrey. Audrey's face was the greatest when the one kid started having a panic attack.  

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47 minutes ago, clanstarling said:

She was cleaning toilets as part of her work-study program. Which, if that's all the Jeffersonian has to offer students for work study, is pretty shitty. Pun intended. My own kids did that (work-study, not cleaning toilets - they worked in the college library) so I didn't take that as a lack of specialization. On the other hand, no one jumped up to say she was an excellent candidate and super smart, so you have a point.

That makes sense. I didn't realize that the Jeffersonian had its own college/university so that non-academic work study might happen there in addition to fellowships/internships. I thought the Jeffersonian was strictly museums and research facilities and the interns came from universities that were partners but not fully integrated. So I got the impression that this intern was part of a special program that rotated her through everything at the Jeffersonian, as opposed to someone like Wendell Bray who had his internship through the Jeffersonian but also unrelated day jobs and scholarships.

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Maybe they were planning to hike the entire Appalachian Trail? That's an all summer project, at the least. Or maybe the Oxford program is all summer. Or the custody agreement means that Booth only gets certain dates with Parker and those overlap with the Oxford program, so it's a choice between Oxford or Dad (I forget what the mom situation is and why she wouldn't be flexible).

I felt bad for the intern, but she was annoying me to death, so I also understood Bones' exasperation. The problem was that she was not serious, she was impulsive and cowardly at the same time, which is a very untrustworthy and annoying combination.

It seemed like she had the ability to analyze, but didn't take the time, and would just run with her first idea instead of checking it. It was more than nerves, it was a way she seemed to not take the situation seriously-- this is a murder investigation, not a fun exercise or game. And then after being told by three different people to change her behavior and focus, she still didn't do it.

Still, firing someone on the first day because they're not 100% calm and pulling their weight like a seasoned team member yet is pretty intense, and if they had sat her down and told her very clearly what she was doing wrong, how serious it was, and that she had to change it immediately, I wouldn't have thought that was unreasonable to try.

I don't understand why she was acting like such a bimbo, though. We've never seen an intern who was like this, have we? I know different people show their nervousness in different ways, but her behavior was more like a young teen than an adult.

I had a feeling the dad of the fired singer was the murderer as soon as we met him, and I don't know why. They must be telling the actors they're guilty and then the actors telegraph it somehow, because this happens a lot, even when it seems like they are trying to do a misdirect with false leads and other likely stories.

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1 hour ago, possibilities said:

I had a feeling the dad of the fired singer was the murderer as soon as we met him, and I don't know why. They must be telling the actors they're guilty and then the actors telegraph it somehow, because this happens a lot, even when it seems like they are trying to do a misdirect with false leads and other likely stories.

But in this case it wasn't the dad of the fired singer. It was the roommate - I had him pegged as soon as he "reacted" to the news but I had forgot about him by the time they actually revealed him as the killer :P

The plot with the new squintern seemed random and pointless. I'm not sure I was invested enough to want it to come back and end up having some sort of point or relevance, though. 

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7 hours ago, clanstarling said:

Did they re-use a set from Glee? The Whippersnap's rehearsal room seemed to be exactly like Blaine's when he was at the private school. I do enjoy listening to acapella in small doses, so that was fun.

I think it's an actual location, but yes, the same place!

Also, hasn't Bones already done a Glee episode before? I know they've had singers perform before, but the premise seemed familiar.

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Yes, yes, I'm sorry. I didn't get enough sleep and half my thoughts got stuck in my head while the rest made it to the keyboard.

I thought the dad was telegraphing guilt, and I think it was some kind of subtle acting thing (and he was involved in an altercation with the victim, so he would be hiding something, carrying some level of guilt/fear during the investigation). The actual killer was the roommate, but he was so obviously weird that it wasn't confusing.

I hope that made more sense.

Maybe I should just take a nap.

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20 hours ago, secnarf said:

But in this case it wasn't the dad of the fired singer. It was the roommate - I had him pegged as soon as he "reacted" to the news but I had forgot about him by the time they actually revealed him as the killer :P

 

One thing that I've noticed with this show is that with every case where it isn't some serial killer they've been trying to catch for several episodes it's always either one of the first couple people Booth and Bones/Aubery run into whether they question them or not or it's some guy that comes out of nowhere in the last 10 minutes, so I had the roommate pegged from the start. They used to be able to keep me guessing but it's actually been quite a while since I haven't been able to instantly figure out who the killer was on Bones because of how formulaic it's become. The cases themselves seem to have largely just become filler to justify the character interactions at this point rather than the real focus on an episode.

Quote

The plot with the new squintern seemed random and pointless. I'm not sure I was invested enough to want it to come back and end up having some sort of point or relevance, though. 

All of the new Squinterns after the first batch are annoying and/or incompetent in some way and this one whatever her name was (also not memorable unless they are really REALLY annoying) is no exception. I was actually surprised how long it took Brennan to fire her considering how blatantly incompetent she was, how obvious a butt kisser to Brennan she was, and how clear it was she had absolutely no clue what she was doing. How did someone who apparently had so little training in analyzing bones that she needed Brennan to point out every single bit of evidence on the entire skeleton ever manage to get that internship?

Edited by immortalfrieza
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The three people from Pentatonix were actually pretty good at their roles. I thought they would just be providing the singing capability, but they each got an interrogation scene. I loved it when the two guys were asked if they had an alibi witness and they each gave the other as that witness. 

Sami seemed completely unqualified for the job. By the time she gets to the point of being in a position to being a squintern, she should have long since learned to make hypothesis on her own. It's not like this is a job right out of high school, she should have had years of taking her work beyond mere re-stating of facts already in evidence. When she said that he had been injured on both the front and the back (after Bones asked her what she thought it indicated when the rib was fractured both on the anterior and posterior aspects), I was surprised she didn't get fired then. It would be like working with Captain Obvious. 

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On May 20, 2016 at 10:34 AM, clanstarling said:

Did they re-use a set from Glee? The Whippersnap's rehearsal room seemed to be exactly like Blaine's when he was at the private school. I do enjoy listening to acapella in small doses, so that was fun.

 

On May 20, 2016 at 5:47 PM, Trini said:

I think it's an actual location, but yes, the same place!

Also, hasn't Bones already done a Glee episode before? I know they've had singers perform before, but the premise seemed familiar.

I actually pointed at the teevee and bellowed, "Hey! That's the Warblers' room!" to absolutely no one, since I was watching alone.

12 hours ago, kili said:

The three people from Pentatonix were actually pretty good at their roles. I thought they would just be providing the singing capability, but they each got an interrogation scene. I loved it when the two guys were asked if they had an alibi witness and they each gave the other as that witness. 

THAT'S why they looked familiar! 

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On 5/20/2016 at 4:23 PM, possibilities said:

Or the custody agreement means that Booth only gets certain dates with Parker and those overlap with the Oxford program, so it's a choice between Oxford or Dad (I forget what the mom situation is and why she wouldn't be flexible).

 

From a  moral/fairness point of view, Rebecca should really be making every effort in the world to sync up Parker's schedule with Booth's since he gave up his regular weekends without a fight so she could take Parker to England in the first place. (I think they've been pretty clear all along that there isn't a formal custody agreement and Booth for various reasons never pushed.) Of course that's neither how things work in the real world nor the point of the exchange in the episode. The point of the exchange of the episode was, naturally, blah blah blah Booth interacts with his firstborn so don't hate on him and Brennan over that blah blah blah also people expect macho Booth to be a jerk about artistic pursuits but he isn't entirely. And those are two perfectly fine points for the episode to toss in. I was just fixated on the detail. 

Also, the Glee set they borrowed is a real place? Cool. I'm glad that room exists somewhere. :)

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5 hours ago, Panopticon said:

From a  moral/fairness point of view, Rebecca should really be making every effort in the world to sync up Parker's schedule with Booth's since he gave up his regular weekends without a fight so she could take Parker to England in the first place. (I think they've been pretty clear all along that there isn't a formal custody agreement and Booth for various reasons never pushed.)

At one point, Rebecca suggested that since they weren't married, she had the option of arbitrarily cutting him off from all contact with the kid if he didn't fall in line, and everybody just went with it like that was a thing. Despite the fact that they were still hooking up early on, I always thought the point of Rebecca was that she was enough of an irrational shrew that we weren't going to hate Booth for behaving like a stalker over her boyfriends.

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While Rebecca had her irrational shrewish moments, she never struck me as a complete caricature, which I appreciated. Her absolute worst moment was before she ever showed up onscreen when she apparently didn't want Parker to see Booth during the Christmas in quarantine bit, but even then she did give in and send Parker over. On the non-shrew side, there was the time Brennan ran her down and all but ordered her to reassure Booth about his parenting skills. Rebecca would have been within her rights to say "mind your own business about my kid, you and I have never even met before," but instead she took Brennan's advice. Or the time Parker ran away because he didn't want to go to Vermont and instead of disciplining the hell out of Parker, she let it go and had Booth drive him up later on. (Granted, that should have been the solution from the minute Rebecca decided that she wanted to go out of town for the holiday, but Booth clearly never pushed the issue.) Rebecca overall seemed to hog Parker more because she could easily get away with it and less because she was a black-hatted villain. She was reasonable if asked to be reasonable.

 

As for the threat to cut off all contact, I'm not sure it was all that unlikely at least in the short term. Getting access through legal channels would have been a steep uphill battle for a father who had never had or sought legal rights, especially when he had limited financial means and a dangerous job with long and unpredictable hours. Rebecca probably could have blocked Booth from Parker plenty long enough to poison their relationship. But yes, the fact that she trotted out that threat did have the effect of softening Booth's controlling behavior toward her boyfriends.

 

While I still don't think Booth would fight Rebecca if she said he could only see Parker on week X which happened to overlap with the Oxford camp, I bet  Brennan would do it behind Booth's back and Rebecca would back down.

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I'm not sure that the idea that she only behaves badly because she has him whipped by the threat to illegally cut off contact with his child because he can't afford the lawyers to stop her makes me think better of her :)

Edited by Julia

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Well, I don't suppose I'll argue that she should be well-thought-of. :) Just that she's probably not going to block Parker coming to the US in the summer if pushed.

 

But I also don't hold that threat against her to the extent that you do. She made it in the heat of the moment in the immediate aftermath of Booth sending FBI agents to her boyfriend's place of work to harass him for the great sin of dating Rebecca. There was no indication that the man (who Booth had refused to meet up to that point) had ever done anything wrong or that Rebecca had any history of poor taste in men or putting Parker in danger. Booth's behavior was at least as bad as Rebecca's that day. She was trying to whip Booth into ceasing his sabotage of her boyfriend's ability to support himself and his own children, not into handing over a  more favorable custody schedule.

 

I do think what actually has Booth whipped is is own family of origin stuff. His experience as a little boy was having his abusive father run off his (comparatively) loving mother and he wasn't going to do anything to challenge Rebecca's position as Parker's be-all-end-all. If this is the case, and Rebecca knows it and uses it to her advantage, then she's pretty purely terrible. If she doesn't know it, and thinks Booth deep down was really just not that into being a fulltime parent to Parker, she's less than perfect but not an ogre.

 

It's all head canon anyway. Parker will be in DC to the extent that the writers aren't focused on some other story, and Rebecca will never be seen again. Another example of the show being hurt by its own success... it cast the tertiary characters so well that the actors frequently wound up too busy elsewhere to play out the stories. Though early on I suspected that they'd eventually do a big double episode with Rebecca's murder and hand Parker over to Booth fulltime, so that's one stereotypical plot the show missed.

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