'Bones' (and teeth and blood) on the hockey rink

Davidboreanaz_bones_s3_240 Did the writers give this episode of Bones to David Boreanaz as a birthday present? Or did they owe him money and write this to pay off the debt? Because it was an hour of all Booth, all the time: he got to play hockey, he got to show off his range, he got to play with a sports hero... It's a good thing Booth is a compelling enough character that it's possible to overlook -- and occasionally revel in -- the indulgence. (Plus, they threw shirtless Booth, which makes me forgive a multitude of sins.) Game on!

Come on, ref, are you blind? That was high spoiling!

Ah, ice hockey -- the most bloodthirsty sport that doesn't involve Roman emperors and ravenous lions. Booth is the "enforcer" for his club team, which means he basically beats the crap out of opposing players. Brennan is concerned, Sweets is intrigued by the psychological implications, and Cam... Cam is a bit turned on.

The gloves come off (literally!) after opposing player Pete perpetrates several illegal plays, culminating in him giving NotRyanAtwood NotZack a concussion. Booth beats Pete to a bloody pulp, breaking his own hand on Pete's face. A month later, local ice fishermen (!!!) find Pete's body in a frozen lake.

Because Booth is a suspect in the case, agent Peyton Perotta becomes the lead investigator. She's a pretty, perky blond, and the sparks immediately start flying between her and Booth. She agrees to keep Booth involved in the case. Their budding flirtation hits a snag when, during an interrogation, Peyton asks Booth "Do you feel that your experience as the child of an abusive alcoholic has made you more prone to violence?" That's Sweets talking, of course, and Booth is not happy about it. He tells Sweets to butt out. When he returns to the interrogation room, it's time for Peyton to ask him serious questions -- "You work out much?"

It turns out Pete mixed it up with another player after Booth, a cop named Lou Herrin. Booth, Brennan and Peyton check the rink for blood stains, and find plenty of them -- but that's to be expected. Then they find a large pool of blood, which was smeared as Pete was dragged off the ice. A parallel set of droplets indicates that Pete's attacker bled as well. If they can get some of Herrin's blood, they may be able to prove he did it.

But how to get blood without a warrant? I know -- play hockey! Booth saws off his own cast and takes to the ice, beating the crap out of everyone on the ice, while NotRyanAtwood NotZack skates around after him collecting samples. This provokes no comment from the players or spectators. After much provocation, Booth finally gets into a fight with Herrin and draws blood. But Herrin is pissed off enough to tackle Booth. His helmet comes off as he hits the ice, and Booth has a wonderful dream -- Luc Robitaille, the highest-scoring left winger in NHL history, plays one-on-one with Booth, gives him hints about how to solve the crime, and reassures him that he's not like his abusive dad. Then he buys Booth a pony and they fly off into candyland to have adventures.

The lab checks the samples, and Herrin's not the killer -- just like Hallucinatory Lucky Luc said! As Booth ponders Luc's advice to look at the team, Hodgins and NotRyanAtwood NotZack figure out that Pete's dead fish are actually a clue. Hodgins digs in the tank and pulls up heaping handfuls of jewelry -- jewelry that was reported lost in a fire. Conveniently, Pete was a volunteer fireman who fought that particular blaze. Thief!

Booth's concussed pondering of Luc's advice leads him to examine Pete's team. Four of the players were on a high school team together, and now they're all volunteer firemen. Booth figures out that Ed had potential to go into the NHL, but an injury ended that dream. That injury was caused by Pete. Ed figured out about the jewelry heist and confronted Pete. When Pete sneered that Ed didn't do anything to Pete when he ruined his life and he wouldn't do anything now, Ed snapped and killed him.

Booth and Brennan
Booth/Brennan 'shippers must have been foaming at the mouth when Peyton showed up -- Booth tells her (without prompting!) that he and Brennan are partners, nothing more. They flirt, and flirt, and flirt some more -- and Brennan was mostly absent from the scene.

But then the show gives us a lovely, funny, sweet scene at the end -- Booth can't go to sleep, because he has a concussion. So he brings Brennan to the ice rink, and they skate -- her stumbling, him graceful and laughing as he tows her along. "That agent Perrotta, she really enjoyed working with us," Brennan says. "But you're the only FBI agent I want to work with." "Forget about Agent Perotta, nothing's gonna change between me and you," Booth says. "Entropy is a natural force that pulls everything apart at a subatomic level!" Brennan gasps (Booth is pushing her along the ice now.) "Everything changes!" "Not everything, Bones," Booth insists. As we leave them, they're giggling and playing. "You're gonna make me fall!" Brennan squeals. "I'm never gonna make you fall," Booth says. "I'm always here." Awwwww....

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • Did Emily Deschanel and Michaela Conlin have some unused vacation time they had to burn up? It felt like they were hardly in this episode.
  • I actually quite liked agent Peyton -- although the whole situation where she let Booth tag along -- and then take charge -- throughout the investigation was laughable.
  • Also laughable -- ice fishing near D.C. Or perhaps we're supposed to believe that Booth plays hockey in Wisconsin?
  • I like NotRyanAtwood NotZack so much that I might have to refer to him by his actual name if he shows up again. Cam shares my affection for him. But then, Cam seems to have affection for just about every guy who enters the lab.
  • The lab rats get a nice Booth moment, too -- when Peyton refers to them as "my people," Hodgins corrects her -- "We're Booth's people."
  • But while everyone else is all smiles with Booth, Sweets is intent on pushing his buttons. He confronts Booth again and again on his abusive father and his propensity for violence. "Underneath your affable exterior is a deep reservoir of rage," Sweets says. "My question is, Do you always have that under control?" It's an interesting question -- but it seemed sort of shoehorned into this episode. 
  • More prodding from Sweets: "Agent Booth, I believe you're ready to confront the fact that the violence you may have suffered in childhood has followed you into adulthood." Booth's response? "Sweets, I've killed, but I've never murdered before. Look up the difference in your little black book." I'd lay odds that this is an issue we'll be revisiting a lot in the second half of the season.