Stars: David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Michaela Conlin, TJ Thyne, Tamara Taylor, John Francis Daley, Ryan O’Neal, Carla Gallo, Patricia Belcher, William Sanderson, Rebecca Tilley, Joe Adler, Ezra Buzzington, MacKenzie Mauzy, Tico Wells, J.P. Manoux
Writers: Pat Charles & Janet Lin, series created by Hart Hanson, based on the life and writings of Kathy Reichs
Director: Dwight Little
Network: Fox, Mondays @ 8 PM
Original Telecast: April 30, 2012

Given that BONES tends to divide its episodes between the arc story where something important happens to the characters and the procedural story where they solve a crime (usually never to be heard of again), there can be a bit of a “meanwhile, back at the ranch” feeling to some episodes. That’s the case with “The Family in the Feud,” but this is so enlivened by fine guest stars – not only is Ryan O’Neal touching as Brennan’s repentant dad Max, but cool people including William Sanderson and Ezra Buzzington are also aboard – that the jumping back and forth feels more rhythmic than jarring here.

Some of Brennan’s (Emily Deschanel) back story comes into play as she and Booth (David Boreanaz) try to find a babysitter for their baby daughter Christine. Christine, it seems, has been asked to leave the Jeffersonian Day Care because Brennan – to put it mildly – has been driving the staff crazy. Since Brennan is also driving Booth crazy with her strict criteria for hiring a sitter, Booth finally enlists Brennan’s father Max. Max is overjoyed and adores his granddaughter, but Brennan has a hard time trusting him – after all, he abandoned Brennan when she was a little girl. When Max misplaces his cell phone while babysitting, Brennan is first terrified that something has happened and then furious. However, when Brennan sees how truly remorseful her father is and how important it is to him that she trusts him, she relents. The episode ends with Brennan and Booth fixing dinner while Max watches baby Christine.

Of course, there’s also a crime to solve. In this case, it’s a dead body with eyes that light up red. This last is explained by Hodgins (TJ Thyne) as a phenomenon caused by a type of glowing worm. The victim has been shot and turns out to be Tug Babcock, of the famous backwoods Mobley/Babcock feud, which has raged for over a hundred years, with each family convinced that the other committed murder for profit. It turns out that the soil is poisoned by valuable copper and the original Mobley/Babcock couple accidentally ingested a lethal dose. Daisy Wicks (Carla Gallo), temporary squintern and full-time girlfriend of Sweets (John Francis Daley), solves the historic mystery, thereby ending the Hatfields/McCoys-type conflict, while Hodgins is able to finger the killer by spores on her clothing.

The scenes between Brennan and Max, with her being self-protective and him continually reaching out, are very effectively written and acted. Deschanel is particularly nuanced in depicting Brennan’s conflict between desire and reluctance to open up to her father, while O’Neal makes Max the soul of contrition, aching to be accepted by his daughter yet trying to respect her boundaries.

Boreanaz has a particularly nice, funny moment near the beginning, where Booth gets turned on by Brennan, which illustrates neatly how deepening the relationship between the characters enhances the series, rather than detracts from it.

On the downside, there seems to be a logic glitch in the set-up and a later scene. The corpse is discovered by a local man truffle-hunting with his pig. Later, Hodgins and Daisy find the truffles to be inedible due to chemicals and metals in the soil – so wouldn’t the local man (who presumably has been in these woods before) know the truffles are inedible?

Having lab chiefCam(Tamara Taylor) make Daisy reassemble a skeletal pelvis that’s been smashed into a million pieces is interesting, but having Daisy be quite so subordinate stretches credibility. This makes two episodes in a row whereCamis treated in a way that most bosses wouldn’t tolerate. We know that Hodgins, if necessary, can reveal that he’s one of the Jeffersonian’s sponsors and in any case has been part of the team so long that he merits a little slack. Daisy, however, is further out of line that is plausible or, more importantly, funny. BothCamas a character and our sense of disbelief deserve more respect.

Otherwise, “The Family in the Feud” is a strong episode, with telling interactions and a decent forensic puzzle.


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Article: TV Review – BONES – Season 7 – “The Family in the Feud”


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