Bones has really had some absolutely incredible guest stars over the years. For a show overlooked by so many (critics and viewers, alike), it has attracted some truly amazing talent. You know your show has made it when you can get Betty White to appear. Well, Bones “made it” long before, but really, this was an amazing catch.
Beth Mayer Season 11 Episode Appearances:
11×04: The Carpals in the Coy-Wolves
Reminder that this won’t be a synopsis of the entire episode. Granted, there is definitely character overlap. But seeing as how the episode actually featured two interns, I’ll try to keep as much to Betty’s story as possible.
A few scenes into this episode, the Jefferson team is examining a set of remains found in a wooded area. Dr. Wells is presumably the intern of the week, but something appears to be “up” with him. Actually, that was a poor choice of words, considering his actual ailment. But Brennan isn’t too concerned about Oliver’s inability to do his job. She has already enlisted the help of an additional intern. Cam is a bit perturbed that Brennan would not clear the personnel change with her first. But Brennan assures her “boss” that there is nothing to worry about. “Trust me. Dr. Beth Mayer’s brilliance as a forensic anthropologist is unrivaled. With the exception of myself, of course.” Oliver has other more personal concerns. He asks if the new intern is “hot.” Brennan informs him that “Dr. Mayer has exceptional bone structure and perfect facial symmetry.” “Great. Now I’ll have to deal with another gorgeous, intelligent woman.” This earns Oliver a glare from Brennan, Angela, and Cam. But really, where’s the lie?
Later, Angela is having issues reconstructing the victim’s skull because the bone fragments retrieved were so minuscule.
Enter Dr. Beth Mayer. BETTY!
Every moment on screen with this character is pure gold, and she delivers each line with the most ingenious inflections and brilliant expressions. But I’d expect nothing less from such a legend. Truly a Golden Girl.
Dr. Mayer offers up a suggestion to Angela, which in turn, makes the process of reconstruction substantially easier. Everyone is clearly impressed. Angela tells Dr. Mayer that it’s a pleasure to meet her. But as it turns out, Dr. Mayer informs the artist that the pleasure is all hers. “Especially now that I get to see the Angelatron in person.” Angela is curious how this woman knows about the Angelatron. But Brennan tells her that “Dr. Mayer developed the platform its graphic simulator is based on.” Angela is skeptical of that assertion.
“Well, actually, having created the Angelatron, I know that platform was developed by a Dr. Brinkley.”
“My name at the time. It was one of my prior marriages.”
“Oh. Oh, my God. Um… how many times were you married?”
“Six. Brinkley didn’t last long. Fantastic lover, though.”
She is utterly fantastic. I apologize for the excessive gushing that is inevitably going to ensue throughout this post. But I simply cannot help it. Moving on. This particular scene was one of our sneak peeks for this episode. And I do recall being slightly worried about Betty’s character. I wondered whether this would be an instance where an accomplished scientist came in and tried to arrogantly compete with the team. And while Brennan did feel the slightest hint of competitiveness and jealousy during this episode (okay, a bit more than slight), that was not really the case here at all. Dr. Mayer was just eager to help in any way she could. She wanted to use her many years of valuable experience to enhance the team’s investigative work.
Dr. Mayer’s suggestion relative to the Angelatron is successful, and she is able to get a match. Before the scene cuts out, Dr. Mayer eagerly asks what she could do next. The other woman just stare.
This case turned out to be about fantasy football. The victim was part of a very competitive league with high stakes. As it turns out, Dr. Mayer is no stranger to fantasy leagues. “I’m the reigning two-time champ.” She adds that she plays in a 12-team PPR league. Booth is both visibly excited and amazed. He tells her that he has also played in that type of league. “Well, before I, you know, before I… “
Brennan interjects, and explains to Dr. Mayer that Booth feared that fantasy football would be a gateway to gambling. So he refrains from participating any longer. I know this is about Betty White and shouldn’t technically focus too heavily on Booth and Brennan (though I suppose I do make the rules). But the characters definitely overlap during this particular episode, as Dr. Mayer eventually makes some astute observations about the couple currently before her. I will say that I am once again elated to see that the show does not forget its character history. The gambling period was one fraught with angst and emotion. To be blunt, it was rough. But I will never consider it anything less than brilliant. Its execution was perfect, in my opinion. It was painful, but it needed to be. It was realistic. And I am thankful the show finally tackled that subject head-on. Booth may be sober again, but he will always have to be cognizant of certain triggers. He will need to maintain communication with his sponsor and also with his wife. As long as he is honest about any urges that may come up, he will always have that support system. And the fact that he is able to admit here that he does not participate in a fantasy league any longer because it could potentially trigger his addiction- it’s a big step. Something he would have shrugged off last year. Admitting his triggers is not weak. Admitting that he feels any sort of urge is also not weak. Quite the opposite, in fact. It shows strength. Booth and Brennan would later discuss Booth’s urge to gamble in private. It’s something I’ll likely bring up in later recaps, but I just wanted to note that I am happy for this mention. It was something I thought about when I heard the synopsis for this episode- isn’t that a type of gambling? Would they bring up Booth’s history? But Bones usually does a stellar job with such things.
Still sitting at the diner, Brennan receives some information about the victim’s league. Booth notes that it’s going to be a lot of data to go through.
“Lots of transaction logs, e-mails; not to mention, all the trash talking on the message boards.”
“Oh, I love a good trash talking.”
“Of course you do.”
I adore this character. But really, how much do I always love these characters? Bones is just remarkable at conceiving amazing characters, in addition to bringing in incredible talent to portray those characters.
Brennan is a bit confused as to the logistics of a fantasy football league (as well as the purpose). Booth and Dr. Mayer attempt to explain it to her, with Dr. Mayer even assuring Brennan that she would love it (because of the statistical aspect, presumably). However, Brennan is still perplexed because the teams do not technically exist. Booth informs his wife that players take it very seriously.
(Booth) “Oh, just like you and Agent Andy– he doesn’t exist, but you’re taking his death quite seriously.”
(Mayer) “You’re killing Agent Andy?! But he’s your husband.”
(Brennan) “No, he’s just a character.”
(Booth) “You know what I think? You wrote that book after I quit the FBI. You killed Andy when I quit my job.”
(Brennan) “No, that’s absurd. Also, I’d appreciate it if we didn’t bicker in front of Dr. Mayer.”
(Mayer) “Oh, I don’t mind. But we do have work to do.”
First off- in case you’re unfamiliar with what’s going on in this exchange, Brennan has decided to kill off Agent Andy in her latest novel. If you recall, it is not actually the first time Brennan has brought this idea up to Booth. On their honeymoon in Buenos Aires, she mentions to Booth that in her next book Andy could potentially die. Booth apparently did not take it too seriously, and said that the character would only become a saint if that occurred. But talking about killing a character and actually going through with it are very different scenarios (as we all well know). Booth takes the death of this character extraordinarily personally. After all, Andy is based on him (a fact which took Brennan years to admit).
The Jeffersonian team is assembled in the bone room, and Oliver notes that many of the victim’s bones are missing. Hodgins informs Brennan that he would like to go into the woods to track down the coy-wolves. “Normally I’m not one to endorse one of your ill-conceived expeditions. However, I need those bones.” Dr. Mayer adds that Hodgins should take Oliver with him since she, herself, is more than capable of handling the work in the lab. As I will be covering Oliver in the next few weeks, I will not get too deep into his issues here. But long story short, he seems to be having a bit of an erectile dysfunction problem. That is why he was so disappointed that another woman intern would be joining them on this case. Not because he cannot handle another lovely lady in the lab. But because it’s just a reminder of his…little issue. He is highly discouraged throughout this episode. It makes sense. Someone who is always so capable and confident would not necessarily take this sort of thing very gracefully. Oliver informs Dr. Mayer that he’s not really an outdoorsy type, and wouldn’t be an asset in the woods. But she insists that it will be good for “Mr. Happy.” I am going to pause here so I can rewind this line over and over again. Okay.
Hodgins (who already knows about Oliver’s issue) is duly impressed at Dr. Mayer’s observation.
“Wow. Do you miss anything?”
“I’m around a lot of older men with the same issue. After a while, you can practically smell it on a man.”
Oliver acquiesces, and agrees that a little exercise could be therapeutic. But that’s not quite what Dr. Mayer had in mind. “Forget exercise! What you need is to get out of your head and go wild.” Brennan gives Oliver her permission to leave with Hodgins. But before he steps out, she adds that “if it’s any consolation, Dr. Wells, I don’t smell anything different about you.” Oliver tells her that he is not surprised at her admission, since Dr. Mayer is more perceptive than she is. Poor Brennan is baffled. She and Dr. Mayer glance at each other for a few moments. Dr. Mayer has a giant smile on her face, and Brennan looks almost irritated. In the first half of this episode, she clearly feels a bit competitive with this woman. And who wouldn’t- she brilliant, hard-working, efficient, and perceptive. But so is Brennan. She is just not used to having anyone near her level of expertise. However, as Brennan mentions at the end of this episode: “Dr. Mayer has been working for two more years than Cam, Hodgins, Angela and myself combined.” Anyone working for that long is bound to have far more experience. It’s logical. And she will realize that. Later, at least.
Brennan’s feelings would carry over to a few scenes later when she and Cam are discussing the case. Brennan cannot seem to make any determinations about cause of death until the missing bones are retrieved. Cam asks if Brennan if she would like to enlist Dr. Mayer’s assistance “I’m currently making excellent progress without her. So… you know, besides, at her age, she could use the rest.” Brennan smirks at her own comment. But Cam has news for her- Dr.Mayer is actually in “Limbo” working at that very moment. Brennan is a bit taken aback at the implication that someone else could solve cases, which she could not. But Dr. Mayer was just implementing a more efficient system of cataloging. Honestly, this woman is probably Brennan in 50 years. Still working. Still efficient. Still sharp as ever. Brennan concedes that Dr. Mayer’s idea could be quite useful, but she is still visibly irked at the notion that there is someone more efficient than she. Cam catches wind of something, and asks Brennan if she is jealous. “No. No, I mean, I, what… I have no reason to be competitive with her, so… no.” I don’t think she’s convinced me or Cam of anything here, but how adorable is this woman when she tries (and fails) to lie? Before the women continue with the examination, Brennan tells Cam that they need Hodgins to return from his exploration in the woods to swab for particulate residue. But Cam is going to go tell Dr. Mayer, since she can also easily run the analysis. As Cam leaves the room, Brennan mumbles to herself “of course she can.” Oh sweet Brennan, how I love you. Maybe I’m biased, but I just find her display of jealousy incredibly precious. After all, we know it won’t last. She will soon see reason. Brennan is simply not accustomed to working with anyone who can keep up with her.
Some time later, a rejuvenated Oliver asks where Dr. Mayer is while on the platform with Brennan. Brennan informs him that they are perfectly capable of examining the bones without Dr. Mayer, which Oliver mistakes as Brennan lobbying to spend more time with him. For a genius, his hypothesis is a bit off.
After Booth apprehends a suspect, Brennan, Cam, and Dr. Mayer are examining the carpal bones. Brennan notes some puncture wounds, similar to those found earlier on the scapula. Dr. Mayer makes an observation about the stabs on the carpals, and subsequently identifies the type murder weapon. With the results from Hodgins’ swabs, Brennan is right behind her. The two-pronged weapon combined with trace of cured meat indicates that the killer is the man at the sandwich shop interviewed earlier in this episode. Brennan tells Dr. Mayer that she should be the one to call Booth, since she was the one who cracked the case. I told you the competitiveness would not last. At the end of the day, it’s about teamwork. And it’s about how each member of the team is vital in solving these cases. Dr. Mayer was a valuable asset here. Brennan recognizes that. And she should be the one to let the FBI know what they have found.
And now the last scene with Betty. Back in the bone room, Brennan and Dr. Mayer find themselves alone cataloging the remains from the case. Brennan admits that Dr. Mayer’s method is actually extremely efficient, and then proceeds to apologize to the woman. “Instead of gaining insight from your years of experience, I… I acted in a jealous manner.” This is another instance of character growth. As the Brennan from days past would never admit to such an irrational emotion. But there was a time many many years ago when she admits to Booth that she has experienced jealousy. She’s human. It’s bound to happen.
Brennan also wants to seek advice from the older scientist. She goes on to explain that Booth believes that she was going through something subconsciously when she killed off Agent Andy in her book. And that he feels perhaps she was actually angry with him. Dr. Mayer asks Brennan if that was the case. But Brennan assures her it was not. I am going to include the entire exchange here, because it really was just an incredibly lovely moment between these two impressive and brilliant women.
“When I wrote the book, we were both taking time off from work. It was a period of complete peace and quiet.”
“Oh! No wonder you lashed out.”
“What do you mean?”
“Come on. Gals like us can’t stand peace and quiet. We need to be challenged. That’s why I loved seeing you and Booth together.”
“But all you witnessed was us bickering.”
“Yeah, exactly. Because you pushed each other. That’s the heat you fell in love with. And that’s the heat that will keep you together. Anything else would be…”
“And when things get boring, that’s when you start killing characters. (slight dig at the television landscape???) Oh, come on, Dr. Brennan. What you and Booth have is special. Embrace the heat.”
Brennan’s smile here indicates that she is in total agreement with Dr. Mayer’s rather intuitive assessment. She tells her that it’s been an honor to work with her. And I have to believe that it wasn’t hard for Emily to deliver that line, as I know she was honored to work with Betty. They all were. And what an amazing guest spot this was. Really really wonderful.
I want to go back to this last scene scene for a moment. Dr. Mayer only just met Booth and Brennan. She had perhaps one meeting which included the both of them together. And she deduced in a few minutes what we all know after watching them for years- they are special. What this couple has is unparalleled, to say the least. They have this heat, this passion. It’s undeniable. And it’s quite apparent to onlookers as well. Brennan still does not always understand her own emotions. And she is certainly not one to subscribe to psychology, unless absolutely pertinent. But Dr. Mayer explains that this was not about being angry at Booth. When Brennan tells her that she wrote the book while they were on hiatus from work, she ruminates on that time as a period of complete peace. While idealistic, it’s just not the life best suited for Booth and Brennan. They do not want to constantly be in the face of danger by any means. And we already know that Booth treasures the “routine” they do have. But when every day is exactly the same at work and at home, that is not something they have ever really experienced. And it is also not something they desire. Both of them have had very eventful lives. Nothing has ever been routine. But when every day became the same as the day before, it’s really only natural that it would come out through Brennan’s writing. She does want to kill her husband (obviously), so we can rule that out. She loves him. And Agent Andy has been a staple in all of Brennan’s novels. A routine of sorts? So her killing of this fictional character was an attempt to at least alter something in their lives during this time of peace and predictability. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they will never regret this time they took to themselves. It was a tumultuous year, at best. So much had transpired. And if nothing else, it gave them the opportunity to think clearly. Take a breath. Booth continued his recovery, Brennan delivered Hank. They spent time with their newly expanded family and each other. And they ultimately came to the realization that they needed their work. Their work was part of who they are. It was ingrained in their identity- both as a couple and as individuals. But they never would have realized that without taking the time away. It was a productive period. But it just was not sustainable. At least not for two people of action, such as them. Again, more on this in future posts.
Since the very beginning of this show (11 years old this week!), bickering has been the standard with Booth and Brennan. Not arguing, bickering. There is a distinct difference, as Booth can attest to. And it definitely always keeps things stimulating. I have a hard time believing their relationship could EVER come close to stale or boring. These two people are just so far from that. But it’s that heat and that passion that attracted them to each other. They were both initially drawn to the other because of that heat. Their previous partners (romantic and otherwise) just could never quite measure up. Dr. Mayer has lived a few more years on this earth than either of them. And she’s had her fair share of romance. She knows that these two are destined to go the distance, so long as they don’t veer off their intended course. It’s in their nature to be passionate and exuberant. Brennan seems to accept her theory, likely because she agrees wholeheartedly with it. And the mystery behind Andy’s death is solved. And later, Brennan would tell Booth that she will be reconsidering that decision.
This was an episode to which I was looking forward since the announcement that Betty White would be guest starring. It wasn’t really a special episode in the usual sense of the word, though it was really special in my opinion. Not that I would expect anything less, but Betty really came to play. She was smart, sassy, animated, and fun. It was a brilliant guest spot. I don’t necessarily know if they will have the chance to bring her back, but I do recall the thank you letter she sent everyone. It was lovely. Because she is a lovely and grateful person. She was honored to have been asked to come on the show. And they were all more than honored to have her. And I was honored to watch!
Once again, I do not know what next week will bring. There are only a few interns remaining on my list! But that decision will be made a bit later. Hope everyone has a great week!