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'Bones' 9.14: 'You Cannot Drink Your Glass Away'

Paul Levinson Paul Levinson
January 24th, 2014 11:37pm EST

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The most profound line in Bones 9.14 tonight comes from a chess mentor who tells Sweets: "You cannot drink your glass away."  The mentor says it's supposed to be an old Russian saying.  I have no idea if it is - nothing comes up when you Google it, except a page in which the word "glass" does not even appear.  But it's a great saying, I think, anyway, because it embodies Bertrand Russell's Theory of Logical Types, which, among other things, helps us understand that a container is different from things it contains.   A glass contains liquid, and that's what we drink away or consume, not the glass.  Similar to a garbage can, which contains stuff that we want throw out, but not the can itself.   Anyway, Bertrand Russell, were he still alive, would have liked that line in tonight's Bones, and so would have a few Greek philosophers, too.  (And if you're interested in garbage cans and theory of logical types, you might enjoy this little essay.)

As it is, Sweets is the most contemplative in tonight's show.  His reentry into the world of chess - his affinity for chess being the glass that he cannot drink away - goes a big way to helping solve the case. That solution, in turn, harkens to another ancient Greek theme - the Oedipal complex, or a son's passion for his mother.   The killer of the chess master turns out to have a fatal weakness - he doesn't want to sacrifice his queen, which in this case turns out to be not only the piece on the board, but the son's mother, who might well have left the son in favor of the master, at least in the son's psycho vision.

So although the lab work made its contribution in tonight's episode with Bones and the assist of the droll Canadian intern, the real star of the plot was human psychology, the Greek tragic kind, and well analyzed by Sweets.

The other element worthy of note is Cam being selected as "outstanding woman of science" - an obvious and frankly absurd slight of Bones, who's understandably annoyed.  Cam, to her credit, is sensitive about this, while Angela, not to her credit, thinks Bones just has to accept that these things happen.  And Booth's opinion is much like Angela's.   I know - that's the pc thing to do.  I know an editor of a magazine who withdrew himself from an award competition, because he had already won so many times.   But what's the logic of that?  Give the award to second-best person?   In the end, it all works out sort of ok on this episode, and there's a good laugh involved, but I would have preferred a resolution in which Bones got the award, period.

Because genius such as the kind Bones possesses deserves to be recognized always and not drunk away in a toast to collegiality.   Hmm, did Bertrand Russell or the ancient Greeks have a theory about that?

Photo Credits: Fox Broadcasting