I hadn’t planned to do a review of the Bones premiere, in part because reviews mostly baffle me. Are they supposed to be an analysis of the episode? To encourage people to watch – or not watch? Are they supposed to at least pretend to be somewhat impartial?
I’m guessing not, since one of the ones I read yesterday was so biased that my only explanation was that the reviewer wandered out to the kitchen for popcorn early on in the episode and never came back.
It annoyed me, so here’s my take on the episode, with the upfront qualifier that I’m a fan of the show. I like the premise, love the characters, and enjoy the tone and writing. That doesn’t mean I like every single thing they do, but…Fan here, with a capital F. I don’t think being a fan means you can’t see the problems when they exist, just as I don’t think not liking something means you’re impartial.
(I will note that I’m not in any way speaking for all fans, as it’s a given many people won’t agree with me on various points, nor is this one the only review written by a fan – not by a long shot. Two in particular that I find well worth reading, even though I don’t always agree with them, are Sarah’s over at http://www.givememyremote.com, and Heather’s at http://www.screenrant.com.)
Anyway…one of the things that struck me as I watched the episode was what a good job Hart and Stephen did with weaving together the pieces of Brennan’s story in a believable way. And make no mistake: it’s Brennan’s tale, the story of how she goes from fear that it’s over between them to her leap of faith.
Given how bad things are at the crime scene in the beginning, her fears are justified. Cam may be wrong about Booth’s cold feet, but she’s dead on that if something doesn’t happen, he’s going to lose Brennan. (Callback to Cam’s warning in Harbingers in the Fountain, yes?)
But slowly, things begin to get better, starting with him trying desperately to reassure her by telling her he loves her in the hotel room, that he’d die for her.
It doesn’t appear to have made a difference, as she rebuffs his efforts to get her into the field with him, but later, she does meet him at the diner for lunch. That scene is particularly pivotal, I think, for two reasons. The first is that he says to her, ‘we’re going to get through this.’
I don’t know if he’s said something along those lines before, suggesting that there’s something temporary about their current circumstances, but even while she rejects it (“I don’t even know what ‘this’ is.”) I think it gets her thought processes moving in a different direction.
We also have this line, which, lays out the problem for us in a different way:
“I know you want me to accept what you’re saying on faith, because you’re a man of faith. But I believe in patterns and sequences, and this sequence doesn’t end well unless something disrupts the pattern.”
Brennan’s all about evidence (well, she believes she is, at least, though she’s been putting faith in Booth since way back in S2) and at the moment, everything she sees is telling her it’s over.
Fortunately, she has people in her life to help her reinterpret the pattern into something unknown – a scientific construct she’s familiar with – rather than conclusively bad. Cam points out that Booth doesn’t exactly look like a happy guy, relieved to be moving on; Angela – currently not head cheerleader for Booth – tells her love is more than chemistry; and finally…Brennan meets Aldo.
I love Aldo. I wasn’t sure I would, because I have a natural distrust of characters dropping out of the sky nine seasons into a show with Answers, but something there between him and Booth just clicks. Maybe it’s the fact that, as a former priest with a bar called Paradise Lost, they’ve made him an interesting character in his own right (one of Hart’s strengths, in my opinion); maybe it’s just what he says and how he says it. I’ve spent the summer over-thinking Booth’s choices in respect to Pelant’s demand, and it never once occurred to me to wonder how Brennan would feel if Booth defied Pelant and five people died as a consequence.
I don’t know that what Aldo says to her about Booth always having a good reason for what he does, nor even that he wants to marry her more than she wants to marry him, would have been sufficient by themselves to make her reconsider the pattern she sees. But in combination with what the others said, it’s enough, and she takes that leap. In a scene reminiscent to me of the end of Partners in the Divorce, she’s waiting for him when he comes home, and they reconcile – but not before we see just how terrified he is, as he begs her for more time. (And if Brennan needed more evidence, that might do it.)
It’s a beautiful, powerful scene, one that left me wondering, going forward, how having that kind of faith placed in him will change Booth.
Because while this was predominantly Brennan’s story, there’s a story here for him as well, or part of one, involving what’s possibly the biggest moral dilemma we’ve seen anyone face on the show. Tomorrow, I’ll look at that.
But for now, I’ll end this piece with two random quotes from the episode, both of which I loved despite their not being particularly pivotal to the story:
“You are tin foil hat paranoid.” (Aldo)
“So this is our cause of death: a boo-boo.” (Hodgins)