A Love Story (Bones Fan Review: The Sense in the Sacrifice)

(Note: I’m not making even an attempt to keep this one spoiler-free, so read at your own risk if you’ve not seen the episode.)

As a fan who’s way high up on the obsessed scale, I had a pretty good idea of the story they were telling. Based on scenes in The Future and the Past, and The Corpse on the Canopy, I thought we were going to see what it takes to push Booth into making a decision, on his own, to hunt someone down and kill them.

I was wrong, though, about how it would end, and I can’t tell you how pleased I am by that. I hoped we’d actually see Booth shoot him, sniper style, i.e., in what many fans were calling, ‘in cold blood.’ (Me? I agreed with Hodgins in the ‘is it cold blood or not’ conversation, back in The Future in the Past. And I think they could have told that story, and that it would have been a fully justified killing.)

This was better.

This was about the two of them, and their love and faith in each other, and damn, people…we have the best ‘ship in the history of ships. We just do. Because this story, before it was about Booth’s moral dilemma, or ending a serial killer, or their engagement, was about their love for one another.

It was also a team ep, and you know how I feel about those, and I’ll get to some team squeeing in a bit. (Team eps FTW!)

But first, here are the five moments where I think we see the truth of their relationship, and why this series is rocking into its ninth season with bells on:

1. The scene at the FBI: when Booth says, ‘That’s not possible’ in response to the doctor saying Brennan’s memory was playing tricks on her? That’s absolute confidence, born out of eight years of working together. He doesn’t have a clue what’s on those x-rays, or how many injuries there were. But he knows Brennan.

But that faith goes both ways: she’s not just telling him she believes he’s right about Flynn to make him feel better.  She knows him, believes in his ability to read people the way she reads bones.

And whoa, the pay-off to that scene? “The hell with the FBI.” He can’t respond to her faith and love in any other way than by kissing her senseless, and based on her rattled (and how often do we see Temperance Brennan rattled?) “…I have to go do …scientific things to catch a serial killer” reaction, he succeeded.

The fact that that scene, hot, sweet, and funny, works so well in the middle of a suspenseful and in many ways, sad, episode, is one of the reasons I love the show so much.

(Also? Look for the FBI guy in the lower’s left’s expression. It’s a total ‘I-won-the-office-pool-on-THAT’ smirk, before the camera cuts away.)

2. The scene in Limbo. Brennan wants to know why Booth doesn’t think the grenade is real, but she never doubts him. Not for a second.

3. Brennan’s scene with Aldo, which I have to include, just because it’s so amazing:

“I need to know what Booth is going to do.”
“So you can protect Pelant.”
“He’s more valuable alive than dead. That’s all.”
“It depends which Booth is there.”
“Seeley Booth…the one I love.”
“No, I mean like all of us, he has two sides to him. There’s one side that wants to save the world, and one side that wants to take care of the people he loves. Those two collide…that’s what you call a tortured soul.”
“There’s no such thing as a soul.”
“Says you. But Booth values nothing higher than his soul.
And yet…he’s willing to sacrifice his soul by killing Pelant.”
“Why?”
“For you, of course. It’s always going to come down to you.”

And there we have it in a nutshell, folks. Booth is always going to be about Brennan. Even when he doesn’t think he is, or doesn’t want to be.  (I spent the first half of S6 saying that, pretty much like a parrot. As certain as I was of where the show was going, though, I could not possibly have imagined the power of this scene.)

Did you catch what Aldo was saying, though? That there’s two sides to Booth: the one that wants to save the world, and the one that wants to take care of the people he loves? That’s what Pelant set up when he forced Booth to break the engagement. Aldo knows that, and Brennan doesn’t…and yet, on some level, she does, based on her “I thought it was something like that” response at the end.

4. The power plant conversation between Brennan and Pelant: This is her story, too, and, as usual, they’re representing two sides of the same coin: Booth, I think, is increasingly convinced that Pelant has to die in order to guarantee the end of his reign of terror (for the record, they convinced me of that at the end of The Future in the Past) but Brennan believes it’s better for him to be taken alive, in part for Booth’s sake, and in part because Pelant has succeeded in manipulating her into doubting herself.

But Booth is not the only one making a sacrifice. When Pelant asks her if she wants to know why he thinks the new serial killer is a woman, she passes up the opportunity for the answer (though we all know how much that matters to her)…why? To get an answer about Flynn, for Booth. Because knowing that Flynn didn’t betray them is important to Booth.

However much she wants to know what Pelant knows, and however much she wants to spare Booth killing him, she stands with Booth, all the way. Her ‘shoot him, Booth’ – which takes Pelant so much by surprise – makes complete sense to those of us who really know her, know them. There will never be a question in Booth’s mind about how Brennan views his actions there. She may not have wanted Pelant to die, but she’s unwavering in her belief that Booth is a good man, and tells him so.

5. The wedding proposal didn’t work for everyone, in part, I think, because it’s not a traditional proposal. But their situation isn’t typical. Booth’s not asking her to marry him as a progression of their relationship to the next level.  He’s putting it back to where it was prior to Pelant screwing with them.   Brennan’s proposal still stands for him, and he wants her to know that. And her response shows that she gets that, and the answer from both of them is unequivocable:

“If I ask you to marry me, will you say yes?”
“If i say yes, will we get married?”
“Yes.”

This is not only the story of their love for each other, though, no more than the entire show has been about that, and here are my top team moments:

1. Cam’s “I almost feel sorry for him. He killed someone who saved Booth’s life” comment, and Brennan’s agreement. They know him in a way that Pelant doesn’t, for all his arrogance in assuming he has them all pegged.

2. Caroline’s statement, “Pelant thinks he’s smarter than all of us, which might be true. But he’s not smarter than all of us put together.” She’s right. Throughout the course of the show, there have a been a few lines that came to represent the series as a whole, and this ep has two. The first is Aldo’s line, from above, and this is the second. There is nothing this team can’t do.  (And is why they don’t need Pelant to catch the new Big Bad: they have one another.)

3. Booth making a point of reassuring Sweets in Flynn’s apartment that his plan had been a good one

4. Booth’s almost-casual description of the team, when telling Aldo who knew about the plan: “People I trust with my life.”

5. The team watching the second proposal. This is a lovely reversal of Pelant seeing the first one. They can’t hear, so it doesn’t have the voyeuristic aspects of Pelant, but they know them well enough to know what’s going on.

Yes, yes, I know how impossibly long this review is, but, well, there’s a lot here for me to love. Are there problems with the episode?  Sure, and if I weren’t so much in love with the scenes I’ve highlighted here, I’d be downright irritated that they didn’t keep their oft-repeated promise to explain the clock in Booth and Brennan’s bedroom. I get that this was a long arc with a lot of threads, and that they couldn’t all be tied up. But still, that was a big one, if only because they kept saying it would be explained.

And yet..a little Aldo covers a lot of sins in my book.  I love this guy, so much, I want to fling myself at their feet and beg them to keep finding reasons for him to reappear.

On that note…favorite random quotes:

“Is it okay if I don’t have a drink?”
“No! You people are killing me here. This is a business.”
“Not a very good business.”
“Because people don’t buy drinks.” (Brennan and Aldo)

“No, well, yes, but mostly no.” (Sweets)

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8 thoughts on “A Love Story (Bones Fan Review: The Sense in the Sacrifice)

  1. Great stuff. I also am loving Aldo and wonder how he’ll fit in the rest of the season (hopefully!). And yes, the funny gag of B&B wanting to talk without drinking was great.

    What I loved about this episode (that i haven’t already said, haha) is that we got to see Booth in action, which is always so freaking hot, haha. But it’s interesting, and this episode really highlighted it for me, how his characteristic of being SO single minded on a task has been there. He wanted to solve the Pelant thing on his own, and even in this episode, we could tell he made an effort to at least try to listen to Sweets (like you mentioned above) and reassure him. At the same time, he never loses his focus. As a sniper, that focus was crucial, and that has changed a bit for him now, so it’s interesting to see the way he reconciles all of that.

    I’ve seen a few people say “Booth thinks they are still engaged, so he was just resetting them back and reinstating Brennan’s proposal”, and I like that idea, and I think it’s probably what the writers were going for, and I’m okay with it. I’m not sure the season premiere supports that theory (with Brennan saying “next time it’s your turn to propose to me”, etc), but again…I am getting over it. It’s frustrating for me, because I don’t want disappointed to be the word I feel toward it…and it I’m not. At the same time, I feel like the guy who did Jasper, guy hugs, Christmas tree, and many other things might have thought a “Hey, if I ask you, will you say yes” was a little weak sauce. Again, not saying he needed to get on one knee or pull out a ring or anything like that. But a “Bones, will you marry me” would have been good for me. Or just a little bit more urgency, I guess, since his issue with Pelant was more resolved. I get that I’m in the minority there, and I’m cool with that too. Then again, Brennan seemed cool with it, so what’s it to me, haha. And I’m holding out for some more …romantic isn’t even the word, but personal vows, I guess. But i’m not holding my breath either 🙂

    One thing that has bothered me all day is Brennan saying “Working with Booth has taught me to question myself”, which is just awful. I’m tired of the writers pushing Brennan down emotionally and mentally. And maybe that’s not their intent (although there are many supporting details)…but again, just wording it differently would have gone a long way. “Working with Booth has shown me the value of getting other opinions” is basically the same thing without discrediting herself. Well, now I’m getting fired up, so I’d better stop.

    But UNFFFFFFFFFF that kiss at the FBI. The hottest. AND I totally agree with you, that it was part of them both proving how much they believe in one another makes it even better.

    • Sarah, I get why that Brennan line irritated you and for me, it did too…but like you, the wording was what bothered me the most.

      Cin, this is a great review…you hit the points I would have and did a much better job.

      One thing, though…Dean Lopata tweeted this morning that the clock *will* be explained, so don’t worry about that part. 🙂

    • I get the feelings about the proposal and romance. I do. But what I keep coming back to is if Booth had gone all out with a romantic proposal, would that sort have felt like it was taking something away from Brennan’s proposal? Hers was so perfectly romantic for them (jerky!), I think it’s possible that if he’d gone for the ‘now it’s my turn’ it might have fed into comparisons?

      I do agree that the wording at the end of the premiere set up the expectation that he’d propose in some ‘Proposal with a Capital P’ way. I just don’t think it was necessary, not given how beautiful hers was. What was necessary, IMO, was for her to understand how very, very much he wants to marry her.

      I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone but me, but I think it’s part of why I’m okay with the way this went down. And I’m not sure that we’re not still going to get some very romantic moments of Booth over the next three weeks.

      (Also agree with the wording of Brennan’s ‘question myself’ comment. He’s taught her to question some of her assumptions (as she’s done him), but Pelant is the one causing her to question herself here, not Booth. Hmph.)

  2. Ryn, all the things you loved I loved too.

    I loved this episode. I really didn’t find fault with anything in it. I know there are things some people had real issues with but those things didn’t bother me, or were in no way an issue for me. You know where I work we have our annual reviews, and in the past my boss had said they had to list something where they could say improvement was needed, so he’d just come up with something. For me if I were to say there is something I didn’t like or wish were different I’d be doing that same thing, just saying something needed to be different because I thought I HAD to have something in the negative column. But I do understand that others might have things that are real issues for them, real disappointments, and I get that, It’s just those things weren’t a problem for me.

    On the proposal, I will say when it was happening I did think for a moment he was going to pull a ring out of his pocket, but still when it played out the way it did it worked for me. Completely. I’ve said elsewhere that when he said yes at the end it sounded to me exactly like the way he said yes in her original proposal. So kind of just picking up right where they were then. Also I was thinking Booth has already proposed marriage twice, plus proposed a life together with Brennan. I can see where he wouldn’t want this to be anything at all like those times. Might even be part of the reason he kept insisting Brennan would propose (aside from him wanting to let her know that as long as she was opposed to marriage he was content with the relationship they had), because he didn’t want a marriage proposal to her to be anything close to what he’d had previously. I really do feel this marriage proposal (or non-proposal depending on your point of view) was so them.

  3. I’ve read all the reviews for this episode, and I must admit yours is the best; reason being mostly are clinical. This has the basic story line but it is done with the heart and souls of these two characters. It reads like poetry, thank you for your insight.

  4. (I spent the first half of S6 saying that, pretty much like a parrot.)

    I never watched Bones on a regular until season 7, so me going back to netflix and watching all the eps helped. And I never got to talk to other fans about the show.

    In one of the episdoes someone had cooked a turkey (or chicken) and Hannah was there with Booth, Brennan and a few others. The look of pure pride and love he had on his face when he told Brennan, ‘Do your thing Bones!’ so Hannah could see how amazing she is.

    Then the polygamist episde at the end where Booth could give a rats ass where Hannah was because he was with Bones.

  5. I thought this was a great episode. The story was exciting and the interactions between the characters were great.
    I actually thought the proposal was quite romantic, in a way, because it seems like everything just overflowed out of Booth and it couldn’t be stopped. The thing he wanted most had been taken from him for a period of time, and when he realized he could have it again there was such a mixture of relief and happiness…..how could he have waited any longer to hear her say she would marry him? To me, that was just wonderful.

    • That’s one of my favorite scenes from all the seasons of the show. It’s so simple, and so them, at the same time. (And thus I agree that it’s romantic.) And yeah, he couldn’t wait a moment longer, which is lovely.

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