(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.”
“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?”
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)