Fan Review: The Lance to the Heart

Bones is always first and foremost about the characters and relationships to me, but before I get into that, I have to give a shout-out to the writers about the case on this one. Not only did I not guess Durant was the killer/head of the conspiracy, I was actually shocked when it turned out to be him. Also? One of the things I never fail to appreciate, even if I don’t always say so, is how the clues fit together: everyone contributes something to the whole of putting the puzzle together, and that’s simply brilliant.

I commented last week that The Corpse in the Conspiracy began with Booth screwed up by betrayal and jail, and ended with him even more screwed up by his best friend’s murder, and that’s where this one begins: Booth’s rage, fed by grief and guilt.

It’s not that the Booth we know is completely absent. We see him when he says, ‘He was family,’ to Brennan, and again, when she leads Christine to him and we see that while they’re a parenting unit at that moment, it’s apparently Booth who’s going to find the words to explain death to their little girl.

But he’s still very messed up, particularly in his pursuit of vengeance rather than justice – something Sweets had noted in one of their last conversations. Booth has dedicated his life to the latter, to balancing the scales, and that’s lost now, eclipsed by a vengeance focused solely on making sure someone, anyone, pays.

That’s what we see in his single-minded focus on Sanderson. I’ve got some sympathy for him here, because I kept losing sight myself of the difference between catching Cooper’s killer and catching the head of the conspiracy who was orchestrating lots of murders, and Sanderson made sense as the latter. But as Brennan and Caroline kept noting, there was no evidence to back that up.

Something Sweets could have told Booth is that emotions are tricky things. Expressing them in a way that harms no one is healthy;  allowing them to control you can be soul-destroying. Booth is 100% justified in his rage, but in choosing to live in it, to feed it, he’s spiraling further and further away from the life he wants, away from the man he is. And he doesn’t care. He wants it over, wants it finished, wants someone to pay.

But that person? That person who doesn’t care about guilt or innocence, who’s willing to take a life without any evidence the man’s guilty? That’s not Booth. Last Tuesday, Natesmama talked in her Essentials post on The Man in the SUV about Booth requiring evidence, needing to know for certain he was about to kill the right person. This is not that Booth, this is not the man Brennan loves.

When he says to her, ‘you don’t need to know this,’ everything about their lives is balanced on a thin knife-edge: tip one way, and he kills someone who could be – and later is revealed to be – innocent, tip the other and continue rebuilding their lives. Brennan sees this, and does the only thing she can do: slaps him in the face with the full consequences of his choice. This isn’t Brennan threatening to take his daughter from him for some minor reason: he’s actively planning to kill a man they have no evidence is guilty. He can’t expect her to stay and watch him destroy his life, nor expect her to expose Christine to it.

For that moment, everything hangs in the balance. But because at heart he is the good man she knows him to be, he allows her to pull him back, choosing the life they’ve built, choosing to be the man he really is rather than the one his rage was making him into. And he does so completely, as the next time we see him, he’s back in his suit, reclaiming his identity.

Remember ‘the center must hold’? This is the center holding because Brennan won’t let it do anything else. And it’s not just Booth where we see that:

She finds Daisy sitting with Sweets’ bones, and, for the second week in a row, it’s a scene between the two of them that has me reaching for tissues. Daisy’s ‘please don’t go’ breaks my heart into pieces, and Brennan’s compassion heals it. She understands perfectly what Daisy needs from her, pulling on her gloves so they can, together, listen to the stories the bones tell them, celebrating Sweets’ history and life in the way only they can.



Cam, too, is floundering, and while she has to know she’s not doing anything wrong in planning for the funeral, she still looks to Brennan to affirm that, even as she looked to her last week for the strength to autopsy a friend. I love their relationship so hard, I can’t even tell you.

The scene in Founding Fathers with Booth and Aubrey is important, case-wise, due to Brennan’s ability to see an adult in the face of a child, but it also matters because we get to see Aubrey starting to understand not only her genius, but how she and Booth work together. (And am I the only one who sees in Booth’s ‘she’s always sure when she speaks’ a callback to the fight, when she said to him, ‘I always know what I’m saying’? Another way, I think, in which he’s affirming his confidence in her, not just in respect to the science, but also that she was right in having cleaned his clock the way she did.)

Finally, there’s the scene where the two of them put the pieces together in the FBI conference room. Yeah, Aubrey’s there, but this scene is mostly about the two of them turning to what Sweets taught them in order to find answers. The whole sequence, of  them trying to think like Sweets, followed by the leaps to religion, a holy place, the FBI, Hoover’s office, and finally to the Jeffersonian, is brilliantly written because it’s them, and it’s Sweets, and it’s a logical progression to the answer that will break the back of the conspiracy – all the while Aubrey learns more of them and how they do what they do.

And Booth smiles. 10x02BoothSmile

But even beyond being about Booth’s hitting bottom and Brennan pulling him back up, this episode is about the influence people have on us. We see it when Booth says to Stark he’s only there because of Sweets;  when Daisy reveals that Sweets had wanted to name the baby after Booth; when Booth and Brennan, working together, each call on what Sweets taught them in order to find the answers, and it’s there in the end, when Brennan says this:

“I do believe Sweets is still with us. Not in a religious sense, because the concept of God is merely a foolish attempt to explain the unexplainable. But in a real sense…he’s here. Sweets is a part of us. Our lives, who we all are, at this moment, have been shaped by our relationships with Sweets. But each of us is like a delicate equation, and Sweets was the variable without which we wouldn’t be who we are. I might not have married Booth, or had Christine. Daisy certainly wouldn’t be carrying his child. We all are who we are because we knew Sweets.”

In The Doctor in the Photo, Dr. Gadh, one of Lauren Eames’ co-workers, quoted T. S. Eliot: “I will show you fear in a handful of dust,” adding that we ‘don’t actually fear death: we fear that no one will notice our absence, that we will disappear without a trace.’

At the end, we want to know our lives have mattered, that the world is different, and hopefully better, because we were in it. And here, Brennan settles that, not only for Sweets, but for all of them, noting that “But I believe now that remembering Sweets, seeing what he left us, that love cannot be explained by science or religion. It’s beyond the mind, beyond reason. What I do know…loving Sweets, loving each other…that’s what makes life worthwhile.”


Rest in Peace, baby duck. You brought love, joy, and compassion into the lives of those who loved you, changing them forever.


“Good people…they leave marks on each other.” – Booth, The Science in the Physicist.


Bonus Quotes:

“Be nice to the Millennials. We’ll be controlling your Medicare soon.” – Aubrey


“Where did you get this car anyway, a British toddler?”
“Excuse me? This baby is a classic.”
“People think calling something a classic makes you forget that it’s junk.” (Aubrey and Hodgins)


“This might be the best day of my life.”  (Hodgins, on finding the files)


“You know, you tried to poison everything I love about this country. But you’re just a pathetic little man who’s going to die in prison, and you can’t control that. And that’s a promise.” (Booth, to Durant)


“Right now, I don’t need to know more than that. Which is embarrassing coming from an extremely intelligent fact-based person.” (Brennan)


6 thoughts on “Fan Review: The Lance to the Heart

  1. ryn I totally thought Booth’s comment about “she’s always sure when she speaks” was a call back to what she’d said in their earlier argument. I do think that fight was perfect too. Booth needed a real jolt to bring him back from that precipice he was about to jump from.

    Great job with the review, I love what you said here, and I loved this episode.

  2. *sighs* I REALLY wanted to like this ep, I truly did but so many of the characters actions and how they were written or not written really spoiled this ep for me.

    1) Is nobody finding it strange that not one of the squints has even had a direct conversation with Booth, on a personal level asking him how is dealing after getting out of jail?….it’s like Booth and them aren’t even in the same world anymore, there is no connection. Stephen Nathan says they are family, well they certainly aren’t showing it. Unless he means estranged family.

    2) The B&B fight just didn’t work for me….. we aren’t talking about a husband and wife fight here….we are talking about a man whose is suffering with PTSD and somebody else shouting screaming, threatening him to take his family away from him then chucking keys at him… last time I checked that was NOT how you deal with someone suffering from PTSD…Brennan was lucky that her actions didn’t make Booth even worse… I am really appalled at this.

    3) I can’t warm to Aubrey… he is just a serious of quirks…. he looks like Sweets and acts like Vincent and has the personality of a snarky child making inappropriate comments when a beloved team member just got brutally murdered……I don’t see the point of him at all…..Booth can do crime scenes, investigate, do the interrogations, the field work had done for YEARS, he certainly doesn’t need Aubrey’s help….all I can see is that Aubrey will actually dilute and weaken Booth’s role and position within the team…..mark my words by mid-season suddenly Booth won’t be able to do his job without Aubrey, Aubrey will slowly take over Booths scenes, because that is Stephen Nathans favorite thing to do to marginalise Booth in the work place to make way for characters, he did it when Sweets went from shrink to agent and Booth’s screen time and importance to the case got cut drastically, so much so people thought David was leaving Bones.

    4) I really wished that Booth had said something at the end to say goodbye to Sweets, with the exception of Daisy, Booth knew Sweets better than anyone ,was closer to him than anyone and it seems to me that this got ignored just so Brennan could make a long winded speech that really was more about her than actually who Sweets is and was

    5) Striping Sweets to bones was that really necessary?

    6) Putting the new guys name in the opening credits and replacing JFD position in the opening credits really was cold, couldn’t they had waited for a least one ep, and had a transition ep without Aubrey so we could adjust to Sweets not being apart of the team anymore ….. It’s too fast too soon…..and so damn cold

    • I suspect you don’t really want a response, but since it’s my blog, I’ll do so. 🙂 You’re right that it’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it, and this isn’t me saying you’re wrong, just noting why I don’t agree with you.

      1) I don’t see how there was time to show each one of them in a separate interaction with Booth, post-jail.

      2) I wonder how much you know about PTSD? As with all mental illnesses, it’s not one-size-fits-all. The person and the situation matters. Generally, though, preventing them from harming themselves or someone else is a priority. (Disclaimer: I do, in fact, have a degree in psychology, though I’m not practicing in the field.)

      I believe people are interpreting the scene differently according to their view of Booth (i.e., if you don’t believe he was going to do anything wrong, it’s hard to judge Brennan’s response fairly) but what I saw was that he was going to go kill Sanderson. He didn’t care that there was no evidence he was guilty, wasn’t interested in Brennan reasoning with him on that front – wasn’t interested in her opinion at all, actually.

      Someone needed to pay, regardless of whether they were guilty, and he’d decided it was Sanderson. He was going to go *murder* him. In cold blood. Not arrest him, kill him.

      Since he made it clear he wasn’t going to listen to anything Brennan said, she couldn’t reason with him. The only thing she could do, IMO, is just what she did: confront him with the consequences of his choice: you kill this man when there’s no evidence he’s guilty, and you’re sacrificing everything.

      3) Reading through all your comments, it sounds like you watch the show primarily for Booth. That’s fine. Some watch mostly for Brennan, or for another character. But to see other characters as diluting your favorite misses the point, I think, of the writing.

      Sure, they could have Booth, by himself, do all the investigating and interviews, but then we miss all the opportunities to learn about Booth as a result of those interactions with the others on the team. And what you’re saying about Aubrey isn’t new – people have been saying it for years about Sweets, which makes your comments about wanting the funeral to be focused on Booth rather ironic.

      Booth and Aubrey together will give us more stories about Booth.

      4) Booth wasn’t the only one who knew and loved Sweets. Brennan did, too – many of my favorite scenes with Sweets were actually between him and Brennan.

      Also, there’s the question of whether Booth’s the type of guy who’d be comfortable making the kind of speech you seem to have wanted. He’s always opened up the most with Brennan, in private, not in a public setting. And his love for the others, while present, is often masked in snark.

      (And your reference to Brennan’s speech being ‘long-winded/? Your Booth bias is showing.)

      5) Um…that’s what the show is about? It’s a forensic show, and what sets it apart is Brennan’s rare ability to learn critical things from victim’s bones.

      6) There are a number of responses to this, ranging from contracts and the way the story has been structured since day one to about six full time cast members, to the cost of doing new credits just for a single episode, to the fact that I think watching Booth deal with Aubrey is how they’re going to tell the story of Booth’s adjustment to not having Sweets around.

      It sounds to me like you wanted a different story than the one they’re telling. Based on what you said above, presumably one about Booth alone in the FBI, with no one to interact with there (Note: Caroline does not work for the FBI.) It’s always a problem when their story isn’t the one you want to see, but …it’s still their story. Me? I try to make a point of waiting to see what that story is before criticizing it.

  3. This was beautiful. You expressed my feelings about the episode so much better than I ever could.
    It was so well-written and acted superbly – in my opinion.

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