Fan Review: The Puzzler in the Pit

Okay, maybe I’m imagining things. It wouldn’t be the first time.

I was reminded this morning of just how subjective everything is about how we view the show, but I feel like I’m seeing a theme this season, and whether or not it’s intentional on the writers’ part, I love it.

It’s this: we keep seeing Brennan being there for those she loves in an emotionally supportive way.  It’s not that we’ve not seen that in previous seasons, but all this season, she’s seemed more sure of herself when doing so.

She’s still Brennan. In every instance, from giving Cam what she needed to autopsy Sweets, to spending time with Daisy ‘listening’ to his bones, to sharing her past with Aubrey, she’s still 100% herself. But she’s reaching out, using who and what she is, to make the world okay for those she loves.

And here? We see that it works better when she is just herself. Although she thinks the New Age stuff is ignorant and foolish, it comes out as harsh when she tries to follow Angela’s instructions and say so, and confronted with that, both she and Daisy relax when she stops trying. But that still leads to Daisy saying this, which breaks my heart:

“I’m alone now. It’s just me and the baby. I have to find a way to make that work for me, to connect to him, without Lance here. I’m…doing the best I can.”

 

(That’s at least the third time this season Daisy has made me cry, if you’re counting.)

Brennan once worried about connecting with her child, so she knows, better than anyone, what Daisy is afraid of.

But she also knows that Daisy isn’t alone, and so do we, as we see all of them finding ways throughout the episode to reassure her. And Daisy hears it, and her confidence in them grows – until she banishes Valentina, and asks for Booth to be there. And, despite his discomfort, he comes.

Brennan has mastered the hairy wife eyeball.

Brennan has mastered the hairy wife eyeball.

Meanwhile, it’s in the labor room where we see Brennan come through for Daisy the strongest, not only by getting Booth to fall in line with what Daisy needs by giving him The Wife look, but also by using the case to distract her. She may feel her people skills are not well-developed, but her Daisy-skills are spot-on: for these women, discussing murder during labor isn’t inappropriate: it’s the best possible distraction and focal point.

I’ve been saying for several years now that Brennan is the world’s greatest authority on Booth, but he’s not the only one she knows that well. Over and over we’re seeing that, and I love it so hard, I can’t even tell you.

And so, while the whole team is there for Daisy, it’s Brennan who once again makes the most difference, simply by being herself. Has she changed? Yes. The woman who in the beginning had to be told to offer something of herself sat on a bar stool last week and told Aubrey, ‘my father was a criminal, too;’ and the woman who had to be coached by Angela in The Soldier on the Grave on how to comfort Booth (“Knowing when a simple touch is enough”) – that’s the woman who gives her hand to Daisy to squeeze.

BD1

“You can squeeze my hand. I did that when I was in labor, and I took great comfort from knowing that Booth was in pain, too.”

 

But…she’s still Brennan. And that’s what’s beautiful about it. The core of who she is – a rational, genius scientist – is the same, but we’ve seen her transformed into someone who is confident in being there for those she loves.

Because of Booth, of course. To paraphrase Aldo, ‘it’s always going to come down to Booth.’ Not solely – I think the rest of the team and Christine have also been instrumental in her growth – but, well, Booth. This season, I feel like we’re seeing not just their relationship, but what it means for others.

phone

And it’s not even just with Daisy: the woman who once shared Daisy’s fears about being unable to connect with her child is now reassuring Booth that he’ll be a good uncle.

Meanwhile, there’s more going on here. There’s also Booth and Aubrey. I spent some time yesterday over at Bonesology discussing why I don’t think the fact that Brennan’s not been in the field the last few eps means they’re no longer partners (short version: story reasons – here, for example, she couldn’t be both with Daisy in the lab and with Booth in the field) but I also had another thought a little while ago.

Last summer, they kept telling us that what happened at the end of season 9 would ‘change the shape of the show for a while,’ as well as making comments about what it means for Booth to have been betrayed by the government, and I wonder if those things are connected, and relevant to what we’re seeing.

I think Booth and Brennan are still partners. I think they’ll be partners five minutes after the show ends. And since I can point to story reasons in last few episodes for her not to have been in the field (and since she was in The Geek in the Guck), I don’t yet see in that what others do in terms of a big change there for the season.

But Booth and Aubrey? Maybe part of what we’re seeing is the working out of the consequences for Booth of the betrayal. It wasn’t Brennan who betrayed him, it was the FBI, and thus, somehow, it has to be the FBI which teaches him it’s okay to trust again. That’s not something she can do for him. But Aubrey can.

What Booth needed when he came back to the FBI was to know that someone there would have his back. And to me, the truest test of that kind of loyalty is when someone’s willing to protect you from yourself, even knowing you may be pissed at them – exactly what Aubrey did with that end run around him with the gambling.

Was it necessary? Maybe not. I don’t think Booth’s that close to falling off the wagon (though I did notice he was playing with his poker chip here, and seemed more animated about the site than we’ve seen him about gambling opportunities in the past.) But Aubrey doesn’t know that, and it doesn’t matter – he still stepped in to protect him, regardless of the consequences for himself. (“you can take me off the case, but I’m going to do the same thing again.”)

 

haveYourBack

Booth studies him for a while, and then smiles. Aubrey’s got his back, even at risk to himself, and maybe that’s part of the point of what we’re seeing this season.

Or maybe I just need more sleep.

And…best line, best scene, of the episode:

wholeFamily

“I knew your dad…really well.”

 

Bonus Quotes:

“Okay. Who is that woman, and what’s she done with Daisy?” (Cam)

***

“Your baby will communicate when he defecates or is hungry, and he’ll do so by crying, not by picking out clothing.” (Brennan)

***

“I told her it was like having a minivan drive out of you, no matter how many crystals you buy.” (Angela, on childbirth)

***

“Well is there anything I can do?”
“Maybe just keep telling her she’s ignorant, stuff like that?”
“Of course.”
“She has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, so I’m going to drive her. Maybe if I meet this doula, I’ll be able to understand why Daisy likes her so much.”
“Should I go now and tell her that she’s ignorant?”
“Maybe let that come a little more naturally?” (Brennan and Angela)

***

“So you have no idea who might have made the call.”
“It could have been anyone. Concierge, a guest at the hotel, a schmo off the streets.”
“So we could be looking for someone who speaks Yiddish.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“Schmo. It’s Yiddish for idiot, so I assume you’re saying we’re looking for a mentally challenged, Yiddish speaking-”
“Stop, okay, Bones? The killer doesn’t speak Yiddish.”
“How do you know?”
“I don’t. That’s not the point.”
“Then why did you bring it up?”
“I didn’t bring it up.”
“You said schmo.”
“Fine, I’ll never bring it up again. I promise.”
(Aubrey, joining them): “I think I might have found our guy.”
“Does he speak Yiddish?”
“What?” (Booth, Brennan, Aubrey)

***

“Science can only go so far, Dr. Hodgins…you think I’ve changed since Lance died, don’t you?”
“We all change. All the time. You know, that is science. It’s just I don’t want you to push us all away because you’re afraid of losing someone else.” (Daisy and Hodgins)

***

“Oh…oops.”
“My God, Daisy. your water just broke!”
“I’m sorry. I’ll clean it up.” (Daisy and Angela)

***

“Yelling will only make the baby feel unwanted. Visualize a forest.”
“Oh, for the love of God, shut up.” (Valentina and Cam)

***

“I’ve never seen this many spectators at a birth.”
“It’s because we’re like family, right?”
“Absolutely right, and as family, I should go in the waiting room.” (Booth and Daisy)

***

“Who here has the balls to argue with a pregnant woman?” (Daisy)

 

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14 thoughts on “Fan Review: The Puzzler in the Pit

  1. Lovely review. Can you believe the first time through on watching I missed that exchange you quoted between Hodgins and Daisy? When I watched again last night I loved that part so much. There was plenty to love in this episode.

    My first reaction to your theory on Booth and the FBI and trust issues and that’s why we’re seeing what we’re seeing with Aubrey, was, nah, you’re putting too much thought into this. But hmm. on the Aubrey going the extra mile, proving he has Booth’s back even when Booth doesn’t want him to have his back sounds very plausible. But still, nah. 😀

    I just watch the show, enjoy the story. I don’t analyze thing’s by parts. When I watch the episode I watch the whole episode, I don’t do it by pieces. I don’t look for a certain number of scenes for one character or another, or a combination of characters. I also don’t look for a certain length to those scenes. I just watch, enjoy the story. I especially love the character stories, so when we see the type of things you describe in this blog post, I’m a happy viewer. It’s what works for me and I’m not going to change that.

    Anyway, another great blog post ryn, about another great episode of a TV series I love. And can you believe we’re almost to 200 episodes? I really wasn’t expecting this when I started watching this show back in 2005. My shows very seldom last long enough for them to need to negotiate new contracts with the actors, so this is truly an amazing ride for me. I’m hoping it’ll continue for a while yet. 🙂

    • I often feel like I’m the kiss of death for shows: I watch and it gets canceled. So it’s something of a miracle to me that Bones is still going. *crosses fingers*

  2. I agree with your comments about this episode. More importantly for those who have noticed that Booth and Brennan are not participating as much in the field or with interrogations, I beleive you are correct about the reason. When Stephen Nathan gave spoilers before season 10 he did say we would see Booth and Brennan as a solid couple but solving crimes differently. Brennan has shown the most growth of all the characters and I attribute it to her love of Booth and her child and the security that has given her. I enjoy reading your thoughts.

    • Thanks! I’m enjoying this season very much, but I don’t think I’m as narrow about why I love it as many are (and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all.) I’m very much looking forward to what they do next.

  3. I am willing to consider your ideas about why Booth and Brennan are not working together so much but I still miss the dynamic between them. It was an enjoyable part of the show for me previously. I do remember that in season nine the agreement was made between them that he would be in the field and she would stay in the lab, which does make sense since field work can be dangerous and they have a child’s welfare to consider.

    Story wise only a few months have gone by, I guess…Daisy was noticeably pregnant when Booth got out of jail, and has now given birth, so maybe there is still some healing to be done by Booth.

    I am slightly irritated at what seems to be a push to make Aubrey more of a main character. I find him to be annoying. However, that’s not up to me since I don’t write for the show.

  4. I think the writers kind of brought the characters full circle from the first episode of this season. The end of one life to the beginning of a new one. From Booth not trusting anyone at the FBI to realizing that there is someone there that he can trust to have his back. It feels to me like they have finished telling that story and will probably move onto a new story arc after the 200th.

    Having B&B work the case together has always served as a distraction from what for me is the weakest part of the show, the cases. Not always. Sometimes the cases and the victim are compelling. But more often than not, I don’t find them to be in and of themselves. But when they serve as a reason to bring B&B together, then that doesn’t really matter to me. When they don’t, I find the show feels much more of a not very strong procedural. And IMO, that’s not a good thing. In that sense I think where B&B interact with each other does matter.

    I have really been enjoying this season. I’m a Booth fan first and foremost, and his character has had a lot of nice stuff this year. That’s more than enough for me to tune in. Booth does need to have someone other than Brennan. But I do think they are causing problems for themselves if they continue to only have B&B together at home or meeting for lunch. So I kind of hope that has been story driven and isn’t a permanent structural change driven by some other reason.

    • Confession: I don’t always pay that much attention to the cases. It’s not that they’re not interesting, or that I don’t appreciate how they put the pieces together (I do) but my favorite parts of the story are always the character and relationship pieces. Here, though, I did like this case, at least to the point of thinking that it reminded me some of Secret in the Soil, with the son realizing what had happened in the same way the sister did in the earlier one.

      As to B&B meeting only at the diner…that was true here, and I think it was one of the business-as-usual things they sacrificed for the Daisy story (which I loved, so it’s hard to complain.) How often has Booth not been in on the arrest? And yet he wasn’t here, so he could be in the delivery room.

      I’m still having a hard time seeing exactly what others are seeing in terms of B&B’s professional relationship. No, they weren’t together here, but last week, she was in both the field and the interrogation room, and the week before that, she was in on two interrogation scenes, even when there wasn’t anything for her to do in the first one.

      I don’t mean anything by that, beyond that it’s not a complete absence, and yet it feels like that’s what people are seeing in the season? (I.e., I’m not arguing that it’s normal, whatever that means, only that even while people are reacting to her lack of scenes with him, I’m watching the show, going, ‘but there she is?’)

      Either way, yes, it will be interesting to see what happens in the second half of the season.

  5. I would agree that part of the story arc has ended. I wonder how often we will see the character of Daisy now that the baby has been born. However, I wonder if the “mistrust at the FBI” arc is over. It caught me attention when Booth was talking to Stark on the phone at the beginning of the episode, but that may be just a red herring or overactive imagination on my part.

    I am also a fan of Booth, and usually I enjoy his moments a lot more than Brennan’s but now his scenes come with Aubrey, and that character grates on me for some reason. I think the scene where Aubrey is scolding Booth for being on the gambling web site bordered on disrespect, even if they were equals, but especially since Aubrey is a subordinate. I know why that scene was in the show but it still bugs me.

    This episode was okay but I didn’t like it as much as some of the others from this season. I prefer cases that have a little more depth, but I realize they can’t all be that way, and other people like episodes like this one.

    • I think one of the things they – mostly – do pretty well, though I don’t know how, is to satisfy a lot of people who watch for very different reasons: some for the case, some for B&B, some for Booth, some for Brennan, some for the other characters. I feel pretty fortunate that I enjoy all of those things to varying degrees, which means there’s nearly always something for me to love.

      Here? It was mostly Brennan, because I love watching her do something the Brennan we first met could not possibly have done.

      I do get that Aubrey is grating. I mostly like him, because I have a strong snarky side that responds to his sense of humor. He is definitely inappropriate at times, though, and even here, it felt like he was blundering around a lot while trying to do the right thing. But I’m willing to forgive him because of how they set it up: he’d never met Booth, but believed in him when no one else (save Sweets) did.

      As to the case…that’s another of those things that varies so much, it’s always interesting to see how people react to it. I often pay very little attention to the case, but I did like this one, liked that it kept turning in on itself and wound up with the death being so complicated in terms of the son’s emotions. It reminded me a bit of Secret in the Soil, which I liked (case-wise) for the same reasons.

  6. I thought the case itself was really sad, and I felt it almost got lost in the shuffle with everything else that was going on. The resolution was kind of a surprise, and the fracking part was a total red herring.

    I think what I am seeing in a lot of these episodes, and maybe what others are seeing, is a lack of meaningful personal dialog between either of the couples who are married. What made me want to watch this program more than CSI or Criminal Minds or other similar programs were the complex characters and interesting interpersonal relationships. I am missing that component in a lot of the season 10 episodes. The first two episodes of the season were great, and so was the episode about the human trafficking (can’t remember the name) but that extra “something special” has been absent in some of others. Maybe I was spoiled by previous seasons. I don’t mean a full blown love scene every week, but a little bit of “I love you” between them would go a long way toward making me feel like the connection still existed.

    I know there are a lot of reasons for this, and I am going to be patient, but it’s like missing old friends to me, and it makes me kind of sad. It’s silly to feel that way about fictional characters, but I do.

    Just my opinion……

    • The case was sad, which I rather liked. I wouldn’t want them to all be, because – perversely – part of what appeals to me about the show is the lighter touch. But if the cases are never really sad, the story loses its authenticity. (If it doesn’t matter that people are dying, why is what they do important?)

      As to the personal moments, I get that. I do. And I understand why it affects people, particularly those who do watch primarily for one thing. If that’s so, and that one thing seems absent, what’s there to enjoy?

      I’m fortunate in that respect that I like the show as a whole. While I’m primarily about the relationships, with B&B at the front, I enjoy the characters as individuals, so I enjoyed this for what it told me about Brennan the individual. But I agree there wasn’t much in the way of connection with Booth, at least not in the obvious sense.

      I think two things make a difference for me here, and I’m sharing them, not because I think they’re a solution for anyone else, but well, just to do so:

      The first is that I can take the long view. (Not so dissimilar from your being patient, it sounds like.) I don’t see how they can get everything that all seven million viewers or so want to see, in every episode. (Some want humor, some want angst; some want case focus, some want character; some want Booth stories, some want Brennan, etc., etc.)

      The first two eps of the season were heavily focused on B&B (among other things) and I loved that. The fact that there’s been less of it in an explicit fashion since that moment doesn’t change that that exists in their past, is true of their relationship. When they bicker in the diner over the word schmo (which I think was a deliberate call back to the bickering of the early seasons, which many people have said they miss) – that’s in the context, for me, of her blackmailing a judge to win his freedom.

      And the fact the show has always been that way for me means that I can trust them that coming up soon will be something similar.

      Second, I think I’m more capable of seeing their connection, the love between them, in unstated ways, in quieter moments. Not only the end of Lost Love was like that for me, but the end of Convention, when she’s giving her speech with her eyes locked on him. He was the only one in the room for her, and he was solely focused on her, and I didn’t need to hear the words ‘I love you’ to see it between them.

      But we’re all different, and I do know that what works for me in that respect isn’t the same for everyone. I’m with you, though, on feeling like they’re old friends, and missing them at times. (Just different reasons for that feeling, I think.) Not at all silly to feel deeply for fictional characters, IMO.

  7. B&B are why I watch this show. I miss them “together” in the field…finding clues and evidence “together.” I miss them “together” in the car. I miss those special looks that they used to give each other. This show was built on these two characters…the chemistry between the two of them “together.” I, for the life of me, why after nine years why this dynamic two, “together” has changed so much. If only we could see the old “bones” before it’s too late. Oh, by the way, Aubrey is so irritating.

  8. A little affection would go a long way for me. In the picture above, where they are looking at the baby, Brennan could have placed her hand on Booth’s shoulder. When she says he will be a good uncle, a little pat or peck on the cheek would add to it. I know that is a director’s choice, but it seems like an easy fix to me.

    As for special looks….to me the very best one was in Hole in the Heart: Booth gets the call that Broadsky was at the cemetery. He looks across the table to Brennan and in one look he lets her know that he has to go, it’s dangerous, and he loves her. Her look says she knows, she wants him to be careful, and she loves him too. 2 seconds of time was all it took to get that across, and it was so meaningful, but it can’t happen if they are not together somewhere very often. I know the episode may not always lend itself to that, but it would be a good thing to have occasionally.

    So I will be patient and see what happens. I hope we get a little bit of the old style after the hiatus. Anyway, I will keep watching because I am interested in what happens next.

    • I wanted to watch the scene you mention here, in THitH, before responding. I love that episode, but couldn’t clearly recall the look you’re talking about. (The one that I love in that one is the one at the end.) I see what you mean, though, and it is a good one.

      But that illustrates the point that we all respond differently to things, even to what we attach particular meaning to, doesn’t it? I think that’s what makes it fun.

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