Bones is back! *does cartwheels through the interwebs*
I’m a happy fangirl.
I suspect I say this most weeks, but this ep has everything I love about the show: team stuff, Booth and Brennan being Booth and Brennan, quirky suspects, subtle humor, and thoughtful moments that make me a bit weepy.
It’s more than that, though: a large part of the show’s appeal is that these characters are real people to me, or I love them as if they are. And I think the reason for that is because Bones has always allowed us to see who they are in the quiet, daily routines of life: loving, laughing, arguing, raising kids…and grieving for a lost friend.
I don’t even have the words for how much I love that. Most shows, when a character has been written off, seldom reference them again, because it’s hard to tell stories about someone who’s not there.
But that leads to what I’ll call a lack of authenticity in the characters. Someone they cared about dies, and within a week or two, they’re back to normal. I get why shows go that route, but real life does not. So Bones being willing to find ways to say, ‘yes, these characters are moving on, but they lost someone who was part of them, and it matters’…makes it easier for me to connect with them.
We’ve all lost people we love. Who doesn’t know the gut-punch of that first birthday after they’re gone?.
That kick in the stomach of realizing what the date is, is where the episode begins. One moment, Booth and Brennan are bickering – she’s comparing communion to a tea party with God, and he’s calling her ‘Dr. Logic,’ and the next, with one ping of his phone, one quiet, ‘Oh,’ from him, they’re plunged back into the reality that the man who was a brother to both of them is no longer there.
(Also, we learn that Booth is the kind of man who sets an alarm on his phone to remind himself to pick up doughnuts for a friend’s birthday. Not that it surprises me, but I kind of love that.)
It’s not only Booth and Brennan who loved Sweets, though, and that’s what the scene on the platform with Brennan, Hodgins, and Cam, gives us, which works for me on three separate levels:
First, we’re reminded of the bond that exists between Hodgins and Brennan. He knows her well enough to see that she’s uncharacteristically distracted, and to ask her about it:
“You all right, Dr. B? You look like something is bothering you.”
“I feel as if an imbalance of serotonin levels has affected my neurotransmitters …probably caused the by the fact that today is Sweets’ birthday.”
The second is not just that she tells him, but how.
Processing emotion still isn’t easy for her, which is why I think she distances herself from it by describing it in clinical terms – and the fact that it is a process is also indicated, I think, by her qualifying it, as if she’s not sure that what she’s feeling is due to grief over Sweets. But she still shares it with them.
It made me think of what Emily said in the recent phone conference with journalists:
From the beginning, Hart [Hanson], who originally created the show, and I talked from Season 1 about how the character would be changing and kind of taking down the walls that she’s built up. People change when somebody comes into their life who is important and meant to be there. A good match for you helps you be the best person you can be. She’s opened up emotionally over a period of time. She’s opened herself up as a result of Booth being involved in her life. It’s been a really lovely thing to explore, this character, in different ways. She’s still her same self, but she is able to be more vulnerable and open.
I love seeing that. She’s still her, but she’s also more than she was when we first met her.
Third, we have Hodgins’ and Cam’s responses. They’re both devastated, and together, they all try to work through their grief, renewed in light of the realization of just how young their friend was.
And then Cam says, “Yeah, but he made it to happy. And that’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?”
It’s one of those things we forget: that what your life was made of matters. It’s still a tragedy that Sweets died so young, that he’ll never meet his son, but…he died happy and loved, and that’s important.
There’s more going on than just Sweets’ birthday, though, there’s also a case, one involving a psychic. It’s no surprise, then, that Avalon appears, greeted with pleasure by Angela, and with somewhat less enthusiasm by everyone else…and that’s before they find out she’s not there about the dead psychic.
(Still, my favorite bit of humor from this episode is Avalon wandering around the victim’s apartment while Booth follows her, taking away the pillows she’s picking up.)
The psychic stuff leads to two conversations I love.
First, Cam shares with Angela that her grandmother believed in psychics, and had spent thousands of dollars visiting them after her grandfather died, hoping to talk to him one last time. She ends with this:
“You know what I hate the most? Knowing all she had to do was call me. We could have talked about him. Kept him alive together.”
If being happy matters, so does this: it’s our shared experiences, the marks we make on each other (to paraphrase Booth from an earlier episode) that gives our lives meaning, no matter how short or long they are – and it’s our loved ones sharing those memories that help us live on.
The second conversation is between Angela and Hodgins. To say that he in particular is not happy with Avalon is an understatement, and there’s tension between him and Angela over his rational, scientific rejection of her, to which Angela says:
“The impossible becomes reality all the time. Ideas, and memories, and love …you can’t hold those things in your hands, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist…so why not spirits? And why not Sweets? You don’t have to believe. I get it. But you don’t have to dismiss the possibility, either. No decent scientist would do that.”
I like this a great deal. First, because she’s not ramming it down his throat (“you don’t have to believe”) and second, because while I don’t agree with her on psychics, I do agree with her that scientists should have open minds – and so does Hodgins, apparently, who can only respond with “I love you.” (Which proves what a wise and smart man he is.)
Meanwhile, Booth is with Aubrey. He’s picked up the doughnuts, because it seemed weird not to, but now, standing there with them, he seems a little lost.
And Aubrey, bless him, gets that. One of the things I like about the way they did the beginning of the season is that Aubrey and Sweets worked together. While not friends, he knew him – enough, I think, to understand the relationship that existed between Booth and Sweets.
And thus this scene illustrates why I’m coming to like Aubrey so much: he acknowledges what Booth’s feeling (with that manly, all-purpose, ‘oh,’), lets him know that he understands why he bought the doughnuts, and then switches to practical mode, which I think Booth needed just as much: “It would also be wrong not to eat them.”
So Booth celebrates Sweets’ life with a man who’s becoming a friend.
(I’m wondering, though, if Booth’s memo for Aubrey’s birthday will just be, “buy all the food” – how does this man not weigh four hundred pounds?)
The case continues, which I quite liked for a number of reasons:
- The opening, with not only the body find but also the identification of the first suspect (the hapless, freaked out forest ranger) all happening off-screen. I like when they mix things up that way.
- How the victim’s father was written – one of the things that I never fail to appreciate about this show is how respectful it is to sincere faith.
- Aubrey playing with the male psychic was pretty funny.
- Romantic Booth, who understands the importance of trees carved with lovers’ initials.
- Compassionate Booth reacting to the distressed mother. Hiding the body was wrong, but people do all kinds of stupid things when they’re afraid for their families.
The one thing that only partially worked for me was Cam’s discovery that Fuentes is smuggling medicine into Cuba. In terms of Cam’s dilemma, it’s pretty much the same story we saw play out with Wendell and the medical marijuana, with the same response; but in terms of Fuentes…I like him more every time we see him.
I have a soft spot for heroes who live by their own code (“the law is wrong – these are my people, and they have suffered enough”) while not blaming others for the consequences of their actions (“We both know what you’ve got to do. I’m going to make it easy for you. It has been an honor.”)
It’s interesting, though, that I’m no longer bothered by Brennan’s disregard for the law. I was in The Low in the High, and here, I’m just not. I’m going to have to figure out why that is, but in the meantime, I love her proactive response, and I think it’s great that she went to Booth’s “CIA contact” – who I’m assuming is Danny. (All callbacks to earlier stories make me happy, so…)
Brennan treats the squinterns like her children (witness her mothering of Wendell, and the earlier comparison between Fuentes’ skull reconstruction and Christine’s puzzles) and, well, I just kind of adore her solution to the problem of the smuggled drugs – for all of them. Danny gets the meds to Cuba, Cam no longer has a moral dilemma, Fuentes still has a job…and she still has her intern.
Finally, with the case solved, Avalon tells Angela she’s now sure she was always there about Sweets, and that she needs to get into Sweets’ car.
I know I’m over-using the word ‘love’ here, so I’ll just say it makes me wildly happy that Angela knows Daisy is selling Sweets’ car that day. We may not see Daisy in every episode, but they’re all still very involved in her life, giving her the love and support she needs.
With that, we turn back to Christine’s imaginary friend, who’s having birthday cake and who wants Christine’s daddy to read a book to them. Not just any book, though, a special book: a love story.
Before they get into that, Angela and Avalon arrive, and …it’s time for tissues.
There’s so much to unpack in this scene. First, Sweets was a hobbit! (My fellow Tolkien fans will get that.) Second….his final gift to Booth and Brennan was their story, told as a love story, from his point of view. Am I the only one who wants to read that book?
Earlier this week, I described Booth and Brennan as being silly in love with each other, and they are. And now, someone who, as Avalon says, “really, really loved you a lot.” has gifted them with their love story. That’s wonderful…and way romantic to me.
And then there’s this:
Dedicated to Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth – the people who taught me that understanding, compassion, and love are not just notions in a book. My life means more because I know you.
Booth and Brennan were part of the why of his making it to happy – and that says a lot about what their lives mean.
“Dr. Fuentes, my three-year-old can complete a one hundred piece puzzle in less than an hour. I expect nothing less from you.” (Brennan)
“She’s trying to contact Justine.”
“Ooh, the dead person. Is that a local or a long-distance call?” (Angela and Cam, about Avalon)
“A bug autopsy?”
“Yeah. And one of them was murdered.” (Avalon and Hodgins)
“I kind of accidentally threw my mallet at her head.”
“You hit her right in the head.”
“I know. It’s hard to aim a hammer.” (the victim’s landlord, and Aubrey)
“I was raised with Cuban justice, which allows me to see the loopholes.” (Fuentes)
“Although next time, you should try to hone your covert skills.” (Cam, to Fuentes and Brennan)
“What am I going to do with all this cake that I’ve got? It’s going to go to waste now.”
“Daddy? The cake isn’t real.” (Booth and Christine)
“Who wants imaginary cake?”
“I’ll have a thin slice. I’m on a diet.” (Brennan and Avalon)