Fan Review: The Teacher in the Books (Bones)

One of the reasons that Bones continues to be my number one show is that there are lot of things I love about it, and they’re not necessarily all on display at once – which is a complicated way of saying that I enjoyed this one just as much as last week’s even though they’ve got very different tones.

I’ve said elsewhere that I like watching heroes, by which I mean I enjoy watching decent, good-hearted, imperfect people trying to make a difference in the world. It’s an inescapable reality that the world sucks quite often, but I’d rather focus on the antidote, and that’s what the show gives me. Murders and mayhem, yes, but also people who are determined to combat it.

Here, the show doesn’t solve the problems of urban education; in fact, it acknowledges that there might not even be an answer. But it draws attention to the issues, as well as to one of the real-world solutions, and then shows our characters just…being who they are.

It reminds us that heroes aren’t always those who rush into burning buildings. Sometimes, they’re what we see here – everyday things that ordinary people can do to make a difference – even if we’re not hot FBI agents and genius forensic anthropologists. I like that, because it gives me hope for the world we live in.

First, there’s Caroline. I’ve been saying for years now that I think Patricia Belcher could absolutely carry a spin-off of the show built around her character. I’d watch the heck out of a series about a snarky, middle-aged Federal prosecutor with a soft heart and a low threshold for bullshit.

We learn more about her in this episode – both her background and how she spends her time, and such is Belcher’s ability to combine confidence with vulnerability that when she says to Marcellus and Keith, ‘you two aren’t going to make me waste my time, are you?’ my eyes well up. (If I were either of those young men, I’d pee myself before disappointing her.)

Next, there’s Booth. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about for the last year or so is what I call Booth’s ‘gut face.’ Remember the discussions about Brennan’s brain vs. Booth’s gut in the early episodes of the show? I’ve seen comments that that was lost somewhere along the line, because the show no longer explicitly references it. Not so! In nearly every episode, there’s a point where we see Booth studying a suspect, making up his mind whether or not he believes him or her.

My friends, I give you…The Gut Face:

gutface

If he believes someone is innocent, we seldom see them after this point – the show moves on to the clues that reveal the real killer; if he believes they’re guilty, the show continues to focus on building evidence that gets a confession.

With this case, it’s complicated because his gut is telling him that Keith is innocent (yay, Booth’s digestive tract!) but the evidence isn’t there.

That’s okay – that’s what his team is for. Aubrey convinces Marcellus to tell them the truth, and Brennan and the squints figure out who really did it.

I kind of love Aubrey. His mix of compassion and snark are right up my alley, and I see in him a younger, slightly off-center version of Booth. So that scene with Marcellus? One of my favorites all season with the new agent. You see Marcellus very slowly re-aligning his worldview to allow for justice and mercy, and that’s…one of those quiet heroic moments.

Other favorite scenes:

Booth and Brennan in the diner: 

This scene illustrates one of the things I love about their relationship, and that’s how they balance sometimes brutal honesty with building each other up.

She’s all excited at having ten followers on Twitter, and he bursts her bubble: “Ten followers? That is really…bad.” 

But he doesn’t leave her there. He points her to Jessica, who he thinks can help her get where he knows she’s now decided it’s important to be, and then, when she admits that ten is pretty pathetic, offers encouragement: “It’s better than nothing,” i.e., it’s a start.

They do this dance pretty regularly, and I think it’s one of the reasons their relationship works so well.

Booth and Aubrey in the SUV:

This scene, where Aubrey razzes Booth about being Andy Lister, is played for humor, but it struck me again while watching it that Aubrey might well have a different view of Booth and Brennan’s relationship than we (and the rest of the team) does. I can’t separate the now of watching them as a married couple from the earlier seasons. Everything that happens, I see within that framework.

Aubrey doesn’t have that context. Yes, he has Sweets’ files, but the reality is that for him, Booth and Brennan have always been together, have always been married.

That fascinates me, because it’s not a view of them I can share. I wonder – if someone started watching the show right now, but, for whatever reason, didn’t go back and watch the first nine seasons…would they see them differently than I do?

“So why didn’t he have sex with Dr. Reichs until the third novel? I mean, what kind of real man waits that long?”
“The situation was complicated. Sometimes, relationships take a while to develop.”

Ah, Booth. Master of the understatement.

Booth and Caroline:

I’ve always loved their relationship, but here, we see her faith in him made explicit…and rewarded. And the proposal scene is awesome:

BoothAndCaroline2

“You’re a good man, Seeley Booth. You sure you don’t want to dump that beautiful doctor you’ve got and run away with me?”
“Tell you what. Just give me a day to think about it, huh?”

The ‘you’re a good man’ comment is interesting, coming from someone other than Brennan. I know some have wondered if it was setting something up, given how much we’ve heard it, and it might be, but I think it’s more that the people who know him best know that on some level, he never ceases needing to hear it.

Brennan and Jessica:

Confession: When I first heard this episode was about Brennan joining Twitter, I was wary. I don’t think Brennan’s perfect and should never need to learn anything, but often, such stories have been played for humor in a way that caused me to squirm around with embarrassment for her, and I resent that.

This episode, though, doesn’t go that route. We see her having fun learning something new, and while she stumbles some as she does, it’s funny and endearing, and allows for great moments.  (Plus? The show setting up a Twitter account for her was brilliant and a lot of fun.)

lookhappytobeyou

Booth and Brennan, tag

Remember last week, when I commented on quiet, daily life scenes? That’s what this is for me. I know they make love, I know they kiss. While I don’t mind those scenes, this bit, of Booth making a romantic meal while they discuss Twitter and Christine’s school day tells me more about their ordinary life.

Also? I like that she’s willing to share the meal he cooks, and how loved he makes her feel, but that she won’t share more than that. She cherishes what her boundaries protect.

BottomsUP2

#BestHusbandEver

 

Bonus Quotes:

“How do I say anything of substance in 140 characters or less?”
“I don’t think tweets are meant to be profound or anything like that, unless they’re Flyers’ updates. That’s life and death.” (Brennan and Booth)

***

“Bookstores, unlike Twitter, are the hubs of true complex critical thought.”
“It’s abandoned.”
“That doesn’t help my argument.” (Brennan and Booth)

***

“That fresh new book smell? Ah, man. An e-book just does not have it.”
“Yeah, because who doesn’t like huffing a good book?” (Hodgins and Aubrey)

***

“This is fun, but we have a murder to solve that requires more than 140 characters.” (Cam)

***

“Too bad it would jeopardize the case, or I’d selfie with the skull.”
“It’s a noun, Dr. Brennan, not a verb.” (Brennan and Jessica)

***

“She didn’t tweet that much.”
“Now I like her even more.” (Aubrey and Caroline)

***

“This makes perfect sense.” (Brennan, who then leaves on a run.)
“Just once? I’d like her to tell us the big discovery before she runs out.” (Cam, to Jessica)

***

“Without challenges, life becomes dull.”
“That’s why living with you is never dull.”
“Are you saying I’m a challenge?”
“You’re definitely not easy.” (Brennan and Booth)

***

Real-world plug: There are programs doing what Caroline’s organization does in the episode. Teach for America is perhaps the best known, but this page offers others as well.

 

 

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17 thoughts on “Fan Review: The Teacher in the Books (Bones)

  1. I started watching from season 9 and had to go back and watch Booth and Brennan’s relationship unfold after I had already seen their wedding. I HAD to go back and watch I don’t think you can truly understand their relationship without seeing it from the beginning . I think that Aubrey is questioning it like I did. I couldn’t rest until I knew how they got to where they are now. I was pretty shocked when I realized how many seasons/years it took.

    P.S I miss Sweets

    • Oooh. Thanks for the feedback on that. I know I would have done the same thing, but wasn’t sure if there were others out there who could comment on it. Were you surprised in any way (in terms of seeing the wedding first, and then where they started?)

      I remember so well the waiting for them to get together that I never see them now (even years later) where I don’t get a thrill from scenes like the tag of this. I guess I never will. (I’m good with that.)

      (And I miss Sweets, too – very much. I like Aubrey a lot, but …oh, Sweets.)

      • Even though I knew they got together it was torture waiting for it! Same with Angela and Hodgins! I do like Aubrey but no one compares to Sweets!! He went from this annoying guy that had to not only a respected member of the team but also a close friend!

  2. I’m so sad. This season there have not been enough scenes with Brennan. She is not the lead anymore. I was just sick seeing Aubrey riding with Booth instead of Brennan. I miss B&B together investigating the crime scenes. It has almost become the Aubrey and Booth show. Where are the scenes with the great chemistry between Booth and Brennan? I have always watched the episodes over and over, but not anymore! I loved the first two episodes this season, but beyond them they have all been very disappointing. I do love the scenes with precious Christine. I hate to say this, but I’ve always thought Emily was so beautiful, but this season her hair is not good. If the last 10 episodes don’t get any better, then maybe an 11th season isn’t warranted. This pains me to say this…but it’s how I feel.

    • Exactly what I would have written. Missing B and B energy and scenes. It has become Booth and Aubrey Show. Big mistake.

  3. I loved this episode and especially loved the car scene with Booth and Aubrey. The conversation was great and really showed how well they are together and that little smile that Aubrey gave at the end of the convo was great. I love how this show changes and still shows us so many things that are new and that we can love.

    • I love B&B together, but who they are as a couple is influenced by who they are as individuals, and we see that in the other relationships. I enjoyed that conversation a great deal.

  4. I really enjoyed this episode. I teach public school and test scores really can cause a lot of issues between teachers so I could identify with the situation somewhat. There were a lot of good lines…deputy dog was my favorite, I think. I even liked the Brennan on twitter thing even though I am not fond of twitter myself. It was good to see her learn a new skill.

    I was a little confused about Angela jumping on Ms. Warren’s case. I’m not sure what that was supposed to accomplish.

    I finally figured out tonight that Aubrey reminds me a lot of Barney Fife. He’s a lot smarter than Barney but he has some of the same mannerisms. I’m still not crazy about him but I like him better than some others that have been on the show. I miss Sweets, too. It does seem like Booth and Aubrey are friendly so that’s a good development. I don’t think Booth and Brennan have to spend all of an investigation together. They did a lot more together in this episode than in some of the previous ones. I also like that the show can show things evolving as characters change and grow. In reality people do the same thing. I know we are not dealing with reality here, but I think one of the best things about Bones is that the characters seem to be almost like real people. They have flaws and quirks, and I like that.

    • Agreed on pretty much all points. I respect that some people look back on earlier seasons and say, “I miss that” but I think if the show had never changed in terms of new characters, shifting dynamics, etc., that it would be long off the air by now. (I know that not every agrees with that.)

      The fact that they’ve got more stories going on than just B&B, such as Caroline, Booth’s relationship with Aubrey, and Brennan’s relationship with Jessica, is what allows them to still be telling stories about B&B (or stories at all, actually.) (IMO.)

      As to the scene with Angela and Jessica…I had a couple of paragraphs written on that, and decided to cut them because the post already felt long to me, and they mostly boiled down to ‘I don’t get this.’ (As in…I don’t even have any theories about it. LOL.)

      I don’t mind criticizing the show, but my main criticism was ‘huh?’ and it just didn’t seem important enough to take up more space saying, ‘I don’t know what that means.’

  5. I also loved this episode. I think it struck a great balance with the Brennan Twitter storyline, the case and Caroline’s interest in it, and as usual the relationships between all our regulars.

    I think you hit on all my points for this episode. The only thing I might add is yes I was worried about Brennan on Twitter and how that might play out. I was not only pleased with the way Brennan was handled, but also the way Jessica was handled. I just loved the way she reacted to and with Brennan.

    I was just very pleased by all of the interactions between the main characters, the recurring characters, and the guest characters in this episode. Very pleased indeed. 🙂

    • They really did weave it together well, even to the link between the Twitter story line and the case, via the book store and Brennan finding her book in the clearance section. Oops. LOL.

      Another thing I liked from that scene was Booth’s defense of Hodgins to Aubrey. “He doesn’t usually warn us, so if he does…MOVE.”

  6. Teach for America is for kids who have NO intention of learning to teach and making it a career. Read the statistics; it’s a resume filler for a business job application.

    • I’m aware of the controversy surrounding TFA; that’s why I included the other page of alternatives. But in the end, I think letting people know that there are organizations out there making an effort (successful or not) is more important than not saying anything.
      (If no one tries to make a difference, I don’t see how anything can change.)

      If there’s an organization you think deserves to be highlighted, I’ll be happy to edit the post to include a link.

      • We have had TFA in our area and they did really well. I think that perhaps the idea is that people who wouldn’t normally consider teaching get to try it for a year or two. Of course, it does look good on the resume, and that was part of the plot for this episode. The woman who died was presented as a good teacher and I was pleased with that, being a teacher myself.

  7. I’ve always loved this ep. I think Jessica really came into her own in this episode. She still had her fun spirit, but that competitive nature of hers has started to settle now that she’s part of the Jeffersonian. When I go back and watch this, I notice that it’s Brennan’s pic with Jessica he is looking at when Caroline walks into the room. I think he still had that bit of a crush from 10.4 on Jessica.

    As for Aubrey’s curiosity about why in the books Kathy and Andy didn’t hook up until # 3? Just a theory, but if Jessica’s worries with Cam in 11.14 told me anything, it was that they not only didn’t have sex with each other, but perhaps neither of them had hooked up with anyone since at least 10.20. I find that funny and very telling.

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