Fan Review: The Big Beef at the Royal Diner (Bones)

No one who knows me, or who reads this blog, will be surprised that I loved this episode. Team moments FTW! Oh, so many feels, I don’t even know where to start.

But before I do, I want to say that from a season-plotting perspective, it was brilliantly done.  The show often has a lighter episode toward the end of the season, to balance whatever angst is coming, and I think this was that episode. But it did so while continuing to develop three major arcs (which I don’t think they’ve ever attempted before) and celebrating being the 206th episode of the series, and making some call backs to earlier episodes (always guaranteed to hit my happy button).  And it did all of that superbly. Well done, show.

Now, about those feels…

I’m a shipper. Booth and Brennan, and their relationship, is the center of the show for me. But I’m also all about the team (er, does that make me a ‘teamer,’ or perhaps for me, shipper just means ‘I ship everyone’?) because for me, Booth and Brennan, as individuals and as a couple, exist in the context of that ‘more than one kind of family’ they’re the center of.

Family dynamics fascinate me. (It’s the psych background. I can’t help it.) Sometimes we love people we’re not sure we like; sometimes we screw up and the waters are choppy for a while; sometimes we fall into habits with those closest to us, only occasionally surfacing to pay attention to those relationships.

I love watching all those moments, and this episode was full of them.

Hodgins and Angela:

I wasn’t one of the people who was desperate to see Hodgins reclaim his money, because I liked what we saw about both of them as a result of losing it. The world’s skewed value system prioritizes wealth above everything else, and from the very beginning, Hodgins has bucked that system.

We know that money doesn’t really guarantee happiness or a good life; Hodgins demonstrates that for us. He’s ‘all about dirt and Angela,’ and has remained so, happily, despite Pelant’s theft.

And now? He’s over-the-moon happy, but it’s still not about the money, but rather what the money represents: acknowledgment of his skills, science, and genius.  (In this way, he’s similar to Brennan – her wealth has always been less about the actual money and more that others were acknowledging her creative skills.)

ahHug

“It’s not like I’ve never been rich before.”
“But that was family money – this is the first time you’re rich because of something you did, alone.”

(Hodgins is one of my personal heroes – can you tell?)

But getting his money back isn’t only important for what it shows us about him and Angela, but also for what it tells us about Cam: that she doesn’t always enjoy her role as official-herder-of-cats.

All of them – Booth and Aubrey, too – are brilliant at what they do, and they’re 100% dedicated to catching killers. But while they respect the legal system, if push comes to shove, they’re going to follow their own moral codes first. And that willingness to do whatever it takes is just as much a reason for their success in stopping bad guys as their IQs/cop skills are.

Cam gets that, which is why she’s as patient as she is with Hodgins’ experiments; why she finds money from who-knows-what-line in the budget to pay for his toys. But she also understands that they can’t completely ignore the rules for a Federal crime lab. So, no, you can’t risk putting someone in front of the jury who’s using marijuana, for whatever the reason; you can’t use the Jeffersonian to smuggle drugs to Cuba, even to save lives.

But that means she’s often put in the role of the bad guy, and what struck me here is that neither Hodgins nor Angela have understood that it was just that: a role. That she’s the rule enforcer because someone has to be, not because she wants to be. Her loyalty isn’t to the Jeffersonian, no more than theirs is. Cam is there to stop bad guys, too. She just knows that to do that, they have to give at least occasional lip service to The Rules.

So given a choice between the Jeffersonian getting all that money, and her friends getting it? She’s thrilled that, for once, her efforts to keep them somewhere in the neighborhood of those rules paid off for people she cares about. Go, Cam.

(Can I just say, though, that if I have a nitpick with this episode, it’s that she called them colleagues rather than friends? Angela has been in Cam’s corner repeatedly, including making some of those end runs around the law to catch the woman who stole Cam’s identity – surely that bumps them from ‘colleagues’ to ‘friends’?)

Cam and Clark

Confession: Clark is my favorite squintern. I like all of them, but yeah, Clark’s my favorite. I love that he’s so reluctant to be a part of this family, and yet, when they need him, he’s there.  He’s like the brother who’s busy with his own stuff, but whom you can always, always count on in a pinch.

Here, it’s that Arastoo knows he can ask Clark to reassure Cam, and that Clark will do his best to do so. I love that so freaking much.

CamClark

Clark is damned good people, you all. (What the hell was Nora thinking?)

Cam and Brennan

But Clark can’t completely reassure her, because Cam can’t bring herself to tell him what she’s most afraid of: that maybe Arastoo didn’t ask her to go with him because she’s hesitating about marriage.  So who does she go to? Brennan, a woman who understands that ambivalence perfectly. Bonus? Cam knows Brennan will tell her the truth:

“Do you think…do you think Arastoo didn’t ask me to go to Iran with him because I’ve been so noncommittal about the whole marriage thing?”
“I imagine everyone is telling you he’ll be fine over there.”
“Yeah, but I can’t stop worrying.”
“Of course not. The truth is, Arastoo could be arrested in Iran, or even executed. If you were with him, you would have been in danger, too. He knew that.”
“Wow. Thanks for not holding back.”
“Arastoo loves you, Cam. Whether or not you marry him. That’s why he didn’t want you to go with him. I would have done the same thing.”
“So would I.”
“Then you should feel better.”
“I do. Yes. Thank you.”

I feel like jumping up and down and squealing. Look at that. Look at Brennan, who once lamented that her most meaningful relationships were with dead people, being the go-to person for knowing exactly what a friend needed to hear. Do you see it? She knows what’s happening (“I imagine everyone is telling you…”), and knows what Cam really needs to hear. That. Is. Awesome.

(Also? I love when Brennan calls her ‘Cam’ instead of Dr. Saroyan.)

Brennan and Clark:

Speaking of first names, I love this call back to The Ghost in the Killer, where she told him he should call her Temperance. That remains one of my favorite Brennan/Clark scenes, and it’s bothered me a bit that we’d not seen a follow-up to it – it felt like the show had just forgotten that that happened.  I should trust them more.

I’ve also been frustrated at times that Brennan and Clark’s relationship has been so competitive since he stopped being her intern because I wanted to see …this. Exactly what we got here, with the two of them sharing information. He no longer feels the need to prove himself to her, because he knows she trusts him; she no longer needs to compete with him in being the only one who can find the answers. They are ‘quite a team’ and both of them know and value it.

(And his helping her with the song for Christine? It was played for humor, but is also a reminder that Sweets wasn’t Christine’s only ‘honorary uncle.’)

Hodgins and Aubrey: 

This was a small moment, but I really loved the two of them together. I like this exchange a lot:

“In the field! It gives me a rush. It’s like I’m taking my own life into my hands.”
“I’m not sure you’re taking your life into your own hands. I mean, I’m armed, there are cops here.”
“Just saying, I’m not intimidated. Booth knows that.”
“Which is why he said, ‘you take him, Aubrey, I’ll stay here.'”

I like the reference to Booth and Hodgins’ relationship (though I suspect Booth sent Aubrey as much to keep a giddy experiment-prone Hodgins under control as to protect him), but mostly what struck me in this scene is that Aubrey is carrying some of the comic relief weight of the show.

There are no bad actors on Bones, and all of them have great timing and expressions that allow for a range of scenes from intensely dramatic to humorous. But Hodgins is often their go-to character for comic relief, and that’s understandable, because TJ does a phenomenal job with it. But allowing Aubrey to carry some of that weight (i.e., with the food fixation in this one) allows greater variety for all of them.

Booth and Brennan

Oh, Booth. You are mandibula deep in feces, my friend.

But that’s the way it should be – so far, they’re hitting every note with this story.

We don’t know how much time has passed for the characters since last week, but he’s gone from betting $200 on the Cardinals to his bookie knowing without being told to take winnings of $1500 and put it on something else. And this is on top of Booth’s having made enough to buy Brennan a necklace.

He’s winning, which is actually…very bad. It’s the hormonal rush hitting him when he wins that he’s addicted to, and the more wins he gets, the harder it is for reality to break through.

But it does, a bit, and that scene in her office shows us three things about this story and their relationship:

First, there’s enough guilt that he can no longer carry his GA token. We’ve seen him lie to Brennan and Aubrey, but he can’t completely lie to himself, and he’s too honorable to carry something he knows he doesn’t deserve. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to know this.

Second, he appears to be using some of the winnings to show Brennan he loves her, probably as a way of calming the guilt. Founded on the delusion that the gambling’s not wrong if he’s doing something good with the money, it’s doomed to fail, but honestly, the fact that he’s responding that way is reassuring – as is the scene at the end, in the diner.

Funny pancakes at breakfast, rapping together at the diner – they’re still spending time together as a family. I’ve known addicts who, when they fall, skip work and family obligations, avoid people they love, etc. Booth’s not doing that, and it matters.

For the record, I’m not trivializing the gambling – just the opposite, in fact. I’m pissed at him because I love the idea of him giving Brennan a ‘just because’ gift, of seeing this look on her face:

Br1

But the gift is tainted. He loves her – there’s no question of that. But the gift isn’t being offered solely out of love, but out of guilt, and that hurts my heart for her.

Still…all of this is showing us that the man she loves is still there. Just as he’s always been an addict, the addict is also still the man who loves her.

BrennanFace2

Third, Brennan knows. I’ve described her before as the world’s leading expert on Seeley Booth, and …she knows. Maybe not the particulars, maybe she’s hoping to be proven wrong, but oh, yes, she knows something’s off. And that, too, is a good thing, because when they come out of this? I think the fact that he couldn’t fool her will be another source of strength for him in the future.

 

 

“How does it look?
“Like I made the right choice.”
“It is quite exquisite.”
“I was talking about you. I made the right choice. I’m just so lucky to have you as my wife.”

BB1

You don’t yet know how lucky you are, Booth. But you will.

Bonus Quotes:

“My grandmother can move faster than you, and she’s been dead twenty years.” (Fat camp drill instructor)

***

“It’s one of the best shows on TV.”
“I’ve never seen it.”
“Seriously?”
“Seriously. If I want to watch a guy put down a side of ribs, two milkshakes, and a double cheeseburger in half an hour, I’ve got you.” (Aubrey and Booth)

***

“Don’t turn your nose up at sweat, our armpits have a story to tell.” (Hodgins to Cam)

***

“I want to compose an anatomically correct bone song for Christine, but songwriting is more difficult than I thought.”
“Well it would help if you were musically inclined.” (Brennan and Booth)

***

“I got the test results from the blood in the back of the van. It isn’t JoAnn’s, and it isn’t Chili’s, either.”
“Well it could still belong to the killer.”
“Not unless Chili was murdered by a double cheeseburger.” (Cam and Brennan)

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2 thoughts on “Fan Review: The Big Beef at the Royal Diner (Bones)

  1. Yep, characters and relationships. That’s what I love about this show, and I guess I’d have to agree with you, all the relation’ships’ qualify as ships I ship. 😛 The work relationships that have become friendships, the friendships that have developed into family-type relationships as well as the relationships that have progressed to marriage. They all are part of what makes me love this show.

    I also think all of those individual scenes this week were stellar, Brennan and Booth and Christine, Brennan and Booth, Brennan and Clark, Brennan and Cam, Cam and Clark, Cam and Angela and Hodgins, Angela and Hodgins, Hodgins and Aubrey, Aubrey and Booth, and on and on and on.

    I also especially loved that they included all of those story arcs they’ve started. I was so hoping that we’d get something of them included in the episodes between introduction and resolution. It makes me very happy that we have, even if some of those scenes are a bit heartbreaking. I’m also glad that they did it in a way that didn’t overpower the episode. 🙂

    Anyway, love your post on this episode.

  2. All the acting was exceptional this week, I think, but the scene you refer to when Booth gives Brennan the necklace was phenomenal. So many emotions were expressed with just slight changes of expression. My reaction to the end of that scene was that Booth knows he has been caught….he knows she knows something is up. Unfortunately for our characters he will probably try to hide things better instead of contacting his GA sponsor.

    I was also impressed on how all the story arcs were woven together so well. That’s the way life works…not just one story at a time.

    I am hoping the necklace will be able to serve as a symbol of Booth and Brennan working things out after this nasty bump in the road.

    I really liked this episode. Thanks for such a good recap of it.

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