Season ten has been over for a while now – in fact, the cast comes back on Monday to begin filming season eleven (whoo-hoo!) – but I’m not quite ready to leave it behind. Even before the finale aired, I was reflecting about the season as a whole, and then I got distracted by the Bonesology fic challenge (which, if you’re reading, I’ll be getting back to, pronto), and then June turned into July, and now July has turned into August, and I’ve still got that season ten reflection post waiting to written.
This isn’t that post. Rather, it’s a cheat, where instead of thinking about the season as a narrative whole, I simply made a list of everything I loved about it.
And then I cut it in half, because I was afraid there might be a word limit on WordPress, after all, and I didn’t want to blow up the site. (True story.)
I loved this season a lot. (Which won’t be news to anyone reading my blog, but yeah, in case you’re wondering – long post ahead.)
In fact, I nearly scrapped this whole thing because I was having such a hard time keeping the word count somewhere in the neighborhood of reasonable, but really, isn’t that the point of a blog like this? Wallowing in what I love? (Yes.)
So here we go – my favorite moments from season ten. There’s not a chance in the world that I could rank them, so I’m just going in order:
The Conspiracy in the Corpse:
Brennan blackmails the prosecutor to secure Booth’s release:
There’s something deeply satisfying to me in watching her kick ass and take names in this scene. I’ve written at some length about the strength we see from her, all season, and it begins here. She has had enough, and if all these people understand is blackmail, that’s what she’ll give them.
Booth leaves jail:
Here, Brennan’s strength is showcased in the context of Booth’s brokenness. There’s only so much a human being can take, and he’s at that point, even before Sweets dies. There’s an uncertainty to him when he steps out the door and into her hug that I love, not because I enjoy seeing him fragile (which is the word that comes to mind) but because …he has her.
Brennan makes love to Booth:
The theme continues here. They both want to be together in that way, but he’s so physically damaged, so unsteady. And there she is, gently taking the initiative with, “I won’t hurt you.” It’s a beautiful, intimate scene.
This is not only my favorite scene from the episode – it’s one of my favorite moments from all the seasons of the show:
“I don’t know if I can do this to him.”
“You can. This is not Sweets. This is a set of remains that will give us the man who killed Sweets.” (Cam and Brennan)
Brennan’s still being strong. But it’s not because she’s impervious to hurt – we see that in the hand clasp with Booth at the beginning, where both of them are drawing strength from one another, and we see it again in the tears she’s fighting when she responds to Cam. But despite the grief, she draws on all she is, for all of them, from giving Daisy what she needs, to giving Cam the strength to do the impossible.
The Lance to the Heart
Daisy and Brennan with Sweets’ bones
This scene touches me deeply, first because we see another facet of Brennan’s growth in her quick understanding not only of what Daisy needs, but also that she’s the only person who can walk through it with her. No one else understands bones the way these two do, so together, they listen to what a man they both loved has to say to them in a private, shared goodbye.
But I also like what it sets up for the rest of the season in terms of their relationship. Daisy has always looked up to Brennan, as much outside the lab as in it, and here, Brennan begins truly stepping up to that, helping the young woman navigate the unbearable. It’s a theme they return to a number of times.
Finding the Files
This is another scene that’s on my list of favorite moments from all the seasons, because of what it shows us about Booth and Brennan’s work relationship.
I’ve realized this year that I see their partnership differently than many do. For me, they’re co-leaders of the team, both in the job sense and the psychological sense: Brennan is head of the lab contingent, (never mind that Cam is technically the boss), while Booth is head of the group at the FBI (Sweets, Aubrey, Caroline, other agents we’ve seen at times.)
It’s Booth and Brennan, though, where all that comes together, and that’s why, for me, their partnership is as much about them sitting in the diner putting pieces together as when they’re in the interrogation room together. It’s their unique relationship and understanding of one another that allows them to take what they get from their respective parts of the team and find the answers.
And this scene illustrates that for me. Aubrey is there, and contributing, but when it comes down to it, it’s the two of them, using their bond and who they are, plus everything they’ve learned from the others (including Sweets, which I love) to race to the finish.
The Corpse at the Convention:
I liked this episode for many reasons, including what it showed us about how Booth and Brennan support one another in their differences. But it was scenes involving Booth and friendship that stuck with me.
Hodgins, Booth, and Aubrey, Interrogation
Hodgins couldn’t care less what Aubrey thinks, but needs to know that Booth believes in him; Booth, who never questions his innocence, nevertheless allows Aubrey to run with the questioning to satisfy the DOJ – but only to a point. He’s just spent three months in jail for something he didn’t do, and there are limits to what he’s willing to let someone in his family endure in a similar way, never mind the DOJ.
Despite their differences, we see clearly here the bond that exists between them, what matters to both of them, and when, and how, Booth will step in to protect those he cares about, even from something as mild as an Aubrey questioning.
Booth and Wendell
One of the great things to me about being so many seasons into the show is that we’re getting payoffs and seeing relationships developed that the show really didn’t have the time for years ago. Booth and Wendell have been friends outside of the job since S4, but it’s only been the last two seasons that we’ve seen what they mean to one another, in Wendell’s cancer fight.
I love that, because I not only love Booth and Brennan together, I love them as individual characters. And seeing what he’s like as a guy friend (particularly in the older-brother role) makes me stupid happy.
The Lost Love in the Foreign Land
This is one of my favorite tag scenes of Booth and Brennan, period. While we know that what they do affects them, here we see them processing what for both of them is a very personal case – but in slightly different ways.
First, there’s this exchange:
“Don’t ever let me take any of this for granted, Bones – how lucky we are.”
It’s a forward-facing comment – he’s looking at the future, aware of how easy it could be to lose sight of how fortunate they are. And she responds by promising not to let him, a promise she kept when his addiction threatened everything they hold dear.
Meanwhile, Brennan is looking backwards, realizing how close she came to Min-Yung and Sung’s fate, of missing out on that life Booth doesn’t want to ever take for granted.
There are a lot of ways to say, “I love you” and this whole scene is just that: the two of them reflecting on what they have together and how much it means. It ends with them dancing, which seems to be their go-to way of comforting one another, now that they’re a couple. It’s a beautiful, poignant moment.
The Puzzler in the Pit
Baby Lance’s Arrival
A few weeks ago, it finally occurred to me that I’ve approached the team-as-family theme on the show all wrong: instead of sitting back and saying, ‘okay, what kind of family is this? How does it work? What does it mean for them to be a family?’ I’ve brought my view of what I wanted family to mean into the mix and then evaluated the show based on how well they met my expectations.
I’m still working out what that means, particularly in respect to Cam, but generally, it’s given me more to ponder, which is never a bad thing.
But this episode, and this scene in particular? It hits every note for me. My heart breaks for Daisy, facing something as important and momentous as the birth of their son without Sweets, and all the family in the world won’t fix that. But we have to deal with what life gives us, and that’s always easier with family supporting us.
The 200th in the 10th
This is one of two episodes from the season where I finally threw up my hands and said, ‘oh, the whole darn thing is a favorite.’
As I said at the time, the point is that fate always wins, and that in any time, any place, Booth and Brennan would have found one another. Given that, I love the opening and closing scenes in particular, but also…Hodgins and Clark. And then there’s that airplane scene, the quality of which continues to astonish me given it’s part of a procedural. And then there’s…oh, never mind. The whole thing is a favorite moment.
The Psychic in the Soup
Brennan, Cam & Hodgins
Bones is a weird mix of crime procedural, romance, drama and comedy, a ‘procedural romantic dramedy’, if you will, intended primarily to entertain. Certainly, millions of people watch it every week, laugh, go ‘ew’ or ‘aw,’ and then go on to whatever comes next in their lives. But fairly frequently, the show sneaks in words of wisdom (last summer I highlighted some of them), things which, if we pay attention, can make us reflect a bit about real life.
This is one of those times, when Cam’s ‘he made it to happy’ asks us to stop for a moment and remember that how we live is just as important, (maybe more so) than how long we live. We’re all here for a finite amount of time, and for many millions of us, that winds up being shorter than it should have been, due to disease, accident, or the acts of others.
We can’t control that, but living in a way that we ‘make it to happy’ – whatever that means for us as individuals – is important.
My favorite part of this scene is actually Christine. She has a view of Booth and Brennan that no one else has – not they themselves, not their friends and family, not even the audience. She’s living with them, the product of that love and yet separate from it.
She’s growing up in the middle of a great romance, and it’s pretty clear that she’s aware of that and enjoys it.
Also? While I think there are different ways of interpreting the scene, the most straightforward one, in my opinion, is that Sweets, or rather his ghost, is Christine’s imaginary friend, and that Avalon is fully aware of that – the same Avalon who’s receiving visions about ‘drive thumbs’ in time to rescue a thumb drive with Sweets’ gift to Booth and Brennan on it.
It’s not the first time the show has touched on the supernatural in a light way, leaving the ultimate interpretation up to the audience, and it’s why I’m content to wait and see what they have in mind for the Sleepy Hollow crossover.
The Teacher in the Books
Caroline and the boys
This scene, of a successful, determined middle-aged black woman giving two young black males a chance for different lives continues to move me. If I pay attention to only what the news tells me, there is no hope at all for guys like Keith and Marcellus. But I’m enough of an optimist (or distrustful enough of the media’s bias toward despair, at least) to believe that there is hope, and to think that being reminded of that in fiction is a good thing.
Also, I adore Caroline.
The Big Beef at the Royal Diner
Cam & Clark (Arastoo)
I love Clark. Most days he’s my favorite squintern, and I think that’s because he was so reluctant to get involved in these peoples’ lives, that he always really just wanted to be their colleague. And yet, somehow, he got sucked into the family, anyway.
He’d do anything for them, however gruff he can be, from helping bring Brennan home in The Future in the Past (despite believing it would mean the end of his full-time job) to helping her with a song for Christine, to here, when, at Arastoo’s request, he steps in to comfort and reassure Cam.
Brennan & Clark, first names
This was a pay-off moment for me, and one that reminded me I have to be patient with the show. In real life, transitioning from teacher-student to friends can be awkward, so it makes sense that they might not have gone directly from the conversation in The Ghost in the Killer where she says he should call her Temperance, to actually doing so. I’ve often been frustrated by the show because they’d do something and then seemingly forget they’d done it, and now, I think, well, no. It was only that change is slow in real life, and the show honored that.
The Murder in the Middle East
As painful as this episode is in some ways, to me, it’s one of the best of the season. I said when it aired that I thought the way they took the time to show that Booth was still a good man was brilliant, both in terms of emphasizing what they would be fighting for, and why, as well as encouraging the audience not to lose faith in him.
It also sets the tone for the rest of the arc, with Booth’s comment about ‘our job is to show compassion and mercy’ – it’s a biblical concept, actually: the New Testament teaches us that we forgive because we’ve been forgiven; in the gambling arc, we see that a compassionate and merciful man receives that same compassion and mercy when he falls.
Also? I still love Aubrey’s “It is if I can help.” Stepping up when someone needs you, just because you can, is no less heroic than Booth’s flat ‘end of discussion, I’m going with you’ response to Cam.
The Woman in the Whirlpool
Booth’s interrogation of Courtney, the victim’s daughter, is one of my favorite Booth scenes, ever. We’ve seen him reassure Aubrey before – and Courtney – that what happened is not their fault; he’s hardwired to sympathize with the loved ones who are harmed by addiction, and that, I think, is what finally allows him to see what he’s doing to Brennan.
But that moment when he sees Brennan in the heartbroken young woman across from him? It wouldn’t be possible if he weren’t the good man we know him to be. And because he is, it’s a breathtakingly beautiful scene, and one Boreanaz absolutely nails.
Aubrey and Jessica, The Founding Fathers
I like the two of them together much more than I expected to, but what makes this one of my favorite scenes from the season is his calm confidence about Booth and Brennan, born out of what he’s seen, and what Sweets said. That their romance is founded on a deep, authentic friendship is what I’ve always loved most about them, and having the show explicitly acknowledge that thrills me.
The Life in the Light
Booth’s a good dad, one who enjoys spending time with his kids (in that sense, the scene reminds me a little of the opening scene with Parker in The Finger in the Nest). But what I particularly love about this is not only that the scene suggests this kind of play is normal for them, but also that keeping up that normal for her is a priority, even when he’s clawing his way back from the relapse. It’s not that we don’t know he’s a good dad, or that he loves her, but seeing it again emphasized what was at stake in the battle he was waging with himself, as well as what it means, exactly, for him to be a good man despite the gambling.
Part of why I loved the conversation between Aubrey and Jessica at the Founding Fathers so much is that Booth and Brennan’s relationship has always been about more than just the sexual tension between them, resolved or otherwise. Their bond is founded on friendship, respect, affection and sheer fun: they like each other, despite their differences. They enjoy spending time together.
With overtones of a couple just beginning their dating relationship, this re-confirmation of that dynamic actually serves as more proof that Aubrey was right. They will make it, because no, they’re never going to lose that delight in each other.
Faith in you
We’ve seen their relationship tested before, but this is different. Unlike Pelant, or the conspiracy, which were external threats, Booth’s gambling relapse, as part of him, is part of them. It’s internal to them as a couple, and therefore, a bigger threat. They’re never going to wholly be outside its shadow. (Granted, they never were, but now they’ve come face to face with that reality.)
Life with an addict is complicated. Booth didn’t just wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll gamble today,’ but rather, his relapse was a response to a series of traumas, and he fought the good fight against it for a long time before falling. Brennan knows all of that, and it matters. But she also knows that ultimately, he chose to give in, multiple times, and then made a conscious decision to lie about it.
To ignore the trauma that led to his relapse isn’t fair to him, because his addiction is a disease, one he beat for ten years. But to emphasize the circumstances rather than his choices lessens the man he is. He’s either strong enough to win over it, or he isn’t. To emphasize the power of the addiction over his strength of character wouldn’t have done him any favors in the long run, and she knew it.
So Brennan does neither. She doesn’t make excuses for him, but nor does she ever stop letting him know that she loves him. And here, with her quiet, “I have faith in you,” she affirms her belief in his strength, in his ability to choose sobriety in the future.
The Next in the Last
This is the other episode from the season where I just finally gave up and said, ‘the whole thing is a favorite scene.’ From ‘we can just live our lives, and be happy,’ to the moments between Booth and Caroline, Cam and Brennan, and Cam and Arastoo, to the end montage…I love all of it.
And there you have it – a partial list of what I loved about season ten. Guys, there were so many other moments I didn’t list! Like Sweets and Booth in The Conspiracy in the Corpse, Brennan and Angela in the park in The Geek in the Guck, Aubrey and Brennan in The Moneymaker on the Merry-Go-Round, the rap song from The Big Beef at the Royal Diner, Booth and Brennan’s conversation at the end of The Lost in the Found, Brennan showing up at the GA meeting in The Life in the Light…and at least a dozen more. Seriously. It’s a long list.
I’ve never been able to pin down a favorite season before, because there are so many things I love about all of them. But I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that season ten is actually in the number one spot.
Bring on season eleven!