So enough about the others, what about Angela and Hodgins? And that – gulp! – wheelchair in the final frame of The Doom in the Boom?
It’s scary. And brilliant, which I’ll get to in a bit.
But before the scary and brilliant, here’s what I loved:
(Side note: am I aware of how often I overuse the verb ‘love’ to describe my feelings about this show? Yes. Yes, I am. And I struggle to find other words, lest I be accused of committing cliches. And I regularly fail.)
This season, we’ve twice seen where Angela and Hodgins were coming over to Booth and Brennan’s for supper/date night; we’ve seen Hodgins making beer from scratch for Booth; we’ve seen Hodgins’ and Booth’s faith in each other…guys, I feel like I tripped and fell into Wonderland.
We love the show for different reasons (well, I clearly love it for many reasons) but anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while knows that as much as I love Booth and Brennan’s relationship, and the dramedy tone, and half a dozen other things, what really gets me excited is the ‘family;’ the love that they all have for each other.
Because the show works for me on so many levels, I very seldom think of ‘what if’ or ‘wouldn’t it be great to see’ (plus, I think that’s unfair to the writers. They’re telling their story, and I’m just along for the ride.) But seriously, if I’d been able to articulate something I wanted, it would have been all of those kinds of family moments, and the idea that they have them regularly.
Nothing new in this, either, but Aubrey rocks. He’s like Booth, and yet not, and that fascinates me. He’s been called Booth’s partner, and he is, in terms of the FBI. And yet his question to them in the diner in the first hour is, ‘is that something you do? Split up like that?’ – he gets that Brennan is Booth’s partner, and not just in a romantic sense. I love that dynamic, and that there’s a bond there between him and Brennan, as well.
As to his heroics…I keep re-watching the explosion scene, because I find it very powerful: the moment he recognizes what’s happening, the music, the slow motion, Cam’s response, the cut to the credits. It just works.
But saving Hodgins is not all Aubrey does. He and Booth both reach the same conclusion about authority figures being a trigger, but Booth isn’t free to make the same choice Aubrey does, because Brennan isn’t just his work partner. Booth didn’t tell her what he was doing when he tried to help Jared, and I think that’s a factor here, because it’s clear that he’s not going to put himself out there unless she agrees with him that it’s necessary.
And she doesn’t, but before they can explore it further, Aubrey pre-empts Booth, effectively stepping between him and the killer. Why? I think it’s because Booth has a family, one Aubrey cares deeply for, and they’ve gone through too much already in the time he’s known them for him to let Booth take that risk.
I liked the new behavioral analyst. She’s ditzy, but sweet, and while I don’t think she really did much here (besides remind us of what we already know, that Booth’s gut is a fine behavioral analyst, thanks), this was a good way of setting up something they’ll pay off later with the introduction of a character we’ll see again.
I have to give Caroline a shout-out for her response to the killers. I adore Caroline, always, but she’s heroic to me when she says, “I don’t need their names. The world doesn’t need their names. These fools wanted notoriety and I’m gonna make damn sure they never get it.”
Angela and Hodgins
First, as noted above about Karen’s introduction, I like when they set things up and pay them off later. Doing so with Angela wanting another child, completely within character for a married couple with one child, meant that it wasn’t something dropped out of the sky at the last moment to make paralysis more heartbreaking.
Second, I loved Hodgins’ take on their current family: “I love us, so much. The three of us. We’re like a tight little cocoon of love…it’s just you, me, and Michael Vincent. We’re just us. And I don’t know if I’m ready yet to make room for anybody else.”
It’s not that he doesn’t want more kids, ever. It’s just that, right then, he’s enjoying the dynamics of the three of them, and is jealous of the changes another person, even a loved one, would make to that. Then comes the explosion, and he realizes there’s so much more he wants to experience with her, including another child, and that there are no guarantees for tomorrow.
Third, I loved the way they built it up, with the twist of finding out that he wasn’t okay, after all. Even knowing that was coming due to press comments, Angela’s scream, followed by the way he was positioned on the ground was a gut-punch. (And how creepy was the bit from Hodgins’ viewpoint?)
And finally, that scene at the hospital? Wow. I mentioned this in my earlier review, but Angela turning to Brennan to explain what’s going on just breaks me. Cam and Arastoo are there, and Cam knows what’s wrong as surely as Brennan does, but she can only look down at the floor when Angela says, ‘Somebody please tell me what’s going on.’ It’s Brennan who’s strong enough to say the words, while Booth looks up, as if in prayer:
But I think the bigger thing here is what this arc does for the show as a whole. Bones is in its eleventh season because while they’ve never lost the core of what they are (Booth and Brennan’s unique relationship as the center of a crime solving team), they’ve not been afraid to shake things up periodically, taking whatever opportunities present themselves to go in different directions with the story.
And this was that kind of show-altering shakeup. A while back, Hart Hanson floated the idea that they might have an intern in a wheelchair; instead, they decided to tell that story with someone we already know and love, upping the stakes considerably. It’s much stronger storytelling, I think, than if they’d killed him.
As a character, Hodgins has been fairly static since around season four. He’s had story arcs, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen him snapping a rubber band on his wrist, or being driven by conspiracies. I adore him, but he’s bordering on being too perfect, and this is an opportunity to give not only him, but Angela, some deeper focus and a chance for those actors to shine.
For me, that matters, because I realized after watching this that I’d become somewhat complacent with the story. If you’d asked me in, oh, the spring of 2011, what I wanted to see from the show, I think I would have said something like, ‘to see Booth and Brennan together as a couple for at least half a season.’ That seemed reasonable to me, back when everyone (fans and TV critics alike) continually invoked the fear of the Moonlighting Curse.
And then Booth and Brennan got together, and I began to wonder whether a wedding was possible, or maybe, given Brennan’s comment in The Memories in the Shallow Grave about ‘starting a family’ whether it was simply silly of me to think about how much fun it would be to see them with two kids.
Meanwhile, I was also fantasizing about more team moments, and Booth/Hodgins scenes, and…it’s all an embarrassment of riches, really. The show’s given me so much more than it ever occurred to me to want, that somewhere along the line, I stopped feeling any urgency about the story. (Before anyone gets upset, let me note that part of what drives this is faith in them: while I was fully invested in the gambling arc, I never doubted that it would be resolved by the end of last season; while I fell in love with Booth all over again in The Loyalty in the Lie, it was obvious he’d survive.)
But long-term questions, things I rather desperately want to see play out? It’s been a while since there’s been anything like that for me, and I’d not even realized it until I saw that wheelchair. There’s an urgent question for the show to answer now, one that won’t be wrapped up (and shouldn’t be) in a week or two: how does Hodgins become happy again? I’m good whichever way the show goes in terms of whether he regains the ability to walk, but he must be in a good space for me to be satisfied when the show ends, whenever that is.
That’s why I said I think this was rather brilliant thing for them to do. Hand one of your most beloved characters a life-altering problem that is not quickly resolved, and suddenly there are high stakes again for the show. High fives all around, guys.
Of course, one complicating factor to all of that is that we don’t know when the show is returning, let alone whether or not there’s any chance of another season. But I’m not worried about the first, and haven’t given up on the second, and here’s why:
No return date:
Fox uses Bones to plug holes in its schedule. At a loss about what to air against The Wiz? Throw a couple of repeats of Bones in the slot. Not sure what to do with the Monday 9PM slow, post-Minority Report? Air a repeat of Bones. They may not win any ratings awards, but they’ll pull in more audience than any of the other shows the network could repeat.
Given that, I figure it makes sense for the network to hold off on announcing a return date for the show until they see how their winter shows perform. They never know when they might need it to plug a hole in the schedule. (Is that fair to the show? Not necessarily, but it is what it is.)
I’ve not commented on the lawsuits because I’m wise enough to know how dumb I am about Hollywood legal proceedings. But I will say that I’m currently going with at least a 50/50 chance of renewal, for four reasons:
First, a lawsuit doesn’t automatically spell an unwillingness for the parties to work together again. (See: Duchovny and The X-Files.)
Second, I’ve found it interesting that Fox hasn’t responded publicly to the suits. From what I can see, when a company plans to fight a lawsuit, they generally come out swinging in the press, making loud protestations of how wrong it all is, their plans to fight, etc.
Third, Fox’s situation hasn’t improved noticeably over last year. Granted, they’ve got some new shows starting, but Minority Report flat-out bombed, Scream Queens wasn’t the hit they were hoping for, and this is American Idol’s last year. In the past couple of weeks, there have been reports that they are (or were) considering shows based on both Rambo and Urban Cowboy. Despite their having decided to pass on the latter, that feels a bit desperate to me.
Fourth, in this interview from last week, Jon Collier said that they’re approaching the story as if they’re coming back for another season. He qualifies it, noting that they’re writing the season finale so it could go either way, but it seems clear that the show has not yet been canceled, never mind assumptions being made by fans and some TV sites, nor is it a given that it will be so.
Of course, there is another side to this, that the show is in its eleventh season. No show goes forever (well, it looks like The Simpsons might be going to try) and there are no guarantees at all for one with such a long run behind it, either in terms of audience, network, or even the actors reaching the point of wanting to do something else with their lives. (As they’re entitled to do, and God bless them when that happens.)
But until the big boned, muscular woman sings, I’m going to remain hopeful.
“That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. Christine really loves her baby brother, huh?”
“Yeah, for now. Check back in 10 or 12 years.” (Angela and Booth, about Christine’s drawing)
“You almost lost your husband tonight.”
“But I didn’t. And I just don’t get it. Why are we always the lucky ones?”
“Because someone needs to be there to help the ones who aren’t.” (Cam, Angela, Arastoo)
“You said you were comfortable with what we have.”
“I know I did. I know, Angie, but after what happened yesterday, I realized that there’s still so much in life I want to experience with you, you know? And I don’t want to die. I want to keep growing. The only way for me to do that is to get out of my comfort zone.”
“Well…let’s keep growing.” (Angela and Hodgins)