Not often, but every once in a while I read a spoiler for the show that has me sort of wincing/doing a ‘seriously?’ eye roll. And then I shrug and move on, because it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Not everything is always going to work for every viewer, and that includes me.
The funny thing is that those moments are invariably, invariably followed by the thought ‘I should have trusted the writers more,’ when I actually see the episode.
Like this one. I had a crazy busy few days this week – work conference, with twelve hour days and way too much peopleing for me – and somewhere in the middle of all that, caught a spoiler about the Secret Service booting Booth off the case because of John Wilkes Booth, and thought, “Seriously, show? Really? Okay, then.”
And then, sure enough, it made complete sense by the end of the episode. Not only that, but it was a lovely way of showing Booth’s growth, from being the guy who was so ashamed in season five for anyone to know he was related to Lincoln’s assassin, to here, where he’s nonchalant about someone else’s actions not reflecting on him. Go, writers!
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m paying more attention to the cases these days – how the clues are revealed, who contributes what, how the plot interweaves case work with character moments.
This worked well, I thought, in mixing humor and suspense (both with the laundry chute scene and the presidential motorcade), case and characters. I particularly liked the twist at the end, where the murderer was not the threat to the president.
And now, the highlights for me:
Fisher! Welcome back!
I used to have a mental list of favorite/not-so-favorite squinterns, and I really don’t, anymore. These characters have been part of the show for so long that they simply belong, and I enjoy all of them, whoever’s week it is. But seeing Fisher again after such a long absence brought up all kinds of nostalgia, and a sense that all is right again in the Bones world. (For the curious, we last saw him in the S9 finale, “The Recluse in the Recliner.”)
If I have a small nitpick with the story, it’s that Brennan didn’t know he’d finished his PhD. I’ll forgive them for it, both because I was happy to see him again, and because I’m aware of how hard it is for them to balance writing for any stray new viewer who might stumble in, casual viewers who don’t see (or at least remember) every episode, and, er, those of us who demonstrate why ‘fan’ is short for ‘fanatic.’
But Brennan is the kind of mentor who would know what had happened to him, even if the others didn’t. She’d know where he went to finish his degree, who his dissertation adviser was, and would most likely know what he’d been doing since then. I simply can’t wrap my head around a scenario where those things aren’t true, given the amount of time she’s invested in these interns who’ve been working with and under her for all these years.
That’s a minor nitpick, though, and what did work well for me is her confidence in him. She wanted to be there, in the lab, but she wasn’t second guessing his work or making things difficult for him – it was more along the lines of, ‘I want to be there, I should be there, but at least someone whose work I know and trust is there.’
One of the absolute joys of the show for me has been watching her relationship with all the squinterns develop and grow over the years, so…*high fives Fisher*
I know I keep saying this – I do. But I think what they’re doing with his story line, the different steps and stages we’re seeing him take, is brilliant.
Here, we see another turning point, where he realizes he’s not only still the same man in terms of his passion for knowledge and adventure (his desire to go down the chute reminds me a lot of the Hodgins we saw in S1’s The Man with the Bone), but that the way he’s compensated physically for what he lacks can actually be a benefit. It’s not that he’s happy to be paralyzed, but he’s coming to see that it simply means he has to find a different way to be who he is.
The hotel scenes also gave us some great moments between Hodgins, Aubrey, and Cam. I love the dynamics there – that Cam knew what he was going to say before he said it, and that Aubrey was trying very hard to be game for going down the chute, something he plainly didn’t want to do.
Plus? Aubrey’s support in Hodgins not telling Angela what he was going to do before he did it cracked me up. I admit that for a minute, I wondered what it would be like to be Cam facing Angela later, but then reminded myself that Angela knows both of them, and that Cam’s track record of telling Hodgins ‘no’ and making it stick is well-known.
And then there was that moment at the end with Angela. Often, it’s the quiet moments that highlight love and intimacy the most – like the two of them clasping hands as Fisher exits.
As many facets as there are of Booth (and there are number of them on display in this episode), one of my favorites is what we see in his exchanges with Travis, the young veteran. First, I like that while Brennan and the gun range owner notice only that he’s not hitting the standard bull’s-eye, Booth sees someone for whom that default isn’t challenging enough, a marksman who’s not only going for a smaller, moving target further away, he’s nailing them all. Booth sees a sniper.
And when they interview him, he sees more than that: he sees a broken young man, scarred by the same kinds of burdens Booth still carries. The fact that he can’t do other than reach out to him in compassion and understanding is no less heroic to me than what happens later during the president’s motorcade.
That same Booth is also the one at the end, quietly grieving, and I love that Cam and Brennan are both there for him.
Brennan is the single most important person in Booth’s life. She’s his mate, and together, they are both more than the sum of their individual parts.
But that bond doesn’t negate the need for other people who’ll support him, and what’s particularly great about the scene with him and Cam is that he doesn’t prevaricate when she asks how he’s doing. There have been times when he’s dismissed his feelings or brushed them aside, but not here, not now, not with his oldest friend. “Not so good. I’ve had better days,” he says.
She already knows the toll the day has taken on him, both in the necessary shooting of Neil Stockton, and in the loss of Walker. But she also understands that where Walker is concerned, the complicated truth will matter: that in many ways, his death in the line of duty was the best outcome for an honorable man who, while not in his right mind through no fault of his own, had committed murder.
The scene ends on a more thoughtful expression from Booth, in contrast to the weary look he was wearing when Cam came in, and when we next see him, he’s lighter, wholly focused on caring for Brennan.
But while he’s viewing what happened with Walker differently, Stockton’s death is still weighing on him. It doesn’t matter that it was necessary. Booth’s burden is that his great talent – his ability to never miss what he’s aiming at with a weapon – always comes at the terrible price of a human life.
Cam gets him the way only an old friend can, but I don’t think anyone but Brennan fully understands the toll it takes on him to take a life, and that’s why this bit of dialog is so beautiful:
“No, not that. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is that I feel terrible that, after the day you’ve had, the situation should be reversed. I should be taking care of you.”
“No, I’m okay. It’s fine. Actually it’s better that I’m here taking care of you. It helps me, you know, get my mind off things.”
“I understand. But I know how much it weighs on you to take another life. Whenever you want to talk about it, I’m here. Always.”
“Thanks…but right now, I’m here to take care of you, so you get better.”
Brennan can’t offer a different perspective, the way Cam did about Walker. A man is dead because Booth chose to save lives by taking one, and if that stopped mattering to him, he’d no longer be the man he needs to be.
She can’t change that, she can’t fix it. But she can remind him that she’s there, walking beside him as he carries that burden, and based on what we see moments later, with his silliness and Stooges-mimicking and laughter, it’s enough.
That moment, that scene where they’re taking care of each other, with a callback to when he first allowed her to see what’s inside of him, is breathtaking to me. At the risk of offending people, this scene is why I can’t get on-board with the demands for more kissing or sex scenes or whatever. It’s not that I mind those moments, but this, this is what love is to me. Being there for each other, supporting each other in ways only they can.
And with that, I’m going to disagree with both of them: love tops both laughter and penicillin as the best medicine.
“I’m fine. Fit as a fiddle. You know me.”
“I don’t understand how that’s possible. You should be sick, too. Compared to my diet, yours is abhorrent. You eat nothing but meat, cheese, and bread.”
“Sugar. You forgot the sugar. And my beer. I love my beer.” (Booth, Brennan)
“I know you how you feel. I served. I was a ranger. I saw things that …that still stay with me. It gets better.” (Booth to Travis)
“Aubrey, I need you to lower me down about another meter.”
“Okay, but after this, you’re going on a diet, okay? Time to ease up on the carbs.”
“Seriously? You’re giving me advice on diets?” (Hodgins, Aubrey)