Fan Review: The New Tricks in the Old Dogs (Bones)

It’s not really a surprise, particularly, but I’m watching this season differently than I’ve watched the others, and I finally figured out how the other night: I’m viewing every single one of these episodes as an essential part of the overall narrative.  (In past seasons, I’ve assumed that while every episode is part of the whole that is Bones, there are standalone stories, or those which weren’t necessarily part of larger arcs.)


Also? I think they’re doing more than merely weaving together a single plot that will build to the finale; rather, I think the larger narrative of the season is to show us what it’s important that we know about these characters, their lives and relationships before the show ends.


I’ve said this before, and so far, no one has packed me off to the loony-bin: while I get that these characters are fictional, on an emotional level they’re real to me. I respond to them as if they are, as if there’s an alternate universe out there somewhere where this group of people exist. The show is simply a portal that allows me to peek into their lives occasionally.


Soon, that portal will close. I firmly believe they’ll continue with their lives while I’ll be on this side of things, imagining them doing so; and as long as I’m not cut off on cliffhanger – and I won’t be – I’ll be fine with that.  (There are other fictional lives to follow, after all.)


(Yes, yes, I’m clearly in need of medication, and possibly a white jacket with interesting arms, but please note that while I may be nuts, I’m what the shrinks call ‘high functioning’ – I have a job, and relationships, and other hobbies and so on. Honest.)


Anyway, getting back to what I was saying…while part of the purpose of this episode was to make us laugh before things go darker next week, it covered quite a bit of ground for all of the characters in terms of that post-portal-closing future:




Like real people (see? SEE?) the characters are who they are because of stuff that’s happened in the past – for example, Brennan’s interest in death metal due to Mayhem on a Cross. I won’t speak for anyone else, but part of the joy in callbacks for me is that remembering the past is such a very human thing to do – it’s part of what makes them so real to me.



“You know who Iron Maiden is? You, who thinks Maroon 5 is a color palette?”


Similarly, we got to see that Booth’s still being influenced by Pops. I mean, we know this, because duh, it’s Booth. And Pops. But it was a quietly lovely way of showing he’s still influencing Booth, and always will be.


Jessica and Aubrey:


Whatever occurs later this season, right now, they’re still a couple – that’s part of their character arcs, and one I’m enjoying.  The fact that this episode took the time to show that matters, I think.


Cam and Arastoo:


They’re a much bigger part of the season’s story, obviously, and thus we get to see them navigate a major relationship question as they prepare for their wedding.  Given their ages and history, I love the idea of them adopting refugee children.  Cam already has experience with non-biological parenting, and while I agree with her that Arastoo will make a great father, I think he has a lot to give refugee kids in particular.  This is one of the stories I would like to have seen play out, but since the portal is closing (damn it!) I’ll be imagining a family cookout with their kids playing with Michael Vincent and Christine.


Angela and Hodgins:


Speaking of Michael Vincent…hopefully, there will be a sibling for him before too long. Also, in case you were wondering, Hodgins and Angela’s sex life is fine, thanks. (And isn’t causing a wheel chair malfunction just like them? Seriously?)




Booth and Brennan:


And while we’re on the topic of sex lives…one of the reasons I still enjoy Booth and Brennan’s relationship so much is all the clever ways the show has found to continue to reveal the intimacy between them. This episode not only gave us a ring-side seat to their discussion about having more kids, it allowed us to see the two of them creating a pet name for his, er, male equipment.  No matter how serious the context is, the part of my brain that’s twelve will now always be reacting to the word ‘sniper’ with giggles.






But for me, the main story here was Brennan. While at the core she’s the same woman we met in 2005 (“science is cool!”) we’re still seeing all the ways she’s grown, and that’s one of the most inspirational things about the show for me.


First, I find it fascinating that she kept calling Booth her husband, instead of partner; Booth, interestingly enough, opted for the latter. I don’t think it matters (and people in chat were assuming her possessiveness was triggered by the retirement home resident who pinched Booth’s butt) but I liked it.  Apart from the possessiveness, if that’s what it was, generally I think it speaks to her comfort with all that their relationship is: husband and wife, partners…there’s never a time when they’re not all of those things to each other.


Second, I loved that she was sad when she figured out who the killer was, because she knew it would make Booth sad. It’s a small thing in the overall story, and it’s not new in terms of her character. But it’s love, and I never get tired of seeing that from either of them.


Third…how amazing is it to contrast the Brennan we first met in the pilot with a woman who says the things she values most were all unplanned? Or, more to the point, to contrast the woman who said, “love is just chemistry” with the one who here says, “the unexpected happened. He fell in love’? I teared up a bit with that – more so given the way she and Booth look at each other at that point.



“The unexpected happened. He fell in love.”

 Case comment:


I adore both Ed Asner and Hal Holbrook, so I was doing some fangirling over their guesting on the show. I’ve come to suspect that getting a guest shot on Bones has been a badge of honor for actors (My imagination supplies this bit between long time actor friends: “Guess what? I got it! I got a gig on Bones!”)


Anyway, because there’s no post that can’t be made better with a photo of Ed Asner crossing his heart:


 Bonus Quotes:


“Okay, Aubrey, whose side are you on, anyways?”
“Hers. Sorry, but in this instance, I am hos before bros.”
“That did not come out right.” (Booth, Aubrey)




“What is with the breath coming through the back right now? It smells like death warmed over – almost like a toxic blast of camel butt.” (Booth, about Aubrey’s smoothie-breath)




“That was nothing. Just one of the wheels popped right off the axle. Just one of those things.”
“One of those things being you having sex in his wheelchair?”
“What? How did you…who are you?”
“Just a forensic scientist at the height of her deductive powers.” (Angela, Brennan)




“You want another one? Why? Our family is perfect the way it is.”
“I completely agree…which is why I want you to get a vasectomy.”
“Vasectomy. It’s a surgical procedure where the vas deferens is severed and then tied.”
“No. No, no, no. No. No severing. No way.”
“Booth why are you covering yourself? I’m not going to perform the procedure myself in a car.”
“Ah, no. No, no. Not going to happen.”
“Why not? Are you scared?”
“No, I’m not scared. But I’m a sniper, and snipers do not fire blanks.”
“And in that analogy, my ovaries are what, target practice?” (Booth, Brennan)




“Biologically speaking, our options begin to shrink in the not so distant future.”
“I hear you, but when I look at you, all I see are limitless possibilities.”
“That is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever awkwardly interrupted.” (Cam, Arastoo, Hodgins)




“We know that you were selling James Felbeck’s drug medications online.”
“Good. That’s excellent detective work.”
“I’m sorry – you’re glad we found you out?”
“Well, my taxes pay for your salary. I’m glad to see they’re not being wasted.”
“So you want to know what I think happened?”
“Might as well. I’m paying for it.”
“I think you stole his medication to sell online, replaced it with some kind of placebo. Felbeck found out and confronted you.”
“I see. I take back what I said about the excellent detective work.” (Aubrey, Rufus)




“You know, when I think about what I value most – you, Christine, Hank, Parker, even my friendship with Angela – none of it makes any sense. It was not planned.”
“So you want me to get you pregnant?”
“No, I do not. We will be bagging your sniper and I will stay on the pill. I just – I’m not ready to say this is it.” (Booth, Brennan)


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