I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to say goodbye to this show.
There was something different about the other times a show I loved ended: I was, on some level, ready for those to fade into nostalgia, and I’m not this time. I’m not kidding when I say I would have kept watching.
I really thought that the rational side of my brain (which keeps pointing out that twelve seasons is more than any fan has a right to expect and that I should be happy) would win, but it turns out I’ve learned nothing from Temperance Brennan in this respect.
My heart keeps telling my brain to shove off and let it sulk in peace. To be fair, my brain isn’t being smug, but …twelve seasons.
In other words, there’s a spat going on in my psyche, and I don’t know how to resolve it. So I decided to write it out, a series of posts where I’d process different aspects of the show. I’ll be looking at characters, relationships, scenes…whatever comes to mind. Upfront, let me say that I don’t know how interesting any of it will be for other fans, and much of it will be stuff I’ve said before, but we’ll see what comes out over the next twelve days.
While most of my Bones posts have been my thoughts about individual eps, a few have been about the show as a whole, and two in particular still strike me as relevant as we head into the end:
The Invisible Show – posted on January 13, 2013, the day it was announced at the TCA that the show had been renewed for a ninth season. In it, I commented on encountering people who didn’t realize Bones was still on the air, or who were confused about what it was about. The post is a little dated (the show has now actually aired on every week night, including Friday) but still touches on what I believe sets the show apart:
Television quite often uses a type of shorthand to depict romantic relationships: we see two people flirt with one another while dealing with whatever the main plot of the episode is, and occasionally, when a crisis hits, we see How Much They Love Each Other. What we don’t generally see are the two simply having fun together, or discussing life philosophies, or the moments of genuine emotional intimacy so essential to real relationships. It’s as if the shows give us moments that represent a relationship, rather than showing us the real thing.
Bones gives us those moments. We see Booth and Brennan talk about religion and movies, Smurfs and purple elephants; we see them ice skating, dancing, playing video games and fixing a sink together; we see them at hockey games, funerals, and even a wedding. (Well, okay, the wedding didn’t happen right then, but still…)
We see separate lives merging into ‘a single life, shared.’
200 Moments of Bones – posted on December 10, 2014, in celebration of the show’s 200th episode. I’m not sure I’ve ever had as much fun with a post as I did putting this one together, because it gave me an excuse to think about all my favorite moments in the show until that point. Odds are good that I’ll be mentioning some of those scenes in this series of posts, but if you want to wallow in some of the wonderful things the show has given us, it’s a starting place. Granted, it was unashamedly my favorite scenes, so let me know if I left out your essential moments.
And now…turning to the start of my ‘farewell tour:’
Most of these farewell posts are going to be grouped by character (main cast) or role (recurring squintern) but Caroline didn’t seem to fit into any of them. Unlike the squinterns, she’s equal to Booth and Brennan in her role as a federal prosecutor, and that not only affects their work but also the personal dynamic between them. She understands and loves them, but has no qualms at all about being direct with them. (In this sense, the character she’s most similar to is actually Gordon Gordon, but I sort of said goodbye to him a few days ago. *sob*)
Anyway, Caroline’s smart, snarky, loyal to those she loves, and a closet romantic who’s not above a bit of manipulation to get what she wants. (How many steamboats…?)
She’s also not afraid to be vulnerable, especially if it will help someone she cares about. One of my favorite scenes is still from The Bullet in the Brain. Sweets is a mess, and no one else has been able to help him. But Caroline’s confession reaches him:
“I’ve never been so scared as when her head blew to pieces…don’t tell anybody…I messed myself. We’re all just people, cheri. You’re an expert with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Now, who’s Heather Taffet?”
“A dead serial killer.”
“You’re damned straight.”
But Caroline is also wise enough to know when sympathy or shared vulnerability aren’t the answer, saying to Booth in The Price for the Past, “Sympathy sucks. What do we know?” She knows her people, and knows that being there for them doesn’t always mean the same thing in every situation.
One of the relationships I’ve particularly enjoyed over the past season or so is that of Caroline and Aubrey. An older woman mentoring a younger man isn’t a dynamic we see that often, and it’s one I would happily watched more of. I haven’t been kidding when I’ve said I would watch the two of them anchor a buddy crime procedural about a prosecutor and an FBI agent who catch killers together.
As with the others, she knows him, knows what he needs to hear, and how he needs to hear it, which is why she’s the one he’s most open with concerning his feelings about Hodgins’ paralysis in The Death in the Defense:
“It’s just I can’t stop thinking about him in that wheelchair.”
“Dr. Hodgins will watch his son grow up, thanks to you. You’re a hero. And I don’t want to hear another word about it.”
I’ve learned stuff from many of the characters on the show, but as a confident, middle-aged professional woman, Caroline is my spirit animal, and I want to be her when I grow up.
Tomorrow: “You’ll Always Be My Favorite – Squinterns, Part 1.”