On Saying Goodbye to Bones, with a side of Caroline

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:’

Caroline:

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.”

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “On Saying Goodbye to Bones, with a side of Caroline

  1. Caroline has a very special place in my heart. Tough , compassionate, funny with attitude. The sort of woman I’d love to have as a friend. I’ll miss her, a lot.Couldn’t she turn up in Criminal Minds? I mean they are an FBI team based in Washington DC.

  2. I keep thinking I’m going to be okay, because I can watch on netflix, etc, but to not have any more new episodes is so sad. I suppose they decided to go out strong instead of limping toward the end, but I’m selfish and I want more….like Aubrey and Caroline together in a procedural. Excellent idea, by the way…

  3. So very glad you are doing these. I don’t know that it will make the show ending any easier, but it’s always good to know that others are feeling the same way. Caroline is a treasure. From the moment she appeared in ‘The Man in the Morgue’ she has been a favorite for me.

  4. I do love Caroline, she’s a wonderful character, and Patricia Belcher is a treasure in the role. I’m so glad they made her a recurring character after her first appearance.

    As for the end of the show. Oh yeah I’ve been putting of dealing with the end. I’ve been saying I’d take it one episode at a time and just deal with the end once it arrives, but seeing it so close; watching that retrospective last night…I’m starting to panic. I’ll be a big sobbing mess. But hey I di love that retrospective. It highlighted so much of what I love about this show…it really is, not just the characters, and their relationships, but all the people behind it. The actors, the showrunners, the writers…everyone. They made it something that I fell in love with, and so am not ready to lose.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts…and as a byproduct giving us another place to share ours. 😉

  5. I think I emotionally delay things. Even watching that retrospective on Bones where John Boyd, Michaela Conlin & Tamara Taylor totally lost it didn’t make me lose it!! So I’m sort of like Mary Tyler Moore and the clown episode. Who knows when it will hit me. I’m thinking it has to do with the rhythm of television seasons. So Bones signs off in March which is a bit earlier than usual. But still won’t feel that weird. It’s possible it will only be next fall when it doesn’t come back that it will hit me.

    There’s also the case that I am non-monogamous with TV shows. 🙂 I have met many Boneheads who mostly just watch Bones on television. But I am a fan of TV in general. So I have plenty of shows I love plus new ones that will come along to fall in love with.

    However, I do think we are in a bit of a desert in terms of “lite procedurals”. Right now the genre has fallen out of favor. Not only that, 22 episode network TV shows are becoming rarer. There’s something unique about that formula: procedure of the week, character based, and a combination of drama, comedy & romance. Apart from Castle which declined in quality and then was cancelled at the end of last year, networks have struggled to get new “Bones” type shows on the air. I almost feel like the superhero DC shows on the CW are the closest heir we have to it, but aren’t about a female/male led team. So I do think that is what is also making this one hurt. Not just the end of Bones, but the end of shows like Bones. I do think they will come back in style. It just may take some time.

    Yes, on everything about Caroline. I felt her appearances added gravitas and levity to those Bones episodes. I would like to see Patricia Belcher be given meatier roles. We’re in the age of Peak TV. Come on, casting directors. She’s terrific.

  6. I feel the same – I’m dreading the end of Bones. It brought me a lot of happiness in a particular low time in my life. My daughter introduced me to the show on Netflix last summer and I have not been able to stop watching it. My work and parenting duties prevented me from watching regular TV for several years. So, last summer I binge watched Bones on Netflix. I will really miss the show!

    Caroline has been one of my favorite characters on the show. She’s funny, stern, direct, and confident. Patricia Belcher is a true asset to any show.

    You can tell that this show has something special. Family was extremely important on and off the show. Emily and David set a great example.

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