I wasn’t going to try to incorporate all of the squinterns into these posts. There are a lot of them, for one thing, and it felt like to try to give them all equal time would simply wind up short-changing the ones who’ve meant the most. And yet, conundrum: even the ones we’ve not seen for a while contributed to the whole of Bones for me.
(Thus, the title of the post, which references a story I heard years ago about a mother who, at her funeral, had a letter read where to each of her children she said, “Don’t tell your siblings, but you’ve always been my favorite because…”)
I finally made an arbitrary decision to include everyone we saw more than five times, and to split them up over several posts. (Note that the order in which they appear will probably appear fairly random – and in some cases, it is.)
One of the things that’s interesting about the squinterns is that some of them impacted me by who they were and choices they made, while others mattered because of what they showed me about the other characters.
Zack did both. He often reminded me of people I’ve loved who struggled socially; like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, it was the fact that there were people who loved Zack in spite of that which mattered to me and gave me hope.
Brennan loved Zack because she saw a shadow of herself in him, and many of my favorite moments between them were when she was explaining something to him about human interaction. He was part of why she took her initial forays into the world outside the lab (i.e., working with Booth); when she lost him, it took several years before she could recover enough to really open up to someone new – or to risk her heart further with Booth.
Booth, on the other hand, didn’t understand Zack, not really. I think he cared for him the way he always would people on his team, but ultimately he failed him (as Booth himself acknowledges at the end of The Pain in the Heart.) That’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed the current storyline with Zack: it’s allowing us to see Booth redeem himself for that failure, with saving Zack’s life and by continuing to try to clear him.
As for Zack, he has one of my favorite lines ever spoken about Booth: “You know more about duty and honor than anybody else I know.” It’s interesting to think about that, not just because we know it’s true of Booth, but also because of what it says about Zack: he recognized it and valued it because he wanted it to be true of him. It’s a worthy goal.
Finn often annoyed me – I can’t help it. With family roots in Kentucky and Tennessee, his inability to speak without a southern colloquialism drove me nuts. But in the midst of those expressions, there was often wisdom, including when he helped Brennan understand how broken she and Booth still were in S8’s The Partners in the Divorce.
But my favorite Finn scene is what he says when Michelle breaks up with him, in S9’s The Turn in the Urn:
“You should never apologize for being happy. You go, be happy.”
It’s not that he’s not hurt. He is, and later we have a moment where Brennan encourages him to weep, which is lovely for what it shows us about her. But sometimes who we are – the fact that he’s capable of wishing happiness for Michelle even as she hurts him – comes out the clearest when we’re at our lowest point.
I know, I know. People don’t like Oliver. But Oliver is one of the reasons I would have liked to see the show continue, because I think the story they were telling there – not for the first time, really – was of the redemptive effects of the team on another person. They were, little by little, teaching Oliver to give and receive friendship, and while we were a ways away, yet, I think we were getting there.
But my favorite Oliver moment was this one, for what it revealed not just about him, but about Daisy, and how they’d come to view another once annoying intern:
“Okay, about Daisy-”
“There is nothing that you could say that would make me like her.”
“Oliver, she is one of us. You are not, yet. The fastest way for you to become one of us is to be kind to her.”
“What if I don’t care about being one of you?”
“I think you do.” (Hodgins, Oliver, The Mystery in the Meat)
With Hodgins’ protectiveness of Daisy, we see an explicit acknowledge of what the team is – family – in the context of his letting Oliver know there’s room for him in that family, too, if and when he’s ready. I would like to have seen the rest of that story play out.
I had an extremely negative initial response to Fuentes (not unlike some fans’ response to Oliver, actually.) While it led to one of my favorite moments between Booth and Brennan (the ‘you are my home’ conversation) I despised his hitting on her in The Repo Man in the Septic Tank. I have issues with hot guys who simply assume every woman they look at will fall at their feet, and well, that was my read on him. There’s no way he didn’t know that his new mentor was married (not under the circumstances of the team he was joining and the way gossip flows like water at the Jeffersonian) and that made it even more offensive to me.
The fact that, in addition to the conversation with Booth, we got to see Brennan take him down physically, too, didn’t negate my opinion of him.
But. He’s wormed his way past my defenses since then, allowing me to see what a good man he is.
It started with his comment on religion, also in The Repo Man in the Septic Tank:
“I believe in the right to believe…eventually we all make our own choices. But we can’t make good decisions unless we are exposed to everything.”
As a woman of faith, it’s important to me that people have the right to believe (including that there is nothing for them to believe in, i.e., atheism) or to believe in something other than I do; equally significant is the idea that we must be exposed to different ideas as part of the process of figuring out what we do believe. I still wanted to brain him for his sexual arrogance, but had to give him points for stating something well that matters a lot to me.
Then there was his simple response to Sweets’ death, in The Purging of the Pundit:
“Before we continue, I would like to offer my condolences. Dr. Sweets was a good man…colleagues can be like family.”
It was a small moment, part of the ongoing story of the effects of Sweets’ death, and I suspect they would have had the squintern of the week say something similar, no matter who it was. But the fact that it was someone new to the team, attempting both comfort and recognition of what was driving the pain, made it more poignant.
The next moment that softened me toward him was in The Psychic in the Soup, where we learn he’s smuggling drugs into Cuba. The best way to explain why I liked that so much was what I said at the time, in my review of the episode:
I have a soft spot for heroes who live by their own code (“the law is wrong – these are my people, and they have suffered enough”) while not blaming others for the consequences of their actions (“We both know what you’ve got to do. I’m going to make it easy for you. It has been an honor.”)
I liked him as much for how he attempted to quit – no blame to Cam – as I did the fact that he didn’t regret his actions.
Finally, there was his comment in his last episode, this season’s The Steal in the Wheels: “We are family.” It’s a nice bookend to the comment he made about Sweets and colleagues, only now he’s clearly part of the group. There, he was new enough to comfort them as an outsider, but now, he’s a well-established, loved member of the team.
Tomorrow: You’ll Always Be My Favorite (Squinterns, Part 2)