If this post turns out to be anything other than incoherent gibberish, it will be a miracle.
I think it’s a plot, where the executive producers had a pow-wow and decided that if they killed off the fandom in the penultimate episode, there wouldn’t be anyone left to weep after the end of the finale.
(Too melodramatic? Oh, very well…)
As a starting point, let me say that I don’t generally enjoy ’24 Hours Earlier’ plots. I may enjoy the story in spite of it, but the structure itself doesn’t do much for me, no matter what show it is.
This is the exception. I loved it, and from now on until forever, I’ll be measuring any show’s use of that structure against this episode of Bones.
I think the problem is that often, there doesn’t seem to be a point to it beyond upping tension – the viewer starts out knowing that something horrible is going to happen, but not how, and then the story progresses in a fairly linear way from that. It wouldn’t be significantly different if we didn’t have that ’24 Hours Earlier’ teaser. But here, I felt like the interwoven stories building to the explanation of the bomb in the beginning wouldn’t have made as much sense without that prologue.
In other words, I loved the interwoven stories told from the main six characters’ viewpoints, and thought the plotting on this was brilliant.
So well done, in fact, that I’m going to follow that structure with this post, commenting on what struck me in each section.
- I like that we’re seeing the reception rather than the wedding itself. I know I’m biased, but I don’t think any show can top Booth and Brennan’s wedding, even Bones. Focusing on the reception gives us the romance as well as plenty of opportunity for all kinds of interaction among the characters, all the while laying the groundwork for plots that will be fleshed out as we go along.
- Interns, who are no longer interns! That broke my heart a little, but I’m so happy so many of them were able to be there.
- After thinking about it for two days, I believe my favorite moment from this section was with Brennan. I kind of love that Brennan’s in charge of the gifts, for one thing, but I also liked the conversation about Cam’s replacement as Jeffersonian administrator. It’s interesting, but my knee-jerk response was not that the ‘obvious choice’ was Brennan herself. Not because she couldn’t do it, but because I’m not sure she’d want to be distracted from the science by cat-herding. Upon further thought, though, I think Cam’s follow-up line of ‘it’s just something to think about,’ indicates it is Brennan.
- Whatever happens next week, the reality they’re talking about here is gone, but it’s interesting to imagine that future, where Brennan is in charge. For a while now, the show’s been finding ways to highlight her growth, and that’s another one. Brennan wouldn’t have been a good administrator when Goodman hired Cam instead, but now? I think she could rock it. She’d do so differently from Cam, but no less successfully, including being there for her people.
- We see Booth looking troubled, the first clue in the chain that leads to the bomb. But when Cam asks about it, he focuses on her, and then we get this, which is simply lovely:
“Arastoo’s a great guy.”
“If we are half as happy as you and Brennan, I will consider it a success.”
- I love the fact that the kids are all at the reception, and everyone’s watching out for them. It takes a village, indeed, and Christine, Hank, and Michael Vincent are surrounded by people who love them. In that sense, one of my favorite moments from the entire episode is this one:
- After the reception: Not that I would have expected anything else, but I like so much that there’s not the slightest hint of hesitation from either Cam or Arastoo the next morning, when they’re called in. They know they wouldn’t be if it something hadn’t seriously gone pear-shaped, so they go from enjoying sleeping in to alert mode in a nano-second.
- 2nd clue in the bomb thread: Michelle found Cam’s purse and has it with her.
- Lots of fun call backs at this point: Pookie Noodlin, Bunsen Jude.
- Zack’s trial: I nailed what Caroline was doing, and was quite proud of myself. I was with Hodgins, though, on being baffled as to the logic of the prosecution’s argument that leaving Zack in prison for life, even if he didn’t kill anyone, would somehow help the lobbyist’s family.
- Body find: Hodgins sends Jessica off with Aubrey to force them to talk. Which is fun because he’s all about the romance. But it was also interesting to see him in charge of the intern in the field, too.
Topic for discussion: The guys on the show are more romantic than the women. Discuss.
- He’s being an asshole, but at least it’s for a good reason: he’s nervous about asking Jessica to move with him.
- I was wholly unimpressed with his response to finding himself in what he believed to be Karen’s bed, though his relief when Jessica walked in redeemed him a bit. I did love her casual, ‘Don’t be a pig’ in reaction to it.
- Much to my surprise, I liked that Karen pushed him over the cliff with, “Aubrey has something to ask you.” Go, Karen.
- Saved by the acid-covered body…but not for long, because now we see what happened after Hodgins sent them off together. He asks her to go with him, and we learn she’s been wondering if he would ask, but doesn’t have an answer yet.
- Later in the day, she does: no.
- I’m not convinced their story is over. While they may not end up getting back together, they were friends for too long for this to be the end. Plus? This face is too full of distress to be as sure as she’s trying to sound that there’s no future for them at all:
- Meanwhile, we learn that a lot of very powerful explosives have gone missing, and Kovac has them.
- Avalon calls her. I loved the Avalon plot, more so because I’d assumed that she would be a guest at the wedding and while she would say something relevant to the larger situation, that she wouldn’t necessarily be integral to the plot. As always with this show, I enjoyed the surprise of being wrong.
- Her parting comment to Angela, “Keep yourself safe, huh?” shows it’s not only Brennan she’s being psychic about.
- After pointing Booth toward Avalon, Angela and Brennan have a girl moment with a call back to Angela dragging her dancing in S1’s The Man in the Wall. It’s wonderful, if bittersweet here at the end, to remember how long they’ve been friends and how much has changed for both of them since that point.
- Also, the Brennan translation of “hos before bros” is awesome.
- Aubrey asks Angela for advice, and we realize that he cares much more about Jessica going with him to LA than anyone – himself included – had understood. This was the only point where I was a little confused about sequence during my first watch, because I was thinking this came after she broke up with him. The fact that it doesn’t gives us insight not only into Aubrey at this point, in terms of what’s going to hit him later, but also a different take on what he was feeling when Jessica gave him her answer.
- Hands down, my favorite quote from this episode came during that conversation with Aubrey: “Whatever happens, it’s gonna work out. I used to spend so much time looking back and thinking: what if I had made other choices? And then I realized I love my life…the way it is. Live for right now. That’s the only thing you can do.“
- Angela tells Brennan she’s pregnant, and if you want yet another reminder of how much growth we’ve seen in Temperance Brennan, watch – and contrast – this conversation with the one in The Mastodon in the Room where Angela told her she was pregnant with Michael Vincent. It’s fascinating to me to realize that in both scenes, Brennan feels perfectly ‘Brennan’ to me, and yet, they’re so very different. I love that so hard.
- At Zack’s trial, we see yet another contrast between where Brennan is now vs. when we first met her: “It’s true he made mistakes, but I still believe in my heart that the world would only benefit from his return to society.” Seeing her deliberate use of ‘I believe in my heart’ in mindbogglingly wonderful.
- I’d already figured out what Caroline was doing, but in the midst of the others believing she was throwing Zack under the bus, I thought it wonderful that Brennan understood what she was doing.
- Speaking of Zack, I liked the way they resolved that. It felt fair to me, and also gives us a sense of Zack’s future: thirteen more months, and then the team will help him acclimate to a new life.
- It’s not precisely a call back, because it’s something we’ve seen consistently over the seasons, but Brennan asking Arastoo to leave so she can study the bones by herself felt appropriate as they wrap things up, too. With all the changes we’ve seen, she’s still this Brennan:
- But the key eludes her, and later, she says to Cam, “There’s something I’m missing. It’s like I see it, but I just need more time.“
- Booth interrupts her, and, frustrated over whatever it is she’s not quite seeing, she’s a little impatient with him at first. But he persists: “I just needed to see you, that’s all.” He sums up his worry with virtually the same line she’d just used with Cam: “We’re missing something here.” I love how in sync they are, even when it begins in different places.
- Next clue in the bomb thread: he tells Cam he has her purse.
- One of my favorite things about Booth is that he can be so grumpy about doing favors for people, and then does them anyway. He resents Avalon pulling him away from the party, but at the core of it, is too kindhearted to refuse her request. But by the end of their meeting, he’s plainly freaked out. Her parting comment – “Look for the signs” doesn’t help…
- …Particularly when a bird flies into his window while he’s talking to Michelle.
- Purse clue: we learn how the purse got from Michelle’s car to Booth. Bonus: we get to find out what Michelle’s future will be.
- Hodgins further freaks Booth out with his interesting aside about the Black Witch moth – seen as a harbinger of death by some cultures.
- And then, Christine tips him over the edge with “Mommy’s face is missing,” even though he knows the logical reason for it. “I’m gonna go to the lab.“
- Someone commented the other night that five of the main six were at the lab when it blew; Aubrey was not. But I like the fact that he’s with Christine and Hank. Earlier, there was a female agent watching them, too (she’s outside Booth’s office, goes in when he steps out) but…Aubrey is better. Plus, he has french fries.
- And …thus we get back to the scene in Brennan’s office, with Booth showing her the cards he’d pulled from Avalon’s Tarot deck.
“My gut is telling me that something is wrong. All right? We’re missing something. Is it so wrong that I wanted to be near you and see you?”
“No. It’s not wrong. I’m glad you’re here.”
- Angela interrupts them – she’s got a hit on Kovac’s phone. I like Brennan’s line here: “You have to go. I know you’re worried for my safety but the best thing you can do is catch him – this is what we do.” It is what they do, and understanding and accepting that has been another journey for both of them.
- But the missing piece finally lands with a thud for Booth when Cam reveals she doesn’t have her security pass. In quick seconds we’re reminded why he is who he is, as he makes the leap that saves a lot of lives: the bomb is on the platform.
- I’ve watched the last scene a dozen times now and it still leaves me breathless. I love Arastoo holding the doors apart; I love that Brennan’s figured out her missing piece at the same time Booth did, however different those pieces are. I love the call back to The Proof in the Pudding (there’s a reason Booth’s instinct is to reach for his weapon to shoot the doors; he’s the reason they’re now bulletproof.)
- But what I love the most from the scene? As glad as I am that Cam and Arastoo made it out, I’m equally happy the other four are there together when everything goes to hell: That Booth won’t leave because he thinks there’s a chance he can disarm the bomb; that Brennan’s not leaving without him (so she might as well be practical and save the evidence); that Hodgins won’t leave because he can help Booth, and Angela’s not leaving without any of them.
The context is different, I know, but when I watch it, I recall this exchange from The Couple in the Cave:
“I mean, if you’re gonna go, it’s best to go with someone you love.”
“But he didn’t have to go. He could have walked farther and gotten help. At least one of them would have lived.”
“Well, he couldn’t leave her. That’s what love is.”
(boom….which is as much the sound of a fandom’s heart breaking as it is the destruction of the place they all call home.)
“I don’t want to pressure her to move her whole life. And to be honest with you, I’ve kind of been avoiding her.”
“Well at least you’re considering her point of view.”
“Which is a sign of a healthy relationship.”
“Of course, you’re also avoiding her, which isn’t.” (Aubrey, Hodgins, Karen, Caroline)
“Is there something else you need, or are you just not sure if you have to pee?” (Angela to an antsy Aubrey)
“Oh, looks like Hodgins got you, too.”
“Yeah, I guess you can say that.” (Aubrey and Angela with different takes on Hodgins-caused stomach disorders)