Bones Farewell: For the Love of Temperance Brennan

Today, I’m turning to Brennan, and for those keeping score, no, I don’t know how to say goodbye to her, either.

I remember the scenes – the exact moments – I fell in love with them. Booth edged her out by about six episodes: he owned me when he rescues her in Two Bodies in the Lab; my heart was hers when she turns to him in the barn in The Woman in Limbo. It’s not that I didn’t like her before that (I did!) but that’s the point when I became fully committed to them and obsessed with their story.

The problem is that I don’t even know how to approach a farewell post for her. I’ve spent most of the day tracing through her character arc, thinking about how we saw her change over the years (which is one of my favorite parts of the show) only to realize that even if I split the post into two days, it was going to give War and Peace a run for its money on the word front. Seriously, I know I get wordy, but four thousand words for only part of Brennan’s story is just silly.

So I’m starting over, hoping to cover the gist of it without getting carried away. (Yeah, I hear you laughing from way over here.)

One more comment before I dig in: I don’t think there’s another character on TV who’s viewed in so many different ways by the audience. In fact, I’ve had discussions with fans over the years where it felt like we were talking about two wholly different people. This is due to our own histories, I’d say, and what we bring of ourselves to interpretation, but it guarantees that what I say here in terms of how I saw her probably isn’t going to work for everyone. That’s fine – you’re not wrong. This is just what I see, and why.

My big picture view of Brennan is that she’s a woman who feels deeply (or, as Angela says in the pilot, she ‘connects too much,’) but has some trouble processing those feelings. Due to a tragic childhood, she’d found it largely easier not to even try to understand emotions, instead taking refuge in reason. When we first meet her, she values friendship, but is distrustful of love, and her difficulties with processing emotions mean that while she’s deeply compassionate, she doesn’t always know how to express it.

With Shawn, in A Boy in a Bush

In other words, she’s an incredibly complex character. I think it’s easy to point to one thing and say, ‘this is Temperance Brennan,’ while wholly missing all the other facets of who she is.  Case in point: I think three separate issues stood between her and a happily ever after with Booth:

  1. She’s not sure love exists. Like emotions in general, she finds it largely inexplicable, and thus much easier to ascribe to chemistry.
  2. If it does exist, she’s not sure she wants to take a personal chance on it. Abandoned at an early age by people who loved her, she figures if she never risks love, she’ll never face that kind of loss again.
  3. She doesn’t trust her own ability to love. When we first meet her, she’s managing friendship with Angela, and cares about Zack and Hodgins. But her ‘most meaningful relationships are with dead people,’ and she’s not convinced she’s got anything else to offer. She’s wrong, but it’s a deeply held belief.

So…three different areas requiring growth. When the show begins, she knows she wants to experience life outside the lab, but wants to do so on her own terms, careful not to take emotional risks.

What I see in the first three seasons are that she resolves her past by reconciling with Max and Russ at the same time she’s forming an emotionally intimate bond with Booth, in the context of their made-from-scratch family.  But I don’t think she has a clue that what she’s experiencing is intimacy.

You know that lovely letter she writes to him in Aliens in a Spaceship? Although during their wedding, she described it as something she wrote to someone she loved, I think when she actually wrote it, she didn’t view it as love. (Mostly because that was two full seasons prior to telling Booth that she wanted to believe love was transcendent and eternal.)

Then there was this exchange with Angela, in The Hero in the Hold:

“Somebody you love is buried alive. You’re allowed to save them no matter how irrational.
“I don’t love Booth.”
“Yes you do. So do I. So do all of us.”

I think that moment gave her more to think about, and led to her deciding to have Booth’s baby. She wanted love, wanted a family, but didn’t want to risk the real thing, and that was the way to do it. The fact that she dropped the idea as fast as she did when he changed his mind supports that, I think.

So what about the coma dream?

I’ve always viewed it as a shared experience, and while not actually real for the characters, it was every bit as revealing as if the two of them had sat down and told one another a fantasy story about a life together outside their normal routine. (Unlike The 200th in the 10th, which, while I also loved it, was wholly an alternate reality.)

Brennan, crime novelist, creates the structure of the story, builds the characters out of the people they know; Booth runs with it, filling in the details and fully imagining what it would be like to be married to her, to make love to her, to experience that moment when she tells him she’s pregnant.

I think the point for Brennan was that she was ‘trying on a relationship with Booth.’ She gave herself permission to imagine what it would be like – including his reassuring her imaginary self of his love. And the result? It frightens her. In the context of having a bad scare about losing him, she could imagine it too well, so she deleted the whole thing.

But for Booth? Dreams can feel very real. The whole point is that when you’re in them, the nonsensical often makes sense, and he wakes up feeling like he’s lost something precious. For a little while, he had what he wanted most – a full life with Brennan – and coming back to the reality where she was still running from those feelings was hard.

But however it happened, by the time The Dentist in the Ditch came along, she’d become convinced that love was real…but not for her. That third part of the puzzle that is Brennan – her faulty view of self where she thought she didn’t have sufficient capacity to love – was still in play, and that’s why she turns him down in The Parts in the Sum of the Whole.

“You’re the one who needs protecting…from me. I don’t have your kind of open heart.”

Psychological truth: if we have a wrong view of ourselves, we don’t change that view just because someone we love disagrees with us. It takes work to internalize a new understanding of ourselves. In other words, there is nothing Booth could have said or done here that would have changed this outcome.

So she tells him no. But because she does love him, much more than she understands, she asks if they can still work together. And Booth says yes. I think that’s possibly the single most important thing he ever says, and while the show never explicitly said so, I think it’s rooted in a promise he made to himself years earlier that he would never walk away from her. That no matter what, he would never be the next person in her life to abandon her.

But he warns her that he has to move on in the sense of trying to find someone who will love him, and honestly, I’ve always thought her ready agreement was because she truly doesn’t understand what’s already between them. I think she’s been telling herself (and everyone else who’d listen) that they were partners, by which she meant friends for so long because she wholly believes it.

The following weeks are stressful and awkward, and Brennan finally does what we’ve seen her do before: she runs. But this time, Booth does, too, in an opposite direction. They both needed time and space, not just away from one another, but from the life they’d been living together.

And while they’re gone, everything changes.

I’ve written reams on Hannah in the past, but for this post, I’m going to bottom-line it: I think the primary thing Hannah did was allow Brennan to realize she was capable of loving Booth, of being good for him. While season six was airing, I noticed three moments that I thought important:

  • In The Maggots in the Meathead, she – not the woman he’s in a relationship with – knows the perfect gift to give him; she then warns Hannah, ‘to be sure, as Booth will give himself to you completely and it would be very painful for him if you’re not as serious as he is.’
  • In The Bones that Weren’t, she suggests Hannah should be careful about the stories she pursues in the future, due to how her death would affect Booth. This is a tricky one, admittedly, because Brennan would probably not take her own advice. But still: the woman concerned about how Hannah’s career affects him is not Hannah. (Booth, of course, would not be surprised by that at all. It was Brennan who needed to see it.)
  • In The Daredevil in the Mold, the woman who’s always run in the past, stays. What’s going on in Booth would be a different post [spoiler: I believe it’s possible to love more than one person at a time] but at the heart of it, he dares her to leave, and she refuses to go.

It’s been a while since I’ve watched S6, but my memory is that there were other, similar moments, and they all added up to the same thing: the woman who didn’t think she had an open heart was more concerned about him than was the woman he proposed to.  That’s not a slam against Hannah, who cared enough about Booth to break her personal rule about returning to the U.S., But it was something Brennan needed to see and understand.

You can’t be in a relationship with someone if you don’t think you’re capable of giving them what they need.

There’s a lot of “three steps forward, two steps back” for her, all through the series, causing people to puzzle over her saying, ‘I don’t want to have any regrets’ in The Doctor in the Photo, and then indicating she’s still not completely ready in The Blackout in the Blizzard. I never minded that, though. I thought it realistic with how we change (slowly!) in real life, and the point has always been steady movement forward.

I’ve always viewed the scene at the end of The Blackout in the Blizzard is the moment they ‘got together,’ by the way. They made a commitment to each other and even included a ritual. And the episodes between that and The Hole in the Heart all felt to me like relationship moments. (Might be just me on that one, but if you watch those eps from the perspective of a couple who are exploring what it means to be a couple, it’s a different dynamic than prior to Blackout.)

And all of that was a framework for what happened in The Hole in the Heart. They were already a couple in every way but the physical, and both understood that that was the case. So when they did make love in the midst of grief, it didn’t change everything – because everything had already changed.

Then came the pregnancy, and more growth for Brennan. The Memories in the Shallow Grave is one of my favorites of season seven, because we see her struggling so hard to reconcile the love she feels for him with her fears. (See? Still with the Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back, and I love it.)

(Don’t get me wrong: there were changes there for Booth, too, but this post is mostly about Brennan. Mostly.)

Over the next three seasons, we see her continue to work that out within the context of their love. They navigate the consequences of her going on the run with Christine; a year later, she chooses to trust him, despite the broken engagement. Then they marry, and, lucky, lucky fandom are we, we get three years’ worth of ‘everything that happens next.’

Some of that isn’t so good, and that’s when we see the beautiful strength that is Temperance Brennan:

  • The woman who blackmails a federal prosecutor to save him
  • The woman who makes love to him, post-jail
  • The woman who gives Cam the strength to autopsy Sweets
  • The woman who prevents Booth from killing an innocent man
  • The woman who never gives up on him when he has the gambling relapse
  • The woman who understands before he does that they’d made a mistake in leaving their jobs

She is all of those women, and I think it’s because of what we saw in seasons 1-9 (which, in the way we give and take with people we love, influencing and being influenced by them, means Booth was instrumental in helping her become the woman who then figured so centrally in saving him in S10.)

By the way…that, too, is one of the things I love about the show: they rescue each other. In the retrospective, Hart talks about promising Emily that Booth would not always be rescuing Brennan, and yeah, when it comes down to it, I think she’s rescued him just as often as he has her, and in just as many ways.

One of the things I’m most curious about is what the finale will add to the story of Brennan’s journey. I may have to post the actual long version of this, after all. 😉

Tomorrow: Scenes from a Life Shared

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Bones Farewell: An Ode To Seeley Booth

I said when I started these posts that I was doing so because I didn’t know how to say goodbye to the show.

I really don’t know how to say goodbye to Booth and Brennan, so I began my prep for this one by spending several hours re-watching favorite moments. I still don’t know how to say goodbye, but I’ve got a fresh reminder on how much I love them, so I’m going to tell you about it.

At one point, I was silly enough to think I could combine everything I love about both of them into one post, and, well, no. (Stop that. Stop laughing.) So today, I’m focusing on Booth, tomorrow will be Brennan.

We’ve heard a number of characters on the show describe Booth as a good man, which is absolutely and irrefutably true, but it strikes me as inadequate. The terms that are lodged in my brain next to Seeley Booth are: “noble, honorable, loyal, dutiful, compassionate, responsible, intuitive, optimist, religious, leader, protective, determined.” By the way, the optimism is important: it saves him from being grim. The heavy load he carries is balanced by his ability to experience joy.

 

With that as a launching point, I’m going to highlight a few of the moments that shaped my view of Booth. Note that I’m saving some other scenes that probably feel like they should be here for a post about his relationship with Brennan. (Look for that on Monday.)

“Being a sniper, I took a lot of lives. What I’d like to do before I’m done is try and catch at least that many murderers.” (Pilot)

He kills because it’s necessary, but there’s a cost. Human life is still human life, however warped and dangerous to others it’s become, and that never stops mattering to him.

“I’m gonna need your help to keep the promises she made to that boy.” (To the prosecutor, after Brennan makes promises in his name to Shawn, A Boy in a Bush.)

There are two aspects to this for me: the first is that I’m convinced he would have had the same response to anyone making that kind of promise in his name to a child. Keeping his word matters to Booth – even if he’s not the one who gave it.

The second is that he understood Brennan was trusting him to do exactly that, and I think he would have crawled through fire rather than let her down, even at this early stage of their relationship.

This scene (from The Woman in the Garden:)

He does what he needs to do to protect her.  I’ve seen fan discussions about why he didn’t tell Brennan, but I think it was pretty simple: in this instance, at least, her feelings about it were irrelevant. Her physical safety came first, and he didn’t believe there was any other way of guaranteeing it.

“Sir, you can’t go in there.” (The hapless person at the New Orleans hospital who tries in vain to keep Booth from the injured Brennan in The Man in the Morgue.)

He doesn’t play by the rules when someone he cares about is in trouble; for that matter, he doesn’t listen to Brennan herself telling him not to come to Louisiana. While we most often see that aspect of his character play out in respect to Brennan, it’s equally true of everyone he cares about.

Booth calls to take Brennan off the court roster when he identifies the victim as Christine Brennan (The Woman in Limbo)

It took me a long time to understand why I reacted so positively to that moment, but I finally figured out it was because there’s something wonderful about another person having your back, even if you don’t strictly need them to do so.

Caretaking while respecting another person’s ability to take care of themselves is a tricky balance, but Booth does it. Does he make a decision here without consulting her? Yes, and there are other times when we see her object to his doing so. But it’s simple to him: his doing what he can to take care of her doesn’t negate her independence.

Booth explains making love to Brennan (The Death in the Saddle)

“Here we are, all of us, basically alone, separate creatures just circling each other, all searching for that slightest hint of a real connection. Some look in the wrong places. Some, they just give up hope because in their mind, they’re thinking “Oh, there’s nobody out there for me.” But all of us, we keep trying, over and over again. Why? Because, every once in a while… every once in a while, two people meet, and there’s that spark. And yes, Bones, he’s handsome, and she’s beautiful, and maybe that’s all they see at first. But making love… making love… that’s when two people become one.”

While it’s clear from his relationships on the show that he’s no prude, this scene demonstrates that Booth has a high view of sex (in contrast to current cultural trends.) He sees it not just a source of physical release; it’s the ultimate way two people connect.

“I blame me, too.” (To Teddy’s ghost, about why he doesn’t try to talk to Claire, The Hero in the Hold)

He takes his responsibility for others seriously, but he doesn’t accept false guilt. Teddy’s death was on him; Vincent Nigel-Murray’s was not. The fact that he’s clear-minded enough to sort through the differences matters – and reveals another aspect of strength in the character.

His words to Clinton (The Salt in the Wounds)

“Your children, your responsibility. And what you do about that will define what kind of man you are. If you ignore that, ignore your children? That’s exactly what you’re going to become.”

It’s not just his belief that a man takes responsibility for his kids; it’s that Booth takes the time to explain it to Clinton. His sense of responsibility for others extends far and wide, and is one of the things I love the most about him.

Aside #1: The Critic in the Cabernet is one of my favorite episodes, but the first time I saw it, I was shouting at the computer, upset at the idea that Booth would give Brennan a baby and then walk away. My faith was justified when he said, ‘I can’t do it.’

Aside #2: Sometimes I wonder what kinds of stories could be told about the characters who have passed through these characters’ lives. Was Clinton changed by his encounter with Booth? Inquiring minds want to know.

Don’t separate Booth from his people (The Proof in the Pudding):

Okay, I’m never going to watch this scene again and not think of the end of The Day in the Life, but it doesn’t change what it meant when it happened: The team is his, they’re his people, and you separate him from them at your peril. Loyalty, commitment, responsibility, thy name is Seeley.

His leadership over the team as they flounder in the wake of Vincent’s murder (The Hole in the Heart)

“Guys, just listen to me a second here. I’ve lost friends in war…let’s take a little time and then like Bones says, tomorrow we’ll get this son of a bitch.”

Repeatedly, we see what a good leader he is. No grandstanding, no posturing, just him helping them get to what comes next.  Here, he gives them the emotional resources they need to cope with what’s happened, then promises that the next day, they’ll get justice for Vincent.

We see the same thing in The Corpse on the Canopy, when he sets the parameters for how they’ll respond to Pelant. In that instance, they’re not happy about it (at least Hodgins isn’t) but they trust him enough to go along with what he says.

Delivering Christine in a barn (The Prisoner in the Pipe):

A barn instead of a hospital is not his first choice. So not. But Booth faces whatever life throws at them without flinching, whether it’s their daughter being born in a barn or a strike team attacking their house. Faces it and does whatever comes next.

He never stops being a caretaker, even to the point of taking care of Brennan’s emotional needs, should he die. (His recording for Christine, The Twist in the Plot)

“I’m the luckiest man in the world because I got to spend time with your mother, and with you…Help your mom to be happy. Because if she’s alone? She’s going to forget.”

He finds a way to get justice for Sari (The victim in The Source in the Sludge):

Booth believes in the system, but that hinges on the system being just. When the government turns a blind eye to justice for Sari, he finds another way.

We see at other points in the show his awareness that sometimes, what’s right happens outside the system, or in spite of it: he respects Max’s personal code despite it resulting in the death of the deputy director of the FBI, and his assessment of the killer in The Nail in the Coffin is, “Yeah, but who he killed… In the old west, they’d have made him a sheriff.

Torching Jared’s Body, (The Brother in the Basement)

“You’re right. Everything’s got to go. But you’re not the one who’s going to do it.”

I didn’t realize when I started this post how many of the things I’ve loved about Booth have grown out of his sense of responsibility for others, but when I’ve looked at exactly why I love them, that’s what it comes down to.

He’s spent his entire life trying to take care of Jared, to the point that his own life is now at risk. Jared’s dead, there’s nothing left to do for him…except this: someone who loves him will be the one to burn his remains.

Hodgins’ recognition that Booth is in a unique class in respect to his honor, integrity, and love of country (High Treason in the Holiday Season)

I know I keep mentioning this scene, but I love so hard the fact that the others recognize Booth for what he is.

“I don’t think I’m qualified to decide the right thing to do with that. If anyone is…it’s you.”

 

What makes Booth truly compelling, though, is that we’ve seen it’s not easy being the man everyone looks to, the guy ‘who’s always there for friends and family,’ to quote Brennan.  He’s not Superman, not perfect, and in season ten, it all unraveled. He couldn’t get beyond his country’s betrayal, beyond Sweets’ death.

We saw the biggest contrast between who he is at the core and who he is when the addiction wins at the diner counter in The Woman in the Whirlpool. The man whose middle name is Responsible couldn’t – or wouldn’t – take responsibility for the danger he’d put his wife and daughter in.

It matters, because the good man that he is, is even more appealing now that we understand it could all be lost.

 

Tomorrow: An Ode to Temperance Brennan

Bones Farewell: It’s Complicated, Pt. 3: Angela and Hodgins

I’m resuming my farewell posts with a focus on Hodgins and Angela. I have to tell you, I’ve been emotional all week, but writing this one when my head is still firmly lodged in the last moments of The Day in the Life is hard!

But there’s so much story before where we are now, and I want to wallow in that for a bit.

Angela:

For a number of seasons, I was quite conflicted about Angela. Even while I loved her for her loyalty to Brennan, at times she struck me as condescending, and for a long time, I felt like her relationship with Hodgins was uneven: I knew why he loved her, but not why she loved him.

To be clear, I’m not questioning his worth. But I wanted to see it from her POV, and in the early seasons, didn’t feel like I did. On the other hand, I wasn’t as bothered by her flirting with other guys, even after they were married, because whatever else Angela might be, she always struck me as too honest and direct to cheat.

In any respect, I didn’t mind that I didn’t always like her, because I think characters I love despite not always liking are more interesting than ones I never have an issue with at all.  But while Angela’s still the free spirit we first met, opinionated and direct (which is one of the things I think draws her and Brennan together) we’ve gradually been allowed to see more of the deeply compassionate woman she is at the core, and I kind of love that.

Despite Cam not making it easy, Angela was determined to catch her identity thief; she adopted Jessica when the co-operative disbanded, and she not only took on Daisy’s doula, but was clearly supporting her in other ways, given her knowledge of her plans to sell Sweets’ car in The Psychic in the Soup.

But on the female friendship front, it’s her relationship with Brennan that I’ve enjoyed the most, particularly over the last few years. We’ve seen them support one another through Booth’s gambling relapse and Hodgins’ paralysis, and I enjoy how often Angela is portrayed as being very wise. I don’t believe that’s an accident, by the way, and it’s not as if the other characters aren’t capable of moments of insight. But I think the show never stops trying to illustrate the beauty of different kinds of intelligence. Angela sees the world differently than Brennan, Hodgins, or Cam, and while we need their rational approach, we also need the more-grounded-in-emotions take we get from her.

There are dozens of moments I’ve loved in this respect, but I think perhaps my favorite is this exchange from The Woman in White:

“Did you even look at the hair comb I gave you? It meant a lot for me to give that to you.”
“My feelings…they’re a jumble. But this case is something I understand.”
“You understand happy, right? Go with that.”

I think I like the scene as much as I do because it highlights her directness, especially when her own feelings are involved, as well as her love and understanding of Brennan.

As to Hodgins, it’s not that I didn’t think she loved him; I assumed she did. But I’m used the show showing me things, rather than asking me to take them on faith. And beginning in about season nine, I started to see it:

  • I promise you, she was a lot more accepting than I would have been of a husband incubating a bot fly in his neck: “We’re all a little crazy, and your crazy just happens to come out in a bizarre and revolting way. I actually think it’s kind of sweet, that you want to give life to that …thing.” (The Dude in the Dam)
  • This, which is one of my favorite scenes between them, ever:
    “All these major life changes happen, and you’ve never once complained, or fallen apart, or felt sorry for yourself. You took it in stride.”
    “I don’t understand.”
    “Not many people could deal with what you have. And then there are these 360 million year old creatures who have stayed the course, just like you, no matter what evolution threw at them. It makes sense that you’d take a shine to them.”
    “They are pretty special, huh?”
    “Just like you.” (The Source in the Sludge)
  • Her decision not to go to Paris in The Next in the Last:
    “One condition.”
    “Okay…?”
    “We don’t leave the Jeffersonian. You keep doing what you do.”
    “But Paris…we agreed.”
    “No, you agreed, because you’re wonderful. But I saw you with that crazy machine, and …your life is here. For now. And I’m okay with it, as long as I’m with you.”
  • Her commitment to him despite the abuse he heaped on her after he was paralyzed.

Thinking about her this week, I was struck by the journey she’s been on throughout the seasons of the show. In some ways, she was always odd-man out in the lab. While I think finding justice for murder victims was important to her, science was less so, and she struggled with reconciling the woman who wanted to be an artist with the woman who was good at facial reconstructions and convincing technology to give up its secrets to her.

Right from the beginning we saw that tension, and it continued through mid-season 11. After years of struggling with having a place at the lab she wasn’t sure she wanted, she found her artist self in her photography.  Although that’s taken a bit of a back seat recently, I was struck by what she says to Brennan at the end of The Radioactive Panthers in the Party:

“How important do you think it is for us to love what we do?”
“It’s important, but it’s not everything. Most people don’t love their job. They don’t even like them. They do them because they have to.”

It’s interesting to me that there’s no sense of self in her remarks. She’s reporting something she’s observed about other people (wise Angela again!) but isn’t talking about herself, at least not obviously.

That was followed by what she said to The Day in the Life: “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.

From the woman who periodically resented the fact that her temporary job at the Jeffersonian hadn’t turned out to be temporary to the woman who says simply, “I love my life the way it is,” is a pretty amazing story to have seen.

Hodgins:

Hodgins, however, I’ve always loved.  To co-opt an out-of-context Booth-quote, “I knew. Right from the beginning.”

The bug and slime guy has a temper, yes, but he’s also passionate, curious, funny, and smart.  (Well, okay, he’s also fond of bugs and creepy crawlies that I don’t find endearing, but…no one is perfect.)

Hodgins comes very close, though, particularly the way he combines romanticism and rational scientist.  I commented in yesterday’s review that the guys on the show are more romantic than the women, and should qualify that: I meant that I think the guys are more traditionally romantic. The women more than hold their own, but their expressions of love are often less typically romantic.

I also love Hodgins for what he values. A billionaire multiple times over when we meet him, it’s clear nearly immediately that his heart is truly with his science, and while he’s willing to use the money to make others happy (i.e., the expensive perfume he’s purchased for Angela in Aliens in a Spaceship) he’s simply not about the money.

Any heroic character worth their salt would have done what he did when he sacrificed his fortune to save a girls’ school on the other side of the world; his refusal to keep the money when Angela recovers it two years later is when we see what he’s really made of, and his simple, “As long as a person has enough, they don’t need more” is still one of my favorite quotes on the show.

The fact that Angela is fine with all of that is another reason why they fit so well together. (And, for my friends who read JD Robb, I think when she says to him in The Next in the Last, “I found your money,” she’s being very Eve Dallas-like. It was never hers, she never wanted it, never mind that they’d been married well over two years when Pelant stole it.)

But Hodgins’ view of money isn’t the only reason I love him. Watching him deal with the paralysis has been one of my favorite arcs over the past two seasons, partly due to how TJ Thyne played it, and partly due to the fact that the whole story – especially his anger – felt so emotionally authentic to me. (In that sense, I’m so glad they didn’t reverse it. That would lessened the impact of his victory.)

I realized a view weeks ago that I no longer really ‘see’ the wheelchair. It’s part of him, but not something I think about when he’s on-screen. (Instead, more than once, I’ve been startled to see him walk in a pre-Doom in the Boom episode!) I think that’s great storytelling.

Angela and Hodgins:

While I love them both separately, I love them together more. I remember commenting on this when The Movie in the Making aired, but I very much like how in sync they are with what they say about the type of people they want to be:

“I want to be somebody who sees the beauty in the world and is able to share it with those around her.” (Angela)

“I want to be someone who never stops looking.” (Hodgins)

There was so much more I could have said about these two, but this post is already silly long, so I’m going to end with what I see as the key moments in their relationship:

  • “I’m nuts about Angela. Over the moon. Stupid in love with her.” (Hodgins, Aliens in a Spaceship)
  • Hodgins spells out “Be My Love” in glowing shrimp: (The Glowing Bones in the Old Stone House)
  • Angela and Hodgins’ jailhouse wedding. (The Witch in the Wardrobe)
  • The birth of Michael Vincent. (The Change in the Game)
  • You said you were comfortable with what we have.”
    “I know I did. I know, Angie, but after what happened yesterday, I realized that there’s still so much in life I want to experience with you, you know? And I don’t want to die. I want to keep growing. The only way for me to do that is to get out of my comfort zone.”
    “Well…let’s keep growing.” (Angela and Hodgins, The Doom in the Boom)

    “Let’s keep growing.”

  • “I know you’re essential to the team. I never doubted that. But you’re essential to me, too.”
    “What do you love about me?”
    “So much.  You’re passionate and you’re open-minded, and you’re curious. And you’re so smart.”
    “Well, my work at the lab makes me those things. And without it? I don’t know how to be the man you fell in love with.”
    “Okay. Wow, that was persuasive.”(Angela, Hodgins, The Death in the Defense)

    “Without it? I don’t know how to be the man you fell in love with.”

  • “We’re broken. And it’s my fault. Because I am miserable. And what’s worse is I’m making you miserable.”
    “So change. I know that this is painful for you. And I know that you think that I couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like. But this is life. It’s hard. And it’s painful. And it is every day. But we fight. We fight together.”
    “This is my decision.”
    “No. This is a coward’s decision. I am not letting you make it.” (Hodgins, Angela, Last Shot at a Second Chance)

Finally…I keep thinking about the end of The Day in the Life, (you can’t be surprised by that, right?) when they’re both so much who they are, together: he stays (and, not for the first time, saves Booth’s life, as I don’t think Booth would have found the bomb in time without him, and being right on top of it would not have ended well); and Angela? She’s right there beside him.

It’s a perfect snapshot of who they are, as couples and family.

Tomorrow: It’s Complicated, pt.4: Booth and Brennan

 

Fan Review: The Day in the Life (Bones)

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.

Cam:

  • 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.

HODGINS:

  • 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.


AUBREY:

  • 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.

ANGELA:

  • 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.

BRENNAN:

  • 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.

BOOTH: 

  • 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.)

Bonus Quotes:

“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)

B&B

“Is there something else you need, or are you just not sure if you have to pee?” (Angela to an antsy Aubrey)

B&B

“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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bones Farewell: Team Moments

This is a bit of a cheat. I didn’t want to skip a day in my farewell posts, but it seemed weird to post something else instead of my review for The Day in the Life. So rather than doing a more reflective post, I’m sharing a list of favorite team moments. (My review of last night’s ep will be along tomorrow.)

If you’ve followed this blog at all, you probably know that one of my favorite aspects of the show is the idea that these people are more than a group of people who solve murders together. They’re family. They may bicker and squabble, but they’re there for each other, over and over, and they never seem to run out of room for new people.

These quotes and/or screen shots represent fifty a bunch of my favorite team-as-family moments, where we saw those bonds, either being formed or in action. (The irony of doing these posts before the last two episodes air? I’m going to predict I’ll be adding a lot of favorite moments to this list!)

  1. “I’m asking you, please, please just let me be Jack Hodgins who works at the lab.” (Hodgins, A Boy in a Bush)
    [Later: Booth makes up a reason for him not to go to the party.]
  2. “We decided to tell you the truth. This is the truth.” (Hodgins, The Woman in Limbo)
  3. “In the future, when you have problems with my team, you register them with me in private, not by grandstanding in a public forum.” (Cam,The Titan on the Tracks)
  4. “Dr. Brennan…it’s been a privilege.” (Hodgins, Aliens in a Spaceship)
  5. “You take one of us away, and you and Hodgins are in that hole forever.” (Booth, Aliens in a Spaceship)
  6. “There’s more than one kind of family.” (Booth, Judas on a Pole)
  7. “I figure a guy like you, I resign, that puts things right between us. Do we need to discuss it past that?”
    “What are we, girls?” (Hodgins and Booth, The Man in the Mansion)
  8. “Angela and Hodgins are fine, Zack is back, Cam is locked in. What I need to know, Bones, is are we solid? Because, you and me, Bones, we’re the center.”
    “And the center must hold.” (Booth and Brennan, The Widow’s Son in the Windshield)
  9. “Sweets is not a baby duck.”
    “He wants what we all want.  He wants to find out his place in the world.”
    “We can find a permanent place for him.  Right?” (Booth, Gordon Gordon, Brennan, Mayhem on a Cross)
  10. “You may have just saved my life.” (Booth to Hodgins after he interprets Brennan’s science-y warning about Broadsky’s broken hand, The Hole in the Heart)
  11. The team’s farewell to Vincent (The Hole in the Heart):
  12. The birth of Michael Vincent. (The Change in the Game):
  13. The rest of the team meets Christine (The Prisoner in the Pipe):
  14. “Morally I have no problem with killing a killer, but Booth is the only one of us who has the skills and training to do it. The burden would fall on him. The decision needs to be his.”
    “How many kills do you have?”
    “My kills were battlefield decisions, green-lit from above. There is a chain of command.”
    “Did any of them deserve to die more than Pelant?”
    “We stay in the system. In lockdown, but in the system. That’s final. Are we good?”
    “Yeah. We’re good.” (Brennan, Hodgins, Booth, Angela discuss how to deal with Pelant, The Corpse on the Canopy)
  15. “You know he would have died if it wasn’t for you.”
    “No, come on. The antiserum saved his life.”
    “No, you and Brennan gave him the time until it got here. You and Brennan saved him, babe.” (Angela and Hodgins,The Pathos in the Pathogens)
  16. “Here’s to Sweets, my little brother I never wanted but who I’m glad I have.” (Booth’s toast to Sweets, El Carnicero in el Coche)
  17. “You’re one of the Avengers, man. We need you.” (Hodgins to Sweets, El Carnicero in el Coche)
  18. “Pelant thinks he’s smarter than all of us, which might be true. But he’s not smarter than all of us put together.” (Caroline, The Sense in the Sacrifice)
  19. “Was that what it looked like?”
    “Looks like a proposal.”
    “I feel like we missed a whole bunch.”
    “Who cares? We were here for the big happy ending.” (Hodgins, Angela, Sweets, Caroline, The Sense in the Sacrifice)
  20. “I’m still working on tracking that person down. I mean, she is still out there, spending money.”
    “She?”
    “Yeah. No guy buys that many shoes.” (Angela and Cam about the identity thief, The Fury in the Jury)
  21. “I’m sorry that that all spilled out. I’m not really sure what happened.”
    “That happens to me, too. I hold things in, and then watch out!”
    “Good night, Dr. Brennan.”
    “Good night, Clark…I think you should call me Temperance. At least when we’re alone.”
    “Mmm. ‘Temperance.’ I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that. But I’ll try.” (Brennan and Clark, The Ghost in the Killer)
  22. “It’s not about being practical. It’s about being responsible.” (Booth’s proud response to Hodgins turning down the offer of money, The Heiress in the Hill)
  23. “Mr. Bray, we’re scientists. Hopefully we’re not ruled by hysteria fueled by ignorance. You’re fighting for your life.”
    “Yeah, but while I’m here, I want you to think I’m living it well.”
    “I do. As a matter of fact, I think you’re an example to us all.” (Brennan and Wendell, The High and the Low)
  24. “I just have to say how much I appreciate how accepting you’ve been about me working with you on this case.”
    “Yes. That is rare for me, isn’t it?”
    “Yes. Yes, it is…I know Pelant told you you’d never be able to catch this Ghost Killer without his expertise. I’m determined to prove him wrong.”
    “I appreciate that, Clark.” (Clark and Brennan, The Nail in the Coffin)
  25. “I fought back. You’d be proud.” (Sweets, The Conspiracy in the Corpse)
  26. “I don’t know if I can do this to him.”
    “You can. This is not Sweets. This is a set of remains that will give us the man who killed Sweets.” (Cam and Brennan, The Conspiracy in the Corpse)
  27. “He was family.” (Booth, The Lance to the Heart)
  28. “I do believe Sweets is still with us. Not in a religious sense, because the concept of God is merely a foolish attempt to explain the unexplainable. But in a real sense…he’s here. Sweets is a part of us. Our lives, who we all are, at this moment, have been shaped by our relationships with Sweets. But each of us is like a delicate equation, and Sweets was the variable without which we wouldn’t be who we are. I might not have married Booth, or had Christine. Daisy certainly wouldn’t be carrying his child. We all are who we are because we knew Sweets.” (Brennan, The Lance to the Heart)
  29. “Enough with the apologies, okay, Wendell? Stop feeling sorry for yourself. And keep fighting. I don’t need to see another brother die.”  (Booth to Wendell, The Corpse at the Convention)
  30. “Science can only go so far, Dr. Hodgins…you think I’ve changed since Lance died, don’t you?”
    “We all change. All the time. You know, that is science. It’s just I don’t want you to push us all away because you’re afraid of losing someone else.” (Daisy and Hodgins, The Puzzler in the Pit)
  31. “I knew your dad really well.” (Booth to Daisy and Sweets’ newborn son, The Puzzler in the Pit)
  32. “Yeah, but he made it to happy. And that’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?” (Cam, about Sweets, in The Psychic in the Soup)
  33. “Dedicated to Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth – the people who taught me that understanding, compassion, and love are not just notions in a book. My life means more because I know you.” – (Dedication page, Sweets’ Book, The Psychic in the Soup)
  34. “You want me to say everything’s going to be fine.”
    “No, I want you to tell me the truth.” (Booth, Cam, The Baker in the Bits)
  35. “If you’re serious about going, you need to be honest about the risks – and honest with Dr. Saroyan, so if you never see her again, at least you know you didn’t lie to her.” (Brennan to Arastoo, The Baker in the Bits)
  36. “I’ve got to say I’m getting a little freaked out by all the compliments.” (Hodgins, about Booth’s giddiness, The Eye in the Sky)
  37. “What are you, my sponsor now?”
    “No, I’m just some guy who’d take a bullet for you in the field, the same way you’d take one for me.” (Booth & Aubrey, The Eye in the Sky)
  38. “Normally, I wouldn’t put myself in the middle of these kinds of things, and they have the potential to, uh, get a little awkward, so…”
    “Do you mind cutting to the chase, Dr. Edison?”
    “It’s Arastoo.”
    “Arastoo? You heard from him? From Iran?”
    “Yes. He emailed me. It’s not weird, because we’re friends.”
    “Is something wrong? Is he okay?”
    “Nothing’s wrong. That’s the point. He just wanted me to reassure you that everything’s fine.”
    “Is there a reason why he didn’t tell me this himself?”
    “He said he did tell you, more than once, and you didn’t seem to believe him.” (Clark and Cam, The Big Beef at the Royal Diner)
  39. “Do you think…do you think Arastoo didn’t ask me to go to Iran with him because I’ve been so noncommittal about the whole marriage thing?”
    “I imagine everyone is telling you he’ll be fine over there.”
    “Yeah, but I can’t stop worrying.”
    “Of course not. The truth is, Arastoo could be arrested in Iran, or even executed. If you were with him, you would have been in danger, too. He knew that.”
    “Wow. Thanks for not holding back.”
    “Arastoo loves you, Cam. Whether or not you marry him. That’s why he didn’t want you to go with him. I would have done the same thing.”
    “So would I.”
    “Then you should feel better.”
    “I do. Yes. Thank you.” (Cam and Brennan, The Big Beef at the Royal Diner)
  40. “End of discussion. I’m going with you.” (Booth, to Cam, Murder in the Middle East)
  41. “I feel foolish. I know life changes. And I should be bigger than this. I don’t …I don’t know why I’m crying.”
    “Because you love them.”
    “I do.” (Cam and Arastoo, The Next in the Last)
  42. “I’m sorry about Jared. I know when you and Booth used to date, he was a big part of your life.”
    “Yeah. He was like a kid brother. The one that always got into trouble, but he was family.” (Hodgins and Cam, The Brother in the Basement)
  43. “You think I’m going to steal an office from the guy who taught me everything I know?” (Aubrey to Booth, The Donor in the Drink)
  44. I don’t think I’m qualified to decide the right thing to do with that. If anyone is…it’s you,” (Hodgins to Booth, High Treason in the Holiday Season)
  45. “I know it’s absolutely none of my business, but I understand how hard it is to open your heart again after a loss. It takes time, and it takes courage, but at some point, you have to risk it. If you don’t? You shrink a little inside.” (Daisy, to Cam, The Cowboy in the Contest)
  46. Aubrey saves Hodgins; protects Booth. (The Doom in the Boom):
  47. “The first kiss is always awkward, there’s lot of awkward moments. I mean, Bones and I, we had many awkward moments.” (Booth, summing up the first six seasons of the show for Aubrey, The Last Shot at a Second Chance)
  48. “That’s what friends and teammates do. They stand up for each other.” (Angela, to Cam, The Stiff in the Cliff)
  49. Booth saves Zack. (The Hope in the Horror):
  50. “-but I’m just going to keep talking anyway. I don’t know anything, really, but whatever’s going on right now, I’m sure you guys will get through it.”  (Aubrey, to Booth, The Grief and the Girl)
  51. “Thank you.” (Booth, to Aubrey, for…everything, The Radioactive Panthers in the Party)
  52. “You guys are like my family here.”
    “That will not change.” (Wendell and Brennan, The Radioactive Panthers in the Party)
  53. (*insert pretty much the entire episode of The Day in the Life here.*)

 

Tomorrow: Fan Review for The Day in the Life; Friday, I’ll pick up the farewell posts with It’s Complicated, pt 3: Angela and Hodgins.

Bones Farewell: It’s Complicated, pt 2: Cam and Arastoo

Now turning to Cam and Arastoo, and their relationship, and whoo-boy. I have so many Thoughts.

Cam:

I have a whole mess of feelings about Camille Saroyan.

First, yeah, there’s what I’ve commented on before, that I think they sometimes overplayed her as ‘bad boss.’ It’s not that I don’t recognize that there would be tension in that situation, but rather that much of the time, it seemed pointless to me. Cam would be the villain, and then it would be over.

One of the great joys for me in the past few seasons is that, overall, we’ve seen this less. When she’s having to be the mean grown-up, we often see that it’s costing her, and, not infrequently, that the cats she’s herding are responsible for the mess she’s trying to clean up. There’s still not as much follow-up as I would have liked, or, even better, acknowledgement from the, er, cats about the position they put her in, but, well, you can’t have everything.

But there’s another story with Cam, having to do with how she seemed to me to change after S5. I find it difficult to articulate what I mean, and more than once I’ve wondered if I’m imagining it. After all, if the show was telling a deliberate story there, wouldn’t it have been clear they were doing so?

But whether it was part of the story or not, it influenced my view of Cam, so I’m going to unpack it here a bit. (Because…if not now, when?)

Prior to the S5 finale, Cam seemed more confident to me, more sure of herself. She was still vulnerable at times, but generally, she struck me as a woman quite comfortable with who she was.  She was also more open with the others when she was struggling with something.

And then The Beginning in the End happened, and they all bailed on her. To be clear, I don’t blame Booth or Brennan for doing so – I think they were both in crisis mode and leaving was the only option. But the fact that Hodgins took Angela and ran off to Paris without once appearing to think about Cam is still the only time in the twelve seasons of the show that he let me down.

Yes, I know he was in love, and no, I wouldn’t have expected him not to go at all, but geeze. The arrogance all of them displayed in thinking they could just up and leave for a year and expect that Cam would keep things running so they could come back to their jobs and find everything the way they left it was breathtaking. (Seriously, which is it? She can keep things running in your absence because you’re not that essential, or you’re so irreplaceable that of course those jobs will be waiting for you?)

In any respect, things go south, and then Caroline-the-hero calls them, they all come home to save her. Yay, team! (I’m not being snarky – I do love that when push comes right up against shove, they all rush home for her.)

But things are never quite the same where Cam is concerned. It’s not that we don’t see her being strong, or the leader. But to me, she’s never as sure of herself, or her place on the team after that point. She becomes more private and much less willing to discuss her life outside the lab with them, for one thing.

The same woman who once casually talked about preferring to read ‘feminist trash’ (aka sex books) over Brennan’s novels freaks out completely when Arastoo outs her enjoyment of shopping channels; the woman who opens up to both Booth and Brennan about her relationship with Andrew and her love for Michelle finds it difficult to accept help from any of them when her identity is stolen.

None of this is a criticism of the show, by the way. I don’t know if that change was deliberate and they intended for her to be different, or that’s just how my brain filtered things after what happened. But I think that’s why I was always particularly sensitive to her relationships with them after that point, both positive and negative.

Cam and Brennan:

One of my favorite relationship arcs on the show is between these two. From their détente in The Boy in the Shroud, to Cam turning to Brennan for strength to autopsy Sweets, to this moment in The Next in the Last, when Brennan acknowledges her reluctance to hurt her friend, it’s been a wonderful journey for me:

“Dr. Brennan, when were you planning on telling me?”
“I…wasn’t sure. Because you are not merely my superior, you are also my friend. The thought of hurting you…clearly this is not my area of expertise, and for that, I apologize, and hope that you can forgive me.”

Cam and Booth:

Maybe it says I’m hopelessly optimistic, but I love the idea of friendship enduring past break-ups (which we see repeatedly in Bones, to different degrees.)

But it’s not just romantic history that Cam and Booth share; it’s a decades’ long knowledge of one another that enables her to tell Brennan the truth about Jared in Con Man in the Meth Lab; and it’s that same history which allows her to confront him with his feelings in Harbingers in the Fountain.

It’s not one-sided, though: while we don’t often see her turn to him, he’s there when she needs him most, including going with her to Iran. (Yeah, I keep mentioning that, but I loved it a lot.)

Not everyone can be the love of Booth’s life, but happy are those he counts as friends.

Instead, it turns out that the love of Cam’s life is Arastoo, and that was initially a problem.  It wasn’t the same, at all, as Booth and Brennan moments the show skipped between The Change in the Game and The Memories in the Shallow Grave.  I’d seen so much of their relationship, I had no problem imagining those scenes, and was perfectly happy with what they gave me instead.

But with Arastoo and Cam, we went from a discussion about his embarrassment over a paper not being published in S7’s The Don’t in the Do to the reveal ten episodes later, in S8’s The Bod in the Pod, that they were in an established, secret relationship. And I still can’t visualize how that transition happened, can’t ‘see’ the moment she stopped viewing him as an employee.

It no longer matters, though. While it was a stumbling block for me for quite a while, they’ve now been together so long, and we’ve seen them navigate so many types of situations together, how they began is irrelevant. About the time the show started to tell the story of his brother in Iran, I realized I was actively rooting for them.

Her love for him is never clearer than the speech she makes in his defense in The Murder in the Middle East:

“Why not? Because your son drank? Because he fell in love with a woman you don’t approve of?”
“I’m not surprised you defend him. In the eyes of Allah, you’re also a disgrace.”
“How dare you…You don’t even know Arastoo, and yet you condemn him. You don’t see what he does every day to uphold the pillars of your religion. Prayers, fasting, giving to the needy…the only acts of defiance he’s ever committed have been in the name of love. So I don’t care what you do to me. I will not listen to you judge him.”

And his love for her, including while she was dating Sebastian and his efforts to protect her privacy in The Movie in The Making convinced me utterly that they deserve each other, and all the happiness they can find together.

Arastoo:

I’ve liked a great many Arastoo scenes, but a couple are particular favorites.

First, as I referenced above, there was the moment Cam asks him for a ride home at the end of The Monster in the Closet, and he – of course – says yes, all the while making it clear that he’s not assuming anything. He’ll wait with her, so she’s not alone, and then leave. It’s unnecessary, because Cam’s realized she wants him, but the fact that he loves her enough to want what’s best for her, even if it’s Sebastian, had me falling in love with him.  He never pushes her.

But my all time favorite Arastoo moments are from The Patriot in Purgatory. 

I can’t figure out how to say this where I don’t sound ridiculous. But I promised myself when I began these posts that I’d be honest, both about my feelings and the effects the show has had on me. That’s what this is. It’s also simply about me – not what anyone else should see.

Long ago, I studied religions, including Islam, in college. I like to think I was open-minded (particularly since, as a psych major, I’d taken classes on the psychological origins of cultural bias – how and why we classify people as ‘other,’ where stereotypes come from, and how to resist them.)

In fact, even after the world changed on 9/11, I made a point of trying not to be influenced by what I saw and heard around me. (Terrorism is a hideous reality. But when it’s another culture – or a bunch of cultures, for that matter – how do you distinguish between what’s true of the culture, and what’s true of individuals or subsets within that culture?)

We all want desperately to be seen as individuals, and yet, it often seems as if the easiest thing in the world is to judge people based on how we’re classifying them.

Anyway, I thought I was doing a fairly good job on that front when Arastoo was introduced. And then I kept being surprised by the character, and gradually admitted to myself that I’d bought into more stereotypes than I’d realized.

The fact that Arastoo is played by Muslim Pej Vahdat mattered. He’s said in interviews that the show encouraged his input into Arastoo, particularly the religious aspects. Does Arastoo represent all Muslims? Of course not, which is the point. (I can think of a number of people right now who identify as Christians that I can say with certainty don’t represent me.)

Getting back to The Patriot in Purgatory…while his impassioned response to Finn moves me, it’s what he says later, when the interns are sharing their where-they-were-on-9/11 stories that touches me most deeply:

“I was at morning prayers. I didn’t believe that day. I didn’t believe in anything that day.”

Even now, when I’ve watched that scene a hundred times, I get a lump in my throat, because…that was me, that day, too.

All of this took on greater personal meaning two years ago, when a young relative, someone I’m very close to, fell in love with a Muslim man. He’s warm, and funny, and one of the kindest people I know, and I’d like to think I would have been open-minded toward him, even if I’d never watched Bones. But because of Arastoo, I’m less surprised by my now Muslim relative (they married last summer), less likely to assume things without even realizing I’m doing so.  That matters to me – and they’ve told me it matters to them, too, so I’ll always be grateful to the show for that.

Tomorrow: Favorite team moments

 

 

 

 

Bones Farewell: It’s Complicated, pt 1: Sweets and Daisy; Aubrey and Jessica

I’m turning now to the main cast – though relationships are such an important part of the story, it only made sense to me to include the squinterns when there was romantic intersection there.

Sweets

I’m not sure there’s anyone who’s been on the show that I have more complicated feelings about than Sweets. He was arguably the world’s worst shrink (well, until we met Karen Delfts and Dr. Faulk) but he loved the team so much, and needed their love in return, it was impossible for me not to respond to that.

The fact that he did need their love reflects again on what I said in my first post about the squinterns: at times, I like what we see in the others as a result of the character as much as what I like about them. When Booth and Brennan leave his apartment to go ‘adopt’ Sweets as a their baby duck at the end of Mayhem on a Cross? It’s a lovely moment, not the least because it’s Brennan – who I think knows best what it’s like to feel like an outsider – who says, ‘we can make room for him.’

Booth, who plainly thinks the baby duck analogy is silly, still goes along with it – and literally pushes Sweets out the door of his office, because he likes him, can’t do other than support Brennan, and can’t, himself, be other than an older brother to well, pretty much every younger guy he meets.

Getting back to Sweets, though, I can’t even explain how weird much of his psych stuff struck me, but it was always founded in love.

The exception to my views about his psychology was what he said to Brennan in The Doctor in the Photo.  He not only understood what was happening – that she was over-identifying with Lauren Eames – but also how to approach her about it. First, in the meeting in her office, he tells her directly that that’s what’s happening, because he knows her well enough to know direct is best. And then later, in the diner, he tells her what she needs even more to hear: that she’s not alone in the world.

(There’s a nice symmetry to me there, that it was Brennan who took the initiative in ‘making room for Sweets’ in Mayhem, and it’s Sweets who reassures her, ‘you’re not alone in the world’ two years later.)

I also loved what Sweet said to Booth in The Conspiracy in the Corpse, as he was dying:

“You’re gonna be fine.”
“You, too. The world is a lot better than you think it is.”

He knows Booth is messed up, that the government betrayal that led to his imprisonment wounded him at the core, but he also knows that Booth will get past it. After all, Booth has Brennan, and Christine, and a bunch of people who love him. I don’t think Sweets was capable of factoring in the degree to which his death would be another challenge for Booth to overcome in getting back to ‘fine,’ but he wasn’t wrong.

Daisy

But Booth and Brennan weren’t the only ones Sweets thought of in his dying moments.

The relationship between Sweets and Daisy didn’t work for me until after it was over – though it set up a story I liked a lot, namely, the team’s support of Daisy after his death.

But their romance most often felt like a series of sex scenes in inappropriate places to me, and, no, I don’t know why Hodgins and Angela’s early relationship felt different in that respect, unless it was that we had moments like the swing set with them.

In any respect, the relationship didn’t do anything for me, and Daisy herself drove me bonkers. I think perhaps she was supposed to, that we were seeing a young woman who only knew how to be annoying, even with those she cared about. If so, it worked: I didn’t really begin to warm up to her until she and Sweets broke up, and I think the first scene I ever actually liked her in was her conversation with Cam at the end of The Twist in the Plot.

I liked that scene a great deal, mostly because that Cam – compassionate but in charge – is my favorite Cam, but also, Daisy herself seemed more genuine to me. Vulnerable and less sure of herself, I found myself rooting for her for the first time.

It turns out that Cam’s wrong when she tells her to let go of Sweets, that something gone can’t be brought back to life, but I think the conversation does a nice job of paving the way for what happens off-screen eighteen months later between Daisy and Sweets. When we learn they “bumped into each other and made a bump”, it’s believable, because this conversation shows there was something left after the breakup.

All of this meant that the twist of Sweets leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend didn’t feel manipulative the way such stories sometimes do because we did have all that history with them.

In turn, that story arc gave us some amazing scenes with Brennan (Brennan and Daisy saying goodbye to Sweets in The Lance to the Heart; Brennan answering Daisy’s question in The Lost in the Found about having sex with another man if Booth died) and the whole team as we see them rally around her.

The Puzzler in the Pit is one of my favorite episodes from S10, not only for the baby’s birth, but for scenes leading up to it, including Angela going with her to see the doula, and this exchange with Hodgins:

“Science can only go so far, Dr. Hodgins…you think I’ve changed since Lance died, don’t you?”
“We all change. All the time. You know, that is science. It’s just I don’t want you to push us all away because you’re afraid of losing someone else.”

There’s also this, which is simply best experienced visually:

Because love, ya’ll.

Aubrey:

While I liked him from the beginning for both his patience with and his willingness to stand up to Booth in the first weeks after Sweets’ death, I can tell you the exact moment I fell in love with Aubrey. It was his response to Brennan in The Murder in the Middle East:

 

“It’s not your problem, Aubrey.”
“It is if I can help.”

His response to Booth’s gambling relapse is everything I admire most in someone, and want to put into practice in my own life: If I can make a difference, I want to do so.

(The fact that that moment was when I fell for Aubrey, and fell hard, is why I loved Booth’s “Thank you” so much in The Radioactive Panthers in the Party.)

Aubrey had me from that moment, so there have been a lot of scenes I’ve enjoyed (including ones with him and Christine) since then. But I think this, his conversation with Jessica from The Woman in the Whirlpool is my next favorite:

“So do you think Booth and Brennan are going to get a divorce?”
“Those two? Never.”
“Pretty definite there, Superman.”
“Well you know, Sweets wrote a book about them, and he said that it was their friendship that was the foundation of their relationship, not the fickle nature of love.”

First, I love that he gets Booth and Brennan sufficiently to have that much confidence in them (granted, he had Sweets’ notes, so, even there, Sweets was still helping them) but I also like the scene because it sums up the show’s view of Booth and Brennan, and why their relationship works. That their love is founded on years of friendship is still the primary thing that sets the show apart for me. Honestly, thinking about that foundation, I’m glad they waited as long as they did to get them together.

Jessica:

It’s a bit weird, because as I write this, we don’t yet know the end of her and Aubrey’s story.  But even if they don’t wind up together, I’ve enjoyed seeing them as a couple. They strike me as another variation on Booth and Brennan, and I like that a lot.

A friendship between a scientist and a cop that remained friendship for a while, allowing us to watch it develop, but without quite all of the baggage that slowed down our main couple. (The show has given us two other alternate ways the Booth and Brennan story could have played out: the coma dream of The End in the Beginning, and then the 200th.)

As for Jessica herself, it was when we were first getting to know her that I realized that one common factor among the characters on the show is that they’re all a mix of strength and vulnerability. I know that’s obvious, but I’d never really articulated it that way to myself prior to meeting her.

In The Geek in the Guck, when she tells them about the cooperative she grew up in dissolving, she tries hard to be strong: “Barrett said change is the one reality we can count on. Trying to hang on to our expectation – that is death.” 

She continues to insist that she’s fine, nothing to see here, it’s all good, until a conversation with Hodgins and then Angela, at the very end:

“Change is one of the foundations of the cooperative. Without change, there is no life.”
“Right, but sometimes change can be painful, and we can hate it.”
[breaks]”…I lost everything. I lost my family.”
“Well thank God you’re not trying to hold it together anymore. Come on, you’re coming home with us.” (Jessica, Hodgins, Angela)

 

I like that moment for different reasons.  First, because I’m me, and every time we see the family adopting someone else, I go soft inside.  Second, because in seeing that display of both strength and vulnerability, I realized it’s that combination which makes all these characters so appealing to me. Booth? We’ve seen him be both. Brennan? Certainly. Cam? Oh, yeah. And so on down the line.

And third? I included this scene about Jessica out of a number of others because right now, it’s speaking to me the loudest. I don’t want the change of knowing that are no longer going to be new episodes of Bones, and I’m honest enough to say, “I have the sads, and I don’t like this change, and I’m going to miss the show, and the characters, and the way they make me feel.”

Tomorrow: “It’s Complicated, Part 2: Cam and Arastoo”