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.
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:
“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, 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)
- “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)
- “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