Bones Television

Thoughts Following BONES 11×19: The Head in the Abutment

Week after week, I express the same “tired” praise for Bones. I loved the episode. I wouldn’t change a thing. These characters continue to be the most wonderful and fulfilling examples of character development. This season is magnificent. I wish I could change my tune. I wish I could make this just a bit more interesting. But I simply cannot. This show is everything to me. These characters mean so much. The stories have always been and continue to be inspiring, engaging, and beautiful. Perhaps talk to me at the close of the season 11 finale. From what I have heard, it will be nothing short of pure insanity. But we are not quite there yet. We still have a ways to go. And this week was yet another episode filled with callbacks. That has truly been one of the most rewarding things about having Bones go on for as long as it has. So many reminders of where these characters originated. And also, so much payoff. It’s the best. Being a fan of this show is honestly one of the most gratifying fandom experiences to be a part of.

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Source: Marla @ The Game of Nerds

OBJECTS

We started the episode by taking an extraordinarily satisfying trip down memory lane. The show has always been great with paying homage to its beginnings, but the last few episodes in particular have been so rich with Bones history. It’s incredibly wonderful. Booth walks in on “Hurricane Brennan” sorting through a mountain of boxes filled with items to either donate or dispose of. Among the items in question were the well-known cocky belt buckle, beer hat, and collection of striped socks.

I want to take a moment and talk about objects. First, the cocky belt buckle. Once upon a time, Booth and Brennan met and solved their first case together. Brennan taught Booth how to express himself in the FBI. “But in any group, no matter how restrictive, the free thinkers, the mavericks, the rebels with leadership quality, find ways to declare their distinctiveness.” And thus, a “free-thinking rogue rebel” was born. Booth would always put on a suit for work. But the ties, the belt buckles, the socks- those were all ways in which he declared his distinctiveness. He fought conformity with these little symbols of rebellion. To Booth, it is not necessarily about the objects themselves. It’s what the objects represent to him. Booth is always carting around various trinkets in his pockets, which are far more than what meets the eye. For instance, his poker chip. It obviously it has no intrinsic magical powers. But what it represents, what it means to Booth, it is a very powerful token. It’s almost like a talisman for him. The cocky belt buckle is symbolic of who Booth was at the time he procured it. But so often, things have a way of just becoming a part of us. Part of our journey. Objects can certainly take on new meaning. After a while, the buckle really just became “Booth-y.” It became a part of Booth. It did not necessarily mean what it originally meant to him when he purchased it.

I had a few conversations earlier this week about why Booth stopped wearing this particular item. While we only know why David chose not to have Booth wear it, I think we can all agree that Booth, in a sense, outgrew it. Forgetting the history behind it, it is a rather juvenile accessory. But we saw Booth take it off several times throughout the course of the series. The first time, the buckle was lost at sea in an explosion. Booth was given a new one by Brennan, but later forgot why he wore it to begin with. He took it off during a time when he maybe didn’t feel so cocky. The relationship between Booth and Brennan was palpably altered. And as David mentioned, we know that Booth preferred the rifle buckle while he was in pursuit of Jacob Broadsky. Finally, we last saw the beloved and infamous buckle in season 8. It was a personal choice, once again. Booth really didn’t need it anymore. It was an appropriate time to retire it. He got married to Brennan. They already had their child. Pelant was finally dead. Life was about as picturesque as it could really be with two people who investigate murder for a living. I always talk about Brennan’s development, but we have really seen Booth grow up as well. And he finally had the life he always dreamed of. However, it is my opinion that ever since Brennan gave him the replacement buckle, and then later told him that she liked it (It’s Boothy)- I feel as though that may have contributed to his reasons for continuing to wear it. It wasn’t about the display anymore. Quite simply, Brennan liked it. It reminded her of him. Sometimes objects can take on new meanings over time. It’s been known to happen. But that’s just my opinion. And I am quite literally typing as I think here.

As far as the beer hat goes, that is just Booth being a lovable goof. We know what the hat represents to us, as fans. Long before marriage, and once upon a finale, Brennan walked in on Booth naked in the tub wearing only this beer hat. Since then, it’s become pretty iconic in our world. It has been referenced since then, and we have even seen it a few times recently. This object is not necessarily one that holds any greater meaning beyond its practicality. And I will admit that no matter how unattractive the apparatus, it is practical. Also, we KNOW that Brennan has used it at least once. So there is that. It really is always just enjoyable to see something introduced in season 3 come back to us in season 11.

Booth and Brennan have so much STUFF. When Brennan moved from their previous home, she probably could not bear to part with anything salvageable. Especially if it belonged to Booth. It was a difficult time.  And then trying to imagine what they have accumulated since then- a few years and an extra child later- I would think they would have a house full of “treasures.” The problem is that they simply do not have enough room for their family. Their children are getting bigger, and they too will accumulate more “stuff.” As the daughter of a woman who is ALWAYS onto everyone about cleaning out this and throwing away that– I understand their reasoning. I think? I was never any good at throwing anything away. A field day t-shirt I wore in elementary school? Of course I’m still going to find a way to wear that! Why in the world would I ever give that away? I say that as I picture the boxes of t-shirts sitting in my parents home 2,200 miles away right now getting no use whatsoever. But still, I need them. I get it, Booth. I do.

Booth’s only response to Brennan wanting to throw away his possessions was to point out some of her own seemingly unnecessary items. Brennan also has a tendency to hold onto things. But for her- it’s mostly books and artifacts. Being in foster care, I imagine you learn to let go of certain possessions and hang on to only the important ones. For Brennan, this didn’t include very much. She had the Christmas gifts from her parents, an old clipping of a wedding dress, and some earrings from her mother. There just was not much else. She said it herself once: they give you a garbage bag. Most of her possessions became garbage. She didn’t even have any trophies or awards to my knowledge- until The Finder located her lost medal. The objects she did keep mattered. And her current collections as an adult are more representative of the work she has done over the years. Anthropological finds. Rare artifacts. She appreciates them. It makes sense to collect these objects. It may be for a different reason than Booth, but these objects are priceless to her.

Which brings me to the fertility beads. I feel like I have talked about these beads for a few days now. But maybe it’s just the reactions I read that make me think they have been top of mind. In any event, Booth quickly yanks Brennan’s fertility beads off the top of a pile, and tells her she should get rid of them. He doesn’t really know what they are at first. It is only after she informs him that they are “extremely rare African fertility river stones” that Booth tells her they have two kids already. They don’t need the stones. This isn’t some grand message that Booth is done with children. If I had to guess, I would say that they are likely finished having children. But I also know that Booth would welcome any additional “surprises” with open arms and a heart full of love. Remember? “More to gain” Let me repeat myself- I am not saying that it’s a plan, by any means. But I just happen to disagree with anyone who thinks that this was Booth’s way of claiming he is done, and that is it. Also, Brennan doesn’t put any stock in the “mystique” of these artifacts. She is only interested in them from an anthropological standpoint. Rationally speaking, she married a “fertile” man. That much we found out years ago. And if they wanted to have more kids, the beads are not a factor in that decision. Brennan really just did not want to give up a rare artifact. Plain and simple. And lest we forget, Booth “let” her keep the stones in exchange for his beer hat and belt buckle. So this is really all moot.

Brennan can agree to those terms. Just as long as Booth does something about his socks. Oh the socks. I’ve already discussed the aspect of individuality as it relates to Booth and his clothing. But I think Booth (cough David cough) may also have a bit of a sock fetish. He loves the flashy colors and stripes. They too are Boothy. I have to believe that Brennan would not have put every pair of his socks in that box to give away. Which leads to me the question of just how many pairs of socks does that man actually have in total? I get it though. There are items that I never wear that I still cannot bear to give up. So if he actually cycles through each and every pair of socks on a regular basis, more power to him. I see no problem.

Booth retaliates by telling Brennan that books take up far more room than socks. But Brennan is not going to give up her books. “Books are educational, aesthetically pleasing, and great to have around children.” Booth tells her she’s already read them. They are not like socks. But Brennan thinks it’s “crazy” to get rid of books. Also, may I just say that I reread books quite frequently. So a book can certainly be like a sock.

A few scenes later, Booth buys Brennan an e-reader. But she loves the physical feel of reading a book too much. Plus, most of her books are so rare that they cannot be uploaded to a tablet. It’s the thought that counts. But they are back to square one again.

Later on, Angela helps Brennan unpack some of her books, which she has  now brought to the lab. It’s a “good compromise.” Brennan gets to keep her books, and Booth gets them out of the house. But unfortunately, this is only a fraction of her collection. Cam walks in and questions what the other two women are doing. Brennan explains that she and Booth are de-cluttering their home, but that she’s finding it “quite difficult.” Angela turns to her friend and says “Well that’s understandable. I mean, books have been your escape your entire life. During the foster systems, and then with your parents.” Brennan replies that “books are just inanimate objects.” Rationally speaking, inanimate objects should not hold deeper meaning. But Brennan has two sides (though she will not admit to that) her rational side and her emotional side. And as I previously mentioned, she did carry a few inanimate objects with her throughout her time in the foster system, and really, throughout her life. Objects that represent something greater.

Angela was right. Books were always Brennan’s escape. Even before foster care, she could open a book and not feel as though she was different from any other child. Books could be her companions. She could learn from them. And they would be there for her. I love that Angela knows Brennan so well, and is really able to detect what she is feeling and why. Sometimes Angela ends up explaining Brennan’s own emotions to her. And in this case, she is telling Brennan that even though her head says “they are just books,” her metaphorical heart says differently. Over a decade ago, Booth hands Brennan back her missing earring he snagged from the crime scene in New Orleans. She tells the group that it proves something. And in that moment, it proved something about Booth and Brennan. Who they were to each other. What they meant to each other. Brennan has also worn her mother’s ring since her father gave it to her. It’s not about the ring. It’s about to whom the ring once belonged. It’s not rational to think that she can be closer to her deceased mother by wearing her jewelry, and yet, the emotional side to Brennan understands that there is a connection. However “foolish.” She wears a wedding ring on her other hand. Not because it was her dream to always get married. Not because she even wanted to wear a ring. “My left hand does, I’m very aware of the ring but…I’ll adapt.” But it’s about what the ring represents. Her commitment to this other person. The man she loves most. The father of her children. Objects are just things. Objectively she can understand that. But she cannot deny the power of what some of her most prized objects represent.

In the end, Brennan takes a big step. She declares that she is going to get rid of some of her books. It’s a sweet moment between her and Booth, until he realizes that she only intends to part with three books from her collection. But I think it shows some effort. Brennan really thought about this. I don’t want anyone to think Booth or Brennan were being insensitive as it relates to each other. If either one of them truly could not bear to part with something, I know the other would understand. But they will bicker incessantly in the meantime. Just as they do about the books at the close of the episode.

HOCKEY

This episode was to be another hockey-centric episode. That much we found out months prior. There are so many mentions of hockey in this show, due primarily to the fact that David Boreanaz is a die hard Flyers fan. That passion easily became a characteristic of Booth as well. I do believe Fire in the Ice is a very popular episode among Bones fans. Especially the ending. There is nothing sweeter than our two favorite “partners” holding hands and skating together through the night. Would this episode parallel that? Not entirely. But there were some nice moments that made me thankful for all that we have been given over the course of the series.

Booth was not playing in a game this time around. At the end of the hour, it was just a one-on-one penalty shot. Booth had been challenged earlier in the episode by this man, Daryl, who he had apparently faced in his high school championship. Booth scored a penalty shot against Daryl. And Booth moved on. Daryl, apparently, did not. He carried that “controversial” goal with him for decades. The weight of that loss was on his shoulders for the rest of his life. It clearly haunted him. So when he meets Booth again during the investigation, he finally had his chance to even the score. Booth barely even remembered this man. After all, so much has happened in his life since that game.  But he finally relents and gives Daryl a rematch.

Booth and Brennan are the only ones on “Team Booth” in attendance at the rink. Because this wasn’t even a game. It didn’t hold much importance to Booth. However I do think that it is absolutely adorable that Brennan accompanies him to cheer him on. But Daryl seemed to have brought an entire fan base. This was his moment- the one he waited half a lifetime for. Brennan cheers for Booth in a way that mirrored her cheering 7½  years ago. It’s perfect. Booth prepares to make his shot. He knows the man’s weakness. It is an easy win for him. But something makes him take pause. He looks over and notices just how big of a deal this is to Daryl. He has a dozen people there cheering him on. And Booth probably didn’t give this a second thought. Maybe he was going to shoot a goal and then go with Brennan to the Founding Fathers for a beer. But this man has been holding onto that moment since high school. What would Booth gain by making the shot? Nothing, really. Either way he’s going home with his wife, the love of his life. And they will probably tuck in their two healthy and beautiful children, and go to sleep in their lovely bedroom. His family doesn’t care if he makes the goal or not. So the way I see it, Booth is already a winner, regardless. He looks over at Brennan, and he knows the right thing to do.

Booth misses the goal. It was obviously intentional, though he made it look like it took a modicum of effort. Brennan instantly knows what he did, as he so clearly went against the strategy he discussed with her earlier. And she also knows why he did it. He’s a good man. These two and the way they look at each other in this moment- so much love. You simply cannot teach that. And you cannot ever hope to cast it. It’s once in a lifetime. And a constant miracle. Booth and Brennan share a moment. Booth understands that he already has everything he could ever want. Daryl had everything to lose. Booth had nothing to really gain. Both men can go home winners. Though I’m sure if you ask Booth, no one is a bigger winner than he is. Booth explains to Brennan that now maybe Daryl can “move on with his life and forget about the past.” But as Brennan and all of us know, the past is a part of who we are. So they are back to bickering about books and socks and skates. That’s just them. That’s their life. Together. Always. Brennan once said  “entropy is a natural force that pulls everything apart at a subatomic level. Everything changes.” Booth answered her with “Not everything.” And that’s true. Because from the beginning these two have been notorious for their bickering. And here they are, still at it. It’s not hateful or hurtful. It’s just them. It’s just what they do (when they aren’t staring lovingly at each other). No one bickers like these two. And no one loves each other like these two.

LAB ANTICS

It was not my intention to only talk about Booth and Brennan. There were other moments of this episode that were thoroughly enjoyable. All the back-and-forth between Oliver and Hodgins added some lighthearted humor to the episode. I actually really enjoy when the two of them are together. From the bacon-flavored lube, to the tranquilizers in the woods- it’s always fun. It brings out a side in Oliver that is, well, still highly annoying. But a bit more fun. He and Hodgins act like complete children over a video game. And then again with the drones, later in the episode. It is actually adorable. And once again, I am loving seeing Hodgins back in his element. Just enjoying life and having a good time. Aubrey joining in on the men’s competition took it all to the next level. Especially because he was far more accomplished at the game they had been playing than either Hodgins or Oliver.

I always adore any instance in which Cam gets to make exasperated judgmental looks at anyone in the lab. And she of course had a plethora of them this episode with Oliver and Hodgins imitating her like first graders during this episode. And just seeing the look on her face when she showed Angela and Brennan her ring, it’s really nice to see her so excited. I love a happy Cam. She truly deserves it.

One more episode to go until yet another mini-hiatus. The Stiff in the Cliff is the episode written by Kathy and Kerry Reichs, so you know it will of course be a good one. On one hand, I am sad to see the season winding down so rapidly (though it’s still another month before the finale). But on the other hand, I feel like season 11 started a year ago. I guess that is a positive feeling. Though, I will always take more episodes. Always.

Until next time!

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