Before I can even begin recapping, you’ll have to pardon me for going off on a tangent here. But I am still attempting to recover from the appearance of the Bones cast and producers at the TCAs. I’ve completely lost my mind. Before I dive into the most recent episode of the show, I feel compelled to comment on a few items while they are top of mind. I cannot actually stop myself- I did try.
The TCA panel was absolutely bittersweet. We only really found out they were going to be there the evening prior to the event. Seeing the cast (sadly, minus TJ) together again made me so incredibly happy. They are simply wonderful. More than that, they are the best. Hands down. And one of my favorite moments of the afternoon was when the reporters covering the panel noted that cast and producers were just talking amongst themselves, and no one had asked a question in some time. Seems about right. There is so much love shared in that group. And they love nothing more than to talk to each other and reminisce.
While some of the panel was spent recounting lovely memories from the show, part of it did evolve into an airing of grievances- for good reason too. Did I assume long ago that Bones was given one final season by the network, and no choice in the matter? Of course. The producers had to have made a very compelling pitch to even get these twelve episodes. There were times I did feel as though the cast seemed ready to at least take a break. Though, it now sounds like they just would have kept plugging along for as long as they could have. And that makes my heart break just a little more- knowing that Bones could have gone on indefinitely. And it really could have. So far, season 12 is stellar. Hart Hanson did not hold back while discussing the network’s treatment over the years. I found it quite refreshing that at a FOX event, he had no reservations about telling it like it is. It was nothing new to us, as fans. Either we knew or assumed as much. But it was still quite difficult to hear all of the issues they faced with FOX over the years. Sounds as though it was never-ending.
Given the current television landscape and the fact that Bones is on a broadcast network, the show is arguably lucky to have lasted as long as it has. What Bones has going for it is the fact that it has been on the air for so long, and has a reputation for being a consistent performer. If it had debuted perhaps a year ago, I doubt it would have endured as it has. I am forever grateful that the stars aligned and this wonderful show was created at time when people still watched television on a television set. But at the same time, it is absolutely ludicrous how many time slots in which this show has been placed over that period of time. Casual fans dropped off. I cannot tell you how often I hear the question “is that show is still on?” Yes, yes it is. No thanks to marketing or scheduling people at FOX. It’s easy to give a big “F*** You” to the network as a whole. But we have to remember that it is more complex than that. It’s not just one or two people calling all the shots. I’ve worked with networks for a while, and never that simple. The show did have a few allies. Otherwise it simply would not still be around. Not everyone is a villain in this story. I’m definitely not defending the disgusting lack of promotion or the gross mistreatment of the show. I’m just saying it’s more than just blaming all of FOX. Regardless, I will forever be furious that these wonderful people spent almost the entire 12 years fighting with the network. I didn’t realize how vocal Hart was in asking for promotion during the show’s tenure. It’s utterly unfair. And it’s really tragic. They never got the treatment or recognition they truly deserve- Except from fans. And hopefully that has been enough. These people deserve the world. Actually, they deserve the universe. And all they got was us! But I like that. It feels like we’re part of a small and exclusive club. And we will always treat them like the megastars and heroes they are to us.
All of the photos from the TCAs are stunning. It’s been so long since the cast has taken promotional portraits. And these definitely did not disappoint. They all looked gorgeous. Because they are beautiful, inside and out. I am so happy to have these lovely mementos. What a fabulous cast. I cannot say enough about these people (and the crew) who have given me so much over the years. Hopefully there will be a few more events. Time will tell. In the mean time, I will be staring at these photos for the next few decades.
That was a bit of an unplanned detour. Apologies for anyone who came here for just a recap. Seriously, I did intend to just write a couple sentences relative to the TCAs. But that never quite pans out with me. I tend to ramble. I’ll get to this week’s episode now.
The stakes were definitely lower this week. But I loved it no less. Meaning I loved it more than I’ve loved anything (except for every other Bones episode). Spoiler alert: At the end of the hour, I was sobbing and screaming (my cat was the only living being in residence at the time) “IT’S NOT FAIR.” NOT because of the way the episode ended- which was truly tragic. But because this show is so strong. There are an infinite number of stories to tell with these characters. I love them more with every passing episode. Because I know them better with each and every episode. It’s unfair. But what can I really say anymore? I’m not ready to deal with the pain just yet.
SURPRISE! And a lot of it.
Since the synopsis for this episode came out, Brennan’s surprise party has been something of a mystery. In most cases, surprise parties are thrown by friends or loved ones of the person celebrating the birthday. But in this case, Brennan was the one throwing the surprise party for her own birthday. I wondered what would make this woman want to plan her own surprise gathering. Throwing your own regular birthday party wouldn’t have been odd. We already knew that she walked into her house yelling “SURPRISE!” That’s about all we had to go on at this point.
During the episode Angela learned that she had won the MacAruthur Fellowship. Quite a well-deserved honor, if you ask me. Brennan initially seemed as though she wasn’t handling it well. And I’m sure that was a disappointment to both Angela and Hodgins who wanted to celebrate in that moment. But you see, Bones has already done that particular story. And they were not about to backtrack this character’s progress. So I knew something else was happening here. Call it denial. Call it logic. Or call it faith. I don’t know. I just knew it wasn’t the entire story. Brennan will always be confident in her abilities, and she will probably also never stop reminding everyone who is technically a genius and who is not. But as much as anyone, she knows that Angela is invaluable to the team.
Daisy was also celebrating a possible win during this episode. She had applied for a lead forensic anthropologist job at the NFL. NOT the National Football League. But the National Forensic Lab. When asking Brennan for a reference, Brennan tells her not to get her hopes up. Daisy cites Brennan’s accomplishments at an early age- but Brennan notes that she is an exceptional circumstance. Of course. Daisy is distraught throughout the episode over not hearing back about the job. Brennan reminds her that if she wants to lead a forensic lab, she must always be on her A+ game. So Daisy does some A+ thinking and earns some praise from her mentor. With words from Cam and Hodgins, Daisy is finally at peace with whatever happens. If she gets the job, fantastic. If not, she has a wonderful gig at the Jeffersonian.
Brennan’s surprise party is even a mystery to her own husband. Booth has no idea what she has planned. He is also confused as to why she’s throwing herself a party, but she informs him that being startled is unpleasant, while surprising others is pleasurable. He wants to get her a gift, but the party has a no-gift policy. Right before the two of them reach the party, he gives her his gift anyway- And he did manage to find something she would appreciate. Because after all this time, he knows this woman. And he pleasantly surprised her with a future court hearing date for Zack’s appeal based on new osteological evidence. She reminds him she has no such evidence yet, and that she cannot embark on this quest for new evidence presuming Zack’s innocence. But Booth has faith in her. And while she doesn’t believe in faith necessarily, she takes comfort in the fact that Booth does. And his faith in her means something. They are beautiful. I want to cry about their utter perfection constantly. Oh, I actually do that.
When it’s finally time for the party, Brennan unveils three cakes- one for her own birthday, one very mis-decorated football cake for Daisy and her new job at the NFL, and one for Angela winning the Fellowship. You see, Brennan was the one who recommended her intern for the job at the NFL. And Brennan also nominated Angela for the fellowship. This party was a celebration of her friends and family. And she utilized her much-improved acting skills to engineer exciting surprises for people she cares about. Booth is proud of her secret-keeping abilities, but I assume he is proud of much more than just that. Brennan only wants Daisy to find success. She deserves it. And Angela deserves to be recognized for her innovative work. This woman has experienced such growth over the years. We’ve seen it. It’s written within the past 12 seasons of the show. But really, they have all grown together. Each one of them has evolved so beautifully. And seeing these people all together celebrating their successes and milestones, it’s a fulfilling sight to behold.
Definitely NOT playing with model trains…
I’ve never been shy about admitting how much I absolutely adore Hodgins’ relationships with all of the interns. And that obviously includes Daisy as well. Maybe it’s something to do with TJ and his chemistry with everyone. And I also cannot discount the immense talent of all of the squintern actors. Whatever it is, it makes for some incredible scenes.
As Hodgins is explaining his map (definitely NOT playing with model trains, sorry Lance Jr.) to Daisy, she notices a spark emanating from him. It’s not new. This has always been more than just a job for Hodgins. But Daisy hasn’t been around much since the explosion that cost Hodgins his ability to walk. She was in the penultimate episode of season 11. And that was the episode when Daisy realized that Hodgins’ legs were moving. After last week, we know that’s no longer occurring. And that Hodgins may never regain feeling again. Daisy likely knows this. But she is honestly just glad to see her friend and colleague back to his old self. “Thank you, Daisy. I think it just, you know, took me a while to realize that my legs are merely a way for me to carry around what’s in here. And, you know, what’s in here.” This is beautiful to me. Hodgins is finally and truly at peace. He needs nothing else in his life to make up for what he lost. He’s content. And in his mind, he has it all. That’s not to say there are not still challenges. But everyone has challenges.
Daisy wants to know Hodgins’ opinion about her chances of landing the job at the NFL. She is concerned because Brennan was many years younger than she is when she first came to the Jeffersonian. But Hodgins assures Daisy that she’s a “highly skilled scientist.” And also that life is not a competition. “Trust me, if I’ve learned anything being in this chair, it’s that happiness comes from accepting what you have.” But at this point, all Daisy had was a question mark. Hodgins can definitely understand that. They have both endured great loss in their lives. But they have both triumphed. That doesn’t mean there won’t be moments of doubt and uncertainty. It’s life.
Later in the episode, the two of them are in the woods exploring the site where the body was hauled. Daisy takes a moment to relay what she has been mulling over. “Dr. Hodgins, I’ve been thinking about what you said about accepting things in life when they don’t go your way. And even if the NFL doesn’t hire me, I love being at the Jeffersonian. And working with all of you.” Hodgins helped her realize that even if life doesn’t go perfectly, it still has a way of working out in the end. Maybe just not in the way one expects. Cam and Brennan also helped Daisy understand that she always has a home at the Jeffersonian for as long as she needs it. That’s what family is for. And these scenes with Daisy and Hodgins were really just so bittersweet. We will see her again according to Carla’s IMDB. But like all of the interns, she’s carving a path for herself after earning her doctorate. After all, she’s one of Brennan’s interns. And every one of them has a multitude of success awaiting them in their future.
Living life to the fullest
I was only semi-prepared for heartbreak in this episode. I know, I’m supposed to correct that terminology since a heart cannot technically break. But sometimes, I just need to use the word. So I’ll say it, metaphorically speaking.
When we found out that two recurring characters were going to die this season, I immediately thought of Max. Because if it wasn’t a main character (THANKFULLY), it had to be someone impactful. Bones does not kill characters just for the sake of shock value. It had to have meaning and emotional ramifications for the other characters. And this would definitely leave scars. Brennan and Max never had an easy relationship. It’s improved tremendously over the years as she let her father back into her life and learned to trust him. There were setbacks, of course. Who can forget the time Brennan was afraid Max disappeared while watching Christine. Her parents’ abandonment left her with trust issues. Over time she learned that she could trust Booth. She could trust Angela, and the rest of the team. But her father- that took time. It took him going to prison and proving that he never wanted to leave her again. It took many years. But while it’s been an emotional ride, it’s also been a beautiful one. Brennan learned she could rely on her father again. He is likely their number one babysitter, as the kids always seem to be looked after by Max in Booth and Brennan’s absence. He was there when Brennan needed to disappear, herself. He was there when she was having nightmares and feared someone was after her. I can name a dozen different instances throughout the course of the show.
Max loves his daughter. That has never been in dispute. While someone like Aubrey’s dad left for selfish reasons, Max and Brennan’s mother left to save their children. Max did what he did to keep his beloved son and daughter out of danger. He didn’t know Russ would eventually leave her. And he didn’t know that she would end up in foster care. How could he? Maybe they could have lived a different life. But the past is the past. Max could only hope to earn his daughter’s trust back in the future. At no point in this series can you doubt this man’s love for his child. Not once.
When I realized that Max was featured in this episode, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. And when I saw him enter Brennan’s office, I waited for something to tell me what I already instinctively knew. Max was only there to spend time with his daughter. That was already an obvious message. He knows she’s a busy woman, and that she happens to be working a case. But when time is no longer a luxury you can afford, you get your time in however you can. He also mentions that he is taking dance lessons because he wants to live life to the fullest. Also a clue. And obviously when he tells her that “none of us live forever,” I knew something tragic was coming.
In the end, Max attends his daughter’s 40th “surprise” party. As the rest of the group is singing happy birthday, he looks on at his precious child. She’s always been special. She’s always been one of a kind. And he always knew she was capable of great love. And deserving of love. But it would take the right person to give her that. When he met Booth, Max knew (just as Booth did). When Max came back into his daughter’s life, she was still very closed off to the world. But she had found her “people,” so to speak. Booth, Angela, Hodgins, Cam, Zack- she opened up to them in ways she never had with anyone before. She learned to trust them. And this allowed her to form personal relationships with these people. That was something she always feared because when you love someone (platonic or romantic), they could potentially leave. That’s what happened with her parents. Who’s to say that couldn’t happen with her friends and makeshift family? But they all stayed. Well, aside from Zack but that’s a whole other can of worms. And Brennan was able to trust more and more in these people and these relationships.
Max was lucky enough to witness this evolution. He was able to make sure his daughter found true happiness and fulfillment. From the little girl who loved science to this incredible brilliant woman he saw before him at this moment, she’s changed. But still so much the same. Max missed so much in his little girl’s life. And so many things happened that he probably wishes he could take back. But I doubt Brennan shares in that sentiment. Because perhaps she wouldn’t be living the life she is living today. And she wouldn’t trade that life for anything. Though Max was absent for a good chunk of Brennan’s life, he was also able to make so many new memories with her in the time since he’s returned. He feels lucky for that. It’s more than he could have ever hoped for. And now, seeing what she’s done for her friends, he knows he helped raise an amazing human being. He also knows she’s going to be okay. You see, during this time Christine notices that her grandpa has dropped something- a hospital bracelet. It could mean a lot of things, but I’m guessing we all know what it means. So it was a painful moment watching Max watch Brennan with such a natural and brilliant smile on her face. Not knowing how many more of these moments he would have with her. And dreading the day he would finally tell her. But also knowing that she will be okay. Maybe a few years ago she wouldn’t have. And obviously we know from teases that she will definitely not have an easy time with whatever emotional bombshell is to come. But eventually, she will be okay. Because she’s not alone anymore.
My heart hurts. So I have to move on for now. Anything else I say here would merely be supposition. Might as well save myself some tears (as if I’m not crying already thinking about this).
Hot Blooded…After all these years
I cannot end this with talk of Max. Because while I assumed he would be one of the two non-main cast fatalities this season, it still devastates me. So I will end on a more uplifting note.
Fun Fact: I was incredibly ill while watching this episode for the first time. I think the inclusion of Booth and Brennan’s song came as a very welcome shock to us all. What’s interesting is that I did indeed have a fever of 103 (do not fret, I had been consulting with a doctor at the time, it eventually went down). I only say this because of the lyric “I got a fever of 103.” Though like Brennan, I do not believe in fate, I did marvel at the coincidence. It was like a gift from the universe. Well, perhaps not the illness.
Hot Blooded has been referenced exactly four times on this show. But it’s something that has carried us from season 1 to season 12. Each time it’s played marks a significant period in Booth and Brennan’s partnership. And to see it now in season 12 when these two characters are married with multiple children, it’s just refreshing to watch them connect with something that’s been a part of their story since the beginning. To see Booth as into singing “their” song as carefree as he did in Two Bodies, and to see Brennan look lovingly amused- it’s so fulfilling. These two were so trepidatious that first time. The second time was a brief reprieve from a heavily emotional period for them. And the third was in the first Mighty Hut with their new baby Christine. Christine is now in first or maybe even second grade (is she still in first grade at this point? Time is so nebulous on Bones sometimes! I try not to mark time’s passage too decidedly). Hank is probably already walking and talking a bit by now. And these two are married. This song makes me emotional, not because of the song itself. But what the song represents in their world.
As I mentioned, this is not going to be a countdown of episodes every week. I cannot do that. Some episodes this season have aired. And some more are going to be airing. That’s the best my poor brain can tell you right now. I am beyond excited to see some incredible classic actors next week in the episode dealing with a retirement home killing. This season is off to a brilliant start. I have no bucket list. I have no wish list. I am just content to sit back and them wow me And I know I will continue to be impressed as this season unfolds.