It’s been a rough couple weeks. Well, that’s obviously always the case post-March 28. But the last few weeks have been HELL. My brain is fried. I haven’t slept. So when I went back to finish Part 4.5 of my 12×12 recap…well, naturally it wouldn’t come so easily. Again. It’s 90% complete. So if this happens again, I’m just posting it. We need to get through 12×12. For symbolic reasons. Because I think it’s going to be really uplifting to jump right into something new and Bones-y right after wrapping up what some consider to be an end. Bones goes on. It goes on forever.
I was taking a break at work yesterday. Because the days have been long and if I don’t take some time to recharge, I will break down. I was marathoning Bones as I normally do (word to the wise- find yourself a job which allows you to work while “watching” television). When I started my break, I was nearing the end of season 6. More specifically, The Pinocchio in the Planter. For a brief moment I felt like I could breathe. And think. That tends to happen when I watch Bones. It frees me. It’s like coming home every time. And on some occasions, I have to metaphorically put pen to paper. Too many feelings I can’t keep inside. So that’s precisely what I did. And I’ll share these this week because this seems like a good platform to do so. Anyway, here’s a throwback for you.
The second half of season six is always an exhilarating time, any way you slice it. There is so much going on in the lives of all the characters. Huge milestones for some. For me, it’s especially fascinating to observe the subtle shift occurring between Booth and Brennan as season six nears its finale episode. During The Blackout in the Blizzard, these two were finally in the same place. And for the first time, it was both the right place and the right time. It no longer became a matter of if they would get together, but when. The timing had never truly been right before. And neither Booth nor Brennan could likely have sustained as healthy and solid a relationship as they have now. The theme of “everything happens eventually” had been a beacon of hope since season two. And here they were, talking about their future. Everything was about to change. Everything unfolded as it should have. I always say that I wouldn’t trade one single solitary moment of their journey together. Not one. As utterly painful as some moments were. Because each obstacle Booth and Brennan faced on their way to each other was essential. It helped them grow. Their chemistry was undeniable from the get-go. And their partnership and friendship were powerful and enviable from the beginning. Over the years they had become such vital parts of each other’s lives. To sabotage that sacred bond by getting together too early would have been nothing short of a tragedy. So yes, I would endure the night outside the Hoover a thousand times over. And the Hannah era again and again. And yes, The Doctor in the Photo. Always. As much as it kills me to see Brennan sobbing in Booth’s car, you cannot deny it was a breakthrough. Booth and Brennan needed all of that to get to where they were by 6×22. Do I think that one small alteration in the sequence of events would have sabotaged this couple completely? Not necessarily. I believe some version of “them” was always inevitable. Nothing short of death could have stopped them in the end. But would they have lasted? Sometimes love isn’t enough. Now, they have a foundation, a friendship, trust, and love. And really, so much more. I wouldn’t change it because where they ended up in this timeline was perfect. For them, and for me.
In this particular episode all the pieces were beginning to fall into place as the season was full steam ahead towards its (at the time) mysterious resolution. The writers and the actors all knew what was coming. So you could see hints of it as the season progressed. It was just a matter of getting these characters to Booth’s room at 4:47AM, in a way that was believable but not obvious (for the shock value of both 6×22 and 6×23). And it worked beautifully. What could have been the end of the show actually was the reason it was only the halfway point.
In The Pinocchio in the Planter, old wounds seemed to have healed. Booth’s statement at the end seems indicative of his current state of mind. He is no longer angry. And we already knew he was not angry at Brennan. A man like Booth believes that everything happens for a reason. And perhaps after some reflection he realized a few things about the women in his life. He missed his chance with Rebecca. That’s really all. She gave him Parker, and he will be forever grateful for their time together because of it. Then came Brennan. We obviously know how everything pans out there. And Hannah was the device that eventually set Booth and Brennan up to get together when they were ready to do so. In hindsight, he could see it. Brennan couldn’t possibly accept his offer on that fateful night when everything changed. It simply wasn’t their time quite yet. Hannah was in Booth’s life for a very specific reason- if he couldn’t be with the love of his life, he would have to find a lesser love elsewhere. At that time, all he wanted wanted a wife. He wanted more kids. He wanted to share a family with someone. I believe Booth truly loved Hannah. But as “they” say, there’s only one person that you love the most. Booth loved Hannah, but it was never going to work. Doomed from the start. He was always the marrying kind. And she was obviously not. Another sting. But it was for the best. Because after taking some time to heal, what came next for Booth was everything he ever wanted. And what Booth neglected to realize the night he proposed to Hannah was- when it comes to the person you love the most, it doesn’t matter if you’re married. As long as you’re with them. Something he would soon come to understand clearly.
After Brennan’s confessions of regret in Booth’s car, she rebounded quickly. Perhaps at another time in her life, she would have locked her heart back up in that metaphorical box and tucked it away for good. She was hurt. It was painful. And yet, she allowed herself to feel. And what she was feeling was utter sadness. “That’s so much better than dead. Or even dead inside.” No one wants to be sad (well sometimes I do, but that’s another story). But is it better than being completely deadened to the pain? I think that’s something a few of us have struggled with since March. Brennan was “heartbroken.” It’s devastating to put yourself out there and receive anything less than a positive outcome. That’s why the Brennan of the past never wanted to let herself love another. But this Brennan had grown. And she kept going. She would try to move on. But she was not going to run away. She was still Booth’s closest friend and his partner. Still a part of his family. And when he and Hannah broke up, she was there for him. As his friend and his partner. These two both needed to reflect and heal this season. And slowly but surely, they did. And they, of course, helped each other do that. Valentine’s day comes to mind immediately. And by the burning of the papers, there was no going back. It’s interesting how I’m watching 6×20, but I can’t seem to keep on topic. There is just so much to be said for this point in time for these characters. These last episodes mark an incredibly pivotal point in their relationship and in the show. And that’s what I’m thinking about as I watch.
On the surface, The Pinocchio in the Planter was one of the more humorous episodes in this final block. The next two cases would be quite serious, so the perceived intention was to provide a few more laughs before we are thrown into the more dramatic episodes. Though, Bones has always done a rather impressive job of balancing out serious drama with a bit of humor. And vice versa.
The concept of the truth and trust came heavily into play here. Humans tend to value honesty above most things. We are taught at a young age that lying is wrong. But is all lying on the same level? Are white lies acceptable if the alternative hurts another person? And does withholding the truth, even for good reason, fall under that umbrella? In a perfect world, we would all tell each other the truth. Even if the truth hurts. Sometimes the truth is crucial, even if it’s painful. But other times, like in the case of a particular scent of lotion, it may be better to fib than to offend. To cause someone you care about pain or discomfort. This is explored on many different levels throughout this episode, and across all of the characters. I know I started on a Booth and Brennan tangent, but I’ll touch on everyone.
The victim in this case was a former ad-man. In advertising, you sometimes have to look for that one fact, however insignificant, and tout that to sell a product or service. After the victim learned that a child choked on a product he helped sell, he decided to start living a more honest life. He joined a group that promotes radical honesty. Brennan believes that a world without lies would be far more efficient, rationally speaking. Booth agrees, but it only works if people didn’t have feelings. Which is certainly not the case. Brennan realizes that if Booth is a proponent of lying to spare feelings, then he may very well have lied to her on occasion. She asks him point-blank, and he admits that he has. She wants to know a significant instance in which he has lied to her. But he’s not ready to share yet.
Brennan’s life has been dedicated to uncovering truths. It’s essentially what drives her. She initially became a forensic anthropologist because she never knew what happened to her parents. That quest for truth became both her mission and her livelihood. She may not have had a resolution to her own question up to a certain point. But she could prevent others from experiencing that same uncertainty. Truth and trust go hand in hand with Brennan. It takes a great deal for her to place her trust in another individual. When she was left alone after her parents and brother left her, she vowed never to rely on another person again. And part of being reliant on someone is trusting them. Trusting them to be there. Knowing you can count on them. That wasn’t something she could do anymore. The people she trusted most left her to live out her childhood in foster care. She could only trust in herself and her abilities. And that’s the Brennan we met at the beginning of the series.
As time went on, Temperance Brennan slowly learned to open her world up a bit wider. She found a best friend and confidant in Angela. She became partners with Booth- and part of being a partner is trusting that person with your life. She began to trust him implicitly with her life. With her happiness. With everything. And later, she would trust him with her heart. Brennan trusted her team as well. Both as dependable staples in her personal life, and as colleagues. Her once-small world was quadrupling in size. She was letting more people in. But there was still that uneasiness. “Are you going to to betray me?” I think if season 6 taught Brennan anything, it was that sometimes the world and those in it will disappoint you, let you down. Even those closest to you can betray you without even knowing it. But with the ability to feel pain, also comes the ability to experience more positive emotions- happiness, love, excitement. With the good comes the bad, and with the bad comes the good. After 6×09 she realized that maybe it was better to feel something, rather than continuing to prevent herself from fully experiencing the world around her. Trust is a double-edged sword.
Our friends at the lab were also attempting to follow the gospel of the radical honesty group. At first it was all fun and games. Angela admits that she didn’t like when Hodgins wore socks in bed. Wendell thinks Hodgins using the word “couth” makes him strange. He also tells Cam he thought her lotion was acrid. And Hodgins once plotted Wendell’s murder in great detail when he was dating Angela. As they episode progresses, the truths became harsher and more pointed. At some point, Angela is fed up with Hodgins’ “honesty,” and would rather have an honest conversation about their baby being born blind. Wendell’s one last moment of true honesty was when he tells Cam that he deserves the job over the other interns. She relents. But she too is done with that kind of honesty in the lab. And Cam finally tells Brennan that she’s the only one who is allowed to be radically honest. And that’s only because she can’t stop her. Honesty is essential. But it’s all a very grey area. The comment about Cam’s lotion was unnecessary. It was just a plain statement regarding something he didn’t like about Cam. It served no purpose. And it probably hurt her a little bit. But Wendell’s honesty about why he wanted the job, and Hodgins and Angela sharing an honest conversation over the health of their unborn child- there is a place for that. If you don’t like something about someone, you do have the option to keep it to yourself. Some say that’s lying by omission. And that’s something I’ll probably get to with the last scene. But if the truth is not constructive and it’s going to actually cause some semblance of distress in another- I believe that can be kept to oneself. The truth is important, especially in their profession. But every once in a while, a little white lie has to be acceptable. Not everyone is Brennan. Brennan can blurt out the truth, however harsh, as that’s who she’s always been. The difference is, everyone knows that there is absolutely not intent to hurt or harm in her words. Because they know her. And in turn, someone like Booth or Angela can remind her that sometimes she can and should try to sugar-coat her honesty, so to speak. When should you keep something inside and when should you tell? It should be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Brennan hints throughout the episode that she is waiting to hear about a time when Booth lied to her. I’m not sure what she was expecting here. But she seems nervous. Scared that Booth would have kept the truth about something important from her. When we first see them at the diner in the last scene, Brennan tells Booth that Wendell called her “abrasive.” But as Booth so often does, he puts a positive spin on it. “Well, you speak from the heart, Bones. It makes you, you.” Booth’s words can be so simple and to the point. But infused with so much love and meaning underneath. “It’s what makes you, you.” One thing that cannot be denied- Booth loves all of Brennan. Her brain, her heart, her determination, her beauty (inside and out), and every other attribute that makes her so uniquely Brennan. All of those feelings go into the seemingly simple things he tells her.
Brennan takes his words to mean that he’s trying to protect her feelings. Maybe he is. But that’s Booth. If he can shield her from pain, he will. Every time. Finally it’s time to talk about Booth’s lie. And it’s not what you think. It’s not what she thinks either.
Do you remember when I broke up with Hannah?
Of course. That was very recently.
I didn’t lie to you. I just didn’t tell you how much it meant to me that you were there for me. It meant the world to me.
It’s funny how my immediate reaction to this is said a few lines later. But this is just one of those unspoken things between them. And there has been a lot of that during their time together. She will always be there for him. “I’m standing right beside you Booth. Like always. Like I always will.” It just goes without saying. And I feel that a part of her knows that he’s grateful for it. Regardless, it’s very obvious that she brightens his days. Especially as he is healing during this time. But Brennan regards this confession as lying by omission. Which is something she would obviously do. Because objectively, it was. But Brennan never asked Booth. So he never lied.
I’m an exceptional partner.
Yes, you are.
Why is it so difficult to tell me something I already know?
It’s hard to explain.
Some things are better left unsaid.
To things that we don’t say.
She knows she’s an exceptional partner. Together, they are nearly unstoppable. And they comPLEment each other so extraordinarily well. So why should he have an issue telling her as much? There are so many words left unsaid between them in the first six seasons. By this point, they are both extremely aware of the feelings between them. So what’s the issue?
I think for a long time, it was difficult for them to show all their cards to each other. It was a gamble. Once either one of them did that, it would alter their relationship for good. You can’t take back what you say. In some cases, it’s a good thing. Booth’s confession in 5×16 was painful. And seemingly unsuccessful at the time. But ultimately, it was the best thing to happen to them. They were at a stalemate. Things had to change. And this was the catalyst which set the events of the next year and a half in motion. Would they still be where they were at that time without that night? Who can say. Eventually something else probably would have propelled them into a similar timeline. Probably. But how long would that take?
For either of them to lay all of their feelings out on the table, it’s dangerous. What happens if they are not reciprocated? Neither one of them could bear losing their friendship. Could they risk something great for something even greater? What if it fails?What if they failed? “Things” were left unsaid for a good reason. They had to be 100% sure. And right now, there were still things they just couldn’t say out loud. It was the final countdown, but there was still resistance to jump right in. In all honesty, these two don’t really need words. They can communicate with just a look. All those times they looked at each other when they thought the other wasn’t looking. “Why does it make me so happy that every time I try to sneak a peek at you, you’re already looking at me? Like you, it makes no sense. And like you, it feels right.” Quick tangent, but Brennan was supposed to have written this in the middle of season 2. This letter was proof that she loved Booth all those years ago too. They BOTH knew. Right from the beginning. But she could only confess her feelings if she wasn’t around to share them herself. My point is, they know how they feel. They have a good idea in 6×20 about how the other one feels. And they know what they ultimately want. A life together, whatever that means for these two people. But until they reach the point of complete certainty, they will express their feelings only through those stolen glances, and smiles, and touches. And through vague and comfortable dialog that means so much more than meets the eye. But ultimately, they will soon learn that there is no certainty. There can never be sure about whether things will turn out well for them. They learn the hard way that uncertainty surrounds them. Life is unpredictable. And they are not always in control. If they waited until they could be sure they were ready, they never would get together. By 6×22, they trust in what they have together and what they mean to each other. And they have faith (yes, Brennan sometimes relies on evidence-based faith) that all those years of building an impenetrable relationship will carry them into their future. Together. There’s always a chance something won’t work out or that something terrible could happen. But they have more than six years of evidence to show that nothing can break them or break them apart. More on that another time. I have so many thoughts about that penultimate episode, it would take years to write them.
In the end, Brennan trusts Booth. She knows he would never willingly hurt her. She knows he loves her. Booth also trusts Brennan not to run away. And though she couldn’t say it yet, he knows she loves him just as much. All the trust and honesty between them over the years, that came with having no choice. They were partners. There was no choice except to trust one another with their lives. What they do is dangerous. And having a partner you know will both literally and figuratively have your back- that’s how they built up that trust. You have to be honest with your partner. And that is also the foundation of a highly successful relationship. Trusting each other enough to know they are both in it for the long haul. They were well on their way in this episode. And it wouldn’t be long now.
These were just some sentences I jotted down while watching. Obviously I had to do a little editing once I decided to post it. But that didn’t help much. As with most things I write, it’s a mess. And jumps around. But that’s how my mind works. Bones gets me too excited. And it’s thought-provoking. I just want talk about everything. So I attempt to. Apologies for the delay again. I promise, no matter what, even if it’s not nearly what I wanted it to be- I will post the next installment of 12×12 next week.
Enjoy life in the meantime.