Friday, April 9, 2010

100 Episodes of Bones

On April 8, 2010, Bones aired its one hundredth episode. Hart Hanson wrote the episode, directed by David Boreanaz. The show invites long-time viewers to walk down memory lane in search of Booth and Brennan's first case together.

As viewers know, Dr. Lance Sweets wrote a book about the relationship between Brennan and Booth in which he posits their unique and powerful sexual and romantic chemistry is what they sublimate to solve the cases they do. He concluded that the pair was in love, but they just didn't know it.

This season, of course, Booth's love for Brennan has been declared several times, including Sweets' interfering to tell Booth that he was in love with Brennan only because of the coma, the dream and a residual effect of his brain tumor. He suggested that Booth's love was symptomatic and would eventually go away. Cam and Sweets both advised Booth to think long and hard before trying to crack the shell around Brennan because her own fragile set of emotions may not be up to the task – and if he did manage to convince her and then discover that he wasn't really in love, it could leave her reeling.

Meanwhile Angela's psychic comforted Booth and Brennan both – Brennan for her fears that no one could really know her and love her (see abandonment issues) and Booth that it would all work out in the end. So now, after 100 episodes of friendship, passion, laughter, danger and saving each other, Booth and Brennan are sitting in Sweets' office recounting their first case together because – as they tell Sweets, he got it wrong in his book.

If you haven't seen the episode, turn back now – nothing but spoilers and commentary ahead.

The Parts in the Sum of the Whole

The episode opens with Booth and Brennan on their way to see Sweets. They each have a copy of his book and they're discussing whether they should tell Sweets the factual errors they found in his book. Brennan is obsessing that Sweets named the case from the series pilot as their first worked together while Booth brings up the conclusion – where Sweets says they are in love with each other.

Brennan shrugs that off because she doesn't care what Sweets concluded with his whacky psychology. Instead, she wants to correct his perception of their first case. When they tell Sweets that they worked together a year before their partnership began (as seen by the viewers) – Sweets all but sulks because he was left out of that particular bit of story. He wants them to tell him everything.

Now, this is the point in the story where I felt that the writers take a strongly organic connection (Booth/Brennan) and force it under a microscope (Sweets) like an experiment. I can't stand Sweet's pathological obsession with the relationship between Booth and Brennan. I get that it fascinates him, but he projects his own insecurities, self-doubt and need for validation on the whether or not a romantic relationship can exist between the two.

Unfortunately, he goes one-step further, he interferes. He adds his own suppositions, concerns and fears to both of them. He tells them how to interact. He tries to coach responses from them and he all but acts like a 10-year-old learning that Mommy and Daddy had a life before he existed and resents it.

Inevitably, as much as I love John Francis Daley, I wish they would butt Sweets out of this equation. He forces relationship paradigm shifts before Booth and Brennan are ready or he puts the brakes on them when they would have reached these conclusions on their own.

The Final Act

In the end, we learn that Booth and Brennan kissed all those years ago and that explosive passion simmered right from the beginning. However, Brennan elected to not sleep with Booth when she was drunk and she resented (rightfully so) that he got her drunk to fire her. He also manhandled her a little (who didn't flinch when she slapped him) and this takes us back to first season Bones who didn't like people touching her. In fact, it's a contrast to where they are now when Booth can hustle and touch Brennan all the time and she doesn't react.

But I digress.

Either way, the relationship that poised on the edge of passionate promise was poisoned by misunderstanding and frustration. They didn't talk for a year – until the pilot episode. It was a nice, full circular way of going. It was also a fun and funny episode – right up until Sweets threw a hissy that his theory was wrong, that they'd kissed and still managed to work together. Of course, never one to be deterred by butting out – he challenged them to act on their feelings and told Booth that he was the gambler and that one of them had to give in and confess or they'd always be that way.

Remember, Sweets is the one who told Booth to take it slow, to not push her because it could cause issues and pain, yet here he is chastising them for not delving into their relationship deeper. As they leave his office, Booth tells Brennan that he is a gambler and that he does love her and he does want to try it – it's a scene of raw emotion as he makes the declaration and when Brennan realizes that he's serious and not playing, stark terror races across her face. He kisses her, but she pushes him away.

The dialogue is extremely powerful, but there were two very key phrases – the first when Booth tells her that when you talk to those couples who have been in love for forty or fifty years. It's the guy who always says, he knew. So Booth says, he knows. He knows her and he wants to do this.

Brennan says no – she has to protect him. Protect him from her. Because Brennan doesn't believe she can have a long-term relationship and that if they cross that line – what she treasures in Booth, the security of his loyalty and friendship will be destroyed because she will destroy it.

Not unreasonable.

What blew my mind is when Booth said "Well okay, but I have to move on now. I have to find someone who will love me."

Hart, you had me right until that moment. That was the moment where I wanted to toss Sweets and the rest out of the window.


That line didn't come from Booth – it didn't even sound like him. And he leaps out on the ledge after being held back by everyone only to ping pong in a completely different direction with the idea that he needs to find someone now if Brennan rejects him.



There are just a handful of episodes left in this season and I know the repercussions of this will play out for a long time to come – but I don't see Booth as a quitter and I can only hope he said that last bit to try and backtrack a little because of Brennan's terror – but we'll see.

What did you think of the 100th episode?

1 comment:

  1. I hated that ending. Bones was not ready to deal with Booth's declaration, she needs his friendship too much and doesn't trust emotions mostly because they can't be quantified. I don't buy that Booth is going to now give up and go on. It won't work to make Bones jealous so really what does he hope to accomplish? Plus it doesn't seem true to his characterization. Overall, the episode seems to be a cop out--give the viewers a kiss but keep them on the ropes in terms of a relationship.