We’re posting our recap of Bones’ 100th episode early because it was so good, we don’t want to wait any longer to discuss it. Fans in other time zones, come back once you’ve watched. We’ll be here. Spoilers ahead…
As I said when I reviewed this episode for EW’s What to Watch section and gave it an A, Bones has a shaky track record when it comes to “big” episodes. More than one season finale has polarized fans. But whether or not you understand why Brennan can’t just open her heart and be with Booth already (more on that later), you have to love that the show was bold enough to go there, to have Booth tell her he wants to give them a shot, kiss her, and reveal that he knew from the beginning she was the one. I’ve watched those last three minutes probably close to 10 times now, and I think it’s safe to say they are my favorite moments of the series. Here’s what’s so beautiful about that scene: We’ve long heard the producers say how something would happen in the 100th episode that would change the course of their relationship, and from decades of TV fanaticism, we know it’s too soon for the destination to be coupledom. We’ve also read the Ausiello spoilers so we know who’s being brought onto the show as a potential love interest. And yet, we were riveted. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: After all that’s gone unspoken between these two (at least verbally, those Boreanaz looks of love are Swayze-level), he was finally expressing himself so simply and clearly. He wants to be with her. He doesn’t care if the FBI would separate them. “When you talk to older couples who, you know, have been in love for 30 or 40 or 50 years, alright, it’s always the guy who says, ‘I knew.’ I knew. Right from the beginning…. I’m that guy. Bones, I’m that guy. I know.” The devastation on his face (and near stumble) was heartbreaking when she responded, “I am not a gambler. I’m a scientist. I can’t change. I don’t know how… I don’t know how.”
The first time I watched the scene, I turned on Brennan. Isn’t this exactly what we’ve been building toward for nearly five seasons? Hasn’t she shown amazing progress? Why would she pull that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome” line when she’s never been anywhere as close to anyone as she is Booth? He already is a different outcome. I don’t believe Booth’s White Knight Syndrome is what draws him to Brennan. But I do think fear of abandonment is what’s really keeping her from being with Booth. The fact is, she has a better chance of keeping him in her life if they remain professional partners only, and she knows it. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. She’s playing it safe — she’s not a gambler willing to go all or nothing. She cares about him too much to risk losing him.
I couldn’t initially understand how Booth was able to walk away with her wrapped around his arm and her head on his shoulder after that. But I think he really does understand how her mind works — that’s the only way. Watching the scene again, you start to realize how brilliant Emily Deschanel was in it. When that tear fell down her cheek as she told him she didn’t know how to change, you believed her. She said it with a certainty and a sadness that meant she’d change it if she could. The two of them ending up with tears in their eyes — definitely enough to make me well up. He told her she was right, and the first thing she wanted to know was if they could still work together. Again, we had no doubt the answer would be yes, but we still felt for her in the long pause as he looked at her while she fought back a tear.
Brennan: Thank you.
Booth: But I gotta move on. You know, I gotta find someone who’s gonna love me 30 years, or 40, or 50.
Brennan: I know.
And then they walked. Let’s back up to the beginning, apropos for a flashback episode (directed by David Boreanaz).
I somehow doubt that Sweets wouldn’t have confirmed that the “first case” he based his entire book on was, in fact, their first case before he penned it or while he was researching it. But we’ll play along. Booth thought they were going to tell him that his conclusion — they are in love, and the “sublimating energies of that connection are responsible for the energy, vigor, and rigor” that they bring to their homicide investigations — was an error, but Bones didn’t care about that. She just wanted him to know that they’d worked together before the murder of a pregnant congressional intern. Understandably, Sweets freaked since his interpretation of their working relationship was based on the unfolding interpersonal dynamics of that first case. He needed to hear about the real one. Flashback!
The body of a girl who had been last seen in D.C. had ended up in a New York landfill. Booth, then burning the midnight oil at a pool hall, got a call from the victim’s mother and met up with her. The New York police were giving up on finding the killer. Booth then met with the New York Coroner, Cam, who suggested he get another point-of-view. Maybe from a forensic anthropologist at the Jeffersonian who had solved a 4,000-year-old murder. Reluctantly, he agreed. He went to meet Brennan while she lecturing on defleshing techniques at American University. You could tell they liked the look of each other immediately. He asked if she believed in fate (smooth). Of course she didn’t.
Booth gave her the girl’s remains but withheld her identity. He wanted to see what pony-tailed Brennan and her team could come up with on their own. This flashback was the only way I was ever going to be okay seeing Zack again. And this is how you please longtime fans: By showing us an “unpleasant,” crazily-coiffed, sexually-frustrated Hodgins eager to use his doctorates in botany, mineralogy and entomology to find fibers, spores, and other particulates — and, eventually, enjoying his first experiment. That was whacking cushion-suited Zack with a baseball bat to determine if it could have been the murder weapon. Hodgins snapping his anger-management rubber band when Brennan, who’d also whacked Zack, told him striking Zack’s head would be unneccessary was classic. T.J. Thyne has such great timing. We also found out how Brennan befriended Angela, an artist she had interacted with a month prior at an art exhibit because she was impressed with her command of underlying structure. We’ve always known Angela started off squeamish with the skulls, but we learned she’d taken the facial reconstruction gig because she was saving money to go to Paris. She’s an artist. I hope Brennan was only that rude to Cam, who she literally bumped into coming off the elevator to see Seeley, because she wasn’t happy that she was about to tell him she failed to ID the girl. She could reveal all kinds of things about her from her bones, but not her name. Hearing Brennan spout off her report as Booth’s jaw dropped reminded me just how amazing she is at her job. How can you tell at what age someone moved states from her bones?
Having passed his test “with a lot of color” (oh, Bones), she was ready for the real assignment: Help Booth prove a Federal Judge killed the girl. Our Tempe, always about the facts, said she wouldn’t do that. She’d help him find the truth. The smiles the two of them shared when she agreed that playfully butting heads was fun… Well, Sweets needed to loosen his tie. He couldn’t believe they weren’t fighting yet. They were “just feeling each other up,” Brennan explained. (Somethings never change.) The flirty looks continued when Booth admitted he was questioning the girl’s boyfriend (soft-spoken with a believable tear, well done, guest actor) because he wanted to prove to Brennan the guy could be ruled out and Brennan asked if she could come in and watch Booth “broil” him. (Seriously, I forgot she was this bad.)
Zack and Brennan figured out a pattern of bruising on the girl’s bones inflicted shortly before her death. Brennan and Booth went to the opera house the girl had been singing at with her choir on the night she was last seen, and we got more flirting. Booth said he was enjoying working with her and used the nickname “Bones” for the first time — which she liked. She read the rebellion in his fashion, then asked him if he was seeing anyone. Sweets and I both were hyperventilating at this point, I’m sure. They started off so straightforward! He was seeing someone casually who didn’t like his hours and was really interested in hearing her response to the same question. She was thinking of saying yes to a physicist who was asking her out, and Booth said he’d ask her out if the FBI didn’t have rules about fraternizing with consultants. “That’s too bad,” she said. So she totally wanted him.
Having figured out that the girl had fallen down the staircase matching the maple sliver found on her clothes, Booth and Brennan were ready to take Angela’s primitive stick-figure flip-book reenactment of the crime to Federal Prosecutor Caroline. That scene was awesome on so many levels: Booth’s first use of the word “squints,” and Caroline suggesting that they’d need a big fancy computer to sell Angela’s reenactment and that Booth had always wanted her office. Booth and Brennan took the judge to the opera house, and she blurted out the scenario. The judge made the mistake of calling her “ridiculous.” She punched him in the nose, twice. I miss the days of Brennan kicking a little ass. Booth loved it then: “You are so hot,” he said. Caroline, however, was less impressed and told Booth to fire her. Considering Caroline already thought watching the two of them together was like being at prom, her orchestrating that kiss under the mistletoe years later makes so much sense. Knowing that Booth and Brennan ALMOST HOOKED UP after he got them drunk so he could fire her totally explains why they looked so into that Christmas kiss. They knew they’d like it!
Brennan quickly realized the upside to being fired was that they could now sleep together. Booth called a cab. Immediately. Standing outside the pool hall in the rain waiting for it, he had something he wanted to tell her. She thought it was that he was a direct descendent of John Wilkes Booth. She could tell THAT from his bone structure? He told her to keep that quiet (which we know she did), and that what he was going to say was that he had a gambling problem. But he was taking care of it.
Brennan: Why did you feel you had to tell me that?
Booth: I don’t know. I just feel like, um, this is goin’ somewhere.
Brennan: Why did you feel like this is going somewhere?
Booth: I don’t know. I just, I feel like I’m gonna kiss you.
CUE AMAZING FIRST KISS and a cruel cut to Sweets, now standing up in shock. “There was tongue contact,” Brennan said. Sweets asked how long the affair had lasted. Turns out, Brennan wasn’t drunk enough to sleep with a man because she was drunk. Much to Booth’s chagrin, she hopped in the cab solo, assuring him it wasn’t because he would’ve regretted her in the morning. I love how sexually confident she’s always been. Seeley could’ve gone back into the pool hall, but instead he went home. She was already making him a better man.
The next morning, a hung over Brennan told the squints they were fired but offered Angela steady work. Hodgins not-so-casually hit on Angela. (“You ever feel like you saw something great that almost happened, then it didn’t?” he asked her. YES, your future wedding!) Brennan asked Zack to take the remains and evidence linking the Judge to the girl to Booth, so we got to see those two get off on the wrong foot. Luckily, Cam was there to translate the report to Caroline and get a search warrant for the judge’s car to prove he’d slammed the girl’s head in the hood of the trunk. This is where things got interesting again…
Booth was all happy to tell Brennan she was back, but she wasn’t happy to see him. She was back in her world and suddenly didn’t find his ignorance and demands on her time charming. She said it was because he’d gotten her drunk to fire her and have sex with her. He said he’d gotten himself drunk to fire her and that he handled it gracefully when she decided not to have sex with him. After she belittled the FBI forensics team and Booth told her she needed to learn to speak to people, we heard what would become a familiar refrain:
Booth: You’re a cold fish.
Brennan: You’re a superstitious moron.
Booth: Get a soul.
Brennan: Get a brain.
In short, I concur with Sweets, who said, “It’s like you two missed your moment. And then you punished each other for it.” I also think the honeymoon period was over. Brennan realized she wasn’t going to just use him and his hot symmetry for sex. She might actually have to keep working closely with him.
The case worked itself out. Brennan figured out the judge had his septum replaced, so Booth guessed the girl saw him snorting drugs, he chased after her to offer her a bribe, and she fell down the stairs. He thought she was dead and went to get his car. As he was loading her in, she regained consciousness and he slammed the hood of the trunk and killed her. Sweets knew there was more relationship drama to be told. They started arguing in front of the girl’s mother when Brennan expressed her worry that they didn’t have enough evidence to convict. (A confession doesn’t count?) Booth grabbed her by the arm and took her out of the room to tell her then wasn’t the right time to discuss it, and she slapped him across the face. Hard. She called him a bully who uses his badge and gun to intimidate people. Just like she uses her brain to make people around her feel stupid, he said. She called him stupid and said she hated him. He said, “What are you, 10 years old? I’m not your dad.” (OUCH, says anyone who knows her history with her father and that she used to keep a list of names of bad foster families with her when she was young. She learned to protect herself and doesn’t want to be manhandled — physically, verbally, or mentally.) She vowed to never work with him again and stormed out.
Sweets was still convinced they had to have slept together because he always said, if they did kiss, the dam would break. When Brennan said they weren’t in love with each other, Booth looked hurt. How many times have we seen that slightly wounded look on his face over the years? THAT’S WHAT IT MEANS, OFFICIALLY: “BUT I LOVE YOU.” I’m going to need to watch so many episodes again. Sweets was growing increasingly frustrated. Why have neither of them been in a serious relationship since they started working together? Someone was going to have to break the stalemate. It had to be Booth, Sweets said. He’s the gambler: “For once, make that work for you.” For a second, you thought Sweets’ stare was getting to Booth, but then he suggested that he and Brennan do their favorite thing (other than drinking): eat. A sitcom could’ve gotten away with ending there, no questions asked. Ha-ha! The joke’s on you, audience! But a drama needed those final three minutes that Bones delivered. (As a commenter pointed out, I should have noted that the final scene took place in front of the wall quote “Nothing happens unless first a dream..” — Carl Sandburg. Presumably it’s a reference to Booth’s coma dream in which he and Brennan were married. Did it make any of you think we were getting a happy ending?)
Your turn. What are your theories about why Brennan and Booth turned on one another after he hired her back, and why she’s still not ready to be in a relationship with him? How much did you love this episode? What kind of antics did you put your mind and body through watching it? How many times did you rewind the drunken kiss and the final scene? Which episodes do you want to rewatch now? (I’ll be starting with the pilot. The sexual tension at the shooting range? Now even hotter.) Where do we go from here? (Dating other people, followed by jealousy?) And what will happen to make Brennan change so they FINALLY end up together? You still think that will happen, right?