Bones Theory

Top Five Tuesday: Underrated Episodes



Hey, BONES pals, what’s shaking? If you are like me, you are trying to stay cool in this summer August heat! It’s hot!

Thanks to everyone taking the time to stop by here at BONES THEORY. I hope you are enjoying it. We’re here with our second installment to the Top Five Tuesdays, and this week, we’re taking a look at underrated BONES episodes.

I know that when it comes to episodes, each person has his or her opinions, and you all know I welcome (and LOVE) all opinions (unless they are laced with spoilers, haha). With that said, I also want to mention that these five below episodes are not necessarily my five FAVORITE episodes of each season. But they are just five episodes I think often are overlooked for various reasons. Either way, I hope you agree on at least one. I also decided to go ahead and just choose one episode per season. There are several episodes in each season that are somewhat underrated, but for this ‘Top Five’, I had to choose somehow.

But be sure to let me know in the comments what you think! Here we go!

Season One:

The Man in the SUV:

When it’s time for ‘pilot seasons’ on TV channels, I always tell myself that I should give any show I like at least TWO episodes worth of my time, as pilot episodes are usually, honestly, not that great, you know? We talked about that already during 100DaysofBones, that the pilot of BONES holds up fairly well, although it is plagued with what most pilot episodes suffer…over characterization and clichés.

I do recognize the pilot episode of BONES is the first episode ever, don’t get me wrong (not that anyone asked me, haha). But since pilots are filmed and then sort of entered into a limbo phase, waiting (sometimes for a year if not longer) for networks to examine them and decide whether to keep the same actors, etc, etc…The Man in the SUV, to me, feels kind of like the first ‘real’ episode of BONES. It feels like… ‘okay, this is the team, this is the mood we really want. We have a pickup of x amount of episodes, and we’re going to go for it’. There is still a tiny bit of over-exposition, but for the most part, it’s a really steady and excellent episode. I think it gets overlooked because it’s NOT the pilot episode; however, I actually prefer this episode to the pilot. This episode features major bickering between Booth and Brennan, and in light of the 100th episode, Brennan’s reaction to Booth having a serious relationship with Tessa is all the more…aggressive? I don’t know if that is the right word, but now knowing that B&B locked lips and were intrigued with one another (to say the least) a year before this episode makes me think that Brennan’s sort of amused declaration of Booth’s alpha-male attributes, and his somewhat defensive reaction are more deeply rooted in lingering emotions between the two of them and not entirely burgeoning feelings between the two of them. Does that make sense?

The episode also shows us ‘life at the lab’ basically, with Hodgins, Angela and Zach working well together. It’s a funny episode, despite the tense case regarding terrorism.

We also get to see a little bit more into the darker side of Booth’s character and past, in his sniper abilities. I think this episode is so important, as far as Brennan’s reaction to that part of him.

The scene with Booth and Brennan at Wong Foo’s is one of my all time B&B moments, ever. To me, it sort of cemented early on that Booth and Brennan are RIGHT for each other. Not necessarily as lovers, but as PARTNERS. There is an inherent pain in each of them that only the other can soothe and identify with. In Booth’s case, there is almost a sense of doom surrounding that idea. Sort of that he probably thought (again, and not to mention it a zillion times, but in light of the 100th…) that he could get over Brennan, that she couldn’t possibly be THE ONE, and that when he thought he’d felt like he ‘knew’, that he was crazy, and he just needed to sort of settle down. I think her hand on his arm at the bar, despite all of their bickering, sort of puts him right back to where I see him ending (during the flashback portion) of the 100th episode…watching Brennan walk away from him at the Hoover building, rubbing his face after she slapped him. It’s like in that moment when she is comforting him, he is sort of sucked right back in to her whole…deal. That SHE is the one to bring up Tessa, that Tessa might be waiting…it kind of catches him off guard. It’s all so fascinating to me.

All in all, THIS episode, as much as the pilot, if not MORE, should be recognized as really effectively setting the stage for what we consider a very beloved show.

Season Two:

The Killer in the Concrete:

Ah, sandwiched between Sully & Cam and ‘Mac & Cheese’ is this little gem of an episode that I for one almost always over look. Even when I was sorting through the season two episodes for this project, I passed this one over at first. But when I went back and examined each episode, I realized that this one is quite fantastic and should be considered one of the best episodes in the series. There are several reasons why, but the biggest one is that Brennan faces challenges, both personally and professionally, that she must deal with.

I love the Brennan and Max dynamic, and every single episode scene they have together always leaves me wanting more.

Cheers to Emily Deschanel for the way she portrays Brennan as a daughter in those scenes. For as strong as she is, I think there is a subtle and innate desire to connect with Max. The tension that creates makes Brennan more personable and human. I love that Brennan’s reaction to Max in this episode includes her talking things through with Booth. I like that she wants to run things by him. And Booth is pretty straightforward with her about it, which I think she appreciates. If he sees Max, he’ll arrest him, but if he was in her shoes, he’d want to know what Max has to say about her mother.

When Brennan is angry with Booth in Pain in the Heart for citing ‘protocol’ as an excuse for not telling her he was still alive, she does have some merit. And in this case, SHE is the one who breaks the law to save Booth. It’s very beautiful to me, actually, in a way that I can’t totally describe. Sometimes…sometimes you guys, I wonder if Brennan will ever tell Booth she loves him. I’m just being honest with you. I’ll also just tell you that something I’ve kind of been struggling with lately is that small scene at the beginning of End in the Beginning when Brennan asks Booth if he loves HER, and he says he does and he wants to prove it to her. Okay, okay, we don’t want to get into spoiler territory, but I’m really wondering what possible scenarios we will be encountering if the END result (and I think that scene is probably in the general vicinity-time wise- of what we have to look forward to as a series completion) is Booth having to prove to Brennan that he loves her. As if she is the one assured of her love for him, but he’s the one who must prove it.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s just something that I can’t quite wrap my mind around, particularly because, like I said before, I don’t know that Brennan will necessarily say, “I Love You” to Booth. And sometimes…and don’t kill me, but sometimes, I don’t know if she NEEDS to say it. I think it would be meaningful to Booth, but what I also think is that she shows her love for him in different ways sometimes. What do you think? The way I see it…when she lies to the FBI to help rescue him…when she is furious with the bounty hunter…when she enlists Max’s help…all of those things, for me, add up to love. That’s why I love this episode.

Besides all of that stuff, this episode is really clever and witty. Between Booth’s tooth…ahem, “situation” and his bickering with Brennan on concrete vs. cement and facts and evidence, this episode really makes me laugh. I love the part when Brennan puts her hands on Booth’s face to check out his tooth and he grabs her arm for support. 

Additionally, every character is in character.This doesn’t always happen on BONES episodes, though I guess to be fair, if the show is the basis for judgment, every action is in theory in character. But do you know what I mean? Sometimes there are moments in episodes, and I feel like, “Wait…Brennan would NEVER do that!”, and I never feel that way with this episode. Each of the squints is useful in the case and they band together to help find Booth.

And if that is not enough…this is the first episode that ENDS with B&B at the diner. Their singing is sweet, even more so for being off-key, but sweeter still is when Booth tells her he had to give her time to rescue him. Y’all know I have no problem with emotional exaggerations, haha, but to me…what the end of this episode signifies, as “Keep on Tryin” continues softly in the background and Brennan openly shares about her mother with Booth, is that even though Max is Brennan’s biological father, Booth is her ‘family’. Yeah, thankfully the writers aren’t as clichéd as me and would never have her come right out and say it like that. But do you know what I mean? It’s love in a way that isn’t bombarded with unresolved sexual tension. It’s love that is rooted in partnership and trust.

Watch this episode again; you won’t be disappointed.

Season Three:

The Intern in the Incinerator

There’s a trend I’m noticing in this post, and that is that I find I love episodes where there is an underlying thread concerning Booth and Brennan and their affection for one another. Don’t get me wrong; I like most of the blatant ‘romantic’ episodes too (steamboats, anyone?), but I think that like these episodes, that interwoven thread of B&B affection and friendship can also be kind of underrated. Season Three, as we know, was shortened by the writer’s strike and is only 15 episodes. So when it comes to choosing an underrated ep, the pool is kind of slim. But I think that even when you consider the series as a whole, this episode deserves a closer look. For one thing, it’s a very good case. The team is on the trail for Gormogon, and when a Jeffersonian intern is murdered, Booth tries to dissuade the J-team from thinking old Gorgonzola is responsible. The character work is subtle, as Brennan tries to rationally dissect the events that occurred in her ‘house of reason’ as Booth calls it. She is able to use her knowledge of artifacts and Jeffersonian staff to do more of the investigation and interrogation in this case.

This episode is also very, very funny. Booth gets into a bit of a scrape when Cam sort of forces him to pose as her boyfriend and her sister takes the opportunity to try to sabotage something in Cam’s ‘perfect’ life. I love that Booth, who is resistant to the idea of the ruse in the first place, comes clean to Felicia that Cam’s life isn’t perfect because they broke up months ago. Haha. I also love, love, love, love…love to infinity the Hodgins and Booth interactions about that whole thing. And I think Booth is super cute when he does that little move where he crosses his eyes.

I love “What’s with the dummy, dummies?” and the B&B stake-out (‘Dr. Kevorkian has a doctorate’… haha) . But what I love most is that Booth knows Brennan’s favorite things in a subtle, non-threatening way. Daffodil, Daisy, Jupiter…he knows her! I think that, more than the number of cases they solve together or meals they share, that makes her feel like she can trust him. When we looked at this episode during the 100 Days, I asked what you thought about Brennan’s question to Booth, asking whether or not he would betray her. I’m going to ask you again, too, because I think it’s worth looking at it again.

“What’s your take on the “Are you going to betray me?” question from Brennan to Booth? Where did that come from? Do you think it’s based from the fact that Booth knew Cam’s password and that Cam mentioned they’d had dinner? Is it based on something else, something we were yet to know about and then never really got to know about? Sort of a foreshadowing of Booth being shot and/or the Zack stuff that never came to fruition because it was all smashed together after the strike? It’s just SUCH a deliberate question…it has to have deeper meaning, right? What say you?!?”

Season Four:

The Bone that Blew

This episode is also one that sort of resonates with a quiet confidence. It might not be on anyone’s top 10 list of all time, or even a top episode of season four, but I highly recommend it. It is case-centric but that frames some of the more lovely character development we’ve seen for Booth and Brennan. And for both of them, that development comes at the hands of wily old Max Keenan! Max believes in Booth as a man, a good man. Not his sniper skills, not his FBI credentials…but because Booth is a good man. He wants Booth for his daughter. Booth is caught off guard by that, and it’s really no surprise. For one thing, Booth doesn’t have (that we see) many people who he looks up to. He’s the alpha male of the group, and he wants it that way. That Max sort of forces his approval onto Booth is a shock. But it’s a good shock. I like Max’s blatant approach. Also interesting is that once Max sort of gives Booth his ‘blessing’ (haha, can you even IMAGINE Brennan’s reaction if she knew! Archaic!), Booth goes to bat for Max with Brennan…twice. What is also interesting is that once Max believes in Booth, Booth is then able to ask Sweets for genuine advice about Parker (and his ability as Parker’s father when it comes to public vs. private schools). And I like that Booth gains confidence in his actions toward Brennan at the very end. When someone believes in you, it’s easier to believe in yourself and it’s easier to believe in someone else; that’s all there is to it.

Brennan is forced to deal with her own relationship with her father when Max is employed as a teacher at the Jeffersonian. I like that we learn that Max taught her a lot in her primary years. And I honestly believe that seeing Max with Parker in the lab is what helps Brennan begin to accept her father. Also interesting is that Brennan thinks the punishment that the killer (Alexa) receives is too lenient because it’s a reflection on money and social status. Booth, normally the one who has issues with wealth, is the one who sort of helps her see the reality of the situation.

I am not sure why I consider this episode to be underrated, except that I just don’t see much talk about it, I guess. Or perhaps I’m the only one who doesn’t give it as much love as it deserves. One more thing I absolutely love is when Booth slides his tie into the gas tank of that car, and then interrogates the mother, tie-less. I mean, we’ve seen him nearly naked a few times, but wasn’t that ONE more undone button just enough to make your teeth sweat? Ey yo!

Plus the end scene is so special. I love the little smirk of satisfaction on Max’s face, too.

In the grand scheme of the series, I think this episode is a turning point for both Booth and Brennan. Because it isn’t particularly flashy or sexy on the surface, I think it’s over looked. I know I’m guilty of that. But what do you think? Is this episode as underrated as I think?

Season Five:

Bones on a Blue Line


Up until the literal moment I began writing this season five section, I was all set to name Dwarf in the Dirt as the most underrated episode of season five. Because, I LOVE that episode. I think it’s AMAZING! But……I sort of was feeling guilty, as if maybe I was just trying to write about my fave episode under the guise that it was the most underrated, just so I could convince people how great it was, right? Well, I DO think that episode is underrated, but… I don’t like feeling guilty, especially when it comes to TV shows. I mean, what am I, a man in the Booth family? Please, they have enough guilt for all of us combined!  So…just to have a clean conscience, I decided to look over the season five list, one more time, just to make sure I was still right. And wouldn’t you know it…

I almost tossed around the ideas of The Plain in the Prodigy or The X in the File, as they are not really favorite episodes of mine. But then I thought…well, even if they aren’t favorites, that doesn’t mean they are underrated, right? Perhaps they are perfectly rated. And then I saw Bones on a Blue Line, and I knew I had to choose that one.

So here we go!

Coming off a really long hiatus AND serving as the predecessor of episode 100, I believe this episode gets passed over in ways that it shouldn’t. I think that if this episode had aired a week (instead of almost two months) after The Devil in the Details or sometime earlier, it might be a major fan favorite. The case is personal but not suffocating. Sweets gets some quality character development (including with she who will not be named) and Hodgins and Angela have some fun moments. Page 187, anyone?

This episode is sort of like a really good band you didn’t really pay to see, you know? You shell out the big bucks for a concert tour of your favorite band and kind of suffer through the opening acts, but then a couple of weeks, months, years later you realize that there was a diamond in that small opening act. This episode has heart! It has a lot going on without being ridiculous. Part of the success of that is that Booth and Brennan aren’t together every single minute. Booth and Sweets have some very good moments together, and the friendship between Brennan and Angela is also highlighted with all of the book royalties and stuff like that. And when B&B ARE together in this episode…it really, really works.

There are the moments with the magazine writer, where she is trying to pin Brennan down to admit that Booth is Agent Andy. I love that Booth kind of supercedes Andy’s qualities. I also love that Brennan spends most of her time with the magazine writer trying to convince her that science is paramount to everything in her work. But the reality of her life and actions and reactions in the rest of this episode contradict that. And I still maintain that the end of this episode is one of the most intriguing B&B endings in this entire series. There is a relaxed desire and affection that just swirls around them. Booth shows up unannounced, but Brennan is casual, and hospitable. They make each other laugh, but are also very true to themselves.

To me, it shows that in order for B&B to succeed as a couple romantically, they will have to accept one another’s differences. I think that is totally possible. That it didn’t play out in the rest of the season that way isn’t the fault of this episode.

If you have the time, I recommend re-watching this one as well.


But don’t just take my word for it. Let me know what you think! Comments have been kind of sparse around here. Not that people HAVE to comment or anything like that, but I really do want to hear what you have to say! Remember, I’m not saying these five episodes are the BEST episodes of each season…just that I believe maybe, just maybe they should get a little more credit than they do! Talk to me, BONES pals!

Peace, Love & Bones,



11 thoughts on “Top Five Tuesday: Underrated Episodes

  1. I completely agree with Man in the SUV being underrated…damn, I love that episode. There’s something about that scene where Booth tells Bren that “I’m not angry. Believe me, you do not want to see me angry. That’s the last thing you want to see.” Oooh. Incrdible Hulk Booth. Nice.

    And I think Plain in the Prodigy might be the best episode of Season Five and almost no one mentions it when they list the best eps…that makes it seriously underrated. It’s just a perfect mix of humor (Booth threatening Perry), sadness (The Amish mother seeing her son’s picture…dear God…) and sweet B&B (“Twenty-two? Really?”). It’s a gorgeous episode.

    Another great post! I love how you break the show down and dissect it…always funny. 🙂

  2. I agree with your choices, except for The Bone that Blew. I was annoyed with Brennan throughout almost the entire episode with her comments about families/parents not being necessary and that the rich children were obviously better off just because they were rich. Also, I thought the way she treated Max was shameful.
    While I enjoyed Bones on the Blue Line I think Plain in the Prodigy is more overlooked in Season V and I thought that was an amazing episode.
    Great break-down though. Really enjoyed reading your ideas.

  3. I don’t know if I agree with everything you say but I do have to disagree with you on one.

    ‘Plain in the Prodigy’, IMO, is probably one of the most underrated episodes of S5.

    This was the best written episode of the season besides ‘Proof in the Pudding’ but it didn’t get great reviews because of the B&B moments weren’t not all that great.

    I appreciated the artistic values of this episode from the start. Karine Rosenthal deserves a big pat on the back for the writing.

  4. You certainly picked out the underrated ones!! I totally agree with you on the Brennan/Max dynamic. I love shows with good father/daughter dynamics and I think I love the tension between them too (the “I’m-not-sure-I-should-be-angry-at-him-or-not” decision Brennan makes all the time when Max is around). Max with Booth also rocks!! 🙂 I love how Booth actually approves of a “stand-up” criminal like Max and vice versa.

    When Brennan lied to the FBI..I think that was solid prove she (OK..maybe not love…but DEEPLY cares) for Booth. When I think of Brennan as a logic-driven person…I can never see her lying to the authorities FOR ANYTHING. The fact that she did so just totally tells me that there’s something other than logic that was going on in her head that day 😛 *wink wink* LOL.

    In “Intern in the incinerator”…I think when Brennan asks Booth whether he will betray her or not, she was probably finding some comfort. As Booth puts it…her “house of reason” was shaken up. Brennan could have questioned her faith in what she “lives” in…since she really does invest a lot of her emotions in her work. It is the sweetest thing that only Booth’s reassurance was enough to settle her doubts. The center is really holding!!

    And finally…Bones on the blue line. I must say..I did kind of skipped over (emotionally) this episode (i.e. did not really give it much thought) since there was something in my head that kept shouting “the 100th episode is next!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and that just totally took away my concentration. I did watch it again and LOVED IT!! 🙂 🙂

    Thanks for the post…as always!! Will be following the ones to come!! Cheers!

  5. I like all the episodes you mentioned, and agree with many of the reasons you’ve set worth. I love Killer in the Concrete and The Bones that Blew – they are B&B centric in a way that is not usual for the show, and I love how Max episodes bring out hints of Brennan’s emotional side. In these eps you see how much she cares for Booth, and that is always so heartwarming!

    When do you go back to complete your 100 days to add the last episodes of the season? I have not rewatched any of them , as I am still sad/in mourning for the couple that grew so much closer in season 5. I’m hoping your take will make me feel better about the way the season played out!

  6. And btw, Dwarf in the Dirt is my favorite ep of season 5 – everything about it (even the cliches Booth spouts) works for me!

  7. I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE “The Bone That Blew”. The ending scene always makes me soo excited. I wonder if it’s just me, but when I watch Booth and Brennan on the balcony watching Max and Parker, I just think FAMILY TIME!!! Max already loves Parker and Booth and Brennan are ALMOST together (grrrr) so I just see a little family whenever I watch this. And it just makes me smile! 🙂 It is definitely one of the most underrated episodes and one of my favorites! 😀

  8. I couldn’t say if “Bones on the Blue Line” is underrated, but what I really liked in this episode was the Booth-Sweets moments. Sweets is always looking to analyze and take authority on the psychological and emotional issues with Booth and Bones, but in this case, Booth – being far more experienced with death — takes on the fatherly role with Sweets. It is realistic and yet another demonstration of showing us (rather than telling) how Booth really does care about Sweets.

  9. I’d say those picks are spot on except for season 5 – I would say it’s a pick between Pain in the Prodigy and Proof in the Pudding… probably would lean to Pudding because there’s no need to censor any of the conversations.

  10. One thought on “The Bones That Blew” – you appreciate the extra button that gets undone once Booth removes his tie. I appreciate that Bones didn’t have an evidence bag to put the tie in. It was the first & last time she didn’t have an evidence bag on her. I take it as a sign of her affection for Booth that there has never been another occasion that she hasn’t had an evidence bag. It’s like she felt she let him down, and won’t let him down again. ~MorWeb

  11. The real 2nd episode is Boy in a Tree (Where Booth gets his own card that he already has in Man in the SUV), a lot of S1 episodes aired out of order 🙂

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