Bones Theory

Thankful Week: Bones Makes Me Furious


I’m not talking about significant others or whether or not Booth should or should not be having sex with them. I’m not talking about whether Brennan’s willingness to discredit the truth for Booth’s sake is a betrayal of her character. I’m talking about this:


And this


And this.


A woman, her two children (a son and a daughter), and one of her friends are in their home when a man breaks in. He kills the mother, the son and the friend, taking the 13 year old daughter and locking her up in his basement. The woman does not report for work, and so one of her co-workers goes to her home to check up on her; there she sees blood and she calls the police who open an investigation.

Somehow, the man is found out, and the police find the girl locked up in his basement. He’s arrested on kidnapping charges. And later, he admits to where he stashed his victims. Police listen to what he says, and sure enough, in an approximately 50 feet tall hollowed out tree, there are garbage bags stuffed with cut up human body parts identified later as the three victims and the family dog.

Is this a spoiler? A future episode of BONES where Booth interrogates the man, and Brennan and her team do DNA tests?

No; it’s a real case that happened 45 miles from my home.

As my dad said the other day, “Don’t have anything to be thankful for? How about this…no one in your family was found chopped up in a garbage bag this week”. And yeah, I can be thankful for that, but I’m still…furious. It makes me so angry! As Booth would say…it’s just not right. It’s wrong.

A baby’s mother is killed for a business transaction; a boy’s finger is cut off as part of a power play; a good man is forced to act as a human Santa-bomb.


A smart and artsy girl with passion and a bright future breaks her leg and during a routine surgery receives a cancer ridden bone graft.

A young man is torn between his family’s heritage and the prodigious gift and love he has for playing the piano. At the wrong place at the wrong time, he’s murdered.

A leukemia survivor, holding a subway ticket and a new lease on life, is killed instantly in a fluke accident.

Three young boys (maybe more) are killed by a woman who is too smart for anyone’s good. She stuns them and buries them alive, taunting their parents and law officials with unrealistic demands.

Teenage girls are captured and forced to endure their greatest fears in slow agonizing deaths. Snakes, spiders, etc.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

A boy with a strong body and a good heart finds himself protecting himself and his younger brother from their alcoholic abusive father. As he grows older, he finds himself warring with his inner awareness of good and wanting to make things right vs. the reality of his life. Things come to a head, and it’s almost over, but because of the intervention of his grandfather, he lives. He grows even older, still a good guy, trying to do the best he can. He finds himself good at something…really good. But this good thing? It’s shooting to kill with deadly accuracy. So again…more tension. He’s doing good and killing at the same time. How does he justify that? Being a sniper, he took a lot of lives, and what he’d like to do before he’s done is, “try and catch as many murderers.” And now he’s a good man, trying to do the best he can. And sometimes, it just doesn’t work out that way.

A young girl with a brilliant mind and a sweet curiosity finds herself getting teased for those very things. She finds solace in her family; her mother who seems to really understand her and support her, her father who has always taken time to explain new scientific theories to her, and her brother who, despite being older and more popular, makes sure she’s okay. And then she finds herself completely alone in the world. Moved from foster family to foster family, she suffers neglect, ridicule and is locked in the trunk of a car. Still, her mind and her will keep her alive, and she survives, using her curiosity as a tool to learn more. She sees “a face on every skull…can look at the bones and tell you how they walked, where they hurt”. Her mind is still as sharp, and her curiosity as sweet and sometimes, she gets hurt.

In his Poetics, Aristotle attributes catharsis with tragedy, mentioning the pity and fear we experience alongside of it. Some argue it presents the case that people secretly like tragedies as it provides an outlet for emotions and an underlying (and sometimes subconscious) security in the knowledge that “at least I don’t have to deal with that in my life”. And to a point, I’ll agree with that. But still…I want to be furious at the mistreatment of people in the world.

There’s a line in an old Relient K song about the ‘double edged sword of being lazy and being bored”. I don’t want to be like that, but I know that I can be sometimes. Do you know the feeling? It doesn’t seem possible to love until you’ve had your heart broken for something. I don’t want to be emotionless, even if it hurts sometimes.  It’s sort of like Booth said in Gamer in the Grease. He was talking about someone hurting a person’s child, but I think there is an allowance that as humans to feel like, “your own heart rises up, gets fierce.”

I know I’ve described before how I first fell in love with BONES because of the desperation Booth felt for justice and Brennan for the truth. Neither of them are perfect, but they have good hearts. The unfair cruelty infuriates them as much as all of us. They’ll continue to fight for the truth and justice, and I’ll do the same to the best of my ability, and that’s (one reason) why I’m thankful for BONES.

Till tomorrow,

Peace, Love & Bones,



13 thoughts on “Thankful Week: Bones Makes Me Furious

  1. My husband once asked me why i watch a show that’s often about violent death and such sorrow. The only thing I could think to tell him was that it gives me hope. That in the face of these awful things, there are people out there who ‘make those bastards unsafe’.

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  3. Unlike the death and sorrow on the News (and my News is based out of Detroit, so there is A LOT), Bones usually rights the wrongs and they do it in such a cool, interesting way…and with a good dose of UST (except this season) and awesome character work…how could we not love it?!?!

  4. I’m thankful for you Seels and this blog and everyone who writes for it. I’m thankful that every day you guys give me new reasons to love Bones and new friends to love it with.

  5. To a casual observer, Bones looks indeed as if it is mostly about bones, and gristle and blood for that matter. For those of us who love it though, we know that it’s mainly about heart–lots and lots of heart. How a show that revolves around mass injustice and sometimes sheer, naked malice can be so touchingly funny and sweet is a tribute to fine writing and great, great acting. And kudos to the producers for fitting plot, character development, humor and insight into less that 50 minutes per week. That there’s so many good episodes is awe-inspiring; that there’s so many great ones, well, that’s AMAZING.

    One of the many things I’m thankful to Bones for has been feeling that I can share the show with my 13 year old daughter, which I’ve done for about a year now. I thought about it a lot, since sex is mentioned so often and the images can be rough on the eyes. In the end, I looked to shows popular with other girls in her class, shows she’s heard of but so far hasn’t had any desire to watch: Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries, Unwed Mom reality shows and on and on. I’ve seen small bits of these and frankly given the quality of writing and acting, Bones starts looking like Shakespeare by comparison. And unfortunately, the news already does a good job highlighting the many instances of awfulness in the world for all to see; what Bones does is put that news in perspective and bring it down to a more human scale.

    When my husband grumbled about appropriatness I asked him, what other show has three incredibly strong, competent, professional female leads with such passion for justice? Women who stand up for themselves and don’t get pushed around by any guy? And where do we get a show with three male leads who exemplify loyalty, compassion, courage and integrity? There are many great teaching moments in Bones for a 13 year old girl (even if I haven’t let her watch the “giddy up” episode yet) and in my view that is what a true family show is all about. We discuss the show both during and after and it’s led to many fine conversations. Thanks Bones, for many years of providing good role models and heartwarming moments-here’s to many more! And a safe and joyful Thanksgiving to you all!

  6. Yes. Our world is messed up. Period. So I think the only question I can ask myself is…”what can I do about it?”.

    I love love love love Booth’s quote that you mentioned about how when our loved one is hurt, our hearts “rises up, gets fierce”. That is true on so many levels. Sometimes when people take advantage of me or make me feel bad (e.g. cut in front of me in a line, take my stuff etc.) I just let it go. But when that happens to someone I love (parents, friends etc.) I realize that I actually defend them more than I defend myself. And I realize that Booth’s right. You get fierce when someone you love is hurt and you only confront someone for someone else (like what he taught Parker).

    For this lesson in life..I’m thankful for BONES too!! 🙂 🙂

  7. I read about that story, with the beech tree. I just…that’s horrible. So, so horrible. How can that happen? How can any of it happen? Here, I just read a story about a woman who left her newborn in a suitcase in church; he died. Who would do something like that, what kind of person can chop people into bits with their little dog, or shove a baby in a suitcase? I am most assuredly thankful that my family isn’t THAT insane. God.

    It’s like…hey, look, I remember, for once. Bones actually said it better than I ever could articulate, when she said in…Man on Death Row, I think. She said that we share in the death of every person, because we all share DNA. (“There was doubt. We had an obligation to respect that doubt. We all share in the death of every human being.” / “Very poetic.” / “No, very literal. We all share DNA. When I look at a bone it’s not some artifact that I can separate from myself. It’s a part of a person who got here the same way I did. It should never be easy to take someone’s life. I don’t care who it is.”)

    Whether it goes further than that into some spiritual reasoning and not just human bottleneck some large amount of years ago is up to your own beliefs, it’s true. We share DNA with each and every person on earth, and it seems perfectly reasonable to me to feel angry, FURIOUS that things like that happen. That baby in a suitcase, or mom in a hefty bag, or the random homeless people who live in the woods and sometimes turn up dead around here…in some way, they’re part of us, and I think it’s a bad sign if we DON’T get angry. Don’t get sad.

    As for the show, yeah, I still get furious. It seems like an exercise in futility to be furious on behalf of people who don’t even exist, but I dunno. At the end of the day, it’s easier to let go of people who didn’t exist. It’s easier to feel mollified with the fact that the little boy didn’t ACTUALLY get his finger cut off. Locked in a fridge. Crushed to death. That Epps isn’t real, for all that there are plenty out there like him. I guess that’s the thing, though. For every case, I’m sure it’s happened, somewhere in the world. Sometime. That does suck, because TV is different from real life and for all that real cops do their best, sometimes life just sucks and nothing goes your way.

    …you know, that was originally supposed to be inspiring, but I kind of forgot my happy point. Now I’m just sad. Well. I guess I’m thankful that thus far, my family has not been the victim of any serial killers or such. I’m also thankful for the writers and everybody in Bones. I honestly do have faith that they’ll eventually let their characters who THEY created with so much pain be happy. See, optimism. It’s a beautiful thing.

  8. Thank you so, so much. This is what originally attracted me to the show (not the part of feeling angry, but the fact that it actually made me feel that way), and why I guess I’m so attracted to the more sad episodes in particular — the depth of emotion is so strong (I really think that the episodes that make us furious can be the show’s stronger episodes in general). I’ll always remember the Plain in the Prodigy, not just because a boy gave up his passion for his faith and family, but because he was killed by the outside world he wanted to embrace and shun. I wanted to hug his parents (and for that matter, any other character) and tell them it would be all right. I mean, that’s amazing that a television show makes me want to do that.

    It’s strange, isn’t it, that something so difficult to identify with (a skeleton), sometimes becomes easy it identify with through this show? I think that getting the audience to feel empathy and sympathy is one of Bones’ biggest hurdles (that it has mostly overcome). I think that I’m attracted to these cases because they’re a lot like history (I’m a history major/nerd). In the history discipline, we talk about nameless, faceless people every day, especially as you go further back in time. The slaves, the soldiers, the leaders, the followers, the men, the women, and the children all had important roles to play, but we can’t always say “___ did ____” — it’s just not possible. This is why I recommended that my class go to see Written in Bone, which is at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. They had reconstructions, and the stories, of a number of nameless, formerly faceless people from the Colonial Chesapeake (we’re studying Jamestown). Some have names now, some have stories, all represented in the exhibit. Like on Bones, they’re not bones anymore, that’s a person you’re staring at (look up the Boy from Levy Neck reconstruction… it’s haunting). I guess that’s what struck me about Shallow in the Deep, too. Remember Daisy and Angela’s conversation about how Daisy preferred to see them as “just bones,” while Angela wanted her child to remember that the child she drew was once someone else’s child, too. It was stunning. I think, by showing us the worst, they show us the best in people as well. People do care. People do see that someone is nameless, faceless, and wants to right that wrong. I guess that is what is so attractive about Bones… it brings out a flashlight and shows both the light and the dark, and I am so incredibly thankful for that.

  9. I am thankful for the friends that I have made by watching Bones. I am grateful for your writing and insight into my favorite show. I am thankful for Hart Hanson for creating a series that has strong and smart women.

    This world can be an ugly place but I am most thankful for the men and women who fight to keep us safe and make it their mission to find justice for those who can not.

  10. I teared up a bit when I read this.

    I know people who watch heavy drama (you know, the kind where no one ever wins any kind of victory?) for that cathartic release. I guess they feel like in a world such as this one, where there’s such ugliness, that hope is misplaced.

    But it isn’t. Hope – that even if we can’t stop murderers, we can at least find justice for some of the victims – is necessary. Because as the show’s pointed out, for every murderer who’s stopped, that’s one (or more) viewer victims. But without hope, without the belief that we can make a difference, the reminder that good sometimes wins, would we even try?

    And that’s what I’m thankful to Bones for. Life simply sucks sometimes, even if murder isn’t involved (thinking about B/B’s childhoods here.) In terms of childhood traumas, I identify with both of them, and have seen my share of horror and ugliness in other ways and times since childhood. I don’t need to know how bad life can be – but a weekly reminder that flawed, good-hearted people can still make a difference, and that sometimes hope wins the day – that’s a reminder I think most of us need at times.

  11. rynogeny I too got teary reading this.

    I am always aware that the type of horrors that are portrayed in Bones (& other like minded shows) do happen to real people in real life. People are killed and discarded like trash or treated so abysmally it’s hard to come back from. When I think of some of the worst cases on Bones I know that there are probably people out there doing deeds more vile than can be imagined.
    My thankfulness for Bones? It also reminds me that there are heroes in this world who are trying to find justice for victims and/or their families, even if it is the return of a loved ones body.
    We have never been so privvy to the behind the scenes workers as we are in this day and age & it is through shows like Bones that we can truly appreciate how hard they work.

  12. Sarah, your post gave me goosebumps and got me choked up. I am moved by your passion and by the reminder of the horror of humanity at times.

    I just wanted to say that I completely agree with this statement, because it’s how I feel as well:

    “I know I’ve described before how I first fell in love with BONES because of the desperation Booth felt for justice and Brennan for the truth. Neither of them are perfect, but they have good hearts. The unfair cruelty infuriates them as much as all of us. They’ll continue to fight for the truth and justice, and I’ll do the same to the best of my ability, and that’s (one reason) why I’m thankful for BONES.”

    I love BONES because while it highlights the worst of what humans do to each other, but it also gives us everyday heroes that remind us to rise up and overcome the darkness.

    Thank you so much for sharing your passion with us.

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