Bones Theory

Five Major Turning Points


Good morning!

So…in a moment of boredom a few weeks ago, I started thinking about key moments in the series thus far, and it turned into a game of sorts…basically me trying to pin down what I think are the important turning points. (I’m defining ‘turning points’ rather loosely as moments that either take the show or characters in a different direction, or reveal something important.)

Because I like a challenge, I decided to limit myself to five.

I couldn’t do it.

There are just too many moments that demand acknowledgement.  So I compromised and began thinking of them as Major Turning Points, Minor Turning Points, Turning Points for Brennan, Turning Points for Booth, and Moments which Feel Like Turning Points, But Really Aren’t. (Yeah, the last one is a doozy.)

The following, in order of occurrence, are the Major Turning Points as I see them. I expect people to disagree with me, and that’s as it should be.  (I’m still prone to changing my mind about what list some of them belong on!) I’m more interested in why you might disagree than that you do.  Remember, though, something you think should be here might well show up in the other lists!

Let’s get started…

1) A Boy in a Bush

This episode doesn’t get much attention from fans, and I can never quite figure out why. The scene in the interrogation room, where Brennan convinces Shawn to tell her the truth, is one of my favorite early scenes. Not only do we learn something important about her, we see a further cementing of her and Booth’s relationship.  She and Booth have already had an argument about the boys staying with Margaret and he told her it wasn’t going to happen. She ignores him. Completely. She makes a promise to Shawn, trusting Booth to back her up.  There’s no real reason for her to trust him to this degree at this point, but she does, enough to risk a little boy’s heart if he fails her. And what do both we and Brennan learn about Booth? That he won’t. It wasn’t his first choice of how things should go, but he backs her up. Never hesitates. “We’re going to make this happen.” And he does.

I think this episode is also important for another reason: it’s where we see the foundation laid for Booth and Hodgins’ friendship. In S2, we learn that Booth has some issues with wealthy people, with those he considers privileged. But while Hodgins’ conspiracy theories may make him nuts, we never see even a hint of resentment that Hodgins is “rich squared to the power of ten times four,” because Booth learned early in their relationship what Hodgins values – and it’s not money.

2)      Two Bodies in the Lab

The problem with this episode is that there are several turning points in it.  As far as I can remember, it’s the first time they deny anything is going on between them, it’s the first time either of them saves the life of the other, and it’s the first time we see them hug (and what a hug!)  And while it’s not the first time we’ve seen them enjoying themselves away from work, I’m not sure the dancing to Hot Blooded has ever been matched in terms of the sheer fun they’re having together.

But beyond those firsts, both we and Brennan learn more about his background – not only that he’s been tortured, but that he’s been injured before while trying to save someone. (Given that, are we surprised to see him drag his injured self out of the hospital later to save her?)

3)      Judas on a Pole

This one was a challenge, because I couldn’t quite figure out whether to put it here or in the list of Turning Points for Brennan.  But while meeting her father and realizing how vulnerable she feels about family is important, the focus is really what they have together. Other episodes have shown us what these people are becoming to one another, but the last scene spells it out explicitly: they’re more than a team, more, even, than friends.

As Brennan said, "Anyone who wants to help Booth, raise their hands".

They’re family.  Not only do we get the moment between Booth and Brennan where she reveals her vulnerability to him and he reassures her, we also get the celebration for Zach, and one of my favorite lines:  ‘We are all of us, your squints.’

4) Critic in the Cabernet

(Wow, that’s a jump, isn’t it? From mid-S2 to the end of S4? But season 3 was short due to the writers’ strike – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Hey, when you’ve got over a hundred episodes to choose five from, something’s gotta give, right?) Ahem. Okay, whine over. Again, it’s not just a single scene from this episode. It’s a game changer in several ways: we see Brennan’s development in deciding she wants a baby (and not just any baby, but Booth’s baby); we see a truly vulnerable Booth and Brennan’s response to that.

 We also see the first indication that Angela and Hodgins will wind up back together.  One of my personal moments from all the seasons of the show is when he’s so obviously looking for her from his hospital bed at the end. Awww.

5) The Parts in the Sum of the Whole

(You knew this one would be here, right?)  I think it was Hart who said, before it aired, that the 100th episode would ‘change everything’ and he was right. I know some people still don’t like it, but I loved it.  Has any other show with a strong UST plot line done this, had one of them actually reject the other?  If so, I can’t remember it.  And perhaps that’s because in many such setups, it would be hard to overcome, or reverse. The rejected party would logically leave, and no one would understand why the person who had done the rejecting could or would do so. But however much growth we’ve seen in her by that point, Brennan wasn’t ready, and Booth will never walk away from her, no matter what. Do I sort of wish it had gone differently for them? Sure. But watching their relationship survive her turning him down is incredible storytelling and speaks to the power and strength of their bond.

So, thoughts? Arguments? I’m fairly sure I already know one episode that people are going to be howling about because it wasn’t included here (because I spent days switching around which list it would appear on.) Remember – I want to know why you think other episodes are more important turning points,: And I can’t wait till the next post in the series: Five minor turning points.

Let’s discuss!


25 thoughts on “Five Major Turning Points

  1. This is great. I think the fact that this show does have so many turning points speaks to what great character development it has.

    My favorite turning point you highlighted was in Judas on a Pole. I get goose bumps and a goofy smile on my face every time the the entire team raises their hands…they’re Booth’s people. ❤

    I watched it last night and Tweeted the quote: "Anyone who wants to help Booth, raise their hand" and I got a bunch of *raises hand* tweets back. That gave me even more goosebumps. I love this show and it's awesome (albeit, sometimes crazy fans) so much. 😉

  2. Great post rynogeny! I can’t say that I disagree with any of your choices at this point, but I think I’ll reserve final judgment until I find out what episodes made your other four lists (I can’t wait!). 🙂

    As far as the episode you think everyone will be howling about – honestly, I’m drawing a blank. My brain is a little sluggish this morning (too much late night writing) so maybe it’ll come to me later. The only thing I can think of right now is Hannah but I’d label her a Booth turning point more than a major turning point, so if that’s the one, you’ll get no argument from me.

  3. Hmm – here are some possible ideas that you were thinking could be glaringly obvious game-changers:

    1. The Man in the Cell — namely the last scene where Booth basically draws the line that people who work together should not be romantically involved. I think that statement could grant a subliminal restriction on Booth to not pursue Brennan and a directly stated piece of evidence to Brennan.

    2. The Beginning in the End (I’m not mixing things up, am I – meaning S5 finale) — splitting everyone up and Booth’s truism that “Things have to change”.

    3. Perhaps not a “major” turning point, but I’ll mention it anyway: The Couple in the Cave. I could say Mastodon, but it isn’t really until Couple that we see how the separation and introduction of Hannah (with subsequent reactions by Brennan) causes a distinct shift in Booth-Brennan interaction and their relationship as a whole.

    • I think I’d put Booth’s speech at the end of The Man in the Cell in the “Moments that Feel Like Turning Points, But Really Aren’t” category mainly because we see Brennan making a similar argument (although for different reasons) in The Girl With the Curl. It’s not really a turning point for either of them if they both feel that way. But that’s just my opinion (and the only reason I even know about that conversation is because I just wrote about it. Prior to a couple weeks ago I was completely oblivious to Brennan’s thoughts on the subject).

      • Oh right, that’s the Angela-Hodgins date with the swing, right? That’s one I can be persuaded to go either way on it . . .though I will still *lean* toward it being a turning point – if only because Brennan alludes to it in the 100th as a way of taking Booth’s words at face value.

  4. i’m guessing people are howling about “Conman”, and i *might* agree with them, except i see your problem with only five to choose from and i wouldn’t argue with putting it in the ‘minor’ list. B&B are the king and queen of baby steps.

    that said, i think i agree with all your points here, and the reasons you chose them, though if i’d been given six i might add the last five minutes of “Pain in the Heart” for the world-crush that gets them both (even if we don’t actually see any ramifications of it on screen).

  5. I love this list! It is amazing how many turning points this show has created. Enough for at least 5 lists?! Wow!

    I think the episode ‘missing’ from this list would be End in the Beginning. Even though it was a coma dream it was still a huge turning point – but I think that should probably be on the Booth Turning Points list! 🙂

    I also think that Killer in the Concrete gets overlooked a lot. There is some amazing development in that episode with all the squints, B&B and Max.

    The one episode that I think should be on this list is Aliens in a Spaceship. It’s a huge turning point for all involved. It solidifies the relationship between the squints, Brennan, Booth, Angela & Hodgins. It also sets up future episodes for more turning points and we get this quote:
    “I thanked him for saving all of us. It was all of us. Every single one. You take one of us away and you and Hodgins are in that hole forever. And I’m thankful for that.”

    Can’t wait for the upcoming lists!!

  6. This was great. I’m continually amazed at how many people care about BONES and how they notice all sorts of things in the show. I agree with you on these five major turning points, mostly because I haven’t ever really taken time to consider it. So, awesome job! Can’t wait to see what else makes your other lists.

  7. To limit the list to five is amazing. Certainly the 100th is pivotal in so many ways for the team and for the partners. Despite everything that they have been to each other, they can’t go forward as lovers but their love holds them together.

    To see the evolution from that point to this season is to see just how deep their connection is to one another. Despite the rejection, they still want to work together and they still do. The partnership is still working although the partners are frayed at the edges, especially Brennan. The irony is they can solve the murders but they can’t keep from killing their chances at being together.

  8. I agree! Really enjoyed reading this and smiling remembering each moment. I also think a couple of things could be pointed out from Aliens in a Spaceship. The part where Hodgins points out Brennan’s faith in Booth. “What you have is faith, baby”. This is a woman who has not allowed herself to have faith in anything! Maybe that would be more of a Brennan turning point, though. Also at the end where she says, very teary eyed “I knew you wouldn’t give up” and Booth replies in kind! Can’t wait for the next lists!

  9. The hug in Two Bodies in the Lab was AWESOME!! I remember thinking to myself while watching that episode for the first time that “gosh..that’s such a BRILLIANT way to have them hug each other for the first time”. Not only was it SUPER SUPER SUPER DUPER emotionally intense, it was touching beyond what I can explain. Up until that point in the season, I’ve viewed Brennan as someone who doesn’t scare easily. A strong woman. But in that particular situation she was genuinely scared (might I add that that scene was just BRILLIANTLY played out by Emily Deschanel!).

    Yes!! Judas on a Pole definitely has to be on this list!! 🙂 🙂

    As for Parts in the Sum of the Whole…I LOVED the episode. I’ve never been heartbroken before, but I’m pretty sure that if I ever was or will be…what I felt after Brennan rejected Booth was going to be how it felt like. Oh the sorrow!! I didn’t feel like eating dinner (and usually I’m a food-monster)!! So yeah. This episode was as big as turning points come. Now that we’re in season 6, I’m not feeling the usual UST between our favourite couple, but I think it is a good thing. Like you said, shows with strong UST plotlines don’t have one party rejecting the other. Since BONES already did this–and if they handle it well–they could build up the tension again (make it better?) or surprise us!! Just love this unpredictability!! 🙂 🙂

  10. I’d like to include “the man in the morgue” because it states how much Booth cares about Brennan to the point of jeopardize his entire career and even his liberty when he tooks that pendant off the crime scene.

  11. I agree completely with your major turning points but one moment that came to mind was in the verdict in the story where Booth taught her about ‘brain and heart’. I dont know if this should be in top five or not or it might even be a minor moment but i thougt i sould mention it since it just came to mind.

    p.s. if someone already mentioned this moment, sorry because i havent read any of the comments yet

  12. Well RYN–
    Great article. totally agree with 100–the most important in many ways…..and time will tell what change it finally brings.
    However, I would be remiss if I didn’t add one of my personal favorite eps–WOMAN IN LIMBO. A turning point in some ways for Brennan as she comes to deal with the reality of her past and chooses to welcome her brother back into her life. But maybe more a turning point for us viewers. Our second (MitFS first) window into Brennan’s childhood and our realization of just how much she lost and what it meant to her. And most importantly we get to see how Brennan viewer herself–for good or for bad.

  13. I honestly can’t think of an episode that everyone must be howling about. But I do think that the episode where Brennan is kidnapped (not Aliens in a Spaceship, though that one’s awesome too) and Booth has to rescue her from a warehouse or something. I can’t think of the name, but I remember where her hands are tied together on a hook and her mouth is taped.

    Good episodes by the way. I agree with them. Though I think the Beginning in the End (I think that’s what it’s called but it’s the end of season 4) when Booth dreams that they’re married and the episode where he admits to Gordon Gordon that he loves Brennan should be on the Booth turning points list.

  14. I agree with your points and wanted to add one of my own. I think the scene with Brennan on the witness stand in The Girl in the Fridge is a major turning point in their relationship. When she answers the lawyer’s questions, she reveals just how much her work affects her. I believe that it was truly the first time Booth really got some insight into the Temperance Brennan that she keeps hidden from the world. He saw her vulnerability and how easily she was hurt and realized how much she keeps inside. It was the first time her really cared about her personally.

  15. Love Love Love

    Awesome job

    Thanks for helping us remember what the show is about! Thanks for keeping it positive and letting us feel and have hope!

  16. A Boy in a Bush never really struck me as a turning point… maybe I have to watch it again?

    When I think of turning points, I can’t help but think of both The End in the Beginning and The Beginning in the End… because both of those just seem (to me, at least) to change the whole B&B dynamic.

    And, of course, I completely agree with your other choices. 🙂

  17. I’m not sure which episode you think we should be howling about but I blame the fact that there are just so many to choose from and honestly I could never limit it to five so great job!
    I agree with all of them and there are some things that I think belong in there as well but maybe they’re in your other lists so I’ll hang on and watch them first. 🙂 This show is just full of turning points and different dynamics, it’s a huge part of what keeps the show interesting and makes it real and fascinating to watch. The fact that we have difficulty selecting five shows just what great writing Bones is and how brilliant the actors bring the stories, which is exactly why I love Bones so much.

  18. These are GREAT Major Turning Points! I can’t wait to read all the other installments…I love when posts make me think and help me come up with even MORE reasons I am hopelessly and totally in love with this show.

    There are so many moments to choose from, but I think the most “turning point-y” in a broad sense was the 100th. Everything since then has been SO completely different, yet still Bones.

  19. I just saw The Skull in the Desert again a few days ago, and I think it is an interesting turning point. First of all, Brennan drops work and goes immediately when Angela calls for her help, which is something we wouldn’t expect from her at that point in the series. Then, Brennan calls Booth for help, and she just assumes that he will go. That phone call makes me smile every time. She already checked for flights schedules and everything. And of course, he is there the next morning, with coffee and everything. It was an episode full of surprises, and one of the first ones where the team came together for a “personal” case.

  20. About the 5×16 : “Has any other show with a strong UST plot line done this, had one of them actually reject the other? If so, I can’t remember it. ”

    Yes, The Office has done it (in the episode 2×22 Casino Night, in which Jim finally confessed his love to Pam and she rejected him) and I think it’s a veryyy good sign, because what followed in their relationship was pretty much gold :

    Jim went away to work somewhere else (well well… that reminds me of something… But what could it be ?^^), then some months later he came back… with a grilfirend (ring any bells ? No ? You’re sure ?) and for a whole season Pam seemed just so sad (that really sounds so familiar, right ?^^) and her and Jim weren’t as close as they used to be (I wonder where I have seen this lately ? I really can’t remember it, that’s too bad !) and finally… JIM BROKE UP WITH HIS GF AND HE ASKED PAM OUT AGAIN AND SHE SAID YES !!!!!! And they’ve been together for almost 4 seasons now, they got married, had a kid and everything, and they’re the most adorable couple of all time !

    So if that could happen on Bones too, well… IT WOULD BE AMAZING 😀 ! (and I’m very optimistic because both storylines seem so close right now !!! Expect for that part about Booth dumping Hannah, but we still got time^^)

  21. I love this post. It’s one of those posts (like pretty much every post that is not posted by me) that makes me think, “I would totally hang out at Bones Theory” haha. To me, Judas on a Pole is the turning point to beat. I love that episode, more for the acceptance of the team for Booth. It’s THAT moment that sort of allows him to reveal more of himself and give Brennan the “there’s more than one kind of family” line. SHE is the one who already rallied her ‘family’ around him. love it.

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