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.
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.