First of all, thanks to everyone who commented on the Five Major Turning Points List! I really wanted to comment and reassure you that the moments you’ve mentioned are ones I love too, but I didn’t want to spoil (Bones Theory IS Spoiler Free, after all) any of the other/future lists. But I have to say, some episodes/moments were eye-opening for me – you all have really made me reconsider some things!
But for now, here’s the second list, the ‘minor’ — using that term very loosely – turning points. ‘Minor’ doesn’t mean unimportant. It mostly means that coming up with more than five major turning points seemed to be cheating, and when forced to choose, I couldn’t convince myself that these were more important than the moments in the first turning points post. Which is probably still cheating, because it means I’ve really done two ‘Major turning points’ posts, only I’m calling this one the minor ones. And of course, as noted, even now I’m waffling and arguing with myself about whether some of these are, in fact, more important than some of those…oh, never mind. Onto the list!
This has two scenes that strike me as turning points, actually. The first has to do with Booth’s loyalty to Brennan. Cam is not just the new boss, she’s not just someone Booth’s known for a while or who he will soon have a fling with. She’s a longtime friend, and that’s ‘Friend’ with a capital F. They’ve known each other for thirteen years at this point, and Cam not only knows him, she gets him better than he realizes. She knows his family even to understanding how he and Jared relate. Later on, we find out she was directly responsible for his meeting Brennan in the first place. And none of that history or connection matters, because he’s ‘with Bones, all the way.’
I don’t believe he’s in love with Brennan yet, though I’d say he’s on the verge of it. But they’re friends, something deep enough, perhaps ‘other enough’ enough that he doesn’t blink before aligning himself with her against another old friend. “Don’t doubt it for a second,” he says. I love what that says to both us and Cam about him, and about where their relationship is going.
The second turning point in the episode is the last scene, where both we and Brennan see another side to Cam. She’s compassionate, and while not perfect, a good leader. She lets Brennan know she respects her enough to let her have her way on occasion with no questions asked, while at the same time setting limits. But not only do we see them reach an understanding about their working relationship, we see the beginning of a friendship formed in their shared affection for Booth. Cam doesn’t reach out to Brennan simply because she doesn’t want to lose her team, but also, I think, because she understands Brennan is important to Booth in some way that neither of them yet understand. She wants to know her better. And Brennan? I’m always struck by how well she knows Booth here, immediately realizing he’s told Cam about her past, and that he will know they’ve talked about it. Brennan is often viewed as clueless, but when it matters? When it involves Seeley Booth? She gets him more than even she realizes. (Something I think we’re seeing this season, actually.)
2) Aliens in a Spaceship
Not surprising, really, but I think this episode got moved around more than any other when I was trying to decide which list it belonged on. Although it’s not my absolute personal favorite episode, I’ve never seen a poll where it’s not the number one episode of the majority of people who voted. Don’t get me wrong – I love it to bits, and it’s definitely up there. It’s just not number one for me, and I have a sneaking suspicion that’s because Booth and Brennan spend much of the episode apart.
Still, it’s undeniably an important episode. A powerful episode. Brennan is more emotionally accessible than she normally is, and the moments between her and Hodgins are amazing. There’s not a misstep anywhere in the episode from an acting perspective, and watching the way they all work together gives me chills.
But the only thing that really seems to change in the episode, or after it, is Hodgins and Angela’s relationship. We see Brennan challenged by Hodgins about the nature of faith. But after the episode, does anything really change? Do we see any change in how she views faith vs. reason? Or how she relates to Hodgins? I don’t think so, and even knowing who Brennan is, it sort of seems like we should.
I went back and forth for days between this and Judas on a Pole, debating which was the major turning point, and which the minor. And part of why I finally went with Judas on a Pole being the more significant of the two is that I think it builds on this, that when Booth says, ‘there’s more than one kind of family’ it’s a reflection and furthering of what we saw here. But this on its own, as much as I love it, doesn’t feel as significant in the overall scheme of things, however amazing it is.
(This, by the way, is the one I thought people would feel most strongly about that it belonged in the major turning points list.)
3) Con Man in the Meth Lab
This is another awkward one. At various times, it was a candidate for a major turning point, a turning point for Booth (when he tells Brennan about his father), and a turning point for Brennan (when she learns something new and important about Booth). And maybe the reason it feels like a major turning point is that all those things are true.
Still, it would be cheating to go back and swap things around again now, so…I’ll highlight a scene that I think is important, and which I don’t believe gets enough attention from fans: the scene in the observation room, where she tells him what Jared said, and he gets angry with her. Did you see that? He gets angry. With Brennan.
Not frustrated because she’s spouting Science when he wants English, not irritated because she’s bashing religion. But honest-to-goodness anger. Until now, we’ve not often seen him vulnerable to his feelings for her. But like Stephanie said yesterday, here we do. It’s not just a turning point for him though, because it affects her, too. We see her remorse later, when she confronts Jared. “You know, I wouldn’t blame Booth if he never spoke to me again.”
He gets angry, she learns more about him, and their relationship is stronger for both by the end.
4) Pain in the Heart
First a confession: I really, truly loathe the beginning of this episode, naked Booth notwithstanding. None of it works for me, and I pretty much want to murder Sweets for the casual way he violates one of the biggest ethical rules in psychology without a qualm. But that said, the end is undeniably a turning point in the series, another one that arguably could have been a major turning point.
We see all of them react to Zach’s loss, and something that recently occurred to me is to wonder if part of the reason Booth takes Gordon’s comment about Sweets looking for a family to heart and adopts him as sort of a younger brother is because he still feels guilty for not having spent more time with Zach. If he’d reached out to Zach, been more open to the ways Zach reached out to him, would Zach have been as vulnerable to Gormogon? Booth, being Booth, still wonders that.
But Brennan? One of the only clear steps backwards for her in the entire series is the barriers she puts up – and keeps up – with the squinterns after Zach. She loved him, plain and simple. You see it in a thousand ways throughout three seasons, and especially in the hospital when he’s telling them the truth about Gormogon and she leans over and rests her forehead against his. But after he’s gone, she’s careful to keep a distance between her and the interns. She won’t let herself get close to any of them, won’t call them by their first names – even Daisy, whom she spent seven months with in Maluku, remains ‘Ms. Wick.’ So not only is it a turning point, it’s a reversal of sorts for her.
5) Fire in the Ice/The Beginning in End
Okay, I’m totally cheating here, but these two together form a reversal for both Booth and Brennan, one that’s important. In Fire in the Ice, Booth says to her, “Nothing’s gonna change between me and you.” And Brennan responds, “Well, entropy is a natural force that pulls everything apart at a subatomic level. Everything changes.” He then repeats, ‘Not everything,’ and promises to always be there.
Fast forward a year and a bit, to the season 5 finale.
They’re on the bench, talking about leaving. She’s now the one who says, “We can come back, pick up where we left off. Nothing really has to change.” and he responds, “No, things have to change.” So the rational scientist has changed her mind about the inevitability of change because, I think, she’s accepted that she needs constancy, at least from him – even when she’s preparing to run from him. And the heart guy, who’s been all about teaching her about constancy, and faith, and love…he caves a bit, in the face of his own pain. He’s still going to be there for her, however she wants him. He’s never going to walk away from friendship with her, if that’s all she wants. But he’s acknowledging defeat here, accepting that what he wanted to be true is never going to be. (By the way, I believe this is his true low point, not the conversation in the 100th.)
So what do you think? Given that there are still three lists left, are there candidates I overlooked which should be here? And in the spirit of making it more challenging – if you’re suggesting one for this list, tell me which of these five it should replace, and why.