When I finally got to see the ‘Doctor in the Photo’ episode, no thanks to dratted time zones and evening work functions; the only benefit here being that I had plenty of red wine on board before I watched, surprisingly, I didn’t cry – not sure if that was the alcohol, or the fact that I had some real life bad news at the time that placed these fictional events into a context where I simply couldn’t go there emotionally…given time and a second viewing, a good cry might be on the agenda.
Overall, the episode delivered a raw and intimate portrait of Temperance Brennan. Emily Deschanel spoke recently in an interview of the contradictions in her character and the work that she has been doing from an acting perspective. It certainly paid off. Not knowing anything about acting methods, I imagine that this episode was exhausting in every way; physically, emotionally, mentally – whether a person has life experience to draw from, or uses strategies to create a pseudo-cache of experiential memory, it all speaks to the stellar talent that this woman has…but I’ll just truncate the fangirl ramblings here.
I’m not going to reiterate some of the very well articulated thoughts already posted in other reviews of the episode, except to say that I agree that it was Brennan’s 100th, Booth’s reaction was spot on and there was an element of redemption for Sweets in this episode which has made me put aside my Duck a l’orange recipe.
Hannah’s physical presence in this episode did come across as somewhat superfluous if you look at it superficially, but in my red wine haze last night, I considered another perspective. The scenes at the dinner table, in the diner and in Booth’s office were all dynamically very different to the Hannah scenes seen prior – which have, to me, have always come across as being intrusive in the B&B dynamic, it’s all been about Hannah, or Hannah and Booth. Obviously, DitP is an episode from Brennan’s perspective, but the scenes communicated a turning of the tables…Hannah was the third wheel instead of Brennan. The interactions between B&B were the focus, with Hannah clearly being relegated to the role of sticking her oar into the only thing still left in the ‘what is between us, is ours’ bag. I’ll also comment here that I really enjoyed the Brennan slam dunk in the office argument…Hannah was eavesdropping, it was none of her business – from the perspective of the storyline, I think it was important that Brennan showed that while she’s accepting of Booth’s new relationship, it’s not a blind acceptance of Hannah. There is a concessional boundary that Hannah gets as Booth’s girlfriend, (unlike the hard line that the Squinterns get) but Hannah crossed the line & Brennan let her have it both barrels – I see this as completely congruent with Brennan’s character. I also think that there is a symbolic purpose to the scenes as well (and having only seen the episode once, I could be proved wrong here). Booth is physically placed between Brennan and Hannah, at the dinner table, sitting in the diner, sat behind Booth in his office…Hannah almost becomes spectre-like, hence, we the viewers are immediately wondering why the Hell she is even there. (Here’s hoping for an exorcism )
Could I also have an uncharacteristic ‘squee’ at the “She is me” mention? To me, this is an epic nod to the 1997 X-files episode ‘Elegy’ where Scully has a similarly confronting experience with her mortality. If you haven’t seen this episode, do yourself a favour during the winter hiatus and get it on Netflix – it may give you some idea of my immediate response of the parallels that I’m alluding to here.
As for Micah, I thought that his character was simply stunning – those interactions were really the only thing that kept Brennan tethered to reality, and dare I say it, sanity. I’ve got no clue as to whether he is real or not…but if you asked me to make a call on it, I think not. It would be lovely if he wasn’t and the actor is cast in a ‘real’ character role later in the season – that would be a wonderful touch, particularly if Brennan needs another ‘Memo from the Universe’– If anyone from FOX is reading this post…you can have that idea for free
My theory around Micah is that he is a symbolic personification of the Jeffersonian, of Brennan’s ‘House of Reason’– and the meaning of his name (who is like God?) is no accident. Temperance Brennan doesn’t believe in God, she believes in the tangible, rationality of science…but she feels safe and loved at the Jeffersonian, she can be herself. Did anyone else notice that Brennan was consistently as comfortable in her interactions with Micah as she has ever been, with anyone else in her life in those delicious moments when she opens up? In an episode filled with sadness and stoicism, she smiles genuinely, even laughs, when speaking with Micah and is uncharacteristically affectionate toward him – within the context of my theory, she loves Micah as a personification of the Jeffersonian.
There was a mention of a nine year association between Micah and Brennan – BONES is sketchy on timelines, but is nine years the length of time that Brennan has been at the Jeffersonian? Interestingly, nine is a spiritually significant number in Numerology and in some religious literature. Dante’s Inferno has nine circles of Hell, with the structure of his entire epic being written in blocks of threes and sixes to make nine. There are 99 Cantos +1, representing the parts in the sum of the whole. In Numerology, nine is the end of a cycle, returning again to the beginning with the number one. There are also parallels with the Tarot as well – so I am going to very pleased when Harmonia returns with her deck of cards. (Can I just say that as I write this, it all feels a little creepy, that perhaps there is a Math geek just like me in the BONES Writer’s room?…but maybe I’m just going to rationalise it and put it down to being slightly hung over).
I also wondered within the context of my theory about the references that Micah makes about attending lectures at the Jeffersonian. The issues that Brennan takes on board from their dialogue around the perception of the Universe being turned upside down, the messages breaking through the white noise of existence. The lectures are discussed as a valuable past-time, symbolically representing the life lessons that Temperance Brennan has learned during her time at the Jeffersonian. It was also lovely that Micah brought Brennan cookies. This came across as a bit of comfort and a shout out to her inner child – remember Max and his bag of Snickerdoodles? (which as an Aussie, I had to Google)
Of course, all of this is just my reaction, my first thoughts, my process. What do you think…do I need to bake some Snickerdoodles and go and have a lie down? Is Micah real? Does it matter if he’s not? Was this episode/experience solely for Brennan to come to terms with emotions for Booth, or just to ‘feel’? Thoughts? I know you have them!