Bones Theory

Morning After Q: Too Literal, BONES?

23 Comments

Good morning, Brennan’s People!

And well, of course, we can’t forget Booth!

I hope everyone has had a good week. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad it’s Friday! Last night, FOX aired a repeat of the season six premiere: The Mastodon in the Room. And I realized we’d started these MAQs after The Couple in the Cave, so we’ve never had a discussion post MitR! Well, that’s just not right. And as I was thinking about this episode, I kept coming back to the actual mastodon in the room.

And I am not sure how I feel about it, honestly.

As Booth would say, “Too literal, Bones”, I’m saying… “Too literal, BONES?”

I mean, what is that about? Is it sort of tongue in cheek, like “hey, hey, we’re going to have an ACTUAL MASTODON!” Or is it so literal that it’s actually subtle again? What say you? And if it IS a metaphor, then what does that huge furry thing stand for anyway? And is it worthy of an episode title?

Let’s discuss, darlings!

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23 thoughts on “Morning After Q: Too Literal, BONES?

  1. Like the elephant in the room, the Mastodon in the room speaks of issues that take up a lot of room but no one acknowledges is there. What issue is so big that everyone is aware of and yet no one will speak about it? We have the fact that Brennan was gone for months to Maluku and never tried to contact anyone, family or friends. Brennan will not acknowledge that her leaving the Jeffersonian disrupted everyone’s lives and set off a chain of events that will eventually lead to her break down and nearly getting her killed. Her leaving pushed Booth to leave for a tour in the Army. The Jeffersonian shut down it forensics department and turned it over to a Mastodon display. The Squints were scattered to the four winds, including Wendell, who owes a lot of people for his education but lost his job and had to make due as a mechanic. Cam lost her dream location and was shunted off to a basement lab, something she escaped in the first place in seaon 2. Hodgins and Angela fled to Paris and at this point she is pregnant and yet doesn’t want to tell anyone. The Mastodon in the room is Brennan being responsible for a lot of grief and yet the only one who called her on it was Cam. Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing Brennan. She did what she thought was best for her career; but, being a socially awkward person, she did not think through how her desicion would effect others. She is a self-reliant person and doesn’t yet understand that she has a lot of people in her orbit who are effected by her actions. Maybe now that she has had her breakdown she can a least admit to herself, if no one else will, that she is responsible for a lot of people besides herself and that wether she likes it or not she is loved and respected and needs to reciprocate. She also needs to consider others before making monumental decisions.

    • Wow! Really no one else is responsible for their own decisions; for the thing they did that brought about the situation we found in the Mastason episode? It’s all on Brennan? That’s amazing reallly amazing. And yet they each tried to claim the lynchpin role there.

      I’m sorry I’m a strong proponent for people taking responsibility for their actions and being held accountable for what they do. I do not see how everything that happened can be placed at Brennan’s door. Each person made their own decisions, Booth did not have to leave just because Brennan left. Actually since she was to be gone for a year it should have then been easier for him to move on with his life at home with his son and taking care of his responsibilities. No one made Jack and Angela run off to Paris for a year long honeymoon. That was their decision. Of all of the decisions made I’d have to say that was the most selfish.

      Yes the squinterns didn’t really have much choice in what happened as far as their internship at the Jeffersonian, but I really don’t understand why a prestigious establishment as the Jeffersonian couldn’t have gotten a Forensic Anthropoligist to sign a one year contract to fill Dr Brennan’s role while she was gone. I mean if they do things like going off on one year digs and such it shouldn’t be unheard of for them to sign on at a museum for a year.

      There were other people making decisions too that caused all of that to happen and I really don’t see how Brennan should get all of the blame for all of that.

      • Everyone is responsible for their own actions, that is true; but, it would be wrong to think that Brennan’s actions doesn’t effect other peoples lives. I wasn’t attacking her for making the decision to leave, I was just saying that her leaving the Jeffesonian was monumental and her actions set about a chain of events that we still haven’t seen resolved yet. The fact is she will not acknowledge that what she does, the actions she takes, effects the lives of the other people associated with her. Good or bad, right or wrong, what she did by leaving the Jeffersonian did effect other peoples lives. Yes, the other people in her life had the responsibilty to make their own decisions; but, the decisions they were forced to make were forced on them by the decision that Brennan made to leave. We are not all masters of our fate no matter how much we think we are.

      • See the thing is if Brennan had said/thought something along the lines of “I can’t possibly go because if I do everything here might fall apart” then people would have been calling her conceited. Remember Cam’s reaction in Proof in the Pudding when asking about the pregnancy test and Brennan said something like oh you’re worried about losing your most valued employee and Cam said “Well that’s modest.”?

        Yes there are definitely people who were affected by that decision who had no choice in what the results were for them, namely the squinterns. But Booth, Angela, and Hodgins made their own decisions. They didn’t have to leave, that was their decision. If they had made a different decision then maybe things wouldn’t have fallen apart so badly. They still would have had Booth to work the investigations with the Squints, Hodgins still would have done the bugs and slime stuff, Angela still would have done the forensic artist stuff. If the rest of them had been there maybe they would have gotten a competent Forensic Anthropoloist to come to the Jeffersonian for that year of work and the internships would have been able to carry on. It’s the decisions of all 4 of them that caused the mess, not just the decision of Brennan.

  2. Thanks for discussing this. I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one baffled by this.

    BTW, I did not re-watch last night. I most definitely do not need to see that again. Maybe, if and when, all this gets resolved in a manner that I like, I’ll be able to go back and watch it again, but not on your life now. 😉

    I (like most people, I assume) assumed that the mastodon was some sort of metaphor, but then there was a mastodon in the room. When I chatted with others about it, they said that the mastodon was Hannah and related issues. But, I don’t really buy that because you don’t need a metaphor for that: everybody (characters in the show and everybody watching) gets that Hannah and what’s going on between B&B is (excuse the metaphor again) the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

    While that particular issue was not addressed exhaustively, everyone did discuss it (in the episode): B&B discussed Hannah, Booth discussed her with others, Angela discussed it with Bones, etc., etc. It’s not like it was something that everyone was avoiding. Maybe a bit of tiptoeing around the edges, but everyone acknowledged it, in one way or another. Was this the episode where Cam called Bones on screwing everything up? So, that issue was raised too.

    So what’s the metaphor for? Was it just to give the episode an intriguing title or was there something more that I missed? Or, did they just want to have that scene with the mastodon at the end?

    Again, thanks for raising this issue.

  3. I think there are different mastadons…stay with me here. I do have a concussion so this could be a byproduct of my noggin bump.

    The Mastadon in The Episode
    1. The actual mastadon in the room: the giant f’in one in the middle of the lab
    2. Booth’s prior confession of his feelings for Brennan.
    3. Booth’s relationship with Hannah as it wasn’t addressed.

    Doing this MAQ weeks after the ep aired allows us to look back and check out some foreshadowing…

    The Mastadon in Future Episodes
    1. Brennans feelings for Booth as expressed in TDitP.
    2. Booth and Brennans past and how it will effect his relationship with Hannah (incl but not limited to his feelings for her, his coma dream, the baby issue, their beginning, ect)

    If you ask me the Mastadon in the Room sets the tone for the entire season. Its a season of secrets and revelations and personally I can’t wait to see what comes out next.
    ~Shep

  4. I think they just wanted to confuse us with the Mastadon. Yes we do have the metaphorical mastadon and that could apply to whatever it is that each character is avoiding dealing with (and really couldn’t each of them really be said to have their own mastadon). I also think they just thought it would be cute(?) to have an actual mastadon in the room at the end of the episode?

    Maybe the whole season is really about dealing with the various mastadons? I don’t know…I mean each of them have things that either have been dealt with this season, or are in the process of being dealt with, or it seems may be dealt with coming up..no spoilers just thinking that could be the plan.

  5. Since the personal disaster for me that happened as a result of thinking too much about ep titles, I’ve tried to avoid doing so. But this one…my understanding of the phrase, “the elephant in the room” has always been something that’s big and hug and complicating life in such a way that no one can really avoid it…and yet no one talks about it or addesses it.

    They address a lot of stuff in the ep – Hannah, the effects of Brennan’s leaving on everyone else. What they don’t explicitly address is why she left and B&B’s relationship. So I tend to think that’s the point – that stuff is going on that’s not being talked about.

    Then again, maybe not. Still skittish about titles, I am…

  6. Firstly, I’d just like to start with an anecdote to show just how obvious it was. I was watching this episode with my family (who may or may not have been there against their own will). When it came to the last scene, and they saw the mastodon, my dad (who has only watched like 1 or 2 eps of Bones) said “Ohhhh, the elephant in the room.” I laughed. I’m unsure whether he got the full meaning behind the mastodon, but I found it funny that he worked it out straight away.

    But personally, I mean it was “right in your face” literal, but I didn’t mind it. Plus the fact that the characters were making the connection to the metaphorical side as well sortta makes me think that it was supposed to be that way. The thing is, the fact that they’re making connections makes me think that they weren’t hinting at the 100th and so on (well Booth was but the writer’s weren’t), no I think they are more hinting at the question of why Brennan left and where that now leaves the B&B relationship as well as maybe hinting at the future elephant’s that will be presented such as how Booth now treats Brennan and how Booth hiding his past from Hannah may have a damaging effect of their relationship. However, (quick extra thought) the fact that the mastodon is indeed a mastodon, and not an elephant cause also raise meaning. As mastodons are the relatives of elephants, they would then be talking about the older issues, that maybe B&B thought were behind close doors, done and dusted, but are actually about to (or have) been brought back into the open e.g. B&B’s true feelings for eachother and maybe even the whole Brennan-wants-Booth’s-baby debacle (what?! a girl can dream!).

    I definitely think it’s worthy of an episode title tho. It seems to be summing up much of season 6 so far!! : )
    62

  7. I think there were many issues floating out there that gelled into the actual mastodon in the room at the end of the episode. The ones I can think of now: Daisy and Sweet’s interrupted relationship which is currently in limbo, the pregnancy that Angela seems to have trouble addressing, the fact that Brennan’s departure (and in all fairness Angela and Hodgin’s as well) inadvertently affected all the interns and left Cam particularly angry, Booth’s initial resentment towards Brennan and her lack of contact with him evidenced by his “heart attack comment” and last but definitely not least, Hannah. It was a funny moment at the end that had all of the major characters staring uncomfortably because they all kind of knew what the pachiderm stood for. I also think it was also a wink to the audience since the powers that be were painfully aware of how much angst was out in cyberspace already.

    As to Brennan, I think it is fair to say that her departure did set a whole range of things in motion, but they were mainly things that neither she nor the others could have foreseen. Who could have possibly known they would have shut that whole lab down just because she hurriedly took a sabbatical? Maybe she could have made sure that a successor was picked and the whole operation was running smoothly before she left but in her defense this probably takes months and her dig was clearly coming up. The people who run the place were ultimately resposible for the shut-down.

    That being said, I believe she is responsible for Booth’s departure and the pain he went through; I am sure she holds herself responsible as well which is why she has been trying so hard this season to make things easier for him, at least up to her break down. Seven months had to have given her the perspective to see that she had asked him to stay and work with her despite his lingering feelings and he did. She then left even when he was clearly telling her to think it over, knowing that he was going back to a job he had mixed feelings about (to say the least.) Please, please note that I am not assigning blame here-she absolutely needed to leave for her own sanity. As with suicides, the tunnel vision of despair that leads to the act often makes it impossible for the person to see the terrible consequences it has for the survivors. Booth got caught in the wake of her decision as people often do when they are in a relationship that’s undergoing a big change. In every break-up there is one person that does the leaving and one person that doesn’t want to get left, and it’s just the way it is. But time and space do bring perspective and this can also lead to regret-the exact place Brennan finds herself in now.

  8. i Always thought since the beginning that the mastodon in the Room was Hannah and i still do. But is so the difficult of B&B of deal w/ it. All the mishaps they’re facing to admit their love for each other.

  9. I may be the odd man out here, and maybe I just have a quirky sense of humor, but I loved the title and thought it was awesome that there was a literal mastadon in the room at the end. Maybe it was just a mastadon, maybe it was meant to represent something more, I don’t know. I can see it both ways. Ultimately, I’m content to take it at face value because I’m confident that everything else will work itself out, er…in due course.

  10. Honestly? I think the (real) mastodon in the Lab was sending the message that what we have is what it appears, that there is both a literal and a figurative mastodon in the room.

    Sometimes Bones can be really subtle about themes, messages, characters, etc. Really, really subtle. Then there are the episodes (which I don’t like) that aren’t as subtle — Dwarf in the Dirt, for example, is very obviously trying to send a specific message (Booth’s feelings for Brennan). I think what happened with Mastodon in the Room is that they were subtle for most of the episode, but the writers decided that they needed to drive the message home, so they brought in the last scene.

    What does the mastodon represent? Well, I can tell you what I think it’s not. It’s not Maluku/Afghanistan/Paris. They’ve been planning it since Boy in the Shroud (Angela tells Cam that if Brennan leaves, everyone leaves), so I don’t blame anyone for that (it shows how brilliant the writers are, and their plan, so it’s just… awesome). The leaving was inevitable (and from anecdotes the archaeologists I’ve been taught by and archaeology major peers, I can’t blame Brennan for lack of contact, that’s a dig organizer thing, and Brennan’s very rule adherent if she believes in those rules). It is also not the lack of communication, or, I think, Hannah (we didn’t know anything about her, then, other than Booth was in a relationship with her). It’s not the feelings Booth and Brennan have about each other (although this is a factor). It’s not the post 100th stuff.

    I think what the real mastodon represents is the question of where Booth and Brennan are standing with each other and with their peers. I think it’s the lack of trust, in both themselves, and the trust the rest of the team has for each other. When Cam became the boss in Titan on the Tracks, didn’t Brennan and Hodgins have difficulty knowing where they should stand with her, which would later prompt Angela and Booth to say that they would leave if Brennan left? Wasn’t this the problem when Sully left, that Booth and Brennan didn’t know their standing? Wasn’t this the problem when Zack left both times? Booth and Brennan don’t hold the trust in each other or themselves because they don’t know where the other stands in relation to how they feel about each other. This is the mastodon in the room — where does everyone stand? Will they leave, come back? Do they value their friendship?

    So, I guess my perspective is a bit different, but it’s what I believe.

    • I completely agree with you. The mastodon is the B&B relationship, and where it stands. That is what’s on everyones mind in those first episodes (Cam expressing thinking they would be a couple when they came back / Angela beïng sorry for Bren that Booth fell in love / Clark’s little outburst / etc.).

      I am so tired of the whole blame Brennan for everything thing!
      Of course it was unfortunate that Brennan left a bit abrubtly, but come on! The woman needed a break! She was always working (remember when Booth and Angela told her to take a sabbatical?), and she was confused and emotionally exhausted by everything that had happened. It’s not surprising that Booth left too, but that doesn’t make it Brennan’s fault.
      Brennan left a list with anthropologists for Cam, and if Cam or anyone else wanted to be angry at Brennan for leaving, then THAT was the moment for it, and not when she came back (early, one might add). Cam was just frustrated because things had gone out of her control, and she likes control.
      And if Brennan’s leaving had ended up being good for the B&B relationship (which could have happened just as easily) then none of the fans would have played this tiresome blame game.

      Plus apparently it was good for Brennan to be away for a bit, because she came back somewhat happier and doing het utmost best to be more open and social.

  11. Well, so far this has been very intersting. Everyone has so many interpretations of what the Mastodon in the room means. I am really enjoying this topic. Everyone brings into their interpretations their own life experiences so that what they see can be completely different from what someone else sees. What can be so obvious to someone is not so obvious to someone else. I think that is really cool. This site lets everyone give their own thoughts on a subject and that allows everyone else to consider an alternative to their own theories. Thanks.

  12. I’ll be honest with you.

    I hate this episode. With a passion.

    A shockingly bad Premier…almost made me stop watching. Luckily i enjoyed Couple In The Cave so that convinced me to continue (along with my fellow Bones fans.)

    The entire thing fell flat for me…it was so ‘blah’ that i have never bothered to wonder if their was some secret meaning behind the Mastodon in the room. Wasn’t worth worrying about! 😉

  13. I’m so centered on B&B that it’s hard for me to see how this applied to anyone else other than B&B. I haven’t seen a re-run of this epi but weren’t they the last 2 in the scene and didn’t they look at each other strangely? It’s not about Hannah or the squints. It’s about how B&B navigate a future relationship…where is it going to take them given the impact of both their decisions…Bones leaving for Muluku and Booth coming back with a girlfriend. It’s about whether they do have a future as a couple. All I could feel in that scene was the lost opportunity of a romantic relationship between those two because of their decisions. And so we start the season with a big question mark…where are they going? And here we are mid-season and the question still stands…where are we going? There is still a mastodohn in the room.

  14. When I saw the episode, I thought (and still do think) that the mastodon was code for Booth and Brennan’s relationship. I recently rewatched The Priest in the Churchyard. In that episode, Gordon Gordon observes that Booth doesn’t know where he stands with Brennan, what will/won’t catch fire while Brennan wants to be one with Booth. And yes, he was talking about Booth being uncomfortable in the lab and Brennan being uncomfortable in the interrogation room. But those observations still hold even now, I think, in the context of the overall relationship, partnership, whatever. Booth is not sure where he stands and Brennan is still trying to understand Booth’s motivations, see and feel things like he does, etc.

    I thought it was funny, bordering on silly when there was an actual mastodon shown in the lab at the end of the premiere. The metaphorical version has been around since season two, perhaps earlier!

  15. At the time, I thought it was Hannah, as at that point she was not literally/physically in the picture. She was a ‘presence’ that was going to be lingering in everything that happened from then on. And then she showed up. *sigh*

    Now, I can see that it is bigger than that – many other issues that are not being discussed and are hanging around. I admire Brennan for talking about one of the biggest – her regret of the fateful night – in the previous ep.

    I still find the presence of the literal giant mammoth thing very amusing. It seems like the writers are having a go at us. Given so many people’s negative reaction to the subtlety of the goodbye scene in tBitE, the in your face, subtle as a slegehammer approach to this just makes me laugh 😀

    btw – nice to see you here SJ 😉

  16. It’s definitely B&B’s feelings for one another!!!

    And I too enjoyed the literal mastodon. 🙂

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