Bones Theory

Top Five Tuesday- Hart, You Are The Standard


Oh gosh, right? Haha! As Booth would say, “Ick on the title”.  But hey, he said it first ( the standard part: H. Hanson, about Brennan, via Booth). Or well…sort of.  I don’t know how many WPS (words per script) Hart Hanson actually contributes per episode, but one thing I enjoyed about The FINDER was the way there were little moments that just oozed Hart Hanson’s writing style, including Walter’s ‘mission statement’ (in my opinion…ps…thanks Owl for the quote!)

“There is an infinite, thrumming, unseen web adjoined to everything. Everything is connected to everything else. This fact is difficult to grasp because we are just mollusks, shut up tight at the bottom of a dark, cold ocean, trying to make sense of stars that we cannot even see! I challenge everything because when I do, a quick bolt of electricity bolts from two elements that otherwise appeared unconnected. You call it paranoia, I call it epiphany. You want me to give that up so I can enjoy a cup of decaf coffee? I’m sorry, I can’t do that.”


There’s just something special when the person who ‘creates’ is the one who is expressing. In other words, when it’s Hart Hanson doing the writing, it’s special.

Sure, he has a role in every episode, I’m guessing. But there are several episodes in which he is credited as the writer. So here are my five favorite HH written episodes (in no particular order). Starting with…

1. Harbingers in a Fountain:

This episode aired on TNT last evening, and it made me tear up–for a few reasons. One, I always tear up when Booth is sort of measuring his own sense of self and he tries on his socks. I love that Cyndi Lauper’s “Fearless” is in the background, too. And speaking of CL, I love the scene when she tells Brennan that the answer to the question she’s afraid to ask is that Booth knows the truth of her and is dazzled.

Love, love, love. I’ve already mentioned before that the season five premiere is the episode that brought me back to BONES after a summer of distance. And I can say that watching it again this week produced the same pull on my heartstrings.

2. The Pilot

I’m always jealous of people who watched the pilot episode and continue to tune in to this day. What an amazing journey!  In a day and age where TV shows have to prove themselves in the first episode or else, I’m so glad BONES had the time it needed to grow and develop into its own. But part of that time should be credited to the great pilot episode and how well each character was portrayed. Booth, the conflicted but caring agent. And Brennan, baby, you had me at “Be a cop.”

3. The Parts in the Sum of the Whole


I loved seeing how B&B met, and I loved seeing Zack and Booth face off. I loved watching Hodgins and Zack bicker, and I loved the friendshippy Angela and Brennan moments. I loved Booth scared of Caroline. I loved Brennan punching a corrupt judge in the face.  I loved a lot of things–and they all (for me), add up to ‘story’. Story vs…say, plot. This episode felt special, like a reward for loving BONES. Not every person feels the same way about the 100th episode, but for me, it ranks toward the top.

Right along with…

4. Judas on a Pole:

You’ve probably seen the articles that describe how this episode has really low ratings in terms of it’s first time on the air. And if you’re like me, you scratch your head and think, “Say what?”  The Brennan/Max dynamic, Zack’s evolution, the way Brennan lets Booth drive her car, the way Booth drives Caroline’s car–all of those things (and more) add up to greatness. Plus, Hart Hanson gives us one of his all time best Booth-lines, (say it with me now…) “There’s more than one kind of family”.

5. The Woman in Limbo.

If Harbingers is my favorite premiere, The Woman in Limbo is my favorite season finale. B&B rise to a new level in the ‘partners share things’ department, whether it’s a hug, some late night Chinese food, or a beer with Russ.

And I still love the moment where Brennan is talking to Angela about when Russ left her. She says “Suddenly, no one cared where I was. I miss that. Someone caring where I am, all the time.” Then Booth shouts for her. Come on, that’s destiny, right there!


Here’s a list of all of the “written by” Hart Hanson episodes. Which ones top your list? Weigh in below?

A Boy in a Tree
The Man in the Fallout Shelter
The Woman in Limbo

The Titan on the Track
Judas on a Pole
Stargazer in a Puddle

The Widow’s Son in the Windshield
The Pain in the Heart

The Yanks in the UK Parts 1&2
The End in the Beginning

Harbingers in a Fountain
The Parts in the Sum of the Whole
The Beginning in the End

The Mastodon in the Room
The Finder


31 thoughts on “Top Five Tuesday- Hart, You Are The Standard

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize that my top 5 episodes are all HH written. My all time favorite is the “Woman In Limbo”. I just love the scene that you mentioned when Brennan is telling Angela that she misses someone caring where she is all of the time and then we hear Booths voice, “Bones! Bones! You up there? Come on. Let’s go. (claps hands) Chop. Chop. I found the Agent that was assigned to your parents’ case.” Gosh, I just love that scene.

    Like you I also can’t believe that Judas In the Pole had a low rating the first go around as that is my second favorite episodel Wow, it has suspense, we meet Brennan’s Dad, we get to see how brave Caroline is and how loyal she is to Booth, even though it could get her fired and or killed. We see how loyal everyone is to Booth and how Booth is loyal to Brennan. What more could you ask of an episode. The acting was terrific and of course, I just love Ryan O’Neal as Max.

    • OH yes I had meant to comment on the scene in “Woman in Limbo”. Wasn’t that just great they way they did that? She doesn’t need to miss someone caring where she is all the time because she has Booth for that now. 🙂

      Oh and on the ratings for “Judas on a Pole”, don’t forget we don’t know how great an episode will be until it’s already aired. So the ratings really have nothing to do with how good that particular episode is. There have also been some so-so episodes that have had great ratings. It doesn’t seem right does it?

  2. I have to agree with your list; it is excellent, and all would also be listed just in my overall favorite episodes (hmm did you notice they all have fantastic B&B moments in them?). I’d have to include “Man in the Fallout Shelter” though. I can’t decide which of the other 5 would have to get knocked out of the list to make room for Fallout Shelter. Could my Top 5 Hart Hanson written episodes be Top 6 instead?

    I watched Harbingers again last night and I just love that hug they shared. I tweeted that last night…it was like they were trying to absorb each other. As I was thinking about it I decided his expression was I’m whole again…hers was I’m home now. 🙂

    I did watch the Pilot and every episode since as they aired, and it has been a wonderful journey. It’s a journey that I’m very happy I’ve taken, and am looking forward to where it takes me next.

  3. Knowing HH has a plan makes it hard for me to embrace fanfic or take too seriously our theories sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, *thoroughly* enjoy our musings, but the chance to have a candid conversation with him would make my day 🙂 He is the magic ❤
    I will have to think on the eps… Agree with every one of them you mentioned 🙂

  4. For email while I get actual work done. *lol*

  5. The Man in the Fallout Shelter for sure — “Time to re-evaluate your status with the man upstairs.” “A helicopter pilot?”

    But I also love Stargazer in a Puddle, art making science her bitch, Max cheerfully offering to cuff himself, Brennan watching the videotape of her mother “you’re not a bad anything” and I will never not love Booth and Max fighting in the parking lot.

    The End in the Beginning – I’ll never quite get that episode. But I can enjoy it on a surreal level.

  6. Wow… so basically HH has written all of my favorite episodes except for Doctor in the Photo and Goop on the Girl. Awesome. So yeah… just add those two the list of episodes he’s written… because those are basically the episodes that I love.

  7. Like many others who have commented I can safely say HH has written most of my favorite episodes. My top five are probably the ones you pointed out, but I too, would add the Man in the Fallout Shelter. Judas on the Pole is probably my top favorite. Seeing the words “Written by Hart Hanson” + “Directed by David Duchovny” = PERFECTION. Though I suspect chances are slim, I still hold out for the day that happens again!

    This is why I have total faith in the direction this show is going. I trust HH. Look what he has already given us! 🙂

  8. I love all the episodes on your list, but I just have to add The End in the Beginning. Although I didn’t much like it the first time around, it has grown on me immensely upon further viewing. I love the humor and the way each character is still the same “character” except that their personality quirks have been magnified. And, of course, it’s always fun trying to figure out what, if any, significance it has in the grand scheme of things. Oh, and did I mention B&B are married in it?!? My dream come true. 🙂

    • Stephanie, I have to agree with you about the “coma dream”. The first time I watched it, there was no intro to explain it, so my family and I were so confused as to what was happening that we didn’t really enjoy it. We were just like WTF is going on?!?! haha

      But after I’ve watched it a few more times since, now knowing what we know about it, I enjoy it so much more and can look for those little things that make you laugh or think.

      I appreciate how they utilized so many characters into the story, Jared, Max, Caroline, the squinterns, Zach…it was very creative. Giving us a glimpse of B & B as a legitmate couple and how it might work was nice. How even though all the characters were in a completely different place and time, they were basically still the same, with similar interactions between them. You still had the Booth/Jared tension, the Max tension, B & Bs chemistry, Wendell’s “street” knowledge…its all quite strange, but it strangely works. But it definitely took 2-3 watchings for me to get into it and decide that I liked it. Had to grow on me I guess 🙂

  9. My favorites not on the list:

    The Passenger in the Oven “Mr. Booth, do you know what the penalty is for an overdue book?” (I’m pretty sure it involves spanking. Or, maybe that’s just me.) And, I love the old ladies.

    Santa in the Slush “I have a puckish side that cannot be denied.” And Booth’s parking lot Christmas tree. My heart just melted.

  10. I agree with your list, and i’d add Man in the Fallout Shelter, and The Beginning in the End. (I know it’s a sad one, but I still find it so beautiful…) My all time favorite episode (if I had to pick one :)) will always be Judas on a Pole. I love every moment of that episode. The murders that bookmark the episode are so creepy, and so theatrical. I could seriously go on and on about this episode. @MFLuder14, I also wish David Duckovny would come back to direct. He was incredible, right??

    • I’m glad you say you would add Beginning in the End. For me, I’m not sure it would quite make top five, but it’d only miss by a hair, and only because of how utterly tragic it was. But really, it was a beautiful episode in my opinion, sort of in the way Doctor in the Photo was beautiful. Booth-and-Bones moments are not the only things that make this show–it can be beautiful even when they’re being torn apart.

  11. As time goes on, I think Harbingers in a Fountain is becoming my favorite episodes! At first, I wasn’t liking Cyndi Lauper’s character that much, she was friends with Angela and I was thinking, oh no! haha Angela can be a bit much for me. And the case for some reason didn’t really capture me…but…then we get to the end. And by a kooky psychic’s prompting, Booth RUSHES to Brennan, if there is even a slight chance she’s in danger, he’s there. And then he comes in, one shot, Boom. And then of course, “Baby”. And him in his office, her blood still on his shirt…I’m swooning here…and then Booth’s little interaction with Avalon when she tells him it all works out in the end and his little look back, Brennan’s confusion…and of course, the part where Booth is dazzled by her truth…

    Well it just seems that I notice more little things that I like about it each time I watch, a little look here or a little comment there…of course, that’s why we all love our Bones so much I suppose!

    And of course I love most of the ones you mentioned, anytime B & B have a meaningful moment or kiss/almost kiss, you’ve got me, because their chemistry is just so good, I literally get caught up in what I’m watching and I’m just there in the story with them. Like the 100th episode kisses, their interactions with each other before and after them, I just cannot look away! Judas on a Pole, the screen cap you included is perfect, captures the emotion right there.

    Even the Finder episode with was 99% terrible for me, the bar scene interaction redeemed my 1 hour of time, right there, because they looked so PERFECT together. Sigh. So yes, I suppose HH is the standard, because he gave us the B & B standard, and I don’t know that really anything else can beat it!

  12. I love how the shows that HH has penned are not only excellent viewing on the second and third time around (mostly) but they carry his hallmark of making woman strong and sympathetic. That’s a rare treat to see how women are handled. Even Titan on the Track which introduces Cam provides a showcase for three strong women to share the screen.

    • HH also wrote for Judging Amy, and Maxine Gray, Tyne Daly’s character on that show, is sublime: strong, powerful, hilarious, classy.

  13. As it happens, I watched Harbingers and Parts last night. Brilliance. Every darn time I watch Harbingers I nearly rise up of my couch when he calls her “Baby.” Like maybe this time, THIS time, she’ll hear him. I get the same feeling when I watch Brennan turn him down in The Parts in the Sum of the Whole. Is it possible that next time she’ll kiss him back? And indeed, it was a gift to the fans. Perfection.

    But Yanks 1&2 (particularly 1) would go in my bottom 5. Yuck.

    Judas on a Pole is a clear winner for me. Love it.

  14. Thank you Sarah for your wonderful post on HH. I cannot tell you how much you made my day with it! As you pointed out very clearly he is behind some of the best Bones episodes and in my opinion, he is not credited / rewarded or loved as he should be for that. And that’s very sad. As TJ once said: ‘Trust me, he is the “heart”-beat of this show, he is the soul of every romantic moment you have enjoyed these last many years. His accuracy and timing is precise and though painful to wait for at times, always worth it in the end.’
    As for my episode choices, I will add Judas on a pole. I hope that when B&B finally take that next step, it will be paired with a great song so that scene will pop up in front of me every time I hear the song, just like it does when I hear ‘running up that hill’ or ‘when I fall’. 🙂
    So thanks again for that post and yes, you’re definitely right about him : He is the standard!

  15. THE END IN THE BEGINNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Phew…just had to get that out of my system!!!!

    I think this is possiibly my all time favourite episode…EVER! It nudges out Aliens by a smidgen. I just…i adore it. There are no words…i can’t wrap my mind around anyone who DOESN’T love this episode…and it should so be number one 😉

    The Pilot does hold a special place in my heart…I watched the Pilot. I loved the Pilot. And i haven’t looked back since 😀

    I’ll admit i don’t love Harbringers. I don’t dislike it…it just leaves me unmoved. Thankfully i didn’t spend that summer with any distance between me and Bones…unlike you, if i had i don’t think this episode would have hooked me back in. Thank God for the S4 finale 😀

    And i love Woman In Limbo, and Judas on a Pole is pure class 😀

    It’s good to see his list like that. I like that he’s only written one episode that i’ve absolutely hated (Mastodon in the Room). I like those numbers 😀

    • I agree with you that End In The Beginning was great. It is in my top 5. I just loved how they tried to include everyone in the episode and tried to keep everyone true to themselves. I just watched the episode this last Saturday. I love seeing Booth and Brennan as a dedicated couple. I also agree that Mastodon In The Room leaves a lot to be desired. They can’t all be gems.

      • Awesome 😀

        The whole world knows when i watch the episode as i tend to be flying after 😉

        It just leaves me so…happy. Stupid maybe but it does. I’ve always said if you dislike this episode you need to come and watch it with me…you couldn’t hate it with me sat next to you! LOL

        Glad you agree….and Mastodon is just… *shudders*

    • I do really love The End in the Beginning. 🙂

  16. I LOVE the Pilot… I have to be careful not to watch it too much because then I inevitably want to re-watch season 1 and then 2… and so on.

    I’m not a huge fan of the Yanks episodes… I LOVE Judas on a Pole though. Season 6 just hasn’t been that great for me, although it’s getting better. I liked the Finder, but I don’t see how they can consider it a crossover episode. If anything, it should have been more Bones and less walter… but I digress.

  17. So many good ones, but I’ll go with Man in the Fallout Shelter because It’s funny and sad and sweet. Besides, I love the Christmas ones. Considering the limited environment they had to work with the whole thing is pure magic (and I liked the music too.) I mean, who can forget Angela’s Christmas tree, the Christmas lung fungus and “it’s a Christmas miracle, both an eve and a day”? I also loved Stargazer. I confess that sometimes I find the cases on the show to be a bit forgettable, so I end up thinking about an episode in terms of the B/B interactions. Not this time, though-both the case and the B/B moments were right up there. The case was heartbreakingly memorable and actually made me cry. And that look between Booth and Brennan in the church? More magic.

  18. My top 5 HH episodes are: Harbingers, Fallout Shelter, Woman in Limbo, Parts in the Sum of the Whole, and End in the Beginning. Stargazer is also an awesome episode. Yanks in the UK and Judas are much further down on my list. Harbingers is such a move forward for B&B with Avalon saying he knows the truth of you and is dazzled by it — that is one of the best lines of the whole series. Brennan doesn’t dismiss this statement like one would think but she files it away in her mind and hasn’t forgotten it. When Booth saves her life (again) and says I’ve got you baby — I just love it! The creativity of all of these episodes is just amazing. Parts in the Sum of the Whole fits so well when you watch the pilot right afterward. Most shows don’t plan that far in advance and would end up having inconsistencies if they tried to do that. I don’t know if HH planned that all along but either way, it’s impressive. Thanks for this — it makes me appreciate HH even more than I already did.

  19. Thanks for this. Honestly, I get so tired of all the griping and bashing of Hart in various places. No, I don’t think he’s perfect, but he’s created this show and these characters that I love, and stopping to remember sometimes that for everything he does we don’t like, there are hopefully more (given our devotion to the show) that we do, is a good thing, I think. It reminds me of something he said a year or so to a group of writers in Canada:

    We get a lot of mail about Brennan’s offensive statements about God, the pope… I don’t know if anyone watches the show a lot… I make a lot of fun of the pope’s hat, and I treasure every one of them. The funny thing to me is that the same letters will say, “Thank goodness Booth was there to set you straight.” And it’s like, I wrote that, too! Apparently, I’m writing the atheist, but Jesus is writing Booth.

    So the same writer who wrote Sweets telling Booth he fell in love only during the coma dream wrote Avalon telling him that the neurosurgeons ‘don’t know jack about your heart.’ Ditto the balance between other things we love/don’t like. (Or actively hate.) I think it’s good to remember that, sometimes.

    As to the basic question…The Woman in Limbo is pretty regularly ranks at the top of my favorites list. But Fallout Shelter, Judas, TEitB, and Harbingers are all up there as well.

  20. Great post Sarah! Here’s my ranking:
    1. The Parts in the Sum of the Whole
    2. The End in the Beginning
    3. TIE: Pilot and Judas on a Pole
    4. TIE: The Man in the Fallout Shelter and Harbingers in a Fountain
    5. The Woman in Limbo and The Pain in the Heart
    6. Stargazer in a Puddle

    I know i know, i’m cheating. I got 9 on the top 5 list! But what can I do? I love all of these! These episodes are full of heart, great Bones cast dynamic and a lot of B&B magic!

    The Beginning in the End

    The Mastodon in the Room
    The Finder

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