Hello, and Happy Monday!
Here we are in the last installment of this series. If you haven’t read parts one and two, and you’d like to, feel free. Today is also the day where you can join in the comments, if you wish.
I wrote on Saturday about underdeveloped storylines, and yesterday I talked about Hannah and her part (or non-part) in season six. The remaining two items on my list go hand in hand (and they also coincide at times with points 1 &2) , so I’m tackling them both today:
- The over-use of under-developed plot threads resulted in lack of quality.
- Hannah’s character was unneeded, poorly executed, and thankfully had little to no effect on Brennan and Booth’s storyline.
- Booth and Brennan were treated unfairly as characters, and the ‘punishment’ they suffered did not fit their ‘crimes’. Likewise, the ‘fix’ they received did not resolve their ‘punishments’.
- From a season and series perspective, using the baby/pregnant storyline as a “gotcha” was evil, but not in the genius sort of way.
Let’s get to it!
Cruel To Be Kind In The Wrong Measure
This is probably my biggest issue with the season, and in fact, it follows the arc that goes all the way back to the 100th episode. Actually, it’s sort of impossible to say it begins there, as the 100th episode is the culmination of so many moments in 99 other episodes. But in that scene outside the Hoover, the writers placed B&B in a situation, and their actions/reactions set several things in motion. Yet, I don’t believe that their words or expressions in that scene were reason enough for the suffering each character had to face.
Were the writers trying to teach Booth and Brennan a lesson? This sort of discussion gives me a headache at times, because obviously we are dealing with layers—the characters are acting out what the writers write for them. So a question like “were the writers trying to teach them a lesson” is strange and obscure at best. Yet I just can’t get past this idea! Both B&B knew (They knew!) the significance of partnership and romance and all of those things, and they took them seriously. They weren’t flippant. They weren’t malicious. They weren’t villains who needed to see the light. Right? If they needed to grow as characters, that is one thing. And sometimes, that growth can bring pain, but this was more than that. This was a breaking-down. To what end? To prove to them and us that they belong together? We knew this. We know this. To prove to them that no matter what, they won’t ever be able to escape their feelings for one another? Isn’t the only reason they were IN this scenario is because the writers wrote the scene in the 100th? Haha, so yes, as you see…headaches.
However, throughout this season, Booth and Brennan were treated like characters in a Greek tragedy, where the main characters are punished for hubris. Despite Booth’s cocky belt buckle, and Brennan’s declarations that she is the best anthropologist in the world, when it comes to one another…there isn’t pride there.
I would argue that both Booth and Brennan acted out of love in the 100th episode. Brennan didn’t say what she said out of malicious need to reject Booth as immature and frivolous. She didn’t roll her eyes and ignore his words. She cried (so did he!). Her ‘crime’, in my opinion, is that she loved Booth too much to let him end up with someone like her (in HER opinion…do not get me wrong—I think she has what it takes!). In that way, it wasn’t really a crime at all. At the most, it was an honest mistake. If even, which is worth discussing. The point is that her motivations were pure-hearted, but the ramifications of that decision far outweighed her mistake. Over the course of the next few episodes, she struggled with her decision. She pursued another man, but also desperately reiterated to Booth that their partnership was important to her.
She went away to think. To be fair, she could have been more forthcoming about her motivations to Booth. But even then—she arrived back from Maluku with a fresh acceptance and a willingness to be open enough to see it.
But it was too late, Booth had found someone else.
Let’s talk Booth.
Did he rush her? Possible. But I still argue that she knew his feelings and dreaded his inevitable confession. Did he have the right to try to meet someone new and make it work? Sure.
Did he feel genuine pain in DitP when he realized she was admitting she didn’t want to have regrets? I believe so. Did he make decisions I didn’t love? Yes. But was he ever malicious? I don’t think so. Is he a good man? Yes. Did he need to learn some lesson that Brennan is the one for him? That fate is true, painfully true?
I guess it’s fair to say that neither one is innocent in the entire transaction, but does that automatically make either one of them guilty?
We saw this back and forth where both characters were masters and victims of their own fates, and in some ways, that is realistic. But the depths of regret, rejection, loneliness, etc that each one faced was not appropriate to the level of ‘error’ either one had made.
I would struggle privately with friends about how it hurt to see Brennan alone, and people would say that it was time for Booth to have some character development. I would say that it didn’t seem fair to put Booth in a position where he failed at finding happiness and had to admit such defeat and would hear that it was really about Brennan’s character development. And it just can’t work that way! I mean, of course there can be mutual character development, but we had more mutual pain than development.
I didn’t understand why the first part of season six was happening, if only to bring Booth and Brennan to the exact spot they’d been in in season five/the beginning of season six. Brennan was open for more. Booth was hesitant and hurt. People argued that something had to happen in season five because B&B were at a stalemate, but up until the end of Blackout in the Blizzard, they were still at a stalemate.
There were small, little movements, but that’s true for the rest of the series too, right?
I know that when I toss out these “I would say” items that they always make me sound like I’m right, haha! That’s unfair of course, but my point is that it was a painful season to watch, but we stuck through it. Not because we ‘deserved a payoff’, but because we cared about the characters and at the very least were curious to see how Hart Hanson and company worked everything out.
But (like in part one) not a lot really happened, and that was what really frustrated me. I would hear “The BB moments will be subtle and special that way”. Okay, that’s fine, but the pain they suffered was NOT subtle. It was in our faces. Not everything has to be resolved, of course, but when Booth says “Some things are just better left unsaid”, I had to blink several times and clean out my ears to make sure I’d really heard that correctly.
Up to that point, I’d struggled with the plots but held out, sure that the pain B&B had suffered would be addressed and they’d receive redemption. One exception…after the end of Doctor in the Photo, I was devastated, for both B&B. And when Hannah and Brennan ended the very next episode, “Body in the Bag”, together at the bar, I may or may not have tweeted Hart Hanson (okay, okay…I did), using some profanity and DEMANDING that he make all of this WORTH IT! I’m not proud of that tweet, but I’m not ashamed of it either, I guess.
The way I see it, the writers made things happy, but they didn’t ‘rebuild’ what they’d broken down. As the remaining post-Daredevil in the Mold episodes aired, Booth and Brennan would just sort of shrug to one another and accept everything as okay. I think there’s a lot to be said for both of them knowing the truth and not holding grudges. But at the same time, remember in Blackout in the Blizzard when Booth and Brennan talked about whether or not they DID need to talk about what happened between them? Booth said yes to Brennan’s question, and he said just not then. Brennan accepted it. We accepted it, assuming it would happen. But it didn’t. (And I don’t count the convo in his apartment later).
“Well, we don’t get to see everything.”
I know this, but there were a lot of things we DID see that weren’t that needed. I just don’t know, you guys! B&B had a moment outside the Hoover building that was the catalyst for their separate lives to go in different directions, and they faced consequences for those. But the consequences were harsher than their actions—unfairly so. But the ‘fixes’ for those consequences were shallow and contrived and unsatisfying for the viewers. Where I personally didn’t want them to suffer for their decisions (and back to the beginning, where I argue they were both out of genuine love for the other), they did suffer. When they needed to be redeemed for that suffering, it was cotton candy and fluff, as if the pain had never happened. It’s a deus ex machina form of writing that sucks.
Which leads me to my fourth point–
Booth, you are the father.
Am I mad that Brennan is pregnant? No. Did I love the look on Booth’s face at the end? Yes. Do I think it will make for an interesting season seven? Yes. Am I annoyed that this season ended with something shocking? No…not really.
What I am annoyed with is that this storyline has been used as a punchline of sorts. The ‘gotcha’ moment. I just think Brennan is such a great character that to shove this part of her into a Sweets session (season four) and the final minute of a season finale (season six) is a shame. A shame!
It reminds me of what Emily Deschanel said when asked before Critic in the Cabernet how she felt about Brennan deciding she wanted a baby.
ED: Well….I like this decision, because, you know…one thing I like about Hart’s characters from the beginning is that they have contradictions. And I think I always look at that in a script, because real people have contradictions. You know, so many people write scripts and say ‘well, this character is rigid and she never changes her mind’ and then, they will never have her change her mind. But in real life, people do change, and surprise you, whether you like it or not, (laughs), they change a direction in their life, and they have contradictions. So…I um, I kind of love it for that reason, but at the same time, I really did like the fact that this was a woman who said “I do not want children”. And you know, you don’t see that many times, represented very much in television or film where a woman says vocally she doesn’t want to have children. And how many times have I talked to many women who have said they do NOT want children and they are very happy with that choice. So I love that fact that that was represented, but I also love the fact that she’s a character who changes her mind and evaluates, and you’ll see that there’s some turns in that episode (Critic in the Cabernet), that will surprise everyone. So, yeah, I’m happy with it. I thought it was very interesting. And I don’t think it’s the kind of situation where Brennan just changes her mind. It’s done in a very interesting way, that there’s twists and turns. I guess I don’t want to say much more than that.”
Brennan IS such an interesting character, and there IS the possibility that season seven will honestly show her through the ups and downs of a pregnancy. I hope so. I hope it gets developed. So far, the storyline has been a cheap plot device, and that’s unfair to Brennan’s character (and Booth’s in a lot of ways too). It’s also unfair to the viewers. The season was harsh at times, and for the writers to swoop in and laugh with an adorable OMG BB are having a BABY storyline didn’t feel that cool. From a season seven perspective, I’m excited about the development possibilities. But I can feel that way and still recognize that in season six, it was a cheap fix.
Throughout the season, the writers took some plot risks, but they didn’t seem willing to back those risks up with character development, and that is too bad. But this is enough from me. Now it’s your turn to discuss.
As confusing as it might make it, I’m opening up the comments on all three posts. This way, each issue can have its own thread of discussions.
Talk to you soon!
Peace, Love & Bones,