Bones Theory

Morning After Q: Has BONES Lost the Plot? -Or- Is the Show Too Character-Driven?

65 Comments

TGIF, Bones pals!

Okay, so a question like this might seem crazy, after all—a lot of us (okay, maybe just David Boreanaz and me) have sort of prided ourselves on the fact that BONES is a character driven drama. Sure, it’s a procedural, but
it’s a procedural with heart, critics might say.

Or at least…they did say that—earlier in the series.

But what about now?

Has the show gotten TOO far into character work and storyline that the ‘plot’ falls to the wayside? Obviously each week has a case,
but do those cases really affect the characters?

If the show is veering too far toward the character-driven, what would it take to get it back on track? Less romance? Fewer characters? Darker cases and villains? More science?

I’m not sure. That’s where you come in (convenient for me! 😀 ). Let’s discuss!

Peace, Love & Bones,

~S

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65 thoughts on “Morning After Q: Has BONES Lost the Plot? -Or- Is the Show Too Character-Driven?

  1. The characters of the show is what drew me to the show in the first place, so, I don’t have a problem with how the show is presented. I like the cases they have; but, it isn’t the reason I watch the show. I like shows that show us the humanity of the characters. I want to see their strengths and weaknesses. I want to see that their job effects their lives and I definitely don’t want to see the perfect FBI agent or cop that does his or her job and nothing else matters. I have seen a few shows like that and they are boring.

    Granted HH did introduce a character to the show that created a lot of controversy; but, he had a game plan (a plot) and I think we saw the fruitation of that plan at the end of season 6. We have plot, it’s just a long and complicated plot.

  2. The cases last season and really a lot of season 5 have been truly boring with murderers who never intended to murder and anonymous victims who either were unlikeable or ignorable. Brodsky never reached the depths or complexity of Epps or Taffet or Gormogon. Few of the cases really touched on anything going on in the principal characters’ lives even if the writers tried to stretch a point. This used to be the strength of Bones — good intercharacter relationships and interactive cases that drew us and the forensic team in. Now it’s just meh — how gross can we make the body and which poor schlep tried to cover up their involvement. From the sides for next season, it doesn’t look as if the cases are going to get any better.

  3. In a word, subtlety.

    Okay, maybe that needs more than one word. The plots do still affect the characters, but in season 6, the parallels between case and characters were essentially beaten into our skulls with a hammer, rather than hinted at. And if you beat someone in the head with a hammer, you know, they get a headache.
    Examples: In season 2’s Stargazer in a Puddle, Brennan was outraged at the crime (a mother killing her daughter). Then she realizes that the mother acted misguidedly, but out of love, and thought she was doing what was best. This realization allows Brennan to watch the videotape of her mother and presumably forgive Christine. So…case affected characters, but the viewers had to connect the dots.

    Season 6’s The Sign in the Silence however, connected those dots for us. We have Sweets telling Brennan (and thus us) YOU SHOULD SEE YOURSELF IN THIS KID.

    Season 4’s Con Man in the Meth Lab explored themes of taking advantage and being duped – themes that are echoed in Jared’s interaction with Brennan. Subtly. Contrast that to Couple in a Cave. LOOK! HE DIED RATHER THAN LEAVE HER! THAT’S LOVE.

    Of course the ultimate example of Anviliciousness is Doctor in the Photo. I liked the episode, but I was expecting the Ghost of Christmas Future to show up at any moment and show Brennan her lonely grave that no one ever came to visit.

    Season 6 told, whereas previous seasons showed and in any work of fiction, showing is better than telling.

    • I would totally agree. There have been cases in the past in which the message was interwoven with the story and when the threads were tied off at the end, the themes were gentle reminders, not glaring neon signs. The case of the soccer mom with a van who turns out to have been a 60s radical was a lesson for Brennan to find a way to forgive her father. Yes, the lesson was fairly obvious at the end of the show, but no one had to beat it into our skulls with the hammer, as you say, even though the subtlety wasn’t as gentle as say, Con Man, but much less blatant than Couple in the Cave.

      I hope there’s a return to more showing than telling– the cases can still inform and shape the characters that way without becoming preachy.

    • Barbara, this really bugged me when I watched The Doctor in the Photo the second time. I think that every supporting character said to Brennan at some point, “It isn’t like you to [fill in the blank].” I mean, seriously? I don’t enjoy being smacked in the face, even metaphorically.

    • Love your take on Sweets acting as the sort of “guide” for the audience. That’s one thing that has annoyed me since he joined in season three (and I’m mostly a Sweets fan). I’m pretty sure we all did just fine knowing why B&B did things they did and didn’t need him saying them out loud. Now, whether or not B&B together needed him to say some things out loud in those earlier sessions, that’s a different story. But it’s gone overboard in the past couple of seasons (imo) where Brennan and Booth both have had their character smarts/personal awareness lessened so that Sweets can come through with some eye-opening revelation. (insert eyeroll here) 🙂

      It’s too bad, because I think Sweets as a character has a lot of room (and possibilty) to grow in interesting ways, with the support of people like Booth and Brennan, but it hasn’t really played out that way.

    • Yes!!!!

      I agree with this completely.

      What I used to love about Bones was the fact you had to join the dots for yourself. They didn’t spell everything out to you, they worked on the assumption that their viewers were intelligent and could therefore gather the meaning of the episode themselves.

      Now, it’s like they’ve decided the audience is a little dimmer than they used to be so they have ti spell everything out. One syllable at a time. S-l-o-w-l-y.

      • I agree with this as long as what they want me to figure out on my own actually makes sense. If they’re trying something stupid like that give-me-your-sunglasses-because-we’re-both-such-strong-and-awesome-women-and-letting-me-steal-from-you-proves-how-we’re-really-even-on-the-AwesomeO-meter crap, then they do need to hit me over the head, repeatedly, to explain it to me.

        I’m curious about the timing of the explanations we started getting. Did that start before after that sunglasses thing that no one understood?

  4. I think that, instead of the cases driving the story, they work in tandem with it. They enhance the character-driven parts of the story, which really is the center of the series.
    ~Couple in the Cave: Case was a doomed couple who died for each other, Hannah shows up.
    ~Shallow in the Deep: Case was young guy who liked cougars, Booth thinking about his age
    ~The Doctor in the Photo: Self-explanatory
    ~Sin in the Sisterhood: Case about polygamists, B&B discuss loving more than one person
    And those are just a few. I think there is almost always a parallel between the case and the story, B&B’s story, A&H’s story, Cam, Sweets…it’s rare that a procedural puts so much effort into letting the two aspects of the show work so closely together. So, no. I don’t think Bones is too character-driven. I think it needs to be to stay as original as it is in a sea of similar shows. It’s their hook, and why we keep coming back every week.

    • Regarding the Sin in the Sisterhood: I have been wanting to ask this question for some time, but none of the posts have been on topic for it, so I’m going to shoehorn it in here.

      It seems a popular fan consensus that the big B&B moment at the end is Booth obliquely saying he loves Brennan the most, or the best. Whatever it was, it’s been a while. Anyway.

      I never got that interpretation. He says something like, “There’s always one person you love the most,” and she says, “What if you let that person get away?” and he says “That person’s not going anywhere,” and I’ve always thought he was telling her he knows HE is HER person that she loves the most, and even though he’s no longer romantically available to her, he’ll always be there for her and support her as a partner and friend.

      Am I nuts? Did anyone else hear it that way?

      • Sammy, that’s what I thought, too. I don’t think that being with Hannah and loving Brennan the most jives with Booth’s moral code. Maybe you could argue that he actually did love Brennan the most, but hadn’t admitted it to himself, but I think that if he had actually acknowledged it, it would have either caused some serious inner turmoil or he would have broken things off with Hannah. To me, that amounts to cheating, which Booth adamantly insists he has never done, and, presumably, never would do.

      • I think it’s both.

        And you’re right, CJsmom, it would cause Booth inner turmoil, which is why he proposed to Hannah as a way of “officially” defining their roles in his life. Wife Hannah, Best Friend Bones. That’s my proposal theory anyway. It’s twisted logic, but it’s easier for me to swallow than “Got drunk and was goaded by Sweets”.

      • You are not nuts. But I feel it could go both ways. That was a general statement he made, and if it applies to her, it applies to him. I think he made the statement mainly about the case, inadvertently implicating himself, but Brennan applied it to herself (which surprised me), and then he reassured her.

        Before, Booth had created somewhat of a distance (moreso emotional) between himself and Brennan. They had been emotionally connected for so long, but he had a girlfriend, and just to stay on the safe side he didn’t want to stray into emotional cheating. But eventually, I think he began to miss what they had, even just their friendship. Someone here mentioned before that he must have figured out the balance between friendship with Brennan and a romantic relationship with Hannah. I don’t know how long it would have lasted, but that’s what he had set in his mind.

      • @Sammy: I hadn’t thought of it that way, and I see where you are coming from…but I always took it to be that he “meant” it, but I don’t think HE saw it as anyone in particular, its just a life belief that he holds. If he had thought about it, he’d both realize how that came out, and probably that his feelings for Brennan were not in the past. But I think it just literally came out of his mouth as one of his moral, life truths he believe in, so he was telling her that, and he told her with conviction, but I’d say it was a subconcious thing as far as it referred to Brennan. What I like (and Brennan too) about Booth is his beliefs and how he fights for them and believes them passionately. It just came out of his soul, but I don’t think he meant it towards any specfic person as he said it, but it came out a subconcious connection to Brennan.

        Did any of that make sense? 🙂

      • Maybe he wasn’t saying that he loves Brennan the most, but by making the statement, perhaps he realized that he did? He certainly was gazing at her with a forlorn expression when she was looking at Cam and Paul have their moment.

        You know, now that I think about it, that is such a Booth statement. He makes a lot of those types of statements to Brennan that make me wonder is he really just being general or hinting at their specific relationship.

      • Sammy -I always interpreted that scene the same as you, that he’s reassuring Brennan that even if she finds someone else, he’ll always be there for her. Because the other way around, it’s like CJsMom said – it would be a violation of Booth’s moral code and would be tantamount to cheating. I think I remember Seels mentioning in her review of that episode how dangerously close she felt Booth was to toeing that line.

        However, sometimes I watch that scene and when Brennan says, “How do you know which person you love the most when you’re confused by chemical messages traveling throughout your limbic system…” I’ve wondered if perhaps Brennan is being direct and not rhetorical with her question – “How can you (Booth) be sure…when you (Booth) are confused…” Which may have in part been what led him down the path to the “You pick a wife and go with it” proposal.

      • Barbara, I think that you make an excellent point. I don’t think that the drunken conversation with Sweets alone would have been enough to prompt Booth to propose. So do you think that conversation with Brennan at the end of Sisterhood made him realize he did love Brennan more? Or was it the reminder than he is Brennan’s “person she loves the most” that proved to be too great a temptation for him that spurred him into action?

        I really need to watch that episode again. I haven’t seen it since it aired.

      • C-Bones, I think the entire episode represented Booth’s brief attempt to have both women in his life. He & Brennan had a lot of fun together in this episode – they were relaxed around each other for really the first time all season.

        So I think it was everything – knowing Brennan wanted a second chance, his own feelings (which had always been there, but came back to the surface in Bullet in the Brain), the realization that he had perhaps had too much fun with Brennan.

        It’s interesting about Booth’s moral code….Look, he was dating someone when he happily accepted Brennan’s proposition in the 100th flashback. In season 1, Man in the SUV, he very flirtatiously invited Brennan to stay for another drink and she sent him home to Tessa. In season 2, his heart was always with Brennan, even when he was sleeping with Cam.

        So when it comes to Brennan — he’s always had a rather flexible moral code, IMO. But I do think marriage is something he would take very seriously, and that’s a line he wouldn’t cross. Add that to his uncertainty that Brennan had really changed, his fear of going there with her again and getting hurt, and paradoxically, the need to reassure himself that he wasn’t giving up the love of his life for just some fling, but for “his future wife”, THEN throw in drunkenness and Sweets’ comment about his age.

        It all adds up to a proposal that was about HIM, not Hannah.

      • What you said about Booth’s moral code being flexible–that rings true for me. For that matter, if he were really a by-the-book Catholic he wouldn’t be having sex outside of marriage anyway, I suppose. I mean, in The Truth in the Lye he slept with Rebecca and Cam in a very short span of time (was it the same day? I’m not sure). And sex with a virtual stranger under a fig tree? I’m not trying to get preachy here, or judge Booth for his fornication. I’m just saying this is more evidence that while he may be private about his sex life, he’s also been pretty active. And I think it’s safe to assume there’s more that we don’t even know about. But he is very adamant that he’s never cheated, so I think you’re right–he had this twisted logic that if he were married, then no matter how he was tempted by Brennan, he just wouldn’t go there.

  5. I watch for B&B, and the the other character interactions, and rarely actually care about a case, even from earlier when the cases were considered better. The best most recent case for me was Signs in the Silence. At the same time, I need for B&B to be doing something other than bicker and have eye-sex – and solving crimes is what they do. Their partnership is the starting point of everything they have together. Barbara made a good point about subtlety, and that’s a good point. But they aren’t always beating us over the head with it, sometimes it’s the opposite. For example, how is “The Daredevil in the Mold” supposed to apply to B&B, if it does at all? I thought The Sin in the Sisterhood was a good balance. HH&Crew always liked the character side. It was only more procedural in the beginning because the network wanted them to be. Once they began to be successful, they focused on the characters more.

    So, in short, I don’t really care about them “going back” to more procedure. I don’t even watch Law & Order, NCIS, CSI, or Criminal Minds, because I really kind of avoid it. BONES still has enough procedure for me, but I wouldn’t complain about having stronger cases that would hold my interest.

    • Actually Daredevil in the Mold is one of the rare season 6 moments of subtlety! The case was about a guy who took a lot of risks, got hurt, and came back to risk it all again and ultimately gets killed not because of the botched stunt, but because of misplaced blame and rage. If Hannah is the stunt….Booth is the daredevil…well, I won’t draw you a map. And neither did the writers. Which is why it worked (for me, anyway. That was a case I blew off at first and had to really go back and look at. The Feet on the Beach and The Finder, actually are other episodes that have a subtle message like that).

      Somewhere else downthread, someone points out that the victims are less sympathetic, and I agree with that. I think it’s easier to inject humor into an episode when the victim is someone we aren’t too invested in. And character wise – they should all be a little more cynical than they were six years ago.

      • I’ve always thought “mold” was supposed to be a play on words. The vic is in actual, biological mold, and Booth sees himself as stuck in a pattern. It’s his mold, the way he’s made, and he has to break it if he’s going to find happiness. He’s the gambler, or daredevil, but he’s still doing the same things and expecting different results.

        I didn’t pick up the significance of dying because of misplaced rage (although I sure got the brick to the skull with the killer out of his mind because a person had a grip on his plums). That’s pretty cool, too. Thanks, Barbara.

        Anyway, how can you not love an episode that gets rid of Hannah? My friends and I found her character truly bizarre. In fact, in our canon, she’s actually a sociopath, which makes season six a lot more interesting.

      • I’m totally on board with your double meaning, Sammy. Our theories work well together. By not giving in to that rage & anger, Booth broke the mold!

      • I’m not a literary person, but I am a literal person, so I don’t see some things right away. I also “hate” too much psychology, so I don’t always feel like psycho-analyzing everything, wondering what meant what (the sunglasses thing went WAY over my head – including the explanation). Sometimes I like a little mystery, sometimes I just want to be told. I see variety in the methods, so I think everybody gets what they want at some time or another.

      • Oh no, the sunglasses thing is not explicable by any means: psychology, literary analysis, logic…it was just a big ol’ mess.

      • One more thing. Since you guys (Barbara and Sammy) mentioned Booth breaking the mold by not giving into rage and anger, how do you think he did that? Booth talked about finding his “inner peace”. Most people need therapy and/or religion to get that because that’s not easy at all. But his just came with time…hmmm. Or do you think he’s just gotten a little better, but isn’t totally there yet? It seemed like Brennan’s support went a long ways to help with that, because he told her he was really grateful for it, and his spirits usually seemed lighter around her.

      • @C-bones: For that, I’d go back to the conversation where Brennan asks Booth if he needs time and space, and he just says “time” and they share the cake? Sigh…..

        Where was I again? Oh yeah, well I think Booth is a guy that needs time to sort through things and emotions, but he likes to have his friends and family still around him and he needs those connections no matter what is going on. And like Brennan’s faith in things like sugar making her coffee sweet and the sun rising each day, Booth eventually gets his “inner peace” back by living by his life guidelines and morals.

      • Well, this would be purely guesswork, because I don’t think it’s something the show would ever get into, but I think it was just a matter of time and self-reflection. Personally, I don’t think therapy or religion are required to attain inner peace.

        Blackout in the Blizzard was, IMO, laden with symbolism. Booth wanted those seats because they represented a “perfect day” but ultimately he was willing to give them up to get out of the elevator. In the end, he only had to get rid of a part (the weak, rusty part).

        After that episode he relates to Brennan differently. He’s more willing to tell her things that are bothering him and to ask things of her. I think that’s representative of a healthier attitude toward relationships – that he doesn’t have to be the giver all the time, he can not just hope to be loved back, but expect it.

      • @bb: I love that cake moment, too. You know, in a lot of ways, for all her quirks (and maybe because of them), Brennan makes the perfect girlfriend. Knowing when it’s time to be silent and just listen, being non-judgemental (when it really counts), her unequivocal support/loyalty, unconditional love, full trust (having faith in him), complete understanding and absolute honesty – that’s probably too idealistic to find in any one woman. But I think those qualities are why Booth wants to be with her even though he knows being with her isn’t all a bed of roses.

      • I just have to chalk the sunglasses thing up to bad writing. As is evidenced by my comments here on BT, I enjoy discussing Bones as if it were real life. But that is one of those few moments when I just can’t ignore the man behind the curtain. It is so ridiculous.

  6. The first half of season six had a number of cases that were less than memorable, in part because the Hannah subplot (or maybe it was just Hannah’s character) was less than well executed. I think they were trying to feed us the story of Booth and Brennan at the expense of the cases, when in the past we were used to seeing the cases inform what we knew about B/B. Many of those plots felt forced, like they were an afterthought inserted into the story and lacking, as Barabra pointed out, much in the way of subtlety.

    I do feel though that Bones got it’s mojo back in it’s second half of the season, even before Hannah left. I really enjoyed the Broadsky arc. Those stories wove very naturally with character development, particularly the amazing “Hole in the Heart.” Sure, there were some lackluster ones like (Bleh!) The Finder or the one with the Chupacabra, but the others were pretty darn good-especially Sign in the Silence and the sister-wives episode. Now that the story of Brennan and Booth finally crossing the infamous line has been told, I expect a more natural interaction between plots and characterization even with the upcoming baby storyline. Them getting to the point where they could have sex was like the 800 pound gorilla (or mastodon, your pick) in the room. Now that it’s gone, we can coast right along again. Like Hart said, it’s the reset button.

    • maria, I also feel that part of the reason the cases were less memorable in the first half of the season is that (regardless of execution), Hannah was just such a huge distraction for me that it was difficult to focus on the cases. Sometimes I think I am way too invested in the lives of these imaginary people. It’s hard to care about the case when I’m heartsick for the characters.

  7. I think as far as character development goes, it was just as character-driven in the beginning as it is now. I don’t think that aspect of it has changed at all. But definitely what has changed is how the victims are portrayed and how Booth & Brennan are affected by them. I kind of feel like the earlier episodes were developed with the plot/backstory in mind first and how they discover that body was fit around the plot. Now it seems like the focus is coming up with the grossest or quirkiest body find first, and then trying to build the storyline around that. Not that there’s anything wrong with either approach, but it definitely results in a different feel as far as storytelling goes. The cases where the audience can sympathize with the victim or can see how Booth and Brennan are affected by the victim’s case have the most impact for me. I’m not saying it has to be dark or angsty – Double Trouble was a funny episode but you could still see that they cared about the victims. If Booth and Brennan think a victim is an asshat or a moron, why should the audience care either?

    • I totally agree with this. I loved the cases in the earlier seasons where you actually cared about the victims and you wanted the killer caught. Now it seems most times the victim “had it coming” and all you feel for the killer is sympathy or worse, a complete lack of interest.

      I love the B&B characters, I always have. They had the spark between them right from the beginning yet the cases were still intriguing. Not anymore. Now they’re so humorous or seem so trivial. Most of the time, I wonder why on earth there would be FBI involvement for any of them.

      I don’t see why there can’t be cases we care about as well as character development. They used to balance that beautifully in the earlier seasons. Season 2 and 3 are still my favorites. I think they really found their focus then with the formula of the show.

  8. Brennan and Booth are the (vanilla) ice cream in my sundae. The gory body parts are the whip cream and jokes and teasing and laughter are the cherry, but really, I just came in for ice cream.

    Some of the cases last season . . . meh. But I felt they got better as the season progressed so for me, the first few meh cases fit the meh-tone of the first half of the season.

    • Amen, sister. There are plenty of crime shows out there, but for me Bones is all about the characters. Especially B & B. Sometimes when I watching the DVDs I fast-forward through the crime-solving bits and just watch the character-driven goodness.

      • It’s funny – I do this w/S5-6, but I don’t fast-forward through anything in the S1-3 eps. There’s a difference now in how the case and the character development are presented. in the earlier episodes they were interwoven pretty tightly. Part of that may have something to do with the fact that Booth was in the Jeffersonian more in the earlier episodes, so they would have character development simultaneously with the crime solving part. Some of the greatest moments of character development between Booth & Brennan, secondary to car scenes, were the discussions/arguments they had while on the platform – The Man on the Fairway, The Truth in the Lye, and The Pain in the Heart are what spring to mind immediately.

        But in S6, Booth was no longer a presence at the lab with Brennan and doing many of the interrogations by himself or with Sweets, it compartmentalized the episodes more and the cases became more like background noise. I never felt that way about the earlier episodes, though.

    • This is probably not a popular opinion, but I love S5! Okay, there may be a little bias because that’s when I got started on the show. I had to catch up, and I just love all the earlier seasons too! Maybe when the series is over, there will be a season that I “love the most.” The only thing that’s difficult for me is watching in season 1 when they were pretty harsh to each other and trying to find their rhythm. Brennan’s heartache during the Hannah arc is still hard to swallow, too. Now that the are a well-oiled running machine, and their personal relationship is so close, it’s kind of hard to see go back in time to anything less.

      MJ, yes to the (vanilla) ice cream! I like to laugh, and I like touching stories. Every season has episodes with both tones, I don’t care what anyone says, so there! lol

      You know, whether the victims elicit a lot or a little sympathy (it happens), Booth and the J-crew do their job. No matter how they feel, they are still dedicated and are always committed to catching the murderer, no matter the circumstances. I think that’s worthy of respect.

      I am still a BONES obsessed fan. Looking back at S6, it has all the marks of any previous season:
      1. Episodes I don’t usually try to watch again, maybe not written well
      2. Episodes that I will watch over and over
      3. Episodes that are amazingly well-written
      4. Episodes that pull at the heart-strings
      5. Episodes that just contain so many laughs
      6. Episodes of B&B not really at their best
      7. Episodes of B&B at their best
      8. Bad/dropped storylines
      9. Great storylines
      10. A crew and cast who love what they do and work very hard to give us good entertainment (This is very important to me, and goes a long way in how I feel about the show. If they don’t care, why would I?)

      To me, the whole thing is a story. Six years later, it still feels like a journey on which I’ve ridden so many ups and downs, and I hope to keep on riding.

      • I agree with you. I started watching in season 5 also so I’m fine with how Bones is woring out. I agree that Brennan and Booth were meaner to each other in season 1. It was a little jarring when I bought the DVD and started watching season 1 through season 4.

      • I also love season five! And I think that after I get a little distance from season six and see B & B happy together then I’ll eventually be able to watch season six in it’s entirely without getting an ulcer. I hope.

  9. I have to say it, but looking back at S6 now, with some perspective, the cases really weren’t that bad. I do agree they got better as the season went along but, really, I have a new take on S6.

    • I’ve already pre-ordered the season. “The Body and the Bounty” is on Hulu now, and I love the ending of this episode. I know this season was probably the most contentious, but I felt like not buying the season would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. For example, I forgot this funny little exchange:

      Brennan (to the hunter): You had no idea that your bean bag gun would kill him.
      Booth to Brennan: What are you? A defense lawyer now?
      Brennan: Well, a kind mind is a fine mind.
      Booth: She cut off his head! And it wasn’t an accident.
      Brennan: I have no rebuttal to that statement.

      I think if I just ignore and fast-forward through the Hannah parts, I’m pretty much fine with the season.

  10. The first three seasons of Bones had a very different feel to them than these last three seasons. I can’t really pinpoint what it is and sometimes it really irritates me. I know that the writing team went through some changes between season three and four and that is probably what has made the difference. There was a beautiful balance the first three years between story, case and character development. Season four we had the characters all over the place, slap-stick humor and cases that just lacked something special. It was the first season I started asking myself, ‘who are these characters and what are they doing.’ This was the start of what I call the Chia Pet bodies. To me it looked like the Bones writer’s were coming up with the most ‘bizarre’ dead body of the week they could think of, and then trying to come up with a story to fit that body. The story of Brennan and the rest of the cast wasn’t the priority anymore. It showed.

    Season four felt like they had no idea where they wanted to go with the show and season five and season six felt the exact same way. I really dislike in your face humor and much prefer what we got in the first three seasons. It felt like they stopped telling the story at the start of season four and wanted to reboot the show at this point. They changed the writing formula and how they were doing things. For me as a viewer, I haven’t felt the same about this show since they’ve done this.

    The first half of this series had me loving every aspect of the show. The cases were interesting. The character development made sense. They had me wanting more! There was a balance and cohesiveness to it all. When I look at these last three seasons, I have multiple problems with each season. I guess, I believed the story and these character’s journey the first three seasons, but with these last three the stuff that has gone on makes me wonder who these characters are, and if the Bones writer’s and producer’s even know themselves.

  11. I don’t think the plot has been lost. The show is about the characters, and that has been the same throughout the whole show. I watch the show for B&B, not the cases. I don’t like most other crime shows, because they aren’t character driven. I do agree that for the first half of season 6, the cases lacked something, but I think that a lot of it was due to the fact that Booth and Brennan were out of sync, so the whole chemistry of the show was off. I didn’t mind that, because it showed what a huge effect that B&B have on each other, and on everyone else. If the cases hadn’t gotten better, yes I would have been upset, but the last half of the season was very good. The Hole in the Heart is one of my favorite episodes ever,not simply because B&B finally got together, but because it was very,very well done.

  12. Hm…that is a really good, complex question! My brain can’t work that great on a Friday!

    My answer to that is yes and no.

    In the beginning of series, they show everything and the kitchen sink because you aren’t sure if you’re show is going to make it very far. You’ve got to throw in a bunch of things early. I think most shows “lose” a little bit because the show has been on for awhile, if they are luck to find an audience and last. So it can seem like something is off because the show becomes sort of familiar and its doesn’t have that “new car smell” anymore.

    But this is not necessarily a bad thing. I like the comfort of knowing my show, I can settle back in my chair and go “Ahhh…time for some B&B!”…but while we do have that with Bones a little bit, they still surprise me. The coma dream really threw me for a loop the first time I saw it, the Gravedigger getting her head exploded got me, Vincent and the baby announcement, obviously. Doctor in the Photo anyone? I was on the Edge. Of. My. Seat!!!!!!!!

    And I think ED’s pregnancy upped the personal quicker than they probably planned. I’m assuming that after Hodgela’s baby they would backburner that stuff for awhile, but the using her real pregnancy makes it happen sooner.

    For me, sometimes there’s episodes at aren’t like WOWOWOWOWOW…but taken as part of the whole (no pun intended) they all make sense. The crimes have been fine for me, and they are still making pretty gross bodies…so its still Bones.

    But like my almost brother-in-law, who’s English tells me, their shows are shorter. Their British “The Office” was like 2 seasons and done. The American one on the other hand is limping into season 8 with no Michael Scott…and you wonder if they are on to something? But I have not been disappointed so far by Bones, I still like Season 6 (and still ok with Hannah!! haha) so I would love it if they would at least so eight seasons and finish it well. If the writers can stay strong, and not get “Finder” distracted…I think we are still OK.

    At some point in a procedural, you can only have so much procedure. You know? If it was the. same. every. week. for. seven. years. you will lose fans. Your show has to be able to grow and change. If the actors and writers handle it well, shows can withstand years (20 years of The Simpsons!) so its definitely possible! Bring on the character-driven elements if we get to see some B&B smoochin!

  13. I so want to reply to this post, I’ve been meaning to all afternoon but work has been manic! Grr how inconsiderate of it.

    But I’d very much like the emails….will be back to post!

  14. @C-bones: I can’t reply to your reply for some reason, so I’m bringing it down here.

    Yeah, I’m thinking it was time. Other people said it too, but I’ve gone through heartbreak and don’t nothin’ work but time. Although having all your friends use a really unflattering nickname to refer to the one who did you wrong doesn’t hurt.

    I know show time is usually pretty illogical, but for this season we have a pregnancy to at least force a timeline of nine months. That’s gotta be five months tops between Breaking Point Booth and At Peace Booth, to say nothing of the interval between the Having of the Drink and the Burning of the Paper. My theory is that it took so little time because the writers don’t really care. But beyond that, I think clearing up ambiguity did a great deal, eventually, for Booth’s peace of mind. As of Doctor, he knows where he stands.

    • Sammy, I’m not saying it’s impossible to get inner peace with time. I actually think it didn’t take that long for him to get over his anger with the Hannah situation, but I would think it would take longer to learn how to manage his anger if that’s something he had issues with for a long time.It’s just that Booth’s anger issues have cropped up way before Hannah. There are times when Sweets has suggested that Booth has deep-seated issues in that area because of his violent past that he wants to talk about with Booth, but Booth always refuses to talk about things like that with Sweets.

      • This is VERY true. Sweets HAS brought up Booth’s past…actually every time he brought up the opportunity for Booth and Brennan to share Brennan actually seemed more open to share. She shared her story about being locked in the trunk, she shared her story about Brainy smurf, she’s been abler to relate to children who are in the foster system based on her experience. Have we EVER heard Booth talk about being the child of an abusive alcoholic ? We DID hear him say at the end of Signs in the Silence that he never wanted Parker to see the side of him where he looses control. We’ve heard Booth’s fond memories of his dad but not the dark stuff. I would think that Booth’s experience with his Dad was a driving force for him to be a different type of father for Parker. In season 6 in Blackout in the Blizzard, we got an intimate look into Booth’s past through the story he told Brennan about the ballgame with his Dad. Waaay back We know Booth was a jock, we know he was a sniper, we know he has a gambling problem and in S1 we heard that Booth used to be “angrier”. In Fire and Ice he was almost scary the way he stared down Sweets over suggestion of his “violent” past. Being “rejected” by women he loved was bound to cause some unrest within him. I would actually hope that we do see Booth trying to strengthen some “inner peace” leading up to the baby because IF Booth and Brennan are going to try and be a family – and that is an IF right now, we won’t know until S7- then I think Booth has to go for a different outcome. Booth IS a good guy and a good father to Parker but having a relationship with the mother of his child and possibly raising that child together…whole new ballgame. Maybe there are some more things he needs to face or work out to help make this outcome different. I think it IS fair to say Brennan has worked on herself and not just for Booth but for her own benefit.

    • Sammy, I agree that it’s not really realistic that Booth could have worked through his anger (and personally, I think he was more angry with himself–because he felt like he was responsible for screwing everything up–than he was with the women) so quickly. But I don’t think it’s because the writers don’t care. TV time just runs differently than real time.

      Personally, as soon as Hannah was gone, I was ready to get to the good stuff with B & B. I don’t mean I wanted them to jump into bed together right away, I just wanted to see them regaining some of their sweetness, affection, and even good-natured bickering. Booth stalking Brennan on the jogging trail and then inviting himself to a boring lecture was enough to make me swoon. I think the writers had to trade realism (months of Booth struggling to figure out what he wants and trying to keep Brennan at arms-length in order to do so) for a more interesting and more appealing story. This is especially true because, as you mentioned, Angela’s pregnancy forces a more rigid timeline than usual on the season. They wanted B & B to move forward before the season ended, but they also wanted to end the season with the birth of Baby Hodgins.

      • I was chatting with someone (and now wish I could remember WHO, dang it…) who made the analogy of a junk drawer. When your junk drawer is so messy, it’s overwhelming to even think about straightening it out. So you just dump the whole thing in the trash and start fresh.

        I think the Hannah storyline was a cluttered junk drawer, and TPTB didn’t have the time or energy to clean it out. All of season 6, actually, could be considered a junk drawer…maybe the post-Hannah episodes were an attempt to clean it, a realization that it was just too much work, and the pregnancy was the act of dumping it in the trash so we can have an all new season 7 drawer.

      • I was actually hoping that there wouldn’t have been too much negative fall-out from the break-up. I did want Booth and Brennan to start moving towards each other ASAP. Arguing and second-guessing of feelings would have just prolonged the process. It basically felt like Hannah didn’t matter, never really did, and I’m okay with that way of thinking. I actually don’t think there was much to clean up, anyway. There was Booth’s anger, but he got over that. I never wished to see them talk about Hannah. If anything, I thought a conversation about what was going through their minds last year would have been more interesting, but perhaps that’s just all water under a bridge now.

      • I really like the junk drawer analogy. I never thought of it that way, but yeah.

  15. I think the cases have lost that (and please forgive me for making this reference. I’m ashamed of myself already!) ‘X-factor’. They used to have more BANG and BOOM….now they kind of….fizzle.

    We used to see how the cases resonated with the characters, and they used to have more heart. We saw that the Squint Squad and Booth cared. What we DIDN’T see is them forgetting all about the victim and focusing on getting home for a date! (Yeah….I still hate Bikini in the Soup. So sue me 😉 ) I think back to the earlier seasons and the cases AND victims really stick out for me. Nestor Olivos, Charlie/Shawn/David Cook, Maggie Shilling, Dylan Crane and Kelly/Alex Morris, Matther and Ryan Kent. I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you! 😀

    Now….if I really think about this past season I can say maybe Sin in the Sisterhood stands out? Maybe? But that’s less because of the victims/case, and more for the moment between B/B and Cam/Paul at the end.

    As much as I love the character things we get to see, I think more time (and dare I say effort?!) could be put into the cases.

    Tug at my heartstrings people, please! I swear, it’s a lot easier than you might think 😉

    • The whole Gotta-Get-‘Er-Done thing in Bikini in the Soup bothered me, too. For a couple of reasons. First, it was another one of those big flashing neon signs saying, “Brennan is Alone! She is sad about this!” in my opinion. As I said before, quit smacking me in the face. Secondly, this was not a serial killer case. They weren’t concerned about stopping this guy from hurting his next victim. This wasn’t Epps’s (is that right? It seems wrong) accomplice in The Blonde in the Game. No one was buried alive by the Gravedigger and in threat of suffocating to death. There was no ticking clock. Why couldn’t they just go home at their normal time and pick it back up tomorrow?

      But I did like the end.

      • I actually don’t feel as though I was smacked in the face with “Brennan is alone and she is sad.” Most of the time she was remarkably composed after her tearful confession and finding out that Hannah knew. There were only a few times where we saw how much she was bothered by the whole thing, and I appreciated the glimpse.

      • I didn’t think Bikini in the Soup showed us that Brennan was alone. All her phone calls pleased me because it meant she hadn’t just been hanging out in the lab mooning over Booth. I mean, she had to have met those men somewhere. Her rejection of them showed that she had plenty of other options but she was no longer satisfied with empty, emotionless relationships based on just shared intellect or sex.

        It could be argued that DDitM was Brennan’s lowest point; even with Hannah out of the picture Booth doesn’t seem to want anything more from her than partnership. But Brennan has changed for *her* sake, not for Booth’s. She doesn’t turn down those other offers on Valentine’s Day because she’s waiting for Booth but because she now knows she wants more and *believes she deserves it too*.

        The ticking clock thing though – yeah that was stupid.

      • Here is the way I see it. Brennan is alone by choice, but she’s still sad. She’s in love with Booth, and, despite his angry rantings at the end of DitM, she’s hopeful that eventually she will get another chance with him. Hopeful, but by no means certain.

        Barbara, I think you’re absolutely right that she is no longer satisfied with empty relationships. She just wants Booth. But while I think she feels alone and sad, I also don’t think she’s pining for him. She has accepted that, at least for the foreseeable future, she can be his friend and partner. She’s decided he’s worth the wait. And I think that she is waiting for him, but not in a pathetic, why-doesn’t-he-notice-me way. She trying to give him time to work through his stuff so that they’ll be on the same page and have a fighting chance to make it work. And if she’s wrong, and there is no chance for them in the future, then I think she figures she’ll cross that bridge when she comes to it.

        I don’t think she’s been dating. My assumption was that all of those men who called her were men she used to see some time ago, before she went to Maluku. In The Proof in the Pudding, Brennan tells Cam that she’s been celibate for quite some time. I see no indication that there has been any change in that status since then. So presumably she’s been celibate since early season five, at least.

        While I think that she has made peace with being alone, she’s not really happy. I Know she’s not crying in the lab, but come on–Brennan (even newly enlightened in-touch-with-her-feelings Brennan) isn’t going to do that. She’s stoic. She soldiers on. But I still think she was hurting.

      • And Cam actually says to her, “I’m not that much older than you, and I have someone.” And Brennan recoils very slightly and then basically runs away. Smack in the face. That’s how I see it, anyway.

      • I do agree about the ticking clock thing. But I just chalk stuff like that up to “suspension of disbelief” like I do about Angela’s computer programming genius or Zack joining up with a psychotic killer who eats people. It’s a TV show. They have to contrive elements to push people together (ie “Oh no Booth and Brennan are trapped in an elevator in a blizzard”) or trying to be cool by having a Jersey Shore themed episode (yuck.) So really having them be pressed for time is not the worst/weirdest thing they’ve ever done, so I’m OK with it.

    • Signs in the Silence!

  16. Without a doubt the main thing that drew me to Bones in the first place was the characters. I doubt I would watch the show as regularly or intensely if the show was more case based than characters. That’s why I like Bones, because it is different from a lot of other crime shows in that sense. Personally, I think that Bones has the perfect blend of characters and case focusing. A lot of the time the cases do make me feel something and I think they have meaning and are interesting. If there are a few cases that I don’t like or think aren’t very well done every now and then that’s not going to make me want to stop watching the show. What keeps me coming back to Bones week after week and why I fell in love with it was, and I think always will be, the characters and their story over the individual case each episode.

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