Bones Theory

Vintage Bones: The Baby in the Bough


Hello and Happy Monday, Bones fans!

I was tweeting with MJ over the weekend about how doing a ‘look-back’ series like this can stir up sadness with a side of nostalgia, and I do feel that too. Sometimes it is hard to go back and watch earlier episodes. It has gotten easier because I enjoyed season nine for the most part, but there were points in season 6 and 7 where I felt like it wasn’t even worth recommending people start watching the show at the beginning because I didn’t want to set them up for such derailment. FYI I had a lot of emotions then. Sometimes it hurts to watch earlier episodes, knowing what is coming next for the characters, but other times it’s very fun. So far, this vintage Bones series has been fun for me. Also for me personally, the earlier years represent a time when I was obsessed with the show (at varying levels of healthiness, haha) , and I’ve shared before that it was an outlet during a time in my life where I was miserable. Right now, I like my life pretty well, and if I don’t ‘need’ the show as much–well, that’s not a reflection on its quality or value to society, you know?

And I always remember that when I joined the fandom in season 3, there were fans then who were quitting the show because it wasn’t the show they ‘fell in love with’ any more, and Brennan’s character had changed too much, and Sweets (or Cam) was the devil and BRING BACK DR. GOODMAN!, and all of the good writers were gone after the writers’ strike,  and the show didn’t deserve to be renewed–it should just go away and die, and so on.

I am not some Bones fandom expert or anything, but over the next six+ years or so, the same cycle has happened. There are a lot of people I knew back then who still watch and some who don’t watch the show, and there are a lot of new fans who found it, fell in love with it at some point or another, caught up obsessively, tentatively found the online fandom, and now watch regularly, or casually, or whatever. And then there are millions more who tune in casually but still count in the ratings all because they were too lazy to get the remote after a rerun of The Big Bang Theory or something like that.  There is a randomness to it all that is kind of comforting, like looking up at a starry sky at night and realizing you are a piece of something, a small piece of something very cool.

But also at the time in my fanlife (S3), these episodes were the first time I felt…disappointed by the show. That is, I had an idea for what I thought should happen, and a lot of times those things didn’t happen. I will spare you the details, but my ideas centered primarily on B&B getting together, haha. I was into fanfic at the time, which I know played a big part of it for me. If the show didn’t do what I wanted, I could ‘fix’ it or someone else would too. And that’s what ff is for, among other things! It was a creative time, and a time of friendship and self-discovery, and I am grateful for it, but I know it did affect my enjoyment of the show. Also, having to wait a week (or more) between episodes was hard (hey, I’d watched S1&S2 in what seemed like a millisecond!) and gave time for my feelings to fester, and yes, according to parts of the fandom, the most offensive thing the show had EVER done was have Brennan shove a pacifier in Booth’s mouth. How dare she! He is a FEDERAL AGENT! They aren’t supposed to be THAT PLAYFUL. THIS IS WRONG. THIS FEELS WRONG.

Haha, and so on. But in hindsight, I now know I was setting the show up to fail (for myself) because I wanted what I wanted.  I had watched S1 and S2 in a bubble, with no expectations, and now I had expectations. Sometimes the show blew them out of the water, and sometimes I came away feeling disappointed. It wouldn’t be for another year or so (end of S4) when I would really give up spoilers for good, which helped a lot too on the disappointment front. It took even more time for me to get out of my self-important bubble and realize that just because the show had a huge impact in my life didn’t mean it was around for my personal gain. It didn’t owe me a thing, technically. I am free to watch or not watch.  I also believe that I am free to analyze and critique it and still be a loyal fan, but that is another discussion.

Upon reflection, that S3 moment with the pacifier doesn’t seem like a big deal at all anymore, and the show has had so many ebbs and flows that most everything has…smoothed out, I guess, for me. If in that moment, someone had said, “Hey, don’t worry, the show is going to go on for another 7 years at least” I would have been able to relax a bit, but at the time, we didn’t know that!  And writing for a TV show is so different than writing a book or movie. The writers are bound by so many outside powers, forced to wrap things up sooner than they might want to, or drag things out longer than they had in mind. It’s not an excuse for bad writing or lack of continuity, etc., but I know in season 3, I didn’t have as good a grasp of the the push/pull of it all.

All of this to say, if looking back on former episodes is painful for you, know that you are not alone. My advice (for what it’s worth) is to do what is right for you. If that means not watching the older eps anymore, so be it. If it means not watching any more new episodes until the series is completely done (as I know some people are doing now) and then catching up, go for it. If it means still watching every episode live, do that! But when I let myself off the hook in terms of feeling as if I owed it to the show to do anything, it brought a tremendous freedom. I highly recommend it 🙂 .  Putting that pressure on yourself will (I believe) make some of your feelings turn to bitterness, and in the grand scheme of life, it’s just not worth it. For me, the challenge is remembering that it is all a cycle. There will always be people who are done with the show for good and new people who are just getting into it, and a lot of people in between. Each part of the experience is valid, and it’s when fans declare their part of the experience as more valid than others that self-righteousness creeps in (which reeks).  It’s not worth judging people who are done with the show, and it’s also not worth raining on the parade of new (or old) fans who enjoy the show. It’s like the quote from Linda Holmes re: the Slate article about how adults should be ashamed of reading YA lit (ALSO another discussion for another day, haha):

1 tweet


Or maybe me telling you not to feel pressure about the show IS me telling you how I feel about how you feel about it, haha. Either way, this has gone on long enough! 🙂

Where were we? Oh yes, the baby in the bough. Very cute B&B stuff in this one, and some great all-time Brennan phrases (dancing phalanges, elephants are not purple–this is wrong, etc.) I also love how she brags to Andy about her skills and Booth’s skills, and it makes me laugh when Booth claps in the face of the deadbeat dad. Really, anything with Andy is very cute.

Two guys in love with Temperance Brennan

Two guys in love with Temperance Brennan


And Brennan got fierce on the killer, which was awesome!

brennan baby

What moments do you like from this episode? What didn’t work for you? The comments are open…let’s start the week off on a good note!


And here is your moment of B&B, two seriously pretty people:

baby coffee




15 thoughts on “Vintage Bones: The Baby in the Bough

  1. This has always been one of my favorite episode. Anything with B&B and a baby makes me happy and Brennan learning what a baby is and how to interact with it was very funny. I agree with what you’ve said above, Sarah. I found Bones at the beginning of season 5 when I desperately needed something to take my mind off of some bad things and for the most part it has done just that. I still have problems with season 6. I hated what they did to the characters in that season but there have been so many good episodes since then that have compensated. One of my favorite parts of this episode is the way the baby always reaches for Brennan. Obviously Emily had played with him before they shot the episode but even in the photo you posted he’s trying to get to her. In that he’s a stand-in for the guy holding him.

  2. I want to print this post on pretty, pretty paper and frame it.

    I love looking back on S1-S6. S7 was iffy for me and after that . . . I found the Mama Booth and bikini calendar story lines personally offensive and those feelings were so strong (especially Mama Booth) that my entire view of the series was jaundiced and has never recovered.

    This episode is in my Top 10 favorites. The baby was adorable and I loved how playful B&B were at times with him. Also, Booth’s slip-up “How’s our little guy?” (or something like that). All in good time, Booth. All in good time. 🙂

    Excellent post, Sarah!!!!

  3. I’m someone who has watched the show since mid-season 1 “The Skull in the Desert” and I think season 3 was setting up to be one of their best seasons before it was derailed by the writers strike.
    I thought Brennan shoving the pacifier in Booth’s mouth was adorable and playful. I never understood why that bothered people so much. Some people just have no sense of whimsy.

    I loved every season right up until the 100th episode when I felt like I’d been hit by a bus up until the Blizzard episode in season 6 where my world righted itself again. Season 7 was the year of “teaching Brennan an important lesson” and was just annoying. I enjoyed season 8 pretty well except for Mama Booth and the dragging out of Pelant arc. IMO Bones hasn’t done a serial killer well since Howard Epps. Gormogon and the Grave Digger started out really interesting, but the wrap up of both arcs was a huge let-down for me and Pelant was such a comic book villain he became ridiculous and annoying. I liked season 9. Aldo and Danny the CIA friend were good characters.

    Ten years later still excited about the premiere in September. I don’t always love what the show is doing, but I can’t imagine not having Bones on my TV every week.

  4. Sarah, I LOVE THIS. I feel completely the same way about the nostalgia of the earlier seasons, and how it’s both great and bittersweet to rewatch them. I started in season five and watched the first four seasons in a vacuum (also during a rough time–love that this show could be an escape for so many of us)–and didn’t actually start to get frustrated by anything until the fourth season, but I LOVED (still do) season five so much that I was recommending the show to everyone and getting so many people into it. It’s been on and off since then; season six still mostly makes me ragey–though when it was good, it was SO GOOD, right?–and season seven I try not to dwell on. Eight was ok for me. Nine was even better. And with the quality of the finale, plus my recent discovery of a few great fan videos, plus the fact that I’m starting to feel anticipatory sadness at the thought of someday saying goodbye to this show, I’ve been feeling a huge surge of love for it lately. I’d like to sit my friends down and make them watch the first five seasons at least, and then I can guide them to the good episodes from there. That’s where I’m at right now.

    But I think it’s natural to need the show differently at different points, depending on its quality (which, I accept, is bound to settle down a bit as the show ages, and then occasionally be revived by great episodes), but also depending on what else is going on in my life (and whether I’ve found any new shows to obsess over, which I have lately. My excitement for a show is always going to be at its peak when it’s all new to me, which I think is also natural, albeit a little sad sometimes). But sometimes it’s only in retrospect that we can see these things, and I’m still so glad to have this show. No matter what happens in terms of its quality, these characters have meant a lot.

    Anyway, I LOVE “Baby in the Bough.” Funny you should mention the pacifier scene, because that’s actually the one part of the episode that falls just a LITTLE flat for me. I’ve never had a problem with it from a character perspective (I like the idea that she doesn’t want kids right now because she’s already got Booth), but the rest of the episode is just SO GOOD and then the ending feels, I don’t know, just ok? Or maybe tonally off? I would have preferred something sweet to something cutesy. But that, for me, pales in comparison to how great everything else is. I have the absolute warmest memories of watching this episode for the first time while I was in Ireland and DYING at “Elephants are not purple–this is wrong.” (And “Just because I have breasts doesn’t mean I have magical powers over infants,” which really doesn’t look like a funny line on paper, but Emily’s line reading is hilarious.) Booth and Brennan’s dynamic in this episode is great and totally marital, and Brennan herself has so many great moments to show how much she cares (building the bridge, “There was a baby in that car,” etc).

    And obviously, dancing phalanges is one of this show’s great gifts to the world. I’ve used it on a few babies before. I think looking back, we NEEDED this episode to set the stage for the show as it is now. Had it happened any later, it would have felt like a retcon of her personality, but had it happened any earlier, it would have come out of nowhere. Season three was one of Brennan’s warmest, and it made sense here.

    Seven-layer dip. Even better.

    • “And obviously, dancing phalanges is one of this show’s great gifts to the world.”

      My wife, who is now only up to late season 6, used dancing phalanges on our 9 month old nephew last week. All I could say was, if you only knew, and had this big grin on my face. But from her perspective, it was this episode that resonated.

  5. Time to transcript:

    BOOTH: Oh, look at him, Bones. He looks a little fussy there. Why don’t you pick him up and give him a cuddle?
    BRENNAN: What? Just because I have breasts doesn’t mean that I have magical powers over infants. You’re the one with the son.
    BOOTH: All right, fine. I’ll take him. Here you go. You have fun with the diaper bag. You look good. Come on, little man! Whoa-ho. Hi! Why don’t you say hi to your grumpy old Auntie Bones.
    BRENNAN: No! I am not grumpy!
    ANGELA: Get used to it. I want, like, a million of these.
    HODGINS: Cool. What do you think she meant by “a million”? Two?
    HODGINS: Human beings absorb it through the consumption of local vegetation and water. (He brings up a map on his computer) Over time, the isotope collects in the bones, meaning–
    BOOTH: You could use it to figure out where someone’s from. That is right, people. I am a constant surprise.
    BOOTH: Are you gonna get him?
    BRENNAN: I figured you’d get him.
    BOOTH: Don’t you have a “responsibility under state law”?
    BRENNAN: But you’re the baby daddy.
    BOOTH: Baby daddy?!
    BRENNAN: You have prior experience with pre-verbal infancy.
    BOOTH: You can be the daddy mommy.
    BOOTH: No no no no. Look, the front door is open. You stay here.
    BRENNAN: But–
    BOOTH: Bones, there is a baby involved. If you hear gunfire, anything like that, drive away.
    BRENNAN: Bu–I’m not leaving you.
    BOOTH: Yes you will, because this is about the baby, not me. Promise me.
    BRENNAN: I promise.

    *Season 9 finale, anyone???*

    BRENNAN: What, you mean her breast milk? You know, you can say the word “breast”, Booth.
    BOOTH: Yeah, I know, Bones.
    BRENNAN: Well, didn’t Rebecca breastfeed Parker?
    BOOTH: I am not…you know…I am not discussing that with you.
    BRENNAN: Would teat make you more comfortable?
    BOOTH: I am not talking teats with you!
    BRENNAN: Why not?

    🙂 🙂

  6. Try having watched from the beginning (for the first time) but colored by the knowledge of the wedding/9th season. So every time they got close, I thought they couldn’t drag things out that long could they? Tease after tease… EITB, oh my, that was the biggest tease of all. Though aside from that, I didn’t seek out spoilers, and really didn’t even know for sure that Christine was Booth’s kid until I caught up to CITG.

    This episode in particular was a good one. bb’s noting of a parallel to the 9th season finale is a good one, and not a connection I had made the first time around.

    One thing this vintage series has done has focused my late night rewatching to some of these episodes, in particular Knight on the Grid and Man in the Mud. I think I’ll end up rewatching this one later tonight after 24, even though I had been on a 7th season kick, as in my catch-up reading on BT, I’m up through 7:5 on aired episodes and Barbara’s Why Bones is Good for Women post. What a great way to put things, and a great contrast to the rest of the crime drama genre. And why I don’t have any issue with my 10 year old daughter now watching the show with us (or beginning to catch up on her own from the Pilot on).

    Also looking forward to the alluded to daily commentary, to what I assume started the Vintage Bones series, for the mid-7th season hiatus, as if in order again, from the January 2012 content forward. I count myself blessed to be able to read what Sarah and everyone else have written previously, and hope to be able to add my own two cents here and there as time moves forward.

  7. It is hard to watch early season episodes sometimes – 4 hours on TNT every afternoon. What I find most striking when looking back are the positive changes in Brennan. She was so very arrogant in the beginning, so sure that she was always right and was the only one who knew anything of value. One of the joys of BitB was seeing another side of Brennan, seeing her soften, just a bit. It is a fave among the earlier episodes.

    I am watching the Boy in the Shroud right now, anxiously awaiting: I’m with Bones, Cam, all the way.

    As many of you know, the end of S5 and beginning of S6 made me nauseous, literally. For me, things started to turn with Bullet in the Brain. I really began to feel good about Bones again with Killer in the Crosshairs. “it’s war, Bones.” No, it’s you, Bones. My only issue with S7 was how little of it there was. I also found that S8 had some of their greatest episodes (Patriot, Ghost in the Machine). S9 also had a number of high notes — and I’m not referring to the wedding, although that was wonderful.

    The awfulness of S5-S6 did have one benefit: I found the Bones community, which was a huge help then, and continues to provide friends and fun today. I have never become so-o involved in a show.

    I guess that the wonderful thing about Bones is that, from the beginning, it had these incredible multi-faceted characters. It could not have lasted this long, if it hadn’t had that. HH is a genius, even if he is evil sometimes. BitB is one place where we got to see some other facets of Brennan.

    I may not be quite so involved with the community, but it’s not because I love Bones any less. It’s, in part, because the community has grown more diffuse since the Boneyard closed, and because I have been so happy with where the show has gone since S6. I don’t need the support any more. That may change when it all comes to an end, which I hope is not as soon as has been announced.

    Cam just said “But I will start searching for your replacement.” Ooooooooooh!

  8. You hit so many nails on the head for me Sarah. That was a great post. I think I feel and agree with almost everything you wrote, maybe all of it. I do have very strong feelings about this show and the characters. I’ve never felt that way about a show before, probably because no other show has hit so close to home for me.

    The old episodes do stir up sadness for me because of knowing what came in S6-7 and since then. I was very disappointed in the way things were handled in S6 and that things were not set to some kind of rightness. Not giving fans what they so richly deserved, especially when they had the time to do so as opposed to S3 and the writer’s strike. For years I looked forward to this show every week as my weekly booster shot of hope. I was obsessed then too and it was an outlet for me as well. I could go on forever about this show. There’s so much to it.

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my feelings and the effect on my life. The S5 finale is what drove me find out if I was the only one that felt the way I did after 5 years of watching and that’s how and why I found this wonderful site for which I will always be grateful.

    The Baby in the Bough was one of my favorite episodes. My favorite part was when Brennan & Booth are in her office and Booth says “Our little guy”. That moment. Those looks. There were many other great moments in this episode as well. I didn’t like the pacifier at the end especially after it being such a great episode. Somehow it just didn’t seem to fit the episode or them, but hardly earth shattering. 🙂

    • See I’m ok with the pacifier thing because it me it feels very DB. I can see him just ad libbing that and they kept it. He’s that goofy in real life 🙂

      • For me this episode has been dramatic & romantic and I loved it. Somehow the pacifier never seem to fit with the rest of the episode. But now that you mention it, I can see where that could have been ad-libbed and they left in. That makes more sense bb. 🙂

  9. I rewatched last night and that “our little guy” stuck out too. The looks in this ep, in that scene, really then should not have been surprised on the “not wanting a child” stance softening, such that a season later she wants one of her own.

  10. I think a series like this is going to have ups and downs….and I look at it like reading a long novel with many chapters….Like Pride and Prejudice or something like that. But I have the benefit of knowing the end before I have to go through the end of season 5 and beginning of season 6. If I had watched it in real time I might have been quite ill. Taken as a whole, I have really enjoyed all of the series, even with all the ugly stuff that happens.

    I really like this episode, and the pacifier doesn’t bother me one bit. It was supposed to be a private moment between two really close friends and we just happened to be privy to it. There are many end scenes which seem so intimate that I almost feel like a voyeur. If they want to act goofy, who cares? In their line of work, they probably wouldn’t have a lot of light hearted, just fun moments.

    • Wait….are you saying ‘Pride and Prejudice’ has ups and downs???

      I think I need to lie down…….

      • Oh you know…..Mr. Bingley loves Jane, then leaves for parts unknown, Lydia runs off with Wickham. Darcy’s old lady aunt is hard to deal with, Darcy blows the first marriage proposal……nothing too traumatic. Colin Firth as Darcy is definitely at the top of the list of the Upside of Pride and Prejudice, though, even though Jane Austen didn’t have any say so in the matter. Lord, that man was gorgeous then, and he’s still pretty fine to look at now.

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