Bones Theory

Top Five Thursday: The Patriot in Purgatory


Hello to you all,

As you probably know, September 11th is a significant day in the United States. In that vein, here are a few moments I appreciated when Bones took on the subject in the season eight episode, The Patriot in Purgatory:


1.  The squints

I didn’t care for any of the whole Phil Jackson/Brennan coaching piece, but I did like seeing all of the guy squints together on this one. It made for some dynamic scenes, when Arastoo called them out on wrong thinking and also when each one reflected on where they were on 9/11. It was also nice to see them all work together.



2.  Booth’s interaction with his friend Ben at the Pentagon. I just love any time we see Booth interacting with someone from his military past.


3.  Booth becomes focused on finding out what happened to Tim Murphy, and Brennan promises him he will find out.



I like this because it is sort of a reversal for them. It is usually Brennan saying she needs to find out the details, and Booth saying things like “we will. I promise”. And I like that it was eventually Booth who figured out that “Walk in Moore Park” really meant Walken, Moore and Park, the names of Tim’s former co-soldiers.

4. The funeral




Bones just gets it right when it counts, so many times.


5. The end scene.



To me, this scene toes the line just a little bit. I think Brennan feels some conflict over the fact that she didn’t ‘shed a tear’ when she helped identify remains of 9/11. Brennan has had a lot in her past to feel remorse about, but the fact that she can compartmentalize and in that way, bring some justice and closure to so many people is very honorable. I am grateful for people like that (and EMTs and any field of work that requires, to change up a Booth phrase, putting the heart in neutral and the brain in overdrive) and that sort of skill is NEEDED in times of crisis like this. I get that what they were trying to do was show that now that Booth is in Brennan’s life, she really does see more than just ‘the face behind every skull’– she gets more ‘truth’ vs just facts, and that would be incredibly difficult. She realizes that it could very easily been Booth in that situation, if life had gone a different way. It was a good reminder to us all that there is no favoritism when it comes to how war affects people.

I have no problem with her crying about it now, but I didn’t particularly like that she was hard on herself about it, as if she feels shame now, that being a methodical scientist is a fault. I liked that Booth told her that everyone processes things in their own way.  All in all, it is a very beautiful scene between these two. I also like how this episode was a very organic way for them to still be learning more about one another.


If you are looking for a Bones episodes to watch today, I recommend this one.

Okay, enough from me. What you like about this episode?


PS…will be off tomorrow, but will pick up the Vintage Bones series again on Monday, September 15th and end season 5 on the 19th. From the 22nd-25th, we’ll have a few ‘premiere week’ posts to gear up for the season premiere.


8 thoughts on “Top Five Thursday: The Patriot in Purgatory

  1. 100 extra points for the Aristoo/Opie smackdown.

  2. I feel a bit ambivalent about this episode. In most aspects I liked it, but I actually did not like the Arastoo speech. In the space of a few episodes he had yelled at both Finn and Hodgins, and it just didn’t sit well with me. It felt a little…heavy handed? Preachy? I don’t know if I’m touching on the right words but I just didn’t like that (I felt) he was always lecturing his friends/coworkers. To be fair, I’m generally ambivalent about Arastoo’s character most of the time. But this is all IMHO 🙂 (Though, I did get to have a lovely Tweet-versation with the actor himself, Pej, once. And he was delightful!)

    But I do agree that seeing Booth and Brennan’s reactions to 9/11 was very interesting; I agree that Brennan probably was a little hard on herself, but at that time she was in her bubble so she probably was still a bit more closed off. It was good that she was at least self-evaluating her behaviors, which is something she lacked in the past.

    I think one thing Bones does very well is deal with military issues. They are respectful but they do put a spotlight on some tough things. For example, Booth himself. I never really thought about what a sniper would see/do/deal with from his job. That his targets could haunt him long after the battle. Some of the things Booth talks about breaks my heart, because he was doing what he needed to do, but war is not pretty or easy. And I like that Bones makes me think about things like that.

    PS. Thanks for all you do running Bones Theory Sarah! We all love it and appreciate you 🙂

  3. I really liked a lot of this episode but some of it fell a bit flat for me. Sometimes when “Bones” goes heavy-drama it works for me, sometimes it feels forced and over-wrought.

    I did love all the interns here (not so much the Phil Jackson stuff). I liked the Arastoo/Flynn interactions because it felt true to who they both were. Flynn is like most Americans, I think. We think we know other cultures and are tolerant but even saying we’re “tolerant” smacks of condescension. I sort of like that Arastoo called him on it.

    I also agree that the ability to handle such tragedy without personalizing it at the time is a quality Brennan should be proud of. If the emergency personnel who worked that day had all broken down, nothing would have been done. It takes strength to put aside your feelings and just *do.*

  4. I didn’t mind the Phil Jackson bit. I thought it an appropriate level of comic relief in an otherwise serious episode.

  5. I didn’t like the Phil Jackson stuff either. It felt like forced comedy in an otherwise excellent episode, although I did like the teamwork of the guys.

    I’m not sure why people don’t like when Arastoo is passionate about something and speaks out. As someone who is herself on occasion a hothead, I like this version of him so much better than the bowing, meek character we first met. I thought his speech to Finn was wonderful. He wasn’t mean or nasty. He showed the other side to what most Americans think about Muslims and how especially after 9/11 they were all lumped together and not in a good way.

    The Brennan and Booth stuff at the end was so good. I imagine there many people like Brennan. They did their job, they never shed a tear because it wasn’t time to cry-that would come later.

    Loved Booth with his friend Ben. I like when we see people from Booth’s past too. I wish we’d see it more often. Ben, Aldo and Danny were all excellent characters.

    I didn’t think this was forced or heavy handed. It’s a serious subject. There are no words for the awfulness that happened that day. I never felt preached at or felt like any of the characters were on their soap box.

  6. I agree with you Sarah and some of what others said. There are things I liked and things I really didn’t like. But in this one episode I choose to only think about the horror that happened that day and appreciate this thoughtful little tribute episode as just that.

  7. The Phil Jackson bit doesn’t land for me either (slapping the interns is technically harassment, and Brennan would never). But I LIVE for Arastoo’s smackdown, and the funeral is a good emotional moment too. Since the pilot ended at a funeral, I always feel like those scenes are resets, getting the characters back to what they fight for.
    I like your thoughts on the ending! It would be great if she recognized that she’s at a different place emotionally without, as Angela would say, “picking a fight with her old life.” But it’s sweet that she sees Booth in everyone now 🙂

  8. I thought the Phil Jackson bit was funny– Brennan trying to emulate Phil’s techniques exactly to achieve success seems like something she would do.

    Overall the episode was good– I did think it was slightly on the heavy handed side. But then again I am not a big fan of PSA type episodes.

    I don’t really like the idea that any victim is anymore important than another. So I did enjoy that Aristoo didn’t give up on the homeless victim and was easily able to convince Brennan that it was worth fighting for even if it was just a homeless civilian. I wasn’t a big fan of Booth’s “sometimes you can’t win” scene before he even tried. The way it was presented there seemed to be a change in Booth’s determination just because the victim was military– which kind of bugged me.

    I completely agree with your take that being able to compartmentalize is something Brennan should be proud of. I can only imagine a young Brennan, who was probably in or just out of grad school at the time, gearing up to undertake this awful mission, since it was her duty, as she says here. She was only doing what she was asked to do, but there was no one to share her pain with– so she coped the only way she could.

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