Slight confession here: season 2 is the season that I struggle with the most – it’s not that I don’t enjoy the episodes or the cases, but none of them are memorable to me mentally, aside from a small handful. One of those that have moments that really stick out to me is The Boneless Bride in the River. The boys (Zack and Hodgins) fill a human head (sans skull and brain) with air and Sully asks Brennan to take a year off to go to warm tropical places on a sailboat. Of course it’s going to be memorable.
OK, it has a bit more of a plot than that. Quick (but kinda snarky) recap: a young woman from China comes to the US to marry a man that’s obsessed with China (that eventually throws her to the curb for being “too slow”, ugh). Everything but her bones is found in a chest in a river. Brennan is supposed to be on vacation with Pete Lattimer, I mean, Sully, but that doesn’t work out so well, because she’s either interrupted by Booth or the case. Throw in another anthropologist (cultural, not physical like Brennan) and add an old Chinese tradition of giving weddings for the dead (complete with a hand-drawn wedding picture from Angela). Oh, and matchmakers who end up being in it for the money who kill off female clients to sell their bones. Fun stuff.
And then there’s this in the final scene:
Booth: Give it time Bones, okay? Give it time. Everything happens eventually.
Booth: All the good stuff. And when you think it never happens, it happens. Just got to be ready for it.
I was listening to the Paper Wings podcast the other day while doing dishes, and Chris Oatley, one of the hosts, said something that intrigued me. To sum it up, he said that what draws us to shows like Bones and keeps us there is the dichotomy between fear and hope – the fear that the characters will never get together (“And when you think it never happens…”) and the hope that they will (“… it happens.”). Season 2 does a lot of exploration of fear and hope, especially in this episode. I always thought that Brennan held back from going off with Sully because of fear. Not exactly fear in relation to Booth, per se, but fear of the unknown and permanence. Booth, at the end, offers hope with “Everything happens eventually.” I wonder if by saying “[you] just got to be ready for it” he was comforting Brennan, and maybe it wasn’t just a message to the audience of hope, but that the true meaning behind Brennan staying behind – her “eventually” hadn’t come yet. The characters and series as a whole had to reach a point where it seemed hopeless (“And when you think it never happens…” Hannah, strength vs imperviousness, anger, interns being killed in the lab), in order to bring hope in Booth and Brennan’s new relationship (“… it happens” burning pieces of paper and 4:47am). It’s all about the journey that leads to everything happening (eventually). Eventually is an adverb, implying movement to “everything”. It’s not saying “boom, you get everything,” it’s saying, “you have to work to get everything.”
A question came up the third time that I watched the episode, which was during a massive series rewatch a year ago: What did we (as fans) want/need/expect more from Booth’s “Everything happens eventually” statement: everything, or eventually? It’s interesting, because Brennan and Booth put the emphasis on “everything,” while I feel like we fans wanted that eventually. I even wrote a song about “eventually”, but now a year later, I realize that it’s more about… well, the journey to reach the everything in the eventually – family and friends found because of loneliness, home found because of wandering, and most important, hope found because it neutralizes fear. In essence, it’s all about how you get there, but you have to be ready for it.
Which do you think was more important in the last scene: “Everything happens eventually”, or “And when you think it never happens, it happens. Just have to be ready for it”? Can you think of examples of fear vs hope in the series? Discuss! The comments are open!
Here’s the B&B of the Day:
The “Not Quite Ready For It” B&B
From The Boneless Bride in the River: Season Two