BONES 10×20 Debriefing: Falling Out Can Be So Cruel

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After last week’s break, Bones is back tonight, fully committing to the fallout from Brennan’s decision while moving the rest of the pieces to prepare for the finale.

Addictions come in different flavors, but they have the same effect at their worst: losing touch with your own reality and not realizing the detrimental effects  on the addict and their family. Some of them, however, can probably be contained if you work it, as “The Woman in the Whirlpool” kindly reminded us. I’ve talked before about how the show deals with thematic similarities between the case and the characters (to different levels of subtlety) and in this episode’s case, those connections allowed Booth to correct course and get him closer to regaining his life before he destroyed it irrevocably.

So follow along for our “The Woman in the Whirlpool” recap!

Too many cook(ie jar)s

The body of a woman in her early fifties is found in the Potomac river after being there for less than four days. Since her skull is too abraded to do a reconstruction, Angela uses the remnants of her employee t-shirt identify her as Leslie Hodsoll.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

The first suspect called in is her boss, Ted Thompson, who last saw her Friday night as she closed the register and left work. He also mentions how everyone liked her and how she didn’t want to be promoted as she did not want to have as much responsibility. When asked about her social or personal life, Ted brings up Courtney, Leslie’s 20 year-old daughter, assuming she was a dedicated mother. He also recalls a tearful conversation the two had recently.

Back at the lab, toxicology reports stipulate the victim might have been poisoned over a long period of time, as there is no other evidence on the bones. Thus, whoever was doing it must have been close to her.

Thus, Booth and Aubrey head to the Hodsoll home to talk to Courtney, who is in the process of moving back to her dorm. When they arrive, they find out she has not seen her mother in three weeks, since she moved back to campus, and had no idea about what had happened to her mother. She does reveal her mother was an obsessed cookie jar collector, and had shelves full of the trinkets. It’s not hard to tell that Courtney is pretty bitter about her mom’s dedication to this.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Furthermore, the team discusses how her poisoning might have been a result of a compromised jar glaze. Cam also finds that a laceration in the victim’s right hand, possibly a defensive wound. (Particulates later turn out to be rust.) Meanwhile, Aubrey and Angela look at her biddings for jars on the internet — she was a major presence in the cookie jar collector world. They find blistering reviews about Cheryl McMichaels, a seller whose business might have benefitted from the victim’s death.

Jessica and Brennan find a gunshot wound to the skull and a similar wound in the right clavicle; both were remodeled more than twenty years ago, when Courtney was a child.  The one on the skull might explain her obsessive collecting, as it grazed the part of the brain that decides what is and is not worth saving — the source of addiction, destructive to the person and those around them.

Talking to Cheryl is not much help: she claims they were friends, and that she sold Leslie many jars. The reason for their dispute was that Leslie wanted a Babe Ruth cookie jar Cheryl had recently found. They had arranged for her to pick it up but she had gotten a better offer she couldn’t refuse.  Ultimately, she makes herself useful and offers to let them take anything they want of hers for testing — she did not kill her friend. She was even looking for another one of those jars for her as a peace offering.

Brennan and Jessica open the skull so they can see the full effect of the blunt force the abraded exterior is not showing, and determine the injuries are a result of two blows caused by a heavy cylindrical object with a punted base. Moreover, Cam finds traces of fiberglass in her lungs, probably as a result of spending a lot of time in her attic. As Aubrey and Jessica visit her home it to check for that, they find a nail with blood in it (probably where the rust traces come from) as well as fiberglass… and a man with the Babe Ruth cookie jar who has been hiding there for more than a day. He snuck into Leslie’s house to reclaim his cookie jar– the one Leslie stole from his house after many failed attempts to buy it from him. Important fact: his house was locked, but she still broke into it leaving no usable evidence behind.

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(c) FOX

The team further digs into why Leslie put her entire collection up for sale on the internet, only to take it down one day. It turns out it was Courtney’s doing, while Leslie out of town. She just wanted to be as important to her mother as the jars were, but then realized it would be pointless. Following her teary admission, Booth consoles her by telling her about the bullet that possibly triggered her obsession — she was an addict and it had nothing to do with her. It not only makes him realize some of his own wrongdoings, but I’d argue it also makes him connect with his father’s addiction to alcohol and how he also didn’t seem to care for his children. I might be reading a bit too much into it, but I do think he came close to a breakthrough there — he can actually make a change in his life.

Jessica and Brennan finally determine cause of death when they discover a small nick on the clavicle, connected to the blow to the skull — a diagonal strike could have caused it,  slicing the subclavian artery and causing the victim to bleed to death. They also find a piece of green glass in the wound. Hodgins comes into the bone room and they determine the murder weapon is a champagne bottle… like the one Hodgins saw close to the body in the Potomac. Thanks to a fancy (and very expensive) machine, Hodgins is able to retrieve the fingerprints on the bottle, despite the length of time it’s been submerged: they are Ted Thompson’s, whose fingerprints are in the system thanks to his locksmith license.

Since Leslie knew he was a locksmith, she used him to break into Scott Simon’s home to get the Babe Ruth jar. He thought she loved him, but after she got the jar, he meant nothing to her. The champagne was a way to try to get her back; hitting her with it was an accident, after she launched herself to protect the jars he was attempting to destroy.

“It works if you work it”

As expected, things aren’t well between Booth and Brennan after

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

she kicked him out of the house at the end of last episode. As we join them in the episode, Brennan and Angela are on a playdate with their kids in the park, commenting on how Christine and Michael Vincent get along well — the opposite of Brennan and Booth at the moment. Angela reassures her everything will work out, since Booth’s a good man.

Right after, we finally meet Gavin, Booth’s sponsor, at one of the Gamblers Anonymous meetings and I really like him already. While Booth’s begging him to give Brennan and call and comment on his headway, he quickly responds he needs to share with the class next time if he wants to be making some actual progress. He has Booth down to a T, much like his wife has, but also wants what’s best for the agent. If there is anything you can take from this scene, it’s that Booth’s committed to keeping his gambling in check much like those who attend a class but just want to pass it without actually learning the information: if he wants to regain his wife’s trust and go back to normal, he needs to put the extra effort it takes to participate and actually learn the lesson so he won’t make the same mistakes again.

This estrangement is the main chatter of the Jeffersonian, too. Angela recaps the park playdate to her husband by mentioning how much Brennan misses Booth, launching them into a conversation on how Booth should fight to the death if he is truly feeling hopeless and missing his family. Echoing what most of the audience is feeling, Hodgins also brings up that Booth and Brennan always seemed so solid to him, like nothing could tear them apart, and wonders whether it’s a consequence of their their job eating away at them.

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(c) FOX

This nicely reminds us about what this emotional arc has been about, while also catching us up on what has happened in the last couple of weeks. This not only has repercussions on Brennan’s feeling towards this pregnancy, but it is affecting her and Booth’s extended family as well.

The scene at the diner between Booth and Brennan is quite interesting, especially when you consider they have only been talking on the phone for strictly case-related things. The awkwardness between the two is very much present, but they both light up when they see each other — Brennan even decides to sit down and have lunch by his side. However, Booth quickly shoots himself in the foot, as he misjudges how big a deal his addiction is (i.e. it wasn’t just a one-time mistake like forgetting to pick up some milk on the way home– but he will realize this later in the episode). He brings up his moving back home since he’s doing fine and going to meetings. He’s underplaying the situation, as he often does, which sets Brennan off and makes her leave, though not without reminding him she loves him.

Throughout the episode, while no one might say the words out loud (it’s been awhile after all), mostly everyone seems to be on Brennan’s side and would’ve have done what she did. I truly commend how calm and collected she is about it, even if her worry is very much there — she loves him, and is smart enough to know Booth needs to work on himself and his addiction first (starting by sharing his addiction with his GA group) before moving forward. This is why she needed to put this distance between them, for their family’s well-being. Then, he can start making amends with his family. Giving in to what he’s suggesting would be easy, but would not help him. I hope Booth understands that and works towards it, because it’s strange to see them so uncomfortable around each other. 

Yet, I’d say there are two key scenes that turn things around that come at the most unexpected time for me: interrogations. The first was the second scene with Courtney, which probably allows him to realize he’s not so different from his father (though he can make a difference), and then, the final one with real-killer Ted. Her comment about how Leslie protected the things she didn’t know where ruining her life makes Booth’s demeanor change and from that moment, he never takes his eyes off her, seemingly lost in realization. Has the case and its resolution helped him gain some insight into himself?

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

As they close the case, he tells his wife to give Christine a kiss and tell her he loves her and Brennan offers him  an olive branch by asking him to come by to read their daughter a book and possibly tuck her in— I wouldn’t be surprised if they had slowly eased into this arrangement already— but he has some business to attend to and takes a rain check for tomorrow. The scene still has twinges of awkwardness, but they are more at ease with each other, too — I thought it was a really cute moment between the two.

Booth finally shares with the GA group and it’s a good scene — he admits to the group (and himself) what happened. Ending the episode with “I’m here to find a sense of resolution with that, so I can better understand myself” was the right thing, since it is what I had personally been waiting to hear from him. Falling out can be really cruel, and Booth and Brennan’s dynamic has reflected that; their interactions felt appropriately different and awkward, even if the love they feel for each other was ever-present. Seeing Booth take his recovery seriously by taking another step towards making amends was terribly satisfying.

Colleagues… Friends.

Even if the real Booth and Brennan are hitting a rough patch at the moment, we might have witnessed the beginning of a new possible relationship I have no doubt will divide people.

Jessica and Aubrey’s dynamic in their few scenes together was interesting, to say the least. The very-“them” flirtation they have going on is really fun to watch, and it helps that they do have chemistry. It is clear that the moment she sneered at the reasons for his impatience that there was something there — something Cam quickly understood, especially when they realized they share some views, like preferring plays to movies and wanting to live in the moment. Jessica starts referring to him as Superman, which I found cute.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Then, their scene at the victim’s attic had more banter and flirtation — Aubrey comments on how they are “Booth and Brennan 2.0” after they realize how good they are at working together, except for the being married and having kids part, but Jessica quickly shuts him down by adding they are not having sex either. Aubrey reveals what’s on his mind by adding that it would be difficult up there, without realizing she meant at all.

Finally, they meet for dinner at the Founding Fathers to celebrate the end of their first case together. Since they don’t really know each other, she gets him everything (we all know she made the right decision) and a few choice drinks, and they have a good time, bantering some more. They even have time to discuss their mentors, with Jessica asking Aubrey if he thinks Booth and Brennan will divorce. He doesn’t, citing Sweets’ book that says that their relationship is founded on friendship, and they will weather this storm. This, of course, leads to some bickering on how they were “colleagues… friends” before they became something more.

What’s interesting to me is that, even if Aubrey has read Sweets’ book, Jessica and he (alongside Fuentes) are the few people who weren’t present for Booth and Brennan’s journey to their current relationship… Yet they are indeed following their path. Aubrey and Jessica have both Booth/Brennan and Sweets/Daisy vibes to me, for different reasons (though with the balance leaning towards B/B-like), so I’m personally pretty curious to see where it goes.

I liked this episode, though the case wasn’t as engaging to me as it was last week — I really felt for the daughter, who never truly understood what was going on with her mother until it was way too late. Up until this episode, I didn’t know some addictions could derive from physical injuries, which I found interesting. I probably most enjoyed those parallels as they are what allowed Booth to see the wrongs in his approach to his own addiction.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

The episode mostly moved the pieces necessary for the characters to keep pondering whether this crime-solving is worth it. I remember reading back in the summer that one of the themes for the season would be reprioritizing what’s important and I really think that’s something that has shone through in this last third of the season, as cases and characters stories alike reflected it. A fantastic post I read on tumblr a couple of weeks ago stitched it all up together for me even further, by mentioning the characters’ struggle with control vs. stability — putting into words something I could definitely see but didn’t know how to express. That motif is definitely playing into Brennan’s subtle questioning of whether this environment is safe enough to raise children in, as it is putting the whole family under stress. It’s also playing more obviously into Angela’s need to break away from crime-solving, especially as she now sees how a seemingly rock-solid union is suffering greatly.

There is a lot of introspection that is occurring that we might not see, but that I truly appreciate. I really liked seeing Booth come out of that hole he had dug for himself, first by realizing his father’s addiction was not much different from his, and then by seeing an outsider’s perspective on what it’s like living with that.

Anyhow, I’m glad to see Booth finally opening up to someone and admitting what has happened. Voicing it aloud actually makes it more real and it is not just his secret burden anymore. His meeting is a safe zone where there are a lot of people who have made mistakes, and they can also support him. While getting out of the hole is his own battle, many people going through the same thing is comforting in its own way. I have no doubt that the worst part of the storm is over, and that Booth will soon reach the resolution he so desires. I thought the show wasn’t too subtle in showing how physical- vs. psychological-triggered addiction are and are not alike, but it was interesting seeing that juxtaposition throughout the episode.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

I know the storyline has been pretty divisive for a million reasons, and I’m not here to discuss their validity. I have really liked it, and think it’s brought some of the best dramatic work David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel have done on the show. It wasn’t flashy, but the slight changes in demeanor have been wonderful to watch. I’m also glad the show has not shied from the ugly parts of addiction and paid the appropriate respect to it.

Speaking of controversial, I expect Aubrey and Jessica’s potential pairing will be as well but I was surprised by how much fun they were. There is an enjoyable chemistry between them that amused me quite a lot, and I definitely look forward to seeing their friendship grow in the next season (or wherever they are when the show comes back in the fall). Aubrey even earned a nickname from Jessica! I am not sure on where he stands with her, but he did mention early in the season how there was a lab technician (at the FBI, if I recall correctly) that he liked — so he might have a type. I think there are some interesting vibes there.

Overall, I enjoyed the episode enough and thought there were some understated aspects to it that made me appreciate the episode more. I hope my thoughts above made enough sense, too!

Odds and Ends

  • “Have you ever been on the Internet? It’s the land of nasty, bitter people.” I would tend to agree.
  • Jessica collects periodic elements, which is… interesting. I’d love to know how she got some. Brennan gifting her that bone scan right after the use of some Technetium, an element with a short half life. “I’ve realized how quickly relationships can change and… how important it is to value those we have right now” was another example of how far Brennan’s come, and how big her heart is.
  • With that said, and seeing as to how it’s her last appearance this season, Jessica has grown on me over the past year. She can still say the wrong or hurtful thing (as she did tonight), but I like her most of the time.
  • I liked seeing Cam worried for Booth. Though everyone is obviously worried about him, her only major involvement with that storyline was that. I have no doubt some interaction might have happened off screen, but  hope they get to interact on-screen soon! I love their friendship.
  • There is something I found beautiful about the softness with which Brennan said “I love you” and “See you tomorrow” to Booth. They are good enough hints at how vulnerable Brennan is feeling, but they made me feel for her.
  • Can’t wait to see more of Gavin next week (especially if he interacts with Brennan somehow). I love getting some peeks into Booth’s past.
  • Christine and Michael Vincent are really cute. I love they are so close and have playdates!
  • I don’t know how or why these recaps got so long and I’m sorry for that. I am also sorry for the sparse amount of pictures in here — there were only three stills, one that came from an ultimately deleted scene, so I’ll eventually add some screencaps myself. EDIT: Thank you so much to Adela for pointing out the extra stills at! I’ll take what I can get.
  • Next week: here’s the promo and these are the stills (with the episode description). We might learn Angela’s real name, no big deal.

… is a young graduate student that has been way too passionate about television ever since she was little. While she insists she doesn’t have a specific type of show, they all usually have strong but flawed lady characters, some derivation of the stubborn friends-in-love/friends-to-lovers trope, and they all make her yell at her tv a lot. She just wishes she had more hours in the day so she could actually write about this.
You can usually find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and at cassidy at

One Response to BONES 10×20 Debriefing: Falling Out Can Be So Cruel

  1. […] the arc’s meant, it’s supposed a big shift in the control vs. stability (see more in last week’s recap and the original post that put it all together for me) balance that the writers have used to […]

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