Bones 11×02 ‘The Brother in the Basement’: Shots fired, in more ways than one

BONES:  L-R:  John Boyd, Emily Deschanel and guest star Kim Raver in the "The Brother in the Basement" episode of BONES airing Thursday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Kevin Estrada/FOX

Following last week’s cliffhanger, the team is back to rescue Booth from certain death. He’s in over his head, and his gut is paying the price! What’s a worried wife to do? March back into the lab and solve this case, that’s what.

Tonight, we finally learn what Booth has been up to: little brother Jared got in over his head with his gang of Navy buddies-turned-thieves, which also happened to be infiltrated by Agent Miller’s partner attempting to bring down the entire operation. Meanwhile, Booth set out to help Jared get out (by going undercover himself), and when that went haywire by way of Jared getting killed, he decided to soldier on to take the gang down for good, in honor of his brother. Or something. If you’re confused reading this, think about how I felt watching it. I was definitely caught up in the fast pace, but I still don’t understand what exactly happened. Really, though, it doesn’t matter: the bottom line is this entire chain of events was a means to get him to return to the FBI so we can have a show!

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

Despite the fact that the plot was paper thin, what really shined here were the personal stories. I was curious about how the writers would justify Brennan and Booth resuming their duties after leaving their jobs last year for understandable reasons, without feeling like a contrivance simply because they have a show to do. I was happily surprised by Brennan’s arc in these two episodes; we already saw last week that she’d been a little restless during her sabbatical, taking on several side projects on top of birthing children, so it was obvious she was looking for a challenge.

When Agent Miller tells her the Jeffersonian is no longer the best lab in the city, let alone country, it obviously stings as a matter of pride, since Brennan helped build the lab into what it is today. Yet, what struck me was that instead of having Brennan choose to return because of her competitiveness, they took the emotional route. Hearing Brennan admit to Cam that if Booth died, she’d need the comfort of her work and her friends to help her get through it was a shining moment in her journey over the years. These people have become her family, and watching her lean on them for support was really lovely. So Booth might be back (spoiler alert), but that sense of purpose clearly still resonates with her.

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

Similarly, I was impressed with how Booth’s change of heart manifested itself. Initially, his latest brush with death would seem to reinforce his decision to leave the FBI last year — because this is exactly the kind of danger he was trying to leave behind. However, I love that Brennan was his sounding board on this: The fact that he couldn’t sit idly by is exactly why he needs to get reinstated as an agent, because it’s such an ingrained part of his personality, except he also needs the resources available to him by the Bureau to do that. (Clearly the lone wolf thing isn’t working out for him, given that he was cauterizing his own gunshot wounds in this latest op.)

Yes, it’s a bit of a rehash of the same career dilemmas they’ve faced in the past, but it feels like this time, they actually fleshed it out and figured out where their priorities were. Besides, David Boreanaz nailed his last scene so beautifully, in a rare display of vulnerability from Booth. From holding back tears as the grief of his brother’s death finally hit him, to grappling with what this latest decision will mean for his family, to his gratefulness to Brennan for understanding what drives him, he made Booth’s presence permeate everything even when he actually had little to do in the episode as a whole.

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

I was also shocked at how much I enjoyed Arastoo’s story tonight as well. The writing was on the wall last week, between his botched proposal to Cam and his shaky confidence in himself professionally. Now with Brennan’s imminent return to the Jeffersonian, it seems inevitable that he would choose to spread his wings in a new lab outside of DC, so he’d stop living in someone else’s shadow. It was such a grown-up and painfully realistic choice: he’s doing well, but he’s not Brennan, and he never will be if he doesn’t fly the nest, so to speak. (Plus, it’s such a common practice in academia that I’m surprised they haven’t pulled this card on other interns before.)

While I’ve never been a huge fan of his and Cam’s romantic relationship, the end scene in which he decides to leave was sad, maybe even more so because there weren’t any explosive fireworks to their breakup. It’s such a familiar story: They can either keep their status quo and end up resenting each other no matter where they live, or attempt a long-distance relationship where the odds are against them. So, they part ways, where neither is wrong —  it’s just life. Tamara Taylor and Pej Vahdat did some of their best work together here.

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

My favorite part of tonight’s episode might be how the writers made the effort to celebrate the show’s internal universe, giving nods to its rich past. For instance, I love that Cam was struggling with the case, and Hodgins immediately picked up on her difficulty resulting from her dating history with Booth and thinking of Jared as her own little brother. Those are the kinds of details I love, and I think that it lends more credibility to the characters’ relationships. Just like how we had subtle reminders about the toll Booth’s work has had on Christine through her phone call with Brennan, or how Angela and Hodgins were picking the kids up for a sleepover, all of these moments are a testament to the show’s greatest strength, its characters.

After these enjoyable premiere episodes, I’m excited for what’s in store next. How are you liking season 11?

is willing to talk about TV to anyone who will listen. She’s thought way too hard about her favorite shows, ever since her grade school days watching “Full House.” She likes to write a lot, about everything. She enjoys candlelight dinners and long walks on the beach… Whoops, wrong profile.

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