Bones 11×03 ‘The Donor in the Drink’: Everybody hurts sometimes

BONES:  L-R:  Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz in the "The Donor in the Drink" episode of BONES airing Thursday, Oct. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Patrick McElhenneyFOX

Lest you think the writers would shy away from the fallout of Booth nearly dying trying to save his not-so-lucky brother, Bones tackles the grief head-on, albeit without tears or meltdowns. Instead, Booth is the one obsessing over remains for once, and everyone else gets caught in the crossfire.

I was really interested in how Booth was portrayed in this episode; we’ve seen him handle the death of a loved one before, and crankiness and over-compensation is usually par for the course. I expected more of the same here, and predictably he snapped at everyone (including Brennan), and made an issue over Jared’s ashes going missing by the shipping company. (To be fair, if a mortuary lost my loved one’s remains, I’d be angry, too.) It’s not pleasant to watch, but it is realistic.

BONES:  L-R:  Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz in the "The Donor in the Drink" episode of BONES airing Thursday, Oct. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Patrick McElhenneyFOX

Source: FOX

However, I really liked that Brennan didn’t take the bait, but instead helped him precisely by calling him out on his behavior. I thought it showed an incredible amount of maturity and compassion that she flat-out told him that she understood he was overreacting because of the pain of losing his brother, but that shutting her (and everyone else) out wasn’t going to make it easier, and that he had to let people help when offered. And, perhaps even more unexpectedly, this time Booth acknowledged it.

It seems like typically in these plots, Booth goes “lone wolf” on everyone, until the end when he learns his lesson of the week, yet here, almost immediately he was able to step back and realize why he was reacting so poorly to his friends’ help. I was especially struck by his response to Aubrey: I’m so used to watching him shut down the younger agent, that he seemed downright zen by comparison here by thanking him for his (misguided) help with tracking down the package. Might we finally be seeing a gentler, calmer Booth?

I actually think that might be in the cards, because it seems to follow from his contrition last week for going it alone in saving his brother, with disastrous results. Yes, Brennan understands this is his personality, but at the same time she was right to point out that he can still save people while letting others assist him, whether it’s the FBI for his brother’s crime ring, or herself and Aubrey when it comes to tracking down the urn. And he finally seems to be getting it, this week actually stopping himself and apologizing to both of them in their conversations before letting it get out of hand. It’s a sign of growth, and I’m all for it if this is what the season has in store for us.

Speaking of consequences, I also liked that the episode actually addressed what it’s like for Booth and Brennan to return to work, and reminded me a lot of some of their earlier sabbaticals. It was interesting that, for at least half a minute, the show actually went there with making Booth Aubrey’s subordinate, since he had to get reinstated and make up the lost time.

BONES:  L-R:  John Boyd and David Boreanaz in the "The Donor in the Drink" episode of BONES airing Thursday, Oct. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Source: FOX

Obviously, the show’s never strictly followed reality when it comes to their job descriptions, but I’m enjoying watching both characters struggle to find their place after being gone — and I particularly like that we’re seeing increasing hints of Aubrey’s ambitiousness in Booth’s absence. He’s subtly taking charge, but also knows to smooth things over (i.e. giving Booth back his office at the end) when he knows he’s got bigger things coming (i.e. the corner office overlooking the Mall). I can definitely see how he might be set up for a career in politics. It fleshes out his personality more, and distinguishes him from the white-knight-ness of the rest of the characters. Plus, it’s easy to anticipate how it might set up some conflict between the two men later on, which is surprisingly an avenue this show hasn’t really explored in eleven seasons.

The other major story in ‘Donor’ was Cam dealing with Arastoo’s decision to leave the Jeffersonian last week. I was worried that the show would pit Cam against Brennan, and  that she would resent the anthropologist for “taking” Arastoo’s job away from him. Sure, there was a bit of awkwardness — which was merited — but I absolutely love that it eventually led to a heart-to-heart between the two women about career goals in a larger sense. Cam has always been a workaholic, and in many ways she and Brennan were kindred spirits in that regard earlier on. While Brennan eventually started a family, Cam’s always prized her career, and thrives on running the lab.

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

It was really sweet to see everyone else in the lab try to cheer her up and support her, but it was wonderful to watch her ultimately seek Brennan out, because Brennan is the only person who fully understands that consuming passion for their work. Just like with Booth, I was thrilled that Brennan didn’t apologize for her status in the lab (I mean, she did just waltz back into the job, but in theory the Jeffersonian could have kept Arastoo were he qualified), but was also sympathetic to Cam’s dilemma. Moreover, I loved that Cam voiced her concerns– that she loves Arastoo, but she might love her job more, when push comes to shove. And needless to say, I love that Brennan told her that “doesn’t make [her] wrong,” because that’s a choice she’s allowed to make. Three cheers for feminism discussed in a constructive manner!

Angela’s plot first seemed like a rehash of her artistic frustration arcs, but she seems to have channeled it into a new pursuit, which is an interesting tack. Sure, it’s improbable that Hodgins could get a photography exhibit corraled in a day, or that a world famous photojournalist would find her, but I’m mildly curious about how the writers will differ this story from Angela’s past creative pursuits.

What did you think of this week’s episode? (As an aside: did the funeral scene remind anyone else of ‘Double Death of the Dearly Departed’ in season 4?)

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