Season 11 is the year of the callback for Bones. From returning to the banter of yore, to mentions of past cast members, to revisiting old arcs, the show seems determined to put a new spin on its history. Case in point: this week we tackle Thanksgiving! It might just be the only holiday the show hasn’t addressed, and this week definitely leaves us with more than a few things for which to be thankful.
First up: I was surprised by how intrigued I was by the case, even though it felt a little reminiscent of previous stories. A reporter is found dead, and the NSA (!) is the prime suspect in her murder, because she was about to expose their spying on Americans on the front page of her paper. (How topical!) At times, it reminded me of the team’s dealings with Pelant in season 8, or the government conspiracy in season 9, and while I expected to be irritated at the retread, it actually amused me, if only to see Hodgins steal the show.
I was genuinely touched by how far our resident conspiracy theorist has come in ‘Treason’: make no mistake, the doctor is still convinced the walls have ears (and apparently he’s right), but I like that he’s toned it down, and realized that he doesn’t have the answers for everything. I’m so used to Hodgins’ paranoia being the punchline on this show that it was fulfilling to watch him actually lead the lab investigation, for once, and to see Angela and Cam defer to his expertise in order to protect their case. (To a level only seen, perhaps, during the aforementioned arcs.)
Personally, I probably would have sided with Hodgins’ instinct to expose the NSA’s shadiness, but I love that he recognized his behavior might not be in citizens’ best interest, and he ultimately handed the information over to Booth to decide its fate. Look at Hodgins, he’s all grown up! In the end, it was wonderful to see him get a moment to shine, and I’d love to see him play a bigger role in the future.
Speaking of Booth, his reactions here were all over the map, and for good reason. Initially, I was a little annoyed at his predictable response to the reporter’s whistleblowing — that is, denouncing her actions as a betrayal, instead of focusing on the NSA’s illegal activities. Yet, the more Booth revealed about the case, the more I think I understood where he was coming from. It’s not that he wanted to whitewash the government, but instead he maintained that her article would put vulnerable agents in danger once they were exposed, and the proper course should have been to go after those in charge. While I think it’s incredibly naïve on Booth’s part, I also understand it, considering he was both a former Ranger who undoubtedly risked exposure in Black Ops, and more recently, an agent who was the victim of a similar conspiracy.
Given that he lost his home, and nearly his life, as the patsy for someone else’s agenda, it’s not hard to imagine why his sympathies lay with the faceless agents at risk. Yet there’s also validity in believing that society needs people like the (dead) reporter to uncover the truth, when the government won’t do it for us. As such, I loved that every other character was allowed to express their varying opinions on the subject, not only to challenge Booth’s viewpoint, but to give a voice to the shades of gray in the discussion too. From Brennan likening the victim to George Washington’s “betrayal” as a Revolutionary (talking to Ichabod Crane, are we?), to Cam (surprisingly) siding with national interest, but not concealing her disdain for the NSA agent sent to clean up the mess, to Fuentes’ experience in communist Cuba, to Hodgins’ open skepticism, I feel like the show approached the subject with relative nuance, compared to some of its heavy-handed approaches in the past.
However, what we’re really here for is the turkey — or Fauxfurkey — dinner, right? It’s been six (!) seasons since we’ve had a holiday-themed episode, and while the event was very much in the background this time around, it was nonetheless satisfying to see the team come together for a family meal. Why, Parker even graced us with his presence! And presumably has learned to use utensils properly since his last appearance, too. The role was recast this season with Gavin McIntosh (after Ty Panitz having played him since the series began), and though he wasn’t given much to do this time, he seemed to make the transition fairly seamlessly — the character’s long absence probably helped bridge the gap between the gawky tween we last saw to the grown-up fifteen-year-old here.
I must admit, I found his reintroduction scene in the diner pretty awkward — it felt like Booth was reuniting with a former colleague rather than his son — but its heart was in the right place. I loved that Brennan led a conspiracy of her own to keep his visit a secret, to surprise Booth for the holiday, because some secrets, unlike the victim’s, really are right to keep. Once more, it’s heartwarming to see the woman who once believed she wasn’t meant to be part of a family not only acting as the glue that holds her own family together, but reaching out to her friends to make their holidays a little less lonely, too. This isn’t the first time Brennan’s invited everyone over (remember what I said about callbacks?), but it’s so much fun watching her welcome everyone into her home, along with Booth. (Plus, we even got a mention of both Max and her brother Russ — it’s a Thanksgiving miracle!)
The episode might not be an instant classic like, say, “Santa in the Slush” or “The Goop on the Girl,” but it definitely filled a void I didn’t even knew existed until now. I’m all for updating the classics in the name of progress!
How did you like ‘Treason’? Are you sampling the faux-turkey with the gang, or are you heading to the Diner with Aubrey?