Previously on Bones, Hodgins got hurt and everyone was sad!
It’s been such a long time since Bones has been on the air, that it almost feels like a brand new season is upon us just as other shows are wrapping up for the year! When we left off in December, Hodgins was left paralyzed after a tragic accident. Two months later in Bones-land, he’s in the depths of his recovery, and he’s not the only one feeling out of sorts in the aftermath.
First of all, let me preface this review by saying that I absolutely love that TJ Thyne and Michaela Conlin are about to get some much-deserved spotlight shone upon them for at the very least the next few episodes. While I had (and still have) my misgivings about the execution of the paralysis story going forward, I’m already pleased that we’re getting to see some conflict for both Hodgins and Angela.
While it’s a little jarring to see Hodgins so cheery in the wake of his trauma at the outset, it’s also completely believable given his personality in the last few years. It’s certainly because he’s in denial about the gravity of his injury, but this is also the guy who took the news of his son’s potential vision impairment in stride, determined to find new ways to explore the world with him if he couldn’t share in his father’s traditional pursuits. When you get down to it, most of the people working in the Jeffersonian are workaholics to some degree, so I have no trouble believing that Hodgins would throw himself back into work despite everyone around him telling him it’s too soon, because he wants to feel useful again — and ignore the harsh realities he’s about to face.
Yet, I think that we’re starting to see the chinks in his armor, too. It was relatively subtle, but effective. The exaggerated camera angle overhead as Brennan and Wendell on the forensics platform looked down at him below definitely demonstrated his skewed perspective, his former domain now his new Everest, physically and psychologically. (I was surprised by how much I liked that camera trick, as deliberate as it was.) Then there were the emotional beats, which provided even more depth. The way that Hodgins tried to remain cool as Angela pointed out that he couldn’t go to the crime scene not only because it was unadvisable for his recovery, but because his wheelchair actually could not access it, was like a glass of ice-cold water thrown to his face. He shrugged it off like it was no big deal, but we all know that our bug boy’s optimism is about to be tempered by all the finest details he didn’t even realize would affect his daily life. It’s one thing not to be able to walk, it’s another thing not to be able to get out and do the most elemental part of his job.
Which is why I really liked his conversation later on with Angela about what makes him him. I think he’s probably heading for a major crisis of faith in the coming months, as he realizes that the things he thought defined him — his work, or rather how he does his work — are not the true core of his personhood, but I like that Angela seems to get that, too. (After all, Angela has had to do some soul-searching of her own in recent years, which was never fully resolved.) While I think that it’s unrealistic that everyone would ultimately be so accepting of his return to work so soon after his injury, I understand that everything is condensed for the sake of expediency on television, and that this moves the plot forward towards his next phase of “grief,” particularly given his doctor’s diagnosis at the end of this episode. I absolutely expected him to nix telling Angela that his nerves are atrophying (this s TV after all), it still packed a punch, due to Thyne’s excellent work. The guy can sell an entire script with his eyes alone.
An aspect which surprised me (but really shouldn’t have) was Cam’s reaction to Hodgins’ return. I loved her reticence early on, knowing it was probably a bad idea to let him come back, but wanting to help her friend out as much as possible. However, it’s when she had to put her foot down as the boss of the lab that she really stood out; this is exactly what Cam’s job is sometimes, to be the buzzkill when her friends want to play, but it’s precisely what she’s there to do, to ensure both her lab and her co-workers are safe. Tamara Taylor was also exceptional tonight, displaying her alter ego’s inner conflict, and I’m so happy that Hodgins’ big story is going to give her something to chew on, too. That scene of Cam at the house revealing that she’s dealing with guilt herself for letting Hodgins come back to work the day after the accident, knowing he should have been resting, was heartbreaking, but also proved what a good egg she is. (And also that Hodgins has some serious grounds for a medical malpractice suit.)
Booth and Brennan had little to do here tonight, although I am a little perplexed at how much of a downer Brennan was. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that she lives by empiricism, but I’m having trouble believing the same woman who bonded with Dr. Watters about using science to cope with loss failed to understand why Hodgins needed to come back to the lab so soon after rehab. That being said, it did lead to some lovely moments, namely her comforting Angela with a hug out-of-the-blue, and her softly telling Booth she hopes Christine grows up to have faith like him because she’s feeling decidedly crummy about science right now. I’m wondering if some of the inconsistency is due to this week’s writer, Kendall Sand, being new to the show.
Now that the show is back to wrap up season 11, it leaves us wondering what is in store for the final season ahead after this. How did you like “Defense” and Hodgins’ recovery?