It isn’t every day that Booth gets to be the leading squint on a case, but when it involves hockey, even Brennan has to concede to his expertise in all things icy. It isn’t the first time that Bones has laced up its skates, and this episode might just prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
‘Abutment’ in many ways felt like a deliberate mirror to the last time the show delved into the inner-workings of Washington’s hockey scene’s (apparently-seedy) underbelly. Booth is still the ultimate super-fan, but instead of getting into brawls on the ice, he sidelines his competitive drive in order to let the “good man” he is shine through.
It was completely predictable that he would throw the big showdown with his former high school hockey rival (and current suspect) Darryl Patterson in order to let the man have his moment of glory 25 years later, but that’s not meant as a slight at all. That’s just the moral compass that our Special Agent has lived by over the years, and I still found it was touching to see him rely on Brennan, who immediately pieced together why he didn’t score that goal he so easily should have made.
Though short, I found the exchange an effective reminder of how far the characters have come, yet reflective of their core traits– the same ones we saw the last time they hit the ice back in season 4. Here, they both still share a little about themselves — Booth about why he wanted his opponent to have this moment, Brennan about why hoarding her books means so much to her — but at the end of the day, neither of them have to dance around their true feelings (like their last skating party), because they do get to walk home arm in arm for real now. It’s just the kind of people they are: Booth will always champion the underdog (even at his own expense), and Brennan will always support him in that. He is made of good stuff, after all.
Booth wasn’t the only one revisiting his past this week. We also got to explore Brennan’s psyche through her conversation with Angela and Cam, and I was pleasantly surprised that similarly to Patterson’s situation, the good doctor also had some ulterior motives for holding onto her book collection. I didn’t quite know where we were heading in the teaser scene with Booth and Brennan bickering about decluttering their house, other than using it as a (welcome!) excuse to stroll down memory lane with some of the show’s most memorable tokens like Booth’s “Cocky” belt buckle or beer hat.
So Angela hitting the nail on the head about Brennan, in turn, being reluctant to give up her books not only because of their monetary worth, but because the tomes were her saving grace when she was stuck in foster care and needed an escape from her upside-down world, was unexpectedly touching. I’m always a sucker for a little back story, and I’m quite impressed with how the show has clearly made the effort to refer to its canon this season, even in off-hand moments like these. (I’m with Brennan, though: you don’t get throw away books.)
Our anthropologist admitted herself in one of the show’s earliest episodes that objects do hold sentimental value, even to her, and all these years later, we’re still seeing the ramification of that history. Angela basically spelled out for us, as usual, that her best friend’s rationalism really is just a mask for her vulnerability — and maybe it’s even more fitting that those books look like they’re going to find a new home in Brennan’s office, where she can be as squinty as she wants. (Angela is the best friend we all wish we could have, because no one knows how to read her loved ones like, well, an open book like she can.)
Elsewhere in the episode, I think the show might have finally found the perfect use for intern Oliver Wells’ prickly personality: a fountain of “yo mama” jokes! I never knew I needed scenes of him and Hodgins trading those barbs back and forth like twelve year olds, but Bones is pretty good at giving us little gifts like that. They were childish and immature and completely delightful for Hodgins’ utter glee alone. Besides, any plot which brings out Cam’s best kitten-herding instincts is A-Okay with me — because the Jeffersonian really is like kindergarten most of the time.
I’m quite pleased by how relaxed Hodgins is these days, though it may seem like it has come at relatively breakneck speed given his recent trauma. Yet, as with Booth and Brennan’s subplots here, I think the last few episodes have allowed us to become reacquainted with baseline Hodgins — the guy who still begs Cam to perform unnecessary experiments just because they’re fun (how is he not on Mythbusters yet?) and spends his free time thinking of the most ridiculous way to one-up his irritating co-worker, but only because he wants the guy to fit in. Hodgins may have a quick-trigger temper, but he’s fundamentally a guy who loves life, and it’s heartwarming to see his “true self” shine through amidst all the pain.
Admittedly, I’m a little conflicted about the speed of Hodgins’ recovery, both physically and emotionally. I’m absolutely thrilled that we’ve got our “old” Hodgins back, infectious giggles, playfulness and all, but I’m genuinely curious if that choice may be sidelining the impact of his paralysis in the first place, and I’d love to know what you all think of that. Would Angry Hodgins be more truthful to the situation, highlighting the reality of life with a disability in a world that often makes that painfully difficult? Or is Goofy Hodgins a testament to his strength of will — and to the idea that this is the reality of people in his situation? It’s a tight rope to walk, and I definitely don’t envy the writers in the debate.
Let us know where you stand!