Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bones Episode Review - 3.15: 'The Pain in the Heart'

For the new faces out there: a bit of info.

My 'review' is heavily centered on the character arcs in Bones. There are fantastic summaries and plot recaps out there. I intersperse the plot amongst how it affects the characters. I think it's different than most of what's out there and I sincerely hope it provides great debate points. You may love what I say, you may hate it. As long as you're respectful, comment or debate away!

In general I also sprinkle my review with all the funny quotes and light moments. This episode makes that hard, even though the light moments are there. I will have a separate post with the quotes after I finish the review. It just doesn't flow well this time.

I hope to review past episodes over the summer. You can view an episode list and my other reviews here.


This is a hard review to write. Normally I can have one up less than a day later but this one dragged on and on. It was an intense episode, overly packed with 2 full story lines (Husband wants you all to know he used the word 'car wreck' to describe the mashing together.) Because of the sadness I can't say this is one of my favorite episodes, but I can say it's one of the best. Though the story lines were compressed together painfully, I think both story lines were powerful and engaging.

I will make a separate post soon with notable quotes from the episode as well as an overview of the Gormogon case when I can again rewatch the previous episodes. I didn't talk about it much here. I have the 'Evolution of Zack' that you can read here but most of this review is about the characters and how these stories can and likely will affect them. Hope you enjoy and I welcome any and all respectful comments.

It wouldn't be right to have Caroline and not have humor. She's even cracking jokes at Booth's funeral. That made me wonder if she was in on the whole 'I'm not really dead' deal but I don't think it would matter either way - Caroline would still crack a joke.

Though Caroline is funny, she is also deep. She gives us the direct explanation of 'why' Zack did it - a strong personality preying on a weak one. It hearkens back to 'The Man in the Mansion' when she gathers up the entire group and berates them into a semblance of order. I feel that Caroline senses that what happened with Zack could potentially harm the group forever and she wants to head that off if she can. Couldn't we have her as a regular cast member instead of Sweets? She may not have a psych degree but her observations are spot on, realistic, and funny.

I am so happy to see Cam get a little depth for once. Instead of tossing out one-liners and herding sheep we see a glimpse of her heart. From her beginning in Season 2 she has been a bit of everything - sheep herder, mother hen, ring master, fierce protector and the bridge between emotion and science. She does a bit of everything in 'The Pain in the Heart'.

Last week I mentioned that some fans longed for a Cam and Zack romance. I think they may have recognized the affection from Cam but misunderstood it. Cam didn't look at Zack romantically. She viewed him as her child. He was the over-protected baby boy for everyone, but especially for her; the woman who wanted no children. Nothing has made me cry in this show like Cam's reactions to the loss of her baby in such a profound way. She's normally so well pulled together but the way her face fell when Booth Bones appeared at the hospital (Badly, in my opinion, broken up by her mostly emotionless delivery of "I did not see that coming".) and the pure feeling behind "I knew he'd cause me pain" had me breaking down. I'm honestly not even sure what was meant with that line, but the pain and grief behind it were clear.

I really hope she gets more screen time in Season 4.

I'm still not sure what I think of Sweets. He's adorable, infuriating, sly, clueless, immature, highly intelligent...None of that tells me what I think of him though. I think John Francis Daley does an wonderful job in the role but I can't help but think I'd rather have someone like Caroline, or Gordon Wyatt instead. That's not to say I don't like some of the things he makes Booth and Brennan do though...

Honestly, I at once like and abhor what he does to Booth and Brennan. Like Rachel said in Friends when Phoebe tested her: "That's a risky proposition." This test, especially, carried a great risk of hurting the relationship Booth and Brennan have steadily built. "Don't you know by now that you can't rush her?" Sweets is playing with fire and it's mostly likely to burn the relationship at the center of all of this. (Though my husband is very happy to hope it burns him in the form a fist to the face. It doesn't matter who hits him - Booth and Brennan both deserve the honor.)

Sweets is still trying to grow up and has a lot to learn about acceptable treatment of colleagues, friends, patients and humans in general. It's ironic that a psychologist can be so clueless about behavior. Maybe it's a nod to his age: not everything is learned from a textbook. This isn't the first portrayal of a psychologist so wrapped in his research that he ignores the ramifications but Sweets has a host of other issues to compound it.

In general, Sweets is a pretty good addition to the crew when he's not experimenting on them. He helps with profiling which is a nice round out to the other disciplines we see. For the audience he provides humorous, if contrived, Booth and Brennan scenarios and a youthful exuberance rarely seen in anyone else. He's a young man dipping his toes into the adult crime-fighting world and he tried very hard to grab it all with Gormogon. From the start of the case he was inserting himself into it in every way he could and at the end he was splashing himself across every media outlet that would talk to him and taking it upon himself to figure out which lab rat was the murderer. For all his enthusiasm he didn't come close.

I did enjoy his Booth and Brennan insights about how she would treat Booth's death, the meaning of pie, and how much her emotional connection to Booth really affects her but I'll talk about those below.

I really don't know what to say beyond what I said here. It's hard to think of him before this and in many ways it's worse than if he'd died accidentally or heroically. He wasn't taken away. He made a choice that severed the professional and greatly damaged if not cut all the personal bonds.

He killed someone. And he did it without the heart and Old West heroism behind Max's actions. I don't see how Zack could ever be a part of the show again beyond rare sad glimpses and the emotional fallout of this revelation.

I wrote my 'Evolution of Zack Addy' as one possible explanation to facilitate the very real grieving many fans feel. Those who want Zack to return want non-killer Zack, however. They want the kid who is at once frighteningly intelligent and emotionally innocent as a babe. That Zack is gone and we can't bring him back.

Zack is both easy, somewhat, to pull out and very hard to lose. I have great respect and admiration for Hart Hanson but I sincerely disagree that there was no where left to go with Zack. Likely, there were no growth and development possibilities left but not every character changes. Hodgins and Angela, outside of settling into each other, have changed very little over the course of the show and in fact I would argue that as a change of circumstance rather than character.

As a fan, I can say there are many circumstances we'd have loved to Zack placed into even if no character changes occurred. How great would it have been to see Zack's attempts to further imitate humanity outside the lab?

Turns out I still had a lot to say...

We didn't see anything new or unusual with Angela this episode. She is forever the caring earth mother, with unique insights into Brennan (the only person better than that is Booth).

At the start we see her shine. Everyone is set to go to Booth's funeral while Brennan refuses. They try logic; they try force. Angela is the only one, since Booth is obviously not around, who knows that simply asking Brennan to support her living friend will get her to attend the funeral. She, like Booth, is guided by emotional insight. A great counterpart to Brennan's flat refusal, at times, to deal with her own emotions.

Angela has always viewed Zack the same way Hodgins did - as the kid brother who forever needs introduction to, and protection from, the world. She's the first to sit with him (protector) and laments that she never got him a girlfriend (facilitator). I hope we see more of her reaction to Zack's departure when Season 4 returns. It should be strong. If she'd been 'crying for days' over the death of Booth, how should she feel over the loss of someone who is not dead, but also no less gone?

Hodgins, like Angela, treated Zack like a kid brother. Whether giving him a home or a pocket Kama Sutra, Zack was his charge. There will be a hole next season without some crazy experiments involving exploding goo and two adorable scientists perpetrating them. On reviewing the episode I was struck with sadness when they said in unison "We want to do one of our experiments." because I know now what I didn't know then - it would be the last. That was the final moment of this pair.

I firmly believe Hodgins was the first person to realize Zack was the apprentice. I think he knew as soon as he pinpointed his own neighborhood as a possible source, bringing up 2 pieces of evidence that pointed to either himself or Zack. Knowing he was not the guilty party himself that left only one conclusion. If he didn't quite know by the time he talked to Cam, I think he definitely knew it by the time he got to the hospital. With Cam the scene setup was 'creepy' but Hodgins manner exuded sadness. If he really thought he was a suspect he'd be spouting conspiracy theories and arguing. He was reserved and quiet: sad.

On first view of the hospital scene I feel the setup was supposed to convey the possibility that Hodgins was shutting up Zack who was about to finger him. (Husband pointed this out to me. I just thought he wanted Zack to feel better. Awwww) They'd been purposely giving Hodgins a creepy vibe so it was plausible. I think what was actually happening was that Hodgins knew that Zack was guilty and he wanted to shut him up to keep him from confessing. By this point Zack had to know that his escape chances had dropped to nil. Might as well confess before their inevitable discovery of the truth. It was pointless of Hodgins to extend things but I don't think he was ready to face the reveal.

Despite the minor problem of being shot, this episode didn't directly affect him nearly as much as anyone else. He did care about Zack, but he wasn't particularly close to him. In fact, he'd repeatedly pushed Zack away which did provide him some guilt in the end.

The reason for the faked funeral is believable but with such a huge event it would have flowed better to see if have a longer treatment. This really makes the episode feel overly packed. I think the faked funeral, it's pre-cursor case, and the Booth/Brennan reactions could have, and should have, filled it's own episode. We could have seen more parts that we frankly should have seen. Top of my list being the fact that Brennan killed again and we didn't see it touched upon at all. Both times she did it with good cause but the first time affected her greatly. The second was passed over like it never happened which I think is unfair to the character and to the audience. Bones has a tendency to do this with many plot points, hence this post, and it's trying and irritating as a fan.

She really got beaten up, emotionally, in this episode. First, she thinks her partner is dead and she refuses to deal with it. Then, he's alive but she wasn't told which gives way to an emotion she can relish: anger. If that weren't enough her son, in a manner of speaking, is lost, in more ways than one.

The first and the second I leave for the Booth/Bones section below. But as for Zack...

I expect a lot more fallout for Brennan in Season 4 over this. While Angela and Booth ground her Zack played a different but vital role. He was her scientific 'North' which connected with her in a way that even Booth probably never will. She 'made' Zack scientifically and he became her equal. Because I'm not such a rationally centered person I have a hard time pinpointing exactly what Brennan must feel for Zack. Pride, love, respect? I think all of those and so much more. Son and equal, colleague and friend.

Zack was absolutely special in her life. His departure to Iraq left her bereft and angry. Zack's temporary fall from perfection in Verdict left her saddened. She wanted to teach and protect him. What will she do now? She can understand Zack better than he can himself, very much like a mother. How will she deal with his permanent loss? He'll always be part of her and I can see her visiting him but in most respects, as far as we will see, he's forever gone.

Beyond the loss of Zack, how will she deal with the betrayal in the House of Reason? Booth talked to her about this in the 'Intern in the Incinerator' but then we heard nothing more. Was that conversation simply a setup for the larger betrayal yet to come? She didn't know Dr. Klimkew the way that she knows Zack. This betrayal is both personal and professional. (Though I'm not sure she yet, or will ever, see it as a betrayal.) Will it be dropped like many other plot points? I really hope not. It should affect everyone, not just her. Will it be hard to watch if they do deal with it properly? I'd go with...most definitely.

Has she formed a close enough bond with Booth yet to let him help her deal? I think so...but at the same time I think she's still resisting it violently. Sweets mentioned her bond with Booth as a reason she couldn't be Gormogon and she instantly bolted. Brennan's heart has made so many strides but her brain has yet to acknowledge them and catch up.

Throughout Season 3 we have seen these two grow ever closer. We started the Season with a fight, and ended with their heads together in a moment of intense sadness. They've become ever more the fluid pair.

Temporarily, they had that torn asunder. For two weeks they were apart. Booth, comfortable in the assurance she knew it was fake, probably had a nice boring vacation inside his house or the FBI building. Brennan, however, believed her partner dead. Another abandonment in her life, choice aside.

At the funeral, she won't acknowledge her emotions but she's fairly bursting with them. She can't stand still and her outbursts of "That woman was aiming at me. I would have happily taken that bullet." and "If there were a merciful God, why wouldn't he have saved Booth?" (Which Sweets takes notice of.) I wish, as I stated above, they had given this story arc it's own episode. It would have been powerful to see her private breakdowns over her partner. Just one moment of tears streaming down her face and it would have amplified the public persona she gave. She's hurting and she can't express it. The person who allowed her to access her emotional side was gone.

But then she finds out that he's not gone and believes that he did in fact abandon her for that time period. Finally she can channel those emotions into one she's comfortable with: anger. If you doubted the extent of her feelings on the matter, the moment she hit Booth it should have been clear. Ever rational, she made sure he won the fight first. But after that was settled she took a running start and laid him flat.

Brennan had every right to be livid that she wasn't told. The scenes where they worked that out are some of my favorite. Hart has said many times that this show would forever show the two of them chasing each other. It's Booth's turn here. He's chasing her in more ways than one. She wants to run away and wall off emotionally and he won't let her.

She finally admits the truth - Sweets had the right to not tell her for professional reasons but no matter what Booth should have called her and told her personally. She may not admit how much he matters directly, but she shows him head on. As in-tune as he is emotionally I think he got everything; especially what she wouldn't say.

What Booth/Bones relationship fan didn't love the bath scene? Contrived or not (c'mon it is TV...) it was a squeal moment. They handled it brilliantly. He's been laying himself out emotionally for a long time and now he's followed with physical parity. It would have been out of character for her to blush. Offering him a towel and stating that she finds his 'lack of Puritan modesty refreshing' were perfect. Their emotions were higher than ever in this episode, twanging the line of sexual tension nearly to the breaking point.

I have to point out that despite my reservations about Sweets he played a part in some of my favorite romantic nods in this episode.
Sweets: "You know, I think it's interesting psychologically how Agent Booth's constant efforts to persuade you to enjoy fruit pie could be interpreted as a kind of seduction."
Booth: "Whatever you two are talking about, just stop it. Zip it. Let's go."
Booth heard it and I can just imagine the internal dialog about that revelation.

Sweets: (telling Brennan why she couldn't be Gormogon) "...the emotional connection you share with Agent Booth."
Brennan: "No, I don't have time for this. No."
Booth: "Don't you know by now you can't rush her?"

And off goes Booth, chasing her down again. (This must be his courtship mantra.) There was so much more to that line from Booth. I think that is exactly what has guided him for a long time. I honest to God think Booth already knows he loves her and he's just patiently waiting for her to catch up. That's not to say he's ready to date her. But he knows what's there and he respects it and waits for her to join him. They can figure out what to do then when she does.

Many people want to see Booth sleeping around to express those sexual urges that obviously no man can hold in...right? Wrong. Dead wrong, I say. Booth is a man and they give a nod to that in 'Wannabe' but Booth is much more than a sexual being. He's governed by his emotions. He's pointed out before than he has never cheated on a single woman he's been with. He's with Brennan, even if he's not with her officially. Interesting note: he can talk about sex casually with anyone but her. With her he can only talk about it in the way he truly feels. He revers it as the highest expression of love and oneness. He explained his reverence for sex in 'Death in the Saddle' and that reverence extends in every direction. He's head, heart, and groin - hers.

I like the nods at the end - first, where Booth insists Sweets not argue that Zack is mentally incompetent. Law aside, this is how it's going to be, thus proving her point about how he can and does break the law when needed, and second where Angela starts to go comfort Brennan and he stops her. He's pulled out her letter not long after his own gift, knowing what she'd need. Angela used to be Brennan's moral and emotional center but there's a clear sign here that if Booth is around, Brennan is his. If you see the three of them together, who does Brennan stand with? Who does she gravitate towards?

It's a sad ending but with, I hope, promise of what good can come.


Booth and Brennan are the center of the team and the center must hold. But they make a point to show how the team is transitioning. There is no doubt Zack is out and they show that poignantly in the hospital. Everyone is standing outside looking in. Zack looks lost (he now has literally no one to guide him) and the team looks sad. To show that he's lost but not forgotten they take the core of the team - Booth and Brennan plus Hodgins, Angela, and now Sweets - back to the lab and have them say goodbye to Zack together. It's a sad scene but a great way to send him off. No one who loves this show will forget Zack.

I hope that they deal with a lot of these issues in Season 4 but at the same time I hope the 2 hour premier brings back the happy. I hope for fun, romance, great one liners, and more. What are you hoping for in the premier and beyond?

Even as I decide to stop typing I can think of many more things of note in this episode. I'd love to hear your comments below with your thoughts on this episode or on my thoughts.


Kyra said...

I don't think anyone could review that episode better then you. You realized things that I sure hadn't and really made me think. Thanks.

Snowy said...

Wow. That was an amazing review. Thank yeh so much. Though i started crying *Again* When I read what ye had to say about Zack It think this is really gonna help. I want to see what happens next year, without him in it because i want the writers to see how empty everything is without him.

ADDhole said...

Let's make sure people know how complete the Obsessed with Bones blog truly is.

She never disappoints.

We need to push for her to get some inside contacts because everyone that loves this show will benefit.

Bridget said...

On the fox forum for Bones, there's a discussion there on why Booth doesn't date when we all know he's one hell of a guy. Some say that Booth is very workaholic and doesn't have to the time to see women outside of work and plus, he is an special FBI agent, it would not look good. Others say that he's not really the kind of guy to casually have sex. Ofcourse, others think that it's because of his ties with Bren and that he's just waiting for her to catch up with him as evident on that line he told Sweets at the diner. For me, I've always thought since mid season2, Bren & Booth are already together somehow. Their actions look so much like a devoted couple already, they just have to say it out loud and for Brennan to really internalize and accept it.

L said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Cam. I've never warmed to her character (I blame both her oddly possessive relationship with Booth and those inane one-liners), but you're right on. I never saw any connection like that btwn her and Zack until you pointed it out.

I too would love to see Brennan (not so much Booth) hit Sweets. Hard. I have the same "not sure what I think of him" attitude toward his (what I see as) largely useless character, but yeah. Hitting = good.

Also, I don't get why he got to be the press liaison for the Gormogon case. Wouldn't that have been Caroline or Booth? o.O

Regarding Zack, I think some "clean up" of his character could be done by going back and exploring the post-traumatic stress he may or may not have experienced in Iraq. Maybe even use it to better explain how he could have become what he became. I wouldn't mind that, as further closure. But I agree he can't "come back."

I think it's very telling that Booth has become better at seeing "into" Brennan than Angela, considering the fact that Angela has been Brennan's best friend for longer than Booth's known her. I like that, and I don't think it diminishes Angela's character at all that this is the case.

I think you could see Angela's utter devastation at what happened with Zack in the scene where the Jeffersonian crew watch through the hospital room window as Caroline talks to him (as shown in the screencap at the end of your post). She's obviously heartbroken.

I too will desperately miss Hodgins and Zack's experiments - that may be the thing I miss most of all due to Zack's absence. I will NEVER forget the pig in the wood chipper. Never.

I agree Hodgins knew it was Zach as soon as he figured out where the water came from.

I thought the funeral scene was outrageous and I did not buy Brennan's reaction to Booth's death in the least. Yes, she compartmentalizes. But we have seen her get emotional about Booth being in less dire circumstances. Maybe she shut down because his death was too much to even fathom. But I still hate how cold and distant she acted. I wanted to scream at her!

You say: "It would have been powerful to see her private breakdowns over her partner."

I couldn't agree more. That would have quelled all of my skepticism and distaste for her attitude toward Booth's death. Like you say, they should have given that entire storyline its own episode.

You say: "I honest to God think Booth already knows he loves her and he's just patiently waiting for her to catch up."

I never ever thought of it that way, but looking at it from the perspective you lay out it makes perfect sense!! What a great insight into Booth. It makes me want to rewatch the old eps to see how this motivation/method plays out in them.

Your discussion of how Booth talks about sex differently with Brennan than with other characters is so right - one of my favorite and one of the most telling things about Booth is that he is always honest - always "real" - with Brennan, while with anyone else he might put up a persona. As for not telling Brennan personally that he was alive: I truly believe he didn't have any motivation other than (1) possible guilt/embarrassment over how she might react to this revelation after having been duped, and/or (2) assumption that because he went through the right channels and filed the right paperwork, she would be told, and he needn't worry about it. I don't think there was any malice or desire to disguise his true self. To me the greatest proof that he loves her is his essential honesty with her. It's never even a question with him: he tells her the truth. Even if it hurts her. (Again some may disagree based on the whole not-telling-her-he-was-alive thing... I see the point, but I have to hold on to my belief in this idea! :P)

Wonderful thoughtful, insightful, detailed review.

P.S. I predict you'll get what you hope for in the S4 premiere - it's the London trip one, and with 2 hours to fill, it's bound to have lots of Booth/Brennan comedic (mis)adventures. :)

Evi said...

I like your idea of doing a few backstories on Zack. They could visit him and maybe have him explain a few things. Brennan may get it but Hodgins and Angela are going to lag behind and need more than logic to explain it. I could buy that much more than Zack as some god-like consultant. He was never that in the lab and I'd hate to see them try to make him such now.

I definitely don't believe that Booth ever intentionally mislead Brennan on his faked death. But I do think that he was mistaken to assume that 'official channels' were enough. Even if they had done as he asked she might have been miffed that he left it to someone else.

Manda said...

I just wanted to let you know...that was a brilliant review. Your in-depth knowledge and love for the show clearly shined through. I very recently started watching the show and am now obsessed as well. I'm not sure how I didn't start watching this show earlier since I'm a huge fan of David Boreanaz in Buffy. You have inspired me to create an entertainment blog and have listed your blog as one of my favorites. Thanks for the inspiration and I'm looking forward to further reviews.

Anonymous said...

brilliant review!!im so glad i wasn't imagining the booths line 'dont u know u cant rush her' to you know what that means??!!!! i love it.

Mary Frances Bache said...

You are thoughtful, insightful, and articulate. I really enjoyed your review.

Mary Frances Bache said...

Your are thoughtful, insightful and articulate. I so enjoyed your review. Though, if ending Zach was for shock purposes, I will never forgive Hart. It seems it was.

Diana said...

You are thoughtful, insightful and articulate. I enjoyed your review enormously. It almost makes up for the terrible anger and loss of respect I have for Hart with the thought that he dropped Zack for the shock value.

Hokulea said...

I love this episode but it was really sad. It made me want to watch the next season already. I cried so much after finding out that Booth was dead and then stopped to find out he was only pretending to be dead. I really liked your review. You explained everything thoroughly and what you said was correct. I wish there will be more intimacy next season as I think they would make a great couple. By the way, what you said about Booth not being comfortable talking about sex with Brennan? That's dead on right. :) Thanks for the review.

Jane said...

The part of this epsiode that made me cry was the interrrogation in the hospital room. Booth is attempting to bully zach, but Brennan, knowing that Zach is a killer, puts her head up close to his and shelter's him from her own partner and instists that Zach responds to logic. She is still trying to protect Zach from everything even after what he did.

Mom2ABnTB said...

I don't think anyone could've written a better review. NO ONE! This was superb and very emotional. I wished I'd have found this right after the episode. Great job!

Vivy said...

Dude, you are so to the point that it creeps me out.

Becky said...

That was an amazing review!!
I read your analyses about the
Booth/Bones relationship over again, amazed at the insight. I'm so glad there's more people that hang on to every sentence and find meaning--so I'm not just reading too much into it!
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Like many, there is so much I love about this episode. But there are aspects of the storyline that nag at me each time I watch it:

1. Why would there be a 2wk delay between Booth's 'death' and funeral?
2. Why didn't any of the squints shed a tear at the funeral?
3. Why would there be so few people at the funeral?
4. How come Brennan is the only one to help Booth with the bad guy at the funeral when there were several military and law enforcement types there?
5. If Booth was shot in the chest two weeks prior, why does he seem physically fine to fight, etc.?

I could go on, but these are the things that bug me the most. I don't expect true reality from TV shows, but I have come to expect a higher standard of accuracy from the writers of Bones.

But, there is still so much to love, that I will forgive these faults...

Anonymous said...

Hodgins knew!! Ugh! How did I not see this! I never even thought about the fact that Zack lived over his garage...I guess I was distracted. And the part with the drugs in the hospital went from creepy to sweet in like .06 seconds. Wow. Oh Hodgins, what a sweetheart.

Anonymous said...

Can we find a way to kill to off Hodgins.
If I have to endure any more of this smarmy,goo-goo-eyed dialogue with Angela ,I am going to throw up. They are having a baby together,great! Now move on to the maniac delivery nurse, that wastes him during childbirth with a scalpel and move on. Angela gets his money and baby is set for life. said...

I just don't get it. If Booth was actually shot in the chest. How come was he able to be back on duty by the time of his fake funeral?

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