Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guest Episode Review - #120 "The Soldier on the Grave"

Time for the next Bones Season 1 Episode review: The Man in the Morgue! If you want to start at the beginning here are my Season 1 Bones Reviews from last summer:

# 079 - "Pilot" - My Review
# 101 - "A Boy in the Tree" - My Review
# 102 - "The Man in the SUV" - My Review
# 103 - 'The Man on Death Row" My Review
Guest Reviews so far:
# 103 - 'The Man on Death Row" - Meryl
# 104 - "The Man in the Bear" - ForensicMama
# 105 - "A Boy in a Bush" - Bekka
# 106 - "The Man in the Wall" - Jeni
# 107 - "The Girl in the Fridge" - Jenny
# 108 - "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" - Emma
# 109 - "The Woman in the Car" - Milky
# 110 - "The Woman at the Airport" - Robyn
# 111 - "The Woman in the Tunnel" - Winona
# 112 - "The Superhero in the Alley" - Ellynne
# 113 - "The Woman in the Garden" - Kate
# 114 - "The Man on the Fairway" - sai
# 115 - "Two Bodies in the Lab" - DaLiza
# 116 - "The Man with the Bone" - Emma
# 117 - "The Skull in the Desert" - em-jay
# 118 - "The Man in the Morgue" - kate
# 119 - "The Graft in the Girl" - pua
This review was written by Kaitlynd.

Season 1 list - still need 1 submitted
Season 2 list - "The Titan on the Tracks" is free and it's time to start submitting them ALL ASAP!

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The Soldier on the Grave

Although its not an episode that many people talk about, Soldier on the Grave is definately one of my all time favourites in all seasons of Bones. We see the developement of so many different characters, but everyone remains true to their characters. Of course, the only thing that could bring out such change among so many characters is the controversial issues revolving around the war in Iraq. Being Canadian, I'm not toally clear on all facts surrounding the issue and I will try to keep my opinions out of this review. This is something that the writers have managed to acheive quite well. Sympathy is given to both parties and no particular opinion is given (in fact all different opinions are expressed through different characters in the show).

When the episode begins, right off the bat, Booth and Brennan are having an intense discussion about the number of people that die in the service of their country while at Arlington National Cemetery to investigate a burned skeleton on the grave of war hero Charles Kent. With this discussion, we as the veiwers know we are in for an intense episode. I myself visited the cemetery in 2007 and I will have to agree that the establishment is huge. Rows upon rows of white headstones as far as the eye can see. There is such a gravity to the place. I mean, there was a huge group of us and we all felt compelled to whisper. In the beginning, Brennan uses her calm logic to try and espress her opinions, which are in fact, quite emotional.

BRENNAN: If they were really respected then maybe not so many of them would be here.
BOOTH:Are we gonna get into something here Bones?
BRENNAN: I don't see why. I think we both wish this place were alot smaller.

She does this again when Booth is looking at the headstone of his friend. She looks at him quizzically for believing that it matters that his friends resting place is near the murder, but in the next breath, expresses her extreme "faith" (as Hodgins puts in it Aliens in a spaceship) in Booth. Also, in the beginning, we can see that Booth is extremly uncomfortable and affected by the whole situation. As Brennan mentions, it is a little to close to him. his jaw appears to be clenched for the first twenty minutes of the episode. He also seems to feel alot of pressure. All around him people are looking to him for some sort of connection. Everyone is saying "you were in the military, you know what it was like" as if its a cry for sympathy.these characters expect alot from him-to recognize and relate to their pain. Even Brennan has expectations of him, wanting his approval to exhume Charlie Kent. Actually, on that note, I think that as viewers we expect alot from Booth. He is the character that is supposed to know what is going on in everyones mind, and we depend on him to lead Brennan out of her shell and into the world of using her heart instead of her brain. We see him as the 'centre' because without him, we know that Brennan would have a much more difficult time going into the field. So, in this episode, where the Special Agent Seeley Booth we know and love is shaken, we (or at least I did) feel a little off kilter, like we woke up on the wrong side of the bed. This makes it an interesting episode to watch because when your constant is threatened, you want to know what will happen. I mean, with Brennan it is different. We sort of expect her to change and grow because she is so far to one side of the spectrum.

Once the burned skeleton of Devon Marshall is brought back to the Jeffersonian, more issues are presented. The first is the most obvious is with Hodgins. Bringing up the War in Iraq is the perfect time for Hodgins to use his paranoid ramblings.

Goodman: So you don't think we should stand up to tyrants?
Hodgins: Ive been waiting for the press to do that for three years.
Angela: I can't believe you took the bait
Goodman: Yeah, me neither.

I love the paranoid Hodgins and his eagerness to share with people who don't really care is ridiculously amusing. Of course, that gets him into trouble later in the episode.

One of my favourite things about this episode is that it is the first time we get to explore Booth's past. Before this episode, Bones was very much centered around Brennan, while all that was really connected to Booth's past were previous cases that he had worked on (i.e. Pilot, Man on Death Row). This was one of the main reasons why I enjoyed season four so much. We get to see Booth's world beyond the FBI and what really makes him tick. Touching on his military past definately gives us that insight. You only have to look at his face to see that pain that is hidden there. I also like the character of Hank. Again, we meet a friend of Booth's beyond the FBI, and we get to see him open up to his good friend. This is interesting because normally Booth is painted as a very solitary man. It's good that he has a confidante. And, if I'm not mistaken, this is the first time we hear of Booth's gambling problem, another important part of his past. I also thought that the parellel that Hank made was interesting, showing the reason why Booth may have become an FBI agent.

Hank: look at the two of us, you with the badge, me in the court room, both looking for justice.

As mentioned earlier, all of the characters stay true to themselves, while growing and changing at the same time. For example, with Brennan, she insists that Booth remains objective throughout the entire episode, and has a difficult time dealing with his ability to cope with the case.

Brennan: This is hard for Booth, he's idealistic.
Ange: Its nice to know that someone wants to keep honour and responsibility alive

She wants to communicate her sympathy but isn't quite sure how. She tries her best to reach out for him and plays the famous partner card.

Brennan: I'm your partner. Let me be your partner.

So, in her girl-talk with Angela (which I love, I wish I had a BFF [or BBF] like Angela) she is given a solution.

Ange: I'm talking about being there for him. knowing when a simple touch is a enough.
Brennan: Maybe I'll write him a note. I can be very articulate on paper.

Of course, in the end, when Booth does reach out to her, she uses Angela's advice at the perfect moment. This is obviously a huge step for Brennan because she is using her instinct to realize just when that simple touch is enough. I would also like to add that this moment is used in so many fanvids on Youtube, that it is absolutely ridiculous. We can also see how Brennan's character has come a long way from the beginning of the season. When the victims mother asks for the remains, she replies that she just wants to get all the facts-definately a long way from describing points of identification.

Booth's character also takes huge steps in the course of this episode. He also takes the advice of his friend Hank to tell someone about his time with the Rangers. And that story, when he tells Brennan, I cry everytime.

Booth: Its never just the one person who dies, Bones. We all die a little bit, Bones. With each shot we all die a little bit.
Brennan also recieves this information with such patience and is totally understanding of everything. Again, that unwavering "faith" in Booth has already taken root.
Booth: Ive done some things
Bren: I know
Booth: no you don't
Bren: But its okay.

Now, back to Hodgins. As much as I love the conspiracy nut, I love the side story with him and Angela.First, it starts off with a fairly light tone, but Angela quickly becomes annoyed.

Ange: You wanna make change, Try shutting your yap long enough to hear something other than the sound of your own voice.

However, perhaps the best part of this scene, is Zack examining the bones in the background, literally talking to himself and working while the other two duke it out. This sort of two conversations happening at once is what makes the show so entertaining. Then, it is this discussion that leads to Hodgins swallowing his pride and apologizing to Booth.

Hodgins: I know we don't see eye to eye on alot of stuff. cause, you know politically I think we life in an orwellian nighmare, due to-
Booth: Wha- What are you trying to say?
Hodgins: I'm sorry, man, I really am.

This really touching moment is not lost on Angela. I like to think that maybe this is almost planting the seeds for next season. She almost looks proud of Hodgins for doing what he did for Booth.

Hodgins: I run on sometimes, I know. I think that if I yell loud enough someone will listen.
Ange: Hey you have to be carefull people don't go deaf. You know, what you did for Booth before, showing you him understood? That was good. Everyone hears something like that.

This is also a huge development for Hodgins' character as well. He's learning that maybe not everyone wants to hear his 'paranoid ramblings.' This change on his part, is something we do not see often in the show.

As far as the case is concerned, some very interesting issues are brought up. Between the friendly fire, military cover up, and probably most importantly, the psychology of war and what happens when war heroes come home, it seems that the theme of the episode is controversy. The theories that are presented are all very valid and (dare I use the words) rational and logical. Booth talks about the need to be around innocence after war and the need to make split second choices.Throughout all of this we learn something very important. Sometimes bad things happen and the circumstances are not always clean cut. Sometimes there are no good guys and bad guys, only people making choices. As an audience, we are called upon to think about these issues, which makes for a very thought provoking episode.

I will conclude with some other amusing quotes that I gathered from this episode. These amusing quotes also show the lightness, or rather the 'dark humour' that makes every Bones episode so entertaining. With heavy subjects like these, it
is important to keep some light moments.

BOOTH: I'm sorry but I left my phrase book at home.

Brennan: Now you're a mindreader
Booth: Maybe. Want me to guess your weight?
Brennan: You do and you could lose a tooth.

Ange: Men aren't like us. They're fragile and needy. That fact that they think we're the needy ones is a testament to our superiority.
Brennan: Yeah, I guess I forgot.

Zach: I could have done better with a crayola.

Hodgins: Were you really mad before?
Ange: Why because of your strident paranoid ramblings?
Hodgins: Okay, I'm guessing mad. Fair enough. Can I at least give you some material to read?
Ange: You could try, but you'd walk funny for a week.

Hodgins: I hate to say conspiracy, but My peeps, we've got a conspiracy.

Thanks for reading and for the fabulous oppurtunity to guest review!


em-jay said...

Great episode. Thanks for the review.

"As an audience, we are called upon to think about these issues, which makes for a very thought provoking episode." This statement that you made is one of the things that I like about Bones. They don't shove anything down your throat (most of the time), but they allow for many sides of many debates to be spoken.

Also, the line from Angela about men not being like women, being fragile and needy, and they think that women are the needy ones: it makes me laugh every time. It is such an Angela-thing to say, and she says it so convincingly to Brennan. All Brennan can do is agree.

Jeannie said...

I think you did a fabulous job with this review.

I have to admit, when I first watched this episode I felt offended by some of the things in it. Later I learned that 'the other side' was offended as well which means obviously that the writers did a great job of dealing with a very difficult topic in such a way that it was neither pro-war nor anti-war but thought-provoking.

Turtle said...

This has become one of my favorite episodes as well and you gave a very good objective review. I have watched that last scene at least a hundred times but it always makes me cry. We are very fortunate to love a show with such a great group of actors. With all of its ups and downs I still love it. Can't hardly stand the wait any longer!! Thanks

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