Fighting with the Sky

Bones: Harbingers in the Fountain

Posted on: September 18, 2009

Before I get into talking about last night’s episode of Bones, make sure you catch up on my views of the show from a previous post.

bones-ep501_sc07_0273-500x362Last night’s episode, “Harbingers in the Fountain” centered around trying to solve the deaths of 12 people who were found in an unmarked grave under a fountain.  This is Booth’s first case back after his brain surgery, coma, and temporary amnesia.  He’s concerned about being himself again and it’s obvious that his amnesia is still affecting him in some ways.  Booth and Brennan were led to this crime scene by Angela’s psychic, which made for an interesting dynamic.  Booth and Brennan don’t believe in psychics, but Booth starts to warm to her after she reveals some aspects of his life and emotions that she couldn’t have known.

Speaking of Booth’s emotions.  Booth has now professed his love for Brennan in not so many words to Cam.  And the psychic also spoke of his love for Brennan.  Sweets then brings in some brain scans from before, during, and after his coma in which he dreamed that he and Brennan were married showing that Booth was not in love before the coma.  Sweets therefore thinks that Booth’s love for Brennan is a residual effect of Booth’s brain surgery and coma.  Both Cam and Sweets warn against Brennan’s “fragile state” masked by her intellect and reason and to not rush into telling her that he loves her before he is sure of his feelings.  The psychic tells Booth to follow his heart instead of his brain (as in the scans).  By the end of the episode, Booth tells Brennan that he loves her in a “professional, ‘atta girl, kind of way.”

I do like that over the past couple seasons, they have started to show Brennan as having more emotions that she did at the beginning of the series (yes, she had emotions, but she expressed them even less back then).  But I do not like how both Cam and Sweets warned against Brennan’s “fragile” feelings.  While I do think that Brennan sometimes hides behind her intellect and reason, her feelings are for her to decide.  What is Brennan doesn’t feel the same way about Booth?  Both Cam and Sweets are assuming that Brennan has romantic feelings for Booth (even though we all know that she does) and that she will be the one who gets her heart broken.  What if Brennan breaks Booth’s heart by not reciprocating his feelings?  While a lot of the crime-solving on the show relies on scientific rationality, I also did not appreciate Sweets use of brain scans to tell Booth that he was not in love with Brennan.  Who is he to tell Booth what his emotions are?

Brennan once again had to be saved by Booth.  I do like that throughout the seasons, both Booth and Brennan have saved each other on multiple occassions.  But before Booth has to save Brennan, she normally does a pretty good job at kicking ass on her own.  But in the fight last night, she just seemed to be running around and hitting the guy with some sort of tray.  Granted he had a knife, but it seemed a little weak to me.

But, it was still a great episode.  It was funny.  Booth was a little more goofy than usual.  I think the writers were trying to show that he had changed a little bit after his brain surgery and he was excited to get back to work, but it was kind of weird at points.  Brennan is always good for a laugh when she doesn’t understand social norms or social phrases.  She’s usually the butt of the joke, but I think that it was in a good way.  Booth and Brennan’s relationship is going to get more awkward, I feel, as the writers explore how they are going to introduce a romantic relationship (I feel like it might be kind of inevitable, but it’s just how long it is going to be).  This awkwardness is kind of a shame, but I hope that the writers can handle the relationship in a good way.

And bonus!  Cyndi Lauper guest stars as the psychic!

Also make sure to check out meloukhia’s take on the episode at this ain’t livin’.

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5 Responses to "Bones: Harbingers in the Fountain"

It’s interesting to see your comment about Bones being the butt of a joke “in a good way,” because I’ve always thought that she had some kind of autism spectrum disorder, and, as a result, I’ve always felt uncomfortable when people make fun of her for her social awkwardness. Is there a “good way” to make fun of someone who has difficulty relating to people and judging social situations?

As someone who is very socially awkward and not good at picking up the subtleties of a conversation, I can say that I’ve been the butt of a joke on many occasions and it definitely did not leave me feeling good, even if people thought that it was all in good fun or thought that I would find it amusing. I don’t (to my knowledge) have an autism spectrum disorder, but I imagine it would be doubly unpleasant to being poked fun at if my social struggles stemmed from being neuroatypical, because people would be making fun not only of my lack of social ability, but also of the way my brain works and who I am.

I was more referencing Brennan as the butt of the joke for the audience. I get what you are saying about how Brennan might have a high functioning form of autism and that being the butt of jokes is not a good thing in that case. I like how Brennan’s intellect and social awkwardness make her see the world. I really do get what you are saying. Maybe “in a good way” was not the right phrase to use. But I think the relationship between Booth and Brennan and how he sometimes helps her navigate social situations adds some amusement to the show.

Oh yeah, I mean, I laugh at her too, sometimes, but I experience some cognitive dissonance when I do. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with her being made into a comic figure; if she was, say, a wheelchair user and she was always having pratfalls, I think that would make most people very uncomfortable. But since autism spectrum disorders aren’t obvious disabilities, people don’t seem discomfited by the fact that they are basically laughing at someone because her brain works differently. (Assuming I’m even right and she does have an autism spectrum disorder.)

I love the contrast between the Heart and Mind approach with the two characters. It’s one of the things about the show which really appeals to me. It’s just that sometimes the characterization makes me…uneasy?

Not a criticism, but a note on language regarding autism spectrum disorders. “High-functioning” is a bit problematic for many people who live with ASDs. It’s a label used by the neurotypical that seems to mean “acts in ways that don’t make us too uncomfortable and doesn’t make us work hard when communicating with them.” And it comes with the implication that people with traits that do make people uncomfortable and make communication difficult are not functioning well. Neither has anything to do with the autistic person’s perception of herself as functioning well or poorly. We do have emotions and it’s usually pretty obvious; subtle we’re not. We’re bad at recognizing what they are and strong emotion nearly always registers first as profound distress, but with practice and time to process even we can figure out what’s going on. Most of the time.

I love Cyndi Lauper. It was pretty damn awesome seeing her on the show. 🙂

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