#BONES S8:E18 ‘The Survivor in the Soap’ Review

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This episode cannot go without comment. It was extraordinary in its content and in the treatment of the topic’s affect on the players from Arastoo and Hodgins to Brennan and Booth. I’m posting here a review I wrote on the Give Me My Remote  site, which was then responded to by Andrea, a kindred spirit and fellow Bones afficionado. Below is the entire exchange …

Me under the name of MoxieGirl44:
This Bones episode was gripping from start to finish in many ways. But, perhaps not in the ways you’d expect. First off … the title. How could the victim ever be a survivor? Well … He *IS* when he escaped the atrocities of a childhood in Sierra Leone.

Next up– Brennan’s comments to Arastoo about no one having it easy in war time. Powerful and understated, empathetic, sincere. Wow.

Then we have Booth recognizing the signs of PTSD in the photographer. That threw me – and in the good way where you’re struck dumb because you’re amazed at the insight a fellow sufferer can see that you couldn’t. An aScreen Shot 2013-03-06 at 1.21.52 PMghast ‘yowsa’ for that. Quick on its heels comes Booth’s revelation to the photographer that he couldn’t say he hadn’t killed anyone – and saying it empathetically without making it about himself. There was also a subtle assurance that Booth was neither ashamed nor proud of this fact, but deeply aware and had come to terms with his participation in wartime activities.

Then we have Arastoo sharing with Cam about his cousin. Arastoo very much displayed the typical behavior of a person who could only survive having witnessed that atrocity by  forcing itself deep within himself and hoping it never resurfaced. What a terrible secret to carry around alone. Can we expect the unraveling of more layers of Arastoo? Perhaps – especially if he and Cam are going to be a long-term item. Speaking of being an item, what an unconventional way for those two to ‘come out of the closet’ with their relationship. Cam quickly decided that being there for her partner was more important than keeping their relationship a secret. I loved Hodgins’ response and clapping. Brennan was perfectly in character as well. It is good, in an episode on such a serious topic, to see that our main characters remain themselves in all their quirky lovable ways.

Booth, Brennan and Sweets talking in the middle of the night about the case that stole everyone’s sleep and peace of mind. Who could sleep with such a topic on their pate?

Next – Brennan disturbed that it hadn’t occurred to her to protect and fight for the child soldiers she encountered while identifying bodies around the world. A downside to compartmentalization for our forensic genius. Another example of Brennan’s continual evolution.

The kicker—a startling revelation that it wasn’t the victim’s own photo that stunned and destroyed him, but the image of Satan incarnate in the person of the man he now recognized as his landlord.

Then, that the murderer was actually the lawyer volunteering to help refugees. Also of note was the appearance of the lawyer who worked this case with Booth. All around a superb episode. My hat is off to the cast and crew, the writers and producers. Bravo!

Andrea’s Response:
Moxiegirl44-You nailed it with your  summary of why this was a great episode. I’ve read some reviews which thoughr the ep was “heavy handed” amd “preachy”-and while it did underline the issue of child soldiers throughout wartorn countries; I think it did a good job of presenting the subject matter in a sensitive yet dramatic way. We know about  but don’t think about  the horrible atrocities so many children in countries at war suffer.  While I agree that Bones season 8 is not as original and fresh as season 1-3, I think there’s still many stories to tell and so much more character development to witness.

Me under the name of MoxieGirl44:
Thanks Andrea! I, too, saw some reviews that called this episode ‘heavy-handed’. One that actually chided the show for what the writer interpreted as making a big deal over death which, ‘come on, they see in their jobs every day’ – their words, not mine. Wow – really?

This episode wasn’t just about death … it was about children being enslaved and made to kill other children lest they be maimed or killed themselves. This brings to my mind the trafficking of young girls and boys for the sex trade as well. We don’t see any of these atrocities in our nice cozy homes with our HD TVs and our microwave pop corn, but it is very real … and very easy to put out of our minds. We rarely even see these things on tv or elsewhere in American media because of their abject heinousness.

IMHO, it takes guts to shine a light in the darkest places and risk scrutiny from the masses. That is what Bones has done – put themselves out there. They understand that to whom much is given, much is expected – and they are using their light to do what few others can … for which I applaud them.

Andrea’s Response:
MoxieGirl44-Yes! Bones has always taken risks  airing episodes on issues we’ve either never heard of or don’t want to think about. This is one of the reasons why this show has survived for so long-it takes chances-when telling stories and sometimes fans applaud them and sometimes not.  But there’s always some discussion going on following an episode-after eight years that’s pretty amazing.I definitely like it when the show “hits” us with stories that make us think; all things considered, most Americans have it “pretty good” compared to many in other countries!. We need to be constantly grateful!  I’m looking forward to the rest of what season 8 has in store as well as season 9-more strong drama coupled with humor-the way Bones does so well!

Me under the name of MoxieGirl44:
Very good point about there still being lively discussion after each episode even in their 8th year, Andrea! All publicity is good, right?

I think Bones will be studied in years to come for the risks they took – in story arc as well as in choice of topics – and the ground they broke for the future of serial television. Have a great day!

The when and the How: A Bone to Pick a fan fiction BONES romance about how Brenna and Booth could have gone from partners and friends to a romantic couple. By MoxieGirl.


About Catherine Cabanela

BuddyTV Writer with an MBA in marketing and an undergraduate in writing and foreign language, I spend my time writing, tweeting, aggressively pursuing new social media strategies, writing, co-parenting twins with my husband, and reading everything I can get my hands on. All at the same time. Oh, and writing. Former ScreenSpy Critic for Bones, Revenge, Covert Affairs, and Motive. Fiction: "The When and the How: A Bone To Pick" http://bit.ly/BONESFic
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