Bones Review: War and Peace

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I used to really enjoy Bones. It was a show I looked forward to week after week. It was fresh and new. The characters drew me in. The cases were intriguing. What happened to that show?

After tonight, it's safe to say I'm back to feeling completely exhausted by the overly emotional manipulation that is Bones season 8. This series is rapidly becoming but a glimmer of its former glory.

Brennan and Booth on a Case

So far this season we've had tigers, children with debilitating illness, and the girl who was date-raped at a party. "The Survivor in the Soap" was another episode written to teach us more things about which we plebeians couldn't possibly already know. Children in Sierra Leone were forced to become soldiers during their Civil War and many of them immigrated to the United States to seek asylum after the war ended.

Let's be clear. I'm not attempting to minimize that piece of history. It was and is an atrocity played out against the most innocent among us and those most deserving of our protection: children.

But tonight's blast of pathos via the photographer's gallery and Brennan's snapshots was heavy-handed and unnecessary. And don't even get me started on Arastoo's outburst at Hodgins.

They were ways to show us images of what happened, as if saying that the victim in tonight's episode had been a child soldier in Sierra Leone wouldn't have been enough. Or saying "Look! We characters on Bones have been personally affected by this and we feel bad so you should too!"

I know, I know: show don't tell is the rule of television. However, not like this. Show us. Don't clobber us over the head with it. Give us a character we can connect with and feel, even if the character is deceased the whole time.

With the clunky handling of all of these After School Specials, I just keep thinking back to the case of the Amelia Rose. That was an episode that handled this sort of heavy story beautifully in a way that the episodes this season just haven't been able to do.

Tonight the case was so front-and-center that I was annoyed by it. The team was used as fodder for comic relief so that we weren't so bogged down by the devastation that we wanted to change the channel. Except I'd venture to say it didn't really work. 

Booth and Bones bickering over where to go on vacation felt unnecessarily silly. We know that Brennan likes to go on vacation to places where her skills as an anthropologist can be put to use. We know that Booth would prefer a place where they're getting away from death and destruction. Having them spar about which exotic locale would make the perfect vacation spot was somewhat inane, even if we did get a couple of good Bones quotes out of their exchanges.

None of us care that Cam and Arastoo are dating because none of us saw any sort of indication that it was coming at all way back when we learned about it last fall. This is only the third sight or mention of the two of them being together, so there's nothing about that relationship we can care about because we haven't seen it build. It just was. Is. Apparently will be.

What did you think of "The Survivor in the Soap?" Were you emotionally moved by the episode? Or just moved to change the channel? 


Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (130 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


I was waiting for such an objection @Bridget but just because someone is hypercritical about something, doesn't mean his (in this case her) review is objective, as much as is not objective a "squee-filled recap written by a glorified fangirl".
What about some old fashion good balance between those two?


I read Miranda's reviews every week because she's a refreshingly honest reviewer. Even if there are some things I may not necessarily agree with, I'd rather read objective criticism than a squee-filled recap written by a glorified fangirl. I like reviews where someone isn't afraid to point out what doesn't work. And I agree, Miranda - something is off in that writer's room. Things aren't clicking the way they did in the past. Bones is still my favorite show and I'll watch it to the bitter end, but the old mare just ain't what she used to be.


I love this show. I've criticized the reviewer for some of what she likes best as opposed to what I watch the show for -- but this episode was ineffective sentiment, cheap thrills, played with melodramatic gimmicks. We've somehow gone from John Wayne standing stoically in a doorway looking on while a family reunion he brought about, after a movie's worth of challenges, is taking place ... to people seeing a photograph and falling to their knees, wailing out, waving their arms at heaven and weeping vociferously at the unfathomable (except by the folks at Bones) tragedy of War (and of course in the lab attacking their teammates for not feeling as deeply or showing enough emotion as Arastoo particularly determined a "proper" person would, which I think was the real intended message).


Great ep. Nice insight to Booth being a soldier and I LOVED how he dealt with the case too..Loved David & Danny acting of each other, so fun. Brennan speaking another language ftw. Pej/Asratroo really needs to stop chewing the scenery, overacting much?. Don't like Cam & Asraroo either she acts like his mom. Eeek...and please can we mix up B&B couple scenes. Perhaps they go out for dinner, a drink at The Founding Fathers, date night, bedroom scene...


I just want Booth and Brennan, as a couple and as indivduals to get more plot, focus and arcs. There has been way too many supporting character B and C plots going on in every episode. It is stretching the quality too thin. Do we really need so much focus on the interns each ep or Sweets living arrangements/love life? I sure don't. Less is more. Please Bones writers get back to B&B as the center of the show both as a couple and partners. It was the mantra for Bones one time: they are the center and the center must hold.


I'm sorry @Miranda Wicker, but I couldn't agree more with DJC, writing stuff like that: "Look! We characters on Bones have been personally affected by this and we feel bad so you should too!" it's far from being objective and thoughtful. You can comment by being constructive or judgmental, and I guess that the point of a good review is to open to the exchange of views.
Statements like that just push me away from reading, it's like you don't even want confrontation with people who may have a different opinion, it's just a: "the show sucks, goodbye", how am I suppose to respond to that as reader?


Quote: "But I am advocating that it does so in a more balanced and less blatant manner." @Miranda Wicker Perhaps you should take your own advice when writing your reviews. I apologise if that sounded rude and I can fully accept how you feel even though I totally disagree. Constructive criticism is one thing, however the last few eps have had some extremely good moments in them which you have totally ignored for some reason. While on the other hand you have mentioned every single nit pick in great detail. It doesn't make for good reading and as I see from other posters it is turning the fans who still love this show away.

Miranda wicker

Here's the thing, guys. I watch this show because I know how good it can be. Week after week I hope for that. At its best, this show is nearly unmatched in terms of storytelling, likable characters, and interesting cases. But something has happened in the writer's room this season where what we're being given is out of sync, not cohesive, and just isn't Bones' finest hours. I'm not advocating that Bones stop bringing issues to light. But I am advocating that it does so in a more balanced and less blatant manner. The writers have done it before.


i enjoyed the ep. My main *cough* complaint was if you are going to talk about Booth on a beach then sure as heck show it!!!! LOL I felt like someone give me a chocolate wrapper minus the chocolate. ;D Haaaaa!


@jon: In my post I was referring to episodes up to and including "Atheists suxxxez", my bad if it looked like it also concerned this episode too. I only said how I felt about the eighth season so far. And sorry, I'm not here to spoil the fun. I read this review because I was just curious if it was worth tuning in again. The reviewer said it wasn't.
Then people said it was wrong to criticize the show for being heavy handed, because it always has been. And what's wrong with it if it is.
It's not wrong, but IMHO the show has changed into something I don't enjoy anymore. So that's that.

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Bones Season 8 Episode 18 Quotes

Bones: I always enjoy learning something.
Booth: Well, how about learning how to have fun, Bones?

Booth: We haven't been away since Christine was born.
Bones: I have.
Booth: You were running away from the police.