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.


Another excellent episode. Booth was awesome, FBI and soldier shining through. I would like to see B&B have more focused arcs. I just ignore Cam and Asratoo, they just dont work for me as a couple, no chemistry, flat. Loved Radziwell and Booth they have great banter!!!!! B+ The case was thought provoking and I will take it anyday too over silly who ate the most hotdogs case in S7 like another commenter said.


Bones has never been subtle in the anvils it chooses to drop, whether it's the "lesson" of child soldiers or the "lesson" of a love life that goes beyond current societal mores and ethics.
That said, I was really drawn into the tragic storyline of this episode. I especially liked the conversation between Booth and the photographer about PTSD. Short and to the point.


@pjt how the heck would you know if the issue of the case was hammered into us? You didn't even watch the ep..... And Bones got renewed because it is on average the 2nd highest rated scripted show on FOX. Fox is a business and not a charity case that's why it doesn't renew your so called fresh shows hitting demos in the low 1.0s. .....Seriously build a bridge. You don't watch or like Bones anymore fine but quit trolling and leave the fans who do watch it be.JMHO


Wow. I'm sick and tired of finishing an episode only to come here and have every bit of enjoyment drained out of me with your reviews week after week after week. The comments don't bother me as opinions always vary except why someone would comment every week on a product they no longer watch beggars belief to a normal person! This is my problem I know so I've cancelled your link and email. Now I can get on with enjoying the show faults and all.


@pjt when you watch the show again and actually watch the ep, then your pov on the state of Bones has merit. You don't anymore, so commenting on the perceived failings of this episode that you haven't even watched is just ridic.


I kind of feel the need to respond to your review and I confess I’m a little biased to read that you are basically sort of grumble about Bones talking about a social issue, as if it’s novelty for the show, brought to us only in this 8th season. As if there’s a ill-concealed purpose of wanting to give moral instruction to its audience, using arguments of a certain weight.
Well, I confess that when I read such statements, I realize how different the opinions of two people watching the same thing can be, because it seems to me that Bones has always had this peculiarity of “going social�, to say so, from the day one.
I always read between the lines of its scripts (and loved) that the victims are not just bodies to be analyzed (CSI-style), but have a story to tell, a sign to leave. I have always appreciated that social issues in Bones had an actual weight, as if it was the sixth main character of the show.
I really believe that Bones has always had the merit to deal with such difficult matters as children soldiers without rhetoric, in a gentle way, without claiming to say “Look! characters on Bones. We have been personally affected by this and we feel so bad You Should Too!� - as you said in your article. I really don’t see in Bones any pretension of wanting to forcibly impose on the audience its point of view, I rather see the attempt to take the opportunity to make a problem known. And yes, I do believe that it is possible that something socially significant can be brought to our attention even from something as prosaic as a television show.
I mean, what’s the problem with that?
Because you are watching TV, you feel the need to stop thinking or feeling? The sensitivity to understand a specific issue it’s up to to each of us, and we all are different people, this is crystal clear, but I really can’t find any straining in what I saw. After all, Booth is indeed a soldier, and Brennan have seen things hard to forget in her professional life, and they are both parents, that’s why it seems more than plausible to me that such a problem is touching them personally and so deeply. And again, yes, this isn’t probably one of the mile stone episodes of Bones, however it is an episode that deeply contributes in making this show different from the others, and in some way, to know and realize that not everybody perceives that, it’s almost reassuring, as if only the really precious things are understood by a minority of attentive and caring viewers.


@valleria93: IMHO "bringing light to certain issues" is a good thing, but hammering it into you with a jackhammer is not. Showing you issues is not the same as wanting to change you.


Wow, didn't realize bringing light to certain issues was a bad thing, not to mention it's not like it's a new thing on the show. Bones has always been like that and I love the show for it. It's meaningful, just because you're watching TV, doesn't mean you should just be sitting and not thinking at all, just having fun. It's not about that.
Also saying "none of us" is wrong, because you can't possibly know that. While I still need more time with Arastoo and Cam, doesn't mean I don't care, I'm interested to see where it goes next.


I've actually stopped watching Bones after the "You're not a good person if you're not Catholic" episode, but that was just the last straw by then. And this got renewed while a lot of fresh shows got axed. Disappointed.


I really loved the episode and case bar Cam and her boytoy intern, who are beyond cheesy!!!. I would like to see Booth and Brennan be the focus of the episodes more now and have an arc on them. I have had my fill off the supporting characters and their weekly drama, which is my main problem with this season; B&B are the leads but have been pushed to the side a tad..... Good thing that I read spoilers cos I KNOW that Booth and B&B have some great character developments upcoming, so that is keeping me interested for the remaining of S8!!

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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.