Bones Review: Mommy Dearest

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I'm calling it now. Bones proposes to Booth by the end of Bones season 8. After tonight's heavy-handed set-up, if she doesn't, I will be shocked. SHOCKED, I say. 

"The Party in the Pants" featured Booth's mother returning after a 24-year absence - and absolutely nothing about the way she showed up made much sense. Booth's mother's arrival was about as contrived a plot device as they come. 

Booth's Mother Visits

After receiving a call about a case, Booth walks into his office and who should be sitting there but Mommy Dearest, all these years after walking out on Seely and his brother and leaving them - her children - with their abusive, alcoholic father and the grandfather who raised them. And Booth harbors no resentment toward his mother for walking out and leaving them behind. She was just doing what she had to do.

So he welcomes her with open arms, gives her the address to his house and practically invites her to move in. After not seeing her for 24 years. 

Everyone except for Seely thinks this is more than a little bit weird. But not Seely. He's just thrilled to have his mom back in his life. 

On the one hand, I get it. He's an adult and he understands that she left and why she felt she had to leave to save herself. On the other hand, he's a parent who would not ever think of abandoning his own children, perhaps because he was abandoned himself, but still. 

Nothing about their early interactions rang true, in part because it seemed out of character for Booth to just welcome her back so easily. 

When Brennan asked Seely's mom point blank about how hard it must have been to walk away from her children, part of me cringed at the awkwardness of the situation, but the rest of me wanted to give her a high-five for being the one to ask the question. 

How was she able to do that? And why stay away for so long? Surely she's known that her son is an adult for many years now. At any time she could've come back into his life to build a real relationship with him. But she didn't.

Finally, their conversation on the park bench gave us some real emotion from Booth. The emotions that everyone else was looking for when his mother returned. 

She was getting remarried, to a man who has two children whom she helped to raise instead of her own children, and she wants Booth to...give her away at her wedding to this man?

After not being in his life for nearly two and a half decades she wants her son about whom she knows nothing to walk her down the aisle? That does not make sense at all in the least! Who does that?

Her request served purely as a way for Brennan to discuss religion and forgiveness with Booth to the point that he would forgive his mother so that she and Booth would later show up at the wedding where Brennan would go on to catch the bouquet.

Raise your hand if you think Brennan would ever willingly stand in the throng of single ladies at a wedding reception in order to catch a bouquet.

Maybe she did it for Booth and her new mother-in-law. Maybe. But really? She did it because the writers needed to put her in a wedding situation where she would catch the bouquet and then there would be more discussions of marriage. 

Booth's mother's return was a vehicle to get Bones to talk about marriage. That's it.

And it wasn't even a good vehicle. It was some kind of jalopy of a vehicle. Broken down on the side of the highway and in need of a good towing.  If Bones and Booth get married, I'm good with that. If they don't get married, I'm good with that, too.

But can we stop forcing the conversation in ways so completely inorganic to the issue of will they or won't they? Is that something we can make happen, writers? Because that'd be fantastic.

As to the case of the week, it's always a great day when Wendell Bray shows up in the lab. Of all the squinterns, he's my favorite. He's just so normal in comparison to the others.

The case this week let the team do what they do best.

Wendell assembled some bones. Angela worked her computer magic. Hodgins studied his particulates. Cam showed off her great arms and gave some pithy one-liners.

Cam: Either rats ate the rest of his underwear or I'd say our victim was a stripper. | permalink

All in a day's work, you know? 

There were funny, if unprofessional moments, in the lab, like Hodgins pretending to strip for Angela. Hodgins and Wendell reenacting how the victim was injured was also light and fun.

I even found the fact that Brennan did a paper on stripping in graduate school to be interesting. She's never really been one to shy away from sexuality, so the fact that she not only researched and wrote a paper about stripping but also attempted it herself seemed reasonable enough.

Overall, tonight's episode, despite the contrived nature of Booth's mother's return, was middle of the pack this season. It wasn't the best episode we've had, not by a long shot, but it also wasn't the worst.

What did you think of "The Party in the Pants?" Did you think Booth's mother's return was well done or too forced?


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (148 Votes)

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


I am a huge fan of this show. I agree that this episode covered a lot of territory emotionally in 45 minutes so it does seem a bit contrived. That being said, David B. rose to the occasion as always and gave a very touching and subtle performance. When she walked out of the office and he said nothing, you could just see the lost and lonely little boy in his face. I am sure there is more to come with this story. I bet that they have him act out emotions in other ways since he can't seem to really get in touch with all that he is feeling about his mom situation. I look forward to Brennan showing how well she can help him through his stuff, after so much of him helping her. I am glad that they are allowing her character to start showing off her strength and loyalty and compassion (albeit in very Bones style!). As always I watch the show to be part of the fictional family they have created. The episodes are fun, but really secondary to my enjoyment of the human relationships and interactions between the main characters. And with that, I have to say, I have never found a TV relationship so fun, exciting, real, and balanced. They really do complete each other. And when one falls, the other is always there to catch them. And Emily and David make is seem so very believable. Love it!!!




I enjoyed this episode as I have the ones in the past.I just wished that Hank or at least Jared would has been part of the reunion.since she abandon 2 sons.I just don't get it 24 years & not even a postcard.anyway hopefully. I will see them when Bones & Booth get married maybe in season 9 or 10 fingers crossed.


I love this show, but I also felt that it didn't ring true on estranged parent-child relationships this episode. My grandmother's father, an alcoholic, left his family with nary a backward glance. Years later, when he was dying of cancer, he reached out to my grandmother, a good Christian woman. She refused to even go and see him, the memories were so bitter. So Booth's easy acceptance of his mom at the start doesn't really ring true. His later anger does, but his too easy, quick forgiveness and dancing happily at her wedding just doesn't ring true either. And after her confession that she helped raise kids who weren't even her stepchildren, and didn't even check with Pops to make sure that Seeley and Jared were doing OK, ehhh, I have a hard time with that, and with him forgiving her so quickly for years of pain and undoubted feelings of rejection. Yes, Brennan has had a greatly healing influence on him, but I really couldn't buy this one. I'm glad he forgave her, but it seemed too easy and too pat.


Too many people associate criticism with bashing. A reviewer is allowed to be be objectively critical of a show and point out flaws they see in addition to the strengths. That's their job. I think Miranda is doing a good job being honest in her critiques without being rude. She's not hate watching the show just to insult it every week. Some of the delicate flower commenters should read reviews over at The AV Club or OffColor TV to see what I mean by that.

Sue ann

Worshipful fans are not the only group for whom this web site is designed. There are many folks, including some of the reviewers, who have negative things to say about programs that some fans revere. Without criticism, nothing will ever improve. And while I am sure that the ardent fans' love for their shows is sincere, so is the disdain of those who deplore bad writing, bad plotting, bad acting, bad singing, bad dancing, or whatever other afflictions are exhibited on some of the programs covered by TVFanatic. And those who choose to read reviews and comments are entitled to do so. Surely if you wish to only associate with others who would change nothing, you could find such a web site. This is not it.


It really is sad that you really seem to dislike every episode this year. Maybe it is time to stop reviewing?


Where I'm coming from: My mother lost her mother when she was 7. Her widowed father sent her and her younger brother to live with relatives because he couldn't handle raising 2 young kids. My mother's childhood became a cycle of moving from relative to relative until she graduated from high school and went to work. Flash forward 15 years when my mother, now married and a mother herself, gets a call from some one in the extended family that her father is in the hospital, dying. My mother rushes to say good-by, not having seen him in years. Who is at the bedside but a woman and her young adult children. It turns out it is the second family of my mother's father. The fact that he could have been caring for his first children all those years was a blow from which my mother never recovered. So you see this storyline hits very close to home.


I practically rose out of my chair when the faux mother said, "Don't I deserve happiness after all these years?" (or words to that effect) when she had already acknowledged that she had been with this guy raising his kids for years. She was a manipulative and deeply flawed individual and the conviviality of that wedding and reception made me feel a little queasy.


I enjoyed this ep, one of the best of the year. It played Booth perfectly, he was open to Mom returning until he found out she was there to sooth her guilty feelings. She abandons two small boys to an abusive drunk that threw her down the stairs to find a life where she could find some happiness. Good gawd, then she raises another man's children and not contacts hers for 24 years. Booth may have forgiven her but no way he's forgotten. This story is far from done.

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Bones Season 8 Episode 22 Quotes

Cam: When did empowerment become stuffing dollar bills down a man's pants?
Bones: The 1970s. I already said that. You should pay closer attention.

Either rats ate the rest of his underwear or I'd say our victim was a stripper.