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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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (148 Votes)

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


Dear Reviewer,
Just FYI its Seeley, not Seely.


You need to rewatch eps if you think it is not in Booths character to welcome his mother back into the fold when they first met. He always took Jared back into life even when he was a total jerk to Booth and took advantage of him. But he did that cos "nothing trumps family". Those are Booths own words, his pov which is canon. So knowing that is Booths pov and that he forgives way too easily, imo, of course he would embrace his mothers return, who he has talked fondly off. .And quite frankly it makes your harsh and know it all pov on what an abuse victim would or not do even more off putting. IMO


Plausible? Not particularly, but it is fiction, after all. The series has been interrupted so often this season that it has been a little hard to pick it up each time. But we have seen Brennan changing to a different sort of person as she has new experiences. That is supposed to happen. Her views of marriage as a way of life are colored by all the dysfunctional unions she has known. As far as I'm concerned, she and Booth are married in everything but the paperwork. I was surprised to see her in the group of single women; I would have thought she would sit that out. But if she was there, she had to catch the bouquet. (I caught one once, and it was another six years before I got married, so don't tell me about the tradition...) Where is Max? I expected to see him here. (He put in a short appearance in the episode where Brennan is visited by the spirit of her mother.)


If you miss your Bones from years ago then go and watch your DVDS or whateva. This is S8 of a tv show, and things change. Suck it up and stop whinning. Or better yet, go find a show that meets your high expectations and let the Bones fans who do enjoy the current season do so without this weekly whinefest. .the constant whinning and bitching is getting on my last nerve. I welcome constructive cristizm but this reviewer wouldn't be able to that in a month of Sundays....its more like; whine whine I want this to happen, that character wouldnt do that whine whine whine, how dare they do that plot without asking my permission whine whine whine. BORING


But it DOES fit in with Booths character welcoming and forgiving his mother. BOOTH "NOTHING TRUMPS FAMILY" that is Booth at his core. The few times he told stories about his mom they were told with warmth and a fond memory. The meatloaf story and the his mom learning him to dance. It was obvious that Booth held his mom and her memory near his heart and if he ever saw her again he would welcome having a mother again.


TV Fanatic reviews are intended to be objective criticism. It's not a fan recap site to blow sunshine up the a%%es of the showrunners. If that's what you're looking for, there are enough sites on the internet that provide that.

Miranda wicker

@Dr. Phage--YES! I was coming here to defend my position, but you've done it for me with exactly the same words I would've used. This season has gotten...anvilicious. Week after week after week it's as if we're thought to be idiots who can't figure things out through subtlety. Bones used to be a show written with subtlety. Not anymore. It's sad to see what it was and what it has become. As for my lack of understanding of domestic violence and abused children, don't assume, please. You don't know me. I understand that some children/adults in this situation may react as he did at first (overjoyed, happy to be reunited) but it doesn't fit with THIS character. The one we've been following for 8 years now. Just because one person would react that way doesn't mean everyone will.


I enjoyed the episode. The killer was a surprise (I was expecting it to be his boss), and the Mom subplot was interesting, if a little rushed. I can see how Booth would have welcomed his mother back with no perceived hard feelings. He likely thought he'd dealt with those issues when he was helping Bones accept her father back in her life. And then comes the believable bump in the road that proves that he really didn't deal with them. Rebuilding relationships takes work. The "I want you to give me away" bit was awkward, but at least it wasn't "I have a terminal illness" or "I want to manipulate you into doing something shady." It was surprising that Bones was with the other women at the bouquet toss. I expected her to be back next to Booth and catch it from there.


I agree with the reviewer 100% here. It's not that we are bashing the story lines the are attempting and saying that they aren't good ideas (who's going to bash a child tumor story?), but it's the heavy handed way in which they are presented that is bad. It seems the writers are unable to be subtle and let us figure out what they are trying to get across - instead they have to best us over the head with it and that makes it not a good vehicle for the point they were trying to get across. I still watch the show, hoping that it will get back to quality story lines (I'm thinking of the one this season about the 9/11 vet victim), but week in and week out, this season has overall been a big disappointment. Especially since we are promised a Pelant return, but little to no mention of him to keep the story progressing at a logical pace? Sigh, I miss my Bones of a few years ago...


DAVID WAS JUST PHENOMENAL I was heartbroken for Booth as an abuse child and a grown man whose built up dreams of a mom shattered by the reality of a Mama Booth that was unlikeable and emotionally manipulative. They have so much more to explore with this relationship. He may have forgiven Mama Booth. But is the reawaken feelings of pain and abandonment forgotten? No way!!!! Bring on S9. FANTASTIC EPISODE

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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.