Bones Review: Bucket List

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For a few scenes tonight, it seemed like Bones might go Breaking Bad on us with the story of a principal who masqueraded as a criminal after office hours. But nope.He was just a dying man who used his impending expiration to be an inspiration to those seeking to do more with their lives.

And, hey, if he made a few bucks doing it and could set his wife and kids up and right some wrongs? Cool.

It's sort of hard to believe that a show that deals with death and murder each week hasn't had an episode about a bucket list yet. Better this season than never, right? "The Lady on the List" featured the team contemplating all the things they might do before they die.

The Bucket List

Now that Pelant is finally out of the way, thank the TV gods, Booth and Brennan can get back to being the couple we've come to known and love. This installment was full of their witty but serious-toned banter as they went about planning their wedding. 

Booth wants pigs in a blanket at the reception. Brennan wants to get married in a church because she knows how much that means to Booth. Both of them agree that the wedding will be completely theirs and free of outside influence. 

They were happy. It was good.

What makes them perfect for each other is the ways in which they're opposites, and their bucket lists, or Brennan's lack of a bucket list, helps illustrate that point. 

While both of them have traveled, Brennan has traveled in pursuit of her own happiness and education. She's had her own adventures, and while they may differ from Booth's idea of adventures, they've been hers. Booth has things like "travel to outer space" on his bucket list. Brennan's list is complete because she has Booth and Christine. There's nothing more she wants from life. Except a Nobel prize.

I haven't always been the biggest fan of the revisionist history of Brennan's character, and if I dwell on it too much, I won't like it right now either. But something about the picture of the dress and her empty list but full life worked for me. A little. (A lot?)

Here's a girl who was "normal." She dreamed of her wedding and what her life would be like and then her life forked and she became a person she didn't realize she could be. Cold, analytical, meticulous. Slowly, Booth has brought the girl she was forward so that she's more of a whole person than before they met.

It's a nice transition that didn't need a weird near-death encounter with her mother's spirit in order to happen, but it's a new side to this character just the same. She's more friendly and personable and Oliver Wells is a good reminder of what Brennan could have become.

Oliver is, in Angela's words, a douche. (You can read more of Angela's words of wisdom on the Bones quotes page.) He spares no one's feelings in saying whatever springs to mind and sees everyone as beneath him. He has no sense of cordiality or being a team player. It's no wonder he has no friends, you know? Brennan could have been that had her life not forked once again when she met Angela and was partnered with Booth.

Behind Wendell, Oliver might be my second favorite squint of only because of his bristling nature that keeps the team on their toes.

It feels worth noting that Sweets appears to be back in the FBI's employ full time after asking to complete his leave of absence just two weeks ago. It seemed easy enough to think that he had come back strictly for the Pelant case last week, but no, he's back. So the youths go un-counseled now, I guess.

I had a brief moment of wondering just what would happen if Sweets were replaced by VAL full time and realized it would probably look something like Almost Human and decided I'll just wait for the latter series to debut. RIP, VAL.

Random flotsam from tonight worth mentioning:

  • Chuck Liddell as Chuck Liddell: An item on the deceased principal's bucket list? Punch Chuck Liddell in the face. Seems legit.
  • Angela forgives Booth: In a conversation with Brennan, Angela admits she should've trusted Booth. Which is only what I screamed for weeks over here.
  • Face-off: So far in 5 episodes, Cam has ripped the face off of two corpses. Maybe 3 if she de-faced the body from last week. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? Did they learn a new special effects trick and decide to do it as many times as possible? And the sound effects? Shudder.
  • One of the coolest things I did in a high school Biology class was dissect an owl pellet. Inside I found and reassembled part of a mouse skeleton. All that to say I'm Team Hodgins on the disgusting-awesome factor of the hawk rangle.
  • Of COURSE Hodgins wants to be shot out of a cannon. Of course he does. Because who doesn't really? (Me. And Cam.)
What did you think of "The Lady on the List"? Are you ready for next week's wedding? What's on your bucket list?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (152 Votes)

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


I am just Happy this Wedding is going to happen. I don't like Oliver he's a real Douche Bag.


Spot on Keith and Miranda about the retconning of Brennan. The mom-ghost and now the wedding dress *rme*. And Brennan called Booth a 'good man' again. Maybe that should be the tagline for the show now. At least the wedding is finally happening so can get it over with and move on. Brennan doing something for Booth's happiness isn't anything new so that is understandable though I had hoped the writers would finally bring back 'old Booth', the romantic one who used to look at her with stars in his eyes. We have only seen glimpses of him these past three seasons. Wells is okay. Brennan shooting him down and Hodgins' reaction? Gold! And I love Angela so that whole 'shd've trusted Booth thing' was BS imo.


Im glad that oliver is back, hes like a Sheldon Cooper of antrophology.
Another weird version of Brennan.
VAL is useful, at least they should put it as Sweets subordinate jeje
The romance thing is secondary for me.


This is turning out to be a great season so far. I've loved every episode and I really enjoyed this one too. It kind of reminded me of some older episodes from season 6 and before. Although he’s not one of my favorites squinterns the scenes with Oliver were funny and I loved how much he reminded me of Brennan during season 2 and she showed how much she has grown by letting him know his behavior was unacceptable. I really like the ending scene as well very cute Booth and Brennan moment


I disagree with the revisionist criticism. In the first season's Christmas episode, we discover that Brennan saved her Christmas gifts from her parents the first year they disappeared. So why is it far fetched to think she would cling to other childhood dreams such as the bridal dress? Brennan has always been someone deeply affected by her parents disappearance. Perhaps it is that childhood trauma that shaped her personality and scientific pursuits. As a fifteen-year-old she lost trust in her emotions and elected to trust only the empirical. Over the years Booth has helped her re-discover those emotions and trust in them.


I really enjoyed this episode and I think it's perfectly acceptable that we fans are learning "new" aspects of the characters' lives we didn't know-Brennan having the photo of the wedding dress since childhood, for instance. (I also liked the episode when she "met" her mother while having an out of body experience when she was shot). I'm enjoying this season immensely and look forward to the wedding episode next week!


Typo: in previous post meant "3-Wheeler." @Miranda Wicker - I didn't like the mother-ghost episode or revising her story to, in my mind, make her more mundane and less exceptional. Besides, I always found it much more fun (and even thoughtful) for Brennan to be discovering people and human moments (through Booth and the supporting cast), rather than say she knew/experienced all that and rejected it consciously and is slowly re-accepting it. Grumble-grumble ...

Miranda wicker

@Keith Vlasak--I definitely agree with you that the notion that Brennan would hold onto a photo from when she was 8 was forced sentimentality. Brennan wouldn't have done that. Had she told Angela that while cleaning out a box of stuff Max brought her, she found the magazine page, sure, I would've bought it. But that she actively kept it? No. Not for a million years would Brennan have done that. But that's part of the revisionist history of the character which I despise and tried to stay away from in this review lest it cloud the entire episode (and next weeks' wedding, which I've had the pleasure of seeing already).


We are all raised in some culture, which is different from not just country to country but town to town, family to family, & generation to generation. It's a stretch to imagine a little American girl from only 20 years ago (although not 50+ years ago) would keep a picture of a wedding dress -- so no doubt a sentimental gimmick to make a point about how broadly one might define bucket lists -- but there was long ago such a "Little House on the Prairie" concept as girls having "hope chests." I do remember a long ago Leonard Pitts column when he was disappointed that his 2 year old daughter, her age when he and his wife picked out a 2-Wheeler with her, was concerned that the one she liked was for girls & not boys (when he couldn't figure where that came from already in a 2 year old)! Just saying there are influences on all of us that we embrace, overcome, or pass by & think about (television if nothing else).

Miranda wicker

And I personally wouldn't say that Booth brought out the "real" woman in Brennan. Of course I wouldn't. That's crap. But he HAS brought out a different side of her. He has caused her to change her views on life and relationships and love. THAT has happened. It doesn't make her any more or less a "real" woman. It just makes her a different person from when this all started.

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Bones Season 9 Episode 5 Quotes

Sweets: So I'm comparing character traits of rock climbers and their psychosocial...
Booth: Great.
Sweets: You don't want to hear it?
Booth: I get it. Psycho socials are like dances, you know, in the loony bin.

Brennan: I do dislike it when other people tell me what to do.
Booth: See, now there's the Bones that I love!