Hmm... what did I think of this episode?
As much as I would like to say I loved it, I can't. As you ladies have already noted, The Man in the Fallout Shelter had so much more heart (and structure to the episode). This episode, while definitely cute at times, did not achieve what it could have.
I've been mulling it over, trying to figure out what is bothering me about the Brennan/Booth connection and
the Angela/Hodgins romance lately.
For Brennan and Booth, I think the forced Christmas kiss was exactly that. Forced. And not in a cute, funny, fumbling way that flowed naturally within the storyline. Instead, the powers that be pushed a reason, which is why I think it did not work at all. I mean, look at this exchange between Brennan and Caroline:
CAROLINE: You want me to write that letter, you kiss Booth on the lips for no less than ... one steamboat, two steamboats... five steamboats.
BRENNAN: That’s blackmail.
CAROLINE: That’s correct.
BRENNAN: That’s unethical.
ME: That’s ridiculous.
There is no way that Ms. No-Nonsense Caroline, in a puckish mood or otherwise, would suggest Brennan and Booth do any such thing. In fact, I'd be more willing to believe that she'd be direct about the whole thing, if she gave a damn about the topic at all. She'd either tell the both of them to quit behaving unprofessionally -- 'straighten up and fly right' -- or she'd tell them outright that it's obvious they have feelings for each other and they should quit behaving like idiots.
Like the aforementioned X-Files Mulder/Scully kiss on New Year's Eve, forcing a kiss to happen between Booth and Brennan in this way does not make it a sexy or cherished kiss. It makes the kiss seem programmed, stuck in the script in a misguided attempt to have something 'hot' to advertise. It's definitely not romantic that way. It does not honor the characters, the work the actors have put in, nor the viewers who enjoy the relationship between those characters as it has naturally evolved. It could have been done so much better.
As for Angela and Hodgins, I think I'm starting to see the problem. At least, in my view, what is a problem.
Lately, the writers have had many cute moments between Angela and Hodgins. Very lovey-dovey, isn't he cute, isn't she adorable, kind of moments. While that sweetness has its place, it can start to feel overdone. Just as we might get annoyed when hanging out with dating friends who get too smooshy with each other in public on a regular basis, and you want to tell them to take it down a notch. *GRIN*
I'd rather not have too many toss-out lines about how cute Angela is behaving, or how sexy 'Hodgie' is, lines which seem to have no real weight behind them, lines which simply seem like the writers are trying to give the actors something to do.
I think I see more depth in these relationships when the writers give the characters
something to do, something more than standing around making light and fluffy comments about each other. I like it best when their actions and words are a natural part of the story, when their words make an impact on each other.
What I mean is ... I've been watching some older Bones episodes lately (especially as I was working on a transcription for LJ's 206_bones site), and what I noticed is that the burgeoning romance between Angela and Hodgins in those episodes had more purpose to their exchanges.
For example, in The Man in the Morgue, when Angela is upset and worried about Brennan, Hodgins talks to Angela about how Brennan wants to expand things and live a 'big life,' like Angela does. He comforts her with his words.
In The Soldier on the Grave, Angela challenges Hodgins to shut his yap long enough to see another side to things. They argued, they were mad at each other (well, Angela more so than Hodgins, heh), but it made for an interesting part of the story and showed the two of them ultimately trying to communicate with each other and resolve their differences as best they could. Fantastic connection, there.
As well, in The Blonde in the Game, there is a moment when Booth is pressuring Hodgins to come up with an answer to where the latest kidnapping victim might be held, and Hodgins is clearly tense and overwhelmed that his guess might get the girl killed. Angela shows up and encourages Hodgins, helping him to calm down and think rationally. She supports him in that moment, and we can see by the look on his face that he is incredibly grateful for that.
When approached in that manner, we can see how the characters care about each other. We can see all the ways they relate to each other, whether flirtatious, funny, angry, frustrated, teasing, or affectionate.
Those kinds of moments are part of the story in some way; therefore, they have more meaning, which is why I think they touch us emotionally. They have something to add. They have greater impact.
I understand that not every story or episode can fully incorporate every character, but I think it's really important that when the characters are
used, they have a good reason for being there. They add something special or funny or silly or moving to the scenes and the story overall. I think that's crucial. And treating them that way honors the actors, the character relationships and the stories that have been built for almost three full seasons now.