‘Bones’ Returns With a Baby and a Manger

After yesterday’s brouhaha in comments, there was something really wonderful about having Bones to come home to after its hiatus, especially since this was the long-awaited episode when Brennan finally has her baby. I really appreciate that Bone has just become the only television show I can think of with two smart, nerdy working mothers with very young children, so I was particularly curious to see how the show handled childbirth.

The answer is with the show’s trademark silly sense of humor: after arguing about baptism, Brennan ends up giving birth, in a manger, to a daughter she and Booth name Christine Angela. But I appreciated a couple of things about the way they handled it, chief among them that Brennan didn’t get pressured into having caesarean section, which is far too often the way that shows and movies choose to amp up the drama of birth. And while I would never in a million years voluntarily give birth in a barn rather than a hospital, I do kind of appreciate that the men in the show, after trying to trick her into things, ended up deferring to her judgement about how soon she’d deliver. Brennan’s decisive retort to Sweets and Booth that “Are you the one who has to undergo wave after wave of mind-searing pain that only ends after a writhing, screaming object the size of a, a jack-o-lantern pushes its way through your vagina? When you give birth to a baby, you can make the decisions,” was delightful.

But I found myself really profoundly upset by the scene where Brennan, in pursuit of a suspect, chases him through a prison dining room on the logic that because she’s heavily knocked up, no one will hurt her. This both seems deeply illogical — the cynical old Brennan might have assumed she’s more likely to be taken hostage because she’s doubly vulnerable. I’m not sure a desperate prisoner who’d already killed one man would suddenly be reverent about a pregnant woman, and the setup revealed some weird attitudes about the sanctity of mothers that are not strictly grounded in the anthropological evidence. And reckless in a way that I thought was hugely disrespectful and hurtful to Booth. If she’d going to coparent with him, she has to respect at least some of his feelings about her and Christine’s safety. The choreography may have been funny, but the disregard for Booth’s feelings in a situation where they didn’t absolutely have to be disregarded (offer incentives to the prisoners who bring the guy in safely, why dotcha?) felt emotionally off. And I wouldn’t have minded if the episode spent a little more time exploring that recklessness, and everything else that was going on, as it prepared for this milestone.

As Buffy reminded us, there doesn’t always have to be a case, even in procedural shows. Sometimes life is a big enough mystery.