I've been letting the Bones episodes stack up because now that I've gotten rid of my AT&T U-Verse TV package (it got too expensive) I don't get to see the episodes when they first air. I have to catch them online. So I just watched a couple more episodes.
I'd like to clarify a bit. I personally don't think Hodgins is a jerk husband. He's been through a hellish experience, he desperately wants to walk again, and he probably feels less than himself these days, which is causing him to lash out at the people he cares about, especially Angela. That all makes sense to me, as painful as it has been to see him be so cruel to his wife.
HOWEVER... I don't think the story as presented by the writers is giving us all this information. TJ is the one giving it to us through his wonderful work with the character. But with apparent edits to the episodes (which TJ has mentioned on Twitter) and the lack of SHOWING us enough of what HODGINS is actually going through, I feel like all we're getting is "Hodgins is being a jerk to his wife." WE as fans know differently, but I feel like the WRITING isn't showing more of Hodgins' struggle in depth. We've seen that in multiple conversations in which Brennan or Cam ask Angela why she's letting him talk to her that way, that it's wrong and he's being a jerk, and she apologizes for him because she knows he's going through a hard time. But to me that's all talk. That's telling us rather than showing us Hodgins' point of view. So all we get is Hodgins seemingly behaving like a jerk. We don't get to see the next scene, where he'd go when he leaves the room, how he's feeling, and we certainly don't see anyone reaching out to him. They're all reaching out to Angela. How can all these people be his friends and we see not a single scene in which any one of them reaches out to him? Even if they start by saying, "I know you're going through a hard time, please stop pushing us all away." Even if he can't hear that yet, even if he keeps pushing them away, I'd still like to see someone TRY. But until this episode we've had not a single scene like that. So it feels suddenly rushed to me, like they're not putting the effort into showing enough of what Hodgins is going through.
In this episode, for example, I feel like there was way too much going on. There didn't need to be four stories. We had Booth & Brennan's hearing because she punched that one guy; the case itself; Aubrey and what's-her-name, and Jack and Angela. With all of the attention spread out like that, it's difficult for the writing to spend enough time on any one part of it and give it the justice it deserves.
In the case of the Hodgins/Angela/paralysis storyline, TJ has done a wonderful job with it, but I don't know that I like the way the writers have approached it.
I feel that what has been presented has been more about Angela's pain, and not Hodgins'. I feel like we've seen her struggle more than we've seen his. I feel like we've seen him be angry and insensitive (understandably so in some ways, given what I assume to be his inner struggle with being paralyzed and not being the man he thinks he needs to be for Angela anymore and not being able to verbalize that in any other way than with bitterness). But I feel like instead of focusing on HODGINS and his struggle, we've seen it more from Angela's point of view, and I haven't loved that. It's great to see Michaela get something meaty (some of my favorite season 1 episodes involve her character, such as in Skull in the Desert or Graft in the Girl), and Michaela did a lovely job in this episode, but...
I just don't feel satisfied with what feels like a one-sided approach to the story. I feel like it's been too much "off screen" when it comes to Hodgins' actual struggle. And instead we've only gotten these brief snippets of him being rude to her, and us seeing Angela struggling instead of us getting to see Hodgins when he leaves that room. We don't see his side of things. Instead we see hers. I want to see both, but I especially want to see his side, given that it's his body and how hard that must be.
If I weren't familiar with the show already, if I weren't already a fan of TJ and of Hodgins, I might not sympathize with him because I would feel like we haven't seen his side. Until this episode, we've only been shown him as if he's angry and being cruel.
As much of a relief as it was to have it finally happen, I'm just not sure that moment between Hodgins and Angela was earned. I wanted to see more of Hodgins' struggle to get to this point. I mean, for crying out loud, he and Angela said more emotionally in one scene at the end of Aliens in a Spaceship than he has been able to show in all these weeks. Not because TJ hasn't been showing what he can, but because I think the writing isn't honoring all the work he's putting in. They're not writing for his character. They're writing for the relationship or for Angela.
I also am not sure some of this anger they've shown is in the spirit of the character. Yes, he's had anger issues; yes, he used to snap that green rubber band; yes, he used to fight against authority. But never in any of that has he been vicious to the point of verbal abuse. I can see him snapping at people, I can see him telling them to leave him alone, I can see him saying shut up or that they don't f***ing understand what he's going through. But I can't see him dismissing anyone's intelligence or treating Angela like her job is pointless. And NO ONE says anything to him in that moment? All these bold women and no one speaks up? And we don't see ANYONE have a conversation with Hodgins?
The only thing that felt like Hodgins was when he saw Angela crying, in their bed, and he softened. Because THAT is Hodgins. He cannot ignore someone else's pain, not when it's right in front of his face like that.
Hodgins may be angry and bitter about being paralyzed, and I can see him snapping at people or being sarcastic in his frustration, but he's not clueless or insensitive to the point where he would be that cruel to his own wife, see her hurt and keep going with the viciousness. He's not that kind of mean. There is a vast difference between his usual brand of sarcasm or standing up for what is right and being angry about the state of the world versus the disrespect and cruelty that he displayed in these past episodes.
And while TJ played it well, it's not right for the character. I feel (as they sometimes do with many things throughout the series) like they're trying to force some sort of Moment or create drama when they had enough drama without forcing their characters out of character in the process. There was plenty for TJ to be able to do, given the stress and difficulty of such a loss and drastic change in Hodgins' life. To pile onto that by forcing his character to be vicious and cruel when Hodgins is not that... I just don't buy it.
I mean, like I said above, I could see him snapping and snarking and being frustrated and being mad because they couldn't possibly understand how difficult it must be to go through such a change after all those years being able to walk and maneuver through life and now not being able to do that anymore, and I can even see being insensitive because you're frustrated. Telling someone to leave you alone or mind your own business or even tell them to [word not allowed] off because they don't understand what you're going through and you don't believe it's going to "get better" anytime soon and you want to wallow for a while. But being as vicious as he was to Angela, denigrating her work, her abilities, everything about her, that's not Hodgins.
And while it's awesome for Michaela to get something to do, I feel like once again, the focus becomes about her and her pain, and the writers just writing Hodgins like he's the jerk in all this. Which I suppose he was, given how they wrote him, but I hate that they didn't spend time with him in HIS pain. Both Angela and Hodgins are going through stuff, but I feel like his pain and struggle got pushed to "off screen" and the focus became simply on a few episodes of him being mean to Angela and us seeing Angela getting the sympathy and the hugs and comfort and the discussion and the real time spent.
To not have ANYONE have an in-depth conversation with Hodgins just seems criminal to me, and once again, a waste of TJ's talent. I appreciated Brennan finally hinting at a conversation with Hodgins, but I didn't like the formality of it -- her calling him Dr. Hodgins in the same breath as saying he was her friend felt off - why didn't she try to reach him by actually calling him Jack? Haven't they been through enough over the years for her to be informal in a moment that requires it? This is another example of how I feel like the writers jockey back and forth with their characterization of Brennan. In one episode (or in the case of the early seasons, an entire season) she can be shown to have great compassion and care for her friends and for the victims she examines. But in the next episode, especially in these later seasons, they've got her acting all robotic because the situation warrants it (or the writers force it that way in an attempt at humor). This conversation was a long time coming between Brennan and Jack, but I feel like the writers aren't honoring the years of friendship involved, and everything they've been through together. These are the two people who were buried alive together. That leaves a mark and changes a relationship forever. So what's with the hyper-formalities? It didn't feel like Brennan just awkwardly trying to have a conversation about something difficult. It felt like the writers have forgotten that these two characters care and respect one another deeply.
I also kept waiting for the sit-down at the diner between Hodgins and Aubrey to become about more than just the case details, and again, it felt like another natural moment wasted.
Aubrey was the guy who pulled Hodgins down and shielded him (but also may have accidentally contributed to Hodgins' injury that ultimately caused his paralysis). I can't believe we haven't seen a conversation between the two of them at all about that in any way.
Why haven't we seen a single person talk to Hodgins with compassion, or try to give him a hug, or tell him off for pushing them all away?
Were these scenes cut? Or did the writers not bother? Either way, I feel like it's not honoring what could be an emotionally amazing storyline.
And now it seems generally resolved? The commercial for the next episode seemed to treat Hodgins like he'll be happily back to experiments. Is that it? Has this been the trial and struggle of Hodgins? Are they done now and will start moving to everyone being all, "Hodgins, I'm so glad you're feeling better / dealing with your diagnosis / back to your old self, blah blah..."?
Because I won't be happy with that. I held my tongue in general because I thought (hoped) they were building up to something. Honestly, I've been waiting for Hodgins to finally explode or break down. I've been waiting for his big moment.
But if all they were building up to was Angela's moment of explosion, and no real dialogue or explosion for Hodgins, then I really don't feel the writers have done well with this. There was more they could have done. And it certainly wasn't an honoring of what TJ can do.
I want more for our talented TJ Thyne. And for us as fans who were told this was going to be something big for him at last.
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