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Friday, December 10, 2010

Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr.

Adelbert Ames, Jr. was the first psychologist I studied in my PhD program in Media Ecology at New York University back in the mid-late 1970s.  I sort of think of episode 6.9 of Bones tonight as inspired by Ames, the reasons for which will become clear in a few paragraphs.

But first, what an exquisite episode 6.9 was.   It had to be - it is the episode in which Bones finally comes to terms with her loss of Booth.  Emily Deschannel gave one of her finest performances in the series.  And the plot had touches of the Odyssey - yeah, I thought it was that good, seeing what it accomplished in a hour, and how it showed us Bones' journey.

The victim is a woman a lot like Bones - a top-notch MD, her work is her life, with few personal connections.  She turns down someone who loves her.   Sound familiar?  Bones soon starts not only seeing herself in the victim, but thinking the victim literally looks and sounds like Bones in the photos and recordings the victim's left behind.

These semi-delusions are of course all vehicles via which Bones can finally allow herself to realize what she lost when she turned Booth away.   As part of the process, she and we meet "Micah" - a figment of Booth's psyche, played by Enrico Colantoni from Flashpoint (good to see him!) - a night watchman at the Jeffersonian who speaks truth to her.  Micah, and the victim not only sounding just like Booth but talking to Booth through the recordings, are the sure proof that a large part of what we're seeing in this episode are Bones' semi-illusions and warped but highly instructive perceptions.

Micah tells Bones about an experiment he heard about in a lecture, in which a scientist gives a subject glasses that make the subject see upside down, but after three days, with the glasses still on, the world rights itself (and when the glasses are taken off, the world looks upside down again - for three days).    Bones realizes that is what had been happening to her, which in turn allows her to finally get in touch with what she realizes happened with her and Booth, because of her.   These un-rose colored glasses are painful for her, and for us to see, but they're just what she needs.

The scene between Bones and Booth in the car where she says she had her chance was one of the best scenes in the series.  Heart breaking and real.

And where does Adelbert Ames, Jr. come in?  Well, it was George Stratton, near the end of the 19th century, who did the world upside down glasses experiment.  But it was Ames in the 1930s who really broke it all out about the way the brain compensates for bizarre, unreal perceptions, which I actually think is a better tag for this superb episode.  That, and I wanted to give the first theorist I studied in  my doctoral program a little well-deserved shout-out.

See also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ... Bones 6.9: Melted Bones

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ... Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ... Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution

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