Review's going down in a numbered chronological list based off my bare-bones notes, because there is just no other way to deal with it all. The only thing I'll say up front is that the worst thing that could possibly happen to this show is Hodgins and Angela breaking up, and as long as that doesn't happen, nothing they come up with can (permanently) emotionally destroy me.
1. I think the first ten minutes or so were rather clumsily stitched onto the Gormagon plot - I stand by my belief that they didn't originally plan Wannabe in the Weeds as their penultimate, and so the whole Booth-getting-shot storyline got waaaaay condensed. Actually, when it opened, the scene seemed so surreal that at first I thought this was a dream sequence. Then when it continued all the way to the funeral, I was going "ASLDJFALSKDF WTF FLAIL WHY DO I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS." How could you just go from fading out on a shooting scene to him being dead?
Then I remembered Booth was due to appear in an honor guard uniform at some point, about two seconds before I actually saw him and realized the whole thing was a fake-out, and relaxed. Brennan slugging him across the face may have been even greater than shooting Pam in the throat last time. Getting a right violent streak there.
Still, what I'm saying is that I feel cheated out of a hospital vigil and/or an episode devoted to waiting with bated breath for him to pull through. You set up so much, and didn't deliver!
2. That's when I reminded myself that I'd been ordered not to get my hopes up in any way. But then again, I was pretty sure why, because my accidental spoiling had produced a Futon Critic cast list for the subsequent episode that did not include Eric Millegan's name. Between that and the comments, I was able to conclude right there, with 93% certainty, that Zack was going to end up being Gormogon's apprentice. It was a bit of a blow, especially as I realized that Zack's hair hasn't been *that* bad lately, and after all - it's a bit devastating to just take one of the Squints away like that. Mostly, though, this meant that Sweets wasn't the apprentice, and that ticked me off because the one thing I've been clinging to all year was hope that the idiot would be kicked out after the finale. Apparently, is not the case.
Still, I'm really not that attached to him, and with ironically Zack-like detachment, I noted "Hm. That's interesting." Then I was able to spend the first half of the episode watching his reactions to everything, and snickering "He's eeeeevil!" and "He's going to be betray you all so bad. And it will be awesome."
3. "Wait, Bones broke into *my* bathroom, and I'm weird for being naked?!"
Said bathroom scene was hilarious, but what I found far greater than Booth wearing a beer hat was the fact that he later had a rubber ducky perched on his knee. Also, for all its levity, I did like the more serious tone on "I took a bullet for you!"
4. Zack & Hodgins simultaneously chorusing "We want to do one of our experiments" was great, although when did Zack become the Undisputed King of the Lab? How did I miss that?
5. WHOA HOLY HELL. I knew it was coming, and yet was totally unprepared to see Zack blow up. I mean, from "explosion in the lab," I was thinking Greg-Sanders-goes-through-a-glass-window.
6. Hospital scene #1 - Greatest Thing Ever. Between Hodgins touching his shoulder and petting his hair (see, I told you, Zack is like 12), and Angela's "We love you" and Brennan kissing his forehead, I was melting all over the place.
7. There was a 7% margin of error in my spoiler speculations, but even so, I flatly refused to believe Hodgins could be the guilty party. There was absolutely no shadow of doubt in my mind (OK, maybe a teeny-tiny bit when he was incessantly pushing the pain-meds button, and it looked like he was trying to shut Zack up before he could incriminate him). Besides, it was just kind of sad and heartbreaking to watch him bring results in to Cam with that quiet hurt & bitterness.
8. I think I deserve a second number to explain how disappointed I was when they blamed Sweets way too early in the episode for it to be him. Still, got a good laugh out of Booth & Brennan ganging up to have him locked away for a few days.
9. Hospital scene #2 - New Greatest Thing Ever. Godddd, it did my heart so many worlds of good to have Hodgins wake Angela up with a sneaky kiss to the cheek, followed by a proper kiss. SQUEE! Rewind x10. Even though I still miss the former's season-2 hair, they are so adorable together I can completely overlook it. What with Zack looking 12, by the way, I loved how much they reminded me of parents here.
10. Even being sure it was coming, it was still a bit horrible to actually watch them realize that Zack did it. I feel like my reaction is maybe going to be the opposite of fandom's, whereby when it happened I was "meh" but the more days pass and I let it sink in, the more I realize that this really sucks and breaks my heart. I don't want to believe Zack is capable of stabbing someone in the heart! I don't want to think of him locked up in a psychiatric facility, hands all permanently destroyed! Did I mention I don't want to think he is capable of stabbing someone in the heart?
11. The fact that he risked everything to avoid hurting Hodgins, I think, is really where the title comes from. You're going along, thinking you can handle this, you can deal with it - you can deal with him being an emotionless sociopath (or its equivalent), you can! And then that tidbit pops up and it SUCKS.
12. Hospital scene #3 - saddest thing ever. Between Brennan resting her forehead against his in a more maternal gesture than anything she managed with the baby, and the tears running down his cheeks, the Hodgins/Angela hug, I was lost. But then they had to tack on that final shot, with Zack alone in the room and everyone staring sadly through the windows, like he was a beloved pet dog scheduled to be euthanized after biting someone (actually, I think that's a pretty accurate comparison).
I think that's what sucks the most - that he wasn't cold-blooded and evil about it, he had a twisted rationale in his mind that he was doing good. And now it's slowly sinking in that he made the biggest mistake of his life, and it's hard to watch. *sniffles* Are you sure this can't turn out to be a Numb3rs-style "Colby is a spy, just kidding" situation?
13. Also, I call cheap tricks on Gormogon not being anyone particularly special or noteworthy. You don't get to destroy lives and break up the team by being NOBODY!
14. Almost forgot - I may have cried a little bit when they were gathered around the favorite-things box, and Brennan realized "I never gave him anything." And then it turned out he'd saved his intern-acceptance letter, which just made me cry even harder, until I barely even had any squee left over for when she dropped her head on Booth's shoulder and he leaned into her. FYI, that may be my favorite B/B interaction ever.
15. Nevertheless, excellent finale; not just better than last year's by a mile, but one of the better finales of the season. So, season 4, bring it on! I'm excited by this show again, and that's a great feeling.
Oh my God, forget everything I said yesterday about wanting her to die - that teaser was all it took to fling me all the way over into loving Wilson/Amber (see that? "Amber"! Not "Cutthroat Bitch"!). One pretend-husband story later, I'm completely and totally ready to pretend that they were married, and THAT I can deal with. Once I tell myself she's a permanent fixture, and I have no choice but to get used to her, I find it remarkably easier to do - mostly because Wilson loves her so much it's ridiculous.
That's actually part of the problem I've had with them - they were tossing around that "love" word pretty freely from the beginning there, and I was having a hard enough time seeing any sort of chemistry at all, much less believing they were in love. Even going back, I'm still not sure I can see that. But in this episode, it was raw and open and intense, and completely slayed me. They had me from the opening shot.
Speaking of that teaser, I'm pretty sure that I rewound it no fewer than six times before I could move on, just him staring numbly and stroking her hair over and over again, and the broken "Why didn't you call me?" I had no idea that this was only the very tip of the iceberg as far as the emotional beating of the house was going to go. If I had, I would have prepared myself with a lot more boxes of Kleenex. And chocolate. And alcohol. At least I had my dog to hug, and a long weekend to recover...
If Wilson weren't already far and away my favorite character, he would have won the position tonight. Between the pleading bedside vigils, the half-hysterical outbursts, raging anger, the frustrated helplessness and the overwhelming GRIEF, GRIEF, GRIEF...
Like when it finally sinks in that there is no recovery, and all he can do is say goodbye. "Wake her up to tell her that she's, that she's--" and then he completely loses it and breaks down on Cuddy's shoulder. Right about here is where I finally started crying and didn't stop for the rest of the episode. TV Squad had a minor comment war about whether you would or wouldn't wake your loved one in a case like this, but I think doing so is absolutely the right call. If you're the one making a decision, as absolutely gut-wrenching as it will be, it also gives you one last moment to remember, a good moment, something to hold onto - not just taken away without warning. If you're the one in the bed, well, wouldn't you want to give your loved one a last moment of closure? Don't you want to hear "I love you" one more time?
There is so no way I'm making it through this entry without crying again.
The whole scene with him telling her what happened pretty effectively destroyed me, and I think what really gets to me is that the subdued, broken, scared woman lying on the bed bears absolutely no resemblance to the evil bitch of episodes past. Nothing in her demeanor suggests anything about the character I know and hate; she's someone else entirely, some innocent victim. It kills me to watch her gaze trained on Wilson's face, completely open and trusting as she listens, until he says the words "hepatic failure," and I can't even describe the subtle perfection of the way we see the realization sink in. (*sobs* Flu pills, why?) "I'm dead." Observe, please: cement block, heart, sledgehammer, POW!
Damn it, here come the tears. Here, have my live program notes while I figure out how to deal with the rest:
*SOBS BUCKETS* 35 mins. [a/k/a that was literally all I could bring myself to type, as a mere reminder, while I cried my eyes out]
*SOBS EVEN HARDER* Them lying on the hospital bed! YOU GUYS, THIS IS DESTROYING ME.
No, no, I actually think it's all completely and totally Wilson! And AMBER! Whyyyyy, show, whyyyyyy?! Why are you making them all sad and noble and heartbreaky and THE SADDEST FUCKING THING I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE? It's like, I didn't think the Doctor and Rose could ever possibly have a contender for that title, AND YET HERE IT IS.
And dude! What the hell! You can't go and make 13 positive for Huntington's ON TOP OF THAT!
AHHH! And then Wilson went home to an empty bed and a scribbled note and *wails* NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE!
Yeah, I totally expect that if she'd lived, I would have gone right back to hating her the next episode, or possibly even at the end of the episode, because for a brief minute where I thought there was hope of saving her, I started typing up words of annoyance. But still.
OK, am back. I almost kind of wish Jacob recapped this show, because I would love to hear a good, deep, philosophical dissection of this whole exchange. Suffice to say that Wilson's "I love you" may be the saddest thing in all of this, a desperate attempt to salvage something good from the depths of despair, one tiny truth to cling to. It really, really does not help me that he spends the whole time stroking her hair before the forehead touch, with the tear dripping off the end of his nose and everything.
Did you think we were done with heartbreak? Oh no, we're only like halfway through the last and most depressing stage of heartbreak. Because once all the irritating New Ducklings got done with their stupid goodbyes, and we had the *real* goodbye scene - oh God. *whimpers* This is the third or fourth time I've subjected myself to it, and it still makes me cry every time. My mother has officially banned me from watching this episode anymore. I am clearly not listening.
See, every time I think I am somehow going to steel myself against Wilson's tears (wishful thinking in and of itself), I hear Amber whisper "We are always going to want just a little longer," I'm completely lost. The sight of Wilson crying shreds my soul into little tiny pieces, between the "I don't think I can do it" and the "No, it's not okay! Why are you okay with this? Why aren't you angry?", but it's that and the subsequent nearly-inaudible "That's not the last feeling I want to experience" that - *bawls*
I seriously don't even want to know how many tears I've shed in the last 24 hours.
That kiss, that last beautiful goodbye kiss, is going in my Hall of Fame right now. I don't even have a Hall of Fame for TV kisses, but I'm spontaneously creating one over this.
And then he reaches over and flips off the machines one by one, the sight of which destroys me for like the sixteenth time, and right here is where I took a 45 minute break from writing to sob into my dog's fur for a while. I returned with dry eyes, a deep breath, and a fairly level head, thinking that the worst was over and I could get through one more sad scene.
Which was clearly just stupid wishful thinking! Because I held out for maybe fifteen seconds of the utterly dejected, deflated, exhausted Wilson dragging himself into the desolately empty bedroom and collapsing without even bothering to take off his shoes, before he noticed the letter under the other pillow, and I started tearing up again. The letter kills me, not only because "Sorry I'm not here" takes on a whole new bitterly twisted level of irony, but because the note is so careless and casual, quickly scribbled on the back of a random envelope.
Well, I'm quite emotionally exhausted, how about you? Good, let's back up and catch all the other stuff that didn't fit in the Heartbreak section.
- Seriously, ew, I did not need to know that Wilson & Amber have a sex video floating around. *scrubs at brain with bleach* That clip alone reminded me why Cutthroat Bitch was a vile character, and I resumed cheering for her death until another shot of Wilson drowning in misery sobered me up.
- Know what I needed even less? Dream!CTB crawling all over House's lap with the dry humping. *vomits*
+ I am so glad that House & Amber weren't having a 1-night stand. So, so, so glad.
+ I called "sherry" being relevant to a name rather than the alcohol. That's about as far as I got with clues this time, but still.
- So "Kutner" isn't an Indian name? Really can't say I was aware of that, and hence did not question how he came by it. And his parents were shot to death when he was little? Still feel no sympathy whatsoever.
- Why is it that the first time we hear the lyrics that accompany the theme song's music, it's a really crappy cover version in a male voice? FAIL. "Teardrop" is a really gorgeous song, in the version proper, but that was hideous.
+ HO-HO-HO! Interesting worlds of choices and priorities here. "You think I should risk my life to save Amber's." Wilson's like "Lemme think about that...yep."
+ Is that...is that a tear running down House's face? It is! OK, one hundred points of win for House actually crying as he tells Wilson he's sorry.
+ Wilson standing outside House's door just long enough to see that he's alive, and then walking away. This is brilliant. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out. Right now I think I'm going to go ahead and blame House too. I mean, it's not directly his fault that she died, but it's also because of him that she's dead. It's not an entirely rational decision, but right now I'm raw and hurting, and I can see this feeling sinking in and taking hold. The fact that House blames himself too doesn't make it any harder to bear the grudge. I am going to need a long time - say, a summer hiatus - to start dealing with this.
+ ORIGINAL DUCKLINGS FTW. Or, well, Chase FTW, and the rest of that sentiment is mostly pleasure over "not Taub" and "not Kutner," but still.
- Did I mention the serious fail for making 13 positive with Huntington's?! That's cruel and unusual punishment for me, the fan.
+ Cuddy curled up asleep in a chair by House's bed! Holding his hand! That, good show, is one thousand points of win, even though by this point I was pretty much beyond caring about anything that wasn't Wilson and/or crying.
IN CONCLUSION: This is hands-down the best episode not only of the season, but of the series to date. No contest.
And now I'm going to bed, because that was emotional hell and I'm totally going to watch it all over again tomorrow.