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  • Acceptable Targets: It would seem as though no one in England has even heard of a decent cup of coffee.
  • Adorkable:
    • Dr. Zack Addy is utterly precious when he goes on about forensics or gets confused about human interactions or pop culture references. Fans dig him.
    • Vincent Nigel-Murray charmed even Brennan. His enthusiastic reciting of facts earned him the spot of "favorite intern" with the fans.
    • Whether it's the film Excalibur or the latest theory of his profession, Sweets is adorable when he gushes. Plus he sees Bones and Booth as substitute parents which is somthign the audience finds endearing.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • Angela's dad. His revenge on Hodgins is to get him drunk, tattoo him with Angela's face on his arm, then leave him in the desert. The fact is, he could have done far worse things, though getting him drunk and leaving him out in the desert is not good, the tattoo... is he secretly an Angela/Hodgins Shipper on Deck and thought the break up would be temporary?
    • Gravedigger expert Mason Vega. It's hard to reach a consensus on whether Booth is right that he's an opportunist a little too fixated on the infallibility of his target, or genuinely dedicated to catching the Gravedigger and saving the victims and happens to catch Booth on a bad day where he wants to lash out.
    • Every now and then there's an episode where the killer doesn't outright confess and the evidence isn't strong enough to make it completely certain that the team is right.
      • In The Man in the Mud the suspects lawyer points out that the murder weapon was a common tool lying around a crowded area that the accused woman could have just touched innocently (similarly to how another suspect in that episode left DNA evidence on the victim while giving him a friendly hug). And while she does seem to be starting to confess about the Accidental Murder of the second victim, that could have simply been an innocent statement of grief and protest.
      • In The Diamond in the Rough Booth jumps on the suspect they arrest more out of a gut feeling about the motive than any actual evidence, and although he does say "I did it for us," at the end the Gilligan Cut of the Perp Walk might cause just a little doubt that it was the murder he was talking about or mistakenly thought his girlfriend might be guilty (she was sabotaging the victim but didn't seem to have been the killer based on the investigation) and was Taking the Heat for her.
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    • When Booth faked his death did Sweets really keep quiet about it just to research Brennan's reaction or was it for genuine security reasons? Brennan certainly thinks the former when she punches him and calls him out on it, but a major point of the series is how bad Brennan can be about reading people and their motives, and Sweets didn't outright say she was right.
    • For one about how evil a one-time villain was in The Source in the Sludge was Derek Johansen recruited by the terorrists out of discontent after being unable to re-enlsit in the army due to mental trauma from the bombing of a prison he was guarding, which allowed several prisoners to escape? Or was he bribed into committing treason before that While serving at that prison, and perhaps even an accomplice in that bombing?
    • In-Universe in "The Man in the Bear" Bones is left to wonder if the killer started cannibalizing people because he was insane, or became a cannibal For the Evulz and becomes insane as a result of prion disease as a result of the cannibalism, with there being no medical way to prove which came first, the insanity or the killing.
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  • Anvilicious: "The Tiger in the Tale" and Brennan's outrage about exotic pets and dislike of zoos. Emily Deschanel is a known animal rights advocate so also possible Author Avatar.
  • Arc Fatigue: Pelant. He appeared in the middle of season 7 and was only caught early in season 9, being around for far longer than any other recurring serial killers. The writers really seemed to like him, as they put a Diabolus ex Machina at the end of the Season 8 premiere for the sole purpose for having him hanging above the team's heads for another season. Many fans accused him of being a Creator's Pet, and rejoiced when he finally was killed by Booth.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Zack Addy. Early on in season 4 he reveals to Sweets that his killing of the lobbyist was only Metaphorically True, and he hadn't actually committed the murder. This makes Zack's only crime being an accessory to murder.
    • After Pelant coming in between the engaged Booth and Brennan in the Season 8 finale ignited fans' rage, the writers decided to quickly wrap up the plotline, killing off Pelant in episode 4, and having Booth and Brennan tie the knot in episode 6.
  • Awesome Music: "Running Up that Hill" from Judas on a Pole is a hauntingly fitting accompaniment to Max burning the body of a man who tried to kill his daughter and leaving it where it will be found in order to scare away anyone else who wants her dead.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Pelant. Either he's one of the best and most dangerous Big Bads ever on the show, or he got way too much screentime and was treated as a nigh-omniscient force. There's plenty of room for both sides to make an argument.
    • Sweets to an extent for being a jerk with his experiment in "The Pain In The Heart" though he had far more fans than detractors by the time he died.
  • Badass Decay: In the first couple of seasons Brennan is presented as a capable and skilled martial artist. This seems to have been abandoned in later seasons, noticeable in "Harbingers in the Fountain" where an untrained doctor clumsily wielding a simple scalpel is more than a match for her.
    • In Season 7's The Warrior in the Wuss, she provides some significant information about Karate, and just about any self-defense instructor will tell a student that just because someone is untrained doesn't mean they're not a significant threat, especially if they're armed and/or highly motivated. Even in the first episode, she was perfectly willing to shoot a guy threatening to burn both of them to death instead of trying to subdue him.
    • She's back to taking out three guys at once in the season 6 opening, so this is likely a case of Depending on the Writer.
  • Complete Monster:
    • The Gravedigger, true identity Heather Taffet, is a dark cross between a Serial Killer and a serial kidnapper. Taffet's modus operandi is to sneak up on victims, knock them out with a custom-made stun gun, and bury them in a hidden container with 24 hours of air; either the ransom is paid, or the victims die. The Gravedigger's introduced doing this on Dr. Brennan—not because Brennan is a threat, but just because. Taffet also traps Dr. Hodgins at the same time, cutting the available air to around 12 hours, just because he witnessed the kidnapping. When reappearing, Taffet then tries to similarly bury Booth alive to destroy evidence, plus tries to kill Brennan and Booth again. Taffet also kills a private investigator with a stun gun because the former thinks that there's a chance that said investigator might find her in the future. Several of the other victims are also sought, with the cruel circumstances behind them all played up. In the end, Taffet admits to just enjoying killing people and the effects that Buried Alive has on victims; the ransom money was immaterial.
    • Seasons 7-9: Christopher Pelant is a genius hacker and a brutal Serial Killer. His first murders his guidance counselor after forging a recommendation for him to go to Stanford. In his adult life he was under house arrest for hacking The Pentagon; he later escapes and retaliates against the government with a new killing spree. Always one step ahead of the Jeffersonian team, Pelant is not afraid of using brutal tactics against them, and proudly takes responsibility for his actions. Pelant would later frame Brennan for the murder of a friend and pulls strings to keep her friends from interfering. In a later appearance, he forces Hodgins to forfeit all his money or else he'll destroy a girls' school in Afghanistan with a military drone. He also cripples and later kills FBI agent Flynn, and brainwashes a girl into killing three FBI agents. When he develops an intellectual infatuation with Brennan, he coerces Booth into calling off their wedding, and not to tell her why, or else he'll continue to kill innocent people. When finally cornered in his hiding spot, Pelant takes to holding Brennan at gunpoint in a last desperate attempt to win. Intellectual, egotistical, controlling and vindictive, Pelant proves to be a dangerous enemy to the Jeffersonian team with his love for playing people like pawns, and killing those in his way.
  • Crazy Is Cool: Angela's dad. Let's list the things he's done.
    • After Hodgins and Angela broke up, he got Hodgins drunk, gave him a tattoo of Angela, and left him in the desert.
    • He asked Hodgins to retrieve the car he lost in a poker game from the bikers who took it.
    • He insisted that Hodgins and Angela had to name their baby Staccato Mamba. When Hodgins refused, he got Hodgins drunk and gave him a tattoo of himself (imagine having a tattoo of your wife on one shoulder and her father on the other), as a way of congratulating him on standing up to his father in law.
  • Creator's Pet: Pelant. The writers really seemed to enjoy writing him, as they used at least one Ass Pull just to keep him one step ahead of the Jeffersonian team.note  Fans however got annoyed at Pelant being built up into an overpowered Invincible Villain. He was given the role as the main antagonist of two season finales, and other characters were also very quick to call Pelant brilliant and even say that he's smarter than them. It wasn't until season 9 that his arc finally ended, and that didn't stop him from showing up posthumously over and over throughout the following arc. He even showed up in the next few landmark episodes—an honor they wouldn't extend to Sweets.
  • Critic-Proof: This show was, in the words of the crew, FOX's "little show that could". Many critics and reviewers brushed it off as yet another procedural (completely ignoring that it's more character-centric than others), FOX themselves walked a thin line between "taking it from granted" and "forgot it existed", also going on to move it all over the schedule. ...And yet, despite never really getting much recognition, the show found an extremely loyal audience that helped it survive for 246 episodes over 12 seasons.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • In The Twist in the Twister, it's clear little to no research was done on severe storms. To start with, when a body is discovered to have been deposited by a tornado, the investigators completely neglect to check the path and rating of the tornado. Worse, the storm chasers themselves are grossly incompetent, with their leader stating that a mesocyclone in an already developed supercell is only just forming, when in fact a tornado is mere moments away from touching down. One character—who happens to be in the third trimester of pregnancy at the time—drives into the tornado and makes it without a scratch because she didn't touch the funnel itself. Finally, minor debris strewn across unmoved and otherwise unhurt vehicles leads the storm chasers to conclude that the tornado was at least an EF4. Oh, and how does one get a full rainbow against a clear blue sky instead of a retreating thunderstorm, anyway?
    • Possibly a case of Reality Is Unrealistic; in the episode The Bullet in the Brain, Bones mentions that Booth holds the world record for longest confirmed sniper kill at around a kilometer (she says it was slightly less, he says it was more). In real life, there have been no less than ten confirmed sniper kills at more than a kilometer, several at twice that range, and every one of them was made years before the episode aired.
    • In The Passenger in the Oven, one of the old ladies who reads a lot of murder mysteries and is generally portrayed as being a reasonably well-informed amateur detective claims that most murder victims are women. This is not even remotely close to the case: male victims outnumber female victims by a factor of 3 or so (although it varies slightly by jurisdiction).
      • Also in that episode is the jurisdiction thing. They would actually have likely lost jurisdiction on entering Chinese airspace, not on landing.
    • See Narm for more on this. The Norwegian in the episode Mayhem on a Cross is clearly not written by someone who knows the language very well, and is seemingly more English put into Google Translate. There are more than enough Norwegians in the business, or you know ONLINE, they could've asked for help. Even the Norwegian actor in the scene!
    • Someone in the writers' room clearly doesn't understand how corporations and money actually work. In The Corpse on the Canopy, Pelant drains all the bank accounts containing the $4.6 billion dollars accumulated by the Cantilever Group, leading to its collapse and leaving Hodgins broke. Aside from the fact that it makes no sense that all that money would all be in the same place, ready to be drained by Pelant just like that (this is probably an instance of Hollywood Hacking), there's absolutely no reason Hodgins couldn't reverse Pelant's work. It's not like the money was given to Pelant in the form of cold, hard cash; it's just an electronic record that says that the money was taken out of those accounts. All Hodgins would have to do is call his bank and say, "I did not authorize those transactions. Put it back." Actually, the bank would probably look askance at a rich man (also the sole heir to the third largest private corporation in the US), for no reason whatsoever, giving all his wealth to some random investment account, and would seek verification of some kind. Also, an extremely large corporation suddenly going bankrupt just like that would trigger much bigger consequences that just "Oh, Hodgins has to live by his salary now". For example, it's stated that a large chunk of the funding for the Jeffersonian comes from the Group, but no mention of funding issues is ever made.
    • The description of Wicca in "The Witch in the Wardrobe" is constructed from one part horror movies and five parts horse-hockey. There are shelves of books on Wicca in any bookstore, but apparently it was just easier to portray a real-life religion as a bunch of loony Goths.
    • In the episode The Baker in the Bits, Hodgins identifies the murder weapon as a 'Northern Indian ritualistic slaughter knife' and Brennan shows Booth the picture of a knife with an outward curve. Booth misidentifies the weapon as a kukri — which has an inward curve. He also says he saw it in Afghanistan. Kukris are from Nepal and are in common use at all levels of society.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Billy Gibbons (Angela's father) forcing Hodgins to get a tattoo of her and then leaving him in the middle of the desert. Good thing he lived. And this is after promising Angela that he won't seek revenge. And then he does it again, this time because Hodgins refuses to let him name the baby something ridiculous.
  • Die for Our Ship: Sully. Fans loved killing him and sinking his boat while he dated Brennan.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Dr. Gordon Gordon Wyatt. An overall polite and nice guy who just happens to be played by Stephen Fry.
    • All of the Squinterns are immensely popular with at least some fans, but Wendell and Vincent are probably the most universally loved of the bunch.
    • Ill Girl Amy Cullen might have only been in one episode, but the tragedy of her situation and her tender interactions with Angela make her a well-remembered guest star.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some fans prefer to think the Sleepy Hollow crossover didn't happen, or at least is non-canon to the Bones universe. Not necessarily because it was bad, but because of confusion regarding Shared Universes and the clash of tones and styles between the two shows (one being all about science, the other being all about the supernatural). If the two shows do indeed share a universe; the entirety of Brennan's skepticism around the supernatural is thrown out the window, with magic and spirits all being 100% real. In its regular episodes, this show has only hinted at the supernatural occasionally, with things such as Avalon's powers and the ghosts of Booth's dead war buddy and Brennan's mom.
    • In the Season 9 premiere, Hodgins mentions he wanted to record Sleepy Hollow, further putting into question the crossover episode's canonicity.
  • Genius Bonus: When discussing with Booth and Sweets how they can get the murderer of a chess master to confess in "The Master in the Slop" Brennan mentions "the famous 1912 game Levitsky versus Marshall". Levitsky versus Marshall is a very famous game that Marshall won with a brilliant queen sacrifice. Furthermore, bluffing your opponent in chess by playing aggressive moves in a lost position is called a "Marshall-swindle". Both of these facts foreshadows how Brennan, Booth and Sweets get the murderer to confess: They arrest his mother for the murder.
  • Gratuitous Special Effects: A particularly egregious example occurs in at the end of an episode where Bones and Booth start shooting nerf guns at each other. The balls are clearly CGI and the actors are clearly pumping empty guns, and it rather begs the question why not just use real nerf balls and save the special effects budget?
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The episode where Booth finds his and Brennan's new house, when they're adorably gushing about how perfect it is and talking about how they can have Wendell fix it up and can plant cherry trees—and really many of their sweet home scenes in that house in later episodes—are harsher knowing that, in the Season 9 finale, three armed Delta Force agents attack Booth to silence him, and in the ensuing fight, the house gets so many holes blown into it that it comes out looking like Swiss cheese by the end. By Season 10, the family has moved into an entirely different home.
    • "The Bones on the Blue Line" had Sweets suffer PTSD from someone dying right in front of him, being faced with his own mortality. About five seasons later, he's killed in the season 10 premiere. Really, anything involving Sweets could count as this now, from his relationship with Daisy, to Bones and Booth insulting him, and treating him like he's worthless, etc.
    • Sweets wears a Star Trek red shirt costume to a sci-fi/fantasy convention in season 4. Red Shirts always die in that series. Five seasons later, he's killed off.
    • Like the above example, pretty much anything with Max is harder to watch now that he's gone. In particular, there is one episode where Brennan pretty much kicks Max out of the family for not picking up her calls because he lost his phone while taking care of baby Christine.
    • In "The Proof in the Pudding", Hodgins distracts a guard who's watching everyone in the lab closely. The guard punches Hodgins in the back and Booth says Hodgins is lucky he wasn't paralyzed for life. Season 11 makes that statement a bit harsher.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" is much funnier now that Bethesda owns Fallout.
    • "The Cinderella in the Cardboard" basically predicted Tinder.
    • Brennan is very against the idea of anything not scientific, whether it be supernatural, magic, religion, etc. ...And then they did a Crossover with Sleepy Hollow, in which the team meets a man born 200 years ago who is partnered up with a modern-day police officer. To top it all of, Brennan shows a document that no one at the Jeffersonian absolutely can explain scientifically.
  • Hollywood Homely: The Wiccans in "The Witch in the Wardrobe". Booth is repelled at seeing them naked during their ceremony but when we see them clearly in the light of day all of them are at least slightly above-average lookswise.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Many moments between Zack and Hodgins.
    • Zack and Vincent seem a bit like a bickering couple in Booth's coma dream.
    • Sweets and Vincent share a very, ehem, interesting glance at the end of "The Babe in the Bar".
  • Idiot Plot:
    • Pretty much the entire Pelant arc requires the team to be complete morons in order to work. For one thing, the team discover that Pelant can hack anything with a net connection, so what do they do? They leave the cameras, Angela's computer, and everything else the way it is. Then they leave their bank accounts untouched so Pelant can steal all their money instead of withdrawing everything they have and closing their accounts. This is just the tip of the iceberg as to the idiotic things the team has to do to keep this villain from being shot dead within 2 episodes. Worse, if the team had taken these precautions another unrelated plot arc around the same time involving Cam's identity theft couldn't have come to pass.
    • Even if you ignore that Brennan, despite being a regular expert witness, doesn't seem to know proper court procedure; doing things such as think the prosecutor is talking directly to her. "The Fury In The Jury" is a Rogue Juror plotline that takes her Insufferable Genius mentality Up to Eleven. Brennan is on the jury for a case against a major soccer star, Peter Kidman and even though the jury is unanimous in thinking Kidman murdered his wife, Brennan can't vote guilty because she has reasonable doubt and convinced everyone else to vote not guilty as well. Afterwards she has a My God, What Have I Done? and the rest of the episode is spent proving that he killed a potential witness.
    • Not the team, but the culprits in many of the cases involving accidental death. They take actions that would be considered assault at worst (such as throwing a stapler at someone's head), only for the victim to die due to either a medical condition or plain bad luck. Do any of these people call the authorities and explain, stage a mundane accident, or even just leave the body and let people assume the accident was caused by the victim's own error (as in the case of the victim who stepped back into his plane's propeller)? Nope, they dispose of the body in a variety of bizarre and gruesome ways that inevitably bring the remains to the attention of the FBI and the Jeffersonian.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Booth seemingly dying in season 3 "The Pain in the Heart".
    • The beginning of the Season 11 premiere (along with the promos for it) try to make the viewers think Booth's been murdered and the team's examining his remains. This isn't really effective, since a show like this wouldn't kill one of its two main characters eleven seasons in, not to mention that within 10 minutes, Brennan determines the remains are not Booth's.
    • Similarly, the promo for the Season 8 finale makes it seem like Pelant managed to shoot Booth.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Epps' various murders and sick games are bad enough, but you really see how twisted and evil he is in "The Man in the Cell" when he burns a fireman alive, saws his wife's head off while she's ALIVE, sends her heart to Angela, and booby-traps the decapitated head of his wife with a glass capsule containing a highly poisonous powder, which almost killed Cam.
    • Killing innocent people just because they're in the way was this for Broadsky. Killing criminals and crooks made him vaguely sympathetic, in a Max Keenan sort of way, but this seemed to cross the line. Of course, Caroline has a different opinion:
    Caroline: Man sneaks into [Booth's] house, threatens [Booth] with a gun. That's unforgivable. He should be lethally injected just for that.
    • Kovac torturing Aldo Clemens and an old lady who didn't even have a strong connection to Booth so he could find out where Booth was.
  • Narm: The birth of Booth and Brennan's baby. Slow-motion in a manger.
    • The writers kind of realized this and joked during the Paley Center interview that they thought about giving Hart Hanson, his wife, and son a walk-on part at the end of the birth scene as the "Wisemann" family.
    • "I don't know what that means." Bones having No Social Skills is one thing, but her using that same exact phrase every single time someone makes a pop culture reference got old extremely fast.
    • Knowing Norwegian and listening to the prologue dialogue of "Mayhem on a Cross" will have you laugh as it's so grammatically wrong. And "Absolutt", despite being more or less same word as "absolutely" is it not used in the same situations as English works differently. Also with Deschanel's hilariously wrong pronunciation of "skalle"(skull) which sounds more Swedish than Norwegian and her correcting the others who actually say it right, and with the police acting nothing like Norwegian police is the cherry on top, which makes it an episode hard to seriously. One can actually see the Norwegian actor wanting to say it's wrong, but not daring to.
    • "The Cinderella in the Cardboard" features a dating app designer in tears over the fact that all of the beautiful women on his app would never look twice at him due to his bad looks. The narmy part comes in that not only it the guy Hollywood Homely at worst, but Brennan tries to point out a glaring asymmetry in his facial features that — unlike most of her observations of bone structure — just isn't there.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Notably averted at least once. When Wayne Knight (who played Newman on Seinfeld) shows up, you expect him to be the killer. He wasn't.
    • When Robert Englund shows up as a high school janitor who had a thing for knives and death you figured he was the killer. Nope! Nice guy all along.
    • Played very straight with French Stewart playing a bit role as a fundamental preacher who gets shooed away by the cops in the beginning of the episode. He wasn't even in the running until The Reveal (by the characters, at least).
    • No, "Unimpressed" McKayla Maroney did not kill a rival gymnast.
  • Nausea Fuel: The entire concept of the show is about bodies that are mangled too far for regular forensic teams to analyze, so this can be considered par for nearly every episode. Most of the show's openings also involve somebody coming across a dead body that's decomposing and covered in insects, often finding it in the most disgusting way possible.
    • The "pony play" episode.
    • "The Princess and the Pear". Guess what the "pear" is. And a version is made for use further south. If it's any comfort to folks, Pears of Anguish don't actually work — they're psychological torture as the force needed to use them on either location is more than a Pear could exert. The Pear would break long before the human would.
    • "The Critic in the Cabernet". Red wine. Body. How do you think they discover it? ...EWWWW! The liquefied man was somewhere between this and Nightmare Fuel.
    • Then there's the flattened girl who is often being compared to a pizza. They even use a piece of sheet metal to pry her off the cardboard she's stuck to.
    • Then there's the person that was in used fry batter stuff... it's the usual Nausea Fuel, right? Bones says that it's not her department and walks off... and then, when they pull the body out, the skin starts falling off, the organs start slipping out, and Bones quickly returns, since it is now in her department.
    • "The Babe in the Bar": an episode with a person who drowned in the mold of a giant chocolate bar. All of the decomposition gasses were trapped in her body and liquified it. Also, they didn't find the body until after the bar was set and they had begun cutting it. Cue liquidy goo spewing out of the giant candy. Imagine if they had started eating it before they found her?
    • "The Boy in the Time Capsule" had the victim's body locked into the time capsule of his old high school. For twenty years, the body's been decomposing in an airtight, sealed space. When they open it, there's basically nothing but soup left of him.
    • "The Bullet in the Brain": Aside from the Gravedigger's head exploding and seeing her headless body, there's also the woman's body half-dissolved in lye, that Brennan and Booth find.
  • Never Live It Down: Sweets allowing Brennan to think Booth is dead for 2 weeks for reasons that basically amount to For Science! is considered to be an unforgivable act by parts of the fanbase even after he became a more clearly sympathetic member and True Companions with the others, to the point of turning Sweets into The Scrappy for some and/or having it viewed as a Moral Event Horizon.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The kid going hunting with his dad in "The Carpal in the Coy-Wolves" is pretty memorable. He'd rather be watching Project Runway than hunting with his dad, yet is more composed than his dad when they find the body of the Victim of the Week.
    • The characters from the first five minutes of "The New Tricks in the Old Dogs" are felt to be more memorable than many of the suspects from the mystery itself. First, there's the kids who discover the body while exposing toxic waste dumping and making a very long black snake firework. Then there's the Amoral Attorney who haughtily denies that the chemicals are dangerous, only to freak out and demand to be sprayed with decontamination foam (the team happily obliges) when he mistakenly thinks those chemicals have splashed on him.
  • Only the Author Can Save Them Now:
    • A villain example: Pelant surviving Boom, Headshot!. Booth's bullet manages to miss his brain stem and all other vital bits, going out through his right cheek. The worst injury he suffers from this is a discolored and blinded (but otherwise intact) right eye and maybe some missing teeth, the rest being just scarring from where he stitched his face back together. It's clear the writers saved him for the sole purpose of giving them a reason to hold off the wedding.
    • In-Universe after Bones decides to kill off Agent Andy (her Booth-inspired character) she's urged to find a way to have him survive in the next book and ultimately does so.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Pelant's [Hollywood Hacking is this in-universe. Imagine a sociopath who has complete control of any electronics and can track you no matter where you go unless you go completely off-grid, and even then he might try to hack a satellite or your car's GPS. If you get on his short list, he WILL find you, and God only knows what your fate will be. Granted, out-of-universe it becomes severe Narm to most viewers, but Pelant's mere presence in DC at the start of season 8 caused Hodgins to force everyone to forgo any form of computer electronics for the entire investigation, due to the fear of Pelant hacking them again and sabotaging the entire operation.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name:
    • Hodgela, for Hodgins and Angela.
    • Booth and Brennan are usually abbreviated to BB, but the introduction of Booth's girlfriend in season six, whose surname also starts with a B has led to a few fans crying for Teeley.
    • Also, Swaisy for Sweets and Daisy.
    • Camastoo for Cam and Arastoo.
    • There were Cam/Hodgins shippers around who used Cadgins
  • Primal Fear:
    • The Gravedigger buries their victims alive.
    • Many victims' deaths qualify as this.
      • There was one episode where they realized the victim had been stabbed in the neck. That didn't kill them. It just mostly paralyzed them so that when they were buried alive in concrete, they tried to swim to the surface with only their little finger.
      • The SERBERUS soldier Pelant killed. Bones and Cam come to the conclusion that Pelant tortured him by continuously stabbing him in the spine with needles until the extreme pain put too much stress in his heart, killing him.
  • Protagonist Title Fallacy: No, the series is not titled after the protagonist (Although it is Booth's nickname for her).
  • Replacement Scrappy: James Aubrey, the FBI agent who joins the team after Sweets' death. Initially, at least. He managed to win a large portion of the fandom over during the course of the season (though certainly not everyone). As of the Season 10 finale, he's probably more of a Base-Breaking Character.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • When Cam first joined the cast in Season 2 to replace Dr. Goodman, fan reactions to her were mixed at best. Many fans bemoaned the fact that Dr. Goodman left right after spending his character arc in Season 1 bonding with and growing closer to the rest of the team, and hated the fact that Cam was so much harsher and more strict towards Brennan than Goodman was. The fact that Cam and Booth briefly rekindled their old romance (standing in the way of the Fan-Preferred Couple) did not help. However, once Brennan and Cam became friends, the fans warmed up to her along with Brennan. Cam and Booth broke up right afterwards (but have remained good friends ever since), which finally seemed to satisfy any last animosity fans had for her.
    • Repeated interference in the lives of his patients for his own agenda which amounted to malpractice, but which somehow inspired the other characters to rave about his professional chops, made Sweets a Base-Breaking Character for years, but eventually fans got to loving him, as evidenced by general outrage and sadness when he died in the Season 10 premiere.
    • James Aubrey was almost universally disliked when he initially joined the cast as Sweets's replacement after his death in Season 10, though several fans warmed up to him over the course of Season 10, but certainly not everyone. The episode immediately after the two-part premiere deals with how Booth doesn't think much of Aubrey initially.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Aaron Paul is the comic book store owner in Season 1 episode "The Superhero in the Alley", two years before he got his big break on Breaking Bad. A later episode in the season also features Giancarlo Esposito in a guest role.
  • Seasonal Rot: While Bones arguably never got truly pronounced seasonal rot and managed to maintain relatively consistent quality and preserve most of its integrity to the very end, many fans will acknowledge some slumps in the show's history:
    • Flanderization took Bones from being somewhat a socially inept and awkward, yet intelligent and strong woman, to being basically a clueless android who has no idea on how modern society works.note  It doesn't help that which characterization's used is Depending on the Writer.
    • Thanks to the 2007 Writers' Strike, the end of Season 3 suddenly made Zack the Gormogon's apprentice without any warning whatsoever.
    • For some people, the beginning of Season 7 is this for skipping past the Bones/Booth Relationship Upgrade. After years of Will They or Won't They?, they become a couple off-screen during the Time Skip, because... baby.
    • Season 7 also introduced the Pelant arc, which went on until early into season 9. This arc was characterized largely by Hollywood Hacking, Ass Pulls, Character Shilling, and pointless melodrama, giving the impression of an Invincible Villain who existed mostly to Yank the Dog's Chain.
    • Season 10. The whole series switched showrunners, and one of their first actions? Kill off a major character who had been around since season 3. Individual episodes focused less and less on the actual discovery of the remains, to the point of occasionally skipping it outright. It also boasted a Replacement Scrappy who was very out-of-place on "The 200th in the 10th," especially given the conspicuous absences.
  • The Scrappy:
    • During her run as Booth's girlfriend (and thus, serving as an obstacle for the Fan-Preferred Couple) in Season 6, Hannah Burley became Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of the fandom. The scene that really cemented the audience's hatred of her was when she was in the hospital after being shot; when Brennan visited her, Hannah more or less demanded Brennan's sunglasses as a Get Well present, which fans found to be incredibly rude and inappropriate. To this day, she is still almost certainly the most hated character to ever appear on the show.
    • Avalon. Every time she shows up in an episode, the show (which normally espouses basing everything on cold hard science and facts and mocks the very concept of a profession like hers) suddenly starts treating it like there might actually be something to her powers, while the writers make up situations so she turns out to be right a ridiculous amount of the time and everybody who dares not believe her is either called out by her or Angela, or turns into a believer.
    • Sully became this for getting in the way of Booth and Brennan. He generated a lot of Die for Our Ship fan fiction.
    • Daisy and Oliver seem to be about equal for this among the interns. Few liked Oliver's arrogance and Jerkass tendencies; and Daisy irritated many with her talking too much and overly excited personality. Granted, Daisy *did* mature more in later seasons.
  • Shocking Moments: The Season 9 finale The Recluse in the Recliner has Booth face off against three highly-trained Delta Force agents after being brought down by a blackmailed congressman. Booth nearly dies from his injuries, the house he and Bones shared is left in pieces, and the episode ends on the note that Booth has been accused of "murdering" the agents.
  • Shocking Swerve:
    • The third season finale, with the revelation that Zack Addy, the team's awkward lab rat, had assisted a serial cannibal, with no warning whatsoever. According to the actor, the twist was basically decided at the last minute.
    • Also, the tenth season premiere, with Sweets' death. While characters have died on the show before, Sweets had been a major character for 6-7 seasons, and had plotlines second only to Booth and Brennan, not to mention being killed off in a season premiere. Plus, the twist had been kept completely under wraps until the episode actually aired.
  • Squick: Booth's handiwork on Pelant's face hits the trifecta of Squick, Body Horror, and Eye Scream: the right side of his face got completely blown open from the inside, and the right eye looks like some sort of cheap glass eye, completely blind and useless. Pelant had to triangle-stitch the wound without any anesthetic, and even after healing, the scars are still VERY visible.
  • Strawman Has a Point: In "The Brain in the Bot", an anti-robot activist tells Aubrey that people who claim to be a positive force in the world like the Victim of the Week are actually only in it for the money, and says that the episode's victim was likely selling his A.I. meant to help autistic children to make robotic weapons instead. Later on, Booth and Aubrey find out that the victim was selling his A.I., though only to make "living sex dolls", not weapons. Turns out the guy wasn't so wrong on his former point...
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some fans reacted this way to Brennan getting married and having kids. They felt it was too much like how people in real life get told they'll change their mind about marriage and family.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The writers initially seemed to be gearing up for another big Arc Villain with the Ghost Killer, with there being no consistent MO for the killings (unlike Broadsky or the Gravedigger), barely any clues on who the murderer could be (unlike Pelant, with whom the bigger problem was actually catching him), and no one but Brennan believing the serial killer even existed. Then, in The Nail in the Coffin, the writers instead took the route of The Killer Becomes the Killed, and used the Ghost Killer arc as a "bridge" to jump into the government conspiracy plotline that took up the S9 finale and the beginning of S10.
    • The plot of Hodgin's mentally ill brother, Jeffrey. It puts a heavy emotional and financial strain on Hodgins, specially in a moment where all their money was stolen by Pelant. The brother has an extreme psychological issue that makes him unable to live in society and their parents threw the boy in an institution, hiding his existence of Hodgins, but said brother is never brought up again after the episode he is introduced.
    • It might have been interesting to have an episode where Booth and Hannah went after whoever it was that shot her over her story in the subplot of The Bones that Weren't.
    • For a single episode example, the "Psychic in the Soup" could have had more of a subplot out of it being the birthday of their dead friend Sweets.
    • Many felt the final season missed a good opportunity by not utilizing Max's past and filling in more of his story. He told Brennan in season 9 that there were still people who wanted him dead and might hurt her, but no further effort was made to follow up on it, even when tying up other loose ends in season 12.
  • Toy Ship: Christine and Michael Vincent Hodgins.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Kathryn Walling, Cayla Seligman and Arianna Donas, three sixteen-year-old girls from "The Lost In The Found". Were they your stereotypical mean girls? To an extent, yes. Did they deserve to be badgered by Booth, arrested for the supposed murder of the victim, despite maintaining their innocence the entire time, without any actual probable cause to do so, and found out to have been drugged heavily enough by the victim that they completely lost several hours of time so that they would appear to be the prime suspects for her murder-which actually turned out to have been a suicide? Absolutely not. And did they get an apology from Booth after the fact? No, they didn't.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: For some viewers, Brennan's extreme literal-mindedness, I'm always right attitude, and lack of empathy and imagination gets old fast.
    • Brennan's abandonment issues with her father. This is brought up multiple times with her continuously forgiving her father only for her to be suspicious of him again the next time she sees him. While this in itself is annoying, what really makes Brennan this is that she is forced to do the same thing to Booth in the S7 finale. Not only does she not see anything wrong with her actions, she doesn't notice how hurt Booth was at losing three months with his daughter but her as well. Yet despite this, she still has the same abandonment issues with her father.
    • Also, her attitude at everyone's skepticism of the existence of The Ghost Killer. She acts as if everyone's in the wrong for not immediately going along with her belief/obsession that the serial killer is real, while ignoring there's zero evidence backing her up, when typically she doesn't believe in anything that has no evidence behind it. Also, as Booth points out, since Pelant was the one who brought up the Ghost Killer in the first place, it could've easily just been a ploy of his to make Brennan believe keeping him alive was necessary. Clark actually manages to call her out of this behavior at least twice:
      Brennan: So you don't believe me either.
      Clark: It's not about belief. It's about the evidence. You taught me that.

      Brennan: This evidence should've been linked to the Ghost Killer immediately.
      Clark: I did. I also noted the other fingers. Unless you're too arrogant to look at my findings.
    • Dr. Leon Watters from The Spark in the Park Professor Watters is depicted as a Distaff Counterpart to Brennan. He is aloof and seemingly devoid of emotion regarding his daughter. This is supposed to be a sign that he is going through Heroic BSoD, but it's made clear that he has always been a Workaholic. His Parental Neglect is so severe that she is willing to mutilate herself just to get him to notice her. Yet he can't even remember seeing her the evening she died. When you combined the ridiculous number of Red Herrings, the killer's motive comes across as Insane Troll Logic with the fact that the only thing sympathetic about him is Brennan empathizing with him. It hard to see how he's supposed to be likable.
    • While not exactly portrayed as a saint, Elizabeth Jones, the victim in The Passenger in the Oven comes across as a major Asshole Victim when you think about it. She was pushing the man she's been having an affair with to leave his wife, even though his wife was dying and had only months to live anyway, months he was trying to use to make her happy, and yet Jones was too selfish to give them that.
    • Broadsky gets portrayed as a Knight Templar with noble motivations but that's giving him too much credit. He murdered The Gravedigger when she was going to be executed anyway, and another one of his victims was a forger who'd testified against a drug lord who paid Broadsky to kill the man. Broadsky comes across as less of a man punishing the guilty and simply leaving collateral damage as he does an Ax-Crazy jerk whose Only in It for the Money and hiding behind a thin veneer of justification.
    • Booth himself can have his moments but his conduct in The Blood from the Stones is particularly uncomfortable when he flat-out tortures two suspects (in addition to refusing requests for a lawyer) in order to catch the killer of a cop who was corrupt and not squeamish about maiming people, and had victimized them more than the other way around. Booth is partially aware of this by the time he roughs around the second suspect but it doesn't stop him.
    • Another Booth moment is after he shoots an ice cream truck speaker (due to his clown phobia it turns out) and spends a while refusing to admit that this is a sign of anything wrong or that he should be kept form the field despite how outrageous and dangerous that behavior was.
    • Angela for constantly dating men only to break up with them, with her always giving a flimsy excuse, which makes her look very self centered.
  • What an Idiot!: Angela getting herself arrested for refusing to testify at Max's trial. Yes, she was "protecting" her friendship with Brennan, but it's the team's job to testify what they know whether they like it or not, and she's got her BFF's permission to testify anyways. Not to mention that her testimony (identification of the body) would've caused relatively small damage to the defense (unlike Zack's or Booth's, who testified about the murder weapon and opportunity, respectively), so ultimately she got herself locked up over barely anything.
  • The Woobie:
    • Sweets and, to a lesser extent, Zack. And if you don't feel bad for Hodgins during season 4, there's something wrong with you. Heck, Brennan herself-underneath that Insufferable Genius exterior lies a very vulnerable, fragile soul-the times when it's exposed tend to be quite sad.
    • Wendell as of Season 9. He was diagnosed with a specific strain of cancer with an extremely high mortality rate. His father died of lung cancer and wasted away the little years he had, so Wendell was not hopeful for his already minuscule chances. On top of that, to relieve the pain from his treatments, he must take medicinal marijuana. But this means that he cannot work at the Jeffersonian after Cam found out. All of this came down on a guy who was perpetually happy and all-around good-guy. Even Bones lament how it seemed like he was being unjustly punished.

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