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He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother: Bones “Heiress in the Hill” Review

By on February 3, 2014
TJ Thyne as Hodgins. Co.  Cr:  Patrick McElhenney/FOX

TJ Thyne as Hodgins. Co. Cr: Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Emotional upheaval, non-prodigal generosity, self-mutilating greed, and social enlightenment.

Friday’s episode of Bones, “The Heiress in the Hill,” uses the case of a vainglorious twenty-six year old heiress to spotlight the universal struggle of avarice versus altruism, while simultaneously calling attention to the crippling disease of mental illness and providing insight into the character of several regular players. Fantastic, emotional, endearing. Classic Bonesology.

Hold on a minute. Before continuing, something must be said about two major calamities avoided this week. First, Brennan’s personality backslide from “The Master in the Slop” did not carry forward into this episode. Thank you, Bones Fairies.

Second, Booth did not succumb to Sweets’ interpretation of the sniper’s angst over Brennan’s sizeable cash advance as insinuated in the previews. “The Heiress in the Hill” put an end to the anxious-hearted Booth who twice allowed Sweets’ opinion to trump his own in matters of the heart, leaving him utterly alone and in a whole mess of hurt. #ThatIsAll

At first blush, the heavy-hitting issues in “The Heiress in the Hill” appear to be the dissolution of familial mythology by Hodgins’ discovery of an institutionalized sibling and Booth’s grapple with the magnitude of Brennan’s wealth. Upon finer inspection, however, a deeper significance emerges. The heart of the tale reveals itself through the details and, at times, what is left unsaid. Unmistakable, however, is the valiant theme of brotherhood.

Brennan (Emily Deschanel, second from L) and Booth (David Boreanaz, R) investigate the death of a young woman which may have been the result of a kidnapping.  Co.  Cr:  Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Brennan (Emily Deschanel, second from L) and Booth (David Boreanaz, R) investigate the death of a young woman which may have been the result of a kidnapping. Co. Cr: Patrick McElhenney/FOX

The episode opens with Booth finding a $75,000 advance check from Feiffer-Listman Publishing for the paperback sales of Brennan’s last novel, Bones of the Lost. Brennan asks Booth to deposit the check, but he cannot as they have yet to co-mmingle their funds. Though Brennan’s practicality prescribes joint checking accounts, it’s insinuated that Booth is the one dragging his heels on the financial front. What’s that all about?

The sober tone of Hodgins’ subplot commences when he is visited by Dr. Lawrence Rozran (Robert Picardo) from Sandlewood Home, the in-patient mental health facility that, unbeknownst to Hodgins, has been home to his secret elder brother Jeffery for nearly forty years. Gone with Hodgins’ millions is the trust fund supporting Jeffery’s care, so arrangements now must to be made for alternative and continued care. As the only living heir (other than Jeffery) the responsibility falls on Jack’s shoulders. What will he do and how does he handle the news?

The skeleton of Heiress Lauren Frank arrives at the Jeffersonian MedicoLegal lab mutilated, doused in lye, and sunk inside a slab of dirt. The game, as they say, is afoot.

Angela uncovers that the victim, daughter of Highpark Software magnate Steven Frank (John Getz) has used her father’s encryption software to schedule a series of faux-kidnap texts designed to terrorize her parents into coughing up $3 million (or was it $10 mil?) so she can escape her tortured life of opulence as a spoiled little ‘permachild’ and run off with her Spanish tutor and lover, Mauritzio Rivas (Assaf Cohen). Once identifying Lauren Frank as her own kidnapper, two questions remain: how did she die and who was her accomplice?

The squint on deck is Mr. Colin ‘We’re All Going to Die Anyway’ Fisher who, together with Brennan and the Avengers, establishes that Lauren accidentally infected herself with tetanus by cutting off her own toe with a rusty fingernail clipper–Yow!–and was dosed with an elephant load of Penicillin which sent her into an allergic seizure severe enough to fracture her palms, heels, and the back of her head. The allergic reaction and the infection, my friends, is what ended Lauren Frank. That, and her own special brand of stupidity.

Brennan (Emily Deschanel, L) and Booth (David Boreanaz, L) investigate. Co.  Cr:  Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Brennan (Emily Deschanel, L) and Booth (David Boreanaz, L) investigate. Co. Cr: Patrick McElhenney/FOX

So, who was the accomplice? None other than Buddy Coleman (Joey Capone), the dog walker from Hoofers Woofers Veterinary who, coincidentally, looks a lot like he could have been Hodgins’ baby brother. More skeletons in the Hodgins closet? No. But Coleman will certainly be hidden from view as he pays his dues to society for conspiracy to commit fraud, destruction of evidence, illegal disposal of a dead body, and anything else Booth can throw at him. The defense rests.

As the Booth-Brennan relationship has evolved, so, too, has each partner individually. Though much is said about his influence upon Brennan, not much is said about hers upon Booth. The subtleties of Booth’s metamorphosis have been overshadowed by the softening of his mate’s more blatant oddities. From the show’s inception, Booth’s saucy nature and physical allure have made his character easily lovable despite his flaws. However, under the influence of Brennan’s steadfast loyalty and love, Booth has evolved from cocky, acerbic, mildly self-absorbed lone ranger to confident, privately vulnerable, dynamic leader and partner. Agent Booth, you’ve come a long way, baby, and you have the world’s most beautiful squint to thank for it.

In “The Heiress in the Hill” Booth shrugs off Sweets’ suggestion that Brennan’s significantly larger income is emasculating. Season nine Booth is more likely to be proud of Brennan’s accomplishments than intimidated by the fruits of her labor. What did I tell you? Booth’s lack of focus on the disparity between their incomes demonstrates the degree to which Brennan’s love and indomitable faith in him have sanded away the sharp edges of the idealistic natural order of things he’s always clung to.

An alternate explanation for Booth’s malaise touches upon something more deeply ingrained in Booth’s psyche. Booth faces the realization that through marriage, he has the potential to become something he’s always despised – a person of wealth and means. What is not shown in its entirety on screen is the cathartic release Booth undergoes as he discovers that wealth needn’t be anathema; and privilege needn’t be divisive.

Unencumbered by conventional archetypes, Booth embraces the mantle of stewardship and listens to his heart (That’s always been Booth’s super power, btw), which tells him to take care of those he loves. This is what is shown on screen when Booth’s metamorphosis is furthered through his effortless delivery of his and Brennan’s offer to help Jack and Angela pay for Jeffery’s continued care. Though Hodgins doesn’t accept their help, it is clear that the couples consider each other family.

Booth proposes investing the money in The Wounded Warrior Project. As a veteran himself, Booth seeks to support the physical and mental recovery of his brothers in arms who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and combat/operational stress.

It was disappointing not to see more done in regard to Booth’s involvement with The Wounded Warrior Project and/or his own experiences as a veteran. Now that Bones has been officially renewed for a tenth season, perhaps a Booth-centric episode will materialize to fill this gap. By the way, did you notice that Lauren Frank’s remains were found at Antietam Battlefield Park where The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History occurred? Brothers in arms, I tell you.

Though the discovery of Hodgins’ parents’ deception was a mind-numbing shock for the entomologist, the scripted reaction powerfully portrayed by TJ Thyne elevated the experience from tragic to transformative. Bones rejected the hackneyed trope of the disenfranchised, simpleminded sibling versus the outraged, privileged one. In its stead, they offered unmitigated grace in the message that it is never to late to love.

Amazingly, not once was Jack Hodgins angry with his parents (who were obviously very loving to both of their sons) or resentful towards his brother. In regard to dismay over not having known of Jeffery’s existence before, Jack’s only concern was that he hadn’t had the opportunity to love the guy.

Finally, through Jonno Roberts’ portrayal of Jeffery Hodgins, a man who suffers from psychitzoaffective disorder, and through the continuing character development of recurring squint, Mr. Colin Fischer, endearingly played by Joel David Moore, Bones makes it clear that mental illness is as real as any other life altering disease.

Jeffery was portrayed as bright, creatively gifted, and engaging; harmless to himself and others. One can imagine many compelling discussions between the Hodgins boys once Jack learns how to manage their interactions without incident.

In the development of Fischer’s character, the brilliant scientist who has never allowed his bouts with mental illness to define him, we see a functioning member of society who benefits the world with his expertise. His words about medical and (we can assume) pharmaceutical support were inspiring—Sometimes the looney bin is the right place to be, and I was grateful for it—and enlightening—Sometimes people look at you in there like you’d done something wrong rather than just having a disease. 

Whether the mental disorder is a lifelong ailment like schizoaffective affective or bipolar disorder, an occasional bout or chronic clinical depression, or a situational and ongoing battle with PTSD, they are each as genuine and legitimate as diabetes and arthritis. Their wounded are deserving of our respect.

Bones’ principled message in this episode can perhaps be best described in the words of the 1969 song by The Hollys:

‘The road is long with many a winding turn, no burden is he to bear, we’ll get there,  for I’m strong enough to carry him. His welfare is my concern. He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother … ‘

Be he a blood relative, a brother in arms, a fellow neighbor, or your best friend’s husband … his welfare is your concern. This was Bones’ message in “The Heiress in the Hill.”

Bones returns in March with new episodes.


  1. Amanda Hansen

    February 3, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    This review is beautiful and perceptive, intelligent and to the point. I love the fact that Catherine can give us in one paragraph the way we feel about what B&B are learning together as a couple, and how Hodgins and Angela handle the problems present in their lives. WE also see how Fisher is growing, learning, and enlightening all. This review was so perfect in it’s written form that those who may never have watched the series “BONES” would know from this reading what really BONES is about.

    The understanding of the characters has enabled Catherine to get to the heart of Booth’s growth and allows us to see him through new eyes. Brennan’s influence on him is measurable, and she herself learns to open up more as she learns from Booth.

    The social problems that BONES tackles are always done in a way that makes us want to do something more. Fisher’s character allows us to really understand that and I for one am glad Catherine was able to help
    all of us see that. The storyline of Hodgins having a brother is really adding depth to Hodgins and Angelas life together.

    Thanks for the outstanding review. It was truly a wonderful look at my favorite show.

    • Catherine Cabanela

      February 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Amanda! : )

  2. myrnama

    February 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Hey Catherine, OMG what a beautiful review! Yes, I did get the reference of Antietam Battlefield Park & the Wounded Warrior Project! Wow, don’t the Bones writers seamlessly bring pertinent social & health issues to the attention of the viewers!!
    This was a tearful episode for me; the revelation that Hodgins had an unknown brother & the fact that the Lauren character was so desperate to get away from her current family life is SO sad to me!!
    (In some of my genealogy research, I discovered that my Father had a brother who died at the age of eight or ten! NOWHERE in any conversations with my Father or in letters to other overseas family members, was this sibling mentioned! It surely was a great shock to me, not to say sad that I never ever knew about the existence of this Uncle!) So when this episode revealed the existence of a brother for Hodgins; but who had lived most of his life in an institution, it brought back those memories I had of my lack of knowledge of an Uncle, who, too, was probably institutionalized!

    Tears flowed for me in this episode, several times & I agree that Brennan’s character was back on the track of the evolution of her softer, more generous side; not so stiff as the previous episode portrayed or previously throughout the whole history of the show, period!! An episode that really stands out to me was the “Blackout in the Blizzard” where they were stuck in Booth’s elevator talking about how to have a relationship. I think they are portraying that achievement now when I see Brennan as much more happy & contented & confident in their relationship! I love how so many times they show their love for one another, just by a look or a smile or a gesture!! I doesn’t have to be in any great sexual scene, but just by hints of it!!
    Hodgins scenes with his brother were just wonderful, TJ Thyne is so expressive with emotions! His eyes become more bright & moist with every word he speaks! I absolutely loved the last scene where Jack & Jeffrey were reciting from Jules Vern: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea together!! Fischer was so good to share his insights with Hodgins of his experiences & lessons from his time in the “looney bin.”
    Over all a great episode & a great review Catherine, kudos to you! You capture the essence of every episode you wright with brilliant insights & your exploration of the events & stories that make up each episode. You make the reader want to re-watch the episode to see what they might have missed that you pointed out in your review! I’d say, too, that the writers on Bones, have stepped up the story telling in a significant way!!! Can’t wait till Season 10; that is so cool to say, Season 10!!!!
    Again, excellent review, keep up the good work!!

    • Catherine Cabanela

      February 3, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      You are very kind … I calls em as I sees em, and you know that, Myrna. IT was a moving episode for many with lots to catch. Keep Lovin’ Bones!


  3. myrnama

    February 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Oooops & in all that comment above, I forgot to say: At the end of the episode hubby says “What great writing!!” I knew that…Season 10, Baby!! 😀

  4. Vonnie Miller

    February 3, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    I hope you don’t feel like I am not being sincere when I say once again great review, because it was a great review. It really helps when the writer Dean Lopata gives such an awesome script, and great actors give life to the words. I think that is what I love about Bones great writing is just that, but it takes on a life of its own when a great cast breathes life to the words. Bones casting is great for guest stars, and the casting of Jeffery was amazing I am looking forward to seeing him come back. #adedicatedfan @greatvonnie50

  5. Catherine Cabanela

    February 3, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    THanks Sweetie! This bodes well for future episodes throughout the next 25 or so. And we do not at all suspect you are being insincere! You didn’t have to comment, yet you took the time. We, I, appreciate that more than you know!

    Cheers, BONES FAN!


  6. mossadninja

    February 4, 2014 at 2:38 am

    Every time I have a favorite review of yours, you raise the roof higher and higher. In regards to Booth and matters of the heart, Sweets misses the mark( remember what Sweetd assumptions were when Booth thought Brennan was unhappy about the way she looked) The word ’emasculated’ is one of his favorite words to use when trying to define Booth’s feelings. Deep down I think Sweets is the one who feels emasculated… Lol. Any who, that TJ! He does emotional so well..a guaranteed way to just cry your stresses away for the moment….One of the lighter moments ‘The Super Ball’ and how about Brennan being the very supportive one in regards to the finances. In the past she’s made no bones about the difference in wages. It’s nice to see the changes of both these characters. Fisher was spectacular ( he was the one to get his fellow Squints talk about 9/11 in the ep “The Patriot in Purgatory”…There is so much more…but you my friend are increíble!

    • Catherine Cabanela

      February 4, 2014 at 5:10 am

      The thing is … Bones doesn’t see financial compensation as a reflection of the intrinsic value of an individual’s life. Even in the past she’s been this way. If you listen to the tone of her voice, she says things in a guileless, factual manner. So glad you enjoyed the episode as much as I did. And the review! Thanks for commenting, as aways!\



      • mossadninja

        February 4, 2014 at 10:18 pm

        Brennan is a very logical person indeed i didnt mean to imply otherwise that’s why I liked the way that they had her use logic in regards to the financial situation… It’s different than how she’s expressed it in the past

  7. Poirot

    February 4, 2014 at 4:27 am

    What a lovely, lovely review. I agreed with everything you wrote. Thank you.

    I loved the call out to Antietam Battlefield, a place I have visited several times, as well as the mention of the Wounded Warriors Project. I would also love to see a Booth centric episode next season, perhaps dealing with the pain and anxiety he suffers from as a result of his military service. If they do it I can only hope that Dean Lopata writes the episode — he has a deft feel for the characters (particularly Booth and Brennan) that I don’t observe in the other writers.

    Wonderful resolution to the whole Booth/Brennan money issue, and I too am glad to see that Booth has matured enough to disregard Sweets very poor personal advice. People who say that Brennan is the only one who has grown and changed are very far off the mark…Booth has matured far beyond the brash, cocky guy that he was in the earlier seasons.

    I didn’t cry until the last scene, but that just broke me. T.J.Thyne and the actor playing the brother were beautiful in that scene, and it was heart-wrenching. All in all this will be one of my top five favorite Bones episodes.

    • Catherine Cabanela

      February 4, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      The show has done a good job of demonstrating character growth all over the place! Thank you so much for commenting. Please come back for the next review in March!



  8. Diane

    February 5, 2014 at 2:07 am

    Great review. I always look forward to reading your review. Such a keen insight into our beloved show. You bring out points that I miss.

    Cannot wait until March 10.


    • Catherine Cabanela

      February 6, 2014 at 3:24 am

      THanks, Diane. *wink*


      • Diane

        February 8, 2014 at 12:06 am

        OMGoodness I just saw that Dean Lopota tweeted you on your Screenspy article. Congrats…and apparently he read the entire article as his comment was regarding the end of the article. I think they read all the reviews and for you to get that tweet, he agreed with you. Screenspy must be so proud to have you writing for them.
        Can’t wait till March 10.


        • Jennifer Griffin

          February 10, 2014 at 10:15 am

          Hi Diane,

          ScreenSpy is equally proud of all of our writers. While we’re happy that actors, directors, writers (and other people associated with the shows we cover here on ScreenSpy) regularly tweet, comment, email and hop on the phone with us, our sense of appreciation goes first and foremost to our regular readers who make what we do possible.

          At heart, our writers are critics, and as such inherently understand the futility behind courting retweets and twitter comments from the industry. We don’t exist for that purpose. Instead we stand apart from it in order to maintain a sense of perspective and produce a better editorial.

          Check some other recent reviews from similarly great writers like Lisa Casas, Anastasia Klimchynskaya, Abbey white or Erin Resnik who not only write for some very well known online magazines, but are quoted by the Industry weekly. You’ll find sharp writing, an unwavering eye and the ability to hold a TV show up to the light regardless of which TV Network, official Twitter or actor quoted them last.

          Jennifer Griffin Editor, ScreenSpy.

          • Diane

            February 11, 2014 at 12:17 am

            LOL! In my best Brennan voice “I don’t know what that means”. I am a Bones FANatic, I am not a fanatic of any other show at this time so I haven’t read reviews of your other writers. Nothing personal, if I run up on something I will be happy to take your suggestion and read their work. I follow and read everything Bones.

            Sorry if I stepped on your toes. Happy Bones days ahead.


          • Jennifer Griffin

            February 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm

            No toes stepped on here. Promise. I read (with interest) your last comment on the industry, twitter etc. and our feelings about our writers here at screen spy and thought it would be the decent thing to explain how it works from our end. Hope you’re not offended.:)

          • Catherine Cabanela

            February 11, 2014 at 7:31 pm

            Diane – Thanks for your comment! Jen is absolutely correct. While it is lovely to find that our articles may be read by people involved in a production, our goal is to provide engaging content to viewers like yourself. It can be challenging to find fault in programming we find enjoyable, but no program is perfect and what fun would that be anyway? LOL!

            If someone with a large following, celeb or not, passes on that we’re a worthy read, that is lovely because it helps us reach more viewers. And for that we are grateful, but our main goal is to provide a fair and balanced representation of what we observed in the show.

            You readers are our superstars, as far as we’re concerned!

            See you in March when both BONES and Revenge return. : )


          • Jennifer Griffin

            February 11, 2014 at 9:12 pm

            Well said Catherine. We love you!! xxx

  9. Jessie Lynn

    February 7, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    I loved this episode! Thank god the real Brennan showed up! I’m not king to repeat all the previous posts.. But great review!!

    • Catherine Cabanela

      February 7, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      You got that right! Thanks for commenting … see you in March!


  10. Julie SBXMomX

    February 7, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I enjoyed this episode a lot. Really liked to see Brennan & Booth more back in character to where she is today in S9. I agree that I really think they have helped each other evolve in a positive way. They feed off each other and being together accents and helps bring out their more positive natures. I believe that Booth has grown & matured over the years just as much as Brennan has and was good to see that in this episode. Good to see him embrace the positives that he and Brennan can do with the wealth. Charities thrive off the caring hearts of people who have the means to support good causes. Booth seeing the positive that their family financial position can provide to their good friends, if needed, or to special causes like Wounded Warrior projects and choosing to use the check to help them shows just how much this couple has come since S1. Brennan has always had a giving heart to her favorite charities. Good to see Booth realizing the positives to “wealthy” and using it. Also, was good seeing them stand together in their causes as a strong couple.

    Hodgins and Angela had excellent performances this week too. TJ did an excellent job at displaying his character’s emotions. Fisher showed a lot of strength and support this week with his character too. They are really playing well on the Interns characters this season. However, I will be glad to see them get back to the basic core of B&B working the cases together – which to me is the glue of the show.

    Overall, the themes of this episode where well defined and played out.

    Great review Catherine. I always enjoy reading your reviews and seeing your insight. You are great at pointing out areas I had may have missed or not interrupted the way you did. Thanks for your reviews!

    While we have a long break to next new episode on Monday, March 10 it is great to hear we are definitely having a Season 10. Thanks to all the Bones fans for continuing to support Bones. Without the fans watching we would not have a S10. And thanks to all the hard work of the cast and crew for providing us with such quality entertainment week after week. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us the rest of S9 and what you come up with for us in S10+. I know I will be watching.

    • Catherine Cabanela

      February 7, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      It is a pleasure to read your comments, Julie. Thank you so much for commenting. Yes, having a tenth season to look forward will most likely allow viewers a little relaxation over another hiatus!



  11. myrnama

    February 7, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Hey Catherine, I loved your review of “Heiress in the Hill!” You NEVER FAIL to find all of the good bits of EACH of the BONES episodes!! SO MANY TIMES you put thoughts in your reviews that I may not have ever even thought about!!! You ALWAYS write in such a way that makes we immediately go back to the episode & view it again; then taking into account the points you’ve brought up that I didn’t see or hear! Thanks, again for your very SPOT ON review of “Heiress in the Hill!” This is an episode that is right up there with the best of Season 9!! We are so luck to have a Season 10 to look forward to! I am looking forward to what Stephan Nathan will be doing on his own; altho, I sure he will not be truly on his own!!!
    Catherine, keep up the good reviewing…look forward to March 10th review!
    Good job, Myrna

    • Catherine Cabanela

      February 7, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      Hey there! Thank you so much for your kind words about the review. It was an excellent episode … and how exciting to have another season!

      Keep Lovin’ Bones


  12. renee

    February 7, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Having BONES withdrawal today since there’s no new episode tonight. So…had to re-read your review of last Friday’s episode. This ep really made me think and has been ruminating all week.

    Hodgins brought tears…and Fisher’s real, heartfelt conversation with him was genuinely enlightening when he said how grateful Hodgins’ brother would be, just knowing Jack was there and interested in him. (*note to self on the seemingly ‘little’ things)

    Think your review here, Catherine, captured the essence of the storyline SO well. Enjoy reading your excellent! quality of writing and insights. Especially for this week, on how Brennan and Booth’s relationship is evolving based on love and trust…beautiful…

    And this description of Booth was mind-blowing-right on to me: “Booth’s saucy nature and physical allure have made his character easily lovable despite his flaws. However, under the influence of Brennan’s steadfast loyalty and love, Booth has evolved from cocky, acerbic, mildly self-absorbed lone ranger to confident, privately vulnerable, dynamic leader and partner.” . . . wow!

    Anyone else get a kick out of how casual Brennan was with a $75,000 check?? 😀

    Also, being the type of person who can get caught up in the “whys” of life (to detriment), seeing Hodgin’s character in this ep was courageous…he chose to focus on loving his brother and what was important.

    Thanks, Catherine, for the heart of Bones 🙂

    • Catherine Cabanela

      February 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      I completely forgot about Fischer telling Hodgins how lucky Jeffery would be – like winning the lottery. That is so true. It’s fun to review a tenured show where the characters are at a point where their development means so much to the viewers because of their known past and the development to date.

      THanks so much for commenting. IT makes my job easier to know ppl are out there interested in prolonging the viewing experience by reading our reviews!


  13. renee

    February 7, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Also, learn new words reading your reviews…like “pulchritude” 😉

    • Catherine Cabanela

      February 8, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Last night’s episode had “adumbrative.” It was the mechanized profiler Booth was forced to try out in comparison to Sweets!

  14. Mary

    February 12, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you for a great review. Love your insights especially in regard to Booth’s growth. Your writing is as amazing as the #Bones writers.