As far as Christmas episodes go Bones has produced two previous excellent ones: the first season quarantine episode was the first Bones I watched and is particularly special, whereas the season three venture had it's high moments and allowed Bones to have her first family Christmas since her parents disappeared, even though it was in a jail trailer used for conjugal visits it was still a rather touching affair. This years episode also promised to be special with the first appearance of Zooey Deschanel, Emily Deschanels real life sister playing her second cousin Margaret. It didn't disappoint.
First off with the crime, seemingly a man dressed as Santa in an attempt to rob a bank straps a bomb to himself only to blow up as Booth is about to arrest him (what is it will this show and killing Santa?). There was obviously more to this crime than meets the eye but this set up covered Booth in body bits making him and his clothes evidence. This led to the Christmas treat that all Booth and Bones shippers were looking forward to- Bones having to strip Booth of his clothes down to his underwear, most significantly and suggestively was her removing his Cocky belt buckle (at this point Booth decides he should start reciting Saints, which gave me a chuckle). Now as far as the Booth/Bones relationship goes I am not one who desires seeing them get together, in fact I'm quite happy as they are but I do enjoy these somewhat sexual moments between the two, especially when they are interrupted by those like Cam (also it is odd to think that they ever had a romantic relationship). One couple who I would like to see back together is Hodgins and Angela and it was good to see them have a 'moment' in the final scenes of the episode.
Now back to the crime it appears that a lonely man, who only has his mother in his life may have taken the advice of an anti-capitalist, anti-government radio station and wanted to blow a bank up, it was after the frequency of the radio station that set the bomb off. It turned out to be much more heart breaking (or heart crushing if you are Bones) than that, Holden Chevaleer had answered a work call (he was an exterminator) and instead he had the bomb strapped to him by the real criminals (who both happened to be outside the bank when the explosion happened), he was an innocent man used to rob the bank by force.
The victims mother decided to bury him on Christmas day, this is because she has no one else but him and it is when Booth and Brennan are discussing this that I got all misty eyed and this was a complete surprise to me as I was not expecting to be emotionally connected to this story. This might be because this scene comes after Angela feels bad for joking about Santa ruining Christmas and she states that sometimes they forget that there are people behind the bones- this I think is sometimes what the comedic factor of Bones as a show sometimes does to. Don't get me wrong, I love the comedic element and it is partly because of this that sets it apart from the other crime procedurals, but I also like in this case that the emotion is highlighted because it is definitely one of the more tragic cases that the Bones team have had to deal with. I also really like it when Bones is emotional about a case, the last time I recall her reacting like this was in 'The finger in the nest' when Ripley the dog is put down for having been used to kill, it is good that they reinforce the fact that she is growing as a character and that some of her emotional walls are being broken down.
The emotional barriers is perhaps a trait in the family as her second cousin Margaret (Zooey Deschanel) also seems to push people away, with her it is through Benjamin Franklin quotations rather than science. This leads to some particularly funny conversations between the two of them, and I loved when Max tells Margaret to stick to the science stuff. The problem with having Zooey Deschanel in this episode was that it felt a bit crowded and I would have liked to have seen more of her, though hopefully this means that she will be back in future episodes as it would be good to see their relationship develop.
The Christmas element of the episode focused on family, and not just the ones that you are related to. I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable episode and it definitely struck an emotional chord that I was not expecting. Prior to this episode Jamie Frevele over at the Huffington Post wrote a great piece on the improvements made in season 5 including being more emotionally attached to the stories is mentioned.
Also as a treat Fox released a mini making of which is quite fun: