September 18, 2012



BONES:  Monday 8PM on FOX

WHERE WE WERE:  Watching Brennan drive away, baby Christine in tow.  Temperance (Emily Deschanel) had been framed by cyberpath Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds) for the murder of an old friend, and rather than be arrested, she fled with the help of ex-con dad Max (Ryan O’Neal), leaving Booth (David Boreanaz) gaping and general chaos in her wake.

WHERE WE ARE:  3 months have passed, and the gang at the Jeffersonian is still adrift without Bones.  Intern Clark Edison (Eugene Byrd) has been temporarily promoted to take over Brennan’s job in her absence, and he’s driving everyone crazy with his obsessively-kept binders containing every detail about each case.  (It was a nice touch later on that Brennan thinks those annoying binders are a great idea.)  Luckily, Brennan has hatched a clever if far-fetched plan to catch Pelant.  She determines that he’d committed a murder while still in high school, and single-handedly finds the long-buried body thanks to some discolored vegetation (it doesn’t pay to parse the details too closely), with the idea that if she can prove he killed this victim, it’ll convince the powers that be that he framed her for the newest crime.

It doesn’t exactly require a Spoiler Alert to reveal that things work out just as planned, at least until a particularly silly last-minute twist that drags in the government of Egypt.  (It’s understandable that the show didn’t want to lose Pelant, one of its key villains, but surely there was an easier way.)  Because of the high stakes involved in this particular case, the season premiere, written by series creator Hart Hanson and Executive Producer Stephen Nathan, and directed by house director (and also EP) Ian Toynton, had less comic fizz than the show’s usual.  Since it’s relatively rare for Brennan to pit her mighty brain against someone (almost) her equal, it was also disappointing that the plot had Pelant playing defense most of the time.

As usual on BONES, though, the specifics of the plot were less important than the interplay among the characters.  There’s no more comfortable ensemble on television, as Deschanel and Boreanaz softshoe expertly each week with Michaela Conlin (Angela), T.J. Thyne (Hodgins), Tamara Taylor (Cam) and John Francis Daley (Sweets), along with the delightful recurring Patricia Belcher (Caroline).  With Brennan back in the fold, one can expect the season to pick up next week with a more typically lighthearted tone.

Bones is entering its 8th season, with ratings OK rather than great (after its move to Mondays last season, its numbers hovered in the low 2s), and the kind of budget and license fee that accompany a long-running success with yearly raises for everyone.  Creatively speaking, 4 of its 6 regular characters have paired off with each other and had children together; the show has probably reached the beginning of its end, with perhaps another couple of seasons left, depending on how FOX’s new dramas and pilot development fare.  For now, it’s still a reliable, enjoyable hour of crime and repartee, and one hopes all concerned will let it take its leave while it’s still a pleasure to watch.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."