TV Review: Bones (Part II)

Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched Bones.

Be still my beating heart.

I’m loving Bones. If you missed it, I previously wrote about jumping into the first season of Bones. Since then, I’m nearly half-way through the second season now. I basically spent the first 18 hours of 2021 watching Bones, and quite frankly, I have zero regrets.

The first season took a second to warm up for me, but I’m fully on board with the two main characters now, Temperance “Bones” Brennan (played by Emily Deschanel) and Seeley Booth (played by David Boreanaz), and even the side characters of Angela Montenegro (played by Michaela Conlin), Dr. Zack Addy (played by Eric Millegan), and Dr. Jack Hodges (played by T.J. Thyne) have really grown on me. I’m at the stage where I can’t see Deschanel and Boreanaz, and really the whole cast for that matter, as anything other than their characters. They’ve finally settled into what those characters are and embodied them fully.

I will say, I am bummed that after the first season, Dr. Daniel Goodman (played by Jonathan Adams), who was the administrator for the Jeffersonian Institute, was replaced by Dr. Camille Saroyan (played by Tamara Taylor), who is basically in that same role. The Saroyan character is great, too, albeit a bit rocky at first with the heavy-handed, “I’m from Brooklyn,” gimmick, but Adams played the Dr. Goodman character so well. He was like the adult in the room, and it fit the dynamic. But supposedly, show-runner, Hart Hanson, thought the Saroyan character would be a better fit. I think she works, too, but there was nothing wrong with the Dr. Goodman character, either.

So, I’m conflicted. On one hand, one of my gripes with shows like this is that the genius, braniac scientist goes into the field and thus, into danger. There is absolutely no reason for Bones to be accompanying Booth into the field, and I find it unlikely that that would happen in real life. Maybe to the crime scene, but not to bust down doors and catch suspects. But on the other hand, I think the reason the first season started a little slow for me — other than the obvious reason that any show takes some time to get into its groove; that’s just natural — was that it seemed like there wasn’t much action. Booth and Bones weren’t ever roughing it up with suspects or in any real danger. Well, boy, that sure changed as the first season continued and now mid-way through the second season.

One of the best episodes on that front was Episode 15, “Two Bodies in the Lab.” It shocked the crap out of me. So, there were two threads going on in this episode involving a mob boss’ remains and a murder victim of a serial killer. Those two threads end up overlapping, and someone starts targeting Bones. Fortunately for Bones, Booth was there and took a blast from her rigged-to-explode refrigerator. Then Bones was in real danger when a dirty FBI agent turned out to be the suspect and Booth had to save her. There were some good episodes before that one, but I think Episode 15 is when they had me.

They also introduced and developed two long-term storylines, which I always appreciate when the procedurals do that. First, the one that’s been sitting subtly behind the show the entire run, which is that Bones’ parents disappeared and she doesn’t know why. We learn more about her brother, Russ, and that her parents were actually notorious bank robbers who assumed new identities. All of that leads to some good action and good emotional scenes. That’s something that’s a welcome surprise of the show is how willing it is to lean on those dramatic dialogue moments. And they feel real. Second, the storyline of Howard Epps, a serial killer. He ended up escaping and coming after Bones. That had a satisfying conclusion, where of course they stopped Epps, but it’s especially noteworthy for the aftermath. We get a guest appearance from the lovely and wonderful Stephen Fry, who plays a psychiatrist that Booth must go to in order to be cleared to return to FBI duty. About half that episode is dialogue between the two, and honestly, I could have watched a few more hours of it. It’s that good.

One aside item I’ll note is that it’s curious how I feel like the show was rather blunt about addressing some hot button issues, mainly the death penalty and the Iraq War, and from where I’m sitting, the show seemed to push the pro-death penalty and pro-Iraq War messages, but that just could be my biases. It didn’t bother me because both sides were being argued, but I was surprised they addressed those issues so forthrightly.

Overall, I’m totally bought in on Bones. The characters have great chemistry and do feel like a real team, but also there is a surprising amount of real human connection underlining everything. And plus, it’s funny how they try to make Bones out to be an alien trying to learn that human connection.

Like I said before, if you’re looking for a fun, cool show to dig into that isn’t necessarily your typical deep prestige show, give this one a whirl. You’ll get sucked up into it. Procedurals are popular for a reason: The formula works.

My peeps.

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