Thursday, March 15, 2007

Red Tape, White Bones



Here begins my blogging of Bones, a show that, around a month ago, I had never seen an episode of. But with House's slight downshift in quality I was yearning for a new fast-and-loose procedural, and Bones has filled that gap very nicely. This episode, "Bodies in the Book", was a really nice way for the show to return after the little hiatus it's been on.

What was fun about it was that it focused primarily on the show's little meta-joke, Temperance's novels about a crime-solving forensic anthropologist named Kathy Reichs. The most recent one, which has the amusingly Grisham-esque title I quoted above, is a national bestseller, and this week the team found someone re-living the murders described in the book. I thought an even more amusing meta-running joke was having Saroyan (Tamara Taylor) critiquing the novels and the character for its formulaic structures and happy endings, which was basically like the show criticizing itself. Which was just weird, but pretty funny. Funnier still (although also a little creepy, but maybe not creepy enough) was Temperance's demented fan, or as he dubbed himself, a "Brennanite", who was sadly not at all plausible as a murderer because he was just too damn crazy.

In fact, the murder mystery came very close to being boring, but a punchy finish really saved it. While the murders themselves were enjoyably grisly (I liked Hodgins' giggly appreciation of Brennan's obvious red tape metaphor) the plots meandered somewhat, with all the suspects being cyphers who were quickly acquitted before the plot skipped on to the next death. Of course, this was nicely tied up by having the killers in fact be all three major suspects in a Strangers on a Train-esque twist. Which I am ashamed to admit, didn't occur to me, despite it being pretty darn obvious. There was also the guest-star presence of Jonathan Slavin, from the short-lived but superb Andy Richter Controls the Universe, who I'm always happy to see around.

Probably of more importance to fans (I'm not at all tapped into this show's fanbase, but I bet the Booth/Brennan chemistry drives a lot of it) was the continuation of Brennan's relationship with Booth Jr., aka Sully (Eddie McClintock). I quite like the whole thing where Temperance values sex first and a relationship later, which makes her and Sully (who greeted us in the episode's opening seconds fumbling under the covers) even more of a screw-you to people who want to see her hook up with Booth. Giving them both mature, sexual relationships instead of having them pine for each other is the right way to go in a will-they-won't-they, especially one that could be as protracted as Bones'. The only problem is, Sully is a bit of a bore, probably being set up to die (that's just a guess, but it wouldn't shock me--he seems kinda like a tragic figure to me). So while I don't object to him and Brennan in theory, I wish they could have found her a bit more of a live-wire for a serious, recurring love interest. His rivalry with Booth is meaningless, considering how much cooler Booth is. His finest moment in weeks came here when he precision-shot the lock on the Brennanite's door. Just the right balance of fun and crazy.

Anyway, a fun balance of mystery, gore, and background plot this week. Anyone else watching, or is this new addition to my review roster a futile effort?

2 comments:

Todd VanDerWerff said...

I like Bones! It's probably my favorite crime-solving show on the air right now, a position previously occupied by Without a Trace and CSI.

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