Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bones—Aliens in a Spaceship

I’ve been a devoted Bones viewer since the premiere episode. I came to the show mostly because of David Boreanaz, who is the hottest hottie on TV. I was a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, especially the latter, and was more than happy to see him back on network TV.

Of course, there’s always the fear that the hottest hottie on TV will end up on a crap show, but that’s not the case with Bones. I’ve enjoyed it from the get-go. It’s not a deep show like the Whedonverse shows Boreanaz migrated from, but it’s fun. The characters are great, and I was happy to see the focus of the show more on the whacky, eccentric gang at the Jeffersonian than on the dry details of the case of the week. And while I expected to be interested in Boreanaz’s character, because he’d undoubtedly be looking really hot every week, I’ve also found myself enamored of the rest of the Jeffersonian crew. I even like Cam. (Pauses while the Booth/Brennan fangirls scream and throw rotten vegetables.) She’s a tough chick who gets what she wants.

After getting into Bones, I went on to check out Kathy Reichs’ novels. I enjoy those, too. There’s been a lot of online discussion about book-Tempe versus TV-Tempe. The characters are markedly different, and of course serve very different roles. Overall, though, I kind of prefer TV-Tempe. She’s clueless past willing suspension of disbelief, but she’s tough. She doesn’t shirk at conflict, and she rarely displays Too Stupid To Live tendencies. By contrast, in the novels, there is always one point in the book where Tempe does something really stupid and ends up kidnapped and usually locked away in some sort of confined space by the bad guy. (I listen to them on audio book—this usually happens about halfway through Disc 5.) Every single book. You’d think she’d learn.

Anyway… on to tonight’s episode.

As a rule, I’m not crazy about flashback stories. Having the flashback gives away a chunk of the story, to start with, because right away you know Brennan and Hodgins are ending up buried alive (well, we knew this from the previews, but bear with me). But we also know they’re going to get out, because they’re series regulars, so there you’ve just undermined yourself twice as far as being able to build suspense in the story. Maybe I’m being picky, but it seems like the writer’s unnecessarily hamstringing himself to take that tack. In this case, I think it took a little of the edge off the shock when Hodgins and Brennan were abducted so abruptly, because we knew it was coming. The change in mood from the first half to the second half was pretty abrupt, and it could have been moreso without the little preview in the teaser.

With that said, if the story works, it works, regardless of the structure. And this story worked. In fact, I think this was one of the best episodes of the series so far, right up there with The Man in the Fallout Shelter, which has been my favorite episode up to now. This was really well put together, with the parallels between the Ryan/Matt case and the situation with Hodgins and Brennan, and the full-team cooperation that was required to find their way to the buried car. Booth’s assessment at the end was exactly right--without any one of them, they wouldn’t have found the car. Hodgins and Brennan MacGuyvering to the bitter end was completely in character, as was Booth’s insistence that they would, and Brennan’s insistence that Booth would find them. And the twist of them not actually finding the killer at the end put a nice cap on the story. T.J. Thyne put in a tour de force performance, but the core group knocked it out of the park across the board. A stand-out episode. I cried. Did I say that out loud?

Standout moments:

Booth’s expression when he gets the ransom call… Horror, desperation, growing panic… Just perfectly played. Boreanaz just gets better and better. And I love it when Booth goes psycho in defense of Brennan, a la The Woman in the Garden. It’s hot, I tell you. HOT. Plus I keep expecting Booth to grow fangs. Just call him Angelus!Booth.

Booth: I need you to be Dr. Brennan.
Zach: I don’t know what that means.

The return of the Angelator.

“Putting testicles on the outside didn’t seem like such a good idea.”

And of course the end, with Angela taking Jack home, and Booth and Brennan in church.

Did I mention I thought this was really good?