TV Review: 'Bones' Season Three Premiere
As intriguing as it is comfortable
The third season premiere of FOX's "Bones"on Tuesday (Sept. 25) challenges this assumption throughout the episode as Dr. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) acts uncharacteristically illogically, thus raising the suspicions of Agent Booth (David Boreanaz), Angela (Michaela Conlin) and Dr. Saroyan (Tamara Taylor).
But first, the show introduces its latest forensic mystery, one you can really sink your teeth into. After a human skull lands in the windshield of a moving vehicle, Bones determines that it's been gnawed on by a human, perhaps a cannibal. As the team at the Jeffersonian Institute delve deeper into the investigation, they discover progressively stranger and sicker details that are illuminated by Dr. Jack Hodgins' (T.J. Thyne) vast knowledge of cults and conspiracies.
On the less grisly front, Bones has been acting strangely, even for Bones. Despite qualified candidates coming forward to fill the position held by Dr. Zack Addy (Eric Millegan) who went off to Iraq in last season's finale, Bones continually refuses to hire one, opting to stay in the lab and do the work herself. Booth is miffed, wanting her in the field with him so they can use their "full symbiotic potential."
Angela, however, believes that when she and Hodgins abandoned their own wedding in the finale, that affected Bones, who was left at the altar with Booth by her side, creating strange associations in her mind and thus prompting her to avoid being alone with Booth. When Angela's not doing the psychology thing, she's working on her own conundrum, trying to track down a guy she married in Fiji in order to annul their marriage and then get hitched to Hodgins.
Even though last season's goofy, cliffhanger finale felt too stagey, it provided some interesting consequences for this round that highlights the various characters' quirks, such as Angela's free-spirited nature as it relates to her impromptu island nuptials. Also, a big thumbs up for Thyne's close-cropped haircut and partial shave, which lets us see more of Hodgins the man and less Hodgins the crazed conspiracy theorist and bug/dirt guy.
With Bones' strange behavior, it looks like the writers have decided to ratchet up the leads' chemistry a few notches, so it'll be interesting to see how far they can push it without ruining the winning formula.
As usual, the show delivers just enough forensic detail to ignite curiosity without creating a violent visceral reaction. The characters' banter is still spot on, as are the comedic glances and handful of heartfelt moments. As for the show's success at attempting an ongoing mystery, that remains to be seen, although this particular plot appears to have enduring potential given all the associations with the ancient world and a possible cult. Expect some mini-mysteries as well to give some sort of closure in upcoming episodes.
Less thrilling is Angela and Hodgins' search for her missing husband, which has the potential for going awry. A few possibilities come to mind: Angela and Hodgins might grow apart while waiting or perhaps the hubby, when found, won't want to give her up. Regardless of the outcome, even if it is a happily ever after, the show is going to be very careful that this plot doesn't descend into farcical territory.
Overall though, this reentry into the world of the Jeffersonian Institute is as intriguing as it is comfortable. The solid characterization continues, thus making it easy for the creators to tinker around without creating massive upheaval.