What a way to race toward the season finale: a relatively tight murder mystery, a lot of humor, and an emotional (if not suspenseful) cliffhanger. Not to mention combining Bones with another PopWatch favorite, American Idol.Season 6’s Brandon Rogers helped set the open mic scene with his version a Pippin song, and season 5’s Ace Young (pictured) played the talented victim. As with all our vics, more than one person had motive to kill the not-so-nice and ambitious singer, from the cheated gym owner to the stalker client, Pam Nunan (Jennifer Hasty). But it was his hyper-sensitive artist neighbor who took a clay string to the stoned singer’s throat and tried to cover it up. (I do wonder, though, why, after killing someone in the name of getting peace and quiet, would he live with the ongoing alarm instead of just breaking into the apartment to silence it? Or was that supposed to be all Tell-tale Heart-esque?)

The ideas of status and power were threaded throughout the episode, but Brennan’s praising of Booth while noting her own elevated status (“Since I’m the best in my field, it would be self-destructive to work with someone who’s beneath me.”) was particularly choice. And Zack was full of surprises that affected his status last night: citinghis home workout regimen that accounted for his deceptively strongphysique and later bursting into song to prove to Hodgins that he hadachieved some measure of status because of his singing voice. Was it meor did Angela and Cam seem to view Zack in a new light after hisrendition of “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing”?

addCredit(“Ace Young: Isabella Vosmikova”)

Speaking of love, it seemed more than a little easy for Pam (I willnot call her that three-letter “f” word) to transfer of her irrationallove to Booth, thanks to a few kind words and a comforting touch. Butfor someone with good instincts, Booth was slow to acknowledge thewoman’s progressive obsession with him. Even when she lured him into asolo meeting and gifted him with funky socks because she’d noticed hehad “a thing for socks,” Booth answered all of her personal questionsbefore putting a stop to it with his “Ma’am, this is way inappropriate.”

I continue to loooove the integration of Sweets in the cases. Notonly is he funny and insightful, but he’s great for elicitinginteresting things from Booth and Brennan. Brennan’s Booth-likeresponse to his psycho analysis (“Take your powers of observation andfocus them on her.”), complete with hand gesture and snark, wasunexpected. That was almost as good as when she said, “Then why am Ilaughing?” after Booth and Sweets told her it wasn’t funny that Pam hadgiven Booth socks. Sadly, Sweets had to play the part of Cassandra,warning Booth and Brennan that Pam was not just kooky but alsodangerous, only to have them dismiss his insight (Sweets: “I’ve beenmocked many, many times before.”) But soon, the poor, deluded woman wasfollowing Booth around and taking her stalker pics from her car.

So while we reveled in getting to see the entire cast out of the labto witness Brennan singing, we kind of knew what was coming next. (BTW:We shouldn’t have been too surprised that Brennan’s got a great singingvoice, though Booth seemed to be. Emily Deschanel’s sister Zooey is thesinger in the duo She & Him, so it wasn’t a stretch that Emilycould also carry a tune. But couldn’t they squeeze in David Boreanazsinging, even just a little? The scene with him singing “Mandy” on Angel is one of my husband’s favorite TV things ever. Shout-out to our own Mandi. She knows why.)

When Pam walked in and saw Booth waving his lighter and enjoyingBrennan’s jumping around and singing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” shehad to pull focus. Raising her gun and yelling to Booth that she wasdoing this for them, she shot at Brennan. Of course, our hero jumped infront of the bullet, never managing to get his gun out in time andtaking a round to the chest. Shortly after, Brennan executed a perfectshot to the dead center of Pam throat. As Brennan put pressure onBooth’s wound and called out for him to stay with her, I rememberedSweets’ courtroom analysis last week that she’s capable ofrationalizing murder, “the danger of the totally rational person.” Butsince the whackjob was about to shoot at her again, it was totallyjustifiable.

Okay, I’ve got to say that the teaser line “Is Booth dead or alive”is the least suspenseful question ever. Could they really kill offBooth? But with the finale coming up, the Gormogon killer returning,and Booth’s life hanging in the balance, what questions would you liketo ask Bones‘ exec producer Hart Hanson, whom I’ll be chatting with later this week?