A solid and poignant investigation gets overshadowed by romantic mumbo jumbo.

By Darren Franich
Updated March 26, 2015 at 04:37 AM EDT
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BONES
Credit: Adam Taylor/Fox
S6 E2
type
  • TV Show
network
  • Fox
genre

Meet Hannah: war correspondent, multiple Peabody winner, wounded thrice for the greater glory of journalism, metaphorical kicker of Christiane Amanpour’s metaphorical ass, lover of Booth, and all-around mastodon in the room. Her face fits comfortably in the golden ratio. She’s like Lois Lane with blonde hair and an untraceable accent, and in just a few scenes, she took the new season of Bones into some treacherous territory.

You see, Bones has approached its central couple in a unique way: Booth and Brennan have talked through their mutual attraction more than any other will-they-or-won’t-they pairing in TV history. (They’ve basically had three years of couples therapy, thanks to Sweets.) They navigated the delicate emotions of the 100th episode beautifully. So I’m trying not to be too skeptical. But is it really the best idea to bring in a beautiful blonde plot contrivance?

This episode was a big improvement over the season premiere, though. The opening dialogue between a pair of spouses on a hike – “We should’ve just bought plaid shirts and gone to a resort!” – had that particular Bones flair. (Of all the contemporary procedurals, Bones has the best bystander dialogue. Everybody seems to be stuck in a screwball love-hate romance.) Angela couldn’t quite sketch the dead man’s face correctly, so he came out looking like George Clooney, which led to a great running joke. (Best suspect reaction: When the crazy mountain man said, “Yeah, they showed us his movies in prison.”)

Pretty much everything about the investigation was enjoyable. Bones has always treated crime-solving like a typical workplace comedy, peopled with acerbic characters who secretly love each other. (It’s The Office with grotesque decomposing skeletons.) But for some reason, whenever this season turns to the lovey-dovey stuff, Bones goes way off course. And it’s noticeable, because people at the Jeffersonian cannot stop talking about the romance. Angela: “You were always a couple. You just weren’t having sex.” Cam: “I think Hannah is affecting your work.” Yeesh, even Clark (who, yay, has returned from Chicago!) was uncharacteristically gabby: “Why you two didn’t just rip each other’s clothes off. I mean, just get all butt nekkid.”

In last week’s Bones recap comments section, Liz pointed out, “I thought it was ridiculous how Booth was so happy with this new girl, when he was supposed to really looove Brennan.” I think that explains a big part of the bizarro cloud over these first two episodes: Booth’s actions are so unrelentingly confusing. (It doesn’t help that all the Booth/Hannah stuff feels so mushy. Like that key. Oh, that key. Viewers, my eyes were bleeding.) Brennan, conversely, had a cry-inducing moment last night:

Brennan: “I’m the only one living the life I expected.”

Angela: “How’s that, honey?”

Brennan: “As I expected.”

NEXT: Everybody loves Hannah!

Heavy stuff! For a lighter touch, look to the light-comedy romantic stylings of impending parents Angela and Hodgins, who were planning their “babymoon.” One last trip before Angela swells up to Hindenburg levels! But not even Baby Hodgins could make Papa Hodgins take his eyes off Hannah. He was brain-smitten. And Angela noticed. Uh-oh! “Goddess on high,” he said. “Mother of my unborn child,” he pleaded. “Love of my life,” he begged. His baby mama was placated. But he still snuck one last peek at Hannah, embedded in a deeply unconvincing Afghanistan.

Oh, Hannah. Viewers, I tend to have a pretty open mind about important new guest stars, but her delivery is so bizarre: “This is. The BEST lunch. I’ve had in. A long TIME.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with bizarre. But especially when Emily Deschanel is so committed to the I-am-a-genius girl-droid act, it’s difficult to believe Katheryn Winnick as a lady version of Anderson Cooper.

I actually probably would’ve been a bit surprised by the ending of the criminal case…but halfway through the episode, my girlfriend said, “Oh, it’s the park ranger.” Bingo Bango Bongo! The dead man was an ex-alcoholic, who had purchased alcohol for the Park Ranger’s niece before she went drunk driving and killed herself. Tangled backstory, but there was something weirdly moving about the Ranger begging Booth, “We’re both soldiers. You understand. No trial!” People, Bones is still a really, really good crime show…but as a romance, it’s starting to go flat.

Did this episode make you forget the season premiere? Are fig trees ruined forever now? Did anyone else find themselves laughing really uncontrollably at that sneezing scene? (I can’t help it. I know it’s a cheap laugh, but I have terrible allergies, so it was like watching my life onscreen, except handsomer.)

DON’T MISS: Embedded below, listen to the first edition of EW.com’s TV Insiders podcast. Dalton Ross, Michael Slezak, Annie Barrett, Michael Ausiello (who also gives his picks for best and worst new show of the new season), and Jeff “Doc” Jensen break down the week in television and present it to you in an easily digestible audio format. Or click here to download TV Insiders to your MP3 player!

Episode Recaps

Bones

Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz play a will-they-won’t-they crime-solving duo.
type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 12
rating
  • TV-14
genre
status
  • In Season
network
  • Fox

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