TV Review: FOX Hit ‘Bones’ Returns on New Night, Time

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CHICAGO – Yes, they’re moving “Bones” again. Having been shuffled around far too many times, the Emily Deschanel & David Boreanaz mystery show has somehow remained a consistent performer for a network that could really use one. Fans are loyal to the program and always seem to find it. Checking in again for tonight’s episode after not having seen it much lately, I wasn’t surprised that “Bones” is still strong, escapist TV with underrated writing and performances. I can take or leave most weekly mystery shows but I’ve always enjoyed “Bones” and it’s just as fun as it’s ever been. TV Rating: 3.5/5.0
TV Rating: 3.5/5.0

“The Prisoner in the Pipe” is a stronger-than-average episode of “Bones,” one that deftly combines the show’s mystery-of-the-week structure with what we know and love about its characters. Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) has never been a typical crime solver but she’s even less so given that she’s nine months pregnant and obsessed about the little details about her upcoming baby — like the fact that her IQ is nine to ten points lower given her hormonal situation. The episode opens with Brennan and Booth (David Boreanaz) fighting over whether or not she should have her baby in a hospital or at home and Brennan hysterically exposing the fact that most maternity wards are hotbeds of infection. Of course, neither ends up winning.

Photo credit: FOX

Before Brennan has her baby (which the ads have spoiled happens in this episode…so don’t get mad at me), she works one last case when body parts start popping up in a poor family’s toilet (in a typically-gross but also morbidly funny opening scene). The Medico-Legal Lab team, including Angela (Michaela Conlin), Jack (T.J. Thyne), and Cam (Tamara Taylor), figure out that the various body parts they fished out of a potty belonged to a famous Bernie Madoff-esque prisoner who just escaped from behind bars? Or did he? Despite Booth’s objections that Brennan go anywhere near convicts, the pair spend most of the episode talking to guards and prisoners, trying to get to the bottom of the weekly mystery.

Photo credit: FOX

Of course, there’s also a lot of focus on Brennan’s imminent labor. Discussions of religion (Brennan thinks it’s all mythology, Booth’s a believer) are not only smartly written and delivered but lead to a clever twist ending. And the way Booth tries to emotionally swindle Sweets (John Francis Daley) into convincing Brennan to have a hospital birth is very well done.

At its best, “Bones” is a confident, smart mystery series that is as character-driven as it is based around DNA. Having two actors as talented as Deschanel and Boreanaz — both much better performers than they’ve ever gotten credit for being — carries the show a long way and, to everyone’s surprise, their banter and chemistry hasn’t flagged in the slightest even in the show’s seventh season. They’re both great and they’re ably assisted by a strong supporting cast. Most will-they-or-won’t-they leads fall apart after a few years and especially after they actually get together. Neither time nor romance seems to have damaged the stellar dynamic between Deschanel and Boreanaz.

Sometimes, the writing on “Bones” can be a bit disappointing (parts of seasons five and six seemed like wheel-spinning) but it feels like the Brennan pregnancy really reinvigorated the show. How many programs can feel this close to its peak of quality in its seventh season? With “House” leaving after this year and FOX seemingly unable to find a new drama hit to save their lives, “Bones” could still be around for some time. It’s no wonder they just renewed it for an eighth season. They may just want to sign the contracts for nine and maybe even ten now.

“Bones” stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin, T.J. Thyne, Tamara Taylor, and John Francis Daley. It returns on Monday nights on FOX at 7pm CST. content director Brian Tallerico

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