TV Review: ‘Bones’ Returns to Start Fifth Season With Disappointing Episode

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CHICAGO – If you’re like a lot of “Bones” fans you were disappointed and angry about the bait-and-switch in place during the season four finale, which promised to feature the inevitable hook-up between Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) but turned out to be nothing more than a dream episode. Sadly, the bitter taste left by the finale continues into the start of season five with the worst premiere episode the often-excellent program has provided to date.

HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 2.5/5.0
Television Rating: 2.5/5.0

Clearly addressing viewer concerns about the finale of last season, one that ended with Booth waking from his coma-induced alternate reality to not even recognize Bones, the season premiere of “Bones” spends a lot of time trying to justify that awkward ending to a hit-and-miss season. If you missed it, Booth was in a coma that included a dream state where he loved Brennan.

TJ Thyne, Michaela Conlin, David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, John Francis Daley and Tamara Taylor. The fifth season of BONES premieres Thursday, Sept. 17 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2009 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Brian Bowen Smith/FOX
TJ Thyne, Michaela Conlin, David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, John Francis Daley and Tamara Taylor. The fifth season of BONES premieres Thursday, Sept. 17 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Photo credit: ©2009 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Brian Bowen Smith/FOX

As season five begins, Booth is trying to come to terms with the feelings still lingering in his head and heart. Sweets (the great John Francis Daley) is concerned that Booth’s current love for Bones is merely a side effect of the coma. He experienced positive feelings in his alternate universe and those feelings will dissipate the further he gets from his dream state. And, of course, Cam (Tamara Taylor) is concerned that if the tough cop breaks down the defense of the hardened doctor and breaks her heart than she will simply never heal.

Brennan (Emily Deschanel, L) listens as psychic Avalon Harmonia (guest star Cyndi Lauper, R) gives her information about a case in the BONES season premiere episode
Brennan (Emily Deschanel, L) listens as psychic Avalon Harmonia (guest star Cyndi Lauper, R) gives her information about a case in the BONES season premiere episode “Harbingers in the Fountain” airing Thursday, Sept. 17 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Photo credit: ©2009 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Greg Gayne/FOX

Believe it or not, there’s a mystery to the season five premiere as well, although the writers clearly saw it as an afterthought. The first case since the coma involves Angela’s (Michaela Conlin) psychic, Avalon Harmonia (Cyndi Lauper), a woman who alerts the crew to a mass grave of bodies underneath a fountain. One of the bodies happens to be Avalon’s sister. How did she know they were there? And how did they end up there in the first place?

Writing a mystery that plays with the prospect of supernatural powers as a backdrop to the concept that Booth’s alternate world coma experience is now affecting his real-world one was a good idea but the execution of this week’s mystery on “Bones” is embarrassingly bad. Perhaps the writers were too torn by telling so many stories in one, but the final act of the mystery of Avalon’s sister features one of the most ridiculous action sequences in the history of the show. Without giving anything away, Bones would have figured out the killer more quickly and not locked herself in with him or her.

And yet, moments after the head-shaking subsides, there’s a quiet, scared moment between Bones and Booth that reminds one of what works about the show - the chemistry between these two excellent, charismatic leads. Deschanel and Boreanaz have turned what could have been two-dimensional, stereotypical characters into fully-realized people who audiences have grown to love.

Brennan (Emily Deschanel, L) and Booth (David Boreanaz, R) search for evidence after a psychic provides them with valuable information in the BONES season premiere episode
Brennan (Emily Deschanel, L) and Booth (David Boreanaz, R) search for evidence after a psychic provides them with valuable information in the BONES season premiere episode “Harbingers in the Fountain” airing Thursday, Sept. 17 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Photo credit: ©2009 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Richard Foreman/FOX

The cast of “Bones” is too talented to dismiss the show after a relatively mediocre fourth season and rocky start to the fifth but there’s reason to worry. The team behind “Bones” need to get back to what works about the show - great characters, clever mysteries, and strong dialogue. Don’t waste time on psychic visions or tedious conversations about the heart vs. the head. The show’s characters - the passion of Booth and the clinical analysis of Brennan - represent that debate in every one of their interactions. We don’t need to see Cam, Sweets, and Cyndi Lauper talking about it.

Ultimately, I’m critical because I used to love “Bones” and I want to do so again. Let’s move on from the mistake of promising a Booth-Brennan hook-up and get away from the soap opera material for awhile. Write some dark, fascinating mysteries and allow these actors to bring the humanity to the surface without forcing it there. “Bones” may not need to be brought back from the dead quite yet, but there’s reason to worry that no psychic or dream state could possibly answer.

The fifth season of ‘Bones’ premieres on FOX on Thursday, September 17th, 2009 at 7pm CST. It stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, John Francis Daley, Tamara Taylor, Michaela Conlin, and TJ Thyne. It was created by Hart Hanson.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Deyni Zavala's picture

Bones Season 5

Hello, I think you´re judging an entire season based on one ephisode. If there´s something I like about Bones is that every episode is different, not a continuation of the one before. Of course there are some things that happen as a result of the past actions but in this show, an episode can be a bit dissapointing and then the next one can be magnificent. I´ve hardly been dissapointed with Bones. =) Deyni

Markus Roder's picture

Woowoo - does it need to be on EVERY TV show but "House"?

is anyone else but me worried about the simple fact that “Bones” used to be fairly rooted in SCIENCE and has abandoned it’s “DNA” with this episode?

We have enough Woowoo shows on TV, Bones doesn’t need to join those ranks.

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