WARNING: This review contains massive spoilers. If you did not see this episode read this review at your own risk.
Plot: Booth (David Boreanaz) is in lock-up for “murdering” three FBI agents. We put that in quotes because it’s uncovered that a larger conspiracy involving the FBI and a major corporation is behind all of his incarceration. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and the Jeffersonian Team work feverishly on the remains of a whistle blower which may blow the whole conspiracy open. In the mean time, Brennan is able to black mail Boothe’s prosecutor and all charges are dropped. Booth is completely uncomfortable, feeling he can’t trust anyone. So it’s up to Brennan, Sweets (John Francis Daley) and new FBI agent Aubrey (John Boyd) to help him uncover the truth.
Bones is television’s old reliable. Entering its 10th season, the often light-hearted procedural has been a success in every single time slot. It’s been moved many times and has outlived a number of shows it has been the lead-in for, most recently the JJ Abrams sci-fi cop drama Almost Human.
The reason for its success is its ability to weave comedy into the gruesome and often serious nature of the crimes the Jeffersonian Institute is investigating. The laughs combined with the infectious and lovable chemistry between Boreanaz and Deschanel, as well as a dynamic supporting cast, has made this series something you can count on for solid entertainment.
However, within the last two seasons things have been a little sloppy and a little haphazard. The Booth/Bones marriage, the stop/start of the Pilant story arc, and the creeping feeling that the series is starting to show its age, might be good reasons for the producers to think of an end game. Midway through last season, the show adopted a very “meh” feeling; with a wash-rinse-repeat feel to every episode.
The Season 10 premiere was anything but “meh” — in fact it was able to throw an out-of-nowhere plot twist that still has this writer’s mouth agape.
Going into the premiere, as a long time Bones fan, I was filled with a disgusted feeling, “Now Boothe is charged with murder?” How many times can a member of the Jeffersonian team be suspected/incarcerated for being a criminal. In typical Bones fashion, the hero is exonerated rather quickly and unremarkably, one of the hallmark errors the series constantly makes.
However, the rest of the episode took a dark, more tense turn. The entire episode really focused on Booth’s entire world being shattered — as he’s now a pariah in the FBI, an agency that means so much to him. The usually strong, smart-alecky Boothe is replaced with an angry, agitated and unwound version. His character is able to upset the entire episode’s tone and while it might not be the most comfortable episode to sit through, you’ve got to give them credit for going in a different tonal direction instead of status quo-ing this one
Then came the ending, a left turn not one fan of the series was expecting.
The death of series favorite Lance Sweets was an absolute shocker (In reality, this is no surprise as John Francis Daly has become quite a hot commodity in Hollywood. He’ll be behind the camera for the Vacation reboot and he’s had a nice screenwriting career penning films like Horrible Bosses and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs). Bones has dealt with the death of one of their own before when intern Nigel Murray was taken out by a rogue sniper hell-bent on killing Boothe. As lovable as that character was, he was not as a vital part as everyone’s favorite shrink turned FBI agent.
The Sweets character was always the third wheel of the Bones/Boothe relationship and became one of the main cogs of the series — overshadowing staples of the show like Cam (Tamara Taylor), Angela (Michaela Conlin) and Hodgins (T.J. Thyne). He’s been both a terrific comedic character as well as one with tremendous heart and depth. The report between Daly and Boreanaz rivaled that of Boreanaz and Deschanel’s.
And to make his death even more tragic — it’s revealed that he has reunited with the motor-mouthed Daisy (Carla Gallo) and they’re expecting a son in the coming months. The writers really went for the gut punch with that move.
Sweets’ entire final scene was executed perfectly — it was completely unexpected, acted to tear-inducing perfected. The writers gave Sweets some fantastic final words and in typical Sweets fashion he reassures Boothe and Brennan things will be perfectly fine and that Daisy shouldn’t worry so much. It’s just like this character to go out thinking about others before himself.
The death scene itself was one of the few times this writer has been left stunned, mouth agape at the death of a character. Sweets seemed like one of those untouchable characters, an absolute fan favorite that you couldn’t kill off. I mean, how could they do it? But, they did and it’s a bold move.
The death of this beloved character is definitely going to alter the tone of this tenth and possibly finale season of Bones. It’s going to be a darker, more intense series and luckily, Bones has enough episodes in its catalog that proves this series can indeed pull of the dark and intense when it needs to. The big challenge will be balancing the show’s trademark humor with the gravity of the current situation. It’s doubtful we’ll see any “Buck and Wanda” episodes for at least the first half of the season because if we do, it’ll derail everything this premiere episode was trying to accomplish. And frankly, it’s okay if there’s a little less humor right now — the series needed to shed its ho-huminess and make a bold statement.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and is beyond excited to be a Dad this coming December. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom