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Goodbye and Hello: An Advance Review of the Sixth Season Premiere of Bones

What happens when the glue holding a group of people together takes off for far-flung adventure? What happens to those left behind? And is it ever possible to bring those now distant people back together again? Can you fix what's been broken?

Those are the questions hovering over the action on tonight's sixth season premiere of FOX's Bones ("The Mastodon in the Room"), which sees the gang at the Jeffersonian attempt to reform the gang when their individual sabbaticals come to abrupt ends.

The cause? An effort to save the career of Cam (Tamara Taylor), undergoing intense scrutiny when she lacks the certainty to identify the skeletal remains of a child in the face of a massive media blitz for a controversial story: the disappearance of a two-year old boy. Is the tiny skeleton in the morgue the boy that everyone's looking for? Or is it an unrelated crime?

Up until now, Cam's been in this fight alone, though she's had the support of tough-talking Caroline Julian (Patricia Belcher). And she's had to be alone because everyone else has taken off in search of their dreams: Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Daisy (Carla Gallo) have left for a dig in Indonesia; Booth (David Boreanaz) is training snipers in Afghanistan; Hodgins (TJ Thyne) and Angela (Michaela Conlin) are in Paris; and Sweets (John Francis Daley)... Well, Sweets has grown a goatee and is wearing a jaunty hat and biding his time.

As for what this collective had built when they were working together? It, like so much else, has fallen apart. The center, after all, cannot hold.

The season premiere finds each of the wayward team members heading home in order to help Cam and try to pick up the pieces of where they each left off seven months earlier. But that proves harder to do than one might think. For one, time has marched on for each of the characters and things have changed in their lives. Daisy might still have Sweet's engagement ring but he might not want her wearing it. Brennan may have come to terms with her feelings for Booth, but seven months apart--and with no contact between them--have worn on Booth and he's moved on. Yes, his relationship with the yet-to-be-seen war correspondent is "as deadly as a heart attack," according to Booth. Hodgins and Angela have settled into life in Paris and face some changes of their own as well.

It's Brennan who doesn't change, the singular constant among the group. Her departure had a ripple effect on their common fates. The squinterns are long gone, headed for parts unknown, after Brennan left and, well, things aren't necessarily great between Cam and Brennan now that's she back, either. (As for the squinterns, look for Michael Grant Terry's Wendell to return.)

I don't want to say too much about the season premiere, other that it provides a new beginning of sorts for the gang at the Jeffersonian and that there is a massive elephant--or, in this case, a massive mastodon--in the room that no one wants to address. What follows is an attempt to answer those aforementioned questions and ponder just who is the true lynchpin of the group.

My only criticism is the early scene with Booth in Afghanistan, in which his predicament and decision to return home is way too on the nose, arriving with all of the subtlety of an anvil being dropped on our heads. While I understand that it was necessary to get Booth to make a decision quickly, the circumstances around that scenario are so obvious--to the point where a character actually speaks the very things that Booth feels about his own inner struggle--that it cheapens the moment.

But that's a minor criticism of a fantastic episode that involves swallowed rings, space-hogging animals, auto repair, sisterly moments, and crime-solving. And, yes, seeing Booth and Brennan back together again.

Change is good, but sometimes it's the familiar that's far more comfortable, no?

Season Six of Bones begins tonight at 8 pm ET/PT on FOX.


Daybreak said…
"as deadly as a heart attack," it's "as SERIOUS as a heart attack" ;).

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