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Alternate Realities, Psychics, and Underwater Headquarters: An Advance Review of Season Five Opener of "Bones"

No, we're not talking about Fringe.

Viewers were left on a hell of a cliffhanger ending when Bones wrapped its fourth season in May. Just what was going on between Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel)? How much of it was real, how much of it was Booth's inner fantasy life, and how much of it was Bones' new book? Hmmm....

Bones returns next week with a fantastic fifth season premiere ("Harbingers in the Fountain") that deals with that cliffhanger head on while also taking the relationship between the seemingly star-crossed romantic leads in a new direction.

Creator Hart Hanson and the writing staff of this stylish and smart romance-tinged crime procedural wisely realize that one of the strengths of the series is the palpable and smoldering sexual tension between Deschanel and Boreanaz and the premiere rather cleverly deals with the fallout from the events of last season in an interesting and compelling way.

So what did I think of the Bones season premiere? Let's discuss. (Beware, some SPOILERS below.)

Rather than start off this season in the moments following Booth's seeming amnesia, Hanson instead shifts the action forward, giving the start of the season momentum and a strong throughline. Viewers wondering just what happened in the moments after Booth awoke from his coma will have to wait as the action jumps roughly six weeks into the future, on the day where Booth is certified by Sweets and declared mentally fit to return to work and Brennan returns from a dig in Guatemala. In order words, both of them are attempting to return to normalcy.

But everything is far from normal. For one, Booth is left with remnants of his life with Brennan, imaginary though it may have been and there are signs that his experiences have changed him in possibly indelible ways. Second (and I don't think it's giving anything away to say this), he's having difficulties returning to his life before his medical situation. While he may have been cleared to return to duty, there are some tantalizing indications that Booth isn't completely recovered from his ordeal.

It's an intriguing proposition that Hanson raises: are we the sum of our experiences? Do the little quirks that our personalities contain add up to the fullness of our being? If you remove those, are we still us?

Boreanaz and Deschanel both dazzle in this installment and it's easy to see why viewers have fallen in love for this delightfully mismatched duo who might just be perfect for one another. There's a heartbreaking vulnerability to Boreanaz's Booth here that plays quite nicely against the flintiness of Brennan and the episode showcases both a joy for their reunion as well as a sadness of things that have been lost.

Further complicating matters is the arrival of Angela's psychic Avalon Harmonia (played with divine radiance by Cyndi Lauper), who has some messages from beyond for our favorite crime-solving duo. But is Avalon reading into Booth and Brennan's situation or is she blessed with supernatural gifts?

That's the real question, one that gets further muddled by the fact that Avalon claims to have seen several bodies buried beneath a fountain. When Booth and Brennan investigate and unearth human remains exactly where Avalon told them they would be, it does seem like Avalon is in touch with something preternatural and mystical... Yet the discovery of a link between Avalon and one of the victims would cast some doubt as to the extent of her abilities.

What follows is one of the more fantastically absurd capers on Bones, but it's handled with such deftness and humor (not to mention Mystery with a capital-M) that it's a wholly intriguing and compelling adventure involving an underwater utopia, a cult, and some ruthless baddies.

In order words, the mysteries of the flesh are just as confusing as the mysteries of the heart. Booth will have to solve a complex riddle: what happens when what our heart wants doesn't match what our brain tells us is true? It's an age-old mystery and one that I can't wait to see Booth and Brennan wrap their heads around this season on Bones.

Bones' fifth season kicks off on Thursday, September 17th at 8 pm ET/PT.


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