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Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Secret" Kept From Bones

Article first published as "Secret" Kept From Bones on TheTVKing.

FOX's hugely popular Bones completes its eighth (!) season, still going strong, this week with "The Secret in the Siege." Pelant (Andrew Leeds) resurfaces, and this time he's using Sweets' (John Francis Daley) work against the team. But when Brennan (Emily Deschanel) proposes to Booth (David Boreanaz), Pelant is upset by the draw of focus away from him, and takes revenge in a very cold way.

Pelant is an intriguing and complex villain. It's incredibly hard to predict his next move, for both the audience and the characters. Yet, each new development makes sense for the character and the story. I know the bread and butter of Bones is procedural, case-of-the-week junk, but the good stuff is always when Bones goes a bit deeper than that. Bringing in a personality like Pelant has given intrigue and movement at a time when many series would start to go stale, keeping the show interesting, and rising it above its other, lesser peers on television.

"The Secret in the Siege" reveals just how involved Pelant wants to be with the main group of the series. His games get more and more personal each time, and it's like he wants to be a big part of their lives. Even though he only resurfaces every few months, he always tries to make an impact, and interact with them as if they know each other well. It's disturbing, but it works, as by this point his presence screws with everyone's heads, and often causes unfortunate mistakes when passion for revenge overrules common sense.

Pelant's main target is always Booth and Brennan, perhaps sensing that they are the leaders of the group, though he's fair enough to give focus to other cast members from time to time, such as invading Angela (Michaela Conlin) and Hodgins' (TJ Thyne) home. Sweets is a vulnerability, dealing more with the inner workings of a mind than the other characters. This presents a ripe opportunity for Pelant to not only mess with, but mess up, a main player mentally, without having to worry about inflicting physical harm, thus risking removing him permanently.

Rumor is, what Pelant does in "The Secret in the Siege" will have lasting impact on Sweets. I don't believe this episode really sets that up. Yes, we see Sweets grow frustrated, but by the end of the hour, he seems to be OK, even as everyone is disappointed at still not having caught Pelant yet. I could see this working if we are shown that Sweets spends a lot of time mulling over what Pelant has done, but that doesn't come through in this season finale itself.

An on-going theme, especially early in the series' run, is that Brennan is out of touch with human emotion and motivation. She deals much better in logic and fact. This bites her in the butt hard now, just when viewers may think she's made progress with a child and steady partner, by not taking into account Pelant's feelings. If she were more empathetic, she would know not to hurt Pelant's feelings, and that asking Booth to marry her would do so.

Brennan does pay the price, having to endure Booth's canceling of their engagement without being told the reason why. This is extremely hard on Booth, to be sure, but at least he has the knowledge that he is doing the right thing and saving lives. Brennan is just hurt by the person she cares most about, with no clue as to why. I wish Booth could give her some sort of signal, but given the stakes, I understand why he doesn't want to risk it.

Normally, throwing an obstacle in a key romantic relationship is a desperate move shows make to extend the tension. It doesn't feel desperate here. Maybe it's because we know Bones will forgive Booth when the truth comes out, loving him more for his nobility. Or maybe it's because Pelant is a brilliant foe whom I can't wait to see the team tussle with again. Whatever the reason, as painful as it is to watch the scene where Booth breaks Brennan's heart, there's an underlying impression that, despite tribulations, the couple will be all right in the end, and this makes the story good, rather than weak.

The only disappointment "The Secret in the Siege" brings is that Ms. Julian (Patricia Belcher) shows up with no mention or sign of her new love interest, one of the best developments on the series in recent months. But she's busy, so it's forgivable that he isn't on her mind right in this moment.

Bones has already been renewed for a ninth season, and will return to FOX in the fall.

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