Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bones - 5x01 "Harbingers in the Fountain"

Alyssa posted a gangbusters of an overview of Bones right before the fifth season premiere -- read it. For instance, her paragraph on the imperfections of the main characters is trenchant and something that I could never have articulated if somebody didn't point it out to me. (She's a lot more charitable about how Deirdre Lovejoy was used in her cameo appearance on the show, which I abhorred. I'll just say the role she was given was thankless and perfunctory, especially since Rhonda Pearlman is still so vivid in my mind.)

Funny thing is, I disagree with Alyssa's main argument -- that the plot inconsistencies might inevitably break the show, although I assume that's because of my personal blind spots. But, in the end, the show is for me less about the characters as people or even plot continuity (I mean, we saw how Zack's character was rewritten in the middle of the first season), but more about how Bones uses the procedural formula as the barest skeleton on which to hang snappy relationships, cartoonish grossouts, silly one-liners, admiration for empiricism, and last but not least Brennan's disdain for psychology (I'll never tire of her calling it a "soft science" -- never). All of these qualities are awfully elastic and can bear the weight of a lot of the show's let's call it idiosyncratic storytelling impulses.

All that said, "Harbingers in the Fountain" recovered from last season's finale (and really, season 4 was mostly unremarkable), thankfully avoiding the tedious post-amnesia cliches and instead (potentially) setting up an interesting way of examining self and identity. And as contemptuous as I am about televised shipping, my unfeeling heart was tugged into empathy at the love that dare not speak its name (if queer theory people will forgive the appropriation) between Booth and Brennan -- they're on the cusp of domestic bliss, and the cusp is always more rewarding when we're talking about tv.

But Cyndi Lauper's tarot reading skills were still pretty dire.

Indie rating: Gerry Mitchell & Little Sparta - "XXVI"


momo said...

Bones is one of those shows where my daughter and I just turn off our brains and enjoy--but we were both royally pissed at how they ditched Zach.
On the other hand, she likes House for the (sometimes brilliant) writing, acting.

Alyssa said...

See, I guess I think the plot inconsistencies hinder the character development, and there my beef lies.

But I also really enjoyed "Harbingers." More please!