Bones: Season 11
Not many television series manage to last into the double digits of seasons. It is far more common for a new show to receive the dreaded cancellation notice. Some series prove to be unable even to make it past a mere handful of episodes. The Fox standard broadcast network has been able to achieve a respectable 12 seasons before announcing the series will conclude in such a fashion as to exhibit respect for the Legion the of loyal fans. This has become an increasingly popular method for networks to bring a popular show to an end. With social media exceptionally prevalent the ill feelings generated from leaving fans in the lurch, the fate of their favorite characters undecided and story lines they have been fatefully following abandoned abruptly. Adding significantly to this achievement is the principle cast of characters remained the same except a few additions, departures, and replacements deemed necessary for dramatic effect. The penultimate season, 11, is considered here suitably achieved the goal of moving the crucial pieces into the optimal position for an exciting end game. For a series that ostensibly is a forensic procedural substantial amount of time is dedicated not just too extensive character development but in expanding the ongoing storylines, some of which have been in play for years. With so many personal plot points juggled and a myriad of interconnected relationships to manage the showrunners and writing staff accomplished a remarkable job of character oriented micromanagement and carefully retained an unusual degree of continuity. All of the subtle nuances that have infused in the characters have been expertly cultivated to reach this point. Hints of alternate career paths and personal directions fuel the speculation concerning the possible lives for the characters after the series wraps.
At the end of the previous season, the Criminal Forensics team at the Jeffersonian Institute had just concluded an investigation into a possible protégé for the genius bat hat hacker, Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds). Undoubtedly he was the most dangerous and psychotic nemesis Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel)) and her husband, FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), have ever faced. On several occasions, he has torn the team apart bring Brennan and Booth to the precipice of divorce. Thanks to solid writing and excellent performances this convoluted morass of interpersonal developments manages to escape coming across as a melodramatic soap opera. The tradition meme for a romantic relationship developing between lead characters is usually a nose dive in the credibility of the situations and character relatability. Not only did the writers artfully cultivate a relationship from playful flirtation through the difficulties inherently part of coworkers routinely facing potentially lethal circumstances, to engagement, marriage and starting a family together. The most outstanding aspect of this character progression is at each distinct stage the couple was forced to overcome conditions that would tear the most couple apart. Season 10 concluded with Dr. Brennan resigning her position at the Jeffersonian and Booth leaving the FBI, in search of a normal life to raise their children. Compounding the disintegration of the team further, the king of the lab wise in all things insect or trace evidence involved, Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne), and his artist wife Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) have had a reversal of fortune and decided to fulfill Angela’s dream of living in Paris. As one example of the cohesiveness of the story arcs and attention to continuity details, Pelant had eradicated Jacks family fortune, somewhere in the mega million ranges, leaving them living on their paychecks. Hodgins develops an invention putting back in the eight-figure range making Paris a realistic choice. Even after a villain has been vanquished, the psychological and emotional toll remains. The overall effect of such a high standard of cohesiveness is characters that are eminently relatable, able to change and grow with unforeseen circumstances.
The original premise of the series had Dr. Brennan as staunchly dedicated to the scientific method eschewing anything perceived to be ephemeral. Love had been dismissed as a function of psychotropic hormones until she found herself falling in love with Booth. He is a practicing Roman Catholic originally offended by Brennan’s dismissing his faith as superstition. Throughout the run of the series love has managed to conquer all and they can make the relationship work. Along parallel lines, Brennan considers psychology a non-science intrinsically unable to quantify any part of the field. This situation began to change as she and Booth befriended an FBI psychologist, Lance Sweets). After a breakup with one of Brennan’s interns, Daisy Wick (Carla Gallo), Sweets crashes with Brennan and Booth leading to a very tight friendship. In the start of the season, Sweets is murdered leaving his friends at the Jeffersonian shocked and Daisy pregnant with his child. Another romantic relationship reaching another romantic pinnacle is between the head of the Forensic Division at Jeffersonian Institute, Dr. Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor), and another of Brennan’s interns, doctoral candidate, Arastoo Vaziri (Pej Vahdat). De rigueur for any relationship in this series circumstances force them apart only to come full circle reuniting them. One of the most intriguing plot points inserted into the main story arc occurred trapping Hodges in an explosion that rendered him a person with paraplegia, confined to a wheelchair. That arc followed the emotional adjustments psychological tribulations faced by Jack and Angela. On a personal note, I have confined to a wheelchair over twenty years ago and felt the way this presentation of the character was an honest depiction od=f such a life altering change, including his initial reaction and passage through the stages of grief, honestly and respectfully depicted.
A very compelling plot point was introduced around the third season when Brennan’s original intern, doctoral candidate Zack Addy (Eric Millegan), came under the thrall of a ritualistic serial killer/cannibal. Rather than replacing such a pivotal character, the writers utilized a rotating pool of interns each bringing their uniquely quirky personalities to the episodes including them. This technique for increasing the number of differently relatable characters expanded the scope and diversity of the ensemble cast significantly very effectively. Keeping with a mandate to tie up loose ends another by investigating another serial killer, called the ‘Puppeteer’ because of how he drills holes in the skeletons turning them into marionettes. The last shot of the season is a big revelation that brings back one of the most popular characters for a major plot twist that will help with the grand unification of the entire series. Its loss saddens me but happy that the series afforded the opportunity to leave on its terms with a well thought out and cleverly executed an exit strategy.