Bones: Season 12
The time has come for another enduring favorite television series to pull the loose ends together and tie them in a neat bow. After twelve years as a solid hit the 20th Century Fox Network has issued the cancellation notice for one of last surviving forensic crime dramas, ‘Bones.' Most, if not all TV crime series have one thing in common, some sort of hook to establish the foundation for the show’s ongoing parameters. Often it is selected from a sub-genre including the Buddy cop, antagonistic partners and detective with a dark secret. Right from the start ‘Bones’ came up with a unique twist. The source material for the show is a series of forensic crime novels from bestselling novelist and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. The principle character in those novels is a globally respected forensic anthropologist. Dr. Reichs is obviously a strong supporter of the ‘write what you know’ school of writing. The name of this character is Dr. Temperance Brennen. Within the context of the show Dr. Brennen, not only works at the Jeffersonian Institution she is also a best-selling author writing mysteries solved by Dr. Kathy Reichs. It is a plot contrivance surrounded by a large degree of tongue in cheek story threads. The enduring success of the series was derived largely from the constraint displayed by the writers. They never let ‘Bones’ success and subsequent wealth overshadow the basic stories, or, more importantly the development of the characters. Some episodes touched on the extreme financial resources of Bone but typically as comic relief or the secondary plot motivation. In this final season, most of, many of the threads are involved with what happens to the individuals after the literal smoke of the dénouement the final scene deals more with the hope for the future than focusing on wrapping up the loose ends on the past. This was the only ways the writers could proceed with this final season with a twist, consistent the methodology that made the series such a fan favorite
As part of the process of ending the series, some concessions to the past were not only necessary but highly beneficial to the effort. One of the quirkier characters from the original lineup at the Jeffersonian was a painfully naïve doctoral student studying under Bones, Zack Addy (Eric Millegan). Fiercely loyal to Bones he had one on the diverse storylines ranging from getting sent into combat to becoming involved with a cannibalistic serial killer sentenced to a facility for the criminally insane. The season starts with Addy, the best contender for the current ‘big bad.' Kidnapping Bones only to wind up providing the foundation for the final seasonal story arc. In typical fashion that prolonged investigation is infused with many episodic cases that serve to further the last installments of character development. The fortieth birthday for Bones brings out in hers greater appreciation for her friends. Initially, Dr. Brennan was self-isolating, secure in always being the smartest person in the room. Falling in love with her FBI partner, SSA Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), ultimately becoming married with two children. Bones arranges for the head of the Forensic Division Dr. Camille Saroya (Tamara Taylor), to be nominated for the prestigious MacArthur genius grant. This is particularly since initially; the two alpha females were in a state of constant contention over who runs the lab. Over the course of the years, they have become friends. Bones also arranges for a job at the National Forensics Lab for a former intern and newly graduated Ph.D., Daisy Wick (Carla Gallo). She idolized Dr. Brennen, and her enthusiasm was frequently annoying, but after giving birth to a child she had with Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley), the murdered FBI agent partnered with Booth, Daisy calmed down better able to focus on details. Sweets replaced by another FBI Special Agent, James Aubrey (John Boyd), who keeps the tradition going by entering a relationship with anther bright and beautiful intern, Laura Spencer (Jessica Warren). Another intern would find love in the lab, Arastoo Vaziri (Peg Vahdat) who would marry Camille just before the season concludes.
Without a doubt, the pair of character who received the most detailed development was Dr. Jack Hodgins (T. J. Thyne), a polymath with several doctorates and a penchant for conspiracy theories. Now married to Brennan’s best friend Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin). She is an accomplished artist and a natural when it comes to computers particularly analytics and graphics. They are also now parents, a running theme that distinct from similar shows is its ability to permit the characters to grow organically including marriage and parenthood. It was refreshing that the stalwart investigators must arrange for childcare or deal with a kid with a fever or recital. This is an inherent part of life that rarely is addressed in any crime/mystery show. The attention to this behavior of normal, identifiable people. This concept was integral to the flow of the overall narrative. This is best demonstrated in the penultimate episodeThe use of an intriguing literary technique seen in such masterpieces as ‘The Sound and the Fury.' The same events are covered from the vantage point of the six principle characters. This leads beautifully into the final moments and one of the better series finales I have ever experienced.
Love significantly motivated this series. Not the diabetically sweet kind seen in ‘Hart to Hart’ or the smoldering sexuality of practically any series of the genre on premium cable. Each of the characters from the principles down to a semi-regular rotating intern was imbued with a unique personality balanced with sufficient quirks to render them consistently interesting but not so far over the to come off as contrived. This not only is attributed to the superb teleplays but in the meticulous skill of the casting director. The end is satisfying, addressing the concerns of each fan for their favorite character. There was an irrefutable level of maturity to the relationships as depicted the course of the series overtly. Couples get together responding to the obvious chemistry only to be pulled apart later to drift back together in a natural way. The unshakable pragmatism and staunch reliance on facts were the core of Brennan’s personality. She felt that belief in Catholicism was foolish and immature yet the writers realized that this position was impossible to retain throughout such a long running series. These final episodes demonstrated that Brennan would not abandon her logic driven system of belief but as her character matured she came to realize shades of gray existed but the existence of variation in personal perspective made life into a rich and deeply enjoyable tapestry.
The final episodes vindicated a plot point many considered a mistake. When Addy left the series, he had to be replaced, not just from the vantage point of continuity but most importantly from that of emotional veracity. It was a move of sheer brilliance to refrain from replacing the character with another trainee. The use of having as rotating pool of graduate students assigned a few shifts turned out to be one of the most important aspects of the series as it continued to progress. The introduction of a new intern provided an opportunity to test out a new character. Some would go on to earning their degrees and accepting formal positions while some would fade away to an occasional guest appearance. By the last episode, several of the most important storylines featured the most successful from the intern pool.
The show was uniformly strong providing solid entertainment that always seems to work. As with life, some episodes were better than others but never imploded from its successor burnt out with an exaggerated sense of self-importance. It always seemed that the cast enjoyed their characters and their association with each other. That goes a long way towards fan appreciation. It will be missed but at least it’s swan song was entertaining and respectful to both the cast and crew but also the loyal fans.