Davidboreanaz_emilydeschanel_bone_2[This post contains the usual spoilers about the season finale of Bones. You’ve been warned.]

Bones, which ended its second season on Wednesday (May 16), has gradually evolved into one of TV’s most under-estimated shows. That isn’t necessarily the same thing as being one of TV’s best shows, but in a sea procedurals that I can’t be bothered to care about, Bones stands out — it’s smarter, funnier and faster paced than most of what’s out there, but despite regularly winning its timeslot and a third-season renewal that came back in February, it still flies under the radar.

To be fair, many of this season’s murder investigations have been less creative than last season’s and the show’s procedural aspects have often felt rushed, leading to reveals that were either too obvious, or too convoluted.

That’s because the show’s focus has changed, making it less of a crime-of-the-week drama and more of a workplace dramedy. A paranoid conspiracy nut and a straight-talking party girl in the first season, T.J. Thyne’s Dr. Hodgins and Michaela Conlin’s Angela have softened into worthy romantic foils, embarking on a courtship that lead to the altar in Wednesday’s finale. The addition of Tamara Taylor’s Cam Saroyan as the new leader of the Jeffersonian team added dimensions that Jonathan Adams’ Dr. Goodman just couldn’t and I’m not just referring to her sexual relationship with Booth, though that office tryst provided an additional spark to the reliable chemistry between Bones (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz). Those two main characters got an extra dose of friction when Booth spent several episodes in counseling with guest star Stephen Fry and Bones spent those same episodes in the arms of guest star Eddie McClintock.

The added concentration on character has helped add gravity to some of the season’s best episodes, particularly the "Aliens in a Spaceship" hour, in which Bones and Hodgins spent the hour trapped underground in the backseat of a car. I’m not suggesting huge Emmy wins around that episode, but perhaps an editing nomination? You’ve got to start somewhere.

Wednesday’s finale was of a piece with the season at large — decent, but unremarkable central mystery, surround by lots of great character work. The revelation of what happened to the girl in the grocery cart was possibly the episode’s "C" plot, which is the kind of thing you never see a CSI or a Law & Order attempt. Instead, I’d say that the episode’s most important drama was built around the pending Dr. Jack/Angela nuptials, including picking members of the wedding party and Jack approaching the bride’s father (stroke-of-genius guest star Billy Gibbons) for his permission. I’d put Booth’s conflicted quest to arrest Bones’ dad (guest star Ryan O’Neal) as the B-plot.

Sorry, ‘shippers, but I’m one of those fans who would prefer that Bones and Booth not get together until the absolutely last minute possible, if then. Thus, I didn’t necessarily need the vaguely contrived not-quite-cliffhanger ending. What? Are optimistic Bones/Booth fans really going to think their beloved characters are going to stand at the altar and go "Well, the people came for a wedding, so let’s give ’em one" and tie the knot right there? Of course not. I was perfectly happy with the way we left Angela and Jack, though less sure on the fate of Eric Millegan’s Zack, one of the characters most in need of a big boost next season.

Other thoughts on the Bones finale:

  • A tale of two fathers: After barely commenting on Billy Gibbons’ presence the first time he appeared, the ZZ-Top legend had things to do this week and he handled himself wonderfully, adding an extra layer of cool. He should come back frequently. Bones’ dad, however, has visited too many times this season. I’m interested in the character and that father-daughter dynamic, but I don’t want him to be a regular.
  • I loved the dynamics of Angela asking Bones to be her maid of honor (including the surprise huge from Bones) and Jack asking first Zack and then Booth to be his best man. It’s a sign of how the character relationships have progressed this season that Booth didn’t find anything bizarre about Jack turning to him.
  • I miss Wong Foos and guest star Heavy D. Am I the only one?
  • I’m a fan of any excuse to reference Sea Monkeys, or "Sea Chimps." If you ask me nicely, I’ll tell the tragic tale of my own Sea Monkeys.

    How did you feel about the Bones finale? And how about the second season as a whole?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg