Since premiering on the Fox Network in September 2005, “Bones”, the forensic comedic drama has been a fan favorite for six seasons. The lives, laughs and loves of Agent Seeley Booth, Dr. Temperance Brennan and the rest of the Jeffersonian crew are inspired by the novels of show producer, Kathy Reichs. While there are several forensic investigations shows, such as “CSI” and “NCIS”, few match the clever writing, unconventional formula, and character development of “Bones.” Here’s my pick for the top five best episodes of this incredible show:
1. The Pain in the Heart– Season Three, Episode 15
Death, betrayal and sadness create the tension that makes this “Bones” episode one of the best. As part of the continuing Gormogon saga, the team deals with the faked death of Seeley Booth, a ploy to catch the elusive Gormogon and his apprentice.
As the story unfolds, someone steals the Gormogon’s silver skeleton from the Jeffersonian and everyone in the lab is a suspect. As Booth follows the trail, the overly rational and socially awkward Zack Addy is revealed as the cannibal’s apprentice.
Saving Hodgins and accepting moral blame, Zack is arrested and his emotional farewell affects everyone, including the “no-nonsense Cam and detached Brennan. This episode also cleverly reveals some insight into the often misunderstood intern, who cherished his Squint pals more than his own freedom. As Brennan and the others look through Zack’s box of prized possessions they each find a gift they had given Zack, including Brennan’s letter accepting him as her intern.
2. The Man In the Fallout Shelter -Season One, Episode 9
T’is the Season at the Jeffersonian, as the team gears up for Christmas. Angela, more an honorary member of the Squints, attempts to force Christmas cheer on everyone. Everyone has plans, but a freak accident, spurred on by eggnog, the entire team, including Booth, traps everyone in the lab. With Christmas is on lock down, Brennan continues to work as the others attempt to salvage Christmas. With the 50 year old remains of a man, found in a fall out shelter, Brennan, Booth and the others try to make sense of their clues – two tickets to Paris, a gunshot wound to the head, a suitcase, and a gun.
Booth and the Squints eventually uncover a tragic love story that defies the moors of the time. Hoping to have a life free of discrimination, a white man is killed as he attempted to make a new life in Paris for himself and his pregnant Black girlfriend. Driven by some inner hope, Brennan finds the woman, now elderly, and reveals the truth that has changed her entire life. Brennan gives an unusual gift, the man’s last valuable coin, which allows the woman the help her granddaughter pay for college.
This Christmas episode offers more than the usual Bones’ episode, because it coupled a historical love story with the emotional reality of closure and hope. It cleverly reminded viewers of the true meaning of the season and of the deep painful life that made Brennan, who she was.
3. The Hero In the Hold– Season Four Episode 14
What happens when the Booth gets kidnapped, the Squint Squad comes to the rescue. In this very touching and revealing episode, tough guy Seeley Booth is kidnapped by an old nemesis, the Gravedigger, who gives the geniuses at the Jeffersonian only a few days to find him. But, Booth is a fighter and not used to not playing the hero. As he struggles to free himself from the unknown peril, he is visited by the specter of guilt in the form of Corporal Teddy Parker.
As Brennan and the team sift through clues that lead them on the path to Booth, the audiences learns more about the cocky FBI agent’s inner demons. His fear of failing his team and the guilt he has carried from his military days about the death of a young soldier.
This episode is both validating and touching as is showcases the more vulnerable side of the man Seeley Booth, who thinks failure is not akin to having human weaknesses. The Hero in the Hold is wonderfully written and offers some insight into Brennan’s feelings for Booth and Jared’s personal sacrifice for his older brother.
4. The Princess and the Pear– Season Four, Episode 15
While this episode had that makings of a repeat of the Superhero in the Alley episode from Season One, The Princess and the Pear is a treat because of its clear indulgence of the Squint in all of us.
When the team at the Jeffersonian is called in to identify the costumed remains of a woman, they learn that she is booth babe at an ImagiCon. With Booth sidelined by a Brennan induced back injury, the entire gang, including youthful psychologist Sweets joins in the investigation.
It’s all about subs and newbies. Brennan poorly adjusts to Booth’s substitute Perotta. Fisher, Zack’s replacement, struggles to find his place in the team. Psychologist Sweets, dressed in a vintage “Star Trek” uniform, seems to be the man with the plans. With Cam, Hodgins and Angela playing supports, the killer, another ImagiCon employee, is exposed and the motive for murder- bragging rights to the sword Excalibur.
5. Two Bodies in the Lab– Season One, Episode 15
Much ado about Brennan. Dr. Temperance Brennan has her own share of well wishers and an equal number of folks who would like to see her dead. After a bomb goes off in Brennan’s home and Agent Booth is injured as a result, the search for Brennan’s deadly enemy is clouded by various plot twists. From his hospital bed, Booth is more concerned with Brennan’s safety than his recovery. Learning that Brennan has been kidnapped, he sneaks out of the hospital, broken ribs and all, to her rescue.
This episode offers other entertaining tidbits such as Booth’s interrogation of Brennan’s date, the rescue from rats, and Brennan cancelling her date to sit with Booth while he finally recovers in the hospital.
The series have several other worthy episodes, which showcase the various characters. Honorable Mentions include the Woman in the Tunnel, Aliens in a Spaceship, The Man with the Bone, The Woman in Limbo, and A Baby in the Bough. Each entertains with a balance of clever writing and solid character development.
The series has earned a solid fan base and some accolades for its presentation of social issues, its talent and its art direction. Still, “Bones” is a show to watch, because you don’t get lost in techno babble, but you are consumed by the likeable characters and the hope that Seeley and Brennan make a love connection! As the show enters its final season, “Bones” fans need not despair. Talks of spin-offs and syndicate will help ease some of their “Bones” aching.