For six seasons, Bones teased a possible relationship between main characters Seeley Booth and Dr. Temperance Brennan. We all knew they’d wind up with a white picket fence someday, but thanks to lead actress Emily Deschanel’s real life pregnancy, the future wound up coming a hell of a lot sooner than expected. Rather than shooting around the bump, series creator Hart Hanson wrote in the big reveal during the climax of Season Six, which paved the way for a bizarre, outlandish and still ultimately satisfying seventh season.
Apart from the occasional episode that hard sells the personal lives of main characters, Bones typically offers about eighty percent of its runtime to the mystery at hand and twenty percent of its runtime to a sideplot involving something tangible that will carry over into future episodes. In the past, these fixations have included Hodgins (TJ Thyne) and Angela’s (Michaela Conlin) romance, Brennan’s relationship with her father (Ryan O’Neal) and Wendell’s poorness. With Booth and Brennan’s dramatic life upheaval, the show largely sticks with that 80/20 split, but it gives almost all of the twenty each week to the new couple. In theory, that should get annoying. Because that togetherness was teased for so long and because Deschanel and her counterpart David Boreanaz have such good chemistry, however, it works far more often than it doesn’t, while still allowing time for some of the more interesting mysteries the gang has had the chance to solve.
During Season Seven, the goofier cases allow the team to tackle a murder related to extreme couponing, another involving workers at a toy company and even a body that’s been dyed blue. Most of the subject matters are top notch, and luckily, the primary antagonist is, too. Given its procedural format, the quality of each Bones season largely hinges upon how well its overarching bad guy works. None of the villains ever appear in more than a handful of episodes, but a good one can still set the tone for the entire year. Tech genius Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds) is able to do that through his brilliant mind. He’s every bit as smart as Bones in his own way, and just as Jacob Broadsky was able to legitimately push back at Booth during Season Six, Pelant is able to do the same for Brennan in Season Seven. He works because he’s capable of winning, which is a hell of a lot more than most of the idiotic murderers can say on this show.
With only thirteen episodes and the whole pregnancy angle, Season Seven feels a little hurried at times. It never really breaks into a pleasing routine of interesting weekly mysteries, and there’s not a prolonged buildup to Brennan having her baby. More episodes than not actually matter. That’s probably to be expected for a show with a strange airing schedule (3 episodes in November, 2 in December, 1 In January, 5 in April, 2 in May) and a complete shift in the personal lives of its main characters. That frenzy is unlikely to displease hardcore fans, but it’ll probably leave those new to the series a bit confused.
A good example of that is “The Suit On The Set." Even though it’s technically a bottle episode, it actually operates like a love letter to fans. Booth and Brennan head to Los Angeles because one of her novels is being adapted into a movie. All of the nuances of the show, the sets and even the new character names are representative of all that’s come before. It’s quite entertaining, but it’s far from a standard episode. Like the payoff of Booth and Brennan’s relationship, it works more effectively if a viewer has spent dozens of hours invested in the show prior to seeing it.
The whole backstory behind “The Suit On The Set” is explained quite effectively in one of the special features. Bigger fans will be able to understand why certain decisions were made, and they’ll likely be amused by a related featurette that allows Angela and Hodgins to walk the red carpet of Bones’ fake movie Bone Of Contention. The pair is just as loveably awkward as you might expect, and watching them is worth almost as many laughs as the better than to be expected gag reel.
In addition to a few deleted scenes, Bones: The Complete Seventh Season also boasts a producer commentary track for the final episode that’s the right combination of funny, nerdy and interesting. It balances bitching about Max’s hair on screen with stories of Philly cheesesteak trucks and comments on Boreanaz’s bromance with John Francis Daley. It’s quite good, and it’s consistently interesting, at least for hardcore fans.
More than anything else, that’s the audience for The Complete Seventh Season. Bones is an easy show to jump into, but any other season than this would work better as a starting point. So, leave this one for the bigger fans who actually earned the payoffs.
Length: 566 min.
Distributor: Image Entertainment
Release Date: 10/09/2012
Starring: David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, John Francis Daley
Directed by: Ian Toynton, Dwight Little
Written by: Dean Lopata, Karine Rosenthal