Thursday, October 1, 2015

Geeky TV commentary - Bones 11.1, Sleepy Hollow 3.1

Bones airs at 8pm on Fox Thursday nights!

Bones is back! The new baby is a boy who can pee as straight and as accurately as Booth once shot, and the family is so cute. So of course everything goes to crap after that. Booth goes to work in the morning at his new job at Quantico, and then later in the day, the team is called in to investigate a skeleton found in a burned out husk of a van. It looks like Booth. No one can find Booth and his guns are gone from the lock box, and he left his wedding band behind.

While everyone is trying to cope with Booth being dead, and finding more and more proof that this body is his, Bones discovers that it's not Booth--it's Jared, his bad-news brother who we haven't seen in years. But that leaves so many questions about where Booth is, and why he was dealing with his brother that he agreed to not contact anymore, and what they were both involved in.

The Internal Affairs lady finds a bank account that has only been used to pay money to Jared. The FBI finds a bloodbath including the only lead they had after looking at the particulates on the body (because it's always the particulates and that's why Hodgins is King of the Lab). There's a big puddle there that matches Booth's blood; he was shot, but he lived long enough to get out. We get to see him bleeding in what looks like an abandoned building somewhere, but they don't see that.

Aubrey discovers that IA was not being forthcoming--other agents have disappeared, including the new Dragon Lady's partner, which is why she's suddenly so gung-ho about figuring out where Booth is.

Bones, understandably, is fiercely angry and protective, and before she discovers who the bones really were, there's a deliberately upsetting montage of those long-lost early-season shippy moments that once made us swoon and cry with frustration many moons ago.

And he's not back at the end of the episode. He's in a room with people who look ready to kill each other at any minute, including Roger Cross, who was supposedly Jared's closest friend. He's still bleeding, but he's acting like it's fine.

Meanwhile, Aristoo wants to propose to Cam, but this is a really bad time. Cam accidentally finds the ring and Aristoo shows it to her so she can see it and he can see if she likes it, and Hodgins walks in on them and it's probably one of the cutest scenes this show has had in ages! Plus, she wants to hire him to replace Bones as the main forensic anthropologist in the Jeffersonian, since Bones is apparently entirely out of the field now, but she's worried about how smart it is when she's dating him.

So Bones Season 11 is off to a roaring start! At the beginning, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the gall of killing a main character in the first episode of a new season, but it seems like that's probably not what they're doing.* Cam and Aristoo continue to be improbably adorable for a hard-edged city pathologist and a political refugee from the Middle East. Hodgins is GOLD this episode, and Angie somehow still has the best clothes in a show full of good clothes AND is exceptionally good at her job.

And Aubrey! He's not the upstart little brother anymore. He's got his name in the credits with a picture of him eating something, and he's leading swat teams and standing up to Internal Affairs for Booth. He's on the list of Booth's friends, and Caroline folds him up under her wing with all her favorites.

It's like the show knew what we most loved about Bones-the-show and gave us all those things. And then bent some of them and left us on a cliffhanger to be sure that we'd have to come back. It's sort of a brilliant way to prove that the show still has what it always had, goofy charm in between affecting stories of murder and gross bodies. And eleven years into a show, it's good to know that it does. The youthful sexiness of the early seasons is mostly paired off with committed relationships, but there's still fierce love and fierce loyalty and Bones will still bust you up if you get in the way of her family.

Next week should be interesting!

Sleepy Hollow airs at 9pm on Fox Thursday nights!

It looks like Sleepy Hollow is trying really hard to give us back what we wanted all last season and had so little of, while we're talking about shows still having it. There's been a time-jump here, too, a longer one, and now Abbie is a full Agent in the FBI with a gorgeous office all made of wood and glass, and all new co-workers.

Crane has been in prison for a few days after getting caught smuggling antiquities--though that's not what he intended to do, since he was just bringing back a tablet he found in his own grave at his ancestral family home. It's Sumerian and tells of The Destroyers who take on the tribulations.** It took him five days to call Abbie, and when the episode starts, she's not super pleased with him because of that and how he hasn't contacted her in nine months. It doesn't stop her from throwing around her FBI powers to get him out and get his stuff back.

She's working a case with her boss to take down some crime ring, which stops her from being glued to Crane's side as he's researching a different case of two hunters killed by some creature who stopped their hearts with fear before it tore them apart--but the two cases become the same case when they realize that the monster is attracted by gunfire and the baddies are about to have a shootout with the cops.

There's shooting and infiltrating and Abbie goes to do her job and winds up talking herself back into being a Witness, even though she'd earlier said that that's all done and she just wants to do what she always wanted to do. Crane and Jenny take on the demon and Crane gets fear-froze, but Jenny stops the thing before it can kill him and Abbie kills it before it can try to kill him again. And they hug it out! Like old times!

All in all, it was not a bad season starter, and it feels like a promise to be better, but since three year olds always try to be better and sometimes still make horrible messes, we'll see how the rest of the season goes. It was great that Abbie talked herself back into her mission, that she was coming around on her own to accepting what she needs to accept, not because someone convinced her, but because she knows she needs to do it. Jenny was back, and she was sharp shooting and finding information on missing artifacts, and was basically back to being herself, and it was wonderful. And Abbie and Crane were back to poking fun at each other's foibles and joking and being so very amused by each other's foibles, and it was amazing.

Irving was not there, as we knew he wouldn't be, but the story was that he disappeared in the night, and that leaves the door open for him if he wants to come back to the show sometime in the future. It would be ideal if he could, even if just for one episode, to swing in and ask for help on something and swing out again. Maybe in the meantime, we can still get Macy or Cynthia to keep his story alive and ensure he's  not just written out, even if he's not there.

We got an Ichabod Crane Pantented Historical Rant, we got another weird twist on history with badass Betsy Ross*** who will hopefully stay in the past and not mess up the present, and we got the intro of impish and cute and scary new villain Pandora, who is probably at least half-mad and definitely very powerful. The episode didn't try too hard, but still felt like it was making it up to us. It didn't overstretch more than any of the first season episodes did to make its story work, and made more sense and was more in character than a lot of Season 2 was. Enough time has passed that the bad stuff from S2 is far enough processed that they can talk about it and make sense of it and get beyond it, and that's what we needed--not a whole season of moping and musing to get to this point. It's a smart move that will hopefully pay off!

I was cautious about coming into this season. Last season was such a problem. But this seems to be off to a good start, and if they can hold onto that good start--they're introducing new characters next week, so we'll see--it could be good. Whether it'll be as good as the first season remains to be seen, but the trepidation is a lot less than it was before airing.

What did you guys think of tonight's shows?

*If they do in the second or third ep? It's past wailing and gnashing of teeth, and onto punching of walls and studio effigies.
**Unclear whether it's specifically about them, or if it's like a general thing--like how there was always a Slayer. Maybe there's always two Witnesses, and there's just longer times between them. How cool would it be if we got to have stories of other Witnesses and the weird things they went through before Ichabod and Abbie, and what happened to them???

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