After a six week hiatus—or should we say we haven't seen "Bones" since last year—our favorite forensics science show is finally back where it belongs: in your living rooms! In fact, it's back in a big way with a two-hour mid-season special as a way of saying, "Thanks for enduring without us during the college football bowl season."
From the very first scene, there's no question the hiatus is over. Sweets (John Francis Daley) is watching a television reality show about ghost hunting when the hunter finds what looks to be one of the incredible apparitions imaginable: a jewel-encrusted corpse! He did what I'd do: flipped his lid with excitement and amazement and then called Bones (Emily Deschanel).
Come to find out, like most apparitions there's a logical, scientific explanation. In this case, the skeleton was found in a quarry, and even though the thought of a gem-encased skeleton is cool and sparkles a lot when the light hits it just right, the forensics team really isn't even excited about that because the reason for their adherence to the skeleton is fairly simple and straightforward. It's the cause of death, of course, they're out to discover and this case looks very perplexing. Like I said, it's a great start after a few weeks of vacation.
Bones determined early that the victim was an athlete of some sort, either a gymnast or a dancer given the specific injuries to her toes and feet. Sure enough, there's a missing dancer in the law enforcement database. The motive, we discovered quickly, was money and the prestige associated with winning a major dance competition. Isn't it always?
We also learned early in the episode that Booth (David Boreanaz) used to teach ballroom dancing. A dues ex machina if ever there was one, given that Booth and Bones are now going to go undercover inside one of the most prestigious dance competitions on the country.
In a minor storyline—minor to the story; major to real life—Angela (Michaela Conlin) confesses to Bones that she regrets she gave up her art. This is a really heartfelt story that most likely had many viewers feeling her pain. Actually, it was beyond pain. It was something close to self-loathing for giving up on a dream for a steady paycheck. The American Dream becomes the American Tragedy, and Angela's soul-searching was palpable throughout.
I also really liked the dance competition story. It was light, breezy, and fun and served as the source of comic relief throughout the episode. Neither Boreanaz nor Deschanel is particularly graceful and it was great fun watching them appear relevant in a top-talent dancing contest.
But it also showed the dark side of high-level competition, and how sometimes in life a parent (Marta DuBois) wants something for their child more than the child (Sarah Scott). It was handled expertly, and was haunting and true to real life for far too many competitors.
The case that started out as something right out of a fantasy novel, with the gem-covered skeleton, quickly became a murder case in which the victim dancer was systematically poisoned over time by a jealous competitor, causing her equilibrium to be compromised, which is bad news for a competitive dancer. However, that wasn't the cause of death. A broken neck at the hands of the dancer's boyfriend who was only thinking of his lover's happiness and future when he whacked her nearest competitor was the ultimate cause of death. All the bling from the jewels were largely irrelevant to the case but served as a lovely distraction, kind of like the costumes in a dance competition.
"Bones" fans have to be more than pleased the show is back and as stylish, clever, and of course human as ever.
Stephanie Caldwell is from Salt Lake City and writes for CableTV.com.