After a much-needed break, forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) return to the Jeffersonian Institute, along with their team of investigative "squints," for another darkly humorous season of murder, mystery, controversy and chemistry. In addition to a vast array of personal crises, ranging from Angela's secret pregnancy to Booth's new relationship with a beautiful reporter, the team tackles a complex caseload of gruesome crimes that includes facing a murderous Chupacabra, a trip to the Jersey Shore, the final return of the Gravedigger, and a vigilante sniper with a deadly link to Booth's past.
The opening moments of Bones
's sixth season finds its main characters Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI agent Booth (David Boreanaz) separated by extreme distances, before being awkwardly reunited to aid a colleague. As far as metaphors go, it's a rather fitting one for a show that fumbles a bit with the established formula, before regaining its winning mix of light office banter and extremely grody crime scenes. (For the squeamish, said gnarly moments this time around include some steroid-juiced super maggots, a splattery bowling alley scenario straight out of a pre-censorship Tales from the Crypt
comic, and an exploding head that puts David Cronenberg's notorious Scanners
to shame.) Picking up seven months after the previous season, these 23 episodes find the team uneasily attempting to regain their chemistry within the Jeffersonian Museum, a task made especially difficult by the appearance of Booth's new girlfriend (Katheryn Winnick), an ambitious war reporter whose presence throws Dr. Brennan into unfamiliar emotional territory. Promising as such a shakeup is in theory, however, it proves awkward in practice, with the entertainingly implacable self-assurance of Deschanel's character tipping over into outright arrogance. Once the status quo is regained in the second half of the season, though, Bones
really starts to regain its cruising speed, balancing out some nicely goofy one-offs (look out for the Chupacabra!) with the overarching storylines, which include an unexpected development in the marriage between Angela (Michaela Conlin) and Dr. Hodgins (T.J. Thyne), and a recurring threat from a vengeful sniper, all culminating in a reveal that promises to permanently alter the relationship of the lead characters. While not without its missteps--most notably an awkward backdoor pilot for the short-lived spinoff The Finder
--there are ultimately enough solid moments here to ensure that fans will stay tuned. When a show can follow up a screamingly gross candy-factory mishap with an understated Oompa-Loompa reference, it's a sign that things are back to firing on all cylinders. --Andrew Wright