Eric Millegan, Tamara Taylor,
John Francis Daley
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All photos © FOX
Reviewed by Will Harris
fter spending two seasons as a relatively straightforward procedural, Fox’s “Bones” decided to break out of its established mold and give serialized drama a try. Not that there hadn’t been ongoing story arcs throughout the previous episodes, but from the season premiere of the show’s third year, it was clear that series creator Hart Hanson was making a concerted effort to provide a pair of plotlines that would run solidly from the beginning of the season to the end. Unfortunately, the writer’s strike resulted in the conclusion being wrapped up more quickly than intended, and as to its overall effectiveness, well, that’s a matter of opinion.
On the personal level, we pick up the story of Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) and Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) where we left off in the Season Two finale, with the two unable to get married because Angela is already married. It’s a light storyline, granted, but given the kind of emotional investments fans have in these characters, you do want Angela to find her husband, get the divorce, and have her live happily ever after with Jack. Of course, it’s never that easy when you’re characters on a TV show, and things play out in a slightly soap-opera fashion. Similarly, the will-they-won’t-they relationship between Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) continues, but that’s mostly just for our amusement. (The Christmas kiss is a moment that fans were dying to see, but surely no one really thought it would result in the two of them getting together on a full-time basis.)
There’s also a personnel change for “Bones” in Season Three, and that’s the inclusion of a new character: Dr. Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley), who serves as psychologist for Brennan and Booth. He’s a gangly, geeky guy, but he’s a loveable fella. If you loved Daley’s work in “Freaks & Geeks,” you can totally imagine that this is the kind of person that Sam Weir would’ve grown up to be. Although the loss of Stephen Fry as Booth’s previous therapist, Dr. Gordon Wyatt, was a tough one, the show couldn’t have found a more entertaining replacement; Sweets’ impish enthusiasm is a breath of fresh air to the series.
The big villain of Season Three is the cannibalistic serial killer known only as the Gormogon. In the season premiere, Brennan and Booth are called in to investigate a skull that’s dropped from a bridge onto the windshield of a passing vehicle, and it leads them to a bank vault filled with artifacts, the most notable of which is a skeleton made of silver. Well, mostly of silver. The creepy bit is that some of the silver has been replaced with actual bones with teeth marks on them. Thus begins the storyline, which stretches over the course of the season as the team attempts to work out the mystery of the Gormogon before too many more victims are racked up. Hodgins is in his element as he becomes enthralled by the historical conspiracy theory of it all, of course, but when things turn toward the possibility of a member of the team being a part of the Gormogon’s doings, that’s when things get a little dodgy.
If you haven’t watched Season Three but intend to, then you’ll want to tune out right about now. If you have seen it, however, then it’s possible that you felt slightly uncomfortable with the way the season wrapped up. The members of the “Bones” fanbase who will go back and re-watch the episodes over and over will probably rank this season higher than the rest, since they can see how things were stacked up properly to make Zack (Eric Millegan) a killer. Yes, it’s easy to see that someone so obsessed with science and logic could find himself in a position where he felt he had no choice to do what Zack did, and when you factor in the added pressure of having just endured a stint with the military, it’s even more plausible. Still, it’s thoroughly heartbreaking when the reveal is offered, and those who have loved Zack throughout the run of the show were probably less impressed with the plot twist and more just plain pissed off that the producers destroyed the innocence of the character.
And, you know, I don’t blame them.
Special Features: This season, the cast and crew of “Bones” regularly contributed to a feature called “The Director’s Take,” where they provided behind-the-scenes looks at various episodes or effects, hosted by those episodes’ directors. For some reason, they’ve placed all five of these on Disc One, along with the obligatory gag reel. But even if that makes the set a bit top-heavy, you still get a look at the so-called “Angelator” (the 3D imaging computer), the creepy Vault, and the even creepier fake dead bodies used on the show, as well as how they executed the effect of a exploding van and how important it is to accurately represent the science of forensic anthropology in the show.
Disc Two is completely devoid of bonuses, but Disc Three offers two versions of “Player Under Pressure,” the episode which was pulled from airing in Season Two because of its coincidental similarity to the Virginia Tech murders (the plot revolves around deaths on a college campus), while Disc Four provides an extended version of “The Baby in the Bough.” The set’s final disc, however, finds Fox trying an interesting tactic by providing the first three episodes of the current season of “Bones”; it won’t be much of a bonus for anyone who purchases this set after Season Four comes out on DVD, but for now, it’s a nice treat for fans.