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Bones - Episode 9.01 - The Secret in the Proposal - Review

Season 9 of Bones got off to a strong start last night with "The Secret in the Proposal."  There were plenty of interesting surprises, two cool new characters, and a few odd moments as well.  Here's the breakdown, and there are some serious spoilers herein.

Everyone had an opinion about Booth and Brennan's broken engagement.  And that's what this episode was really about, let's face it.  The characters were so caught up in the Booth/Brennan drama that it was all they could do to solve a gruesome murder where the body parts were stuck inside a massive air conditioning unit.  I will say that the Bones writers deserve props for still coming up with inventive, disgusting places to put dead bodies, nine seasons into the show.

But, of course, the cliffhanger ending to Season 8 was all about Booth being blackmailed by Pelant into breaking his engagement with Brennan.  If Booth resumes the wedding talk or even tells Brennan why he's doing this, Pelant will kill five innocent people.  Caught between a rock and a hard place, poor Booth is tortured by Brennan's sadness and his inability to be honest with her in the season 9 premiere.

Emily Deschanel and David Boreanez did a wonderful job of portraying the conflicted feelings of misery (as Cam later termed it) that have overtaken Booth and Brennan. And even though the situation is contrived and Pelant is too ridiculously all-powerful to be believable at this point, their performances were potently emotional enough to make us forget some of the shortcomings in the plotline.

I can understand why Brennan is so upset, because she really put it all out there and exposed all of her vulnerabilities in proposing to Booth, and she was so thrilled when he accepted.  She still doesn't have the relationship knowledge or finesse to deal with a setback like this, though that's something she seems to gain by the end of the hour.

Some of the supporting characters were definitely a bit looney in their responses to this scenario.  I think the most obvious offender is Angela, whose tirades to Booth are so over-the-top judgmental that it seems she hardly knows Seeley at all.  After working with the guy and becoming close friends over all of these years, Angela is still capable of thinking Booth is driven by petty and stereotypical romantic immaturity and cruelty.  Come on, Ange.  Like Booth seriously wouldn't find Brennan attractive anymore now that she's a mother?  Please.  I realize that Angela is a very emotional and sometimes high-strung character, but this stretched my incredulity regardless.

I liked the way Sweets and Caroline both took a very basic and cute "um...what is going on?" approach to questioning Booth.  Hodgins was admirably commonsensical, given that he just assumes that Booth obviously must be keeping a secret that explains everything (and while I'm cutting Brennan some slack, it should indeed be extremely obvious to everyone else, given their knowledge of his personality and the ongoing Pelant situation).

Cam has the best reaction, and I really appreciated her gentle remonstrance of Booth even though she suspects he must have some kind of a reason.  The real payoff came when Cam told Brennan that two people as miserable as Temperance and Seeley are must be in love.  The spark is clearly not gone.  That was something Brennan desperately needed to know and understand before she could think about the whole situation more logically.

Aldo Clemens: I can't be the only one that cringes a little when I see a new, potentially recurring character brought onto this show.  Ever since Zach disappeared, Bones has introduced a series of alternatingly great and irritating newbies from squinterns to love interests and beyond.  For every Vincent Nigel-Murray (sigh, I will love you forever VNM!), there's a Hannah (shudder) or a Finn Abernathy (sorry, not sold).   So it's a relief that both of the newcomers in "The Secret in the Proposal" work so well.

It's always intriguing when we get to learn more about Booth's days as a sniper, and what could be more fascinating and disturbing than to learn that Booth's confessions actually made a priest leave the fold?  Mather Zickel brought a warmth and intelligence to his portrayal of the priest-turned-bartender that he immediately felt like a natural part of the show - a rare feat.  And Paradise Lost, as a bar name for a place run by an ex-priest?  Awesome.

Danny Beck: Who else was really excited to see Freddie Prinze, Jr.?  Okay, some viewers may have been skeptical as to what the star of She's All That would have to bring to the show, but he acquitted himself well.  Sporting a salt-and-pepper look, a smooth and mysterious persona tempered with humor, and a deeper voice than I remember from his earlier work, Prinze made CIA agent - and Booth pal - Beck fun, piquing curiosity as to what his friendship with Booth, as well as future appearances on Bones, may entail.

Girls' Night Out: Angela, Temperance, and Daisy (I wish it could have been Cam instead of Daisy.  Sweets' ex-fiancee is so annoying with her embarrassingly obvious questions and observations) all shared a drink and some insights into Brennan's romantic debacle in this interesting scene. At least having Daisy there gave Brennan someone that actually understood her scientific views on love.  And by picking those views apart with her gal pals, Brennan came to a better comprehension of her own relationship and its potential future.

Reconciliation...and new danger.  After canvassing the issue all day at work - and solving the murder of a CIA agent, no big deal - Brennan welcomes Booth back at home with some wine and a new willingness to accept her boyfriend's secrecy.  It's a huge step for her to be able to take a leap of faith, and emblematic that her character has come so far, even further now than she came in proposing to Booth.  Together, these two can weather any misunderstanding or debacle...look at all they have already endured!  However, it's more than a little foreboding that the episode concludes with a suggestion that Pelant is watching this make-up conversation, and we know he's likely none too pleased.  I appreciate that we didn't have to flick to a cheesy scene of Pelant fuming somewhere and that the suggestion and implication were heavy enough to fulfill the necessary amount of suspense.  Is there a reason, though, that Booth can't strip their home of any devices that may be tapped by the villain?  Would that just imply that Booth wasn't obeying Pelant's blackmailing demands?  I wonder.

What did you think of Bones' Season 9 premiere?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

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