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Five things to hope for in Bones, Season 9

5. Better material for Angela and Cam
To me, it felt like Season 8 for Angela was some sort of continuous fashion show. She basically spent the year sashaying back and forth in increasingly fancy little dresses, making her predictably cute comments ("ohh...sweetie...") and brilliant Angelatron observations.

Remember a few years ago when we were all on pins and needles wondering what would happen next in Angela's crazy life? I realize that now that she and Hodgins are settled down, there has to be less personal melodrama for her (and as a Hodgela shipper, that's a worthy exchange for me). However, I don't think that means she has to become part of the Jeffersonian wallpaper either.

I know Angela had at least one major revelation this past season, that of wanting to spend more time on her art, but, well...duh...and kind of yawn.

Hodgins had a better time of it, tussling with Pelant more than once and engaging in some lab hilarity with the various squinterns. Angela should be getting more of that kind of play.

Cam, meanwhile...she used to be warm and understanding while also being tough and intriguing. Recently, I feel she's somehow lost her edge. For one thing, she's definitely in on Angela's fashion show agenda (bandage dresses in the lab? No problem!). The adorable subplots about her relationships with Michelle and Arastoo work well, but when it comes to her professional persona, I'd like to see more fire and sass. Perhaps a little conflict with the team to remind us who's boss?

4. More of Sweets' personal journey
I think most of us would agree that Sweets had the best ongoing subplot of all the secondary characters last season. Breaking up with Daisy gave him such a breath of fresh air, not least of all because she gets on my last nerve with her sickly-cutesy personality. Sweets moving in with Booth and Brennan was a charming development that would frankly work well as a  spinoff series, a hilarious sitcom. Sweets finally got his independence back by moving out, leaving Booth and Brennan with a touching sense of empty nest syndrome that was beautifully portrayed.

Now that Sweets' life has become so untethered, I can't wait to see what kinds of new adventures he'll have in the new season.

3. A continued focus on strong weekly cases with less wackiness.
One aspect of Season 8 that was a major improvement over 6-7 was the quality of the weekly mysteries. Thankfully, last year featured nothing on par with Brennan charging into a tornado while heavily pregnant. We all like a little bit of fun and hijinks in our Bones episodes, but let's keep it tempered with the serious and rooted in some remnant of reality. In Season 8, after a two-year lull, the cases were a bit more creative, however gimmicky, and the murderers' identities less easily guessed.  The bookending scenes of Booth and Brennan at home with Christine are also working incredibly well, and I look forward to more of that.

2. For the Pelant storyline to be wrapped up in a satisfying and fully conclusive manner.
I'm of two minds regarding the Christopher Pelant saga. There's no denying that his shenanigans keep the Jeffersonian team on their toes and push their limits in ways that create wonderful twists. Having such a dark ongoing story arc has reinvigorated the show in a way that the previous "Sniper" plotline  did not.

However, the exciting aspects of the Pelant episodes come more from the team's reactions to his evil deeds than any kind of fascinating qualities in the villain himself. Especially in comparison to the multi-episode baddies from the early seasons, such as the Gravedigger, Gormogon, or Howard Epps, Pelant comes off as a bit cheesy, a moustache-twirling scenery chewer.

Another issue is Pelant's absurd and completely unbelievable amount of power over the universe. How about when he managed to get missiles trained on an all-girls school on the other side of the world, forcing Hodgins to surrender his personal fortune to spare the students' lives? Or when he shut all of Washington, D.C. off so he could trap Sweets in traffic with his hitwoman in the Season 8 finale? The portrayal of his abilities is so over-the-top that it's hard to take him seriously sometimes.

So if Season 9 can find a way to strip Pelant down to what really makes him tick and makes him scary (which, I suspect, is his deep, personal obsession with the Jeffersonian team and especially Booth and Brennan), and then bring that to a head in a way that feels potently threatening and intense, that would be truly ideal. Season 8 set this up with his reaction to Booth and Brennan's engagement. I would love to see a viscerally emotional final confrontation between Pelant, Booth, and Brennan rather than, say, Pelant threatening to unleash an earthquake that will destroy the city unless the team all jump off a bridge.

And this plotline has been going on for so long now that it needs and deserves an amazing pay-off.

1. That Booth and Brennan get married with no silly complications.
Okay, I might still be a little bitter about Angela and Hodgins having their wedding day ruined by a Jane Eyre-ish development back at the end of Season 2. But after waiting this long to resolve the many impediments to their union, surely Seeley and Temperance have earned a nice, suitably quirky, ultimately successful ceremony after which they are irrefutably man and wife. We definitely don't need to see Pelant crashing through a glass ceiling or any exclamations of "I object!"

I'm expecting Season 9 to fulfill at least some of these hopes and to build off of the strengths we saw in Bones' eighth year. Do you think the show can thrive in its ninth outing? What do you hope to see in Season 9? Share your ideas in the comments!

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