Fox // 2010 // 957 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // November 18th, 2010
Solving Murders Takes Chemistry
A season ends on the main character getting a tumor, falling into a coma, and dreaming that he and his platonic partner are married and own a bizarre nightclub. It sounds like a bad parody of a soap opera; when it's the closer to a primetime crime drama, it's usually time to start looking for the "best by" date. As I said in my review of the fourth season of Bones, the show does a decent job of coming back from the whole tumor-dream plot point, but Bones: Season Five: Beyond the Grave Edition still has a lot to prove. The show continues to impress with engaging mysteries, increasing dramatic tension between the regular cast and revolving series of interns. On the whole, though, it may leave fans even more skeptical than the last season did in terms of the show's direction.
Booth's (David Boreanaz, Angel) tumor was successfully removed. Now he's ready to get back into action with his partner Bones (Emily Deschanel, Cold Mountain). There's still tension around the lab as Angela (Michaela Conlin, Open Window) and Hodgins (T.J. Tyne, How High) deal with lingering romantic and sexual complications, and the cycle of interns isn't helping.
All twenty-two episodes of the fifth season are included on six discs:
* "Harbingers in the Fountain"
* "The Bond in the Boot"
* "The Plain in the Prodigy"
* "The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"
* "The Night at the Bones Museum"
* "The Tough Man in the Tender Chicken"
* "The Dwarf in the Dirt"
* "The Foot in the Foreclosure"
* "The Gamer in the Grease"
* "The Goop in the Girl"
* "The X in the File"
* "The Proof in the Pudding"
* "The Dentist in the Ditch"
* "The Devil in the Details"
* "The Bones on the Blue Line"
* "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole"
* "The Death of the Queen Bee"
* "The Predator in the Pool"
* "The Rocker in the Rinse Cycle"
* "The Witch in the Wardrobe"
* "The Boy with the Answer"
* "The Beginning of the End"
I hate to keep mentioning shark-jumping, but for a show that takes an unfulfilled romantic chemistry as one of its major draw, the discussion is almost inevitable. However, Bones is in the rare position where it might have jumped the shark on a great episode rather than on an absurd one. This episode is the season's 100th: "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole." In it, Sweets finishes his book on the working (and sublimated romantic) relationship of Bones and Booth. However, after the pair reads it, they inform Sweets that he got one detail wrong: in the book Sweets claims that their relationship would fall apart if they ever gave in to their feelings and kissed. The rest of the episode goes back to the pair's first meeting, revealing that they had in fact kissed once. It's a great episode that encapsulates everything that makes the show great. The banter is quick and clever, the flashback structure allows the writers to get in some mythology for the characters (and bring back the always loveable Zack), and the ante between Booth and Brennan is raised to epic heights. It is in fact such a good episode that it puts a great cap on the series' themes. I don't want to give too much away, but the developments in the episode between our protagonists are such that the show is left with less breathing room in terms of romantic drama.
Although the romantic relationships on the show get some priority this season, the mysteries are not left to languish. Pretty much every episode includes a compelling puzzle for the team to solve. These cases put the team into interesting situations like a lockdown overnight in a museum and a trip to Brennan's former high school to solve a case. The interpersonal relationships on the show stand in for an over-arching case, but the individual mysteries solved this season are top-notch in terms of construction.
On DVD, Bones gets the Beyond the Grave Edition treatment. The show's slick, occasionally CGI-enhanced looks is well-represented with a clean, bright transfer that's generally free of compression artifacts and other problems. It's obviously not as sharp as its HD counterpart, but looks good for a broadcast show on DVD. The 5.1 surround audio does a great job with the dialogue-heavy show, and the occasional bouts of violence and music sound especially impressive.
Extras start out with extended cuts of "The Man in the Tender Chicken" and "The X in the Files," and commentaries on "The Proof in the Pudding" and "The Beginning in the End." Featurettes include a closer look at the 100th episode with David Boreanaz (who sat in the director's chair for this episode), as well as a look at "The Bodies of Bones" and "The Nunchuck Way." We also get the requisite deleted scenes and a gag reel. It's a solid package that gives fans a great peek behind the scenes of the show.
The end of the season is really rough. The writers, having written themselves into a corner with the Booth/Brennan relationship, decide on radical change. I won't give it away, but the ending sets up some serious changes for Bones: Season Six. To their credit the writers do it without relying on any of the clichés of death or marriage to accomplish their vision. Still, it leaves viewers in an awkward place with respect to the continuing arc of the show. Certainly big changes have helped the show before (like having the revolving cast of interns), but the wisdom of the changes this time out seems a bit suspect to me.
It's a little early to cast a definitive vote, but Bones: Season Five might be the best of the series. It's got a load of great mysteries, keeps the relationships in the lab moving along, and pushes the Booth/Brennan relationship into some wonderfully angsty directions without resorting to outright melodramas. Still, the season ender points towards rocky seas in the future of the crew of the Smithsonian. Fans who enjoyed the season should have no problem picking up this set for the show's presentation and extras.
Things are changing for the Bones crew, but this season is not guilty.
Review content copyright © 2010 Gordon Sullivan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 957 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Extended Episodes
* Episode Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* Official Site