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Broken Bones

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Written by : published Tuesday 15th May 2012

FOX's Bones does something unexpected with "The Past in the Present," this spring's season finale: it does not solve the case in one hour! As enjoyable as Bones is, mostly due to the colorful, talented cast of characters, it is still a procedural. Recently familial developments keep things moving along from week to week, but each episode still makes time to solve a murder. Except in "The Past in the Present."

Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds, Major Payne), whom viewers might remember from this year's mid-season finale, returns. Pelant previously matched wits with the Jeffersonian team, still managing to mess with them and control the investigation while under house arrest. For those hoping for Pelant's return after that first, brilliant installment, "The Past in the Present" comes a little late, almost after he is forgotten. But being set up as such a formidable foe, Pelant will surely return again at least once, hopefully several times, more.

In "The Past in the Present," Pelant murders Brenna's (Emily Deschanel) friend, Dr. Ethan Sawyer (Darin Toonder), then pins the killing on her. Evidence begins stacking up, first circumstantial, then concrete. The F.B.I. even finds Ethan's hair in Brennan's trunk! Due to Pelant's manipulations, Brennan is soon thrown off the case, followed closely by Booth (David Boreanaz), Sweets (John Francis Daley), and Ms. Julian (Patricia Belcher). Max (Ryan O'Neal) encourages his daughter to flee, but she hesitates, knowing that Booth would not approve, as he trusts the system that he devotes his life to working for.

In the end, Brennan makes a run for it with Max's help, taking her infant daughter, Christine, with her. Booth is furious, having been kept out of the loop, and knowing that it makes Brennan look guilty. Yet, as Booth refrains from punching Max, there's also a sense that he knows this is what Brennan has to do, and an understanding the Max is helping to protect the woman they both love. The case against her is too strong, and there have not been any breaks. Brennan would be found guilty and locked up if she stays. So running is her only choice.

This will be a huge disappointment to Cam (Tamara Taylor). She insists on working this investigation by the book, following every rule, even when it leads to casting more suspicion on Brennan. Hodgins (T.J. Thyne), Wendell (Michael Grant Terry), and especially Angela (Michaela Conlin) are bothered by this, wrestling with the moral dilemma. But Cam's actions are what keeps them on the case, when everyone else is removed, and her tears prove that it's not easy for her to betray her employee and friend. The only way they can help Brennan is by doing their jobs as thoroughly as possible. Brennan running away will not make the task of proving her innocent any easier.

There is an interesting moment in "The Past in the Present" where Brennan insists on Christine being christened before she is arrested. One might assume that her friends' unwavering faith in her innocence sparks a little bit of belief within Brennan as well. But as the episode ends, this does not seem to be the case. Maybe Brennan just wants to do right for the baby by Booth before she takes Christine away from her father.

But why does Brennan run with Christine? Couldn't Booth protect her more comfortably, not being on the lam? It's not like Booth would have to leave Christine with someone else while he looks for clues. Booth is off the case. Surely, taking the baby along is not a smart decision. Which is another sign of Brennan acting more irrationally, more human, since she has become a mother.

Brennan's feelings for Booth are confirmed fully in "The Past in the Present" when she tells Booth that she isn't with him just because of Christine. It's something fans are pretty sure of anyway, but one can see how Booth might have doubts, especially considering what Brennan is about to do. As such, this is a fantastic moment that really sells their relationship in a very real way, and shows Brennan's growth as a character, as she thinks of Booth's feelings. Great job!

The one thing that doesn't gel with this episode is why Booth is so hostile towards Agent Flynn (Reed Diamond, Dollhouse, Franklin & Bash), who takes over the case. If the two have a past, it's not been seen by fans, since this is Flynn's first appearance on Bones. Flynn is just doing his job, and surely Booth knows this. Brennan doesn't blame Cam and the others for continuing to work, so why does Booth blame his colleague? This could be chalked up to the stress of the situation, but it doesn't really seem in character for Booth to act this way.

Finally, what of the alarm clock that Pelant replaces in Booth and Brennan's home? Is it a bomb? Will the writers really destroy this new home that the couple have just built? So soon? Certainly, Booth will not be killed off, but taking away this sanctuary would be regrettable. Please don't!

Any way you slice it, "The Past in the Present" makes an exciting cliffhanger for Bones! Anticipation will be extremely high for next fall's premiere.

In the meantime, there is also the question of what to do with the extra, "stand-alone" episodes that were filmed this year. It wouldn't really make sense to air them this summer. Might next season be even longer than fans are accustomed to? Because that would be awesome!

Bones will return to FOX next fall.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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