RogerBW's Blog

Bones season 12 11 March 2018

2017, 12 episodes. Final season of this police procedural in the CSI mould: a team of forensic experts at the "Jeffersonian" consults for the FBI.

Everybody knew this would be the last season, so there's a lot of effort put into wrapping up loose ends: relationships are resolved and opened to future possibilities, fan-favourite characters are brought back for one last outing, and the last episode in particular ends in an orgy of reminiscence.

There isn't really a through-line story for this season, except for the general theme of endings and goodbyes: characters who've been around for a while can be sent off to new lives, and the effects crew can do some serious damage to the standing sets. The physical part of the previous season's cliffhanger is defused as quickly as possible, but leads into what one would expect to be a season-long investigation of the details behind it… except that it's mostly a few brief sequences among the regular crime-of-the-week stuff.

I applaud the scriptwriters who tried to write the effects of a temporary loss of intelligence on Bones, who defines herself as a person who is intelligent; the way everyone says "oh, hey, you're still you so that's OK" while completely failing to understand the significance of losing a chunk of one's cognitive capacity rang true, though I'm not sure they meant it to be quite as dark as it felt to me.

The show has always had six core characters, and has kept four of them from the beginning, something of a rarity in a programme that's run for this long. This certainly helps in the portrayal of an effective team, particularly once the scriptwriters stopped trying to push various sorts of tension into the group and allowed them to work together against the criminals; those four, and the fifth who joined in season 2, are clearly used to working with each other and spouting technobabble, so they can concentrate more on getting into character and in particular effectively portraying the interactions between these long-term friends.

Of course like most cop shows the police are (almost) always right and anyone opposed to anything they do is a Bad Person. One has to hold one's nose and accept it, or just not watch.

This has never been a really great series, but from unpromising beginnings it managed to make something surprisingly interesting, particularly in its last three years with a fully stable core cast.

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