So, the network television season wound down right around the time that I started my new job, and as a result, I fell behind on shows that were important to me but that I wasn’t required to recap (read, Community) or that didn’t air on the night things that I recapped aired (read 30 Rock). So I finally caught up on the end of Bones last weekend. Without giving it away, I thought both the execution and the plot decisions were excellent. But the show also raised a question for me: once we’re caught up in the narrative a television show chooses to cover, how much can we tolerate missing from our characters’ lives?Obviously, the answer is: quite a bit. In an ensemble show like Bones, we’re not privy to every moment of every character’s lives. There are even major plot points, like the departure of the team’s first boss, or Zach’s fate, that are left unresolved. I don’t know that we’ve ever seen Hodgins, Camille, or Sweets at home. But we’re in touch with the basic major developments in their lives. Even if Camille’s growing relationship with her adoptive daughter is never the focus of a full episode again, enough details of it show up in subsequent episodes to make us feel we’re in touch with the narrative. We’ve seen Parker grow up into a nice young boy without ever needing to dwell on him. Sweets’s backstory was artfully, and surprisingly, written into a good episode.But we’ve always had the basic continuity of the characters, with one exception — the surprising and intensely gratifying mid-season revelation that we had Booth and Brennan’s origin story wrong, and that story was the source of Brennan’s romantic disappointment and the beginning of Booth’s recovery from addiction. It was a lovely little jolt, and it gives me hope for how they’ll handle the looming year-long dissolution of the team.I remain concerned, though. A year is a long time to split up a couple that clearly loves each other but is stuck in destructive denial, a long time to move Hodgins and Angela to Paris, a long time to separate Sweets from his adoptive family. Maybe by the time you’re in your thirties a year isn’t such a long time, but I still feel like I change an awful lot from one January to the next. I bet these characters will too. I think it was a brave decision by Hart Hanson and company to give them that time off to develop, but I think it’ll be a real test of the show to present the characters as having plausibly grown and changed, while still making them lovable, perhaps even in different ways.
I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing