Bones: Season Five Premiere

The new season of Bones brings Cyndi Lauper guesting as a psychic, the return of Seeley Booth's funky socks, as well as the best screwball romantic team on TV.


Airtime: Thursdays, 8pm ET
Cast: Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin, T.J. Thyne, Tamara Taylor, John Francis Daley
Subtitle: Season Five Premiere
Network: Fox
Air date: 2009-09-17

Bones is sublime. Unlike so many other forensics shows, it is full of dark comedy and genuinely appealing characters. It's smart and never panders to the audience, knowing we care more about relationships and insights than guns and guts. The Season Five premiere, "The Harbingers in the Fountain," brings Cyndi Lauper guesting as a psychic, the return of Seeley Booth's funky socks, as well as the best screwball romantic team on TV.

Bones (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) have long since forged a mature partnership, challenging and frustrating each other. Last season's controversial finale had them married and living in alternate reality, thus briefly offering the fantasy viewers both want and worry about. The new season's premiere, airing tonight, opens six weeks after Booth's successful surgery for a benign brain tumor. Waking up confused about his reality, thus setting up a conflict between head and heart. When Bones wants to jump back into the week's murder case, Booth needs a moment, asking "Let me just re-acclimate myself at my own speed here, okay?"

Encouraged by Lauper's kooky psychic to follow his emotions instead of listening to doctors talking about what happened to his brain, Booth asks Cam (Tamara Taylor) to reassure him of his identity. She agrees with the psychic, telling him he's a "sweet, kickass FBI murder solver with hard fists and a lionheart. Forget the bruised brain and go with the lionheart."

While Booth is here urged to be emotional, the women around him are allowed to be smart. If her colleagues tease Bones for her Ms. Spock-style hyper rationality, her insistent intelligence grounds the show. She brings the logic, the love of empiricism, and the (almost unconvincingly ridiculous) inability to recognize her own feelings for Booth. He brings the courage, canny crime-fighting skills, and predictable refusal to acknowledge his own feelings for Bones. They also share a love of truth and justice, not to mention a willingness to validate each other's strengths ("science" skills and "people" skills). Bickering like an old married couple, they regularly debate complex ideas and all the tough emotions the murder cases spark.

That's not to say the show doesn't have actual fun. Lauper's performance this week as Avalon Harmonia recalls the Season Three episode, "The Wannabe in the Weeds," when the usually serious Bones revealed her love of Lauper and expertly sang "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" at an ill-fated open mic night. The team's artist, Angela (Michaela Conlin), just so happens to have a father who is in ZZ Top (and he really shows up from time to time). Such pop culture references lighten the tone but also contextualize the characters: they live in a world that is familiar to viewers. Booth teases Bones about her geekiness whenever she can't recognize a reference, and loves it when she does. He wants her to understand him, and his movie and film references help shape his experience.

At the same time, in this episode as in all others, Bones and Booth find distraction and satisfaction in a solving a murder case, here involving a mass grave discovered under a fountain. The team splits on whether to buy Avalon's mystic insights or stick to logic and evidence. Bones tells Angela she needs "actual evidence and not some mumbo jumbo from a deck of tarot cards." And so Booth, outfitted with his "Cocky" rooster belt buckle, and Bones, most comfortable letting her geek flag fly in lab coat and hazmat suit, look forward to another season of entertaining banter and investigation.






A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.


The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.


Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.


Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.


Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.


'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.