Reviews

'Bones' Season Six Premiere

A love letter to group synergy and the fruits of hard labor, the Season Six premiere makes its own case for the team's existence.


Bones

Airtime: Thursdays, 8pm ET
Cast: Cast: Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin, T.J. Thyne, Tamara Taylor, John Francis Daley
Subtitle: Season Six Premiere
Network: Fox
Air date: 2010-09-23
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Trailer
Amazon

As Bones' sixth season begins, Booth (David Boreanaz) is still smarting from his rejection by Bones (Emily Deschanel) last season. Fans of the show know these work partners are opposites who belong together, but still, they must be kept apart. The 23 September season premiere finds yet another way to maintain this tension, introducing a new love interest for Booth, who says he has "moved on." With a new romantic roadblock in place, the story returns to a familiar focus on group togetherness.

Here, we pick up the narrative seven months after the entire team literally scattered across the globe. The opening scenes drop in on them in their new contexts. Bones and her intern Daisy (Carla Gallo) are in Indonesia, looking for a "missing link" in the history of humanity. In a flashy sequence, Bones goes into fierce woman warrior mode, as she battles a group of guerrillas. And Booth, now training soldiers in Afghanistan, uses his sniper skills to protect civilians. As they -- and other team members -- head in disparate directions, we get the message: they are also similar, altruistic and skilled in their pursuits. If personal relationships are fleeting or fragile, the broader world needs help.

Now, Cam (Tamara Taylor), working as a federal medical examiner in DC, is in trouble. She's been speaking out about war veterans' brain injuries, and getting flack her superiors and from the press, including questions about the murder case of an unidentified boy she's having trouble solving. Federal prosecutor Caroline Julian (Patricia Belcher) warns her that she has to find an answer, or she'll be fired. Of course the team reassembles to help her. Also of course, they revert immediately to their previous roles: so much for the fleeting and fragile nature of relationships.

While Booth is mostly eager to return (ever the conventional thinker, he's been wondering why he's in Afghanistan "fighting someone else's war," anyway), Bones needs more convincing. Caroline tells her they "had a good thing going" until Bones ran off to follow her own selfish desires. Bones is surprised to learn that when she left, everyone dispersed and, most upsettingly, hard-working intern Wendell (Michael Grant Terry) had to drop out of school due to finances. When she finds him in a mechanic's shop, she offers him lots of money to return. He tells her he needs to know how long the job is for, because he has to "think long-term."

Contrasting Bones' supposedly "selfish" short-term research goals with Wendell's entire career trajectory or Angela (Michaela Conlin) and entomologist hubby Hodgins' (T.J. Thyne) plans for a family, the narrative nudges Bones towards commitment. If not to Booth, at least to her work family. She caves because she understands it anthropologically, telling Booth that, in any group, there's a "linchpin" holding the group together. This person is not necessarily the leader or the loudest one, but the one keeping things intact, without whom the individuals splinter apart and the group fails. (She's also the one whose name provides her series its title.)

Each member makes a case for his or her status as the team's "linchpin," allowing the rest of us to see a little more about all, rather than the series' usual focus on Bones and Booth. A love letter to group synergy and the fruits of hard labor, the entire episode makes its own case for the team's existence. The whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.

On Bones, the rewards usually involve a sense of justice and expertise. If Bones and her team are doing good work and excel at their jobs, performing a key service to others, they can ride out their occasional discontent with the tough work of solving murders.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


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Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

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From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

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This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

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