Stars: David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Michaela Conlin, T.J. Thyne, Tamara Taylor, John Francis Daley, Michael Grant Terry, Ryan O’Neal, Kevin Alejandro
Writers: Hart Hanson & Stephen Nathan
Director: Ian Toynton
Network: Fox, Thursdays @ 9 PM
Airdate: May 19, 2011
Let’s cut to the chase here. When a TV series has a star who becomes pregnant in real life, the options are to write her out of several episodes, stash her behind desks and potted plants while she is “showing,” or just write the pregnancy into the series.
As Emily Deschanel is the title character on BONES, writing her out seems an especially poor idea and the steely lab settings don’t lend themselves to indoor foliage. Well, Bones, aka Temperance Brennan did finally get together last week with her investigative partner Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) on last week’s episode …
And this week, no one except Brennan’s friend Angela (Michaela Conlin) is any the wiser about the changed relationship between Brennan and Booth – and Angela is preoccupied with being overdue in giving birth to her own child with husband Hodgins (T.J. Thyne).
While Booth and Brennan are undercover at a bowling alley, trying to find out who murdered a bowler whose body wound up mangled in the pin machine, Angela, Hodgins and squintern Wendell (Michael Grant Terry) analyze evidence at the lab. Then Angela’s water breaks and it’s off to the hospital for them. Brennan’s father Max notices something is odd about how Brennan and Booth are interacting with each other, even undercover, but if he figures out what’s new, he doesn’t comment on it. When the killer is identified – the motive is stinky shoes, of all things – Max helps by knocking the guy out before he can run.
Although Angela and Hodgins have been worried that their baby may be born blind as a result of a hereditary genetic disorder, the little boy is fine – his middle names reflect the suggestion from Angela’s father and the recently deceased Vincent. Brennan and Booth, after visiting their friends in the hospital, walk together. Brennan tells Booth that she’s pregnant and he’s the father – and Booth is delighted.
One has to hand it to BONES executive producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan, who co-wrote this episode, for coming up with a season finale that, if necessary, could have served as a series finale (the episode was made before renewal was a certainty) that would satisfy most of the series’ fans. As it is, they have handled the Brennan/Booth pairing so sure-handedly and deftly that viewers can feel confident that the elements most people enjoy about the show will still be present. It will be intriguing to see how the hyper-rational Brennan deals with impending motherhood and how Booth deals with Brennan’s choices as the pregnancy proceeds.
Deschanel and Boreanaz have achieved a really appealing rapport with one another that is charming to watch. The same is true of Conlin and Thyne, who as Angela and Hodgins fairly radiate affection and support for one another. O’Neal’s twinkling unpredictability is an enjoyable recurring factor and “Change in the Game” also has an amusing guest shot by Kevin Alejandro (of TRUE BLOOD and SOUTHLAND) as a bowler who believes the Almighty is on his side.
Gripes about “The Change in the Game” could be primarily leveled at how the crime is handled. Anybody who has ever approached an unfamiliar computer program will find the attempt by Wendell and Cam (Tamara Taylor) to access Angela’s specialized imaging program to be highly unlikely and the solution/motive/confession in the murder is wrapped up a bit like the punchline to a throwaway joke.
However, as an integral part of the spine of the overall BONES story, “The Change in the Game” is good.
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