Is it just me... or did this not feel like the same Bones we've been watching for the past several episodes? Because this didn't feel like the same show. In fact, this felt like a return to the old Bones, pre-Christine maybe.
While "The Patriot in Purgatory" didn't do anything in the way of advancing the plot for this season, it was moving and engaging in a way the past few weeks haven't been, leaving me hopeful for what's to come.
I have to admit that I went into tonight's episode a bit skeptical. Cam's preparation of the squinterns and the five of them practically tripping over one another to figure out the mystery of the remains on the table set a tone of silliness that was perpetuated by Bones channeling her inner basketball coach.
As we covered last week, Fisher isn't my favorite, and I anticipated another episode centering not on our main duo, but on the peripheral characters who flesh out the cast. Bones as "coach" felt out of character and borderline ridiculous, particularly when she handed out butt-slaps after assigning the squinterns the task of identifying the as-yet unidentified remains.
I understand the need for comic relief in the midst of tragedy, and I know that was the purpose of the basketball coach imitation, but after viewing the episode and looking at it as a whole, the comedic moments tonight felt unnecessary because of how purpose-driven this episode was with regards to uncovering both the identity of the man and how he died.
To me, this hour didn't feel like a tragedy. It felt like a tribute both to an infamous day in our nation's history and to the characters we know and love.
This was a perfect balance of the motivations of both the main and supporting cast. We were able to understand what inspired each of them to seek the identity of the homeless man and solve his death.
Booth saw a fellow soldier who deserved dignity, a man who died a hero. Brennan and the squinterns felt compelled to use their science to help those bones find rest. Cam was in New York on 9/11 and witnessed that horror firsthand. Angela is a sweet spirit and gentle soul who sees the dead as the people they were instead of bones on a table. Hodgins, who would ordinarily have a conspiracy theory at the ready, had none.
Booth's desire to carry out the mission of Tim Murphy was compelling, as was Bones' desire to give Booth what she knew he neede: -closure for a man whom he saw as a fellow soldier. This gave us that connection between Booth and Bones that seems to have been missing in the past few weeks.
As the squinterns had their heated moments and shared their stories of where they'd been, I found myself rapt and invested in hearing their tales. None of the characters tonight felt like caricatures. They all felt like friends.
Despite the fact that I'm a television reviewer, I'm also a spoiler-phobe. I usually go into episodes knowing only what's been released to the public.
I knew that tonight would be about September 11th, but I didn't know how much the episode would affect me. How it would gently force me to remember where I was and what I was doing that morning in 2001 when planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
Many shows have tried to pay homage to 9/11 and few, I think, have done it in a way as nice as Bones did tonight. Bravo, Bones.
Did you think "The Patriot in Purgatory" was as well done as I did?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.