May 20, 2011

season finale watch: bones and the good wife

If any of you read all of that upfronts ballyhoo below, thanks for your patience. Much of that network pomp and circumstance doesn't really interest the average TV watcher. But it was a good way to clear the blogging cobwebs after my inexcusable absence and get excited for next fall. 

Now it's time to get back to some regular TV fandom as this season wraps, so I'll be posting about the finales of some of my favorites. I'll probably group them in some odd ways, but bear with me. 

First up: Bones and The Good Wife

Let me be clear that I love both of these shows for reasons that go far beyond will-they-won't-they drama. However, I'm pairing them together because both finales had some surprising developments in their respective "suspenseful relationships" that will have interesting implications for next season.

I have a soft spot for this show. Considering the violent nature of the crimes depicted and the gross out images of rotting corpses, it's funny how much I just like hanging out with these characters every week. The chemistry among the actors is some of the best on television. Emily Deschanel's deadpan performance as highly intelligent, bewildered realist Dr. Brennan (Bones) never gets old for me. I would argue that this past season has been one of the strongest in terms of Bones' journey to understand her own instincts and emotions -- told so aptly through her relationship with partner Booth. 

But it's the supporting characters that make this show for me. Hodgins and Angela's little love story has been so fun to watch. And Sweets is always entertaining -- as sort of a meta-analyzer for the audience -- and so well-played by John Francis Daley. The revolving door of interns has been the perfect solution for the irreplaceable Zack (when are we going back to that story, by the way?). The second-to-last episode brought a very surprising end to the life of intern Vincent Nigel-Murray. It was such a beautifully done episode -- that musical sequence right before the sniper shooting, rotating among all of the characters was awesome. Who knew the loss of Vincent would make me cry?

All of that said, the very last scene in the finale between Bones and Booth is really the only thing that will stick with me through the summer hiatus. Bones is preggers?! An intimate moment between the two while grieving Vincent in the previous episode was definitely purposefully left open to interpretation. Many fans feel robbed of the experience of seeing them finally give in to all of that tension and just kissy face all over the place. For me, it was done perfectly. I didn't need to see the dirty deed, and I think Bones' confession coupled with Booth's elated reaction at the very end was pretty perfect (and appropriate for how this story has been told). Just enough to satisfy the 'shipper in me while still leaving the story open to many potential complications for next season. Assuming Emily and David will not actually reproduce (despite their dedication to the craft), they better find a darn cute baby to play their offspring.

Note: Many of you probably know that Emily is pregnant in real life, so the writers incorporated it into the story. That doesn't cheapen it for me though. I'm totally on board with the story. Also, Bones will take a spring hiatus in 2012 to accommodate Emily's leave. 

The Good Wife
Aside from the strength of the supporting cast, The Good Wife really could not be more different from Bones in terms of tone and style. I'm putting them together mostly because they both gave me that mushy feeling at the end of the finale. There, I said it.

Really, any of the last three episodes (starting with the election night) could have been the finale of The Good Wife this season. The reveal of Kalinda's tryst with Peter was a cliffhanger that would have worked. But I'm glad they pushed on and gave Alicia the opportunity to have some really memorable confrontations with everyone involved -- both Kalinda and Peter, but also Jackie (woah). These scenes set up many possibilities for the show's return next season. We know Kalinda will keep her job at the firm, but the tension between the two women could be cut with a knife. We also know Peter is now in a position to either make Alicia's professional life miserable or relieve his guilt by secretly helping her out (can we assume that's what he was doing by mailing the bloody glove)?

My one complaint - I can't get behind how Alicia's kids are written. I can't put my finger on why. The writers often display the kids' mischievous savvy -- using social media and other means to sabotage Peter's opponents (they were really playing dirty!) and challenging Alicia's choices (both religious and political). They don't seem to ever redeem themselves or show compassion for their mother, and I find myself wanting to smack them. Is that because these are real teenagers, and we just don't often see teenagers written in a realistic way? Kids being kids in an extremely stressful situation? Maybe. But, even not knowing about Kalinda, I wanted them to be a little easier on their mom about the separation. I'm probably over-analyzing these two, but I wouldn't mind a lot more Eli Gold and less Florrick kids next season.

The finale concluded with a relationship that hasn't often taken center stage this season, but was always hovering in the background. I'm not always on board with the Will and Alicia tension -- it's not the strength of the show -- but the scene at the hotel bar  was a reminder of how well the two actors play together and how the two characters bring out the best sides of each other. When I still wasn't sure which way I wanted things to go, the use of those elevator doors as a suspense-building device at the very end was brilliant. I was on the edge of my seat. I fully expected Jackie, Peter, Kalinda, Elmo, SOMEONE to be on the other side of those doors. Which made it even more satisfying when they made it into the room. Christ, Alicia deserved it. And she wasn't going to let a stupid key card get in her way. 

Should be really interesting to see how this relationship impacts the next season, but with everything else in play (including cases that are becoming increasingly compelling), I have faith the writers won't get too bogged down in the relationship drama of it all. 


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