Bones made some lofty promises before launching season 11 this past October. After reviewing “The Cowboy in the Contest” and the winter finale, “The Doom in the Boom,” I can attest that Bones star Emily Deschanel and Executive Producer Michael Peterson were not just whistling Dixie when they coyly alluded to the provocative content in store for their millions of fans as we head into the winter bleak, er, I mean ‘break’ for who-knows-how-long. FOX is reserving the right to frustrate fans until they know for sure which of their primetime science experiments will bomb before committing Bones into a spring date and time slot … in case you hadn’t heard (Insert beady-eyed accusatory cough here). But this send off is brilliant, if not somber.

Let’s briefly revisit Deschanel and Peterson’s highfalutin promises as I parcel out my customary cryptic teases about both episodes airing back-to-back on December 10. “Cowboy in the Competition” and “The Doom in the Boom” are the definition of juxtaposition; a perfect combination of opposites to capture and remind us of all the elements that draw us to this ‘roman-cedural’ crimedy. Hopefully it will be enough to bridge the gaping hiatus and bring all eyeballs forward to the back end of season 11.

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“The Cowboy in the Competition” —  Straight From the Horses’ Mouths 

As it has been heralded in the previews, “The Cowboy in the Competition” is a quintessential Bones‘ undercover farce. While Deschanel told us in October that “Double Trouble in the Panhandle” has always been her favorite undercover episode, Peterson said that she’d change her mind when she saw what was in store for season 11.

“That will be a challenge, Michael,” Deschanel countered, but Peterson refused to back down. See what I mean by highfalutin?

“We got a good one. One of our former writers, Karine Rosenthal is coming in to guest-write for us and she’s fantastic,” Peterson boasted, “And it’s gonna be a different version of undercover than we’ve ever done before. It’s gonna be very playful and competitive, and unlike any undercover we’ve done before so we’re very excited.”

Our evaluation: Let’s just say that Peterson is a master of “under-promise, over-perform.” In other words, this episode is all that and a can of Pringles. It’s charming and entertaining and different, all piled on top of an awesome set and beautiful styling for both Brennan and Booth who are yummier than ever. 

Tease #1: Buck and Wanda Return, But It’s, Uh, Different This Time

So, the Moosejaws have had to make some adjustments to their personas. The switch-up is clever, and it serves a personal and romantical purpose. Will you enjoy it, you ask? Undoubtedly.

Tease #2: The Brennan vs. Booth Competitiveness Is in Full Force

Brennan tries to use psychology on Booth — never a good idea. This leads to more than a little rivalry. Of course, the rivalry doesn’t end with the case as both are convinced they had the upper hand. 

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Tease #3: Aubrey as Pancho Villa

Can I take this special agent home in my pocket? There is just nothing not to love about ‘Aubrey, James Aubrey’. Booth’s sidekick lives in his own little world complete with its own narrative and mythology. He reminds me of the imaginative life created by Calvin in Calvin and Hobbs. To top it off, Aubrey’s damn good at what he does. His confidence makes the humor of his foibles kinda, well, sexy, not unlike our man Booth. 

Tease #4: Two Beloved Characters Face Different Life-Altering Decisions

Elements of “The Cowboy in the Competition” are a set-up for Bones’ disturbing fall finale. Both of these individuals take action by the end of the first hour, setting in motion a plethora of complications which continue in “The Doom in the Boom.” Will you be happy with decisions made and actions taken? The jury is still out on this one. I’m on board with one character (with reservations), and conflicted for the other. That’s all I’ll say. 

“The Doom in the Boom” — Is it as Explosive as Promised?

“At episode 10 there will be a major shakeup,” teased Peterson in October, saying the big bad in this episode will be the biggest bad of the season. “I really don’t want to give too much away, but as I say, it’s going to affect Hodgins, Angela and Aubrey very, very directly … we’re going to start with a quite literal bang. [“The Doom in the Boom”] will be very interesting in how it will change the trajectory of the rest of the season.”

Blah, blah, blah. Executive producers are always saying grandiose things to keep us screaming for more. Sometimes they are spot on, other times it’s just a bunch of hype. This time, well, the events are a pretty big deal. I’ll say this: “The Doom in the Gloom” is the opposite of farcical. Some nasty, scary shit goes down. And it may not be resolvable, as some of the nastiest shit never is. 

Tease #5: Booth Is in a Cold Sweat the Entire Time

Booth undergoes a bit of deja-vu all over again in light of how his past year has gone. There’s talk of gambling, conspiracies, death and a possible internal affairs cluster. This wasn’t supposed to be his case, but it is now. 

Tease #6: Who Knew Daisy Had a Twin Sister?

Okay, so she doesn’t really have a twin sister, but she and this new profiler are cut from the same cloth. Is she likable? Yes, and she kicks major gluteus in the interrogation room, but she’s quirky as hell. Actually, she reminds me of even another character I’ve always been pretty crazy about.

Tease #7: The Degree of Disgusting Is Unparalleled 

We all toss our cookies for different things, but some stimuli are universal. I do love the disgusting side of Bones. I admit it. This episode, more than any in the last two seasons, actually had my stomach roiling. It’s still picketing right now, as a matter of fact. A while back I posted a slide show of the 23 most disgusting Bones episodes. The #1 grossest episode in that article was the one where Hodgins incubates and then births a stinkin’ botfly in the back of his neck. This finale multiplies that by several thousands. Now that’s what I call a #TripleDogHurl.

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Tease #8: Arastoo Gets Caught in a Lie

Brennan doesn’t have time to call in an intern, but guess who just happened to be in the neighborhood? Yep, Cam’s easily forgotten lovin’ man winds-up lending a hand. Talk about awkward. This go further downhill when Cam and Brennan (and we) find out what he’s been up to since he left. That is all I can say, other than that their final scene is chilling albeit predictable. But still damn chilling. 

Bones season 11 airs Thursdays at 8pm on FOX. 

(Images courtesy of FOX)

Catherine Cabanela

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV