A back-door pilot is a tricky proposition. On the one hand, you take advantage of the pre-existing love that viewers have for a successful show. On the other, you risk alienating those adoring fans by focusing on some random, new people. The Bones episode, “Finder” has chosen to take the risk.

The result? It’s hard to say — but more on that later.

Essentially, there are two intersecting shows going on here. A basic Bones plot investigates some pretty straightforward remains. Meanwhile, a “Finder” plot tracks down the clue of the missing chart (and subsequent treasure). Fortunately for show structure and unfortunately for efficient recapping purposes, the two plots are so intertwined that they must be described together.

A Hot Mess in Florida
Booth and Brennan have been called to the Everglades to investigate a set of remains found deep in the swamp. I mean, really deep. So deep that all you find are hick sheriffs and hogs with people teeth. Quality time in the swamp is cut short, however, by the convenient fact that the dead guy had a glass eye.

The fake eye’s serial number leads Brennan and Booth to some museum somewhere, headed by the guy from Little Mosque on the Prairie (hey, I like my Canadian sitcoms, OK?). The victim was a security guard named Sam. He turns out to have stolen an 18th century chart (not a map) that supposedly leads to the Santa Esperanza, a treasure ship.

But the map chart hasn’t been authenticated! Or has it? Hmmm…

Enter the Finder
Booth admits that he might know someone who can find the chart, and therefore the killer. This leads him and Brennan to one of those tropical bar places that in reality would be full of spring break partiers. But in TV reality, all we find are three people pondering that eternal question: “Ninja vs. Samurai.”

We rapidly meet Walter (a paranoid son-of-a-b*tch), Leo (a big guy with a book and some supposed legal position) and Ike (the girl bartender). Then Booth and Walter deal with past issues by fighting over Brennan’s ID.

As the plot advances, Walter agrees to help find both the chart and some medal Brennan lost years earlier. The Bones team heads back north while the Finder team prepares for criminal activity.

The Finder in Action
Walter, Leo and Ike visit the victim’s apartment, and Walter breaks in to begin his Finding process. Walter’s process seems to involve exposing his beautiful body. I can live with that. It probably has something to do with getting inside the head of the object of his investigation. Whatever. Hot body.

It works too. While sitting on the toilet and chatting with Brennan, Walter finds a pawn ticket.

This leads the Finder crew to a pawn shop where they find out that the chart had been hidden in a ukulele. A girl with a “Do Not Resuscitate” tattoo then took it. This leads Walter to his friendly local tattoo parlor. Although the knowledgeable tattooist is not friendly, Leo gets all badass and fixes that problem.

The tattooed, ukulele-smashing girl is a hot chick named Britney. Walter tracks her down and falls in love with her, apparently a common thing for him. She says a lot of depressed stuff and then sets off to sea in her boat, the “Screw You.” But not before a Walter-kiss. Because he’s hot and stuff.

In Case You Forgot This Is a Bones Episode…
Now it’s time to head back to cold, dark D.C. Walter manages to bypass security and shows up in Brennan’s office with a long-lost medal from her pre-abandonment years. They flirt a bit, but it’s much more important to have Angela recreate the lost chart. Which she does. Throw in a few Hodgins’ conspiracy-tinged insights and Walter insults, and the Finder is headed back south.

Never Mind
Instantaneously back in Florida, Walter dives at the coordinate site. He doesn’t find the treasure ship. He does find a very drowned Britney.

And Back to Bones
Walter returns to the Jeffersonian, drowning victim in hand, so that Cam can do an autopsy. While the cause of death (other than the obvious drowning) remains in the air, Cam does find the chart and a finger shoved down Britney’s throat.

So just find the guy missing a finger! Obvious!!!

But they’re not listening to me, because the chart is obviously way cooler. Walter smears blood all over it, figures something out and quits. He’s found the chart, after all.

Enter the Random Clergyman. Also Coffee.
Walter and Ike visit some priest (Bishop? Cardinal?) who is an expert on … um, something. They argue a bit about faith before the priest bishop holy guy rambles on about some multi-denominational stuff that seems to resolve everything for the characters. This humble viewer, meanwhile, is way lost. Oh well.

The scene ends with the issue of Walter’s brain damage/paranoia, a theme immediately continued at a sunny Miami cafe. A coffee discussion brings up the fact that Walter is a paranoid, brain-damaged freak. Ike thinks this is a problem. Walter and Leo are cool with it. Walter and Leo are weird.

The Bones People Can Solve Crime Too!
Hodgins and Brennan burst into Booth’s office, because Hodgins has figured out the blood/breast milk/semen clue on the chart. Using Angela’s vast knowledge of historical geography, the team figures out where the treasure would be. Yay!

Oh, but Walter and company figured it out too. And, since they travel at supersonic speeds, they manage to locate and recover the treasure before Angela finishes her speech.

First stop for Walter and Leo? The museum where the only possible suspect museum director is shocked to find out that the treasure did exist. His shock would be more believable if not for him being the only character with motive his bandaged hand. Like a finger was bitten off! Oooooohhh…

Because who else would it be Walter is a genius, the director’s guilt is not a surprise to Walter and Leo, who bop the guy on the head with an antique Virgin Mary statue and discuss killing him. They don’t.

Resolutions All Around

Super-dark Washington returns to find Brennan and Booth wandering the streets and discussing Walter. Booth, as it turns out, hates Walter for arresting a once-AWOL Booth just after Parker’s birth. That’s fair. Before they can psychoanalyze anymore, however, a van pulls up with Leo and Ike inside.

They hand over a box (containing the museum director) and say Walter’s work is done. Then they drive away…

…Back to sunny Florida bars where the philosophy has evolved to “Drowned Kitten vs. Fat Girl Smoking.” Alas, there is no answer. Only Walter professing his undying love for one Temperance Brennan. Yes, the show is mean enough to go there.

But no further, thank goodness. The sunny Finder world cannot coexist for long with the dark world of the Jeffersonian.

The Verdict
So what about “Finder?”

As a Bones episode, it was only so-so. Bones, after all, is about Brennan and Booth. And solving crimes using disgusting remains. It’s a formula, but it works. Well. Messing with that will only get you into trouble.

But “Finder” was a reasonably entertaining bit of trouble. I couldn’t decipher half of what Ike and Leo said, but otherwise the show gave us an entertaining trio of crime-solving loonies. Walter’s hotness investigative abilities were pretty impressive too.

Left on its own, I’d probably give a Finder series a chance. But Mr. Walter Sherman needs to stay far, far away from Bones — both the show and the lady — for me to accept it.

Did you like the “Finder” episode of Bones? Would you watch the spin-off series, or will you stick with just Bones? And couldn’t they have had even one other suspect for us?

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(Image courtesy of FOX)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.