Ninety minute specials and double episodes are a rare occurrence when it comes to our weekly guilty pleasures, so when they do happen, you’re really hoping you’re in for a treat.

This week’s Bones two back-to-back episodes weren’t a bad mid-season finale by any means, but they were nothing spectacular either; I wish they had been more coherent with each other, but hey, no complaints here. Either way, it was double the fun…sort of.

S11E09: The Cowboy In the Contest

bones cowboy

The Cowboy In The Contest brought back a much loved device: Booth and Brennan go undercover as Buck and Wanda, this time to investigate the murder of a man in full cowboy get-up, who turns out to be an accountant.

An accountant, however, with a penchant for wild-west themed weekend retreats and, as it turns out, uncovering embezzling schemes (that ultimately got him killed). Of course these once-in-a-while undercover ops only happen when a lot of dress-up is required, because what’s the fun in going undercover to expose, say, a ponzi scheme or real estate fraud? Cowboy outfits are so much more entertaining than a suit and tie, so off they go to the ‘Frontier Games’.

Initially Booth is supposed to go it alone, as Brennan needs to stay back at the Jeffersonian to examine the bones, since Cam had to make last minute budget cuts to save money for some expensive equipment Hodgins had his eye on, which means intern Daisy can’t work overtime. But wait, is she really going to pass on a chance to wear a ridiculous costume and wig?

Of course not; at the beginning of the episode, Booth has his eye on a motorcycle, which freaks Brennan out, because hello, they’re in enough danger on the job as it is, and they don’t need the added risk of broken bones (which, in true Tempe fashion, she proceeds to list in detail). Angela seems to believe that Booth needs the excitement, which Brennan instantly perceives as a clue of his ennui over their lives having become slightly routine (which every motorcycle enthusiast in the world will tell you is bullshit, as the draw is simply the thrill of riding the freaking motorcycle).

Angela convinces Cam to bring Daisy back, to Hodgins’ disappointment, and offers to have Brennan’s kids over for a sleepover while Brennan and Booth are doing their thing at the cowboy retreat. Hey, let’s also bring little Lance over while we’re at it. Hodgins is not impressed, but Angela suggests he just look at the 4-children-babysitting situation as practice. Nope, she’s not preggers, but she really, really wants another kid.

At the Frontier Games, Brennan introduces herself as a stranger to Booth, which leads to a bit of mildly entertaining competition between the two. Not only does she actually think she can out-shoot her sniper husband, she also makes a point of telling him how unexpected and exciting her behavior is at every turn. She also allows a weirdo at the games to flirt with her, because sure, let’s make Booth jealous and show him exactly what a fun wife he’s got. Seriously, we’re supposed to think this woman is a genius, right?

A bit of collaboration between Booth, Brennan and the rest of the group at the lab, and presto, we’ve got the murder weapon and the motive, and, before you know it, a brawl at the saloon, because of course.

Booth and Brennan return home triumphant and discuss the whole motorcycle argument, but once again Brennan fails to realize that riding a bike at 60 mph is a slightly different thrill from any other type of vehicle. Hodgins tells Angela he’s not ready for another kid just yet, because he’s perfectly content with what they have.

Meanwhile, Cam is sleeping with Sebastian but she doesn’t want to get too involved with the hot photographer; Daisy tells her it’s okay to want to shield herself from getting hurt again, but at some point she’ll want to let someone in. This entire subplot and piece of dialogue is completely cliché but eh, what did you expect?

The episode wraps up with yet another one of Brennan’s blunders, which I’m sure we’re supposed to view as adorable, but I just consider them dorky and frankly, quite annoying: she has a surprise for Booth, wheels it into the living room, and voilà, it’s a bicycle! Yep, Booth isn’t too impressed and wouldn’t be caught dead riding that thing (or wearing that helmet), which instantly makes me love him even more. The end.

S11E10: The Doom in the Boom

bones boom

Okay, seriously, enough with the silly episode titles. How do they come up with these? Did someone in the writers’ room lose a bet? Ugh.

Anyway, the episode begins and we don’t get the usual bone-discovery-scene, which should be a red flag right away. Two skater kids are waiting for the cops to show up, having dialed 911 after discovering a severely decomposed body, but before the police arrives, a crime scene videographer shows up to get the exclusive footage.

Aubrey and a few other officers arrive at the scene along with Hodgins, and as they conduct their preliminary examination of the body, they notice an irregularity on the victim’s sinking chest. Before they have any time to examine it more closely, they hear a ringtone and realize the phone triggers a bomb hidden inside the body, but it’s too late to get far enough to be safe. As the bomb goes off, Aubrey manages to land on top of Hodgins, shielding him from the worst of the blast, and both end up hospitalized, while four cops are dead on the scene.

Not one to choose recuperation over case-solving, Hodgins is quickly back on the job, while Aubrey is hospitalized for his shrapnel trauma. The Bureau gets some questionable reinforcement courtesy of Caroline, in the form of behavioral analyst Leslie Green, who’s a total scatterbrain, much too young for the job, offers very little insight to Booth in the beginning, and her characterization as the FBI’s real-life Clarice Starling by Aubrey is absolutely laughable.

Arastoo’s arrival at the Jeffersonian to help out with the case is a pleasant surprise; he saw what happened on the news and knew Cam would need support. It’s a pretty effective way to show us how well he knows her and how much he cares about her, and Sebastian showing up out of the blue, in the middle of the investigation, to spend some time with Cam just makes the contrast all the more evident. Apparently Arastoo hasn’t gotten a job yet, but refuses Brennan’s offer to help him get one.

As far as the actual crime goes, after a bit of digging our team discovers that the victim was a cop; they start to suspect a security officer who couldn’t pass his psych exam to join the force, but when he also turns up dead, Leslie, Booth, and Aubrey (in his hospital bed) put two and two together and realize the killer has it in for authority figures. They also get some unexpected help from the videographer’s footage, who was a suspect at first. All they need to do now is figure out who’s next.

Or, better yet, Booth decides to speed things up by offering himself as bait. Before he can establish himself as a target, however, Aubrey seems to have the same idea, checks himself out of the hospital and beats Booth to the punch. He makes a statement to the press, announcing that the FBI will stop at nothing to catch the culprit, and painting himself as the lead in the investigation. That blatant statement alone would have sent the message quite efficiently, but Aubrey feels the need to actually say he’s “the authority”, which is downright ridiculous. THE authority? Really? Sigh.

The clues lead them to the skater guys’ place, where they were in the process of preparing yet another bomb. The bad guys are arrested, everyone’s happy, Arastoo tells Cam he wants to get back together and he actually has a job offer but would give it up to be with her, and Hodgins’ close call makes him realize he doesn’t want to wait for another kid.

And then, of course, something huge needs to happen, because it’s the mid-season finale, and Aubrey’s life was already spared. Hodgins collapses, gets taken to hospital, and the doctor very reluctantly breaks the news to Angela and the rest of the team, but before she can even get to the bottom line we see the look of doom on Cam and Brennan’s faces. The blast caused some swelling Hodgins’ spine, which usually takes a while to manifest itself, but now they know what they’re dealing with: Hodgins is paralyzed.

Well, that was unexpected. And a huge bummer. Hopefully they’ll find some way around it when the season picks up again, because poor Hodgins has been through enough in 11 seasons…