[This is a review of Bones season 9, episode 8. There will be SPOILERS.]
It's the end of an era on Bones as the veteran show makes way for Almost Human and moves to Fox's Friday night lineup. At first glance, however, 'The Dude in the Dam' has all of the markers of a lackluster episode from the return of Brennan's (Emily Deschanel) "tact vs. rude" plot to the victim once again lacking in the redeeming qualities category. Fortunately, what it lacks up front it makes up for in the secondary plots.
First off, let's give consistency props where they are due. Brennan's blunt delivery style has always been an issue, but what this episode does well is demonstrate how she's changed without beating you over the head with it. She's still blunt at home and at work, but when she learns that she may owe a fellow author an apology, she's quick to try and make amends.
The plot thickens when it becomes apparent that her rival was baiting her all along, making her comeuppance in the end satisfactory all around. This could have been a recipe for sloppy seconds, but the writers do an excellent job of tackling an old subject with new light.
Meanwhile, on the disgusting spectrum from 1 to 10, the Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) tale of botfly surrogacy is somewhere around a 20. On any other show, with any other actor, this storyline would fall flat on its face, but somehow it fits like a glove here. His strong insistence on carrying the botfly larva to term is bizarre, no doubt, but like Angela (Michaela Conlin), we've come to accept his brand of crazy and embrace it. From afar.
As for the case, it does nothing for the main characters save providing them with a few good punchlines. But the slug glue gets things off on a good foot and later the sexy slugs come a close second in the "sickening yet almost sweet" category.
As mentioned above, one could care less about the victim given how shallow his life was, but the case in general is shallow and makes up for it in other ways. Too bad we never learn how or why he ended up in that dam.
Overall, this is a good note for Bones to end its Monday night run on. The case is shallow but the character sketches have always been where the heart of the show resides and this is just as much the case here as it has been on so many other nights.
Now comes the march to Fridays at 8/7c. Will it be a funeral dirge or the heralding of a new era? It's tough to say, but if the past is any indicator, than this show and its audience are up for the fight. It has survived an era of moving around to every slot on the schedule with little or no warning to fans from the network. It weathered a writers' strike and answered the critics and viewers alike who suffer from PTSD of the Moonlighting variety.
Tune back in this Friday for another new episode!
Bones returns on Friday, November the 15th with "The Fury in the Jury" @8pm.