I recently watched Bones, Season 3. I knew what would happen regarding Zach (I always know what happens; I know what happened recently on House, for example; I'm not one for waiting a whole year to find things out). More about Zach later. Here are my thoughts on all of Season 3.
It is, without a doubt, a totally cute season. In fact, it's almost too cute, but it was nice to watch an entire season of a show containing almost zero angst. I kept thinking, "Boy, the writers should go on strike more often if this is the result!"
Amongst my favorite cute moments: Bones and Booth and the baby (and yes, I think the "yuppie parents with their kid" imagery was deliberate); the Christmas episode from kiss to singing Santas to the tree (cute and funny episode); Bones and the snakes in the Halloween episode; Bones as Wonder Woman in the Halloween episode; Booth as a geek in the Halloween episode ("See how I just corrected you."); Dr. Sweets, particularly in the episode where he breaks up with his girlfriend, and Booth decides to take him bowling--I also love Dr. Sweets' slang and popular culture references ("Like, dude, [Star Wars reference]."); Bones and Booth in the karaoke club before Booth gets shot.
Booth getting shot brings us to . . .
The influence of the writers' strike does show towards the end of the season. I got the impression that Booth pretending to be dead was originally supposed to be several episodes. It feels like a longer arc than they gave it. I mean, Booth died! Booth DIED! And two seconds later, it's the funeral, and Bones is barging into his bathroom--very cute scene but just a tad abrupt.
My theory is, they (writers/producers) came up with the idea of Booth's death and couldn't let it go to another season because they loved it so much. I think this was a mistake, personally. That particular arc needed more time than it was given.
Speaking of arcs that needed more time (and clues!), Zach as Gormogon's assistant wasn't set up at all. I knew it was coming, so I looked for hints in the prior episodes. Nadda. They didn't even use Zach's stint in Iraq (he could have met one of Gormogon's victims there . . .) It was the most unlikely way I've seen to write a character out of a show since Tasha Yar was killed by the sludge monster (and Yar got to come back and die all over again).
I think turning Zach into Gormogon's assistant could have been done effectively--Zach's issue is that he's always felt like an outsider. They could have pushed that issue more. Hodgins is with Angela; Bones is becoming more and more consumed with Booth and vice versa; Camille (who, by the way, I really like now: you go, independent woman who likes her space and has a quirky sense of humor!) is an independent woman who likes her space. Zach, who isn't good at reading people, could have begun to think he'd been abandoned--I'm an outcast; nobody loves me; I don't fit in anywhere except with my new crazy, psycho friend--only to realize (too late) that his friends really do love him; they just have busy lives.
The way it was done: not believable at all (although I did like that Zach let himself get hurt to protect Hodgins).
Back to Bones and Booth!
Yeah, that is a pun. I loved Sweets' role as the observor on the show's most excellent romantic relationship. For instance, one of my favorite scenes is when Sweets takes Bones and Booth to pottery class, and Bones and Booth relate to each other better than Sweets and his girlfriend! That episode made clear that Sweets' interest in Bones and Booth is in the relationship itself, not just with the individuals. He wants to have what they have.
Part of what they have is maturity. I like the fact that Sweets is at least 7 years younger than Bones and 12 years younger than Booth (Booth is 35 in Season 3; Bones is "five years younger."). I'm hoping--remember I haven't seen any of Season 4--that Sweets-Bones-Booth never form a romantic triangle. I like Sweets as the geeky younger brother who kind of hero worships Bones and Booth and is completely engrossed in figuring out their relationship. I don't want to see him as competition to Booth (or to Bones, for that matter).
If that does happen, it will be a mistake. One thing the pottery scene reveals is that Bones and Booth might have their problems, but they are beyond the problems that obsess twenty-years-olds. They behave, well, like adults. In the pottery scene, Bones is impressed by Booth's ability; they kid; they talk. They are very natural together. There isn't a lot of preening or guesswork going on, which is one thing I've always liked about this particular relationship.
Speaking of Bones and Booth, Season 3 does get almost-maudlin a few times. Of course, Bones is Bones, and the dialog between Bones and Booth is always fantastic, so Bones' almost-maudlin is still pretty sardonic stuff. (It's not like Perlman's Beauty and the Beast, which is tiresomely maudlin.)
In any case, the season did push the appearance of the relationship (if not the actual relationship) much furthur than in past seasons. Bones and Booth look like a couple (that baby!). My only real problem with this is the inevitable-break-up-factor. I would like to see Bones and Booth date and even get married. I'd be really impressed if the writers pulled it off. I do NOT want to see (and will stop watching) Bones and Booth date and then break-up for some totally stupid reason. (One of them sleeps with his or her ex!!) I HATE that sort of thing. (It usually indicates bad/lazy writing.)
In terms of completely touching (but not almost-maudlin), my favorite heart-breaking line is from the episode where Bones implicates herself in order to get her father off. It's the line where Booth addresses Bones directly from the stand: "That's a lot of heart, Bones."
And I love it because even though Booth wants to help Bones and has encouraged her to help her father, he will not agree to her pretend scenario. He has to answer honestly in court, but he refuses to accept Bones' scenario as a realistic option. Bones is his first priority, not her father.