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Bones – Did they build up Pelant enough?

The season finale of 'Bones' was pretty good, and it ended on an interesting cliffhanger. But has the show done enough to build up Pelant as a scary enough "big bad?"

- Season 7, Episode 13 - "The Past in the Present"

Is it normal to be disappointed in something actually you liked? I enjoyed this finale of Bones, but I don’t think the show earned it. In the previous episode earlier this season featuring Pelant, he was set up as a pretty scary villain, but then we didn’t hear from him again. Bones has previously done a wonderful job of setting up season long antagonists, but it seems that Pelant was given the short shrift.

I believe that Temperance Brennan’s decision could be in her character, but it would take a great deal of prompting to get there. Sweet’s profile of the killer, specifically the wording “hyper-rational” — and I’ll get back to that momentarily — describes Bones perfectly, but it doesn’t take into account her newfound love as a mother. When you put her daughter Christine into the equation, it is easy to game out a scenario that is weighted by her desire not to be separated from her child. The system, as Booth and Max were so apt to call it, was corrupted such that Brennan was caught in a trap that would never release her. If you can’t trust the system to provide the “right” outcome, why bother trusting in it?

Cam’s decision comes from a very different perspective and was obviously proven to be the correct choice. While Angela accused her of being an uncaring cog in the system, it was that choice that is going to keep the Squints on the case – and be Bones’ eventual savior. I hated that Angela didn’t seem to understand Cam’s position, or the obvious pain it caused her to submit the evidence that resulted in an arrest warrant for her friend. This was probably my favorite part of the entire episode: Cam was originally brought to the Jeffersonian because she understood the law enforcement better than the other scientists. This episode proved how important she is to the Squint team.

Now to the negative, which unfortunately overrides most of the positive. Considering some of the “big bads” that Bones has seen over the years, it is hard to buy into Pelant being the one that finally is able to “beat” Bones and Brennan. From Howard Epps to the Gravedigger, hell even to Gormagon, the team has always prevailed. Obviously, that’s going to happen here – next season – but elevating things to the point that Brennan is on the lam? That is a “win” that none of the other antagonists have ever achieved. I believe that Pelant is a scary dude, but it would be easier to swallow if the audience had seen more of him being a scary dude.

Speaking of Sweet’s profile of the killer: does anyone think it could describe Pelant at all? I’m not sure I buy “hyper-rational” when he seemed to be driven much more by emotion than Bones ever has.

What did you think?

Notes & Quotes

  • “We’re all set for Christine’s baptism on the 19th. Are you still OK if I do that?” – Booth
    “Absolutely. Sprinkling water on her forehead seems like an excellent way to counteract the sins she apparently committed prior to birth.” – Brennan
  • “Don’t be subjective. Don’t make assumptions. Question everything.” – Wendell
  • Nothing is what is seems, eh?
  • Did you notice that Pelant had “Air Force Juan” in his watched list?


Photo Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FOX

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3 Responses to “Bones – Did they build up Pelant enough?”

May 15, 2012 at 10:40 AM

I think you nailed it in your review. The difference in establishing the scariness of Pelant versus the scariness of the other big bads was the over-reliance and utter laziness on the part of the writers spending more effort telling the audience that Pelant was a scary guy rather than actually showing it *gasp* in the episode. “Show, don’t tell” is one of the cardinal rules of screenwriting, but that seems to becoming one of the norms now on Bones.

May 15, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Well I think it comes down to how you define “scary”. Pelant is creepy, no doubt about that, but you’re right that he isn’t “scary” in the way that most of the other big baddies have been. Even though he is capable of violence, he seems to pose a less immediate physical threat than say Howard Epps, or the Gravedigger. I mean let’s face it, in the absence of a firearm or a bomb or something, Brennan could easily best him in a physical fight. No, Pelant’s threat is more subtle. Part of it is psychological, in that I really do feel this is the smartest criminal they’ve gone up against. They always said that the Gravedigger was ultra smart, but I never really bought it, to be honest. Some of the mistakes she made were head scratchingly stupid. With Pelant, I actually do get the sense of a person who’s really scarily intelligent, someone who thinks like a chess player, always 3 or 4 moves ahead, even of Brennan and the Jeffersonian brain trust. I mean think about it. The guy manipulated the entire justice system at will to make it appear that Brennan murdered someone, so convincingly that she was about to be arrested and charged. That’s pretty freaking creepy if you ask me. It’s just a different kind of scary than we’re used to seeing from Bones criminals.

May 17, 2012 at 3:14 PM

This storyline is impossible to enjoy because Pelant’s genius is so over sold and unbelievable. All in a lame attempt to make him the ‘scariest’ big bad ever. I just hope he’s not a sign that Bones is jumping the shark.

Call me an old crank, but no matter how many times they claim Pelant can do the impossible, I still know that what he’s doing is impossible. Every impossible deed he pulls off just deepens my thinking that the writing for this storyline stinks.

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