Bones shows how NOT to kill a character meaningfully
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell that I enjoy FOX’s Bones, what with some of my complaints about the current season. In all honesty, if I weren’t already invested in the characters and my fiancee weren’t a big fan, I might have decided to drop the series. The show has pretty much jumped the shark at this point. Last night’s episode, “The Hole in the Heart”, was incredibly disappointing.
Last week’s preview made it a point to mention that someone would die in this episode. A few characters were flashed on the screen to build fan concerns about the death. Here, see for yourself.
Of the characters flashed, the most likely to die would be Lance Sweets, considering the rest are wrapped up in personal drama that make for easy B-story drama in upcoming seasons. As of late, Sweets has been used as a mouthpiece for the viewers. He explores the Booth and Brennan dynamic – but their time together in the aftermath of the murder may render Sweets unnecessary.
You’ve already seen the episode, so you know that Vincent Nigel-Murray was killed by Booth’s sniper foe. He was the safest choice, which makes him also the least meaningful choice for character death. Last night marked Nigel-Murray’s 11th episode on the show in the span of three seasons. Given the disjointed nature of squintern appearances, there wasn’t much time for character development. They didn’t even build up the character’s importance before the shot. So, really, he just played the role of victim, and the rest of the characters were sent into overreaction mode. I know it was a ploy to increase the dramatic tension and make us cheer harder for Booth’s inevitable victory over his nemesis, but it was just poorly done.
One might point out that they were going for realism by killing a character like that out of the blue. The suddenness was supposed to get us. Except it really wasn’t. Not only did they announce the murder a week in advance (or further in advance for fans on blogs), but they also built up the shot via musical montage. A phone call and a very sudden shot would have created a shock and therefore much more significance than the whimper here.
Don’t get me wrong. Out of all of the squinterns, my favorite was actually Vincent Nigel-Murray. Not only is his name the most fun to say, but I enjoy a fellow pedant. I honestly wanted to be upset by the death of the character. I instead was bothered by the character’s death. They screwed up by not making the character even more important to the viewers. They should have announced him as the new Zach. Instead he was just a plot point.
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One thing they did right that needs mentioning is keeping to the show’s original paradigm. In all of this, Booth is the focal character. The show is about Booth’s interactions with the people at the Jeffersonian. So during Vincent’s sendoff by the cast, it was said that Booth didn’t really know him. Because Booth didn’t interact with him as much, the audience didn’t get to interact with him much. It made sense even if it made the character’s death that much less meaningful.
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