"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned." The "Bones" season 9 premiere on Monday, Sept. 16, "The Secrets in the Proposal," began with Booth confessing and it ended with an ominous message on the clock.
"I lied to the woman I love," Booth continued as he confided in his ex-priest-turned-bartender, Aldo, eventually telling him everything once they were in a room without anything that would transmit or receive. (Hopefully Booth uses that room again, because it is very useful, but they just have to hope Pelant doesn't find out about it.) A few months had passed since the "Bones" season 8 finale, which ended with Booth forced to turn down Brennan's proposal when Pelant threatened innocent lives. "This guy is worse than anyone you and I have ever come across," the FBI agent told Aldo, explaining that he couldn't take Brennan to a cave and tell her because she didn't have a poker face. "I'm just going to have to kill him." Booth knew what he had to do, because as long as Pelant was alive, he was accomplishing exactly what he wanted to: driving a wedge between the two of them.
If you thought things were looking bad between Booth and Brennan as season 8 ended, that was nothing compared to where they were when season 9 began. Booth was working overtime trying to catch Pelant, and that meant he wasn't going home at night, wasn't answering his phone, and was lying to Brennan—and she knew it. Their conversations had been reduced to talking about Christine like Brennan was a single mom and Booth trying to remind her that he loved her. "I'd die for you," he said, repeatedly telling her "I love you." Yes, Brennan was hurting not knowing why Booth wasn't telling her everything, but lying to her was making him more miserable than she was not knowing the truth, and unfortunately, that wasn't something everyone could see.
Cam suggested that he just got cold feet and warned him, "If you don't warm up those feet real fast, you're going to lose her forever." But she at least could tell that he wasn't happy and pointed out that he too was miserable to Brennan. Angela, on the other hand, only saw that her best friend's heart was broken and he was the reason for that. "You should be ashamed of yourself," she told him even as they were supposed to be working the case. (One thing that didn't change? They still discussed their personal lives at crime scenes and during work calls.) She even went so far as to accuse him of having a fling. It was understandable that she would lash out like she did, seeing what this was doing to Brennan, but what people seemed to have forgotten was what kind of man Booth was. (Let's not even go into Daisy's advice for Brennan.) Some people hadn't though. Hodgins, for one, told his wife that there was something going on with Booth that they didn't know about, and it only took Danny a few moments to remark that Booth looked "like hell."
It was Aldo who was the one to remind both Brennan and Booth what type of person the other was. "I would sacrifice my own life for Bones. I would kill for her," Booth said, as it got harder for him to keep lying, wondering why he wasn't calling Pelant's bluff. But as Aldo pointed out, he didn't need him to tell him how Brennan would react if she chose her happiness over the lives of innocent people. Meanwhile, after finding the Paradise Lost business cards in Booth's jacket, Brennan decided to get answers and instead of finding a strip club, she found Aldo's bar—and answers the only way she could get them at the moment. "Not being married is a sin to him," the ex-priest reminded her. "I wanted to marry him," she protested. "Not as much as he wants to marry you," he told her. "I've seen Booth do some terrible and difficult things, but only if he was compelled by a very good reason." In a way, if Angela is the shipper, as Hart Hanson has said, it seemed like Aldo and Hodgins were both serving as the fans defending Booth and pointing out the kind of man he is.
It was something for her to think about, and it was because of Aldo that the coupe was able to find their way out of the dark tunnel and, while they may not have been on the exact same page, they were at least in the same chapter. For a woman who was purely about science and looking at the patterns, she was choosing to rely on the faith she had in him. "You're a good man," she told him as she made sure he knew she wasn't leaving him. She knew he had his reasons and he'd tell her when he could. But next time, it was his turn to ask her to marry him.
Pelant served as this presence throughout the episode, an invisible one, but no less powerful than what we've seen before. Booth was always aware of electronics around him, always aware that Pelant could be listening in, and while he was never seen, he once again got the final word, just like he did in the season 8 finale, because in Booth and Brennan's kitchen, the clock flashed 4:47 before going back to 7:35.
There was, of course, a murder to solve, but unfortunately, with everything else going on, this wasn't a case that exactly held our attention. Sure, it had its moments and it had its twists, but it wasn't an intriguing enough mystery to hold our attention. Instead, it was one of those episodes where we just wanted the case to be solved so we could get back to everything else, and the killer had a common motive: love. However, in a way, it was fitting for this type of episode for the case to not be one that captured our attention because of everything else is going on. The focus was on Booth and Brennan (and the invisible force that was Pelant), as it should have been.
The victim was found in a hotel air conditioning unit, but he wasn't just an accountant for the state department like they thought, as Booth learned once he chased Danny, an old Army buddy and a CIA agent, from his apartment. The victim had received 22 texts from Lily, a secretary at his cover job, the day before he was murdered, but it turned out she was just working with him. After a couple of possible suspects, including Lily's mother, who had just assaulted him with her expensive briefcase because she thought he was her daughter's pimp and who was arrested even as she insisted on finishing her martini with her hands cuffed, it all came back to the victim's boss at the state department. He thought the victim was taking advantage of Lily. "I did it for you," he told her.
That said, the case did lead to an intriguing offer for Booth: a job with the CIA and the CIA owing him a favor. He did admit that with the way things were going, he might take Danny up on that offer, and this meant that there's something for Booth to consider this season. Yes, he's been an FBI agent all these years, but is it time for a change? Could Booth really leave the FBI behind for the CIA? With just the possibility, that opened the door for Freddie Prinze, Jr. to return, and we wouldn't be surprised if Booth called on him for help with Pelant.
Going into a ninth season, it would be easy to say a show just repeated something from an earlier episode. The case may not have been the most engaging, but what came out of it—Danny's offer—set up something that is going to affect Booth past this first episode. The premiere also introduced a couple of new characters, Danny and Aldo, whom we would like to see back this season. Sometimes it can be a tricky thing to bring in new characters with an already established cast (and we're including the rotating squinterns and Caroline as part of that cast) like "Bones" has, but "Bones" managed to introduce two characters we want to see on a recurring basis. Yes, we weren't exactly enamored with the case, but overall, we did enjoy the premiere, due in part to the fact that the case wasn't captivating, like we wrote earlier, and we're excited about what it has set the stage for for the rest of the season.
"Bones" season 9 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox. What did you think of the premiere, "The Secrets in the Proposal"?