BONES 6.23 ‘The Change in the Game’

Booth and Brennan  go undercover at a bowling alley to catch a killer while Angela goes into labor.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "The Change in the Game"
Writers: Hart Hanson & Stephen Nathan
Director: Ian Toynton
Previously on "Bones":
Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) were tasked with finding the rogue sniper, Jacob Broadsky (Arnold Vosloo). However, Broadsky had targeted them as well before laying a trap for Booth. Unfortunately, Vincent Nigel-Murray (Ryan Cartwright) took the bullet meant for Booth and died from his injuries. That night, Brennan stayed with Booth for protection and became distraught before joining Booth in bed. Eventually, Booth tracked down Broadsky and finally brought him to justice. Afterwards, the Brennan, Booth and the "squinterns" mourned for Vincent as his body was shipped to England for burial.
In a bowling alley, an incredibly rude and unruly child makes everyone miserable until they see parts of a dead body loaded from the pinsetters. Brennan's squinterns figure out pretty quickly that the victim was a bowler, who happened to be on the same team as Brennan's father, Max (Ryan O'Neal). The victim was known to his team as "The Closer," and he was infamously disliked within the bowling alley. Theorizing that none of the bowling alley regulars would talk to the cops, Booth and Brennan go undercover (complete with a mullet for Booth and big hair for Brennan), with Booth as the new bowler on Max's bowling team. 
Meanwhile, back at the Jeffersonian, Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) is constantly panicking that his pregnant wife, Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) is about to go into labor as they attempt to discover what killed The Closer. At the bowling alley, Booth is a big hit with his new teammates, while Brennan attracts some romantic attention from a woman on the other team. Booth and Brennan are slowly able to glean more info about their victim and they find that several people in their team match up could have a reason for wanting The Closer dead.
Back at the Jeffersonian, Angela's water breaks and Jack rushes her to the hospital after working out that the object that killed The Closer was likely a bowling ball. At the alley, Booth finds his game is suddenly thrown off when his shoes start to hurt him. Brennan also notices that their team's bowling lane appears to have been altered subtly to make it easier to hit the pins. At the hospital, Angela grows frustrated while trying to help solve the murder and give birth at the same time. Eventually, the team works out that the murder weapon was actually a motorcycle helmet that belongs to the bowling alley's shoe clerk.
An extremely annoyed Booth threatens to shoot the clerk if he runs. The exasperated clerk explains that they would understand why he killed The Closer if they had ever met him. But the young girl on Booth's bowling team starts hitting the clerk for ruining her game. Booth and Brennan arrest the clerk and get back to the hospital in time to be there when Angela gives birth to a healthy baby boy. Afterwards, Booth and Brennan walk away from the hospital together while he mentions how great it is that to have a kid.
Brennan hesitantly tells Booth that she's pregnant now… with his child. But in response, they both smile warmly at each other.
This was the first full episode I've ever seen of "Bones." Ordinarily, it's not a series that I have any interest in, but I'm checking it out as a favor to my Idiot Box co-host, Sax Carr.
And my initial impression is that you really have to suspend your disbelief to an incredible degree just to accept this story at face value. Even within the world of this show, is it really a good idea to investigate a bowling alley murder by sending the forensic specialist and her FBI partner undercover to look for clues? That entire murder story was beyond ridiculous. Which isn't to say that there weren't some funny moments from the bowling obsessed little girl and the bowling official known as "The Raven." But it's hard to take anything seriously if the main storyline is largely a farce.
Also, these people don't seem that broken up about the recent death of their friend, Vincent Nigel-Murray. That was either the fastest grieving process in the history of mankind or an odd way to keep the tone light for this episode. I'd also argue that this was a very odd choice to end a season on. Aside from the bowling angle, the murder mystery was pretty pedestrian in execution and payoff. There are really only two significant moments in the entire show… and the second one was the revelation that Brennan is pregnant by Booth.
That was probably written in there to incorporate Emily Deschanel's real life pregnancy, but it seems like a good way to finally deal with Booth and Brennan's relationship. I'm not even a fan of this show and I know that their romantic pursuit of each other has been dragged out for years. Personally, the "will they or won't they" storylines just annoy me. David Boreanaz and Deschanel have good chemistry with each other, so they might as well explore a new angle together that's something different than what they've done in the past six seasons.
But it was the first significant moment that made me realize the appeal of this show: the birth of Angela and Jack's child. When I saw  that, I understood why the murder case was so secondary to everything else. I think people care about this show only for its characters. There are definitely better mystery shows and procedurals on TV. But "Bones" does appear to have a strong supporting cast and appealing leads. It's kind of amazing how far a show can go just on that alone.
"Bones" is a perfectly acceptable show to watch, I just don't think it's meant for me. But I may reserve the right to check in again next season and see how the series plays in the new dynamic introduced here.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.