The Gravedigger is back! Booth has been kidnapped! Bombs are exploding! Brennan and Booth are both give strong hints about revealing their mutual love! Insight into Booth's heavily shrouded backstory! Brennan hits a lady in the face with a briefcase!
All these things happened, and yet I remain unimpressed.
This was not a strong episode in my opinion, and it is just too bad. Promos had me believing this would be one of the best Bones episodes to date (and maybe those high expectations were part of why I'm so disappointed now). I mean, The Gravedigger returns and captures Booth? How can that not be a fantastic episode?
Well, let me tell you.
First, we spend all time not directly involved with the central crisis on two-bit jokes about GPS and a rented tuxedo. It's funny at the time, but not clever, not up to standard outright hilarity, and takes away from time that could have been spent filling out this story...which brings me to my second complaint:
Did Hero in the Hold seem rushed to anyone else? One of the things I most remember about Aliens in a Spaceship (the original Gravedigger episode) is how it was so anticipatory. I hung on to every second because events seemed to unfold in slow motion, agonizingly suspenseful...I forgot, while I was watching it, that Brennan and Hodgins HAD to make it out because they can hardly be killed off in the middle of a season when Bones is going strong. This episode didn't have that for me. I wasn't even worried for a second that Booth wouldn't make it out alive and fine. Close shave rescue? Not hardly.
And speaking of Booth...I'm sorry, but his old army pal Parker? Possibly the worst thing that has ever happened on Bones. Not because I didn't enjoy learning more about Booth, that was great. But this is a show that has never done anything like a ghost/hallucination, and I think this one was done badly. Whatever transpires on Bones, no matter how stunning, is always, essentially, real and believable. But the hallucination who physically helps Booth escape? No. Ghost who communicates with Brennan? No. No no no.
Overall, I am quite displeased with Hero in the Hold. I would have thought, before watching it, that that it didn't stick to the standard "find a dead body, do some science, catch a killer" formula would be good thing. Instead, I think straying from that structure worked against it, overall. That was isolated to that five minute segment where we discover who The Gravedigger is, and frankly, that scene was lame. The Gravedigger is suddenly lazy and leaves easy evidence? The Squints figure this out in, like, twenty minutes? I don't think so.
The balance between story lines (lab and Booth) was...well, poor. Not enough time on the one, too much on the other, given that the whole story had to take place in less than forty-five minutes. I know that Bones doesn't really do two-parters or major episode-to-episode cliffhangers, but I think that would have been the way to go. There was too much story, not enough time, and the final result was disappointing.