Bones‘ inconsistent Eighth Season comes to a close with the return of genius serial killer Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds) who has made Booth (David Boreanaz) the focus of his latest attacks by murdering agents close to him beginning with an old friend Pelant shot 11 times and left on display for Booth and Bones (Emily Deschanel) to find. Pelant’s second murder leaves a single witness (Sarah Stouffer) who describes a killer the team believes may be a survivor of a FBI raid of a cult a decade before. Sweets (John Francis Daley) also discovers Pelant is using the psychiatrist’s own published work to muddy the water and disguise his latest series of murders.
After Pelant contacts Booth to tell the FBI agent that the rules of the game have changed, Bones begins second-guessing her decision not to ask Booth to remove himself from the case and cause her to do something completely out of character by proposing marriage to the man she loves. The witness’ description and the particulates Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) is able to find on the victim lead Booth and his team to their leading suspect (Beau Knapp), but despite being a religious zealot who rejoices in the news of the dead agents, he isn’t Pelant’s surrogate killer.
From a clue left at both crime scenes Angela (Michaela Conlin), Hodgins, and Cam (Tamara Taylor) discover that the person they are looking for isn’t a child of one of the victims of the raid but that of a dead FBI agent who blames the FBI for her (Stouffer) father’s death. Using the FBI files and her confusion over events, and fake videos with instructions from her father, Pelant bends the girl to his will sending her after the other FBI agents and eventually Sweets as well. Pelant traps the psychiatrist in traffic, knocking out radio traffic, cell service, and any hope back-up can get to him in time leading to a tense sequence where both Bones and Booth separately rush to save their friend in time.
Despite a strong climax, the season ends on an incredibly forced cliffhanger as the serial killer instructs Booth to turn down Bones’ proposal or cause the death of five innocent victims. The consequences of Pelant’s threat are all too predictable as Booth pulling out of the marriage, and not telling Bones why, causes the beginning of a split between the couple that will no doubt continue to grow when the show returns for its Ninth Season. As flawed as this coda is, it sums up the inconsistent writing and tone of the season quite well leading to what I expect will be many episodes of thoroughly unnecessary character conflict next season.