What's Worth Watching: Bones and Sleepy Hollow on Fox for Thursday, October 29

Matt Roush
Bones, Sleepy Hollow, Tim Mison, Emily Deschanel
Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Bones, "The Resurrection in the Remains" (Thursday, Oct. 29, 8/7c, Fox)

Sleepy Hollow, "Dead Men Tell No Tales" (Thursday, Oct. 29, 9/8c, Fox)

It's almost routine nowadays when characters from a shared fictional universe visit each other, like Dick Wolf's Chicago-based NBC series occasionally crossing paths with the SVU detectives, or CBS's NCIS ensembles intermingling (Tony heading to L.A. the most recent example). It's another matter when the scientists of Bones welcome the occult warriors of Sleepy Hollow into their very different world. Forensic reality, meet supernatural fantasy? Not a natural fit, for sure, but as an entertaining Halloween-week experiment, it has its moments.

What brings Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and newly minted FBI agent Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) to the D.C.'s Jeffersonian lab is, what else, a headless skeleton in Redcoat uniform, entombed in a church within an iron coffin bearing strange symbolic markings. Right up Ichabod's mystical alley. The missing skull is implicated in the murder of a local med student, but it's the identity of the headless body—and no, it's not a Horseman—that resonates with Ichabod's Revolutionary past.

While Abbie and Booth (David Boreanaz) bond as FBI brethren, it's the interplay between the logical Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and the irrepressibly unnatural Ichabod that creates the crossover's most interesting sparks. As usual, Mison steals the show(s) with his mellifluous orating. Here's Ichabod explaining his professional relationship with Abbie, which in some respects is not so different from that of the lead Bones duo: "We are a partnership of opposites, yet our affinity for one another bears the ripest of fruit." When Brennan intuits something sexual is or should be going on between them, Ichabod demurs in usual high dudgeon. (While "shipper" fans nod in agreement.) Later, in the Sleepy Hollow hour, he queries Brennan: "You do not believe in the grander mysteries of the universe? But what of faith, art, love?" Her clinical reply is hardly music to his ears.

But then, the very idea of this programming stunt has struck some viewers as tone deaf since it was announced this summer. And while it may not be too much of a stretch to explain the Sleepy Hollow folks' field trip to D.C., skeptics have rightly wondered how Brennan and Booth would fare in the more florid world of monstrous mayhem in upstate New York. The answer is that they're much more tangential to the second hour, although they do participate in one action sequence with the Sleepy Hollow heroes in a mysterious D.C. tomb. The Bones couple never ventures north, where they'd have been forced to witness the resurrected Redcoat (courtesy of Pandora's machinations) raising an army of the undead on Halloween night, when onlookers admire their costumes until the ghouls open fire. Just another harrowing night in Sleepy Hollow. And how would Brennan ever have rationalized that kind of madness? We may never know.