Post Mortems
Bones Recap

Bones Boss Talks Zack Twist, Teases New Big Bad's 'Coordinated Attack Aimed at Booth and Brennan'

The following story contains sizeable spoilers about Tuesday’s Bones premiere — proceed at your own peril. And we repeat: Stop now if you have not seen the episode yet.

The twist in the opener: As many Bones fans suspected/hoped, Zack was not pulling the Puppeteer strings after all.

In the Fox procedural’s final-season premiere on Tuesday, it was revealed that Eric Millegan’s beloved alter ego kidnapped Brennan to protect her from the marionette-obsessed menace (who, for the record, turned out to his now-dead doctor Mihir Roshan).

The Season 12 kickoff also answered a big question with regard to Hodgins’ health, as Angela’s paralyzed other half received confirmation — from Zack of all people — that despite experiencing some feeling in his legs he will likely never walk again.

Below, co-showrunner Michael Peterson reveals why he and his fellow producers decided not to throw Zack under the proverbial bus in the series’ 12-episode final season. Additionally, the EP explains why he chose not to bless Hodgins with a medical miracle, and previews Booth and Brennan’s last, possibly biggest threat yet.

TVLINE | Did you ever consider having Zack turn out to be the killer?
MICHAEL PETERSON | I was a fan of the show before I was a writer on the show. I watched the first three seasons and then I started working on the show in Season 4. And I love Zack. [Series creator] Hart Hanson loves Zack. But we were leaving it open in our minds as far as how we were going to resolve [this arc]. So, in talking to Hart and talking to others, we all agreed that we adore Zack and we didn’t want him to be remembered as a killer. We wanted to have fun with the storyline, but our [ultimate] goal was to put the past to rest for him. Because, at the end of the day, he did not kill [the lobbyist in Season 3]. He certainly would be considered an accomplice, but he was an innocent, sweet person who was manipulated. And I would rather that be the legacy of Zack than for him to still be locked up in an insane asylum. There was a feeling of closure that I really wanted to get to and that Hart really wanted to get to. We wanted to repair the past and kind of say, “He’ll be in a better place by the time the show ends.”

TVLINE | How many more episodes will Zack be in?
He’s in one more — Episode 11.

TVLINE | And that episode is about Booth and Brennan getting him sprung?
It’s complex. Saying he is innocent is different than actually proving it. It’s very odd for someone to admit to something and then 10 years later to say it differently. So it’s about how do you exonerate somebody who has at one point confessed and is now reversing that confession? There’s some redemption that has to happen there. But, yes, that is largely what Episode 11 is about.

TVLINE | The premiere also seemed to dash any and all hope that Hodgins might walk again. Is all hope gone?
Largely it is. I watched Downton Abbey, and when Matthew ended up walking again I was like, “That’s not real.” There were moments where we played around with [the idea of Hodgins] possibly walking again. But this just felt more genuine to people who do have handicaps. It’s okay [to be paralyzed]. Handicaps are real. You can still have a wonderful and fulfilling life. To do anything less would be disingenuous. So we resolve it by saying he’s going to stay this way and his life is going to be fantastic. He went through his dark patch and got to the other side.

TVLINE | You previously stated that a new serial killer arrives in Episode 4. How will this villain be different from previous Bones villains?
This one is a little more action-oriented, more military-based. And this one is born out of revenge more than any other storyline. This is a coordinated attack and it is directly aimed at Booth and Brennan, and that was the intention from the very beginning.

TVLINE | Lastly, the premiere marked Emily Deschanel’s directorial debut. How’d she do?
Just wonderful. There is nobody who knows the show better. She’s the daughter of an Oscar-winning cinematographer [Caleb Deschanel]; she knows how to move a camera around. She did a fantastic job. This premiere was a really claustrophobic episode, and she opened it up in some great ways.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Eve Hollow says:

    I have a feeling that it was always Booth in danger not Brennan. In the episode with the ‘Brennan Puppet’ did anyone else notice that the ‘Booth Puppet ‘ was hanging in the background. The other characters were photos, but Booth had already been turned into a puppet. To me that shows the killer is focused on Booth as he was the first puppet to be made.

  2. Eve Hollow says:

    I think the revenge seeker is the kid that watched his father die at the hands of sniper Booth. You know the one mentioned in the Soldier on the Grave during season one. What better way to address Booth’s cosmic arrest/kill balance sheet and his religion than the only sniper story Booth ever verbalized on the show. Like I said, I think Booth is the one in danger, after all it would be an eye for an eye.

  3. MLO says:

    Very anti-climactic. Feel like we were climbing and climbing on the roller coaster only to find out there was a plateau at the top and not a gut-wrenching drop. I think we’ve seen the best of this show and when I start liking the supporting players better than the stars then I know it’s time to say goodbye.

    • Piers says:

      I’ve been a fan of the ensemble cast other than B&B for years. I’ve never been a fan of Boreanez and while Deschanel is beautiful, she’s an ice queen like Charlize Theron or Grace Kelly. Her sister got all the warmth and personality in that family. JMO

      • Jake says:

        Agreed – I get that the Bones character is supposed to be logical, not emotional, but she plays the character a little too flat for me.

  4. Sarah says:

    First off, Emily, did an amazing job!

    Also, the interrogation room scene with Hodgins and Zack was great!

    Lastly, I’m glad Booth is going to help Zack.

  5. PatriciaLee says:

    I quit watching when they wrote Zack off the show in such an unsatisfactory way, unsatisfactory because it really made no sense. Of course then it’s no surprise that they would keep Hodges crippled, and that with all the incredible brain connection and communication advances, too. Of course they wouldn’t let him figure something out. They really need a psychologist on the writing/showrunner team. The most astounding breakthrough in almost vegetative living body communication came about because a researcher walked by a building with a group of special education students class looking out of the window, leading to wondering if his work could have any application to humans. Now, a former almost vegetable can communicate and enjoy his life via his eyeball muscles and the computer. Come on, showrunners, you made Hodges a brilliant genius. If anyone on the planet could come up with a solution, that character could.

    • A.F says:

      I disagree with you. I find it refreshing, that they keep him disabled. In real life, with an injury like that you stay in the wheelchair and don’t start walking again.

      • suzi says:

        I agree with you, A.F,– keeping Hodgins handicapped and able to live with that is more of a satisfactory result than an impossible miracle cure. I do wish this episode had focused more on the killer and his means and motives and less on the two red herrings. I also was disappointed by the way Zach has apparently been treated. The last time we saw him he helped them solve a case and they were heartbroken to see him return to the hospital. It seems since then he has been abandoned at an “asylum”, and was presumed guilty by everyone.

  6. kia says:

    Absolutely brilliant episode. Loved every second. Can’t wait for the rest of the season, but I don’t want bones to end :(((( especially after this amazing opener. Loved how they resolved Zack’s story. Never cared too much about him, didn’t feel like he needs to come back, but since he did, I think they did an excellent job. And Emily as a director was just incredible!

  7. Andre says:

    Bones, Crossing Jordan BUG IS THE KILLER did everyone get that.

  8. KLS says:

    I might have missed it, did they have a recap of the case at the beginning of the episode? It’s been so long since last season’s finale, I was lost at the beginning. Also, I felt the first half was pretty rushed. The dialog went by very fast. It might just be my post New Year’s hangover talking!

    • kmw says:

      Yes they did. No you are right it went by fast but that is something Bones has been doing in the last couple of years trying to put too much stuff in but in this case it worked. Emily Deschanel did a wonderful job given that she was in the episode so much and had a lot of materiel to deal with. I thought it was great even if the killer reveal was anti climatic. Now initially Zack was supposed to be in more episodes but isn’t going to be in more than one more so that may be why they rushed stuff too. But still the episode was great

  9. jj says:

    There was no reason to paralyze Hodgins to begin with. But that’s ok. I have given up all this show a long time ago. (Since Pelant’s day) If you want to take unrealistic, let’s talk about Pelant. How he can outsmart all those genius combined. No, just no.

    • Jake says:

      Yes, to me Pelant Jumped the Shark. The guy was too much of a super villain, in fact so much so that Homeland Security, CIA, etc. would be looking for him, not just the Jeffersonian team and two FBI agents.
      And now this new serial killer is going to be more of a threat?….

  10. Nancy says:

    I’m ok with Hodgins in a wheel chair. I just wish they would have had his paralysis story something that could have gone the way of using limb replacement technology. That would have been a cool story for his character.
    The episode was good but it failed to explain the puppeteer stuff. Again, the serial killer stories on Bones never seem to make sense.
    Loved that Zach was exonerated. Glad we know that he and Sweets were meeting every week. I didn’t get his issue with Booth and Brennan getting married and having kids. I don’t remember Zach hating Booth enough to rip his head off the wedding picture.

    • Janice says:

      Zach didn’t hate Booth; remember how they were going through his ‘treasures’ after he was arrested? He had saved the harmonica Booth gave him when Zach went to war; would he have done that if he hated Booth? I think Zach really wanted to be treated like one of the guys by Booth. Now an argument could be made that Zach was jealous of the fact that Booth got Brennan cause it was obvious that Zach was a bit in love with her but I don’t know if that would have morphed to hatred. I always liked Zach and was sorry when he written off.

      • kmw says:

        Don’t forget they said Zack hurt himself after Sweets died and that may explain his reaction to Booth and now that Booth is helping him I doubt that hate will be there by that 11th episode. While he never outwardly hated Booth I can see him being jealous because I saw that he liked Brennan in a different way even though they didn’t really play thatmuch

  11. Dominique says:

    this was a fantastic season premiere and a great way to end some of what was started in the previous season! i like that zach wasn’t guilty and that we saw more him of him as a person. i’m a little disappointed they went with a one-time guest star as the murderer, it actually would’ve been very interesting for that fbi agent to be the killer.
    i’m also impressed with how they chose to handle hodgins’ situation. i think so far, this is th eonly show that handles all of to with the diginity it deserves. from him being a complete and total a** last season (which was the only logical way for him to react) to what is happening now, having to accept that he’ll never walk again.
    i can’t wait to see what the rest of the season will be like, but if this episode is any indication, it’ll be great!

  12. Sheldon W. says:

    Just as the arc that put Zack away were rushed, so too were the eps exonerating him. But it is good to know that things are looking up for him.

  13. kmw says:

    Just awesome just really really awesome. What a great way to start what is left of Bones last season. Fast paced all the way and lots of twists too. Emily Deschanel did terrific with this episode and it all worked well from start to finish. I am sorry about Hodgins but I get why they are doing it. Sara Rue was great and Brennan had me believing she was the killer for a minute. That psychologist sure still is creepy to me. As far as that next story with Booth and Brennan goes it would help me if I could get some reading comprehension because I am totally off with what they are doing. That being said they should still be careful, its a razor thin line with believing Brennan would blame Booth for whatever happens and an even bigger line believing she would run to Sully for a moment. But I believe Bones will be careful and not do irreparable harm to Booth and Brennan

    • Anon says:

      If Brennan even entertains the idea of running to Sully it will do irreparable harm to B&B, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not such a great marriage if one partner (Booth) has to constantly worry that the other (Brennan) might blame him for past actions and run to an old boyfriend for comfort, hugs, kisses, sex, whatever. I really, really hope the writers didn’t go down this path.

      • kmw says:

        You know they aren’t. Yes they have teased that fans will be ” stressed out” but nothing is going to come of it Brennan is a very black and white, right and wrong. Brennan may get closer to Sully but guilt will stop her before it gets anywhere near going over a line, no matter her mental state. And its not Booth’s actual past actions that is going to cause the rift its what happens when this man from Booth’s past acts, which is leading to death number one and that death is probably someone dear to Brennan( Max most likely) that is what I think. in that instance I can understand her lashing out.However Sully still wasn’t needed but if Booth and Brennan get to a much better place at the end of his episode that will be good. After last nights great episode I believe they are going to give us something good and not ruin Booth and Brennan

        • Anon says:

          I know nothing will actually happen between Sully and Brennan, unless he just grabs her and kisses her, and if he does she would probably deck him. I just feel like for her to even doubt Booth for a second, or desire Sully at all is damaging to their relationship. Look at it this way — have we ever seen any indication that Booth thinks about or desires any other woman? No, we do not. In fact, all we see is Booth being head over heels in love with his wife. So, I hope that’s all we see from Brennan. Peterson’s statement that fans will be stressed about Sully reappearing doesn’t sound good to me, and I’m not looking forward to it.

          • kmw says:

            No you are right it doesn’t sound good but I don’t think it is doubt that is the trouble between Booth and Brennan. People who grieve especially in different circumstances, like this one appears to be , lash out at people. Booth is the easiest and nearest person for Brennan to lash out to at this moment. Grief can blind even the most rational person from seeing things how they are. When Booth was gambling he wasn’t thinking rationally and we know he didn’t mean to hurt Brennan and they came back from that. I don’t think Brennan will do irreparable harm in this situation either. if the show runners are true to the statement that this last season is a love letter to the fans nothing is going to come of this other than Brennan realizing she needs psychological help( and hopefully Brennan punching Sully). This story most certainly could have been told without Sully involved but that was their decision and I am going to cling to the notion we will indeed have a ” beautiful resolution” for Booth and Brennan in this episode.

  14. Lauren says:

    Thank goodness I can watch the show now. I absolutely refused to watch the season until I knew that they weren’t going to turn Zack into another kid serial killer. I was so angry when they did it the first time I almost stopped watching the show entirely.

  15. Inka says:

    Bones has turned into a bad series a long time ago, but this was truly one of the worst episodes so far. It didnt make absolutely any sense. Why of all people was this doctor chosen as the serial killer? How could he have influenced the investigation so much? Why did he choose to set up Zack and why would he hate the team? Why were his victims white when he was of Indian origin when the great majority of serial killers dot cross racial borders? And the multiple personality theory has been debunked a long time ago. Just a bad bad episode. Totally unrealistic.This show needs to end.

  16. kmw says:

    Ok the only thing that really bothered me was the killer, which isn’t Emily’s fault because she didn’t write it but in The Monster in The Closet it seemed like the killer was white, this guy was of Indian descent. But maybe I am nitpicking . Clearly the focus of the episode was Zack so its not surprising that the killer reveal wasn’t that great. I love Bones but they never did serial killers very well and I am glad they aren’t spending any more time on any more.

  17. TREXARTIST says:

    Claustrophobic is just how this episode felt. Not sure that is a good thing. The tone was definitely different. This show went from being a light procedural to a heavy handed drama with a soap operay feel to it. The fun quirks are gone. It focuses too much on the depressing. I don’t care if people walking again feels unrealistic. It does happen, and for pity’s sake we need some good stuff to happen on this show. I love Zack being back and can only hope this last season brings back what made this show so great in the past. I’ll watch it either way.

  18. Darlene says:

    About time you brought back my sweetheart Zack Addy.

  19. andrew hass says:

    I knew all along that Zack kidnapped Brennan to keep her safe from someone.Plus i have a feeling the final episode’s final scene will having all the main characters and that includes Zack working together at the lab.

  20. Susan says:

    I hate Bones leaving. Have loved it.