It was one step forward and two steps back for paralyzed Hodgins in Thursday’s midseason premiere of Bones. After enjoying a surge of phantom pain-fueled optimism, Angela’s bitter half was brought back down to Earth when, in the episode’s closing minutes, he learned he would never walk again.
In the following Q&A, co-showrunner Michael Peterson breaks down Hodgins’ fragile mindset, explains why he’s shutting Angela out with lie after lie, and answers the $1 million question: Will he ever walk again?
TVLINE | Granted there was an eight-week time jump, but Hodgins was in a surprisingly good place in the beginning of the episode. I was expecting him to still be full of rage.
We were looking over the different emotions people go through when experiencing a tragedy. And there was an inclination to go towards [anger], but then we argued and went back and forth and ultimately went with his first emotion being denial more than anger. He made this decision that he was going to be upbeat and work his way through it; he’s in perfect denial. And then in future episodes we get into [the darker stuff]. In the end, he may go to an even worse place than anyone would anticipate. In [next week’s] episode, there’s a great scene where we see the world from his perspective — it’s him looking at the lab and seeing how much has changed. Hodgins is also someone that feels blessed that he’s even with Angela. I don’t think he ever quite felt like he deserved her; he has some insecurities about that. And I think this injury hurts his ego quite a bit.
TVLINE | The bad news he receives from his doctor at the end of the episode — does that start the slide into darkness?
Yes. He was believing [that he would walk again]… He was hanging on to the fact that he could feel something. And then he finally gets this news and, at the end of the day, he’s a scientist. This is the doctor saying, “No. Those pains aren’t real. You’re lying to yourself. It’s time to accept it more or less.” He wants to hope.
TVLINE | I thought it was odd that Hodgins didn’t tell Angela that he was going to go straight back to work after he left the hospital. Is that a case of him not even knowing himself until he stepped foot in the lab? Or was he purposely keeping that from her?
He probably kept it from her. He didn’t want [her] saying no. I don’t think it was a callous decision [to keep it from her]. He just wants to be working.
TVLINE | He then outright lies to her at the end of the episode when he tells her the report from the doctor was positive. What does it say about their ability to get through this crisis if he’s already lying to her?
It’s not the first step you want. In both cases, his instinct was to distance himself from her. Everybody handles tragedy differently. He’s someone who goes within himself and he has no interest in sharing that with Angela.
TVLINE | Brennan struggles with the fact that he is in this denial. What stops her from grabbing hold of him and going, “You’re never walking again!”
It’s the difference between Season 1 Brennan and Season 11 Brennan; it’s Booth’s influence on her. She wants to do that, but she won’t because of Booth’s influence.
TVLINE | At this point, would it be considered a medical miracle if Hodgins were to walk again?
You saw on Downton Abbey how Matthew suddenly started walking again — we are not Downton Abbey. The audience is in for a ride. That’s all I can say.