Warning: The following contains spoilers for Thursday’s season finale of Bones.
The past came back to haunt Bones during Thursday’s Season 11 finale as the team chased down The Puppeteer serial killer and found a familiar face behind the mayhem!
Tormented by nightmares, Brennan sought out the help of a psychologist (played by The Good Wife‘s Tim Guinee), whom Booth came to suspect was their murderer. But when Brennan was taken from the lab while the shrink sat in FBI custody, the truth was (sort of) revealed: former squint Zack (Eric Millegan) had somehow escaped the psych ward and kidnapped his ex-boss because… he is The Puppeteer?
Below, executive producer Jonathan Collier talks about the shocking twist and how it speaks to Season 12’s rewarding theme. The EP also previews Brennan and Booth’s “very different views” on Zack and hints at another big return. (Read actor Eric Millegan’s thoughts on his return here.)
TVLINE | Can you confirm that Zack is The Puppeteer? This is not a misdirect?
I can’t confirm anything. It’s really gratifying to be where we take everything. Everything is very, very satisfying. Everything makes sense. Everything is earned, and everything is surprising. And there will be more of Zack in Season 12.
TVLINE | How long has this return been in the works?
We were really talking about it all of last season. We knew we wanted to use this character and to use Eric. Once we knew [Season 12] would be the last season, that’s when we really started to figure out how to do it. It really speaks to what we are doing in Season 12, which is trying to leave no unfinished business. We want to keep it exciting, keep challenging our characters, keep the story moving forward, keep developing our stories, but also really reward the fans who have been with us a long time.
TVLINE | It’s been quite a while since we last saw Zack. What can you say about how much he’s changed and what his headspace is now?
He’s as brilliant, as interesting, as complex as ever – if not more so. I feel like they were just starting to scratch the surface of a new aspect of his character when he first left the series [in Season 3], and this is our chance to dig into that.
TVLINE | Could Zack have been escaping this whole time? We know The Puppeteer has been renting out a basement and killing these people and living with them, but Zack was in a psychiatric hospital!
With Zack, you’re talking about someone with extraordinary ability….
TVLINE | So he could find his way out of the psychiatric hospital? He’s that smart?
I’m not going to give you any specifics, but I’m saying that Zack has a profound capability to make things happen, and there’s even real life situations where people have had control over circumstances when you think they wouldn’t be able to.
TVLINE | His last words — the last words of this finale — are, “We have so much to talk about.” What should we make of the fact that he wants to speak to Brennan?
Well, one thing you might make of it is that he’s had an internal life. Things have been going on, and he wants to talk to her both about what’s happening with her [and] what’s happening with him. I’m not going to tell you for how long, but there is going to be an ongoing relationship between them.
TVLINE | How does this twist impact Brennan and Booth’s relationship going forward?
They’re going to have very different views — and it’s not necessarily what you are expecting — of Zack’s culpability and how much you can blame him, how one would judge him, and how one would forgive him.
TVLINE | Are there any other big returns in Season 12?
Yes. We have a huge return coming up. My advice is pay attention to the first two, even three seasons. The seeds have been sown, and now we are reaping the harvest.
Stay tuned to TVLine for lots more Bones scoop! Until then, grade the season ender via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your pick.