Any way you slice it, Bones just gave us a very happy “End in the End.”
After 12 seasons, the Fox drama signed off Tuesday with a wistful, bittersweet and ultimately satisfying hour that found Big Bad Mark Kovac permanently neutralized (aka killed), Brennan’s temporary amnesia reversed and Cam ditching the Jeffersonian to start a new family with Arastoo (but not before promoting Hodgins into her post as lab director). Along the way, the series sort of resolved the enduring “447” mystery, paid tribute to the late Sweets and maybe revealed the gender of Angela’s unborn baby.
For more on those last three items, as well as a dissection of that perfectly low-key final scene between David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, we present you with our last ever post mortem Q&A with co-showrunner Michael Peterson.
TVLINE | The destruction of the lab — was this a case of you knowing the set was going to be torn down so, you know, why not just blow the damn thing up?
Yes, there was a feeling of we didn’t want anyone else playing with our toys. But the reality of it happening was just depressing. We felt horrible. But then the art department started pouring over all the details of what it would look like [when it was obliterated] and we regretted not doing it earlier in the season. It was so beautiful we just wanted to film it from so many different angles. But, yes, we wanted to go out big. David Boreanaz once said that he wanted to drive a tank through the lab. It’s not a tank but a bomb is pretty close.
TVLINE | Was there any discussion about possibly having one of the regulars actually die in the explosion?
There was. There were lots of discussions. But this [scenario] just felt like the one that was most honest to our show. If this was 24 or Homeland it would be entirely different. This is a show where everyone rides off into the sunset.
TVLINE | Similarly, did you ever consider not having Brennan regain her core intellectual abilities, thereby forcing her to chart a new course for herself?
It came down to what this season was all about: challenging Booth and Brennan about who they are. When we start in Season 1, Booth is dealing with the guilt of his actions and balancing out the ledger of his life, weighing the people he’s killed versus the people he’s helped. So we had him really deal with that guilt and redifining who he is. And so Brennan is also forced to define who she is. When we first meet her in the pilot she doesn’t really know what happened to her parents, and the struggle gets deeper when she discovers that the person she thought she was — even her name — was [different from reality]. So in this final episode we wanted to put her through this one final test. Who is she without the intelligence that defined her? And what she found was even if that had happened she is still this worthy person because she’s able to see herself in Booth’s eyes. Yes, she gets her abilities back, but she knows that in her heart and mind that she is more than that.
TVLINE | Hodgins refers to his and Angela’s unborn baby as “little guy.” Is he right? Are they having a boy?
Absolutely. They are having a boy. He’s not quite Avalon [Cyndi Lauper’s clairvoyant character], but he has pretty good intuition on this one.
TVLINE | Karen and Aubrey — fair to say they’re doing more than eating fried chicken in his office?
We hope so. If anyone wants to talk to us about a spinoff, we will entertain all calls. [Laughs] We liked the idea of knowing those characters are off together somewhere eating fried chicken and having a good time.
TVLINE | Sweets got a nice shout-out in that final Booth-Brennan scene. Did you ever consider bringing John Francis Daley back to play a ghost or something?
The ghost thing is kind of confusing in the Bones world where we are so much about logic and science and reality, but we do have these moments of the supernatural. And we felt like we had already played that card for this episode with everything that happened with Avalon. So to go any further than that made it feel like more of a ghost show than our show actually is.
TVLINE | Did we get a resolution on the “447” mystery? Because I’m still a little confused.
Some people will consider it a resolution. There is probably more to tell even. We talked to [series creator] Hart Hanson and [former showrunner] Stephen [Nathan] and everyone had a different view of what “447” could be. For me and [co-showrunner] John Collier, that was meant to be the resolution.
TVLINE | So… Kovac tampered with Booth and Brennan’s alarm clock… ?
No, absolutely not. The way “447” worked for us was in more of a supernatural way — a harbinger or omen, signaling a redefining moment for Booth and Brennan. It’s just something that has been there all along that has been building to this moment of saying, “Booth and Brennan, you’re life is going to change one more time.”
TVLINE | Were there multiple iterations of that final Booth and Brennan scene?
Yes and no. One thing that has made the show work so well is we always have that final moment with Booth and Brennan kind of talking [as their dialogue] trails off. Sometimes those things are scripted, but often David and Emily improvise. This was a combination of that. So it was written up to a certain point and then David was like, “Don’t worry about it. We’re going to do our thing.” And they did. It’s always been a show where there’s this great trust. They trust us with what we put on the page and then they add that extra element, that extra little spark that has worked so well for 12 seasons.