Source: Bones on FOX Network

It’s been four excruciatingly unbearable months of waiting. Waiting for news, waiting for promos, waiting for our beloved show to return to us. Honestly, I was starting to think the day would never come. But here we are. We have arrived at the final countdown.

I re-watched The Doom in the Boom last night. Sure, I’ve watched it probably more than 100 times since it aired (I’m a notorious repeat viewer). But for some reason, I hadn’t really let the implications of what happened sink in since that first viewing. I refused to let myself consider how the tragic conclusion of the episode would affect the episodes to come. There was no need. I could simply pretend it didn’t happen for the time being. Pretend it wasn’t real. Because there was no rush. I knew we had a long hiatus ahead of us. But I finally let myself digest it last night. “Hodgins is paralyzed.” There it was again. And this time, I needed to really hear those words and think about what they meant for the future of this character. Because this is the new Bones reality. This is Hodgins’ new reality. And if the words weren’t enough, the camera panning out at the end of the episode revealing a wheelchair outside of Hodgins’ hospital room really hammered the point home.

Thinking back to December when this episode actually aired on television, I recall feeling a constant sense of panic throughout the hour. I knew I was allowed to let my guard down during the first hour, as the jovial The Cowboy in the Contest ran prior to The Doom in the Boom. But once that second episode started, I held my breath. I didn’t quite know what the “doom” would be. Or who would ultimately be directly affected. Turns out, the boom was quite literal. And the doom, delayed. All we really knew was that whatever happened, it was going to significantly affect Aubrey, Hodgins, and Angela for the foreseeable future. We were promised that Bones would never be the same. After Aubrey took the brunt of the crime scene explosion within the first five minutes, I knew he had to be a decoy. Something more had to happen. Something even bigger. And that left Hodgins and Angela as the vulnerable pair.

Hearing Angela’s scream at the end of the episode was possibly one of the most chilling moments I’ve experienced watching Bones thus far. Perhaps second only to hearing (and seeing) a screaming Brennan being manhandled out of Booth’s hospital room back in season 9. Witnessing Hodgins laying helplessly the ground at the Jeffersonian, I finally knew exactly what the show was about to do to him (and to us). But like Angela, I needed Brennan to say it. My metaphorical heart broke for Angela in that waiting room. And thinking about someone having to tell Hodgins, it made it so much worse. Actually, what stung the most was Hodgins’ realization earlier in the episode that he and Angela needed to seize the day. After previously telling his wife that he wasn’t ready to have more children, Hodgins’ near-death experience convinced him that he needed to live for now. Life is unpredictable, and it can throw you for a loop. In a split second, your world can be turned upside down. Angela and Hodgins were finally on the same page. There was such joy in that moment as they began to plan the next step of their future together. But as so often happens, the universe had other plans.

While it will be difficult watching Hodgins try to adjust to his new normal, I also cannot wait to see what will surely be a plethora of amazing and emotionally charged moments for his character and those closest to him. From what I’ve heard, TJ has fully committed to this story- to the point where he doesn’t get out of the wheelchair until his day on set is done. He wants to make this as true to life as possible. He wants to give this story the respect it deserves. And I just know we are going to see some astonishing performances from him and Michaela. It’s been a while since Angela and Hodgins have had to deal with something this substantial. They have faced obstacles and made tough choices over the last few seasons, but nothing like this. I’m not sure anything they have endured in the past can compare. The aftermath of the explosion will alter their lives forever. That said, these two people love each other. Their love runs deep. They have so much history. And much like Booth and Brennan, they are strong. This will test them like never before. There will undoubtedly be difficult and heart-wrenching moments. But in the end, I know they will come out the other side stronger than ever. You can’t keep the King of the Lab down for long. I’m reminded of this exchange from The Blackout in the Blizzard:

Hodgins: “What do you think we can handle? You and I, together. What do you think we can handle?”

Angela: “Honestly? Anything. Anything at all.”

This was true then. And it’s no less true five(ish) years later. They can and will get through this. It just may take some time. It will not be “wrapped up” neatly in an episode or two. This is their new reality.

I still find it hard to believe that Bones is really back. This hiatus was actually longer than the summer hiatus, which is honestly ridiculous. I almost forgot what it was like to even anticipate new episodes. But we have made it. Everything I have read about the back half of season 11 looks so insanely interesting and exciting. Each synopsis released sounds better than the last. I am really looking forward to all of the Booth & Brennan moments coming up as well (shocking!). Especially those teased in the (very late) promo. It is such a joy to have my favorite duo back. I am a constant broken record, but how rare is it for a show to churn out such compelling and engaging stories in season 11? There are still new and fascinating cases, even after 222 episodes. There is still a wealth of unexplored situations in which to put these incredible characters. When you have amazing writers and the perfect cast, the possibilities are endless. I have missed each and every character so dearly. They are my family. I cannot wait to laugh and cry with them again. And I am on the verge of losing my mind waiting for to see what’s going to happen next. It won’t be long now!