What can I possibly say about the season 11 finale that has not already been said? In short, it was one of the most incredible hours of television. Ever. At least in my extremely humble opinion. Especially if you are a long-time fan of Bones. Whether or not you were expecting a certain ex-intern to return, it was still an immensely shocking final few moments. It is now several weeks later, and I still cannot fight off the intense heart palpitations that have become routine while viewing this episode. I am about to just let my thoughts run wild here, so apologies if I lose anyone along the way!
This episode commenced with a bang. Or really, with a literal nightmare. It did not take long to figure out that there was something just a little off in the opening scene, but I completely jumped out of my seat when the “dead” body on the table lunged up at Brennan. Every moment of this episode was either tense, fraught, or downright terrifying. There was no time for filler moments (not that I believe any moment in Bones is EVER filler). And there was little room for affectionate moments as well. Unless you were able to read between the lines and decipher what was really going on. There were more than a few moments filled with such love and devotion, that it made the end that much more heart-crushing.
Unless you live under a rock or you do not regularly watch Bones, you probably know how it all wrapped up. Zack Addy has returned. The execution of the reveal was certainly shocking. We were left in the dark as to the identity of this “Puppeteer” for the second half of the season. And really, for most of this episode as well. But the clues began to add up. All the evidence started pointing to Zack being involved in capacity. The responses to this have certainly varied. The fact remains that this character still has a very devoted fan base. They have been consistently vocal in their desire to see this character return. And to some, this was not the way they wanted to see Zack again after all these years. To those people I only counsel “hope and patience.”
The facts are these ($10 to anyone who gets that reference): Eric Millegan left the show for personal reasons many years ago. Bones has a very intensive filming schedule. Among other reasons, it was too much. It’s understandable. But he has always been open to returning. There was just never the right opportunity. Not since the 100th. When the news about season 12 broke, the executive producers found their window. Their golden opportunity. Now they just needed a story.
With the introduction of this puppet-crazed serial killer in episode 13, the seeds were sown. It was not quite apparent yet that this person could be anyone we knew. Not to the audience, at least. Just another lunatic killer for the team to investigate. Now we know better. Or do we? Here’s the thing- it definitely looks as though Zack is involved in some way. But I do have a hard time believing his intentions are fully malicious, especially as it relates to Brennan. In some of the post-mortem interviews, it was revealed that TJ and Tamara essentially laid down the law with the EPs- Zack was not going to be evil. He would have to be some type of hero. Just how that would manifest remains to be seen.
I have said this before- a finale is meant to shock. We were warned of this cliffhanger months ago before the show was even renewed. Bones was robbed of the opportunity to do anything like this last season due to the late pickup. And with the network’s blessing to move on to an additional season, they wanted to present most significant surprise the show has ever achieved. Maybe a few of us had it figured out to some degree. I myself was expecting Zack to at least appear in the episode. But it was the way it all unfolded, which left me absolutely stunned beyond belief. That said, there is always more to the story. When the show picks up again, all of our questions will be answered. There is an explanation for all of this.
Zack is to be in 3-4 episodes in season 12. That information alone is enough to let us know that we haven’t even skimmed the surface of his story. It’s been years since we have seen this character. There are an inordinate amount of questions that need to be answered. The most striking one at the moment, at least in terms of appearance, is what happened to Zack that left that very noticeable scar across his forehead? I highly doubt he was actually lobotomized. But it was very deliberately showcased in his quick reveal. And it was confirmed that there is definitely a story behind that very visible disfigurement. I have about a thousand more questions.But I’ll only posit a couple.
Is Zack working alone? Or is there an evil force at work here? We are all-too familiar with the story of Zack and Gormogon. In the final moments of The Pain in the Heart, the team discovers that Zack- their friend, their colleague, their family- was actually working with this diabolical cannibalistic serial killer. It crushed them beyond belief. All of them. But especially Brennan. She understood Zack like no one else. They were really alike in so many ways. Perhaps that is why, at times, Brenann seemed to feel as though she understood the Puppeteer in The Monster in the Closet. She and Zack had so many similarities. And they also had a really special bond. She was his mentor. But she was more than that to him. Since then, Brennan has moved forward. But onward? We don’t really know. I think by design, there have been minimal mentions of Zack Addy. And I have to assume that was (in part) an attempt to minimize the vocal desire to see him again. I don’t know that they really planned to have him back. At least not several years ago. It may not have been feasible. Or maybe they weren’t sure if they could ever really work it into the story. Had the show ended in season 10 (WOW I do not like writing that sentence ), we would not have seen this character back. But closure is an illusion, as we all know. Not every loose end can be tied up in life. It was never a foregone conclusion. But I think once they had all the pieces in place, hints began to sneakily drop. I took some notice in The Movie in the Making when Hodgins brought up Zack. It wasn’t necessary to the story, really. To me, it seemed like just another clue supporting this character’s return. But what is the impetus in terms of the story at hand? You will have a hard time convincing me that this man has predominately evil intentions- so who is really behind this? Zack does have to be involved somehow. Very few people could have re-articulated the remains in the same way he did. How much of that was coercion? And how much was choice? The Zack we remember only ever did things that were rational and logical. Unless Zack has changed over the years, can we assume there is a perfectly logical explanation to his actions? Was his involvement all a ruse because he knew Brennan and his old team were in some sort of greater danger? Or does he once again think he was serving a greater purpose by aiding someone else? Does he believe that what the (presumable) person in charge stands for is some sort of dogma? But that maybe it all went too far when Brennan became the target. Because even if he was involved in something wicked, Brennan would be his soft spot. His Achilles Heal. He will never hurt her. Well, he did hurt her, once upon a time. Emotionally. But he would never let someone do physical harm to her. Remember when he saved Hodgins, even though it was not part of the plan? Yes.
But there is always the possibility that his time in an institution has made him a bit insane. Perhaps he feels neglected and replaced. I have no idea. But boy, we have quite a long time to really mull over all this! I have far more questions than answers. And I assume that will be the case for some time. If Zack is truly saving Brennan, what is he saving her from? How deep does this go? Has the team lost contact with him over the years? Why? Was it their choice? Was it mandated? I could sit here for hours and pose a million different questions. And there will be no answers. Not just yet.
I liked Zack. I still do (well, unless he harms Brennan). But I understood why Eric Millegan left. I also really enjoy the rotating interns. To me, the show wasn’t missing anything when this character went away. It was NEVER once lacking. Never. And the new characters only added another wonderful dimension to the show. In order to sustain itself for as long as Bones has, it must grow. The characters must evolve. It can retain the qualities that made it successful to begin with. But it cannot stay stagnant. Bones has seen some absolutely beautiful evolution, both as a result of extenuating circumstance and natural story progression. Zack was a chapter. And he is one I am very intrigued to revisit. But it was never a do-or-die situation. I would have been happy with wherever the writers decided to go with this story. Because in the end, they will always tell the most compelling story. Not necessarily the one you think you want. But the one that best serves the show and these wonderful characters.
All that said, I think this will be a really interesting arc. I cannot wait to see what they have done with it. Now that the stage is set, I am so curious to see how it all pans out. Many people were concerned that Sweets died without telling anyone that Zack did not actually kill someone all those years ago. That seems like it will come into play here, based on interviews. It will also be a very rewarding arc. Longtime fans of the show will have so many questions answered. Not only with regards to Zack, but it sounds like a few mysteries of the past will be addressed as well. But more on that in another post. Another day.
Yes, there are so many questions I (and likely most everyone) have about Zack. Where he has been? What happened to his head- both physically and psychologically? With whom has be been conspiring? What is his motivation? Is he still the same Zack we knew back then? Will his story have a satisfying ending? How long will it take for the team to find Brennan? Or will Zack return Brennan to them? Will he be a hero? And if so, then how?
I also want to address a few more items from the finale before you grow weary of my incoherent babble. Dear sweet Emily Deschanel. She was magnificent. I have no words sufficient enough to describe her performance, really. Everyone was brilliant. I just feel like all of these actors are so frequently overlooked. Bones isn’t the most popular show in terms of critical praise. Outside of the fan base, it gets so little credit where credit is consistently and clearly due. Emily went above and beyond what I ever could have expected from her and this character. (And I expect quite a bit. These people all set the bar so high). Emily stuns me with her intricate and brilliant portrayal of Temperance Brennan each and every week. But wow. She had to play a different side of this character. Eleven years, and there is still so much to explore with this woman. It’s wonderful. And a bit sad. I have never seen Brennan this afraid. We have seen her scared, sure. We have seen her come a bit unglued in times of great stress. But this episode took it to a new and horrifying level. The ever-rational Dr. Temperance Brennan actually willingly submitted to a session with a psychologist. This is a woman who does not like to relinquish control. And she is faced with a situation that is completely and utterly out of her control. The implications alone are worrisome for any fan. But the fact that Dr. “I hate Psychology” saw a therapist to help her get to the bottom of her nightmares was evidence enough to tell you that she was desperate. And saw no other way out. When this woman feels threatened, historically, she has become reckless. Not intentionally. But it happens. Because it’s not her own safety with which she is concerned. It is others’. She will go out of her way to make sure no one else is harmed if someone is pursuing her. And now that she has children, it’s about them. It’s about her family and it’s about her children. Her children did not ask for this life. They are innocent parties in this. I don’t know that she believed at any point that they could be the target. But she is simply not willing to take that chance. And she would absolutely die before she allowed anything to happen to them. That goes for Booth as well. He would die before he let anything happened to their children. And also, to her.
I am just full of tangents. The scenes between Booth and Brennan were of particular interest to me in this episode. They always are, as this couple fuels my emotional well-being. Something else I have touched upon along the way is the fact that they had no outwardly obvious exchanges of affection. Each of their interactions was emotional and distressing. The stakes were high. The case was personal. And this killer was threatening their very livelihood. Their life’s happiness. The life Booth and Brennan worked so hard to build. I will NEVER say “the life that almost wasn’t.” While one of these two openly refutes any claims of fate or even the concept of “meant to be,” I think their single life shared was always inevitable. It would have happened, eventually. But I digress, as usual. Booth and Brennan’s scenes in the finale were heated. That is not in dispute. There was so much going on beneath their words and their looks. There was also so much love there, should you choose to look at it through a different lens. It all culminated with their last scene together at the FBI. The desperation felt by both was palpable. Again- there was absolutely no room for error here. One wrong step, and Brennan’s life was at stake. Except, emotions unfortunately got in the way this time. Booth, whose gut is nearly foolproof, allowed Brennan to leave by herself because he was convinced he had the culprit in custody. He is not right every single time. I watched The Spark in the Park last night, and he thought the father was the killer in that case. But in situations with dire implications such as this one, he usually errs on the side of caution. Even if he wasn’t positive that the psychologist was responsible for this entire ordeal, he still should not have let Brennan out of his sight. But, as we all know, you cannot stop Brennan once she has made up her mind. So I am sure she would have found a way to go examine the evidence whether Booth liked it or not.
Of course my heart always metaphorically aches when these two are at odds. But there is so much love there. So much passion. Neither was willing to relent. Because the consequences for failure were too grim. Simply unthinkable. Brennan is the love of Booth’s life. And he cannot and will not stand idly by and let her be manipulated. Or worse. And Brennan of course can not and has not loved any man like she loves Booth. I don’t think she would use the term “love of [her] life” but that is what he is. He is it for her. He has always been it. He is her home. They are symbiotic. She’s expressed these exact sentiments before. While her concerns were primarily about lack of evidence, and it seemed like business as usual, this fighting was not. It was not normal for them. Bickering, yes. But this was far more than bickering. This was two people, with everything to lose, fighting for their lives in the only way they knew how. I have never been more convinced of the love these two share. But I am biased. So disagree, if you wish. The performances were stellar. David and Emily are just a gift. They always have been. They just…they fit together. Their chemistry started with a bang from the beginning, and has never fizzled. Never wavered. It just keeps growing stronger as their connection has grown. It is constantly a wonder to behold. And it is unparalleled. No one can match what they bring to the table.
After Brennan is taken, the team gathers at the lab to put together all the clues as quickly as possible. Since Brennan was kidnapped when the psychologist was in custody, it doesn’t look like he is directly responsible. But I am still not convinced that this man is innocent in all this. Everything does not add up. There was just something very fishy about the way he conducted his session with Brennan. And maybe I’m just suspicious of even the most minuscule of details right now. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there was far more to that story as well.
The look on Booth’s face the moment he realizes to whom the evidence is pointing is positively haunting. And even worse than that? The look on his face when he finds Zack’s empty bed. Because he knows for certain now. At least he knows WHO has taken his wife. He just isn’t quite sure as to the where or why. David and his faces- sheer brilliance. David and his direction- sheer brilliance. David in general- BRILLIANT. I will rave about these people forever. Because they deserve it.
We didn’t get too much information about Hodgins and his nerve developments in this episode. There simply wasn’t time. But there were at least a few mentions and indications that he was in a lot of pain. he was getting feeling back in his legs, yes. But it was far from pleasant. Apparently the writers will not be taking the road we expect with Hodgins and this story. I am intrigued, as usual. How will this all unfold for him? Will there be a cure? Whatever it is, it will not be an easy road for him. Of that, I am almost certain. And I would never want it to be easy. Not because he doesn’t deserve a miracle. Hodgins was dealt a bad hand by fate. But because I want his story to continue to be treated with respect. I want them to continue to do justice to his situation. And I know they will. I trust that they will. I always trust these writers. They have yet to let me down. But we will have to wait and see where that goes as well! TJ said at SDCC that he sees a happy “ending” for Angela and Hodgins I have faith that we will see that.
Everyone was at the top of their game in this episode. Not that anyone ever disappoints. The acting was supreme. The writing was brilliant. And I am always a fan of the episodes David directs. It was all beautiful. And stunning And it was terrifying. The nightmares alone were enough to give me nightmares for a week- though I wish I could wake up looking as lovely as Brennan did. 🙂
I could talk for hours. And then days after that. But we have time for that. We have SO much time. And I needed to find an ending point so that I did not ramble on for eternity. So this is not the last you’ll hear from me about this episode! I can say that with absolute certainty. Next week, I’ll be going over season 11 in its entirety. So I will touch on the finale once again some there. Also if you have any thoughts, opinions, questions, or anything, feel free to share with me! It’s going to be a long hiatus, and I would be MORE than happy to discuss anything pertaining to this show. Thanks so much for sticking with me in this very disorganized mess of thoughts. My brain went a little insane here. Until next week!