I made the decision to write the recap of these two characters together, as so much of their story this season was very much intertwined. To claim that this couple was put through the ringer in season 11 is largely an understatement. I’m not sure anyone would challenge me when I say that Hodgins and Angela faced the most significant challenge of their lives during this time. And that’s definitely saying something, since they have endured their fair share of obstacles over the years. But I just don’t believe anything from their past compares. Even when Hodgins was buried alive, neither one of them seemed to completely lose hope. When there was a chance their child could be born blind, they were eventually able to make peace with that outcome. Their time apart after breaking up was difficult, but their friendship still flourished. What happened this season was beyond all of that. It very nearly broke them. But once again, Angela and Hodgins overcame adversity.
I remember reading early on that whatever was going to “happen” to Hodgins and Angela this season was supposed to occur during the first episode of the season. But because of David’s health issues, this mystery story was pushed to the mid-season finale. I honestly think it all worked out the way it should have. Though I’m not certain how it would have changed the flow of the season, it could have been executed better. This was perfect.
In the first few hours of the season, Angela and Hodgins were working frantically to help locate Booth alive. There is more than one kind of family, and Booth is a core component of theirs. It is interesting to consider that Hodgins and Angela were mere days from moving to Paris just six months prior. They decided it was the right time to live a simpler life, and Angela wanted to fulfill her longtime dream of painting in France. And now here they were, battling yet another time sensitive and life-threatening situation. This was one of the reasons they were seeking a quieter life. But quite frankly, even if they were away in Paris, you can bet they would have been on a plane thirty seconds after hearing about Booth’s disappearance. With family, you simply cannot escape. That sounds more dire than I intended. I only mean that unless all of these people opted for a quieter life, there is no escape from danger. They get pulled back in every time something happens. And with this group, there is always something lurking around the corner.
After Booth was found safe and successfully made it through surgery, life calmed down for a bit. Hodgins decided that since Angela postponed her dream for him, he would help make one of her dreams come true a little closer to home. Angela had really gotten into photography lately, and (obviously) showed some real natural talent. Hodgins proceeded to organize an art show for his wife at the Founding Fathers, though Angela was less than enthused by the gesture all throughout the episode. She was just starting out. She had been painting for years, but photography was still a new endeavor for her. By the end, Hodgins wore her down. Though she was still very visibly hesitant during the actual show. The only ones who showed up were her friends- and one very well known photojournalist. So perhaps Hodgins’ faith in Angela’s abilities was not so misguided because Angela secured herself a very impressive mentor that evening.
Back in season three, Angela expressed her desire to have a million children. So it was surprising when Booth and Brennan actually had a second child before Angela and Hodgins. The idea of more children did not seem to come up much since they had their first. Perhaps it was fear of having to deal with the possibility of their child being born blind again. Maybe it was the dangerous lives they were living, and the fact that a serial killer literally touched their child in his own room. Or maybe they just didn’t even think about expanding their family. Whatever the case, Angela finally seemed ready for another child by Thanksgiving of this year. Maybe it was the recent birth of baby Hank that reignited that yearning. Babies can sometimes have that effect on women- so I’ve been told. Angela broached the subject with Hodgins in the following episode. And much to my surprise, he seemed a little shaken by her admission. By the end, Hodgins explained to his wife that he was just not ready to expand their family. I had seen just how much Angela wanted another baby, so I was almost prepared to be a little defensive when Hodgins admitted his reservations. But all I could feel was compassion. I understood. He wasn’t just being insensitive. His words, his desire to keep his family unit unaltered, I actually understood. I’ll borrow from Booth and say that there’s “more to gain” with another member of the family. But I can understand Hodgins’ feelings as well. And so did Angela. It wasn’t a hard “no.” It was simply more of a “not right now.”
Hodgins’ would do quite a 180 in the very next episode. As we all well know by this point, he was involved in a very unexpected explosion at a crime scene. Actually, if not for Aubrey, he may not have survived. But he managed to walk right out of the hospital, seemingly unscathed- well he was a bit sore. Aubrey initially seemed to draw the short end of the stick in this situation. He was the one who had to go into surgery with his life on the line, and remain in the hospital for a few days. This entire ordeal forced Hodgins see his life a bit more clearly. He takes Angela aside and tells her he is ready. I always want to quote Brennan when I think of this moment. “Life is essentially uncertain…and if we try to be certain before we act, we may never act.” There is never going to be an ideal time to have a child. But life is precious. Life is unpredictable. And it is short. He wants to expand their family. And my heart began to beat rapidly at this point because there was no way they were going to make it out of this episode on such a triumphant and hopeful note.
Perhaps the most harrowing sound I have ever heard in nearly 11 seasons (at that point) of Bones was the sound of Angela screaming from the other side of the lab. It was the end of episode ten and we were in the middle of a discussion between Arastoo and Cam, relative to a possible rekindling of their romance. When they hear the shriek, they both immediately set off running to Angela who is standing over an immobile Hodgins. There were many cryptic teases leading up to this episode. We knew that something life-altering was going to affect Angela, Hodgins, and Aubrey during this episode. As Aubrey actually seemed to recover just fine, I deduced that by the end of the episode, Angela and Hodgins would be the ones affected. It’s actually difficult to recall what I thought had happened at that point. Did I believe Hodgins was dying? I’m not sure. I do very clearly recall that my mouth was physically hanging wide open. When the doctor came out with x-rays I finally understood. And it about broke me to watch the rest of the characters come to the same realization. To see Brennan have to break the news to Angela was heart wrenching. And then the camera slowly panning out on Hodgins’ hospital room and the wheelchair outside just sent me over the edge. And that was it. That’s what we had to think about for the next few months of the hiatus. How would Hodgins handle his new reality? How would this affect his relationship with Angela? And his relationship with the rest of his friends and colleagues?
At first, the answer to these questions seemed to be that nothing would really change too drastically. I was surprised to see Hodgins in good spirits when the show returned. He was energized, and ready to get back to his work at the lab. Angela, on the other hand, seemed like she was waiting for the other shoe to drop. She was terrified- terrified that her husband’s condition was going to worsen. And perhaps a bit nervous that when he finally realized the reality of the situation, he wouldn’t be so jovial.
Hodgins basically charmed Cam and Angela into letting him work the current case. And he was more than ready to jump back into it all the moment he was released from the hospital. I think the rest of the team was torn. On one hand, how wonderful is it that after facing an unimaginable tragedy, Hodgins seemed to be back to his usual self. He was motivated, he was enthusiastic, he was even ready to go out into the woods to recover some bone fragments. On the other hand, his doctor warned the couple that if he wasn’t careful, he could sustain further spine damage. Poor Angela seemed as though she was just waiting for something bad to happen the entire time he was in the lab. And Cam promised to send him home once his part was done.
When that time finally came, it was devastating to watch. Hodgins pleaded with Cam to let him stay. This job is who he is. Cam emotionally assures him that he is so much more than this job. I have said this before, but there is some truth to what Hodgins says here. This job is so much a part of his identity. And really, he’s not much different from the rest of the team. Part of why Brennan wants her job back in the beginning of the season is because doing this work is a fundamental component of her life. Without her job, a piece of her is missing. I feel as though Booth, the proclaimed “man of action,” is very much the same. Cam stayed at the Jeffersonian when Arastoo had to leave because of this job and these people. Hodgins is not a workaholic. But have you ever heard that saying: when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life? Find me someone more passionate about his work than this man. I always think back to A Boy in the Bush when I think about Hodgins and his love for this job. He had all the money in the world. And he tells Booth and Angela “What I want out of my life is to come in here and sift through slime and bugs.” And the years never changed that. He did add to his life by starting a family with Angela. And even though he lost his fortune (and later gained a new fortune), he still felt incredibly lucky every single day of his life. I envy that passion for sure. So it was that much more torturous to watch Cam have to tell him to leave and watch his face completely fall.
But even then, he still didn’t lose hope. Angela figures out that the team eventually solved the case because of a huge contribution from Hodgins. She has been quite obviously on edge since the beginning of the episode and she finally confronts her husband in their home.
I know that you’re essential to the team, I’ve never doubted that, but you’re also essential to me.
Angela, what do you love about me?
So much. You’re passionate and you’re… open-minded and curious. And you’re so smart.
Well, my work at the lab makes me those things. And without it, I don’t know how to be the man that you fell in love with.
With those words, Angela finally truly understands. It really comes down to the question of what it means to be alive. What constitutes living? To the medical community, perhaps it’s heart and brain functionality. But what is the difference between surviving and flourishing? Words we know very well by now, as it relates to this show. Hodgins is not interested in playing it safe and sacrificing his primary source of happiness. And if that means he lives a higher risk existence just to keep doing the work he is so passionate about, so be it. Angela would never deprive him of that. Not when he’s lost so much already.
But, that feeling of hope wouldn’t last much longer. Hodgins soon found out that there was no neural connectivity occurring in his legs. The sensation he was feeling all along was phantom. And with that, we saw a very startling and very discernible shift in Hodgins. This was a Hodgins we hadn’t seen much of since the show began. An angry Hodgins. A hopeless Hodgins. And it was one of the saddest moments of the series for me. To see someone who was once so full of life and exuberance and joy reduced to a shell of his former self.
For the next few episodes, Hodgins was cold and distant. He was short-tempered and cynical. And he was downright cruel to his wife. The others did all they could to encourage and help their friend. But he was too far gone. His treatment of Angela was especially upsetting to me. Because this was the same man who spelled out “Be My Love” in shrimp. He has loved Angela for a decade. And his love for her and their son and their life has always been so beautiful and pure. To see him cloaking himself in this darkness and despair is distressing. I cannot even begin to comprehend the level of pain this man was experiencing. I surely cannot blame him for lashing out. What else can you even do? How much more can you bear? But there is no excuse for the verbal abuse. Perhaps he was not in control of his own emotions, but Angela was hurting just as deeply. This affected her life too. And while I know he didn’t think his wife could even begin to imagine his pain, he still should have tried not to alienate the one who was rooting for him the most. It’s still extraordinarily difficult to reflect upon this period of time. It was so upsetting to see this man succumb to the hopelessness. And it was equally as tragic to witness his wife and friends powerless to stop it.
Everyone attempted a different approach with Hodgins. Cam tried to appeal to his adventurous side by trying to get him engaged in experiments. Angela provided words of encouragement. Rodolfo used more of a tough love tactic. And Brennan relied on logic and honesty.
Dr. Hodgins, you’re my friend and my colleague, and I care about you.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you have the whole world supporting you, success can be just out of reach.
Then success must be redefined as that which can be accomplished. If Kalani can’t have a family with her mother and her child, then she must find an alternative that she can live with.
And if I can’t find an alternative?
You have to to survive.
You make a faulty assumption, Dr. Brennan. Survival doesn’t necessarily mean living.
How do you combat that mindset? How do you pull someone you love out of a hole so despairingly deep. Even Brennan was stumped. Angela began to wonder if she could continue on like this. She was having erotic dreams with Sebastian as the costar. While she didn’t want or intend to cheat on her husband, she admitted to Brennan that maybe a part of her wanted out. She loves Hodgins, but she loves the Hodgins that she married. She wants that man back. I suppose this does fall within the confines of “sickness and health.” But at what expense? How much is too much? What is the straw that breaks the camel’s back? She confides in Brennan that Hodgins is different now. He’s distant. He’s given up completely.
He can’t fix that void, if he doesn’t take responsibility for creating it.
I can’t make him change unless he wants to.
And if he never wants to?
This was a turning point for Angela. There weren’t many options left for her. Something had to give. But it was Hodgins that actually made the first move here. And not in a positive way. He brings Angela a folder containing paperwork giving her control of all their assets. He confessed that the two of them were broken. And he took full responsibility for breaking them because he was so miserable. He wanted her to have everything. And he could not give her anything anymore. I am not sure what Angela intended to do prior to this conversation. But in that moment, she was not going to take this laying down any longer.
So change. I know that this is painful for you, and I know that you think that I couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like. But this is life. It’s hard, and it is painful, and it is every day. But we fight. We fight together.
This is my decision.
No, this is a coward’s decision. I am not letting you make it. I don’t care about any of the stuff in this folder. I need you. See you at home.
Angela would not let Hodgins give up on them. The two of them have made it through every single obstacle that has gotten in their way over the years. They could get through this too. Because there is love there. So much love. Hodgins finds Angela back at their home, sobbing in their bedroom. He makes his way over to her, and takes her hand in his. And in that moment, you just knew they were going to be okay. Nothing was going to be resolved overnight. But Hodgins understood what was at stake. He finally realized what he was about to lose. Yes, he could no longer walk. But he was alive. And not just alive in the medical sense. He could do his job. He could spend time with his friends. He could come home every night to his wife and son. Yes, life dealt him a bad hand. But it also could be so much worse. If not for Aubrey pushing him out of the way, he could be in the ground. With no second chances. It truly was the last shot at a second chance. Bravo writers.
Following that episode, the healing process began. At first it was a bit awkward. Hodgins was trying to overcompensate for his tremendous guilt by showering Angela with elaborate gifts. But he should know better. Angela has never been one of those women. And that has been well-documented in this show. She didn’t want gifts. She just wanted their life back. So you could kind of sense a bit of discomfort for a while. The couple finally found a compromise when Angela said she would take back her husband’s gifts (she had lent them to Cam for the time being) so long as he went out with her regularly. I think those terms are more than satisfactory. All she really wants is for them to have their life together again. She wants him to be comfortable enough to engage in the activities they used to love- and that includes having drinks with their friends. They were well on their way.
The old Hodgins seemed alive and well throughout the rest of the season. Same with Angela. Once they adapted to their new situation and decided to fight for their life together, they seemed happy again. Their interactions became far more effortless. And I finally felt myself beginning to breathe for these two again. Not everything was easy. Hodgins and Angela disagreed on a radical surgery Hodgins had been researching. While he had accepted his condition, he still didn’t want to just give up all hope of walking again. There had to be something he could do. But this surgery was dangerous. It was experimental. And after everything these two had been through, Angela was not going to let him go under the knife without a fight. Hodgins couldn’t understand why Angela wasn’t supporting him. But a comment from Cam struck a chord with him (weirdly, I wasn’t even thinking about the name of this particular episode when I used that phrasing): “Wanting things to work and actually making things work are two very different things, Dr. Hodgins.” He told Angela he wasn’t going to have the surgery. Angela was obviously relieved. And she promised she would be by his side when a safer option came along. They would look for a solution together.
It was particularly lovely to see the two of them in The Movie in the Making. They both seemed genuinely happy. And that was especially apparent when they were talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Angela said “I want to be somebody who sees the beauty in the world and is able to share it with those around her.” That’s already who Angela is. That’s already her life. She wants nothing more than to continue pursuing her art. Maybe it gets put on the back-burner at times, but this season she was definitely more assertive about making time to hone her craft. For Hodgins, he “want[s] to be someone who never stops looking.” That’s how Hodgins has always been as well. Though, it was especially refreshing to hear him share this after the past few months. During his darkest moments, he was still working. It was all he could cling to at that time. However, he lost that zest that he always had. He was going through the motions, but he wasn’t even interested in doing experiments anymore. He’s back to that man again. He’s curious, inquisitive, and passionate. I love to see these two people living their dreams once more. Because they deserve all the happiness in the world.
Toward the end of the season, Hodgins began to experience some feeling in his legs. At first he wasn’t sure what was happening- he even thought it could have been a ghost knocking things around the lab. It was Daisy who discovered that it was actually Hodgins’ own legs causing the disruptions. He thought it could potentially be a “first step to a first step.” Angela was emotional. But I know that regardless of whether or not he regains any feeling, she will love and support Hodgins- whatever happens. It’s not all happy tears and positivity, as the sensations in Hodgins’ legs began to grow exceedingly more painful. Is the pain worth the possibility of walking again? Will he walk again? At this point it’s hard to say. I know there are some very different viewpoints on this. I am in the camp that wants this story to remain realistic. I think that the most realistic way to tell the tale is to keep Hodgins in the chair. Because that’s life. It’s not perfect. And Bones is doing a brilliant job of telling this story- showing both the struggles and the triumphs. Ultimately I will support whatever is best for the story. I am not a writer. And I trust the Bones writers with everything. They have never let me down.
I want to first and foremost commend TJ and Michaela for an absolutely flawlessly stunning performance this season. They are always incredible, but their characters were challenged in such unparalleled ways this season. And they really just hit this whole arc out of the park. I cannot tell you how many times I cried over these two this season. Sometimes happy tears, and many sad tears as well. I cannot praise these two enough. It had been a long time since they were given a really juicy storyline. And I am so happy they had the opportunity to bring this material to life. Bones just has the best cast, hands down. I love them all. They are all magnificent.
Where do these two go in season 12? Once again, I don’t quite know. Initially, it will be about finding Brennan. Though, with the sneak photos and sneak peeks I’ve seen, it seems as though Brennan will be found quite early on in 12×01. More likely, the episode will revolve around Zack’s return. And the mystery of where he has been and what he has been doing for all these years. Hodgins was best friends with Zack. Zack lived above his garage. And he was crushed when he found out Zack “murdered” someone. Though, we know the truth. It will be interesting to see Hodgins’ reaction to Zack’s return, and how that differs from the rest of the team. I also wonder if maybe Angela and Hodgins will explore having more children now that they seem more content with their life together once again. Ultimately, I obviously just want them to find true happiness, whatever that entails.
I cannot believe we are so close to the newest season. I am so unbelievably emotional. I cannot even process what is happening without having some sort of insane reaction. I have one more recap to go, which is nuts. Since I have been doing this since July? So, next time we “speak” it will be Bones day. I am depressed. I am devastated. But I am also so excited I cannot even see straight. So many conflicting emotions, I feel a bit off-kilter! But I think a lot of us are feeling that way. I am ready. But I am not. But, ready or not, Bones season 12 is coming!