Here we are. Today’s the day. So many mixed emotions. And very little idea of what’s to come. To try to describe my feelings right now would be futile. There are simply no words. Well, perhaps there are words, but they are not the kind of words I’d feel comfortable publicly sharing.
But this isn’t about my feelings regarding the future. Not yet. This is about the past. It’s my final season 11 recap. It’s been a long ride. Fifteen posts, to be exact. And for some reason, I have decided to save the most complicated for last. So here we go. One last reminder of Booth and Brennan. Where they started in October of 2015. And where they left off last summer. This has been the quickest hiatus I’ve ever experienced. And that’s a frightening thought, since it was actually one of the longest. Season 11 started out with a missing Booth. And it ended with a missing Brennan. In between, there was a healthy dose of drama, love, and laughter.
David’s health prompted a bit of last minute storyline shuffle by the writers. Initially, Hodgins’ paralysis was going to occur in the premiere episodes. But a new storyline accommodating David’s absence had to be conceived. And it was both painful and absolutely brilliant.
If you asked me just a few years ago if I ever thought I would see anything like the first scene of season 11, I would have likely laughed in your face. I suppose it’s not that farfetched, thinking about it now. But so often, a series ends with a wedding or a baby. It’s a last ditch effort for a show to indulge its longtime viewers. Bones has already more than defied the odds by continuing the story well after those life events occurred. We are so beyond blessed. But I am never one to be greedy. So until I found out about their second child, this type of scene with Booth and Brennan and their MULTIPLE children was inconceivable to me. With the announcement that there would be another Booth baby, I was beside myself. How many shows give their fans this much? Booth and Brennan have been together since the end of season 6. They had a child. They got married. And they continued to live their lives. And the show brilliantly trucked on. Those events were not periods in the story. They were commas. Booth and Brennan continued to face their share of problems, but always together. I had everything I ever wanted and more. But this show has always been the wonderful gift that keeps on giving. And that first scene still feels like a dream to me, even today. The fact that they had Christine was already more than I could have ever hoped for. We have seen that little girl grow up and become her own person. And now to have this baby boy as well, I am on Cloud 9. Every time I see 11×01, I have to pinch myself. But I seem to do that excessively with this show. It doesn’t matter how many times I rewatch this series (and I do it a lot, daily, over and over), I always feel so incredibly lucky.
Booth and Brennan had been living their peaceful life for the past six months. And during that time their son Hank was born. The episode opens with Booth “playing” hockey with his new son, while Brennan was teaching Christine how to properly categorize and identify ancient artifacts. It seemed like a relatively standard and perfectly perfect morning in their home. And aside from the fact that it’s Booth and Brennan and everything they do is extraordinary, it seemed like an unremarkable morning. Except for two things: Booth’s hesitancy in committing to plans that night, and the look on his face as he walked out the door. Taking an extra moment to etch the picture of his beloved family in his mind. That look would haunt me for the next two weeks. Because that was the last time Brennan would see her husband until the end of 11×02.
The opening case was extraordinarily difficult for many reasons. Not least of which involved Brennan and the team frantically trying to locate a missing Booth before he bled out. We were initially supposed to believe that Booth was the one who had perished, when it fact, it was his brother. As the case unfolded, Brennan began to reexamine her decision to leave the Jeffersonian. It seemed as though her desire to live a more peaceful existence was not what she thought it would be. Initially she believed that if Booth died, it would make her feel better to be around her work and her friends. But after finding Booth alive and discovering his motive in getting involved with Jared’s “friends,” she realized that this is who they are. Booth will always be the hero. Always a man of action. Their jobs are not everything they are. But their jobs are essentially an extension of themselves.
Listen, we both decided that we were gonna stop doing this together, okay? We quit our jobs. We’re done.
If you’re done, Booth, why am I sitting with you in a hospital room? You’ve always done this. Risked your life for the sake of others. The army, the FBI.
I can change.
I don’t want you to. Booth, you are the bravest, most selfless man I have ever met. And as much as I hate seeing you here in pain and suffering, I also know this is… who you genuinely are.
Brennan almost lost Booth. Once again. They left their jobs after a year filled with trauma. They’ve endured more tragedy than two people ever should. It’s understandable why they would want to take a step back and live a quieter life. It’s not just about them. They were bringing yet another child into this world. The stakes were raised. There was more to lose. Living a life free of the routine threat of death or danger seemed almost idyllic. And perhaps it was, for a while. Brennan wrote a few books. Booth was teaching. Their children were happy and healthy. But this life was not sustainable. Because it’s just not who these two people are. And trouble ultimately found them anyway. When Brennan sits by Booth’s hospital bed, she is not angry with him for lying to her and putting his life in danger once again. She understands. Because she knows him. She knows this is who he is. It took her a moment to understand why he would help Jared when he said he would stay away. His brother was in trouble. He wouldn’t be Seeley Booth if he didn’t help. He is a hero. He is the man with a lion heart. Brennan wouldn’t have it any other way. If he was any different, he wouldn’t be the man she fell in love with. Brennan has an epiphany earlier in the episode. Both she and Booth need to return to their jobs. That’s their home. That’s their family. That is what they are meant to be doing (though I’m sure Brennan would not like that phrasing). What they do means something. It’s important. With proper precaution, they can continue to do what makes them happy. They love working together. They love working with the team. It completes them. So it’s decided. Booth doesn’t put up much of a fight because he knows she’s right (she’s always right).
The season continued, and Booth and Brennan jump right back into their work. There were a few hiccups with Booth having to work in the bullpen during his first case back and Brennan dealing with the aftermath of Arastoo’s departure. But in the end, everything worked out. Aubrey surprised Booth by giving him his office back, and Cam confided in Brennan that she neither blamed her for Arastoo leaving nor felt badly about choosing her job over her boyfriend. Booth continued to deal with the loss of his brother into the third episode. His grief initially manifested as anger over Jared’s lost ashes. But ultimately, he admits that it was just about his brother being gone. Seeing the way his daughter tends to her own brother was comforting to him in the moment.
There are a hundred moments I wish I could touch on in every episode. But in the interest of time and space, it’s simply impossible. We would be here all day, and I’d likely crash our servers. Booth finds out that Brennan is killing “Agent Andy” in her Kathy Reichs books and takes it personally. And it takes some analyzation from Betty White’s character for Brennan to understand why she killed off this character, and why Booth took it so personally. Brennan realizes that while they were living a life of “complete peace” during the time she and Booth quit their jobs, that’s not who they are.
Gals like us can’t stand peace and quiet. We need to be challenged. That’s why I loved seeing you and Booth together.
But all you witnessed was us bickering.
Yeah, exactly. Because you pushed each other. That’s the heat you fell in love with. And that’s the heat that will keep you together. Anything else would be…
We got both a Halloween and a Thanksgiving episode this season. While we have had a Halloween episode in the past, Bones has never done a Thanksgiving episode. It wasn’t a traditional holiday-themed episode. But it was an exciting case, from start to finish. And to see Booth and Brennan, their THREE children, and all their friends together celebrating was incredibly heartwarming.
Booth and Brennan went undercover once again this season. And this time, it was at a shooting competition. I so adore each and every time these two go undercover, and this time was no different. Traditionally, they go into an undercover situation as a couple. But this time, they acted like strangers. Brennan was initially going to stay out of the operation, but she (mistakenly) believed that Booth thought their life together was too routine and that he just wanted to go have some fun. This episode was everything I could have hoped for in an undercover episode. Booth and Brennan are the most conspicuous two people in every situation. And the situation got a bit heated this time. I do not mean they were arguing. However, I do mean they made the shooting competition a competition between the two of them. It was fun to see these two fail at acting like strangers. The touches, the proximity- they couldn’t keep away. I also detected a hint of arousal during the different rounds of the competition. Brennan admits why she’s really there and asks Booth if he wanted to work this case because his life had gotten too dull. It would also explain why he wanted a jetski for Christmas. But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. He wanted a jetski because they are fun. “Why do birds fly, Bones. Because it’s cool.” At the end, he expresses to his wife just how much he loves their “routine” life together. “I love it, I love routine.” And I can believe him. This is the same man who once told her “I love every day.” Because he does. And really, how routine is their life? He lives for these moments when he can tuck in his children and share a drink with his wife after a day at “the office.” While their life will never truly be routine or boring, this is a man who loves every bit of his life with this woman.
Booth intended to fling himself right back into danger in the mid-season finale, not considering the fact that it hadn’t been terribly long since he last in a life-threatening situation. Brennan was horrified that he once again was not thinking about his own safety .
After all that you’ve been through with Jared? I just got you back.
Ultimately, Aubrey stepped in and made himself a target in the case. And Booth was able to apprehend the criminal who caused the explosion, which injured both Aubrey and Hodgins. Alls well that ends well. Aubrey was fine. And Hodgins- well he was fine for a while. But in the final scene, Booth, Brennan and the rest of the team found out that Hodgins was paralyzed.
When the show returned, Booth and Brennan had different opinions about Hodgins’ condition. Booth thought it was important for Hodgins to remain hopeful. And Brennan thought that a misguided sense of hope would not help her friend. And that it was more important to adhere to science, and deal with the reality of the situation. Though she later admits to her husband that the science only makes her sad in this case. But Booth still has faith that Hodgins will find a way to walk again. And he reminds Brennan that she never thought she would be married with THREE children. And here they were.
Episode 13 introduced The Puppeteer, who would come back to haunt the team at the end of the season. During the time Booth and Brennan had quit their jobs, this new serial killer had claimed a victim. The case remained unsolved, giving the killer the opportunity to kill once more. Brennan nearly let the guilt consume her. If she and Booth had been there, perhaps they would have caught this person. And there would have been no more victims. The blood of this young woman was on her hands, so to speak. She was identifying with the killer as well. He didn’t see an insentient pile of bones. He lived with the victims for six months at a time after killing them. He didn’t just see a pile of bones. He saw a living person. She felt as though that was similar to her as well. She sees so much more than a skeleton. But Booth is quick to try to assure her that she is nothing like this monster. He is certain that the victim on her table would still have died even if they were at their jobs. Brennan is not so sure. It’s really difficult to say who is right here. Ultimately, she should not take responsibility for this woman’s death. That is quite a burden to carry. She and Booth could not have foreseen this. But it is not their fault. It is the killer’s fault and no one else’s. Maybe with their brains and experience, they could have gotten to this killer sooner. But that cannot be said with full certainty. It’s not something she could ever really know for sure. They are still unable to solve this case. And The Puppeteer remains at large- with the threat of his next kill looming beneath the surface. They both know it’s not over. And they are both quiet on edge, knowing that fact.
There are so many lovely moments between these two in every single episode. How does one pick what to actually highlight? I am of the opinion that there is no such thing as a “filler” episode, as it relates to Bones. Perhaps some stories are more isolated to one episode. But each episode moves Booth and Brennan’s story along. There is a scene in The Strike in the Chord when Parker confides in Brennan that he would like to attend a summer writing program instead of going camping with Booth. He is completely and utterly torn because he wants to be a part of the prestigious program, but he doesn’t want to let his father down. He turns to Brennan, as he knows she would understand his predicament more than anyone. It’s a lovely moment between them, and we are reminded just how much Brennan considers this boy her son and her family. Booth is initially hurt, and doesn’t understand why his son would want to go to school instead of spending time with him. Summer is supposed to be about fun. But it wasn’t about that. Of course Parker loves his father. He just also truly loves writing as well. After careful consideration, Booth decides to give Parker his blessing. He is going to let Parker attend the program.
Yeah, you know, I think that, you know, life is… life needs to be enjoyed.
You’re not afraid he’ll turn out like one of the Lynwood kids or me?
Let me tell you something, Bones, if he ends up turning out like you, I will be the proudest dad ever.
One of the million things I love about this couple is their admiration of one another. While they are both confident individuals, they are definitely insecure about their perceived shortcomings at times. At times, Booth questions his goodness. And we all know that Brennan is always standing right beside him, making sure he knows he’s a good man. Brennan understands that she is brilliant, but she often feels that she is still lacking when it comes to social skills. Booth loves every bit of this woman. They love each other just the way they are. They have already said they would never change one thing about the other. So of course Booth would be the proudest dad in the world if his son turned out to be anything like his wife. He would consider that a smashing success.
As it so happens, Booth had to deal with some of those feelings referenced above after killing a man in the next episode. But it was all in the line of duty. He did what he had to do to save another man’s life. Brennan is ill, but she feels as though it’s wrong for Booth to be taking care of her. She wanted to take care of him in that moment. He tells her it’s fine, and it’s really better that he is there to help her get well. It takes his mind off of everything “But I know how much it weighs on you to take another life. Whenever you want to talk about it, I’m here. Always.” And she will be. Brennan may not always understand people, but she knows her husband. And she knows that to him, every life is sacred. Taking a life will always weigh on him, even if it’s justified. Even if it saves another life. It’s something that we have known about Booth since the very beginning. His cosmic balance sheet. His confession to Brennan in the graveyard. All the way back in season 1 we knew that this was a man that valued human life. This will come back into play in the upcoming season, and I’m curious (and a little nervous – but good nervous) to see how it will be addressed and what prompts it.
I could talk for days straight about the documentary episode. I really could. I don’t even know how to touch on it briefly here without launching into an essay about this episode. It was quintessential Bones for me. I am addicted to it. I suppose what struck me most is the ending sequence. When the team is asked what they wanted to be when they grew up (an echo of “Career Day” at Christine’s school, which was featured in this episode), each person gave an answer that really encompassed who they are as a person, and how they got to be where they are today. I know that sounds silly, as some of these answers are a mere one sentence. But every answer was perfect. Booth shares that “At the end of the day, I’d like to be someone who’s given more than they’ve taken.” This is Booth. This is Seeley Booth in one sentence. This is his guiding light. He is driven by this notion of evening the score. Yes, he would like to save more lives than he’s taken. And with hundreds of solved cases over the years, I imagine he has more than surpassed that. But this also applies to other facets of his life as well. In the previous season, he relapsed. And it spiraled out of control. Ultimately, he lost the trust of his wife. And very few things are more important to him than Brennan’s trust. “Without the truth we have nothing.” He took that from her, though it was not really within his control. He had succumbed to his disease. And make no mistake, addiction is a disease. But you could see remnants of this remain after he admitted he truly had a problem. At one point, he doesn’t feel as though he’s deserving of her support or praise. He doesn’t feel like he’s done enough to earn back her trust. He wants to keep making amends for it. Still waters run deep. And Booth is a deeply feeling person. It took him longer to forgive himself than for Brennan to forgive him for that violation of trust. And it goes back to his childhood and his sense of self worth. At the end of the day, yes, he wants to give back to the world. He believes God. And he believes in humanity. He understands that he is not perfect, but he does what he can to always give back. Whether that be to a foundation for sick children, helping a friend reconnect with his family, or taking care of his sick wife. This is who he is. And this one sentence describes this character in a nutshell.
As for Brennan, her admission was a bit different.
Given all you’ve already accomplished in your life, what is it you’d like to be when you grow up, Dr. Brennan?
That’s easy. I’d like to be the mother of the world’s greatest car salesperson.
This obviously references her daughter’s comment earlier in the episode. Christine announced at the dinner table that she aspired to be a car salesperson. And Brennan was not excited about it. Christine is brilliant, and Brennan believes she will do great things in the world. She also initially believed that selling cars would be a waste of her intelligence. The Brennan of the past may have stuck to her guns, so to speak, on this. But during this episode, she realizes that her daughter’s happiness should be first priority. If she can raise her children in a happy, healthy, stable, and supportive home, she will be giving them more than she had growing up. This one statement really encompasses this character’s immense growth over the years. Though happiness is an intangible feeling, all she wants is her daughter’s happiness. Her happiness is contingent on her family’s happiness. She said as much, years prior. And whether Christine becomes a car salesperson, or a scientist, or a professional athlete, Brennan will be right there supporting her dream. But being the daughter of Temperance Brennan, she will have the be the world’s BEST car salesperson. Christine will change her mind a hundred times in her life, but as long as she does her best and is truly happy, Brennan will be there to support her. This is someone who never thought she wanted a child. But she was just afraid. Afraid that she couldn’t give a child the love and support he or she would need. Afraid that she couldn’t be a mother. Afraid because of her own childhood, and the abandonment she experienced. But she is the best mother. Those children are so lucky to have Booth and Brennan as their parents. And at times, maybe their lives are a bit on the unconventional side. But they love their children, and would “bend the world” for them at the drop of a hat.
By the end of the season, The Puppeteer had returned. Just as we knew he would. He had been watching the team for an undetermined period of time. He knew their every mood. This particular unsolved mystery had been haunting Brennan. We know she is prone to nightmares during times of great stress- particularly as it relates to serial killers- The Gravedigger, The Ghost Killer, and now The Puppeteer. The nightmares in this episode were particularly startling and brutal. But they were sending her a message as to the possible identity. Booth could barely watch the toll this case was taking on Brennan. And he was powerless to help her. The only thing either of these two (and the rest of the time) could do is keep working the case and find this monster. Tensions were as high as they could be. And Booth and Brennan found themselves actually arguing. Not bickering. Because all signs pointed to Brennan being some sort of a target. Or endgame. And Booth was terrified. I know there were mixed feelings regarding the couple’s final conversation of the episode. But it was important. They were both at the end of their rope. They were both sleep deprived and stressed beyond belief. They argued because they love each other. And they love their life. And something sinister was looming. There was some sort of evil threatening the life they loved. And neither could figure out who or why. It would make no sense to have them engage in a calm and loving scene right before Brennan was taken. The stakes had to be at their highest. We needed to feel just how dire this situation was. These two do not like to give into fear often. But the tension was palpable. And the fear was infused into their words and written all over their faces. I also saw love in that moment. When you love someone, it’s intense. It’s passionate. And when someone you love is in danger, watch out. If there was a hug or an apology or anything else other than a full-blown fight in this moment, I think it would have taken away from the story. It would be like popping a balloon before it finished filling up with air. It was a brilliant scene.
We ended the season with Brennan waking up in a room with Zack. He had taken her. Is he actually the villain? My best guess is no. I’m sure there is an explanation as to his involvement with this case. But Zack never killed anyone. So I don’t believe that has changed. As Sweet said, you never know if you can actually take a life until you are faced with that choice. I also know that Booth and Brennan will look at this situation from opposite sides somehow. This could really imply a number of different scenarios. Maybe Brennan wants to hear Zack out, and Booth can only see a man who kidnapped his wife. Or maybe it’s something else. Maybe Brennan can only see the facts as they are now, and Booth is going with a gut instinct about Zack. Regardless, I am excited to see how this all plays out.
I have seen a number of different “concerns” lately as it relates to Booth and Brennan in season 12. And I just want to say, they will be fine. This is a season “for the fans.” Old wounds will resurface, and they will likely endure some imaginable pain. But they will get through it together. They always do. Every single time. They have never NOT overcome an obstacle. Never. So please, do not worry. Just enjoy the ride. And have faith.
I feel like I cannot end this without praising the writing and the actors here. This couple is my life. I cannot even describe my love for these two people, both as individuals and as a couple. They are what a healthy romantic relationship looks like. They embody that. One loving look from them is worth a thousand kisses on another show. They are a template to follow when it comes to how to have a mature and lasting relationship. They are perfect for each other. Two sides of the same coin. Parts of the whole. Etc. And David and Emily- If I comment on their work and portrayal I will just start crying. All I know is I cannot wait to see how they play this new material. It will be incredible, that much I know.
So here we are. On the eve of season 12. I am not ready. I am ready. It’s so confusing. So conflicting. I feel like crying and screaming. But also like smiling and jumping up and down. It’s exhausting. But I know each and every episode will be a masterpiece. And this season is going to be one for the record books for sure. This show continuously gets better and better. That’s my opinion at least. But since I can say whatever I want here, I’m saying that assertively. Season 11 was beyond magnificent. And it will only get better from here.