I’ve been staring at a blank document for no less than two weeks. And it’s certainly not because I am lacking in things to say about this magnificent hour of television. On the contrary, I feel as though I have been bottling up my thoughts and emotions for an excruciatingly long time now. And I’m afraid I may explode if I keep them in any longer (no sad pun intended). It’s just that I have no idea where to start here. It’s been about four months now. FOUR. I feel like I’ve been sleepwalking through life since then. I still don’t know how to do this. “This,” meaning both living in a post-12×12 world, as well as writing about the episode. I thought perhaps if I deferred this post for as long as possible, I’d suddenly be able to properly convey my thoughts. Sadly, I realize now that I will never be able to do so. It’s far too painful and difficult to process these last 43 minutes. So as a result, this may very well turn out to be quite the mess. Apologies. But if you’re a fan of this life-changing show, you already understand my plight.
You’ll notice that I have
intentionally left off the title of this episode. Not entirely ideal for SEO purposes. But quite alright for the sake of my own sanity. Or at least what little is left of it. The title of this episode is just so…final. It hurts to even read it. Maybe I’m delusional in believing that this show will come back to us in some way, shape, or form in the future. If it takes 20 years, that would still be more than fine with me. But calling this an “ending” is still not something I am capable of doing. I’m almost grateful that we have experienced such long hiatuses in the past. Because most of the time, that’s what this feels like. But occasionally, I’m reminded of the fact that for now, this is it. Emphasis on “for now.” Hope is all I have to work with.
I am not someone who avoids episodes of Bones so as not to think about its absence. It would be agonizing for me to go a day without at least a few episodes. I watch every single one, over and over again. For hours and hours every day. The humorous and the devastating. I love them all. And I would be lost without these reruns. Even though it killed me, I watched this episode over and over again. Just like I would any other. But unlike every other episode, something happens to me in that last scene (well, I do tend to cry a lot in the last scene of any of them…just because I love it so much). First off, I have never, not once, let the screen fade to black. And I never will. Next, I start heading down a destructive path of dark thoughts. But I would still never keep myself from watching it. As painful as it is, it’s also just one of the greatest
finales I’ve ever seen. I am of course biased. But I have watched plenty of television over the course of my life, thus far. And while I wasn’t even close to being 1 centillionth of a percent as invested as I am in Bones, I’ve seen some pretty disappointing “endings.” I won’t name names. I would never. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, I always say. What appeals to me, will not appeal to someone else. And vice versa. But this was complete and utter perfection. I can be forever broken by the lack of new episodes, and still firmly believe that what they gave us is flawless. It is quintessential Bones.
I’ve rambled long enough. The point I was trying to get across is that I watched this episode multiple times of day every day for about a month. And after that month, when I finally returned to writing these posts, I decided that I would not watch any scene of 12×12 until I was writing about it. I wanted my emotions to be heightened. Though honestly, my emotions are intensified with each additional viewing of any episode. So perhaps this is futile. While I’ve continued to binge on Bones during this time, as I always do, this will actually be the first time I’m watching since the beginning of May. That wouldn’t sound like a long time to most. But for me, it feels like a lifetime.
Let’s begin. I’ve stalled long enough.
The camera pans over the horrifying devastation to the lab, brought on by the multiple explosions in the end of the previous episode. If you recall, this was military-grade HMX. I’m no expert, but this can obviously cause maximum damage. The Jeffersonian forensics lab was thus reduced to a sea of rubble. For 27 long seconds, all we see is this destruction. The light is shining through the windows, which does strike me as a slight beacon of hope. But it also serves to literally highlight the bomb’s inorganic victims. And possibly, a few living insects. The lounge, the platform, and the offices- all former shells of themselves. And perhaps what hurts the most is seeing the sign for the Jeffersonian on the ground buried in rubble. The world-renowned Jeffersonian Forensics lab. And now, it’s essentially nothing. The camera moves over to a photo of Michelle, and tanks that presumably served as the prior homes of Hodgins’ insects. These are the first images to which we are treated before we find out if our people are okay. For 245 episodes, this lab has essentially been its own powerful character. It was so grand, and unsurprisingly, one of the more expensive television sets in the business. And to have to come to terms with the fact that the lab as we knew it was no more, it was just a twist of the knife at this point.
We finally get a glimpse of Booth, Angela, and Hodgins- the latter two laying relatively motionless on the ground. Booth seems to be fine, though he does struggle to free himself from the piles of debris laying on top of him. Hodgins eventually comes to, and starts to yell for Angela. She’s right behind him, and she too is okay. All are alive. All are conscious. But one is missing.
Booth finally manages to stand up, and softly calls out his wife’s moniker. She’s nowhere to be found. He last saw her running from her office milliseconds before the blast. Where did the impact of the powerful explosion carry her? Hodgins and Angela share a brief moment of relief in realizing that they are both alive. But it’s short-lived, as Hodgins remembers that there happens to be one more in their family now. His voice full of emotion, he asks her about their unborn child. In a strained voice, Angela tells him that she does not know. He drops his head and lays it against her.
Booth starts calling out “Bones” a little louder now. He’s searching under the piles around him for any sign of life. Angela and Hodgins both seem horrified as they glance in Booth’s general direction. “Bones, she was right here.” Angela helps Hodgins back into his chair, and alerts Booth to their presence. But Booth is growing frantic.
At the FBI, everyone is watching news of the explosion on the bullpen television. Aubrey is on the phone trying to ascertain any smidgen of information about his people. Caroline shows up, and Aubrey informs her that he has been unable to reach Booth. Caroline didn’t realize that Booth was going to the lab. It was a spur of the moment decision. Aubrey cannot wait any longer, and decides to head to the lab. As he runs to the elevators, we get a glimpse of Hank and Christine. Hank is on the floor eating an apple, so clearly oblivious to whatever else may be going on. And Christine walks over to the doorway of Booth’s office. She must sense that something isn’t right. But everyone helping to take care of those kids is likely trying to shield them from reality until receiving word that Booth and Brennan are alive. Caroline will make sure the “little angels” are safe, while Aubrey’s off to the lab. “You make sure you bring their parents back!” Yes, I do believe that all of us would appreciate that.
At the lab, Booth, Hodgins, and Angela are still searching for Brennan. “Dr.
B!” “Brennan!” “Bones!” Outside, Aubrey speeds his vehicle right up to the building. This is our first glimpse of the Jeffersonian from the outside. This beautiful building is charred to a crisp. And smoke from the blast continues to pour out into the night sky. Aubrey’s on the phone with Caroline. He lets her know that it will take hours for first responders to get into the building. Even worse, the phone they had been using to track Kovac was a decoy. It was taped to the bottom of a delivery van. So basically, they are back at square one. With a damaged lab. And the fate of the rest of their team unknown.
It’s getting darker, and Booth still has not seen Brennan anywhere. He’s starting to throw debris around to cover more ground faster. Finally he sees Brennan laying on the ground. She was blanketed by shattered glass. And she doesn’t appear to be moving at all.
Booth carefully turns her over, and her eyes are still closed. Brennan’s face has been cut by the glass. And Booth takes her pulse to make sure she’s still there. “Stay with me. Stay with me. Bones? There- there you are. That’s it, open up. Open your eyes. Let me see them. I’m right here. Come on, Bones. Wake up. Temperance. Stay with me.” She finally opens her eyes, and for just a moment, we can all breathe. “There you are. I’m right here. Bones.” He gently removes shards of glass from her face, when she starts coughing intensely. This entire scene left me a bit uneasy. Because something had to be wrong with her. Based on some vague comments from the cast and crew, as well as the fact that nothing is ever easy on this show, the blast had to have affected her in some fairly significant way. My first thought was that she wouldn’t know who Booth was. Though, that’s been done here before. She seems to recognize Booth. So we will have to wait to glean any further information on her condition.
Cam, Arastoo, and the rest of the lab employees who managed to escape finally made it out of the building. Aubrey runs to them, and asks where the others are. Cam shakily relays that they are still inside. Cam and Arastoo tried to run back and get them, but the Search & Rescue team wouldn’t allow it. For good reason. Arastoo assures her that there is nothing else they can do but hope that the foursome made it safely to the basement. Sadly, this was not the case. But at least we, as an audience, know that they are all alive at this point. Cam is tripping over her words. I’ve really never seen her so unglued. Usually, she is the picture of professionalism and composure. She has been trying to call those trapped inside, but no answer. Arastoo notes that the signal was probably knocked out during the explosion. Cam agrees. And the three of them gaze at the smoking building with the soberest of looks.
Booth, Angela, and Hodgins are sitting on the floor, gathered around Brennan. And Brennan does not seem well. She appears to be struggling. She first asks if Christine and Hank are okay. Booth stops her from moving, and promises her that the kids are safe at the FBI. She begins coughing again and I’m wracking my brain for possible ailments. She’s scaring me. But maybe she’s okay. Maybe I’m overreacting. She just needs to get the smoke out of her lungs and she’ll be fine. However with the next line, I threw that theory out the window. “I feel different.” She’s not talking about pain. Her words are deliberate. She feels…different. “That was a huge explosion. Three bombs, maybe more. If Booth hadn’t defused the one under the platform, we’d all be dead.” Angela goes on to explain that Arastoo and Cam made it out, and that they will send help.
It’s difficult for me to bring myself back to March 28th. I understand that we all suffered on that day. I also assume we all dealt with the arrival of this episode in different manners. “We each survive in our own way.” For me, all it is, is surviving. No flourishing. My point is, I did not initially know what to expect from this episode. And I recall hearing this next line for the first time. I was completely and utterly destroyed by it. It’s not even the most dramatically delivered line in this scene. But it’s the moment when I finally realized what had happened to Brennan. And I completely lost it. I remember pausing the episode for 30 minutes hysterically weeping. Though, that was sort of a constant throughout this entirety of the hour. How could it not be? But the moment these words left Brennan’s lips, I lost it.
“I was looking at something. What was that?” It’s not necessarily the words. It’s the way in which she says them. She looks completely and utterly confused. And when was the last time Temperance Brennan could not remember what she was doing? This was it. This is what Brennan would have to contend with for the remainder of the episode. Losing an integral part of who she believes she is. Booth tries to tell her not to worry about it for the time being. But Brennan is adamant. “No, Booth, this is important. I need to kn- I need…What was I doing before the explosion?” She is not even completing her words or sentences. She is totally shaken. This is not a feeling with which she is familiar. Brennan is unfailingly sharp. Consistently on her game. What was happening to her? She asks the group what they were working on prior to the explosion. Angela reminds her that she was in her office. And Hodgins explains that they were working on Fred Walden’s (Kovac’s escape accomplice) remains. Booth remembers that Brennan may have figured out how to find Kovac. She removes a folded piece of paper from her jacket pocket, and reads the words on the page. But it almost sounds like a child who is learning words for the first time. “Femur, scapula, ulna, mandible.” I’ve seen this episode dozens of times since then (though not in a while, for the purpose of writing this in a more unhinged state). But when Brennan slowly looks up and softly says “I don’t know what that means,” that was it for me. I usually love a good IDKWTM instance, but this was absolutely traumatic.
All she did was read four very common bone names from a page. Bones. Bones. That’s who she is. That’s what she does. She’s the best. But right now, she has no idea what her pre-blast self had discovered. Angela tells her that she does know what it all means. “They’re bones.” “I know. I-I just don’t understand their significance.” My heart is metaphorically breaking more and more. Hodgins looks stunned. And Booth just focuses on comforting her until they are freed. They can deal with anything else once they are out of the building, and find a medical professional. Presumably then, she can work on decoding her notes. Except…
“No, Booth! Something is wrong with me.”
Brennan is trembling. Something I have only seen a handful of times. At least to this degree. She knows herself. She knows who she is every day when she gets out of bed. And something is profoundly altered now. Brennan is not quite Brennan. Well, more on that in a later post. We know from watching the episode that she is so much more than who she believes she is. But right now, in her mind, this is what she is thinking. The other three look at her, then at each other. They cannot disagree with her declaration. Something is wrong with her. Something is undoubtedly, very, very wrong.
And this was all before the credits.
This episode was never meant to be split into pieces. It’s not structured like the one prior. But I just don’t think I could possibly give each act of this episode the attention it deserves. Not within just one single post. Added bonus: This way, I can prolong the inevitable. It took 12 full weeks to recap 12×11. I have no qualms about going down that road once more for this episode. Why should I? It’s my stage, I suppose.
There are so many aspects of these opening moments, which I would love to elaborate on. Since I already know what happens, it’s difficult to curb my commentary relative to Brennan’s obvious brain ailment. Or Angela’s baby. Or even just talking about the Jeffersonian. So I’ve contained it here. And I’ll get to more and more of it when the time is right. Otherwise these posts will all become entirely too redundant.
Coming up next: Act II.