By the end of this post, we’ll be halfway through the episode. I found myself extremely anticipatory when thinking about dissecting this particular act, as it was home to one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. Well, I cannot really say that. I have to take it back. I do not pick favorites. But it is incredible. And fulfilling. And more than a little painful. Not to say the last two acts don’t have some of my “favorite” scenes as well. Booth and Brennan in Booth’s office, packing up the lab, I’m the King of the Lab, and that one at the end. The one that makes me cry myself to sleep every single time I watch. But the one that is also flawless. This whole episode is perfect. And if you disagree, that’s your prerogative. I certainly have my opinions. You may have yours. But if you disagree, you might want to stop here. I am getting a little ahead of myself with this intro. I’ll get back on track: We have arrived at the third act. And I do believe it had the fewest number of scenes thus far. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t loaded with high stakes, meaningful moments, callbacks, and progress on the case at hand. Everything that makes Bones, Bones.
Booth has evidently showered, changed, and made his way back to the FBI. Karen greets him there, and says that she rushed in as soon as she heard what had happened. She then asks about Brennan’s condition. Booth replies that they will just have to wait. “The lab is It’s-it’s a mess. But it’s usable, and she’s there now.” Karen asks if there is anything she can do. Caroline jumps in to remind everyone that there is plenty to do. “We’ve still got a killer and his bomb-happy accomplice to find.” Karen is surprised to learn that Kovac had an accomplice. But as he was in jail when the bombs went off, it’s quite impossible that he did not have someone on the outside. Caroline wonders about the security tapes inside the lab. But Aubrey reports that everything during the hours of 2 and 3 AM had already been deleted. “This guy is methodical.” “Which means it’s high time we all consider joining Aubrey in Los Angeles. Maybe Judge Judy needs a prosecutor.” Caroline is the gift that keeps on giving. And I am so glad she was available for this episode. Booth glances at his children, who are happily playing in his office. They are mostly oblivious to what is happening around them. “There’s no way I’m running.” If Booth runs now, he will always be running. They have to end this now. Otherwise, Kovac will undoubtedly go after every single person in Booth’s life in the name of revenge. And Booth obviously cannot let that happen. This is between him and Kovac now.
Booth asks Aubrey to retrieve Kovac’s ex-wife. I’ll stick with the way they refer to her here for the time being. Even though I know she is definitely not Kovac’s ex-wife. Karen doesn’t believe that Jeannine could be involved. This woman must be an extraordinary actress to fool a profiler. But Booth and Aubrey know that the ex is the best link to Kovac. Whether or not she is actually involved, she has to at least know something that could help them.
Back in the lab, Hodgins and Angela are surveying the damage to her office. Angela sees that her servers are completely destroyed. I knew there was no way Angela didn’t have a backup somewhere. Her computer has been hacked and exploded more than once. Hodgins asks her as much, and mentions “the cloud.”
You’ve been lecturing me endlessly for years about how the cloud isn’t secure.
Wait a minute. You listened to me? Angela, I’m a known paranoid conspiracy theorist.
I did. That’s why I brought this.
What’s? What’s with the key? What is that, Angie?
You know those black box recorders on airplanes? This is my version. It’s a steel frame box with layers of paraffin and insulation inside. And it contains a full backup copy of every file in this lab.
You did listen to me.
Don’t let it go to your head.
Their smiles here are the sweetest. This couple gives me a toothache, for sure. Yes, Hodgins is mostly unnecessarily paranoid, but it has come in handy a a few times as well. Angela has learned from him. And she knew it was better to be safe than sorry.
Most of the (former) interns have assembled in the (former) bone room to help Brennan. Jessica makes an observation about one of the ribs, and posits that it must be the same age as the victim. Brennan stares at the bone and reluctantly says “I concur.” But Daisy has another take. She tells Brennan that there are irregular projections on the bone. Defeatedly, Brennan says “I…don’t remember what that means.” There have been so many instances throughout the show when we have heard those words (usually in the form of I don’t know what that means) from her. And I can only think of a handful of times that are as heart-wrenching as this one. While there are many things (emotions, slang, etc.) Temperance Brennan may not have fully understood over the years, bones were never included under that umbrella. “I can read bones, not people.” This is a subject that has fascinated her since she was a child. A passion that got her through the abandonment of her family and subsequent placement into foster care. A goal that kept her going through school. A field that inspired and excited her. Bones are something she truly understood. This job made her feel like she was home again. To her, forensic anthropology and her role within it are ingrained into every facet of her very being. Without her knowledge of bones, who is she? That’s something that she herself is starting to ponder in this scene. It’s not just that she cannot solve crimes. It’s that she cannot do anything in forensic anthropology without her extensive knowledge of bones. This is a woman who wrote 5 dissertations because she simply could not pick just one. She once said that she would not be able to breathe if she couldn’t do this work anymore. So where does that leave her? What if this damage to her brain is irreperable? Who is she now? What is her path? That’s a terrifying notion, really. So yes, that was an extremely loaded delivery of “I don’t remember what that means.”
These people standing before her are her students. In a way, she helped raise them, professionally speaking. She is their mentor. And for them to witness her staring blankly at a bone with no spark of recognition in her eyes, unable to discern the meaning behind the irregularities? That’s more than a bit concerning to them. Arastoo tells her that it’s okay, and then explains that the rib doesn’t belong to their victim. Clark is in the background, frustrated. “This is impossible. There must be at least 200 different sets of remains on the floor.” Wendell chimes in and likens it to excavating a mass grave. But that’s something Brennan can speak to at the moment. “No, Mr. Bray. I can assure you, this is nothing compared to a mass burial site. In Guatemala, in Coban, I helped exhume over 500 sets of remains, all innocent victims of their civil war, their wrists still tied, blindfolds over their eyes.” What this woman has seen in her life. It still astounds me. She is a once-in-a-lifetime character. Wendell apologizes for the horror she witnessed.
With a tinge of hopefulness in his voice, Arastoo notes that she does seem to remember Guatemala so clearly. Could that mean her condition is improving? What happens next is a moment that hasn’t left me since the episode aired. I carry so much of what happened in this episode with me. But there are a few scenes that have impacted me so significantly. This is one of them.
I don’t know. I mean, I do remember things. I mean I-I remember watching Cam propose to you (Arastoo), how happy you looked. I remember that you used to carry a cigarette behind your ear to remind you of your father (Wendell). I remember how proud you were when your book was published, even though I found it to be rather mawkish (Clark). And I remember you teaching me how to chirp (Jessica).
Tweet. And I remember fighting off attackers with you by my side (Daisy).
In the Maluku Islands.
I meant the motorcycle bar, but yes. The Maluku Islands, as well.I remember the day each of you was hired. I remember the name of every victim I’ve ever identified. I remember just how meaningful this work can be, but I-I don’t remember how to do it. I mean, I can’t make sense of the evidence. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do with this.
The room turns somber. Because this is something unfathomable. And incredibly difficult to hear.
The line that really affects me here is “I remember just how meaningful this work can be, but I-I don’t remember how to do it.” It almost seems like a worse curse for her to have retained her memory, but not be able to access that key part of her brain. The part that makes her the world’s foremost forensic anthropologist. She knows who she was before allt his. And for the time being, it’s been taken from her. Is ignorance bliss in this case? Maybe. She certainly hasn’t lost her intelligence. You don’t use the word mawkish too casually. At least I don’t. But it’s the way she thinks. The way she can analyze. That’s what’s missing. She can see the injuries to the bones, but she can’t discern their meaning. That must be more painful than anything. I have spent these past three posts trying not to step on the scene in Booth’s office. Because that’s when I can really talk about this character. Who she actually is versus how she sees herself. It breaks my heart. No, I am not qualifying that with anything. Because it truly breaks my heart. The way Emily delivers her lines in this scene is just hypnotizing. She will never get credit. None of them will. But she’s so raw, so emotional, so impeccable. She communicates every single thing she is thinking and feeling as she speaks.
Brennan stands there and recalls the memories she has about the people standing before her. About the history of her career. It’s all in tact. For anyone else, that would be the biggest relief. Not here. Not yet, at least. Brennan’s last few lines are enough to destroy me. Anyone who has latched onto this character, followed her journey, witnessed her unparalleled evolution- to see her in this state is almost traumatic. No matter what she has gone through, her intelligence has never failed her. It has always been there for her when nothing else was. It got her to where she is in the present- even on a personal level. If she wasn’t who she is, she never would have met Booth. Or anyone at the Jeffersonian. Now, that piece of her is missing. And there is no indication as to whether it will ever come back to her. You can hear the uncertainty in her voice, throughout her speech. And then she laughs, almost sardonically, at her predicament. At what she has been reduced to (her feelings, not mine). This woman, who once said she reads bones better than people and that she can talk to the dead so easily but not the living, she cannot read the bones now. The dead has stopped speaking to her. She is terrified. The longer this continues, the less likely it is to go away. She is starting to lose hope.
On a semi-lighter note, her recollection of her history with the interns was welcome and touching. I know there are more of them who were unfortunately absent, but Brennan has had such meaningful moments over the years with these five. No matter the relationships they formed with others in the lab, it really all started with Brennan. She was their mentor. They were there to learn from her. This astonishing brilliant woman molded them into the scientists they are today. While Brennan had no intention of forming any sort of personal relationship with any of them after Zack’s betrayal, it clearly could not be helped. They all became part of her makeshift family.
I was thinking about how Brennan and the interns have helped each other and helped each other grow over the years, and I wanted to list out just a few.
- Brennan essentially discovered Wendell’s rare form of Cancer, and she made sure to get him the best treatment possible. She and Booth also offered him the emotional support he needed.
- Brennan sat Wendell down to let him know that if anthropology isn’t his true passion, he should look elsewhere. You should know that you are too smart to waste your life doing something that your heart isn’t in…You need to go after it while you still can. She assures him that they will still be his family, even if he finds his passion somewhere else.
- We can assume that Brennan was one of the “anonymous” donors who helped Wendell remain at the Jeffersonian after his scholarship ran out.
- When Wendell was not allowed to touch evidence anymore after revealing he was smoking marijuana to ease the pain of his disease, Brennan (and Booth) helped him get a consultant’s position at the Jeffersonian.
- After Clark’s name was dragged through the mud after the truth came out about the expedition, Brennan wrote an article defending his character and his status as a great anthropologist.
- Clark worked tirelessly to clear Brennan’s name for the murder of Ethan Sawyer, even though her return meant that he would lose his place at the Jeffersonian.
- After breaking up with his long-time girlfriend, Clark opens up to Brennan about how sad it he was. But also assures her that he won’t let her down with regards to the Ghost Killer. While Brennan would normally just thank him and move on, she tells him “I’m sorry for the emotional pain you’re going through.”
- Saving Arastoo’s life (along with Hodgins) by finding a plant remedy to keep him alive while waiting for treatment AND also stabbing that guy in the neck to get the antidote.
- Brennan teaching Arastoo that it’s not about notoriety, it’s about their dedication to the field. Their ability to connect with the bones.
- Brennan comforted a pregnant Daisy after Sweets was killed. She also gave her all of her old baby items and gave her a hand to squeeze in the delivery room.
- Brennan secretly recommended Daisy for the Lead Forensic Anthropologist position at the NFL. Rather then just telling her she got the job, she wanted to also use her 40th birthday party as a time to celebrate Daisy’s accomplishments.
- Jessica and Brennan had much less time together, compared to the other four. They developed a good rapport and working relationship once Brennan learned to accept Jessica’s vibe. Jessica even taught her that sometimes, it’s okay to work off a vibe- There’s a time, and a place.
These are just a handful that are top-of-mind. Brennan’s relationships with her interns are each so unique. Just as she has helped them over the years, they have helped her in innumerable ways. For them to see her in this extremely vulnerable state has to make them feel powerless. They cannot help her physically heal, and they cannot do anything to trigger her memory at this time. That much is clear. So they have to come to Brennan’s aid in the only way they can- by finding the victim’s bones among the heap. And so that’s what they do.
This entire scene is extraordinary. I can’t say enough about it. Sensational work by all of these actors. I could not be more grateful for this wonderful group of interns. They provided the show with so many stories over the years. And they helped to flesh out the main characters as well. How the writers managed to create this many distinctly different characters and evolve them as if they were in every episode still wows me. I know everyone loved Zack, but I think this approach revived the show, and helped it get to this point (and it allowed for Zack to come back in a very satisfying way to wrap up his own journey). I wish Rodolfo, Fisher, and even Oliver were able to be in this episode. I know it had to be a matter of conflicts. But I cannot praise this scene enough. I’ll try to move on now.
Hodgins is examining the explosives for any clues as to the origination. There are fingerprints, but only partials. And nothing they can use to ID the engineer. But it does tell them that whoever was building the device used their bare hands. By now we all know what that means- epithelial cells. They can potentially extract the bomber’s DNA.
“Mrs. Kovac” is now in the interrogation room. And Booth is quickly losing his patience with her. He demands that she tell him where her “husband” is. But she sticks to her story. She claims she does not know where he is. Booth says that the call Kovac made to her phone was a setup. Jeannine tries to relate to Booth by telling him that she has seen the news and she knows what he’s been through. But Booth knows she has to be hiding someone. Again, she swears she is not hiding anyone. He gives her one last chance to make a deal. She doesn’t budge. She swears she knows nothing of what Kovac has done or what he plans to do next. “You willing to prove that?”
Brennan pays a visit to Angela, in what I assume used to be her office. Sadly, it’s hard to tell in some shots. There was too much destruction to that beautiful building. Angela asks how it’s going in the bone room. And Brennan responds, “slowly.” Brennan then inquires whether Angela was able to find any more medio-cam images for her. She had already given her some, but unfortunately, they didn’t help to trigger anything in Brennan’s memory. Again, the look on her face destroys me. Brennan notices that some photos from Cam’s wedding are on the Angela’s screen. Angela tells her that they are from the reception. She figured since Cam’s purse was stolen there, looking at all the photos may help them find something. Angela sees something strange as she scrolls down the page. Brennan recognizes that she is looking at one of the waiters. “Yeah, except he is carrying Cam’s purse.” Angela believes that it could be the accomplice they are looking for. Fade to black.
We are officially at the halfway point of this episode. On one hand, I’m excited to be able to watch it as much as I want again when this is all complete. Even though it’s one of the most emotionally draining 43 minutes I’ve ever experienced, and it takes a huge toll on my overall well-being, it’s also brilliant and wonderful, and a million other adjectives. I am in complete and utter awe. I understand that I don’t have a lot of credibility here, but it’s the best finale I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen a lot. My entire life has essentially existed in front of the television. This episode is perfect. Plain and simple. I could not and would not ask for more (except, I will ask for more Bones in a few years, please). I’m not objective, but I would use much vaguer wording if I thought that there was something more they could have done with this. I wouldn’t change a millisecond. Then again, I always say I wouldn’t change one moment of this entire series. Everything has a purpose. Every moment is a crucial step in this journey. With one slight change, maybe we don’t end up here. You never know. I’m grateful for all of it. I am thankful we have so many episodes that I may continue to watch. Yesterday I got lost in season 5. Today I’m going to visit season 10. I will never tire of any of it. It always feels new to me. But I digress, as usual.
The reason I want more episodes after a perfect finale is that I want to watch these characters’ stories continue. Not because I feel like anything was missing or that anything needs to be resolved. We saw a mere (though long) chapter of their lives. I want to see the next one. I want to see the next iteration of “everything that happens next.” These characters are so three-dimensional. Their stories are rich. Because of the way they have developed and evolved over twelve seasons, there are an infinite number of stories or situations in which the writers could still potentially place them. And they would always be interesting and compelling. Though, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I would watch Booth and Brennan paint a wall and then watch it dry for an entire season. That’s how dynamic they are. That’s how invested I am. The only way I can make it through each day now is to hold onto the hope that we will see that continuation. In some way, shape, or form. I’m not greedy. Anything will suffice. Perhaps one day. Not now, obviously. But when the time is right…In the mean time, the current 246 episodes are keeping me stable. Most of the time. I sound crazy, I know. I’m used to it. But this show is my everything. And I love it more than words can express.
That was an odd way to end this post. Especially since it’s only the third out of six. But I don’t have a plan for these when I write them. I just let myself go. And whatever comes out, that’s obviously a snapshot of how I feel at the moment. I assume I’m not alone in my current state of being, either.
Whoever’s reading this, stay tuned for the next installment. Coming soon.