Well, this was supposed to be it. For this episode at least. But as it turns out, I found myself incapable of starting the final scene. By the time I reached that point, I was already completely drained of energy, emotion, and life in general. This (the one you are about to read) was the most difficult recap I’ve ever written. And I suppose the next one will steal that title. But, there is life beyond this episode. And I do have a plan for what comes next for me. I’ll let you in on that soon. So without further adieu…
Kovac is dead. His sister is locked up. And everyone who was alive at the start of this episode made it through to the end. They’re all safe. And we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief. Now, there are a few more items of business to attend to before the credits roll.
Cam walks into the lab, a full tray of drinks in hand. She makes her way to Brennan, Hodgins, and Angela, and begins to hand out everyone’s favorite beverage. Obviously something must be going on. This is clearly a bribe. Cam informs them that the major repair work on the lab would be starting the next morning. This is the last day the team can be in the lab for a some time. It’s sad. But isn’t there something so inspiring about rising up from the ashes? The lab will return, better than ever. Though I must say, it does look quite improved with the cleanup job they’ve already conducted. I still can’t believe we watched it blow to pieces. Truly a punch right to the gut.
Since it’s the last day, the team needs to pack up all their belongings. And they must bring home anything they don’t want stored. Before the foursome disperses, Angela asks how Brennan’s doctor’s appointment went. Her agnosia is almost gone. With a smile on her face, she tells them that she’s going to be okay. Definitely no worse for wear. But perhaps, a little more confident in who she is outside the confines of the lab. Everyone is relieved to see her back to her old self.
They gaze out into the lab in which they’ve worked for more than a decade. The blast so visibly altered it. But not irreparably.
They won’t change it much, will they?
Well, they’ll try not to, but you know how it is.
Everything changes, indeed. “Entropy is a natural force that pulls everything apart at a subatomic level. Everything changes.” And we’ve been there for so many of those changes. Things will certainly continue to evolve, even if we will not bear witness. It’s the only constant we can rely on. The team grabs some boxes, and head to their respective offices.
Over at the FBI, Booth receives a visit from the one-and-only Caroline. I am beyond elated that they were able to get her for this episode. Outside of the main cast (old and new), she was the most frequent guest star. And she is as much a part of this family as anyone. She’s also just the best.
Caroline enters the office and tells Booth to get his broad shoulders over to her. They embrace. Booth is pleased to see her. But Caroline is suddenly not having it. She wants to scold him. She’s upset that Booth put himself in grave danger, once again.
When are you ever gonna stop doing that?
You and your damn sense of duty. Do you have any idea how stressful it is for me to have such a brave friend?
I love that she calls him a friend here. It didn’t need to be said. I think we all already knew. But friend first, coworker second? I just liked hearing it come from her. Aubrey enters in the middle of the conversation and adds his two cents. “Well, you know the saying. Once a Ranger, always a Ranger.” Confused, Booth tells him “that’s not the Ranger slogan, Aubrey.” It turns out, Aubrey was thinking of Power Rangers. And I am not the least bit surprised at that revelataion. Caroline is getting ready to go to the courthouse. She’s going to make sure Jeannine Kovac gets what she deserves – a life sentence. Before she can walk out the door, she wants to know why Aubrey is holding a plant. He explains that it’s for his new office. Booth wants to know if he’s planning to take the plant to LA. We haven’t covered that in a while. I had almost forgotten that Aubrey was supposed to transfer to the west coast (best coast). But Aubrey informs the two of them that a new SSA position opened up at the Hoover, and the Deputy Director offered him the job.
I thought I wanted to move, but after everything that’s happened in the last couple of days, I realized this is where I belong.
I understand why Aubrey would have wanted to move. There was a better opportunity outside of DC. And remember how ambitious he can be? Aubrey of course wants to take advantage of every opportunity. But he didn’t count on finding himself a home with these people. Just like everyone else, this is not merely a job. These people are not just coworkers. Aubrey would have been just fine in LA. He’s an amiable fellow. But DC is where he belongs. I think everyone would agree with that. Caroline mentions that Jessica would be happy with him staying as well. So he let’s Caroline know that he was dumped. Caroline offered him a pat on the arm. “Oh, Cher. Sorry.”
It was a very Caroline way to leave a conversation. And I’m just realizing now that these are the “last” scenes. Caroline’s made her exit. And this is Booth and Aubrey’s last scene. I want to cry. I usually don’t even use these words when speaking about this episode. But I know that it’s not goodbye. Not for these characters. Booth will see Aubrey the next day. And the next. Caroline will be around. If I think about life going on as usual for them, then I can avoid making observations like the one I just made. There is no “last.” There is no end. But I’m sure I’ll say something like this again, so I’ll move on as not to be redundant.
Booth asks Aubrey if he’s okay. Aubrey answers honestly. “No. But I will be.” Booth calls to Aubrey right before he walks out the door. Is it going to be something emotional? Meaningful? Poignant? No. But it’s so them.
Get that plant off my desk.
Aubrey grabs it with a smile on his face. You almost think that’s the end of the scene. But Aubrey runs into Karen on his way to the elevator. Okay. Here’s what I think about this whole thing. I absolutely adored Aubrey and Jessica. I thought they were a really interesting pair. They were so sweet and I was truly rooting for them every step of the way. I fully understood Jessica’s reasons for breaking up with Aubrey. It was all valid. And even though Aubrey is not leaving DC anymore, the fact remains that they still want different things. When Jessica finally decided she couldn’t move with him, she realized they were really on separate paths. There was no instinct to say “hey, let’s see how long distance works.” She broke it off completely. And I think that was the right thing to do. Both of them chose themselves. And that probably signifies that they really aren’t meant to be, if you believe in such a thing. That’s why they wouldn’t get back together just because Aubrey is sticking around. So I feel content with Aubrey moving on now. He and Jessica shared something nice. They cared for each other. But sometimes, it’s just not enough.
As for Karen, to me, she seems more like Aubrey. Sure, Jessica was quirky. But Karen’s quirks feel more similar to Aubrey’s. Their interactions are natural. To me, it seemed like they would be pretty compatible. When Karen sees Aubrey at the elevators, she informs him that she brought two buckets of chicken to his office. She sure knows the way to that particular man’s heart – through his stomach. She had heard about his breakup, and she thought that some emotional eating would help him get through it. He thanks her. And they smile at each other. The little spark between them in this moment is undeniable. He asks her if she’s hungry. She is. He smiles even brighter. They walk off into the elevator together. Aubrey is going to be just fine. Will he and Karen become an item? Who knows. He could be dating someone else in six months. But the point is, he will heal in his own uniquely-Aubrey way.
Booth caught some of the elevator exchange from afar. He also wears a smile on his face. And there’s something else there that I can’t quite articulate. Since I read way too much into things, I like to imagine that Booth is thinking about where he started with Aubrey. Nearly broken. Angry at everyone. Wouldn’t even let Aubrey help him with the cases. And now here we are. Aubrey has been an incredible friend and partner (you can have more than one partner) to Booth. Always ready and willing to help him and his family. Going entirely out of his way, at times. Like everyone else, his past is marred with pain. But also like everyone else, he seemed to heal as he became an integral part of this group. He was never Sweets’ replacement on the show. No one could replace Sweets. So the show didn’t try to do so. This was a completely separate character with an entirely different personality. It feels like Aubrey has been here far longer than just 3 seasons. And I am so thankful we got to know him.
The song “Almost Home” start playing as Karen and Aubrey leave together. There’s something about this tune that seems almost hypnotizing. So it was a really great song choice for this next scene. Thinking about some cheesy finales I’ve seen in the past, I had hoped that Bones didn’t suddenly decide it needed a montage to end this episode episode. I suppose what came next could almost be considered a montage of sorts. But it’s really just flipping between characters at the same moments in time. And it was one of the most emotional moments I’ve ever experienced. Until the last scene, that is.
We start off with Angela who is walking towards her office. She notices the infamous portrait of the late Vincent Nigel-Murray beneath some rubble. It had been a staple in the lab ever since his death. She picks it up, wipes it off, and smiles. She remembers the sweet fact-filled squintern who died far too soon. Hodgins is packing up in his own office and finds a rubber band ball. There was once a time when this man harbored a great deal of anger. He would have to wear rubber bands on his wrist and snap them in order to keep himself in check. He tosses the ball in the garbage, and removes one he had on (I didn’t know he still wore them). He doesn’t need it anymore. This man has been to Hell and back several times over. He had the right to be angry about his circumstances. But he always overcame it. Now, he is just thankful for everything he has. His family, his work, his life. There is nothing he regrets. And nothing left to blame on the world. No need to waste his time being angry when he has it all.
Cam finds the book of poems Arastoo gave her all those years ago. Back when no one knew they had started dating. Cam gently touches the words her now-husband wrote to her. If not for the lab, they would never have what they have now.
Back to Angela, she is putting away the photos she’s taken. Her foray into photography is relatively new, but we can recognize the print she is holding. These photos are a part of her story. She finds a photo she must have taken of Hodgins and Michael Vincent. Not a moment we got to see. But in a room full of destruction, she too can still appreciate what a beautiful life she is living with her Hodgins men – and the one yet to be born.
Hodgins sees an upside-down photo with “JEFFERSONIAN CHRISTMAS WITH ZACK” written on the back. It’s from that first Christmas. 1×09. And Hodgins looks so carefree and happy. We’re reminded here that Zack returned and finally got his happy ending.
Cam notices something on the floor. She kneels down to pick it up, and it’s one of the salt and pepper shakers that used to belong to her grandmother. When she first lived with Michelle’s father and things went south, she knew he wouldn’t tell Michelle what needed to be said. Cam left one of the shakers in the little girl’s possession. She told Michelle that whenever she looked at it, Cam would be thinking about her and loving her at that exact moment. Many years later, when Michelle lost her father and Cam offered to take her in, Michelle revealed that she had kept the shaker. And now, Cam is her mother. Michelle is all grown up. If not for Cam’s job at the Jeffersonian, she and Michelle would likely not be together. And Cam, who spent so many years alone, would still be alone. They helped each other. They saved each other in a way. All of that happened while she worked in this place. The lab holds so many precious memories.
The music gets a little more intense, and we’re with Brennan now. She opens a box and pulls out a dolphin necklace. Like everyone in this scene, Brennan’s life would certainly not be the same if she was never at the Jeffersonian. In her first year working alongside Booth and the FBI, she finally got an answer to the question she had been asking for years. Her parents abandoned her when she was 15. And when she was around 29, she learned the truth. Her mother had been murdered. It wasn’t shocking. The not-knowing was much harder on her. But she could finally make some semblance of peace with it. And as a bonus, she was able to get justice for her mother after all those years. Her mother loved dolphins. And this is a symbol of her. Brennan always wears her mother’s ring. She treasures these few reminders she still has of the woman who raised her. Brennan named her daughter for the mother she grew up knowing, Christine Brennan. She places the necklace in her pocket. These small tokens are priceless to her.
Right under the box is a photo of Brennan and Max at her wedding. Her questions about her father were also answered while she was at the Jeffersonian. Unlike her mother, Max was alive. And he came back into Brennan’s life to protect her from those who wanted to harm her and her brother. Those who knew the best way to get to Max was to threaten his children. Brennan was resistant for quite a while. She couldn’t trust Max. He left her for 15 years, and then continued to come in and out of her life every so often. There was so much hurt there. So much healing that needed to be done. But you could see the love she had for him shine through. Max very slowly began to rebuild that trust. Brennan got to know him again. And she eventually forgave him. She had her father in her life again. That alone was a miracle. And Max, who loved his daughter more than anything, was so thankful to have her back in his. When we thought he was sick and dying at the beginning of season 12, I got to thinking. I watched as Max looked at his daughter at her birthday party. All of her friends and family were there. He watched as she revealed her secret plan to honor her friends’ accomplishments at her own celebration. And even though he didn’t get to finish raising his child before he left, she turned out to be more extraordinary than he could have ever imagined. He seems so proud of her, even though he can’t take much of the credit. Most importantly, Max could see that she was radiating with pure happiness. While the thought of leaving (this time, because of death) her is painful, he was able to make up for the time he lost with her. He got his second chance. He got to be a grandfather to her children, walk her down the aisle, hug her when she was sad or scared, be there for her and her family in times of need, and watch her fall in love and be loved. These are moments he would never have had if he stayed hidden or was killed by his enemies. All Max ever wanted was his daughter’s happiness. And he sees that she finally has it. She has it all. But as we know, Max makes a miraculous recovery. So he’s not going to die. And we are lured into a false sense of security, up until the 7th episode of season 12. He was critically injured protecting his grandchildren from hit men. He even made sure the children didn’t hear a thing. And as luck would have it, he made it through surgery. Once again, you think that Max has to be the luckiest guy in the world. It certainly seems that way. He wakes up from surgery and shares his dream with her.
I was just dreaming about you. What was the dream? You were a little girl. And we were in the car, driving. The whole family. Your mom and Russ were with us. The leaves were turning, changing. And it started to drizzle. It was so quiet you could hear the raindrops falling on the windshield. And you were in the back, doing that thing you do with my ear. Rubbing your ear lobes? (chuckles) It always put me at ease when I was driving. And all those years I was gone… …whenever I missed you, I’d just think back on the rides in the car.
Something so seemingly simple is what got Max through all those years without his daughter. It’s not an elaborate story. But hearing it, he sounded so sad and somber about his time away. But also, it was such a sweet anecdote that he shared with her. And though we already knew it, Brennan could now understand just how hard it must have been on Max to leave his children behind. She couldn’t bear to ever leave Christine or Hank. Brennan smiles through tears at her father. She never wants to lose him again.
Unfortunately, those were the last words Max would ever speak. There was a complication from the surgery, and he didn’t make it. It was incredibly devastating. But I think it’s the way Max deserved to go out – a hero. Because Max Keenan is a hero. And though it took Brennan a while to process her grief over his sudden death, she too came to understand that her father protected her children. Her father, who loved her more than life, saved her babies. He died for them. He didn’t deserve to be brought down by an illness. This felt right, as much as it killed me to watch.
As Brennan looks at the photo, she smiles. And then attempts holds back tears. So many memories with Max. Some good, some traumatic. But no matter what, Max was her father. And she loved him dearly. They got another chance at a relationship. And she will miss him every single day. But now they’ve brought his killer to justice. And she can try to move forward, best she can. His memory will surely live on. His heroics will never be forgotten.
And that was that. It was barely a minute or two. But it was also so loaded. I thought the way the writers wrote in the callbacks was so brilliant and so wonderful. Nothing was forced. They organically inserted callbacks to important points in the series as a way to honor the show and its fans. And as a reminder of where these characters started, and where they are now. But it wasn’t as though the entire episode was just a series of memories with no plot. That’s what’s so great. I’ll continue to praise this episode forever.
I loved this scene. And I love what comes next. But this is really the most draining thing I’ve ever had to do. And I’m surprised my computer hasn’t shorted out yet because I’ve been weeping onto the keyboard. Here we go to the penultimate scene.
With a box in hand, Brennan runs into Cam beside what used to be the forensic platform. She asks if Cam’s “ready to tell them.” I had no idea what to expect here. None whatsoever. What is it that we didn’t yet know? Plenty, I suppose. But was this going to be some sort of huge revelation?
They find Angela who is screaming to Hodgins that she found something. It appears to be a book. Hodgins is equally as thrilled. Brennan asks what it is, and Hodgins explains that it’s the project he and Angela have been working on. They thought it was destroyed in the blast. As it turns out, Hodgins and Angela have been writing a children’s book together. Hodgins is writing, and Angela is illustrating. Brennan notices that all of them are in the book in some form. “Brennan the beetle, Cam the caterpillar.” Angela informs them that everyone is in the book. It’s about the team. And there go the smiles again. I am so glad I get to see these people truly filled with joy after such a stressful case.
Brennan looks over at Cam and tells Angela and Hodgins that Cam has something to share with them. Remember at her wedding when Cam said she and Arastoo were going to Europe for six months? Well, they aren’t actually going to Europe. “We’re going to Mississippi to pick up our boys.” Hodgins doesn’t quite understand. And Cam hands Angela a photo.
Who are these beautiful children?
That is Tyler. This is Isaiah, and the youngest one here is Jordan. They’re siblings.
They’re in foster care. Cam and Arastoo have petitioned to adopt them.
And that’s why Cam asked for a leave of absence. She wants to be around to make sure the children are all settled in. And help them become a family. Everyone is thrilled for her. And I love that this is how her story…I’ll use the word continues. Arastoo wanted to be a father. And Cam wasn’t sure she could or wanted to get pregnant. But Arastoo was adamant about wanting to adopt. It’s perfect. And they also will ensure that these brothers stay together. Something I assume is quite difficult to do with foster children. Additionally, the fact that Brennan obviously helped Cam out with this is just so crazy to me. Not crazy. But thinking back to The Boy in the Shroud in season 2 when Cam and Brennan did not get along and Cam even considered letting her go. Cam comes to find out that Brennan was a foster child. And somehow through that case, they called a truce. Their relationship evolved. And now look at them. Everyone has taken such a beautiful journey. All of these characters have special relationships with every other character. Their stories are intertwined. I could go on and on. But I think it’s just really special that Cam made Brennan a part of this, given where they started.
And now, Brennan is ready to talk about the position of interim director while Cam is away. Hodgins congratulates Brennan before she can finish. I actually thought about this when I learned about Cam’s leave of absence. In the previous episode Cam mentions that both she and Brennan already know who the obvious choice for her temporary replacement would be. And something told me that it wasn’t Brennan. It’s because I went all the way back to when Cam was hired. Brennan was angry that she was looked over for the position. But it’s always been about the pure science for her. She later understood that she would never have been fulfilled by job. And so when we get to this point and Brennan says she’s happy with where she is, I feel as though I already saw that coming. She informs Hodgins that he will actually be taking the position.
Wait a minute. I’m the king of the lab? I’m the king of the lab!
Just until I get back. Don’t get too cozy.
Yeah, right. You try to pry that scepter from my hands. And take away my crown. Oh, hey, hey. I need a crown. I need a crown. King of the lab! Yeah!
Everyone’s laughing. And I think, this is the perfect place to leave Hodgins for now. We already knew most of what Angela and Hodgins’ immediate future looks like. They have a baby coming. That’s definitely life-altering. So there didn’t need to be any huge development here. They were writing a children’s book together which was a sweet bonus. But I didn’t know how much I needed one more enthusiastic “King of the Lab!” until this happened. Have you ever seen this man so full of joy? Yes, but this one is up there with his top moments. It is truly fitting that he be named King of the Lab after all this time. Give that man a crown. I would have laughed and smiled along if I wasn’t so busy sobbing.
And now, there’s just one thing left to do. One place left to go. And I don’t know if I can. It feels entirely too impossible right now. It’s not like I haven’t seen the episode more than a few times at this point. But I will say I watch this episode far less than the others. I watch all the other 245 constantly, over and over again. This one, it has to be the right time. Because I am inevitably destroyed by the end of it with each viewing. So as it turns out, this series of recaps is not ending. Not just yet. There will be one more. To be continued…