The monstrously amazing 100th episode of Bones was a lot for any season finale to live up to. That said, when cast members and Bones creator Hart Hanson started making comparisons, saying the finale was on par (in terms of impact) with the show’s milestone episode, it was tough not to get our hopes up. So when “The Beginning in the End” ended with no bang, no kiss, no major relationship advancement, you were probably left with whatever facial expression is equivalent to !?!?!?! [The major episode chatter begins here, so jump ship now DVRers.]
What the episode and the season did end with was a big, fat question mark — or at least a bunch of small, pudgy question marks. What will Brennan find during her year-long research project in Maluku Islands (and I’m hoping it’s something science-related and not a beau)? How will Booth change after a year in Afghanistan? Are Daisy and Sweets really over? What will Angela and Hodgins be up to in Paris (baby-making?)? For a show that has gotten us used to getting answers, that’s a lot of questions to leave with. Moreover, for a show that has gotten us used to having closure by way of case after case, we sure as heck didn’t get any closer to that with our favorite will-they-or-won’t-they pair. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
As explored in the big 1-0-0, Bones and Booth have obstacles to overcome. Bones is still unable to allow herself to be vulnerable enough to love another person. And Booth put himself out there in a very raw and true way when he told Bones he wanted more from their relationship, only to be shot down. This is where the “big changes” that executive producer Stephen Nathan told our Michael Ausiello (note: link obviously comes with spoiler warning) about can be a good thing. Maybe we want them to come back as different people, as it was hinted in the episode. Part of me knows that the core of who they are will never change. Bones will always be intelligent, calculated and just a little socially clueless. Booth will always be the hero, the ”gambler,” and a person of faith. But would it be such a bad thing for them to change the non-core parts? The parts that are stopping them from finally being together? Because we have to remember, relationships don’t only begin at the end of seasons, right?
The Bones fan in me wants to believe that’s what’s on the horizon. My first evidence for this theory is in the conversation Bones had with Angela in the lab.
Angela: You’re allowed to make life changes without picking a fight with your old life.
Bones: But I need a break from that life. I’m worried all the time. Worried that Booth might get hurt on a case, and I can’t prevent it. Worried about what our partnership means.
Angela: So you want to get away from Booth?
Bones: No. It’s just… I just need some perspective so that I can view my life with some objectivity.
And while Angela thinks that Bones and Booth being on opposite sides of the world might not be the best thing, is it not absence that makes the heart grow fonder (so says my calendar of wise sayings)? Also, consider the conversation Bones and Booth shared in the park when discussing the Maluku Islands and Booth’s re-enlistment in the army to help train soldiers.
Booth: I don’t do really good with change, I guess.
Bones: Well, you’re better than I am
Booth: The pyramids are better at change than you are. …It’s a joke. Hey, I was being affectionate.
Bones: Oh. [Pause] Will you go back to the army?
Booth: It’s what best for me right now.
Bones: I’ll only be gone for a year.
Booth: Me too. So, hey, what’s a year?
Bones: It’s the time it takes for the Earth to make a full revolution around the sun.
Booth: In the scheme of things. You know, the grand scheme of things. I’m just saying a year, you know, it’s not too bad.
Bones: We can come back, pick up where we left off. Nothing really has to change
Booth: No, things have to change. You know what? Hey, I taught you about eye contact, you taught me about evolution. So… here’s to change.
Bones: To change.
Moving on, there was also a case — which of course paralleled our characters’ lives and situations perfectly — and another couple experiencing a shake-up in this episode. First the case: A hoarder/agoraphobe died after being buried under his own junk. As always, it appeared to be homicide because there was a motive. Among his mountains of crap, the pack rat in question was in possession of a very valuable lawn gnome. (Insert your own WTF? face here.) But as it turns out the gnome angle was completely moot, because the real cause of his death was an accident, which occurred as a result of a spat with the woman who loved him. Paying attention, Booth and Bones? Your baggage and fears will only bring harm to yourself and the ones you love. Parallel.
Meanwhile, Daisy learned that she was Maluku-bound and would soon be doing squinty stuff to some interspecies hominid remains thanks in part to a glowing recommendation from Brennan, which actually made Brennan rather jealous — a testament to the fact that she is becoming more and more human before our very eyes. Daisy’s impending travel, however, meant that her and Sweets’ wedding was postponed indefinitely. This didn’t sit well with Sweets, especially after Daisy (a.k.a, she of great gag reflexes) pointed out that while he wasn’t a person for adventure, she was. Watching the interaction between these two was interesting for a few reasons, but mainly because I felt like this was a look at what Brennan must have been like early in her career, and this is the path that led to her being the emotionally closed down person she is now. This became especially clear when Daisy brought up that Brennan was her idol. I thought it was a clever way for the writers to use the couple. I would have kept them together, though.
After a couple of episodes riddled with extremely satisfying Angela and Hodgins moments, this episode didn’t pay much attention to them, focusing instead on Hodgins’ kamikaze-type mission to retrieve Angela’s dad’s (ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons) car from a band of bikers after the guitar legend lost it in a poker game. And while I could have largely done without the storyline, it gave Hodgins a chance to bond with Sweets (who accompanied him on the mission to show his adventurous side) in a way we hadn’t really seen him interact with another guy since his BFF Zack left. If I may, his time with Sweets was, well, sweet.
We concluded the episode with an airport farewell. In a cute moment, Brennan told Hodgins she loved him after he gave her a guidebook to poisonous bugs and reptiles he made her (“Booth informed me that the proffering of over-solicitous advice is indicative of love”). Angela basically set up next season (I hope), telling Brennan “I hope you find something that just changes the entire notion of what it means to be human.” And Booth arrived in uniform (*drool*) to bid her farewell. Cam’s “Oh, my God” reaction to seeing Bones walk over to Booth had my heart racing because it felt like they were building to something big. After a short exchange, Bones and Booth agreed to meet one year from that day next to the coffee cart by the reflecting pool in the National Mall. Background music played. Our hearts continued racing. The grasped each other’s hands… and then walked away. Wait! Then, they stopped, turned to look at each other longingly… but then walked away again and this time, for good. Color me pissed but hopeful.
So, PopWatchers, what do you think? Will Brennan return having discovered something crucial about the evolutionary chain… and herself? Am I grasping at straws trying to see the sunny side of things? Or, as someone wise once said, will a change do them good?