Bones exec producer Stephen Nathan is not afraid to admit that he welled up while cutting the final two scenes of last night’s episode of the Fox drama, which he considers David Boreanaz’s best work of the six-season-old series. (Watch clips of them below.) He says producers wanted to put Booth (Boreanaz) in a more difficult place following Hannah’s rejection of his marriage proposal than he was before (when he was just reeling from the rejection of Emily Deschanel’s Brennan followed by her finally admitting her feelings when he’d moved on). They succeeded.
“We also wanted to keep both of them a little off-balance,” he says of our favorite will-they/won’t-they duo. “Now we want them to be together again, but really, the reality of situation both emotionally and logistically prevents them from taking that next step certainly for awhile because they’re both licking their wounds.” By March 17, the blizzard episode that finds Booth and Brennan trapped alone together in an elevator, they’ll be ready to discuss where things stand between them. That’s something Booth made clear he wasn’t ready to do last night when he told Brennan she had two options. “At that moment, it was ‘All we are is partners right now. I can’t handle anything else. I don’t want to talk about anything. I just want to have a drink with my partner, and if that’s not enough for you, then just leave,'” Nathan says. “I think it is setting up that next difficulty between them, which is ‘We’re just partners now.’ If they jump right back into their old relationship, it wouldn’t be real. Then the whole thing with Hannah was a lie. And if that’s the case, then you can’t trust anything that happens emotionally with these characters.” Nathan says when Brennan asked if those were her only two options — be his partner or leave — she may have wanted to talk about her feelings for him again. “Definitely, that’s in the back of her mind. She missed an opportunity. She doesn’t want regrets. We’ve seen that this season. She’s definitely dealing with that.”
What’s next for Booth and Brennan as they try to get back to the comfortable friendship they once had? Here are some SPOILERS:
• The Feb. 17 episode finds Booth and Brennan spending Valentine’s Day together. This we already knew. “Neither of them have plans, neither of them buy into the whole romantic nature of Valentine’s Day because of their situations. So they do wind up in a very inappropriate place at the end, doing something you wouldn’t expect,” Nathan teases. He wouldn’t confirm where, but there’s a shot of the duo at a gun range on the Fox press site (pictured), which he’d only say is in the episode somewhere. (That’s a nice reference to the pilot, don’t you think?) Brilliantly cruel, the victim in this episode is a wedding planner.
• Episode 2 in the sniper arc airs March 10. “Booth is truly determined to go after him in this episode, but also is struggling with the demons that come along with being a sniper himself, and wondering how Brennan sees him — if Brennan thinks that he’s the kind of guy who can easily pull the trigger, or if she knows how difficult that is for him as well,” he says. “It’s forcing him to look into an aspect of his life and look into how other people perceive him as well.”
• The spinoff episode is scheduled to start shooting Feb. 22 with Booth and Brennan traveling to Florida to meet “The Locator” (Geoff Stults) and his partner (Michael Clarke Duncan). It’s scheduled to air April 21.
• They’re shooting the body farm episode this week, which features Twilight star Michael Welch (with whom Nathan and Bones creator Hart Hanson worked on CBS’ Joan of Arcadia) guest-starring as a grad student. “They find body parts that have been washed up on the shore between Canada and the United States, and they trace them back to a flood that occurred at a body farm. A body farm is a forensics apology lab at a university where they put corpses in various different situations and environments to study how they decompose. And this is a real thing,” he says. That will air April 14.
• Taking another cue from the real world, on May 5 (all airdates subject to change), “We’re doing an episode in which Brennan, who has never cared much for motive, has to examine a live person to find out why they killed someone else. This actually happens. We find a woman and we have no idea how old she is. We think she might be 13, she could be 20. She’s deaf and unable to speak. She’s found covered in blood with a knife and we track down the person who she killed and we have to find out why she killed that person, if it was murder, which it looks like — it looks like it was murder and theft. Brennan realizes the importance of motive at this point. We also, through this, find out the identity of this girl and resolve something very, very major in her life. It’s an episode unlike any we’ve done before. Most of the analysis and the forensic anthropology [is] on a live person. They don’t cut her up though,” he jokes. “As cool as that might look for visual effects, I don’t think it’d be nice.” Hodgins won’t do one of his crazy experiments on her then? “No, we don’t shoot her out of a cannon.”
• We’ve reported that John Francis Daley and his writing partner Jonathan Goldstein are penning an upcoming episode that will send up MythBusters. New detail: “We find a body in the woods that seems to have been torn apart by a chupacabra.”
• And finally, no, even though Hannah said she only thought Booth and she were done “for now” which leaves the door open for her to pop in again in the future, don’t expect it to happen this season. [Pause for applause.] “I really do believe that for as many people who are hollering about [Hannah], there are just as many who loved having Hannah on the show and loved having that complication,” Nathan says. “While they might have been frustrated with that story, they enjoyed that frustration because they wanted it to change. They’re invested in the ups and downs of the rollercoaster ride.” And as for those who can’t believe she turned down a life with Booth, Nathan reminds us that, “It wasn’t cruel what she was doing. It was honest, and it was with great regret.”