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Bones EP Stephen Nathan talks Booth's gambling, teases 'emotional' season finale

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Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Between Brennan’s second pregnancy and Booth’s gambling relapse, Bones has kept busy in the back half of season 10. Last week’s penultimate episode brought some resolution to Booth and Brennan’s relationship problems, but as Booth moves back home, there’s a new change on the horizon: Hodgins and Angela are moving to Paris. EW caught up with executive producer Stephen Nathan to get his view on the season so far—and what to expect from tomorrow’s finale. (Check back here after it airs for his post-mortem thoughts. UPDATE: Read Nathan’s post-mortem.)

“I think there are always going to be different reasons for leaving. There are an infinite number of reasons to walk through a door,” Nathan says of the season ender, which he calls “really emotional even for me to see.” He wrote the hour with executive producer Jonathan Collier—who will be taking over as co-showrunner next season—before it was confirmed that Bones would be returning next year. The possibility that the episode could serve as a series finale was not lost on themNathan told EW earlier this year, “Because of this loyal and wonderful audience that we’ve had for 10 years, we couldn’t just end with a cliffhanger that wasn’t resolved.”

“What ultimately was the largest challenge,” Nathan says, “was how to get [Booth and Brennan] back together by the last episode. There wasn’t that much time—time had passed between the episodes, but it still seemed a little quick, until you realize that no one gets a guarantee. Brennan could never get a guarantee that he is going to behave well all the time in the future. All she can do is trust again, trust him again, and that allowed us to do it in that amount of time. Even though it might not have been ultimately the most rational thing for her to dowhich would traditionally be BrennanI think it showed how much she had changed, as well, and what trust in the ephemeral nature of love actually means to her.”

That love was tested this season by Booth’s gambling relapse, which Nathan says “seemed the next logical step in Booth’s life after all the trauma he’d suffered.” In the past year alone, Booth has lost his house in a shootout, spent three months in jail, and watched his best friend die. “And then, now, the thought of having another child,” says Nathan, “and Brennan articulating her fears [about] bringing another child into the world when they’re doing what they’re doingI think Brennan also just articulated Booth’s fear, too. He might not have been dealing with it. And then when this poker situation came along, I think he was just ripe. It was lighting a fuse, and it just shows that even our most moral and stalwart characters are vulnerable and have flaws.”

On a lighter note, Nathan also gave us the story behind Angela’s birth name, which was revealed last week—more than seven years after this seed was planted—to be Pookie Noodlin. “It was sort of a hybrid between Hart [Hanson, creator] and me and everybody,” Nathan explains.“You know, after so many years, you’re always going to be left with that moment where you realize, ‘Oh, I’m doing the end of something.’ It can only be a disappointment, because your expectation of something unbelievable is always looming overhead. In this case, though, I think we all enjoyed the real name.”

The season 10 finale of Bones airs Thursday, June 11. 

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