'Bones' post-mortem: Boss on Pelant's return and Hodgins's big loss
Brilliant and completely crazy hacker Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds) made his return to Bones tonight in an intense episode that — as T.J. Thyne promised us earlier — hit our gang close to home in more ways than one. [Spoiler ahead! Don’t read if you haven’t seen the episode!]
Not only did Pelant break into Angela and Hodgins’ home to leave a body, but later in the hour, he made the couple choose between saving their fortune or a bunch of children. They, of course, saved the children, but the decision left them without a dollar to their name.
In the end, Pelant slipped away once again, but this time, he didn’t walk away unscathed. In fact, he was very scathed — half his face had been cut up supervillain-style after one of Booth’s bullets struck the windshield of his getaway car.
So when will we see Pelant again? How will Angela and Hodgins deal with their new situation? EW got executive producer Stephen Nathan on the phone to talk about all of this and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First, I have to start with the last scene. I can’t believe what you did to Pelant’s face!
STEPHEN NATHAN: It’s not a secret that Hart and I don’t like serial killers as a rule. It’s never been our favorite [thing]. We know the audience loves them, we enjoy the process of doing them, but they’re a little too easy for us. But Pelant stole our hearts. We love this villain. He was such the boy next door — the guy [that made your] mom say, ‘Why can’t you be more like Chris’ — and he embodied all the techno-villains that could exist. We wanted to make a 21st century villain, and we have to continue to have him evolve in the same way all our other characters evolve because he’s sort of a part of the Bones family now. He’s an evil part of the Bones family, but we wanted him to slowly change. He’s become more nefarious and more sadistic now as he’s challenged more by people. But we also wanted to have him slowly evolve physically into who he is psychically. Also, it was about finally getting a piece of him quite literally and having Booth get a price of Pelant for our people and for the audience. But Pelant is not slowing down. Pelant will return. So that end was great for us. Andrew [Leeds], who plays Pelant, is just a terrific actor and is the sweetest guy you’ve ever met. And for him to play this part has just been a real pleasure for us, and now to mutilate him is a low of fun. [Laughs]
Jumping to Hodgins, he’s completely broke!
Yup, he’s broke! One of the richest men in the world is now flat broke, and that’s going to be a major story in the second half of the season — dealing with Hodgins’s lack of funds, how it affects Angela and Hodgins, and whether it’s important for him to regain that money and how he might do it. And there’s a great twist later on in the season that involves Hodgins and Finn, where their fortunes might turn.
Nice! I also have to say, I really loved how Angela was quick to point out that the money wasn’t important to her.
That’s what we wanted to do in examining that relationship. I think all the relationships have become quite real for us within our little fictive dream, and they’re people we want to see [react to adversity]. We want to see them rise above it. It’s so common now to have anti-heroes who are placed in situations where they have to do horrible things and the narrative justifies it. We’re a little more old fashioned in the sense that we’re putting [out characters] in adverse circumstances and seeing how they rise above it, hopefully; they don’t all the time. But I think it’s a way of — without being too corny — seeing the triumph of the human spirit over something as horrible as Pelant or losing billions of dollars in the blink of an eye.
But they’re not poor, right? I mean, they still have jobs.
No. They’re not poor. They’re now regular people. They’re now just like everyone else in the world. They have jobs, they have a child, and they’re going to have to make ends meet. No one is rich at the Jeffersonian. No one is making a ton of money. The only person who still has a lot of money is Brennan and that’s because she’s a best-selling author. Every one else is not buying Mercedes.
Switching gears to Booth, he was such an action hero in this episode. I love when we get to see him do that. What’s coming up for him?
Well, you know, our stories this year have been terrific, I think. We have an unbelievably productive and surprising story room — they’ve been just wonderful. So Booth is going to be confronted with a lot of situations like this. I mean, we’re not turning into 24, but we certainly have more high-stakes stories this season than I think we have had in a while, and that will continue. We love when David [Boreanaz] is running around with a gun and he does too. This was a very unique episode for us because it was such an action episode. And it just never stopped from the first frame of seeing the body in the canopy to the end seeing Pelant blown apart. It’s new territory for us, and it’s so much fun to do because it’s surprising to see that on Bones. It’s not easy for us to do because it’s not naturally where the show goes, but it’s a place we do like to go.
Action aside, I know we have personal stories coming up, too. Brennan is going to see her mom. Can you tell us about that and some others coming up?
Definitely. We do have a near-death experience for Brennan (Emily Deschanel), where she sees her mother again. Her mother has been dead for many years, and she ends up seeing and talking to her mother, so we re-generate that relationship. Ryan O’Neill is in that. That’s a very emotional episode for them. We’re planning one now where Booth’s mother returns. That’s still in the fetal stage, but we are kicking that one around. And we’re also following through with the evolution of Hodgins and Angela and Arastoo and Cam. So these are all personal stories that will thread through the rest of the season.
We also know Flynn was shot. He lived, according to Booth, but when will we see him next?
We’ll find out what happens to Flynn when Pelant returns.
When will Pelant return?
He will be back at the end of the season — not necessarily the very end but certainly near the end. We’re still working out the last few. We were waiting to find out if we had that ninth season and that really put us in a holding pattern. We didn’t know if we were wrapping up Bones all together or whether we were launching a ninth season, which clearly would have affected how season 8 ends. So we’re in the process of working all that out now.