Warning: This story contains spoilers from Tuesday night’s Bones, the first half of the series’ two-part finale.
There’s never a dull moment in “The Day in the Life” of the Jeffersonian team.
Bones’ penultimate hour (read our recap here) opened with a foreboding glimpse at a bomb’s countdown clock, only to flash back to Cam (Tamara Taylor) and Arastoo’s (Pej Vahdat) joyful wedding reception the day before. The rest of the episode was about tracing, character by character, the 24 hours that stood between the party and the bomb — which involved a lot more murder than anyone should have to deal with the morning after a wedding.
The day began with a hearing for Zack (Eric Millegan), the team’s former intern-turned-colleague who fell in line with a serial killer and confessed to a murder he didn’t commit. Zack was acquitted on the murder charge, and his life sentence was reversed, but the judge ruled that he still had to serve out the 13 months that remained on his sentence for assisting a known killer. “The idea of Zack being free and clear just felt a little too easy and convenient,” showrunner Michael Peterson tells EW. “It didn’t feel real. Obviously realism isn’t the be-all-end-all, but it felt a little contrived. We wanted to have that bittersweet moment and for you to see that Zack isn’t disappointed — which is good — and how important hope is.”
Hope also came into play for Angela (Michaela Conlin) and Hodgins (TJ Thyne), who revealed they’re expecting their second child. Because they’re each carriers of a recessive genetic disease, pregnancy for this pair brings with it an increased risk that their child will be blind. “They’re as tough as they’ve ever been,” Peterson promises, “and they’re going to persevere.” But now that they’ve been trapped in an explosion, there could be even more to fear.
Cam and Arastoo’s plan for a quiet day in was shattered when Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and their other colleagues called about a dead body that couldn’t wait. The body belonged to an inmate who’d staged a prison break that, unfortunately, wasn’t a tie-in to a certain upcoming Fox revival. His co-conspirator? The man Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan recently put away for killing Brennan’s father. Now that he’s out, his vendetta is back on — and it culminates in an explosion that rips through the Jeffersonian with Booth, Brennan, Hodgins, and Angela still inside.
EW caught up with showrunner Michael Peterson to get the scoop on Cam and Arastoo’s busy first day as husband and wife, how the writers played with expectations for their wedding, and what fans can expect from the finale in the wake of that bomb.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with our newlyweds, Cam and Arastoo. How did that pairing come about in the writers’ room? Did you ever think they’d end up here?
MICHAEL PETERSON: Everything that happened with Arastoo in particular has just been a wonderful surprise. People who’ve been following the show since the very beginning [know that] when we first met him, he had an entirely different accent. He was an entirely different character. So I credit [series creator] Hart [Hanson] with pulling this beautiful rabbit out of the hat, changing the character, changing the trajectory of where he’s going. We didn’t know if it was going to work, but Hart has this ability to spin gold. Once we figured out and started changing his character a little bit, the romantic interest with Cam naturally kind of followed. We didn’t know it was going to lead to a wedding or anything else, but once we got them together, the actors just worked beautifully. So once we started down that path, we knew we weren’t going to break them up. It just wasn’t our way.
And then as far as the wedding itself, the big question was how we were going to do it. Because we’ve done so many weddings on this show, you know — we’ve done Booth and Brennan’s beautiful wedding out in the flower garden; Angela and Hodgins had the church wedding that got interrupted, and then the prison — so it was like, how do we make this different? And it was really to focus on the reception rather than the wedding itself. Let’s see our people out there. Let’s see them dancing. Let’s see a little bit of fun.
Did you consider kicking off the drama at the reception itself, as opposed to the next day?
We did definitely play with that. We wanted to build a little of the tension, where, you know, you see the bomb at the very beginning, and then you see Brennan paying attention to these wedding gifts, and oh, there’s this one package over here that doesn’t have a name on it! It should make you just go, “Oh my God, they’re gonna blow up the wedding. This is horrible.” We wanted to have fun with that. We’re playing with the expectations and everything — in a very nice way, teasing the audience.
This is Cam and Arastoo’s night, but it felt like every relationship had its moment. When you were looking at those dynamics, was there anything that was especially important for you to focus on in these last two episodes?
There was something about Brennan and Angela, really, for me. That was a key component. It’s just one of those things that I think makes the show special. You have these two women who are very, very different, but at the exact same time they’re such a great complement to each other, and they’ve been through all this. Best friends are as important as husbands to a lot of us, and it was just really important to acknowledge it. And the actors do so well together. Seeing that the chemistry is so important between Booth and Brennan, the relationship between the core friends is just so crucial. Our actors absolutely killed it, and we wanted to make sure to give them their due.
David Boreanaz, who also directed next week’s finale, has always said he wanted to drive a tank through the lab. Was blowing it up an acceptable substitute?
[Laughs] I think he was okay with that. It’s funny the things that inspire you, but him always talking about driving a tank through that lab really did inspire this ending, so that was fun. I don’t think the floors on the Fox lot could support a tank, anyway.
Now that the bomb has gone off, what can fans expect from the last hour of Bones?
Things are dire. They’re going to get worse before they get better. But ultimately, have faith. We will hopefully wrap it up in a way that’ll be satisfying. But hold on to your hats.
Bones’ series finale airs Tuesday, March 28 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. Check back to EW.com for more coverage as the show says farewell.