[WARNING: The following story contains major spoilers from Bones Season 8 finale. Read at your own risk.]
So much for a happy ending.
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Although Bones' Season 8 finale teased viewers by finally having Brennan (Emily Deschanel) ask Booth (David Boreanaz) to marry her, the smiles soon faded thanks to Christopher Pelant (guest star Andrew Leeds). While Booth & Co. were ultimately able to stop Pelant from taking out Sweets (John Francis Daley), the serial killer had the last laugh.
Once he learned of Booth and Brennan's engagement, Pelant threatened to kill more innocent people if Booth didn't call off the wedding. What's more, Booth couldn't let Brennan know the real reason behind his change of heart. Although Brennan agreed with Booth's decision, the closing shot proved that her heart has been broken.
So will Brennan revert to her hyper-rational ways of thinking? And is Booth's only way out of this mess to kill Pelant as he threatened to do? We chatted with executive producer Stephen Nathan to get the scoop on what's to come.
I think fans are going to have a tough time with that ending.
If they didn't have a tough one, we wouldn't be doing our job.
Tell me about getting Brennan to a place where she could actually propose to Booth.
The past couple of years, we've seen Brennan evolve from a super-rational, very deliberate character to someone who is slowly seeing the benefits of emotion, of spontaneity, and of loving another person and not living in her head exclusively. We put them in a very tense situation, and through that, I think already-stirred-up emotions became even more intense and allowed her to spontaneously embrace something that would have been an anathema to her a few years ago.
But she still tries to explain it scientifically to Cam and Angela.
She justifies it afterwards as something rational, but the reality is she spontaneously acted on the notion and the feeling that Booth's life could be in danger. She actually is now at a point where she can't envision a life without him and somehow wants to codify that. She certainly had her beliefs that this was an unnecessary tradition, but as an anthropologist, she finally understands the value of tradition, the value of publically announcing something like this. That's what we're seeing with her.
With Booth being forced to turn her down, will we see Brennan revert to her old ways of thinking?
Stephen Nathan: It's going to be a big setback for Brennan and a big setback for the relationship when we open Season 9. She opened herself up and was somehow emotionally betrayed. And there's been no satisfactory reason given.
And Booth seemingly can't give her the true reason. Will Brennan become suspicious?
Nathan: Relationships don't usually survive when two parties are withholding things from each other. Booth knows that and Brennan knows that now too. There has to be a certain trust reached between them and that's going to be the big challenge at the beginning of the season.
Is this something that could ultimately end the relationship?
This is a relationship that we've all grown to love and admire. There will be ups and downs as there has to be. I don't think an audience really wants to see just a happy couple that isn't going through anything. The damage has been done, but the damage can be repaired.
We are now entering Season 9 with Booth having to resolve a situation that has put distance and potential danger between Brennan and him. Booth knows what it will take to right his relationship with Brennan and to right the injustices that have been rained down on him, the squints and all of these innocent people who have died. And Booth usually gets his man.
So when Booth threatens to kill Pelant, he's not just talking tough?
That's what it seems like now. Whether that will eventually be the case, that's something we have to wait and see. Booth and Brennan usually get their man and they have an extremely novel way of doing that. That's already in the works [for next season].
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Will there be a significant time-jump?
We might skip a little time ahead. It's not going to be months and months and months.
Pelant told Booth he can't tell Brennan what's going on, but will Booth be able to talk to anyone?
Nathan: We can't tell you who that will be, but we have found someone that no one would suspect to give him an ear.
I'm assuming it's not Sweets, since Pelant also targeted him in this episode. What's next for him?
Nathan: We will see the effect of this on Sweets next season. Sweets does not get off unscathed. He will be affected by what's happened and he's going to have to make some different choices in his life.
In some ways the Booth-Brennan twist is the opposite side of the coin from last year's finale, when Brennan kept Booth out of the loop. Will they overcome this obstacle as easily?
It's going to be a bit more difficult because Brennan has opened herself up in a way that she never thought she would. Booth knows that and Booth knows how much he's hurt her. It's a wound that will always be there until there's ultimate resolution, and it's a wound inflicted by Pelant quite purposely so that he will always be the preeminent person in their lives.
So will Pelant again be a major factor figure in the premiere?
Nathan: Probably not actually. It's dealing with the fallout. [But] Pelant's presence will be felt in the premiere.
So should fans still hold out hope for wedding bells for Booth and Brennan someday?
There is no reason to give up. [Booth] knows what he has to do to overcome [this], to make things right. And that's what he will do with ultimately with Brennan's help. So, [there's] no reason at all to give up. But I can state categorically [a wedding] will never happen in the manner in which anyone expects.
What did you think of the Bones finale?