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Bones - The End in the End - Review



A few nights ago, we witnessed the conclusion of twelve years of fine television work. Bones was far from perfect; it could fall into procedural ruts, it was occasionally sappy or sentimental, and over the years it sometimes felt like the characters meandered quite far from their original concepts. But, honestly, it's hard to be any more critical of the show.

For years, I've been watching the Jeffersonian Team and it FBI agents work together to solve crimes with ingenuity and heart. It's been a remarkable pleasure - especially when I took on reviewing it in season ten. While I don't consider it a FAVORITE show of mine, it's been a constant source of entertainment. It's been a shining example of strong female characters, unconventional-but-functional relationships, and a procedural with heart.

And while I'm sad that the end credits have rolled for the very last time, I'm not disappointed. This was a solid finale that managed to surprise and delight me, both in terms of the mystery it unraveled and the emotional payoff it held for the show's longtime devotees.

PLOT

As you might remember, the final moments of last week depicted Hodgins, Angela, Brennan, and Booth trapped inside the locked-down lab just as a series of bombs exploded around them. While Angela, Hodgins, and Booth suffered only minor scrapes and bruises, we quickly discovered that Brennan's injuries had caused "agnosia", a condition in which the two hemispheres of her brain were not transmitting to each other. Her mental brilliance was suddenly dimmed.

Moments before the explosion, though, Brennan had discovered a key piece of evidence. She'd scribbled down the name of 4 bones from the body of the man who helped Marc Kovac escape from prison. However, when they returned to the lab where she'd been analyzing the bones, they discovered hundreds of bones from the storage bins that lined the room had toppled to the ground, and launched a desperate search for the right skeleton.

But with Brennan's brain on the fritz, it's on the interns to locate the bones they need and determine what Brennan considered significant. With a little help from Hodgins, they come to the conclusion that the bones are lighter in weight than they should be - and that's a marker of where the victim grew up. Histological analysis reveals that the victim grew up in rural West Virginia, and the team concludes that this victim was chosen for his knowledge of the area and the property he owns. I think.

The showdown with Kovac concludes at a rural property with a barn, an orchard, and a farmhouse. He manages to injure Booth's shooting hand, and for a moment it seems like Kovac might just win the long-sought revenge for his father, but Brennan's medical training kicks in, and she repairs his hand just in time for him to shoot Kovac in the head & send him plummeting to a fiery death.

So the final crisis is averted, and there's nothing left but farewells. The lab is in shambles, and the team has to clear out its gear for reconstruction. We get glimpses of so many amazing memories: the commemorative plaque of Vincent Nigel Murray (an intern shot by a sniper in season six), Hodgins's collection of rubber bands (an anger management technique from way back in season one or two), a book of Farsi poetry that Arastoo gifted to Cam in season 8, the dolphin necklace that reminds Brennan of her mother, and so many photos - of Angela's art, of Hodgins and Zack at Christmas, of Brennan and her dad on her wedding day.

And we find out what will come next for these beloved characters. Cam and Arastoo are adopting a trio of boys. Hodgins is taking over as Interim Director of the lab ("King of the lab" indeed). Angela and Hodgins are crafting a pop-up book based on the team's adventures.

Booth and Brennan aren't going anywhere. They're happy in their roles. They're reminiscing over the years they've spent together. Our last shot is of the two of them, walking together into the evening to meet their friends.

DISCUSSION

I found myself reflecting back on a few show staples during this finale. Like how difficult it was to see the lab all charred and smashed. Remember when that gleaming platform contained a mastodon display? Remember how they turned that set into a night club during Booth's tumor-induced dream in season four? How many hours have I spent watching these actors on the platform, scanning their little cards or sipping coffee up on the balcony? I'm surprised by how sad I am to say goodbye to that fictional space.

Also, can I kvetch about the theme song for a minute? I have never liked it. It has never meshed with the tone that the show has been so careful to create - a tone that's thoughtful and smart instead of flashy and pulpy. Yet they've stood by it from episode 1. The only thing about the theme that's changed in the 12 years the show aired was the cast members and the shots they used.

Brennan's agnosia was an interesting twist to this episode. Her brilliance has always been at the core of the team's success, and it was a bit jarring to see the other characters have to step up as Brennan struggled to process information. It wasn't amnesia, a common television trope, so she was still able to share memories with the interns (a very touching scene) and she still seemed like herself. But she was forced to step back and let others apply the incredible knowledge she shared with them. She even had a tiny existential crisis, which Booth cut short by reminding her that she's so much more than her intellect (another lovely scene).

And I didn't even talk about Aubrey in my plot summary, but I loved his final moments. He decided to stay in D.C., even though he and Jessica are no longer dating. On his way to his new office, he bumps into the FBI profiler, Karen, who he's always had good chemistry with. She said she left food on his desk, and he asks, "You hungry?" They get into the elevator together. It was a lovely sendoff to this character, and totally aligned to the foodie persona they gave him way back during his introduction in season 10 (and have regularly slipped in for comedic effect since then).

Honestly, I loved this ending. It wasn't a cliffhanger. No one got killed off or made a major shift away from who they are. It didn't send me into a big, blubbery weeping session. Although Bones has sometimes gotten me teary-eyed or wrangled with our emotions, I am really glad it didn't end with tears. It ended with celebration and hope and remembrance.

Thanks for reading, Boneheads. And for watching.



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