How does one wrap up 245 hours of nail-biting intrigue, mess-your-panties humor, mind-boggling science, vomitous yet ultimately amusing detritus, gut-wrenching tragedy, unshakable loyalty and sizzling hot romance in one hour-long series finale? That's just it; it cannot be done.
has committed to giving it the old college try.
No One Died in the Explosion, But Brennan is in the Hurt Bag
As the series finale, titled "The Final Chapter: The End in the End," opens, the Jeffersonian still stands, thick ashy plumes of smoke billowing toward a black sky. All that remain are the walls and the ravages of destruction in every direction. Hodgins and Angela, covered in grime and blood, wake up, find each other and face the possibility that the trauma may have ended Angela's pregnancy.
Booth comes to and finds Brennan unconscious under debris in her office. When he is finally able to rouse her, she feels disconcertingly ... different. She's clearly disoriented and, at first, struggles to recall the case they have been feverishly working on. Then she pulls a scrap of paper out of her pocket on which she had written "femur, scapula, ulna and mandible." She remembers there was a significance to these particular bones from escaped prisoner Fred Walden's remains, but she cannot remember what it was. "Something is wrong with me," she insists. Brennan's agnosia unfolds awkwardly, but there's no time to waste in this finale, so we'll go with it.
Hodgins Tells Booth He Doesn't Have to Be a Hero
Booth is understandably panicked about his wife's potentially life-threatening condition and plans to use the disarmed bomb to blow his way out of the Jeffersonian. He's petrified that no one knows they are alive and trying to rescue them. Hodgins fervently objects. The building's structure is weakened and will inexorably implode if there's another explosion. Booth's expression conveys his heartbreakingly helpless feelings. Seeing his friend's pain, Hodgins assures Booth that killing Kovac's father was the right thing to do, inferring that it's not Booth's fault they are in this mess. Two seconds later, the rescuers break through the rubble and get the four out.
Baby Boy Hodgins is Safe and Sound, But Brennan's Brain is a Jumble
Before she is rescued, Brennan confirms her inability to process information when she struggles with the MacGyvered fetal monitor that Angela asks her to use. It's impressive how well Emily Deschanel portrays this personality switch. She's vulnerable and uncertain, at times stuttering and confused. Fortunately, Brennan is able to follow Angela's instructions and a heartbeat is found.
Once rescued from the rubble, Brennan is examined by a neurologist, who rules out internal bleeding but concedes that she's suffered damage to the part of her brain that facilitates the processing of complex information. Fortunately, she hasn't lost her long-term memory, but that doesn't help her function as the forensic anthropologist she was before the explosion. This complication brilliantly provides a vehicle for Brennan to later walk through an oral history of her relationship with each of the squints.
Calling All Squints to the Bone Room
In true Brennan form, the crime-solving anthropologist wants nothing more than to get right back to work. Since there is no internal bleeding or swelling, why not, right? Inside the Jeffersonian, all of Angela's equipment is pulverized and the bone room is in complete shambles with what looks like 12 seasons of skeletal remains dumped in a dirty pile on the floor. Time to call in all the squints. The key to finding Kovac is inside Fred Walden's remains. Brennan insists that they reexamine those bones, especially the four she was pondering before the explosion: the femur, scapula, ulna and mandible.
Clark, Jessica, Daisy, Arastoo and Wendell come running to sift through the bony rubble with Brennan. Brennan recalls the mass graves she assisted with in Guatemala, even though she can't recall what the conditions of these bones mean. She confesses that she remembers the names of every victim she has identified and knows how important this work is, but she cannot remember how to do it. It's sad, really sad. But we know there has to be a silver lining, right? Here it comes.
Brennan Remembers Specifics About Each of the Squints
When the squints ask if she is getting better, she admits that despite the robusticity of her long-term memory, there's no guarantee she will recover. Then comes the walk down memory lane that any fan worth their weight will bawl through.
She recalls fighting attackers both in the biker bar at her bachelorette party and on the Maluku Islands with Daisy. She remembers how proud Clark was when his novel was published, even though she thought it was crap. She remembers Jessica teaching her to "chirp" (tweet) and how happy Arastoo was when Cam proposed to him. She recalls Wendell wearing a cigarette behind his ear to remind himself of his father. Brennan remembers the day each of the squints was hired, she begins.
Booth Assuages Brennan's Identity Fears
Brennan, unable to remember even the most fundamental steps in identifying Fred Walden's bones, leaves the Squints to their work and heads to the comforting arms of her husband at the Hoover. There, she confesses that she feels like she's lost herself. Who is she if she doesn't have her intelligence to count on? she asks.
Booth advises her to give it some time. Then he says the sweetest words, conjuring a whole lovely list of sweet moments from their life together:
"You are the woman I love. You are the one who kissed me outside a pool house when it was pouring rain, took me to shoot tommy guns on Valentine's Day. That's who you are. You are the one who proposed to me with a stick of beef jerky in your hand, even though you're a vegetarian. You're the Roxie to my Tony and the Wanda to my Buck. Who else is going to sing "Hot Blooded" with me? We're way better than Mulder and Scully. I don't care if you know about the bones or we know how to solve crimes. All I know is that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. This is you. Temperance Brennan. You. You are my partner. Don't forget that."
Unfortunately, there is no kiss to accompany Booth's ultimate heartwarming soliloquy, so we'll just have to use our imaginations. Maybe they thought a kiss would be inappropriate, but a forehead bump, is that all? I would have appreciated at least a full body hug, but that's how it is with us fans, always wanting more.
Finally, a Break in the Case
Hodgins finds partial fingerprints on the goo from what remains of the unexploded bomb. They belong to Jeannine Kovac, Mark Kovac's wife. Jeannine crosses her heart and promises to die but swears she has no idea where her husband is hiding now. Booth puts Jeannine through a lie detector, which she passes with flying colors. Moments later, epithelials left on the bomb goo prove that Jeannine is actually Kovac's sister, not his wife. How's that for a nasty plot twist? When Brennan finds out, she nearly beats the crap out of the female pretender. And it would have been justified.
Instead of coming clean, Jeannine goes off on Booth for killing her father. Brennan defends her partner, who was only doing this duty while Jeannine's father raped, tortured and killed thousands. Jeannine gives nothing up.
The Squints Channel the Mentor to Locate Kovac's Hideout
The squints knock their heads together and realize that the four bones Brennan had written down on her scrap of paper -- the femur, scapula, ulna and mandible -- all show signs of an anomaly of some sort. Arastoo notices a mark on one of the bones, which Daisy recognizes as Brennan's intention to get a histological study done on that bone. If they can find out where the victim grew up, they might be able to figure out where Kovac is hiding. That information leads them to a place in West Virginia. Brennan and Booth head out there and are met by a helicopter and SWAT team as backup.
Booth's Injury Brings Back Brennan's Ability to Anthropologize
When Brennan and Booth reach their destination, it's dark outside. Once the helicopter is in place, there's lots of chaos -- running, shooting and imaginably a fair amount of swearing. One guy who runs out of the barn is shown dead, but it's not Kovac. Finally, a crazed Kovac flies into view in a jeep and shoots at Booth while trying to run him down. Somehow, while Brennan and Booth are running around willy-nilly trying to stay ahead of the bullets, Booth injures his right wrist, rendering his shooting arm useless.
During a firepower-free moment, Brennan examines Booth's wrist and immediately knows what is wrong and fixes it. She adjusts his wrist, and he's good to go. I guess that means she's cured? Stinking American writers ... oh, well. Half a second later, Booth takes position and, steady as the rock we know him to be, shoots Kovac dead. Then the jeep careens into a ravine and blows up. And that's exactly how criminals who torture and kill people in cold blood should die.
Wrapping Up a Couple Loose Ends...
Jeannine Kovac will never see another free day in her life.
Also, Aubrey announces that he's taking a deputy director position in DC rather than moving to LA. As he leaves, he's met in the hallway by Karen Delfs, who has brought him a bucket of chicken so he can indulge in emotional eating after his disastrous breakup. Aubrey then invites Delfs to join him. Are we looking at a sequel here, folks? Who knows?
All That Remains is a Whole Basket of Easter Eggs
At the Jeffersonian the next morning, the team gathers to prepare for the clean-up crew. You know what that means -- time for a long walk down memory lane. The Bones Fairies promised there would be lots of nostalgia in this farewell, and here it comes. Get out that second box of Kleenex, Boneheads.
As they move through the rubble while packing away what they want to keep, each character finds several items which harken back to some favorite moments in Bones history.
Angela finds the plaque commemorating Vincent Nigel Murray. Hodgins find the ball of blue rubber bands that he used to wear to remind himself to not be so angry. Cam finds the book of poems that Arastoo wrote for her. Angela finds her artistic Usher-like photos and a picture of Hodgins teaching Michael Vincent to ride a bike. Hodgins finds a snapshot of himself and Zack in the lab together.
Cam comes across her half of the ceramic baby bear salt and pepper shakers that she and Michelle saved when Cam was engaged to Michelle's father. Brennan finds her dolphin necklace from her parents and a photo of Max walking her down the aisle at the wedding that almost wasn't.
Hodgins Takes the Crown as the King of the Lab
Cam announces that she and Arastoo are adopting three orphaned brothers, and that is why they are taking a six-month sabbatical. In her absence, she wants Hodgins to take over as the director of the lab. Hodgins squeals in excitement. He wheels around in glee, exclaiming that he needs a crown and a scepter. It's hilarious and a perfect ending for the Jeffersonian crew.
Remembering Parker, Sweets and Jasper the Pig
In the series finale's last scene, Booth meets Brennan in the rose garden outside the Jeffersonian. He sits beside her in the dark as they both gaze at the battered face of her professional home for the last 12 years. In the bag at his wife's feet, Booth finds several items she retrieved from her office to bring home.
First, there's a crayon picture that Parker made for her when he told her he liked her all those years ago. Adorably, it looks a lot like a picture that Christine made many years later. He also finds a battered copy of The Heart of the Matter, the book Sweets wrote about their relationship. As they reminisce about their dearly departed Sweets, Brennan acknowledges that he had been right about them and a lot of other things as well.
One of the final items Booth finds in Brennan's bag is Jasper the Pig, the gift Booth gave Brennan to cheer her up in "The Blonde in the Game" after they lost to Howard Epps, and Brennan had to take her first life in the process.
The Meaning in the Numbers
From time to time, the Bones fandom has been taunted by the illusive meaning behind the recurring numbers 447. The Bones Fairies promised to enlighten us before the final curtain has fallen. Et voila, they have kept their word.
The final keepsake Booth pulls from Brennan's bag is her office clock that had stopped when the bomb went off. Brennan wants to hang the broken clock in her new office to remind herself. When Booth asks why she would want to remember the time when everything almost ended, her answer is simple: "Because it didn't."
In retrospect, this makes complete sense. Sometimes, 477 has been introduced as an actual time, at other times it was included in an episode whose events could very well result in the end of their relationship, a character's life or Bones all together. I can think of at least 10 examples. How many do you recall?
With 12 seasons to its credit, Bones will go down in history alongside Dragnet, Kojak, Columbo, Law & Order, Hill Street Blues, CSI, Major Crimes and Criminal Minds as one of the most groundbreaking scripted primetime crime procedurals in history. What will you remember it most for? Who were your favorite characters? What were your favorite storylines? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.