BONES Season 10 Premiere Post-Mortem: Stephen Nathan on the Huge Events in 'The Conspiracy in the Corpse' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BONES Season 10 Premiere Post-Mortem: Stephen Nathan on the Huge Events in ‘The Conspiracy in the Corpse’

September 25, 2014 by  


[This post contains massive, massive, massive spoilers for the BONES season 10 premiere, “The Conspiracy in the Corpse.” Please do not read this until you’ve seen the episode.]

The BONES season 10 premiere was a big enough hour that I’m giving you an extra spoiler warning…you’ve seen it, yes?

If so, keep reading…

BONES has said goodbye to characters in the past, but the only significant death the team has suffered over the years was something fans were prepped for. Sure, Vincent Nigel-Murray’s death was heartbreaking (and led to Booth and Brennan finally taking the steps to becoming a couple), but there was the awareness that a loss was imminent.

Not so much this time around.

In the final moments of BONES’ season 10 opener, Booth and Brennan were talking to a witness who could potentially help them crack the conspiracy that led to him spending months in prison…only for Booth to get an emergency phone call that Sweets was in bad shape after an attack. The duo rushed over to him, but it was too late — he was bleeding internally and died. (To make matters worse? Sweets was due to be a father.)

The decision was prompted by John Francis Daley’s busy schedule (Daley is currently in the middle of directing VACATION), and while the show could have sent him off to somewhere outside of the BONES world, executive producer Stephen Nathan told a small group of reporters this morning that writing Sweets off felt inauthentic.

“That seemed to be a cheat,” Nathan said. “It seemed to be a bad way to treat a character who had been such an integral part of the show. Sweets and John are loved on the show. We love John, and to send him away episode 1 without really knowing when he’s coming back, first of all, that’s what the first episode has to be about then. And we couldn’t do that because we were following through a very specific and intense art with the conspiracy. So we would have had to put that aside and somehow work out Sweets going away and then get back to [the plot]. It really wasn’t a good way to start the season.”

“And also, John’s career he’s doing so well,” he continued. “He’s so successful as a writer and now as a director that it’s inconceivable that he finishes directing this film without getting an offer to direct another film. So we were always going to be in this situation because his career was only going to keep growing. So we had to find a way to treat his character with the love and respect that we feel for him and keep the show going. And it seems every time we’re thrown a curveball by life, as long as we’re open to it, we find a way to integrate those things into the series. We did it with Emily [Deschanel (Brennan)]’s pregnancy, we did it with Carla [Gallo (Daisy)]’s pregnancy. Carla is really pregnant — was really pregnant. And it all seemed to come together in a great way, especially with this conspiracy story.”

And by killing off Sweets, once again, the conspiracy becomes personal for the team as they desperately try to find out what’s going on.

“What was good for the show was that this conspiracy story was never an external event,” Nathan pointed out. “It was always an emotional story primarily. The conspiracy was the engine that made this new emotional issue come to the forefront for Booth and Brennan and everyone else. This seemed to be the next logical step. So when Booth coming out of prison completely disoriented and untrusting and unable to connect with people and to have Sweets’ entire…mission really in this episode, is to make sure Booth is OK. And to have those be his last words just seemed to be right for the show and right for the characters. He left concerned for Booth. The love of those two characters becomes even more special than it was before. And what they all have to get over now, it’s not solving a crime or a potential conspiracy for some sort of external reasons — truth, justice and the American way. This is personal. It’s, in a way, vengeance but redemption as well for all of them. And that’s the only way to keep Sweets alive. That’s what happens in episode 2. Episode 2 continues this way and Sweets, I know it sounds odd, but Sweets is integral in solving the case. So all of that just came together in a way that worked very well for us and was, however, incredibly sad.”

As distraught as BONES fans will be about Sweets’ death, the BONES cast and crew already miss Daley’s presence on the show, too.

“Losing John was a tremendous, tremendous loss for all of us, [and] John being a member of the family, I know how difficult it was for him,” Nathan said. “And for us, it was…cutting this episode, I would tear up every time we got to this scene just knowing what was going on. It was so emotionally overwhelming for all of us. This is somebody who we’ve been close to for many years…We could have said, ‘No, you can’t do your movie. You have to stay on the show.’ But I think it was our job to celebrate his success and wish him well and have him go on to wonderful things. And with that came this sadness and difficulty that we all now have to deal with. But — not [to be crass] — it’s a wonderful way to start the season because it’s so rich emotionally for all of the characters. We’re following through with everything as we usually do on the show when something big happens; it carries on in their lives and this will as well. Carla, Daisy, is going to have that baby and there’s no family for her. And what’s that going to be like? That’s the episode we’re doing now. So all of those issues were things we had to deal with, as difficult as they are, were and will be.”

When I spoke with Nathan earlier this month about Daley’s hectic schedule, he said at the time, “John is here when he’s here…whenever it’s feasible.” And while they were trying to get Daley to return for another episode beyond the premiere, Nathan conceded that it didn’t work out.

“We were actually trying to work out the schedule for one additional episode but it didn’t work out,” he said. “We really did want him to come back for the 200th, but he’s shooting. There’s no way to do it. But it would be a different kind of situation for him to come back. He wouldn’t come back as a ghost.”

Unfortunately, in the meantime, the team is going to have to use Sweets’ body as their latest piece of evidence.

“I think it was just a great moment for Brennan and to remind everyone what a set of remains was to them, even someone close to them — that out of this horror can come something good,” Nathan pointed out. “And I think in order to dramatize that you have to see the horror. That was hard to get just right, too, because really eight frames, ten frames one way or another and the shot doesn’t work. It’s rhythmic, almost. Believe me, we were all holding back the tears putting this together.”

Booth’s path in coming to terms with the grief will be difficult in its own way — he’s also dealing with his PTSD.

“That’s what we deal with in the second episode,” Nathan teased. “In the third episode, we’re trying to right the ship; we’re trying to equalize everything. That’s when he does go back — you’ll see he goes back to work. He still has trust issues. It’s still not an easy road home. He still has to get over a couple of hurdles.”

As the team grapples with the loss of Sweets, they also have to find a way to say goodbye to him.

“We’re going to see their version of a funeral,” Nathan previewed, noting it would be a “very intimate” goodbye for the fallen agent. “You’re going to cry next week, yeah…But what I do want to say is…while these episodes are emotionally traumatic, and do have a dark element to them, the show will not be dark. We will be back — Booth will get his even footing again, through Brennan’s help, through the other people, through the support that he has, he will slowly come back and get his footing. And BONES will still be as bizarre as it always has been, as funny as it always has been, and as romantic as it always has been. That’s our show, and that will return. Admittedly, these new characters will return with it. And John Boyd[‘s Agent Aubrey] will now take a more important role at the FBI clearly, and he’s turning into a spectacular character. The guy is unbelievable. I’m just cutting episode four or five now, and he’s just great. He’s really growing into his own.”

The only bright side to Sweets’ death? The writers were able to flesh out Sweets a bit more by having him happy and expecting a baby with Daisy, and they let him have beautiful, important, moments with both Booth and Brennan.

“This was a very, very difficult [episode] to shape,” Nathan admitted. “Because we had to make Sweets that rounded character, that indispensable character without doing it so you went, ‘Oh! Something’s going to happen to Sweets!’ You know, that guy in the movie who is always laughing and having a wonderful time, and you’re like, ‘Oh, he’s dead.’ So we didn’t want to do that.”

“But I think what helped it is seeing that Sweets is now going to be a father,” he pointed out. “And that rounds somebody out; that grounds them. That was a huge asset for the character. And just made you love him. And, also, there’s no way in the world anything bad is going to happen to him if he’s going to have a baby. I’m very happy and very surprised we kept this an actual secret, because I don’t think anyone saw this coming. And also, shows don’t kill people in the beginning of the season. A regular doesn’t go away in the beginning of the season. That’s always at the end of the season, or the beginning of the season, or something like that. It was certainly not our intentions to start things this way. But why not? Especially in the landscape of television now, I think you always have to come out — there’s no point of holding anything back, ever. And we don’t intend to this year.”

“What I think we did see was Sweets’ concern for Booth’s situation, for the trauma that Booth suffered,” he continued. “He had matured in such a way that before he was giving advice to two people who still saw him as young. In this episode, he was an equal. He…was emotionally more mature, and saw the situation clearer than they. So, that’s what we tried to do. Which is why he could say what he said to Booth at the end. He saw everything in perspective. And Booth and Brennan, neither of them were capable of seeing things that way. None of the other people who were rooted at the center of this conspiracy, somehow victimized by the conspiracy were able to see that.”

And if you have any lingering grief (and I imagine a lot of us will), I asked Nathan for what he wanted to tell the fans after they watched the episode, and this is what he had to say:

“I don’t know what to say, really. Everything I’m going to say is going to sound incredibly corny, but it’s true — anybody who’s stuck with this show for a long time, whether it be the full ten years or the past five years or three years, we’re on a journey together. These characters ebb and flow, relationships ebb and flow, surprises pop up when we least expect them and that’s what life is like. If life were predictable and everybody knew what was going to happen and we shielded themselves from those painful moments it would be a sad life. It’s out of tragedy that great things come and it’s out of great joy that we experience the pain of loss and sorrow. All I can say is this is what makes the show still feel alive ten years later, hopefully, and if we were always watching ourselves and being too careful I think it wouldn’t have any life to it. I would just say sorry that you’re in pain now, but that was our intention. But for a very good reason. We’re now off on another journey. Let’s see where it takes us.”

So…anyone need a hug?

Filed under #1 featured, Bones


One Response to “BONES Season 10 Premiere Post-Mortem: Stephen Nathan on the Huge Events in ‘The Conspiracy in the Corpse’”

  1. peliculas on October 5th, 2014 6:11 am

    Hello there, I believe your blog may be having web browser
    compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your website in Safari, it looks fine
    but when opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues.
    I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Aside from that, excellent blog!