BONES Season 10 Finale Post-Mortem: Stephen Nathan on the Show's Big Moves and Alternate Plan - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BONES Season 10 Finale Post-Mortem: Stephen Nathan on the Show’s Big Moves and Alternate Plan

June 11, 2015 by  

Credit: Fox

Credit: Fox

This post contains spoilers for BONES‘ season 10 finale episode. Please do not read this interview until you’ve seen the hour.]

BONES ended its tenth season with an unusual, quieter cliffhanger: with the series’ fate very much up in the air, the hour read in many ways like a series finale. Angela and Hodgins opted to not move to Paris, after all. But their attempted move prompted Booth and Brennan to quit their jobs — and leave the state.

Where will the show go in season 11? That’s very much to be determined (though series stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz are signed on as regulars next year).

In the meantime, I spoke with BONES showrunner Stephen Nathan about the finale, the original plan for season 10’s end, and more…

The BONES writers had to tackle this season finale without knowing whether the show would be returning next season. What was the balance like in trying to pen the hour?
Stephen Nathan: It was a very odd thing. A very odd position to be in. We were told, “You have to write a series finale,” because there was no guarantee the show was coming back.

Now, we didn’t necessarily believe that. It always seemed like the show was coming back. But on the off-chance we were wrong, we couldn’t very well proceed as how we had planned to end season 10, which was going to be a cliffhanger. We knew how season 10 was going to end, and how season 11 was going to pick up. With these new marching orders, we couldn’t continue with that; we couldn’t end the series on a cliffhanger, we had to have a certain amount of love and respect for the audience who has been with us for ten years. [So] we had to find some way to conclude the season, and the series.

It ultimately turned out for the best, because we know these characters so well — and be “we,” I mean not only the people behind the camera, but the audience as well — and we know this is their life. They have their relationships, but they have their relationships with forensic anthropology and the FBI and solving crimes; the procedural element of the show is the foundation of the characters.

We did the last episode in a way that could conclude the series, but had an undercurrent of feeling that it wasn’t the end. It hopefully could work both ways. We didn’t want it to be too much, because then it would be dishonest. The conclusion of this wouldn’t have been satisfying if we left it too open. It would have seemed like we were cowardly, like we weren’t committing. And we had to commit to an ending. So that’s what we did. And hopefully we did leave it open enough so when season 11 comes back, the re-introduction of our characters will be as organic as their exit.

What was the season 10 cliffhanger originally going to be?
SN: What we had been toying with…we were going to keep [Booth and Brennan] apart a little bit longer, and have an event — which I really don’t want to [reveal] now — force them back together before they were emotionally ready. So circumstances forced them to confront a resolution that was too difficult for them.

That said, I love the way Brennan and Booth dealt with this problem. And how Brennan resolved it for herself, in welcoming Booth back. It just showed another side to her. A side we’ve seen before, but a side that has not confronted such a huge leap of faith.

As you were crafting this finale, knowing it was possible the show would return and Booth and Brennan would have to wind up back on the show’s canvas, what conversations were had about how that might work? For instance, earlier, you had mentioned there might be a time jump, will that still be the case?
SN: Yes, there will definitely be a time jump. How long that time jump will be is still up in the air. And, also, it’s a little difficult for me to say, because while I’ve had some conversations with [new showrunners] Jon [Collier] and Michael [Peterson], this is not in my ballpark; the choices are theirs now.

Angela has really romanticized Paris since she and Hodgins returned from their stint living there. What conversations were had in leading it to be Angela’s call for the duo not to make the jump to Paris?
SN: Dreams always butt up against reality. The best laid plans are always altered by circumstance. This was that kind of situation. Yes, it’s great to say, “let’s pick up and move” to wherever — we can all imagine that. And we [can] all say, “I’d love to go the woods.” And then after a while, you go, “Maybe in the woods, I can’t go to the movies as much.” Little things come into play [that make you doubt the decision]. And for Angela and Hodgins, it was a huge thing. Angela, seeing the enormity of the sacrifice that Hodgins was making — and realizing that sacrifice trumped her desire for a change. At least for now. I think it was a real testament to their relationship. That they’d be open enough to see that before they made a mistake.

I think you saw in the finale the strength of these relationships. Of all of these relationships. Booth and Brennan, and Angela and Hodgins. Both, in different ways, to alter what they thought their life was, together, in a very wonderful way. Booth and Brennan leaving, and Angela and Hodgins actually staying.

Again, we had all of this worked out in a different way. But, it was great to foil our expectations. Because I think the audience somehow would have expected Booth and Brennan to stay, and Angela and Hodgins to leave, because it would be easier from a series point of view. But we didn’t want it to be easier. The more difficult, emotional choices that are made, the more unpredictable the show and their lives become. And the more alive their — fictional — lives are.

It [allows] the writers, as well as the actors, to always see things in a new light. I think it’s one of the reasons the show has lived for so long: it didn’t just find a niche and stay there. It kept switching it up.

One of the nice bits of the finale was how many squinterns were in the hour. Was the intention always to have that particular group together? Or was it mostly scheduling?
SN: Well, most of it was scheduling. It was scheduling, production. God knows we would have loved to have everybody.

But these seem to be, at least for now, the characters that are closest, emotionally, to Booth and Brennan, and Angela and Hodgins. That’s why these people were chosen.

Pelant has been the longest-running villain on BONES at this point, and Brennan opting to not follow up on his video threat was huge. What led to the decision to bring him back for this episode?
SN: We thought it was fun. And it was a way for Brennan’s final decision to be so solid. Because Pelant was such an important part of the show for so long — and was our favorite bad guy — there was something so incredibly satisfying for us (and for Brennan) to turn him off. To say, “Ah, fuck it. There’s always going to be a Pelant. There’s always going to be someone who can keep me here. But my life has to go on.” And really, at some point, she’s not going to be here anymore, in a cosmic sense. And there’s always going to be another Pelant. Life goes on. Life is bad, life is good. And if I just focus on trying to eradicate the bad from the world, I won’t have a life. It was a nice way of saying, “I’m sorry, but I still have to take this step.” Maybe it was a little bit of me talking. [Laughs]

In writing this episode, this was me waving bye bye for a moment as well. And it was hard for me. It was very hard for me. I didn’t know how to do it. So a lot of these things were surprising as well.

Since this was your last hour on the show for now — coupled with the fact that when it was filmed, no one knew if it was going to be coming back — what was the mood on set for those final days?
SN: It was very difficult. Nobody quite knew what was going on. Emotions were very, very high. [Laughs] Deals were being worked out. The fate of the show was still up in the air, we didn’t know what was happening with pilots, or scheduling. It was a very emotionally tenuous time.

Filed under #1 featured, Bones


3 Responses to “BONES Season 10 Finale Post-Mortem: Stephen Nathan on the Show’s Big Moves and Alternate Plan”

  1. Athena on September 13th, 2015 6:22 am

    You misspoke. Angela fantasized about Paris PRIOR to joining the Jeffersonian. As a matter of fact, she accepted Brennan’s offer to work on the first case (see episode 100) because she wanted to save to go to Paris. I am surprised you missed that…

  2. Pinoy Teleseryes on October 31st, 2015 1:59 am

    There is visibly a bunch to know about this. I believe you created various great points in capabilities also.

  3. 16701578 on November 18th, 2015 1:37 am

    I like this website its a master peace ! Glad I detected this on google .