Why the Bones Season Finale Felt So Final

Patrick McElhenney/FOX

BonesSeason 10 finale ended with the unthinkable: Booth and Brennan headed for plainer pastures, off to Kansas to re-start their lives, hopefully with a little less murder. The two had been mulling a change in scenery for several episodes, but it was still a shock to see them packing up and saying goodbye to their colleagues, even if it all took place with a beautiful Glen Hansard cover of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” playing in the background.

The Jeffersonian without Brennan? Aubrey working cases without Booth? Sounds like the end for Bones, or at least the end of the show as we know it.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, according to executive producer Stephen Nathan. Nathan and the writers had the unenviable task of scripting the finale before they knew whether there would be a Season 11. “We were told not to expect a pick-up,” Nathan says. “We had to construct a last episode that was a season ender and a series ender. It was totally impossible. They’re two totally different tasks. We did the best we could—there’s a strong emotional component that not only gave us a satisfactory conclusion, but gives us a wonderful way to move on.”

And move back. Booth, Brennan, and the rest of the Bones gang will return in the fall (on Thursday nights, paired with Sleepy Hollow) for Season 11, so Nathan offered us some post-finale reassurances.

Where on earth do you go from here?

Season 11 is being sketched out. There’s going to have to be some extraordinary thing that reels Booth and Brennan back into the mix. There was a conclusion: There was a finality to their experience over these 10 years, and a finality to this portion of their relationship. But we know, because it’s on the television machine, that they’ll be back. So now the question is, what is the mechanism that brings them back?

Will there be a time jump?

There will be a time jump, but the length of that time jump is still being determined. All the actors are back, everything’s fine, but we’re not exactly sure when we’re starting and how. But it’s all going to be a nice surprise.

It seemed more likely that Angela and Hodgins were going to actually move to Paris than Booth and Brennan would really leave.

We were trying to meet the audience’s expectations while also showing them that anything we expect from these characters, that’s too easy. They’re going to do things you don’t expect. With Angela and Hodgins, that’s a great example of this: He was doing something for love, and she did something for an even greater love. It seemed utterly and completely logical.

Personally, the goodbye that got to me the most was Caroline Julian and Booth.

Oh I totally agree, wasn’t that fabulous? Aubrey and Booth in the office was great, too. There’s never a good finale to any show. Everyone always complains about them. So we did the finale that said, “Stop complaining. We’ve got more episodes coming.”

There’s something fitting about Brennan turning off Pelant’s video—shutting off the possibility of more of that storyline.

Exactly. We don’t want to do that again—that was something we’d already done. Now, you’re turning it all off and starting afresh. It’s a new world.