BONES 10×22 Debriefing: “Change is Good, Right?”

(c) FOX

A little over five years ago, the team went their separate ways as a result of Booth and Brennan needing time and space between them; seven months into their planned absence, they returned to help their friend in need. Tonight, they now leave their jobs for the unknown, to have some quiet family time together. After the struggles they’ve faced, can we blame them? The biggest question to be answered now is, how will they come back to this life they want to put behind them? We’ll have to tune in come fall to find out.

There are similarities with season five’s finale “The Beginning in the End” — and I’m not referring to all the hugging and sadness. There are now five years (possibly more, in the show’s timeline) of personal growth and evolution, in which everything has changed and that’s reflected in their decisions — not only Booth and Brennan’s, but Hodgins and Angela’s.

There’s been much chatter around the fact the episode feels like the end but isn’t; how Stephen Nathan and the writers were told to write towards a series finale just in case, even if chances were they were coming back. This episode has a sense of finality to it that works, and I cannot imagine how they could have ended it differently.

Before I get too far ahead of myself (this should not be the lengthy last part of this recap!), let’s discuss Bones 10×22 “The Next in the Last” (or is it “The End in the End” again?) and some of the points above more in depth after the break…

The Last Case (for now)

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

The flayed body of a male in his mid-to-late 20s is found impaled on a Egyptian obelisk — much like how grave-robbers used to be in ancient times. It’s hard to not see the similarities between this body and Pelant’s M.O. The one problem? Pelant is most definitely dead, yet Brennan is not convinced about it, even Cam examined the remains herself back in the day. As she says, someone as brilliant as him probably planned for the future using Hodgins’ money. Adding to this, the team finds a flower with the meaning “be warned” on the victim’s throat.

Evidence seems to suggest there is a copycat emulating Pelant’s methods. The team gets some helping hands: Clark and Wendell volunteer their services to the cause. They find that the victim has osteomalacia, which indicates a vitamin D deficiency, due to poor diet and lack of sunlight. Meanwhile, Aubrey spends all night going through the Pelant files, and is now offering to take the lead in the case if it hits too close to home for Booth. However, Booth wants to be the one to take whoever this is out if they are planning on going after his family. When brainstorming what the killer might be after,  Hodgins’ money– which was never recovered — emerges as a strong possibility.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

After Angela’s computer identifies the victim as Franklin Holt, an independent computer consultant, Booth and Aubrey head to his home where they find Leelah Strawn, who claims to had been going out with him.  When she’s brought in for questioning at the FBI, she reveals that Franklin got Pelant fired at Kevin Dunlop Investments. Apparently, the victim was brought in to the company to check their security and found many holes; thus, head of security, Owen Ellickson, was fired for his supposed negligence. He’s brought in for questioning the next morning. Ellickson is a fan of Pelant’s, as evidenced by his internet history — he wants to find out how he stole all the money without a trace. The server Holt claimed was vulnerable because of him was one he didn’t have access to; so he thinks he got fired because he was close to cracking it, and Holt was killed because he got even closer.

Back at the bone room, Wendell and Clark list all their findings to Brennan, namely curve marks that are a match to the ones Pelant had; and what look like hesitation marks. Moreover, Daisy (who was just dropping by to say goodbye) finds a Strange Brew tape that might just contain all the information Angela and Hodgins have ben unable to locate in any of the more obvious places. Dunlop is brought in for questioning, as they suspect the firm is where Pelant kept the money he stole from Hodgins — all $4.6 Billion of it — which Dunlop denies. Aubrey, tired of Dunlop’s spiel, demonstrates how well he knows this type of man (his father was just like him) and eventually, he gets him to talk by threatening to hold him for murder: the account disappeared when the body was found. (Aside, but that cake line made me chuckle, if only because of how serious Aubrey was about it.)

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Moreover, the Strange Brew tape is full of information, and decrypting it would take months; therefore,  Angela has set up an algorithm that relates it to the suspects on the case and thanks to that, she finds out that Holt and Ellickson were working together. Meanwhile, in the bone room, Clark, Wendell and Daisy determine the midsection was cut in the worst possible way, showing lack of expertise. Hodgins also makes a discovery himself by finding time of death: the amount of Cladosporium’s filament growth on the pizza indicates it was delivered the night of the murder, between 8 and 10pm.

Because of the tapes, Ellickson is interrogated again. He admits to giving Holt some of Dunlop’s passwords in exchange of some of the money Holt was after, but not much more. At the Jeffersonian, the squinterns determine the killer actually had radial-ulnar synostosis, i.e. was unable to rotate his wrists, so those mistakes or hesitation marks were a result of being only able to make straight, vertical cuts.

Hodgins uses an old mass spectrometer from the Manhattan Project exhibit (since he’s always wanted to, and it’s his last chance to do so), which shows there is gunshot residue on the pizza cardboard; therefore, whoever delivered the pizza was the killer. Thus, Booth and Aubrey head to the pizza place to try to determine who delivered it — turns out, it was picked up to go. The security camera footage reveals it is a woman: Leelah, Franklin’s girlfriend. However, Angela quickly uncovers there is no mention of a girlfriend in any of the victim’s emails or social media. There are mentions of Leelah, however: he was suspicious of her and he was actually tracking her activity. She wasn’t his lover, she was his nemesis. Thanks to that, Angela can tell Booth and Aubrey she is currently at a rail yard.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Thus, the intense manhunt for Leelah starts. It is a really action-filled sequence at the rail tracks; while she’s only able to defend herself by tasing people, she is agile. When they finally catch up to her, Aubrey gets trapped in a wagon full of chickens with her, getting shocked a  couple of times — the train is already in motion, and it’s clear she wants to get rid of the agent by throwing him out after delivering a fatal shock. However, Booth gets in at the right moment and shoots her taser out of her hands.


“As long as I’m with you”

Hodgins and Angela’s move is imminent, and everyone’s helping them pack or dropping by to say goodbye. The artist’s conversation with Brennan last week wasn’t only important because of the huge history between the friends, but because it seemed to awaken something within Brennan. Angela’s decision is partially a result of seeing the toll this job took on them, and while Brennan is painfully aware of what a terrible year this has been for her family (including her own struggle with the idea of raising their kids in this world), the exchange made her realize that she also had not expected to stick around for as long she has.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

I digress. This is the last case Hodgins and Angela will be working on, as they’ve been getting ready to leave in a week. However, Hodgins actually admits to Cam staying sounds good, but he’d do anything for Angela, even if that includes moving away. Angela quickly understands that herself, while watching Hodgins get so excited about the old mass spectrometer– it’s hard not to miss the spark in her husband’s eyes. It probably also dawns on her he’s selfless and would do anything for her, even if it means uprooting altogether and moving to Paris, away from what he also loves.

I’ve already mentioned here the interesting contrast between some of the similar decisions to “Beginning” in season five —if Hodgins made the grand gesture of going to Paris then, Angela decides to stay in DC in this episode, because her husband truly loves the Jeffersonian and all the toys there. (She probably also really likes it, even if she won’t admit it.) Thus, when Angela retrieves all the money Pelant stole from them back in season eight’s “Corpse in the Canopy,” he doesn’t want it anymore — they have all the money they need now, and he’d rather donate the four-billion to a hundred charities, so they can find a cure for the cancer Wendell has or otherwise save the world. After all, that money has too much blood on it.

She only agrees to this on one condition: if he stays in the Jeffersonian, because she knows this is his life. He was the one who agreed to go to Paris, and he deserves to keep doing what he loves… because she’ll be happy as long as she’s with him. Plus, decrypting the tape will take her a few months, and after that, they can always go on a vacation.

Selflessness for selflessness.

Faced with such a life-changing decision, they choose the altruistic route that will make them both the happiest: they have a stable life here they both love, so there was no reason to upset the balance– not even regaining the “control” of their long-lost money. This episode, and this arc, has been such a good showcase of why they are such a great couple, and a great platform for Michaela Conlin and TJ Thyne to shine.


 As we sail into the mystic

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

As we begin the episode, Booth is surprised to find that Brennan has been poring over  job offers she’s received over the years and has organized them neatly, weighing  their pros and cons. He assumed this would be the kind of thing they’d discuss together like the team they are, just as they did with the Germany offer last year. She agrees —it turns out, she’s even organized his offers as well, recalling his interest on a position at the NSA office in Kansas.

While he suspects that this has to do with Angela and Hodgins’ move, she references what they’ve been through in the past year (i.e. what has been on her mind for the later half of the season) as the reasons she thinks they need a change. What they might be doing is important, but surely they can find a safer job. (I still think her friends’ decision was definitely an extra push.)

By the end of that day, he has already decided this is going to be his last case — and for once, this choice feels right (unlike all his terrible choices in the past few months). They don’t even need to take the jobs in Kansas: they can just have a baby, live their lives and be happy… Things that sound really appealing right now. She’s concerned she’s talked him into doing something he doesn’t want to do, but he reassures her this is his choice.

Thus, they start evaluating how the team would get along without them, taking different approaches. Booth is letting Aubrey do most of the interrogations, taking a step back on this case; Caroline calls him out on this, suspicious, so he confides in her about his decision in an emotional moment for the two of them. Brennan, on the other hand, is hard on her squinterns, and forces them to examine the bones and evidence more efficiently, so they can find the key to solving the case. As she tells them, her wish is to leave the department in their brilliant and capable hands, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to let it go easily.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Soon enough, Brennan tells Angela she and Booth are leaving as well, commenting on how fitting it is that it’s a Pelant-related case that gives them the final push. Cam overhears her say how they also need a change after all they’ve been through. Even if Brennan tries to work around it by saying she’s embracing the unknown (where the greatest breakthroughs have happened), she struggles to tell her boss the truth, and admits that she’s indeed leaving. She doesn’t want to hurt Cam, because she’s not only her superior, but her friend.

As they learn of their decision, they seem surprised — mostly because it’s always seemed as if the lab is Brennan’s home. While the lab clearly holds a place in Brennan’s heart, her family has taken precedence now. This doesn’t mean seeing everyone so upset isn’t affecting, because it is: I’d particularly point to Cam’s reaction as the most heartbreaking one. I’m glad Arastoo was there to comfort her.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Meanwhile Booth is cleaning his office at the FBI up and giving his heartfelt goodbyes to Caroline (sniff) and Aubrey, who I guess will be the Jeffersonian liaison now in lieu of Booth. The young agent and Booth’s relationship has grown so much since those first episodes this season where he didn’t trust him, as evidenced by the fact that Booth’s glad to leave his position in his hands. Before he leaves, he offers his help to Aubrey if he ever needs it, and then he takes his Bobblehead Bobby.

At the Jeffersonian, just as Brennan is preparing to leave, Angela shows her a video of Pelant she found on the tape, in which he talks about how the digital afterlife will keep him alive. Instead of letting that sway her into staying and derailing her plans, she takes a final stand: he is in the past, and she won’t let him ruin her new life. She gives a wonderful speech on closure, and how it’s an illusion — the universe is constantly on flux, which allows friendships and love to surprise us.  Shortly after that, Booth arrives to help her pack — but she’s done after just one box, as efficient as ever.  “That’s it, then?”  “That’s it.”

With that, they leave, though not without hugging everyone at the lab in a really emotional scene. (No, you‘re crying.)


The finale was so emotional and heartfelt, and much more low-key than what they’ve gotten us used to in past years; there might have been an action sequence, but it wasn’t on the level of  the big traffic jam in season eight or the shootout in the Mighty Hut in season nine. I can see how it has a series finale-y feel to it, especially the last few scenes, but I cannot help but feel it is also the right end for this season. Following Brennan’s doubts about whether this was the life they wanted to leave, along with Booth’s bad choices and personal downward spiral into gambling (that he’s put past him now), their decision to leave feels right. Taking into account how much reprioritization has played a role into the season, choosing family time to enjoy their baby and be happy (while also regaining their footing as a couple, after a traumatic year) is a nice ending for them. After some heavy season finales, and a year full of trauma, they deserve to take control of their lives and choose stability, whether they are leaving (for Kansas) or staying in DC.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Angela and Hodgins reconsidering their uprooting also makes sense — we’ve seen many times how devoted Hodgins is to her, and how he’s willing to do anything for her. We know she truly loves him as well, but her decision to let him be happy and stay at the Jeffersonian is sweet. She might dislike the subject matter, but she can deal with it as long as her husband is happy.

As for the rest of the team, Tamara Taylor’s facial expressions as Cam say so much with so little dialogue. She usually has her stoic façade in place, through worse events, but here she lets it all out where it concerns the departure of two friends she dearly loves, signaling the end of an era. On the other hand, I also liked the generational aspect in the episode — throughout the season, we’ve seen both Booth and Brennan impart their wisdom upon their protégés in many ways. Now that they are gone, the youngsters are taking over their positions… for the time being. Those bonds are some of most fulfilling to watch, because we’ve seen them become more than mentoring relationships in many delightful ways. Plus, seeing so many squinterns work together (once again) was a delight — the fact that most of them were around helping their friends out or saying goodbye is a beautiful reminder that they are a very tight family.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

The case wasn’t important in this episode and it didn’t need to be, since this was about their “last” case together. If anything, it provided a way to bring back the most prominent villain the show’s had and close that door for good (hopefully). Leelah was a fascinating character to me, if only because I wish I knew more about her motives and what her relationship with Pelant was, if there was one. Maybe we would have known more about her if Brennan had heard what Pelant taped way before his death, but it’s moot to wonder about that. Speaking of which, I’m proud of Brennan for doing that: Pelant has ruined her life in many ways for the past few years, so I imagine being able to shut him up one last time was satisfying. There is always going to be some Pelant-type terrorizing her family, someone who needs to be put behind bars. Had she stayed, it would never really end. She deserves to turn it off and walk away for good — I suspect that was the writers shutting out the possibility of going down that road ever again, too.

As usual, there are many things I’d love to discuss but the one I can’t get out of my head is Booth and Brennan shedding something that has been part of their identity for so long so easily. They balanced Booth’s “cosmic balance sheet” long ago, but they kept doing it anyway — they were good at it, and they are a truly great team; it was also a good excuse to be in each other’s lives. (And obviously, the show is about the two of them solving crimes.) When they left at the end of “Beginning in the End,” they were at an awkward place in their relationship and they needed that time and space — it all felt temporary, with the one-year timeframe in place. This time, they’ve just overcome a big hurdle in their marriage and have realized that it was time for a change, and stepping into the unknown, i.e. enjoying life and being happy together — indefinitely. I’m sure someone out there has already contrasted both situations better, as I’m struggling to put it into words, but I’m overwhelmed by how far they’ve come in the last few years, and how they are stronger than ever, together and separately.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

I also really appreciate that, knowing very well that there was a chance they might not have come back, the writers didn’t risk ending it their usual way with a cliffhanger propelling them into the beginning of season eleven. I like that they closed a chapter of the characters’ lives, even if we will soon pick it up. I’ve followed shows that ended in cliffhangers even if everyone seemed to know those particular shows were going to come to a premature end. It’s frustrating because we all seek that closure; that perfect last moment we inevitably imagine that never comes. Ending a season, or a story, is always hard enough; the fact it might also have been the definite end probably added some more difficulty. Moreover, juggling expectations is hard, and meeting them when there is so much involved is even more difficult. I was satisfied with this ending as a season finale because Booth and Brennan choosing their family as their #1 priority is what the show had been building — even if leaving their other family is hard. I imagine that if they do end up moving, they’ll wait until the baby is born — so the team is probably going to stay in touch, and their tears were mostly out of missing the everyday routine and camaraderie they have had for so many years. I will say that I am glad this wasn’t the series finale (though this one would’ve been okay, it didn’t feel as series finale to me as it did to many others), if only because I’ve always hoped they would have the proper buildup they’ve mentioned in the past they’ve wanted to have, and because I’m not ready to say goodbye to the characters just yet. Thus, I’m glad I’m getting twenty-two more episodes with them at the very least. The truth is, no finale is ever going to satisfy everyone.

As a whole, I’ve enjoyed season ten a lot. Looking back, I can think of many good things I liked, vs. whatever quibbles and issues I might have had at the beginning. (I’d personally rather focus on the good, rather than the bad, because what works usually shines.) In many ways, the show deftly dealt with things outside its control and the writers adapted to them, eventually crafting a heck of an emotional arc — the gambling storyline was angsty and rewarding, and a logical step to what had preceded it during this season, heightened by the stakes Brennan’s pregnancy and the marriage provided. There was also a great use of the various themes I’ve mentioned in the last few recaps over the season. Most of all, the characters’ evolution continued to be a highlight and a delight, with the cast giving some of their best performances yet.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

This season wanted to reward fans in so many ways — be it the 200th episode, Angela’s true name, or other little things — but it didn’t feel like the last thing the show wanted to do. As such, I hope that, when the day comes, they are able to close the stories the way they want to. I know Brennan said closure is an illusion, but it is also a comforting feeling we all seek when confronted with the end.


Odds and Ends

  • I might need to rewatch it to check on the Leelah storyline but can I pretend she was Pelant’s “girlfriend”? It was fun seeing Lindsey Kraft in this role, after her fun guest turn on Backstrom earlier this season. It was also interesting seeing Pelant once again, even if for two seconds, after having watched Andrew Leeds be generally funny and adorable on also-gone-too-soon Cristela.
  • I am pretty sure there was a “she” in a bone room scene when referring to the killer, instead of the usual he. I don’t know whether it was intentional or not, but it amused me.
  • We learn a bit more on Aubrey and his family. I hope we get to hear more of that on season 11! Ditto with Cam, Hodgins, Angela and everyone else.
  • (c) FOX

    (c) FOX

    Aubrey’s reaction to Caroline and Booth’s hug was adorable. Caroline is sure going to miss her dear SEELEYBOOTH. Aw, Caroline. (More of her next season, pretty please.)

  • Insert weekly “I know I didn’t really mention it above but everyone was so fantastic in this episode” here.
  • I’m not going to say I guessed the killer from the moment I saw the press release… but I did. Call it luck, or call it a hunch, but I had the feeling Leelah wasn’t telling the truth when we first meet her.
  • I forgot to write a bit on Aubrey above, considering this was his first season. I love the guy, even if I understand why others would not. He can be goofy, like food and whatnot, but he is also proven to be serious and to stand up for Booth and Brennan if they need him. Aubrey’s dynamics with everyone are different than Sweets’, which I really appreciate. I really enjoy him and think he’s a good FBI partner/protégé for Booth.
  • Great use of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” at the end. So appropriate.
  • I actually wonder if this was the actual end of the ten-year plan Hart (and Stephen) crafted awhile back (that linked video is from November, by the way) or if there is more.
  • There are a few interesting postmortems out there, if you want to read them. My particular favorites are EW‘s, TVGuide‘s, and GMMR‘s, but I might have missed some of the others. They’re all quite interesting reads in their own right.
  • I hope you all read Emily Deschanel’s live-tweeting last night. There are so many new favorite tweets in there.
  • A bunch of important behind-the-scenes people are leaving the show (some temporarily, some not), like Stephen Nathan (current showrunner), Nkechi Okoro (writer), etc. We’ll miss them!
  • Sappy moment time! I’m looking forward to season eleven, and how they will come back from this. Change is a-coming! I hope you enjoyed reading these often-messy, always-too-detailed recaps and found some of my personal insights somewhat interesting. It’s been a pleasure writing these and trying to process what I was feeling, even if I’m not the best at it (not at all). I cannot believe there’s been a sizable group of people who have made the time to read what I’ve had to say. Thank you.
… is a young graduate student that has been way too passionate about television ever since she was little. While she insists she doesn’t have a specific type of show, they all usually have strong but flawed lady characters, some derivation of the stubborn friends-in-love/friends-to-lovers trope, and they all make her yell at her tv a lot. She just wishes she had more hours in the day so she could actually write about this.
You can usually find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and at cassidy at thankyoulizlemon.com

6 Responses to BONES 10×22 Debriefing: “Change is Good, Right?”

  1. Frankie707 says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Bones this season. I really have enjoyed your episode recaps. I hope you continue them next season…and yay we get a next season. 🙂

    • Cassidy says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words! That’s such a nice thing to read, really 🙂 I am pretty sure I’ll continue recapping the show come fall. Yay for season 11!

  2. I don’t really have much more to add since you wrote a lot (and that’s good) and all on point. I felt kind of anxious just reading it and then, being the person who gets distracted easily, I checked tumblr and saw a few gifs, and then came back to reading the rest, so I not only was I reading it, I also had the fresh image of it, and I definitely teared up. I wasn’t expecting to be this moved by the episode. And the more I think about it, the more I actually like the episode, since all the characters were wonderful and the goodbyes were so real and so painful, in a good way (?), and I can’t wait to rewatch it. I wasn’t really able to focus on the case since I sort of knew what was coming so I felt nervous and unable to follow the case when the characters were so much more important. Yet again, I’ll spent the whole summer waiting for Bones to come back.

    • Cassidy says:

      Haha, I’m sorry! I write too much for my own good and I can also relate to what you say. (It’s why I try to not be on tumblr all that much on Fridays, ha.)

      I was moved about it too, especially by Caroline and Booth’s scenes, as well as the hugs. There was some genuine emotion there, since they didn’t know for sure if this was their last time together, which makes it even more real.

      The case was fine but obvious, ha! I think we all knew the characters were the important part here, as they got ready to say goodbye.

      The good thing about the late finale is that we’re probably just three or so months away from the premiere, instead of four!

      Thanks for reading, as always 🙂

  3. Marla says:

    This was great, as always. And really positive! There are a lot of differing opinions circulating about the episode right now, but this definitely seemed to reflect how I personally felt about it. I’m sad it’s the end (for now) but I thought the episode overall was great. The case took a backseat, as I was more focused on wrapping up the season with these characters. I know this was a possible series ending, but I wonder what they will end up doing now when it actually does end. Should be interesting. But i try not to dwell on that because we have a whole new season to come!

    Relative to Hart’s finale plan, I definitely thought about it as Booth & Brennan walked out of the lab. Hart has spoken about that image of the two of them in the pilot walking down the road and away from the funeral- together embarking on a quest to tackle Booth’s cosmic balance sheet as newly-minted partners. And how Bones at heart was a show about the two of them. This just seemed like a definite intentional echo to that. But perhaps I’m way off base.

    Looking forward to next season! Thank you for your recaps 🙂

    • Cassidy says:

      I would be surprised if there /weren’t/ differing opinions, ha. I liked the episode a lot as a whole, even if it wasn’t my favorite… There wasn’t an evil cliffhanger and the characters are personally happy! I can’t be mad at that. There was also some other great stuff in there, so I’m happy with the episode.

      I really tried to not think about how this would’ve worked as a series finale because it is not, and I am pretty sure they knew it wouldn’t be. I appreciated the closure anyways. (You’ve probably seen Stephen’s quote to TVInsider about finales around Tumblr, which I found to be very on point.) It doesn’t mean it wasn’t a sad moment for the characters, and especially the actors, because it was — they shot this not sure if it would be the end! (That gets me a lot.) Life will go on and they’re coming back (yay :)), so why dwell too much on that! 🙂

      I definitely agree re: what you mention about Hart’s plan! I can see what you mean, and that’s what I thought about as well. Imagery is important – walking out of some place, side by side, seems like what a very possible ending could be. There are multiple reasons for them to do that in the future. We’ll see what gets them back once again 😉

      You’re very welcome!! Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: